At the meet and greet on Sunday, Peter Koutoujian asked about the story that Peter (Marash GIrl's dad) used to tell . . . Although it has been written earlier in this blog, it bears repeating. It was an experience that both Peters (both the teller and the listener) would never forget.
Sniper on a Minaret
Yesterday's broadcast (WBUR's Here & Now) by Robin Young -- A Sniper's Look at Snipers -- was a fresh reminder of an experience that Genocide survivor Peter Bilezikian had as a young boy.
Peter was always courageous though hungry. It was during the Armenian Genocide -- circa 1918 -- when 6 year old Peter, running through the streets of Marash, saw an Armenian woman baking bread. He was so hungry that, although he had been taught not to beg, he asked the woman for a bit of her bread. Her answer: If I give you bread, I'll have nothing to feed my children. At that moment, a bullet whizzed through Peter's cowlick, nicking his forehead (the scar there 'til the day he died) and hit the woman baking the bread between the eyes. She fell to the ground, instantly dead. A Turkish sniper from the top of a minaret had done his duty.
Peter, young as he was, hungry as he was, grabbed all the bread, ran under a staircase, and, as he tells it, ate every bit of the bread. He said he was not hungry for days after. And he never, in all his life, refused anyone who asked him for anything. He had learned his lesson.