You Rejoice My Heart
Review by Raffi
Armenians and Turks have been torn apart by the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Since that time, they have been a people completely apart... or so it often seems. The Armenians who were left behind finally get a chance to tell their story - to a Turk who finally thinks to ask, at great risk to himself.
The author exposes so much, educating both Armenians on the outside what it was like for those Armenians who remained in Turkey, who have their own perspective on how to approach Armenian-Turkish reconciliation, and exposes Turks to the real inescapable harm their government policies have caused, often without a great deal of public resistance.
The stories of Armenians being saved among all the destruction, by individual or groups of Turks and Kurds is the ray of hope that shines throughout. People risking their own lives for the "infidel". The many Armenians interviewed who bear no hard feelings are the flip side of the hope for the future. Their stories can be unbearably hard to read - as you learn in excruciatingly personal detail that the genocide that ended for most upon their expulsion into the Syrian desert in 1915, continues to this day for some. Decades of attacks, discrimination and second class legal status took their toll.
I look forward to the day this book becomes required reading for high school students in Turkey and Armenia. The book has been published in both languages already and I cannot tell you how strongly I recommend this book.
Kemal has produced a masterpiece that has been printed in very small numbers so far. It shouldn't be that way, his journey through living history needs to be read by many, because the story that unfolds has to affect anyone that reads it, and will no doubt help heal the rift that it explores.