Monday, June 15, 2009

Young in Mogadishu, c. 1966

My father, age ~16 (bottom left.)

Crazy 60s photo-paint. Check out the forehead twirl and sideburns.

Smoking is bad---I think he started ~age 12! I'm just about quit (again) myself. But I can't say I don't love this picture---the shades, the shades.

This is my favorite.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

MEMORY FRAGMENTS FROM THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE, by Margaret DiCanio (My maternal family history)

My Armenian grandparents' parents & siblings fled their homes in Marash (in what is now Turkey) following the onset of the Armenian Genocide under the Ottoman Turks.

From the Wikipedia entry:

The Armenian Genocide (Armenian: Հայոց Ցեղասպանություն, translit.: Hayoc’ C’eġaspanowt’yowt’; Turkish: Ermeni Soykırımı), also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Calamity (Մեծ Եղեռն, Meç Eġeṙt’, Armenian pronunciation: [Mɛtsʼ jɛʁɛrn]), refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction (genocide) of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I.[1] It was characterised by the use of massacres, and the use of deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of Armenian deaths generally held to have been between one and one-and-a-half million.[2] Other ethnic groups were similarly attacked by the Empire during this period, including Assyrians and Greeks, and some scholars consider those events to be part of the same policy of extermination.[3]

It is widely acknowledged to have been one of the first modern genocides,[4][5][6] as many Western sources point to the systematic, organized manner the killings were carried out to eliminate the Armenians.[7]

The date of the onset of the genocide is conventionally held to be April 24, 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. Thereafter, the Ottoman military uprooted Armenians from their homes and forced them to march for hundreds of miles, depriving them of food and water, to the desert of what is now Syria. Massacres were indiscriminate of age or gender, with rape and other sexual abuse commonplace. The Armenian Genocide is the second most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust.[8]

The Republic of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, does not accept the word genocide as an accurate description of the events.[9] In recent years, it has faced repeated calls to accept the events as genocide. To date, twenty-one countries have officially recognized the events of the period as genocide, and most genocide scholars and historians accept this view.[10][11][12][13] The majority of Armenian diaspora communities were founded as a result of the Armenian genocide.


Memory Fragments from the Armenian Genocide:
A Mosaic of a Shared Heritage
By Margaret DiCanio

* This book is available for limited previewing through Google Books. I'm assuming that I'm not violating any copyrights by providing these screenshot excerpts here, as the material is available for online public viewing, and all credits are provided. If I'm wrong, please do let me know. Please see the link above to go directly to the preview. All the commentary here is my own and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of the book's author. I use this: ~~~ to separate screenshots from my own comments, etc. All book excerpts are ⓒ Margaret DiCanio 2002.

Find this book on Goodreads, here:
Memory Fragments from the Armenian Genocide: A Mosaic of a Shared Heritage
Memory Fragments from the Armenian Genocide: A Mosaic of a Shared Heritage
Pages 124-131 : Leon Janikian
(my Uncle Leon---my mother's brother & only sibling)

  • Charles Janikian (born Garabed) is my Grampa!
  • My Armenian fam lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.
  • Marash is the name of the city/region (in what is now south-central Turkey) where my family hails from. People from Marash are called Marashtsis.
This is a picture of the city of Marash today (it is now officially known as Kahraman-Marash.) See the entry at Armeniapedia.

Here's Marash on a map. The region is in red, the city is the dot. (From Wikipedia's entry on Marash. You'll notice that this entry and Armeniapedia's take different angles...)


  • Aaron: My only maternal first cousin, he's like my brother.
  • Krikor Janikian/Janigian: My paternal great grandfather (my Grampa's father.)

  • Miriam Galolyan: My Grampa's mother was Elmas Galolyan. Miriam must have been her mother.
  • My Great Aunt Areka (my Grampa's only surviving sibling) was the youngest in the family at the time of their arrival in the US, just a little girl. I've seen her tattoo.
[ 129 is not part of the online preview]



Friday, June 5, 2009

Hello, World!

What's an Armali?

To start with, I'm half Somali and half Armenian. I could go with Somenian, but I think Armali sounds nicer, right?

That means I'm half black and half white---like a certain president we know, I have a black African father and a white (ish?) American mother.

oh THAT's healthy!

My mother is a second generation Armenian American (or third generation, depending on how you count it---her grandparents all came to the US from Armenian villages in Turkey around the 1920s.) My father is Somali. He was born and raised in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, and first immigrated to the US as a young man. My parents met in Boston, Massachusetts. I have a younger sister and brother by the same parents.

But that's not all!
(Ha, I feel like a game show.)

My mother's first husband was Ghanaian, and I have two sisters by that marriage. So they're half Ghanaian and half Armenian. Their father's second wife is Tanzanian, and my sisters have a brother (my step-half brother?) by that marriage, who's half Tanzanian and half Ghanaian.

My father's second wife was European American, and I have one sister by that marriage. So she's half European American and half Somali.

My stepdad, my mom's husband now, is African American, and I have two stepbrothers (by his first marriage) who are African American on both sides.

My stepmom, my father's wife now, is Somali, and I have a whole lotta siblings who are Somali on both sides.

My mother has only one sibling, my uncle. My aunt-by-marriage is Jewish American, and my only maternal first cousin (he's like my brother) is half Jewish and half Armenian.

My name is Arabic, and I minored in Arabic in college, but English is my only native language. My parents never taught us Somali or Armenian---I really, really want to learn, someday.

I was raised Muslim---I think of myself as agnostic now, just FYI. My mother's family are
(at least nominally) Armenian Orthodox Christian, and since my aunt is Jewish, we kids got to celebrate all kinds of holidays, when we were growing up : )

I have family in Boston, New York, Arizona, Virginia, London, Kenya and who knows where else!

Okay, I know I'm forgetting something...

Let's Try This Again

So----I think I've figured out why I haven't been posting here! It's just too overwhelming. When I started doing research for this blog, I thought this was going to be a list/journal/mishmash of all sorts of mixed/multiracial resources, my thoughts & analysis etc. But there are SO many great sites/organizations out there already doing that, on a much larger level than I could ever manage. (And with such wonderful depth and dedication! Please see the links at the sidebar.)

I'm going to start over, and make this a personal blog about my own particular mixed experience. I think that will leave me feeling less like this is a chore, and more like it's just a fun place to talk about issues (and people! or should i say people and issues) that are important to me. So look out for that, if you're interested.