"Shadows of 1915" centers on memories of Armenian Genocide

PanARMENIAN.Net - The conundrum of how to forgive and not forget the Armenian Genocide has become a recurring theme in the recently released novel “Shadows of 1915" by Jerry Burger.

It’s a contradiction that continues to haunt the contemporary Armenian community, according to Burger, a retired Santa Clara University psychology professor, The Los Angeles Times says.

“Reasonable people would say that hate is not a solution, especially hating the children and great-grandchildren of the people who committed atrocities,” Burger said. “Yet, somehow to forget all the suffering, all the horror that went on, would make it seem like it was for naught. [They] need to keep the memories alive, and they need to move on.”

Released this past spring, “Shadows” is set into action by an interaction between Turkish college students and sons of Armenian Genocide survivors. Amid the fallout, the characters must synthesize their family and community loyalties with the legal system and personal beliefs.

It’s just one of a handful of fiction works written in English to tackle the Armenian Genocide, according to Burger. He said he’s aware of only about eight or nine other novels in existence, and almost all were written by people with Armenian backgrounds.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres and deportations, involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, Italy, 45 U.S. states, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, Wales, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, the Vatican, Luxembourg, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Venezuela, Slovakia, Syria, Vatican, as well as the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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