Eric Bogosian’s Operation Nemesis Presented in New York

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By Hagop Vartivarian

NEW YORK CITY – A presentation of American-Armenian writer, actor and playwright Eric Bogosian’s new book Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot that Avenged the Armenian Genocide took place on April 22 at the headquarters of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) in New York, not long after the performance of a play on a similar topic by the Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Meher Meguerditchian Theatrical Group. It was a full hall, and limited seating space prevented the presence, no doubt, of even more interested Armenians.

The event was organized by the AGBU, with the cosponsorship of the Tekeyan Cultural Association, the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), the Armenian Students Association, Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of New York, the Armenian Network of America-Greater New York, St. Leon Armenian Church and AGBU Ararat, in collaboration with the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America.

Sharis Boghossian, AGBU Events Coordinator, gave the opening remarks, and quickly invited the author to speak. Bogosian presented his book, as a seasoned actor, in a lively and entertaining fashion. A handful of patriotic Armenians, seeking justice or at least vengeance after the Armenian Genocide, under the leadership of Shahan Natali initiated an effort to assassinate those Ottoman Committee of Union and Progress leaders responsible for the Genocide. Despite the fact that a military tribunal in Constantinople had condemned these leaders as murderers, they had fled to take refuge in various countries. Among these was Talaat Pasha, who in the guise of a Turkish merchant secretly found refuge in Berlin, the capital of Turkey’s former German ally, Kaiser Wilhelm.

To this date, this enterprise has never been presented with the full and necessary details and accuracy to interested readers even in the Armenian language, but Bogosian in 375 pages has turned it into the topic of serious scholarly research. His volume has been published by a major publisher, New York’s Little, Brown and Company.

Bogosian dedicated his work to his grandparents—Rose, Lucy, Karekin and Megerdich. They survived the Genocide and, reaching the United States, settled in the Boston area, where Bogosian grew up.

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Bogosian was able to concisely characterize the political climate of those times in order to allow the reader to more easily understand that complex situation. He then focused on Tehlirian’s trial and the issue of Talaat’s assassination. There are also some sections on Misak Torlakian, Arshavir Shiragian, and other participants in Operation Nemesis. The bibliography at the end facilitates the work of future researchers and interested readers.

Eric Bogosian several times declared that historian Aram Arkun played a great role in the preparation of his book.

Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, representative of Armenia to the United Nations, was present in the audience.

After the opportunity to ask the author questions, audience members were able to get their copies of the volume signed by Bogosian. The evening concluded with a reception.

Bogosian is the recipient of the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear Award, three Obie Awards, the Drama Desk award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the author of three novels, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his play “Talk Radio.”