Saturday, July 30, 2011

Deir al-zour, Der Zor, Deir ez-Zor, Dayr az-Zawr, Deir ez Zor , Deir al-Zur, دير الزور, Դէր Զօր, Ter Zor

However you spell it, if you're Armenian, it spells death. Shivers went through my body as I listened to the BBC this morning on the way to the Gath Pool, and it wasn't because of the weather.  The BBC, reporting on saboteurs in Syria, mentioned Deir ez-Zor, and there I stopped listening.  A wealth of memories -- the stories, the tears, the heart break of the old folks as I listened from my darkened bedroom, trying to fall asleep as I was growing up.  Deir ez-Zor, the place of death for hundreds of thousands of Armenians, my people, my ancestors, Armenians who were going to be 'resettled' by the Ottoman Government, that is, those who survived the 'death march' of rape, murder and mayhem.  Some lived through those horrors and arrived at Der Zor, a desert destination with no food, no water, no shelter . . . .  Few survived to tell that tale.

From Armeniapedia: (

The modern town was built by the Ottoman Empire in 1867. In 1915, during the Armenian Genocide, it witnessed grim scenes as many thousands of Armenians arrived at the end of forced death marches from Anatolia. Thousands died in Dayr and surrounding areas, many at the Ra's al-'Ain springs outside the town. France occupied Dayr az-Zawr in 1921 and made it the seat of a large garrison. In 1946 it became part of independent Syria.
The Armenian Orthodox church in the town contains a memorial to the victims of the genocide, and is an important centre of commemoration, especially on April 24.


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