Did You Know? (11)

Sculpture of Abraham Lincoln by Haig Patigian

By Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, 25 March 2022

Haig Patigian, born in Van in 1876, was a famous sculptor whose work is in the White House, and Congress, and all over San Francisco. Among his San Francisco sculptures are that of Abraham Lincoln, Monument to Volunteer Firemen on Columbus Ave., and General Pershing in Golden Gate Park. Patigian created more San Francisco sculptures than anyone else. He was self- taught. He died in 1950.

While composer Aram Khachaturian and Arno Babajanian are well known, there are many other Armenian classical music composers who are not as well known. Here are some: Ruben Hakhverdian, Robert Amirkhanian, Artemi Ayvazian, Ghazaros Suryan, Shavo Odadjian, Bulat Okhudzava (Georgian-Armenian) Alexander Arutunian, Ara Gevorgyan, and Alexey Ekimyan (Hekimyan). Ekimyan was also “general of Soviet police and head of Criminal Intelligence Department of Moscow.” He received Armenia’s Master of the Arts title and is buried in Yerevan.

In 1941, Soviet Union’s population was 196,700,000. In 1946, it was down to 170,500,000. The decline was because of WWII. Ukraine says 7 million Ukrainians were killed during the war; Byelorussians, 682,291; 350,000 Tatars and 300,000 Armenians (13.6 percent of the population) were killed. Georgian dead were 8.3 percent of the population and that of Azerbaijan 9.1 percent. Russian death amounted to 12.7 percent.

Catchik (Khachig) Paul Asvadzadour Chater (jian), a descendant of an Armenian family from Iran, was born in Calcutta in 1846. His parents died when he was a little boy. At 18, he journeyed to Hong Kong where he made his fortune and fame. He started as an assistant at a bank for $50 a month. He was instrumental in setting up that city’s stock exchange, had an interest in horse racing, and was chairman of the Jockey Club. He was also a big name in politics (member of the legislature for 20 years), real estate development, banks, the dairy industry, ferry services, hotels, gold mining, and utilities (director of Hong Kong Electric Company for 34 years). He owned 57 acres of prime Kowloon land. His mansion (“Marble Hall”) was one of the most opulent buildings in the city. He collected art and historic documents. A major downtown artery, a public garden, and a skyscraper are named Chater. He was a patriotic Armenian who helped local and Calcutta Armenians and offered scholarships to Calcutta Armenian young men. He represented Hong Kong at Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and the coronation of Edward VII. He was knighted (Sir) in London. He died in 1926 and is buried in Hong Kong.

Armenian rugs are best known for their vibrant colors that radiate life into a home. The word “carpet” derives from the Armenian “garbed” which means “knotted work” in Armenian. “Garel” means to sew/mend in Armenian.

Writing in the BESA (Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies) Centre publication in June 2021, Turkish journalist Burak Bekdil said that in 1906 there were 2.8 million Greeks in the Ottoman Empire making 13.5 percent of the population. According to the American Embassy in Istanbul, the Armenian population was 2.4 million in 1886, which put the Christian population (not counting Assyrians, Arab Christians, and others) in 1915 at 25 percent to 30 percent of Turkey’s population. Today it’s less than 0.12 percent.

A “HORIZON” art magazine article (Spring 1966) said that Ani’s St. Gregory and St. Savior may be forerunners of Europe’s Gothic cathedrals of Europe and pointed out that Turks had copied the circular design and conical roof of Ani churches. The article added: “But the lasting influence of Ani may have been in the West. Certain structural innovations such as clustered columns, ribbed vaults, pointed arches have led critics to believe that here was born the Gothic style a century before it appeared in Europe. Armenian architecture had great influence on the Balkan countries and builders from Armenia may well have carried new ideas as far as France and Italy.”

King Ardavazt, son of Medzn Dikran (Tigranes II), was a dramatist and historian. He also fought for the elimination of Greater Armenia’s dependence on Rome. He allied with Parthia where Armenia’s and Parthia’s armies defeated the Romans at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 B.C. thus securing Armenia’s independence. Ardavazt recovered Sophene and Cilicia which Rome had wrested from Armenia. In 37 B.C. he refused to join Rome to attack Parthia. As a result, three years later, Romans attacked Armenia and by deceit abducted Ardavazt to Egypt. He was beheaded three years later at the order of Cleopatra and Marc Antony.

Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs was adopted by Clara Hagopian and her German husband. When Jobs was in Istanbul, he cut short his tour after he was infuriated by the Turkish guide’s misleading information about the Genocide of Armenians. He did not even shake hands with the guide when bidding farewell at the end of the tour. He asked the guide: “What did you do to so many Christians? You subjected 1.5 million Armenians to genocide. Tell us, how did it happen?” The conversation created uproar in the Turkish media. Jobs cut short his trip and returned home.

George Mardikian (1903-1977) was the nephew of revolutionary Krikor Amirian. He opened San Fransisco’s famous Omar Khayyam Restaurant in 1938. He was a missionary for America. He believed Armenian Diaspora’s future lay in the United States. With that in mind, he launched ANCHA (American National Committee to Aid Homeless Armenians) to facilitate the immigration of Armenians to the United States. In doing so, he accelerated the destruction of some Armenian Diaspora communities. Obsessed by America, he wrote: “You who have been born in America, I wish I could make you understand what it is like to be an American—not to have been an American all your life—and then suddenly with the words of a judge in flowing robe to be one, for that moment and forever after. One moment, you belong with your fathers to a million dead yesterdays—the next you belong with America to a million unborn tomorrows.”

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