By Edmond Y. Azadian
The Armenian communities around the world preserve collectively the language, history, traditions, religion and memory. They are the ones to react in massive waves to injustices, to the denials of the Genocide and they can mobilize forces for political action. One would surmise that major actions in dramatizing the Genocide issue must always come from the mainstream Armenian communities. But it is not always the case.
Yes, we can generate an impact when we rally at New York’s Times Square for a Genocide memorial service, with some political reverberations. But history has proven time and again, that world-class artists or celebrities who are not political activists per se, have contributed in a major way to the recognition of the Genocide by touching the conscience of mankind, rather than by straightforward political activism.
I came to this realization recently by reading about a book which was not written nor published in a large Armenian community, yet is receiving international attention and fame.
First, a bit of background: We seldom hear about the Romanian-Armenian community, which has a history that dates back almost 1,000 years. When the medieval city of Ani was overrun by the Seljuks, the Armenian population dispersed throughout Crimea and in Eastern Europe, settling particularly in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. In the second half of the 20th century, that part of Europe was shut off from the rest of the world. And the example I would like to cite to generalize the phenomenon comes from that part of the world, from Romania, to be exact.
Indeed a novel was published in Bucharest in 2006 and it is now making waves throughout Latin America. The novel is titled, The Book of Whispers, and the author is Varoujan Vosganian, who has also served as the minister of economy and finance of Romania. The novel is based on the memoirs of his grandfather, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide.