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Day 9 – The Bridge of death… or almost

 
 

 

14 Days in Diyarbakir - 14 Photos of Amed - 14 Pieces on Tigranakert.

"Repair's" special correspondant MJM, a french-armenian journalist, has recently spent two weeks in the current capital of the South Eastearn Anatolia to meet with the past, present and future of the thousands of Armenians who used to live in this city before the 1915 genocide. During his travels, MJM shares with us his many encounters with places, women and men whose story is undeniably related to the Armenians.

This photo essay was done in May 2013, some situations described in these articles have evolved since then.


Day 9 – The Bridge of death… or almost

At dusk, and after gobbling up a çiger, a specialty from the area, Azad, a young Kurd met in Amed, wishes to take us to a place he particularly loves: the On Gôzlü Bridge or “Bridge with ten eyes.” The place reminds him of his comrades who took to the mountains to join the PKK guerrillas. One of them died a martyr while the other ones are still held in Turkish gaols. But before we get there, he must find a photocopier for the letters by sick prisoners that he carries with him and whose copies he must send to various organizations in charge of solidarity actions.

After buying a snack and drinks, we reach the famous bridge. The light is getting increasingly low and, when I hear in the conversation that Armenians were thrown from this bridge which enables strollers to cross the Tigris, my first reaction is to take out my camera and shoot away before night falls for good over Amed. Watching the river, thoughts rush through my mind and emerge from my memory – typical stories of Armenians being tied up by twos and fours before being thrown from the top of a bridge or a cliff. So, I am standing in front of what must be the last landscape that these poor innocent people would have seen before being thrown from the bridge… I visualize the scene in great detail in my mind – a real film. Only the sound of duduk is missing to accompany the pictures running through my head. I am already thinking of the text I will write to caption my photo of the threatening river.

A few days later, however, when I ask Kevork, the Armenian teacher, for more information about that bridge from which Armenians fell to their death, his answer instantly cancels what I could imagine a couple of days earlier. No Armenian was ever thrown from that bridge… “They were indeed made to cross the monument, but only to be taken to die much further away…” – far from the eyes of a population which was not to witness the tragedy that was unfolding.

My photograph is now meaningless and my story literally sunk…

 

The 30-year-old freelancer and photographer, MJM, has worked for various newspapers and magazines. His recent work with the Yerkir NGO has permitted him to further develop his views and understanding through photos and documentaries in Armenia and Turkey. An overview of his work is available on his website www.mjm-wordsandpics.com.

 

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