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Shahan Natalie


Shahan Natalie

Shahan Natalie
Born 1884
Died 1983
Nationality Armenian
Notable work(s) The Turks and Us (1928)
Political party Armenian Revolutionary Federation

Shahan Natalie (Armenian: Շահան Նաթալի) (1884–1983) was a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation's Bureau and the principal organizer of Operation Nemesis wherein the Turkish masterminds of the Armenian Genocide were assassinated.[1] He later became a writer on Armenian national philosophy, and notable for his essay, The Turks and Us.[2]

Early life

Shahan Natalie was born Hagop der Hagopian on July 14, 1884, in the village of Husenik, in the Kharberd province (modern day Elazığ Province) of the Ottoman Empire in Anatolia. He was the only son of a seven-member family, along with four sisters.

He received his primary education in the local Armenian school. At the beginning of the 1895 Hamidian massacres, his father, maternal uncle, and numerous other relatives were killed. Separated from his family during the massacre, Hagop, then 11, was taken in by a neighboring Greek family, who hid him for three days, fearing that he too would be slaughtered. He was later reunited with the surviving members of his family.

He found his mother mourning over his father's lifeless corpse, which they dragged together and buried under a walnut tree. He would later write about this event, adding, "The living began to bury the dead." The scene of his mother, prostrate on her husband's body, left a deep and indelible impression on the young boy.

He studied for a year at the Euphrates College in Kharberd. Along with other orphans, he was then sent to the St. James Orphanage in Constantinople. There, a wealthy Armenian rug merchant living in New York adopted him. The following year he was admitted to the famed Berberian Academy, where he studied until 1900.


In 1901, he returned to his native Husenik, where for three years he was a teacher at the Armenian parochial school of the St. Varvara Church. In the meantime, he studied the provincial dialect of Kharberd, earning him special honor in Patriarch Izmirlian's literary competition.

In 1904, he joined the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Kharberd, and immigrated to the eastern United States, where he worked for three years as a laborer in a shoe factory in Watertown, Massachusetts.

In 1908, after the proclamation of the Young Turk Revolution, he returned to his home in Husenik. His stay was short-lived, however, as the 1909 Adana massacre drove him into exile in America once again.

Education and political life

From 1910 to 1912, Shahan attended Boston University, where he studied English literature, philosophy, and theater as a special student. In 1912, he decided to return to his home in the Ottoman Empire, but on his way there, he was sent back to the U.S., as Greek authorities would not let him through, considering him a citizen of an enemy nation.

Back in the U.S., Natalie became active within the ranks of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. He was on the editorial staff of the party's Hairenik newspaper from 1915 to 1917, and was elected to the party's United States Central Committee. Not happy with the way the ARF was evolving, he later resigned from the party. He became a United States citizen on March 23, 1915, and assumed "John Mahy", the Darling of Death, as his official name in 1923.

Published works

Short stories, verses, and plays

  • Օրէնքի եւ Ընկերութեան Զոհերէն ("From the Martyrs of Law and Society"). Boston: Hairenik, 1909. 63 pages. Short stories.
  • Ամպեր ("Clouds"). Boston: Hairenik, 1909. Verses
  • Քաւութեան երգեր ("Songs of Expiation"). Boston: Hairenik, 1915. 31 pages. Verses
  • Սերի եւ ատելութեան երգեր ("Songs of Love and Hate"). Boston: Hairenik, 1915. 165 pages. Verses
  • Վրէժի աւետարան ("Gospel of Revenge"). New York: Armenia, 1918. 39 pages. Verses
  • Ասլան Բեկ ("Aslan Bek"). Boston: Hairenik, 1918. 62 pages. Tragedy in three acts
  • Քեզի ("To You"). Boston: 1920. 116 pages. Verses written beginning in 1904.

National-political works

  • Թուրքիզմը Անգորայէն Բագու եւ Թրքական Օրիէնթասիոն ("Turkism from Angora to Baku and Turkish Orientation"). Athens: Nor Or, 1928. 172 pages.
  • Թուրքերը եւ Մենք ("The Turks and Us"). Athens: Nor Or, 1928. 70 pages. Second printing, Boston, 1931. 93 pages.
  • Ալեքսանդրապօլի Դաշնագրէն 1930-ի Կովկասեան Ապստամբութիւնները ("From the Treaty of Alexandrapol to the 1920 Caucasian Insurgencies"). Volumes 1 and 2. Marseilles: Arabian Publishing, 1934-35.
  • Երեւանի Համաձայնագիրը ("The Yerevan Agreement"). Boston: 1941. 112 pages.
  • Գիրք Մատուցման եւ Հատուցման ("Book of Dedication and Compensation"). Beirut: Onipar Publishing, 1949 (first printing). 160 pages. Beirut: Azdarar Publishing, 1954 (second printing). 134 pages. Contents:
  1. Այսպէս Սպաննեցինք ("How We Killed")
  2. Յաւելուած (Addendum), illustrated.
  • Վերստին Յաւելուած—Ալեքսանդրապօլի Դաշնագրի «Ինչպէ՞սն ու ինչո՞ւն» ("Re-Addendum -- The How and Why of the Treaty of Alexandrapol"). Boston: Baikar, 1955. 144 pages.


  • General Andranik and the Armenian Revolutionary Movement, by Dr. Antranig Chalabian, 1988, p. 513
  • Encyclopedia of Literature, Vol. 1, by Joseph T. Shipley, 2007, p. 62

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