Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte
Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte lost her childhood to ethnic cleansing. In 1988, she was a ten year old girl living in the seaside city of Baku, in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. Like any other young girl, she had childhood aspirations, crushes and dreams. That entire life was swept away as the majority Muslim Azeri population drove the minority Christian Armenians out of the country using terror and violence. Her family was forced to flee for their lives to Armenia, a neighboring republic still reeling from the massive earthquake and unprepared for the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Azeri-orchestrated pogroms. Once there, she found herself an outsider; a nationless girl surviving in an unheated basement and facing discrimination again, this time by her own people. Nowhere, A Story of Exile is a riveting, heart-wrenching story told through a personal medium; through the diary entries of a young girl documenting the organized terror in Baku, her life as a refugee, and her struggle to find herself, all against the backdrop of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Anna gives a voice to a horrific tragedy little reported in the West, to the Armenian population of Azerbaijan and to the child victims of ethnic cleansing everywhere.