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Photographing Armenian Lives Around the World10:03Download

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Catedral Apostólica Armênia São Jorge - São Paulo, Brazil - "There is a small area of land in Asia Minor that is called Armenia, but it is not so. It is not Armenia. It is a place. There are only Armenians, and they inhabit the earth, not Armenia, since there is no Armenia. There is no America and there is no England, and no France, and no Italy. There is only the earth."
-William Saroyan in The Armenian and The Armenian 
(Scout Tufankjin)MoreCloseclosemore
Catedral Apostólica Armênia São Jorge - São Paulo, Brazil - "There is a small area of land in Asia Minor that is called Armenia, but it is not so. It is not Armenia. It is a place. There are only Armenians, and they inhabit the earth, not Armenia, since there is no Armenia. There is no America and there is no England, and no France, and no Italy. There is only the earth." -William Saroyan in The Armenian and The Armenian (Scout Tufankjin)

April 24 marks the 100th anniversary of what most historians refer to as the Armenian Genocide, when 1.5 million ethnic Armenians were killed by the Ottoman government in modern day Turkey. Millions more fled, in a diaspora that spans the globe.

"The only stories I could find were about the genocide. As if 1915 had ended the Armenian story."

While the massacre of 1915 is what many think of when they think of the 8 million Armenians living around the world today, Armenian-American photojournalist Scout Tufankjian believes that is only part of the picture.

"I would go over to my grandparents house and I would pour through their Armenian newspapers and magazines looking for myself and my people, looking for Armenian kids in India, Armenian kids in Argentina, in Ethiopia, and I knew we were out there, but I couldn’t find anything about us." she told Here & Now's Robin Young.  "The only stories I could find were about the genocide. As if 1915 had ended the Armenian story, which I knew wasn’t the case.

In 2009, she created the Armenian Diaspora Project, documenting with her camera the lives and continued traditions of Armenians around the world.

"And so I really started this at first out of curiosity, to kind of see what being Armenian meant to someone in Syria or someone in France. Did it mean the same things that it means to me? Or, did the kind of different paths taken by our refugee grandparents and great-grandparents change how we felt about who we were?" 

More Photos From The Armenian Diaspora Project

"In America, I felt so Armenian; yet in Armenia, I realized that I am in many ways an American." -Aline Ohanesian- (born in Kuwait, now living in California) Papik and Tatik - Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh (Scout Tufankjian)
"In America, I felt so Armenian; yet in Armenia, I realized that I am in many ways an American." -Aline Ohanesian- (born in Kuwait, now living in California) Papik and Tatik - Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh (Scout Tufankjian)
"I feel more connection to my clan than a homeland." -Anon (San Francisco, California) Little Armenia Parking Lot - Hollywood, USA (Scout Tufankjian)
"I feel more connection to my clan than a homeland." -Anon (San Francisco, California) Little Armenia Parking Lot - Hollywood, USA (Scout Tufankjian)
"Growing up, I was rejected as Australian due to my ethnic looks. However, when I went to Armenia, they rejected me for being Australian because in their eyes I seemed to be a fake Armenian, I guess. And I am definitely not Iranian, but that's what my passport says under birthplace, so I am immediately judged on that. So who knows what I am. All of the above I guess." -Soseh Yekanians (born in Tehran, Iran. Now living in Australia) Kowloon Park Swimming Pool - Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong (Scout Tufankjian)
"Growing up, I was rejected as Australian due to my ethnic looks. However, when I went to Armenia, they rejected me for being Australian because in their eyes I seemed to be a fake Armenian, I guess. And I am definitely not Iranian, but that's what my passport says under birthplace, so I am immediately judged on that. So who knows what I am. All of the above I guess." -Soseh Yekanians (born in Tehran, Iran. Now living in Australia) Kowloon Park Swimming Pool - Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong (Scout Tufankjian)
An elderly woman prays during mass at Surp Sarkis Armenian Church in Damascus, Syria on July 11, 2010. (Scout Tufankjian)
An elderly woman prays during mass at Surp Sarkis Armenian Church in Damascus, Syria on July 11, 2010. (Scout Tufankjian)
"There is still so much about being Armenian that I do not know." -Ian Koncagul (Dearborn, MI) First Republic Day, Freedom Square - Yerevan, Republic of Armenia (Scout Tufankjian)
"There is still so much about being Armenian that I do not know." -Ian Koncagul (Dearborn, MI) First Republic Day, Freedom Square - Yerevan, Republic of Armenia (Scout Tufankjian)
"I was surprised by how unfamiliar Armenia felt to me- how I have been told all my life this is my homeland and my Òhome,Ó but what does that mean?" -Lara Sarkissian (USA) Syrian Refugee - Berdzor, Nagorno-Karabakh (Scout Tufankjian)
"I was surprised by how unfamiliar Armenia felt to me- how I have been told all my life this is my homeland and my Òhome,Ó but what does that mean?" -Lara Sarkissian (USA) Syrian Refugee - Berdzor, Nagorno-Karabakh (Scout Tufankjian)
"When do you feel Armenian? Always. It's like asking when do you feel human." -Aline Ohanesian (born in Kuwait, now living in California) Kovsakan, Nagorno-Karabakh (Scout Tufankjian)
"When do you feel Armenian? Always. It's like asking when do you feel human." -Aline Ohanesian (born in Kuwait, now living in California) Kovsakan, Nagorno-Karabakh (Scout Tufankjian)
Armenians in Damascus, Syria (Scout Tufankjian)
Armenians in Damascus, Syria (Scout Tufankjian)
"I never asked too much, as if I didn't want to wake up painful memories." -Sandra Arslanian (Beirut, Lebanon) Family photographs - Whitman, MA (Scout Tufankjian)
"I never asked too much, as if I didn't want to wake up painful memories." -Sandra Arslanian (Beirut, Lebanon) Family photographs - Whitman, MA (Scout Tufankjian)
The Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association, LGBT Pride Parade - New York, USA (Scout Tufankjian)
The Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association, LGBT Pride Parade - New York, USA (Scout Tufankjian)
"Honestly, I feel Armenian whenever I see, hear or eat anything remotely connected to Armenia, even if it's not Armenia itself. If I see a Lebanese restaurant, hear Farsi being spoken on the street or watch an Indian film, it all makes me feel Armenian. It sounds a bit absurd, I know. It just feels like Armenia or my Armenian-ness is part of this greater community of the Middle East or The Old Country or what have you. It doesn't take just Armenia to make me feel Armenian. I guess the best way to describe it is community." -Liana Aghajanian (born in Iran, now living in Los Angeles) A mother and daughter prepare stuffed grapeleaves for a family wedding in Paris, France. (Scout Tufankjian)
"Honestly, I feel Armenian whenever I see, hear or eat anything remotely connected to Armenia, even if it's not Armenia itself. If I see a Lebanese restaurant, hear Farsi being spoken on the street or watch an Indian film, it all makes me feel Armenian. It sounds a bit absurd, I know. It just feels like Armenia or my Armenian-ness is part of this greater community of the Middle East or The Old Country or what have you. It doesn't take just Armenia to make me feel Armenian. I guess the best way to describe it is community." -Liana Aghajanian (born in Iran, now living in Los Angeles) A mother and daughter prepare stuffed grapeleaves for a family wedding in Paris, France. (Scout Tufankjian)

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This segment aired on April 21, 2015.

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