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AGMI publishes memories of Ottoman Armenian sportsman Vahram Papazian

The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute has published memories of Ottoman Armenian sportsman Vahram Papazian. The memoirs titled “Love, love, love” are a very unique source of the pre-genocide history of the Armenian life in the Ottoman Empire. It’s also an absolute historical source of the history of sports and Olympic Games, World War I, Armenian Genocide, as well as the refugees and migration.

For the first time in the Ottoman history two Armenian sportsmen Vahram Papazian and Mkrtich Mkrian represented the Ottoman Turkey in the fifth Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912.

In the chapter “On the way to Stockholm” Papazian wrote: “In 1912, the International Olympic Games were to be held in Stockholm, and Turkey was invited to participate. However, the Turks had no athletes, while the Armenians did. So the Armenians decided to send their athletes to represent the huge Ottoman Empire and succeeded. Ottoman Turkey participated twice in a similar international competition as an empire thanks to two Armenian sportsmen, as you will see later on. The two Armenian athletes brought honor to their country… …When I arrived in Stockholm in the morning, I noticed that the streets and important buildings were adorned with flags of all the countries participating in the Olympic Games, but there was not a single Turkish flag among them. I was very concerned about this. After all, I was the official representative of the Ottoman Empire, and this slight against my country was an insult to me.

I took a car and went straight to the Turkish embassy to express my anger. With suitcases still in hand, I demanded immediate action. After introducing myself and receiving congratulations from the ambassador, I said: “Bey Effendi, Stockholm is depressing to me and I would like to return to my country with my suitcases on my arm. All of Stockholm is adorned with foreign flags, but not the Turkish flag, and this is an insult to me and my country. I will only stay here if measures are taken so the flag of my country flies among all the others.

The Turkish ambassador petrified for a moment. Like many others, he couldn’t believe that an Armenian could have such a strong love and respect for their Turkish country. He probably did not realize the clear fact that the Armenians have always loved their Turkish country, that it was the Turks who didn’t love their loyal Armenian subjects, and have always been persecuting them on each occasion…

… And two hours later, the Turkish flag was flying on every corner, thanks to a young Armenian, who in a few years would be mourning millions of unburied corpses of Armenians, all of them having been massacred by the Turks.”

As a survivor and an eyewitness of the Armenian Genocides, Papazian also gives us important information about the Armenian Genocide.

“One of the lies about the Armenian massacres is the statement that the Armenians were massacred because they helped Russians by spying for them. Even if this was true, what were the massacred honest, peaceful, and loyal Armenian population of Harput, children and grandparents, to blame for?

Vahram Papazian’s memoirs, published for the first time in English, have been edited by Doctor of Sciences Mr. Hayk Demoyan, Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. The Armenian version of the book was published in Beirut in1962.

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