Angel of Aleppo

Description

Angel of Aleppo is a story of the Armenian Genocide, including the little-known link between the Genocide and the WW1 Anzac experience. It highlights the cruelty of the Ottoman Young Turks towards their Armenian citizens, but it is ultimately about faith and love and the redemptive power of forgiveness.

Angel of Aleppo is set from 1915 – 1919 in Anatolia (southern modern-day Turkey), Aleppo and the Mesopotamian desert, then to Beirut in 1923, and plays out in Adelaide, South Australia, from 1927 - 1966.

In May 1915, Anoush, a sixteen-year-old Armenian girl, and fellow villagers are evicted from their Anatolian village by Ottoman soldiers commanded by Ibrahim bey, a young local warlord who is obsessed by her beauty. Anoush survives, but can her heart survive, after her mother is shot before her eyes?

A massive column of evictees - women, children and old men - endure monstrous cruelties on the infamous Death Marches as they are driven south via Aleppo to the Mesopotamian desert.

Anoush meets elderly priest Apraham, and with sister Covinar, friends and Krikor, her first love, she escapes the caravan and heads west to the mountain near the Mediterranean called Musa Ler. But Ibrahim's reward offer leads to her capture and detention in Aleppo.

Aided by German medical orderly Armin Wegner*, she escapes again, learns to nurse and begins helping diseased, starving Armenians. Determined to be the woman her mother raised her to be, Anoush becomes known as the Angel of Aleppo, her courage and resolution an inspiration.

She is forced to take her chances in the Mesopotamian desert, she loses Krikor, and is captured by Ibrahim bey, but is rescued by Trooper Tom Mills of the Australian Light Horse.

By 1923, Anoush is nursing at the Australasian Orphanage at Antilyas, Beirut. She meets the eminent South Australian humanitarian Reverend James Cresswell*, who helps her find and ultimately marry Tom Mills. Over the years she remains close to Reverend Cresswell but feels cut off from her past.

Years pass; Anoush is widowed and alone. She visits the Adelaide War Memorial on the Genocide's 50th anniversary and meets former Ottoman soldier, Mehmet. Can she forgive oppressors of the innocent?

Angel of Aleppo is an expose of injustice, a thriller, a snapshot of a dark moment in history, but it is ultimately a story about the truth and the healing power of love.

*Wegner and Cresswell are actual historical figures. US Ottoman ambassador Henry Morgenthau Jr and 28th US President Woodrow Wilson make cameo appearances as well.

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About the Author

Author Name : Jon Cocks

     Jon Cocks taught secondary Drama and English for many years. He met his Armenian wife Lilit online in 2009. Both believe in destiny. 'Angel' was meant to be written. It is inspired by 1915 events in the early life of Lilit's grandmother Anoush, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. Retired from full-time teaching, Jon stays busy with various writing projects and film and theatre reviews. He has unpublished cartoon strips, a long list of credits in community theatre, a long-running TV ad, several one-act plays written for students and a novella about being a teacher called 'Duty of Care'.

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