FOUR YEARS IN THE MOUNTAINS OF KURDISTAN
by Aram Haigaz
Aram Haigaz was only 15 when he lost his father, brothers, relatives and fellow townspeople in a month-long attack by military forces of the Ottoman Turkish government. He and his mother were put into a forced march toward the Syrian desert without food, water or shelter, as part of the systematic plan to annihilate the Christian Armenian population of Turkey in 1915. His mother urged Aram to convert to Islam in order to survive, after which a Turkish bey agreed to take the young convert into his household. Aram spent four long years living as a Muslim servant and shepherd among Kurdish tribes in the rugged mountain terrain, slowly gaining his captor’s trust. He grew from a boy to a man in these years and his narrative offers readers a fascinating story of resilience and a unique eyewitness to history. Haigaz ultimately escaped and came to the United States in 1921.