April 24 marks the 100th anniversary of what most historians refer to as the Armenian Genocide, when 1.5 million ethnic Armenians were killed by the Ottoman government in modern day Turkey. Millions more fled, in a diaspora that spans the globe.
“The only stories I could find were about the genocide. As if 1915 had ended the Armenian story.”
While the massacre of 1915 is what many think of when they think of the 8 million Armenians living around the world today, Armenian-American photojournalist Scout Tufankjian believes that is only part of the picture.
“I would go over to my grandparents house and I would pour through their Armenian newspapers and magazines looking for myself and my people, looking for Armenian kids in India, Armenian kids in Argentina, in Ethiopia, and I knew we were out there, but I couldn’t find anything about us.” she told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “The only stories I could find were about the genocide. As if 1915 had ended the Armenian story, which I knew wasn’t the case.
In 2009, she created the Armenian Diaspora Project, documenting with her camera the lives and continued traditions of Armenians around the world.
“And so I really started this at first out of curiosity, to kind of see what being Armenian meant to someone in Syria or someone in France. Did it mean the same things that it means to me? Or, did the kind of different paths taken by our refugee grandparents and great-grandparents change how we felt about who we were?”