100 years ago today a genocide was initiated in the disintegrating Ottoman Empire. Anders Q Björkman of the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet tells the story how his family was saved thanks to a small village that took to arms and defended itself.
The girl was 12 years old.
On a spring day 1975 she started a bus journey together with parents and siblings: 1 550 kilometers, from their home town of Midyat in southeastern Turkey to the metropole of Istanbul in the other end of the country. They spent one night on the bus and then slept the following night in Istanbul. From there by train, via West Germany, all the way to Stockholm, Sweden. Thousands of years their roots had been firmly grounded in the red soil of the region around Midyat. Now the family was to take root in another part of the world. The mother and the father had however already found employment at the truck manufacturer Scania in Södertälje, just south of the Swedish capital Stockholm. They left their old lives as housewife and silversmith in their home country and overnight the family of nine persons became immigrants.