By S. DANIELLE GALIAN
Nor Or, Los Angeles – From the rolling hills of Sasun to the famous clock tower of Adana, Garbis Der-Yeghiayan presents a roaring anthology titled Voices in Silence – My body cried, my soul cried, my heart cried.
81 cities and provinces are covered in the 340 pages dedicated to researching Armenia’s historical homeland. If you’ve ever wanted to deep-dive into our ‘rightful homeland,’ this book is for you.
More than just a coffee table book, Voices in Silence is chalk full of information and extraordinary photographs taken by Der-Yeghiayan, himself, who traveled across modern day Turkey leading tours and learning more about each city and province. The incredible photos and some never before seen photos date back to his travels starting in 1987, traveling across Western Armenia (historical Armenia), Giligia, and Cappadocia, Der-Yeghiayan is relentless.
In the introduction, Der-Yeghiayan admits to being caught off guard when seeing some of the destruction incurred in our homeland. “I did not expect to shed so many tears of joy, exhilaration, and sadness” he notes.
As most Armenians, we remember hearing stories from our elders. Around the dinner table or holidays, these stories tend to stay with us and hopefully pass on to the next generation. Der-Yeghiayan brings these stories to life through his magnificent work. “45 relatives did not survive this [the genocide’s] brutal treatment, including my paternal great-grandfather” Der-Yeghiayan laments. “However, his daughter-in-law, my great-aunt, did live to tell us about our homeland and the atrocities committed.” This story he reveals strikes a chord with all who read it. It is a story we hear time and time again but have no visual materials to place next to.
Der-Yeghiayan’s work brings together those visuals for all to share and witness. And we as readers undoubtedly journey into the past and reconnect with the present.
Poignant moments throughout the book include a ‘Departure & Arrival’ section in the beginning. Reading like a journey-of-a-lifetime photo album, the prospect of packing up and traveling to the motherland for two weeks seems less daunting. The first grouping of destinations is in Giligia. Adana takes up several pages in this section with fantastic photography.
Jumping forward we see Ani. The mystical land teetering on the border of Western Armenia (Turkey) and the Republic of Armenia. Some of these photos are heartbreaking. But they are important to our cultural and religious heritage.
The back of the book features astonishing detail of major cities and provinces. Everything from Der-Yeghiayan’s group experiences to travel times to and from various destinations. It’s a great section to gain further detail about specific areas such as Zeitoun and Marash, for example. The sections also include the present Turkified names of each town or province (as to make it easier for prospective travelers). If a blog was to be published in print, this would be it. And once again, Der-Yeghiayan spares no detail.
Voices in Silence is not only a must read, it’s a must have in any library. If you’re thinking of traveling to your ancestral homeland, book your tickets. Or you can purchase this book and gain just as much insight…for a lot less!
Proceeds from this independently published book fund additional anthologies and works to bring together our collective Armenian stories to life. Buy now or donate.