“The Survivor”

By Prof. Hovhanness I. Pilikian, London UK, 22 September 2010

The Canadian Psychiatrist, Rita Soulahian Kuyumjian, with her handsome London Publisher, Ara Sarafian, have unearthed and mapped out a unique historical gold-mine where the nuggets are there on the surface for the taking, no sweat is needed to mine them … They have simultaneously saved and dusted off the living statue of a Western Armenian literary giant, Aram Andonian.

My generation was nourished on the greats of Western Armenian Literature, like Varoujan, Siamanto, Medsarents, Zohrab, Tekeyan, Oshagan … taught to us by the last intellectual Armenian Titans, Like Kersam Aharonian, Simon Simonian, Vahe Vahian, Ara Topjian, who in their teens had survived the genocide that signposted the First World War. But we were never told about Aram Andonian; Teotig, yes, but not Andonian, who now can be classed among the Armenian Greats, entirely thanks to Kuyumjian & Sarafian partnership.

By Prof. Hovhanness I. Pilikian, London UK, 22 September 2010

The Canadian Psychiatrist, Rita Soulahian Kuyumjian, with her handsome London Publisher, Ara Sarafian, have unearthed and mapped out a unique historical gold-mine where the nuggets are there on the surface for the taking, no sweat is needed to mine them … They have simultaneously saved and dusted off the living statue of a Western Armenian literary giant, Aram Andonian.

My generation was nourished on the greats of Western Armenian Literature, like Varoujan, Siamanto, Medsarents, Zohrab, Tekeyan, Oshagan … taught to us by the last intellectual Armenian Titans, Like Kersam Aharonian, Simon Simonian, Vahe Vahian, Ara Topjian, who in their teens had survived the genocide that signposted the First World War. But we were never told about Aram Andonian; Teotig, yes, but not Andonian, who now can be classed among the Armenian Greats, entirely thanks to Kuyumjian & Sarafian partnership.

Moreover, while most of our greats still exist only in their original Western Armenian, alas, alack, unknown to the rest of the so-called civilized world, thanks to Rita and Ara, at the least Andonian can now be read in English.

Not only every English-speaking Armenian should read him, but frankly and put bluntly, every genocide scholar world-wide needs to enrich themselves with the eyewitness gold of Andonian’s unique accounts of the genocide of the Armenians perpetrated in 1915 by the inhuman beasts of the Young Turks. There is nothing like it in genocide literature — and all true events!.

For example, Andonian’s Black Humour may be quoted now as evidence that it seems the Armenians had created the literary genre itself in the first place! Amidst unbearable tragedy, hilarious moments sear on the brain, as when a Turkish goal-bureaucrat, tall like a Stork, and looking like one, reads and mis-pronounces the Armenian prisoners’ names so comically, turning for example Hayg Tiryakian into Tiriyaki Hayik … Dr. Nazaret Daghavarian becomes Daghyeyen Nezaret, Dr. Miskdjian — Miskin Doctor, Haroutioun Djangulian –Djihangirli Artin, Yervant Odian — Udi Yervant, "it was impossible for us [the prisoners] to remain serious. We all started to laugh" (p.20), and finally our poor great composer Komitas is converted to Kom …. komi… komita … Komita-Dji rahib (meaning revolutionary priest) … Komitas who knew Ottoman Turkish very well, gets his tongue twisted and shouts amidst general mirth mevduj, mevduj instead of mevjud (meaning present) (p. 21) …

I was on a Bus reading this, and I burst laughing so much that my fellow passengers got worried – I had to apologize to them, explaining that it is something in the book I was reading !!

Without any exaggeration, I can confirm that Andonian’s every sentence is a blood diamond, that turns to emotional gold in the reader’s mind, laughing and crying throughout — you now know what I meant when I said above, there is nothing like it in genocide-literature! And it is pure intellctual gold. Bravo, nay, bravissimo Rita and Ara for gifting it to the world.

Publisher Address; Gomidas Institute, 42 Blythe Road, London W14 OHA England, e-mail; [email protected]

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