Center editor digs into his own story: The twentieth century’s first genocide

Gulenia Hovsepian Banaian's passport picture, circa 1921

Gulenia Hovsepian Banaian’s passport picture, circa 1921

He was killed. He was beaten. Because he couldn’t fight all those people. He tried, he did. They had taken everything off him, only his white shirt, homespun white shirt that goes way down to the knee. It’s all homespun, rough stuff, and left him there. Left him there. -Gulenia Hovsepian Banaian  

At the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, our writers, being writers, sometimes step out of the business of publishing investigative stories about Maine government and publish other kinds of stories.

That’s what Center Editor-in-Chief John Christie did this past weekend. The Maine Sunday Telegram published Christie’s personal memoir about his Armenian grandmother, Gulenia Hovsepian Banaian, and her odyssey as a refugee fleeing Turkish persecution during the early days of the Armenian Genocide.

Christie’s grandmother made her way as a young girl through Turkey to a German orphanage in Lebanon, and then as a young woman to Egypt and Greece and eventually to an arranged marriage with another Armenian refugee who had settled in the mill town of Dover, New Hampshire.

Here’s a link to Christie’s story, whose publication was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The story is part of Christie’s in-progress memoir, “The Regretful Boy Scout.”

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