Gariwo: the gardens of the Righteous

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Anatole France 1844 - 1924

Nobel laureate, he fought for freedom of thought and human dignity

Anatole France

Anatole France

Born in Paris in 1844, Anatole Thibault France, known as Anatole France, was a great humanist and progressive, writer, poet and novelist, and a Nobel Prize winner.

His first intervention on the Armenian question dates back to 1897, in the aftermath of the massacres perpetrated by the sultan Abdul Hamid II against Ottoman subjects of Christian Armenian origin.

With Emile Zola he fought for the acquittal of the Frenchman Alfred Dreyfus, the officer of Jewish origin sentenced for spying and high treason by an anti-Semitic court martial and later found to be innocent. 

In 1901 he founded the newspaper "Pro Armenia" with Clemenceau and Jaurès. He is celebrated for his addresses: "A Thought is Already an Action", "A Person that Refuses to Die Will Never Die". He intervened on behalf of the Armenians in Rome, London, Geneva and Paris, making inflammatory speeches against Turkey's despotic and nationalistic tendencies.

In 1916, in the aftermath of the Armenian genocide, during the great demonstration "Homage à l'Armenie" organised at the Sorbonne, Anatole France shouted to the crowd "Armenia Is Dying but Will Be Born Again!".

He died in Paris. His funeral, on October 18th 1924, was attended by a crowd of two hundred thousand people.

Righteous for the Armenians

remembered in the Wall of Remembrance of Yerevan

Every year on 24 April, the anniversary of the outbreak of Metz Yeghérn (the "Great Evil", that is to say the genocide against the Armenian people in 1915-1916) Armenians remember their rescuers with a procession to Dzidzernagapert, the “Hill of Swallows”, where the Mausoleum in memory of the victims of extermination was erected.
Since 1996 the ashes or the grave earth of the Righteous and rescuers or witnesses who tried to stop the massacres or risked their lives to denounce the Young Turks' genocidal plan and its execution are interred in the Remembrance Wall.
Pietro Kuciukian, founder of the International Committee of the Righteous for the Armenians,has been researching the Righteous figures into the survivors' pieces of testimony, the tales of their children, the writings by the eyewitnesses, the diplomatic documents and the broad literature that accompanies the events related to this genocide. He retraces their walks of life, he revives their memory by visiting the places where they are buried, he meets with the relatives and descendants who keep family memories of great intensity and then he transports their ashes or handfuls of their burial earth on the "Hill of Swallows" of Yerevan. The stones with the names of the "RIghteous for the Armenians", gathered in the Wall of Remembrance, are the tangible sign of the gratitude of the Armenian people and take on a universal kind of exemplary value.

Tales and testimony

Metz Yeghern stories

other exemplary stories featured by Gariwo