AGMI Publishes Memories Of Ottoman Armenian Sportsman Vahram Papazia


17:58, 24 Mar 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

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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