Did You Know? (20)

By Jirair Tutunjian, 10 August 2022

Raymond Vahan Damadian, the inventor of MRI, passed away on August 5, 2022. His research into sodium and potassium in living cells led him to be the first to experiment with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) which caused him to propose the magnetic resonance body scanner in 1969. Damadian discovered that tumors and normal tissue can be distinguished in vivo by nuclear magnetic resonance. He was the first to propose a full-body scan of a human body in 1977 to diagnose cancer. He subsequently invented an apparition and method to use NMR safely and accurately to scan the human body which is now known as magnetic resonance imagery (MRI).

Valentine Chiros, the author of “The Orient and the Occident” wrote the following about Mahatma Gandhi’s reaction to the Armenian Genocide: “…Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence, helped fan the Khalifat movement in India in the early 1920s. This group campaigned on behalf of the defeated Ottoman Turkey, and opposed the claims of the Armenians. It was taken very seriously in London, and Armenians soon found their requests for diplomatic support falling on deaf ears. Subsequently they were denied all restitution for their enormous losses. The twentieth-century saint thereby helped bring about the denial of justice to the people who had suffered most…”

On many 16th and 17th century maps, Armenia stretches to the banks of the Kura River, according to  cartographer Ruben Galichyan. A Dutch map printed in 1662 includes Armenia even when there was no state of Armenia. Azerbaijan does not exist on the map.

In his autobiography (“Chasing the Light”), director Oliver Stone (“Midnight Express”) wrote that after the film’s release “a group of Armenian-American investors was also offering me a small fortune to write a big budget genocide film set during the First World War; the millions of Armenian deaths were a terrible, little-known tragedy of that era…I couldn’t go back to another Turkish horror story.”

When his sentence was arbitrarily increased by the Turkish court from four years to thirty (depicted in “Midnight Express”), Billy Hayes exploded in the courtroom and said: “Mister Prosecutor. Mercy. You would know that the concept of a society is based on the quality of that mercy, its sense of fair play, its sense of justice…but I guess that’s like asking a bear to s–t in a toilet. For a nation of pigs, it’s funny you don’t eat ‘em. Jesus Christ forgave the bas—rds, but I can’t. I hate. I hate you. I hate your nation. And I hate your people. And I f—k your sons and daughters because they’re pigs. You’re a pig! You’re all pigs.”

Guy Thomajan, born in Worcester, Mass., in 1919 was a character actor, dialogue coach, dialogue director, and stage director. He was involved in the production of “On the Waterfront” and acted in “Viva Zapata” and “Panic in the Streets”. He was dialogue director of “East of Eden”. He appeared in “The Pink Panther”, ”The Breaking Point”, ”Miracle on 34th Street”, and “House of Strangers”.

A group of 40 or so Armenian writers, mainly Genocide survivors, were responsible for the short-lived Golden Age of Armenian literature in France. Regrouping in Paris in 1919, they often worked in factories during the day and wrote a stunning body of work (poetry, prose, theatre, philosophy and even medical treaties.) Among them were Arshag Chobanian, Shahan Shahnour, Zabel Yesayan, Vahe Katcha, Minas Cheraz, Shavarsh Missakian, Mgrdich Barsamian, Shavarsh Nartouni, Hratch Zartarian, Vazken Shoushanian, Nigoghos Sarafian, and Zareh Vorbuni. In addition, there were Artur Adamov and Henri Troyat who didn’t write in Armenian.

During the British Raj, there were many Armenians who were prominent merchants and architects across India. One of the more prominent architects was Stephen Aratoun of Calcutta who built the famous Mount Everest Hotel of Darjeeling. The hotel was the social centre of the resort. It closed down in 1984 after a devastating fire ravaged the building. Because of its remarkable architecture, a number of Indian movies were shot in the hotel.

While attending in Istanbul the 24th General Assembly of Interpol in September 1955, Ian Fleming (British foreign correspondent and the creator of James Bond) witnessed the massacre of Greek. He swrote in the ‘Sunday Times: “Several times during that night curiosity sucked me out of the safety of the Hilton Hotel and drove into the city, where mobs went howling through the streets, each under its streaming red flag with the white star and sickle moon. Occasional burst of shooting rose out of the angry murmur of the crowds, then would come the crash of plate glass and perhaps part of a scream…” During his stay, Fleming also reported on the 30th annual summit of the Association of Former Eunuchs. The visit inspired Fleming to write “From Russia with Love”. The book and the movie cited a Soviet Armenian spy who took part in secret meeting at the Soviet Embassy.

While the Arabic oud is not a musical instrument associated with Armenian music, several Armenians are recognized as superstars of the oud. They are George Mgrdichian, Ara Dinkjian, Nina Boutchakjian, John Berberian, and Chick Ghanimian

  1. With regard to Armenians recognized as superstars of the oud please include Oudi Hrant Kenkulian, Richard Hagopian, Harry Minasian and George Mgerditchian among others.

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