By Joe Fitzgerald
Boston Herald Columnist
Monday, August 20, 2007
`I can still see my mother crying,' Medford's John Baronian recalled here two years ago on the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
`She would try to hide it, but we'd catch her crying all the time, and whenever she'd try to talk about it she'd break down and cry again, unable to continue. She could still hear the voices of those little kids, the sisters and brother I never knew, pleading for something to eat or drink as they died in her arms out there in the desert.'
She and John's father lived in Turkey in a place called Harput.
`He was a farmer,' Baronian recalled. `Armenians had lived there for centuries. When the genocide began, the Turks were immediately brutal. Women were beaten and raped by Turkish soldiers while menwere hanged in the square or shot in the woods, just for being Armenians. That was all the reason the Turks needed.
`Then came the death march. That's what we call it, though the Turks called it a relocation march, which was ridiculous because thousands were forced into the Der El Zor desert with no food, no water, no nothing.
`My mother was among them with my sisters, Helen and Azadouhi, and my brother, Sirak, all under 5. All around her, decent people were dying needlessly while her own children kept crying from hunger and thirst until they died, too. My poor mother would hear those cries every day for the rest of her life.'