Edmond Y. Azadian speaking at Yerevan’s Tekeyan Center

Azadian’s New Volume Feted by Yerevan Intellectuals

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YEREVAN (Azg, Baikar) – Two presentations of Edmond Y. Azadian’s newly published Armenian-language volume, Echer goruseal yev angorusd [Lost and Unlost Pages], were recently held in Armenia, first on September 25 at the Tekeyan Center and then on September 30 at Yerevan State University. This new volume is the continuation of the volume he published last year, Zhamanagi yev zhamanagagitsneru hed [With My Time and Contemporaries].

Azadian, familiar to subscribers of the Mirror-Spectator as the senior editorial columnist of the paper, is well known to Armenian readers as a literary critic and public figure. He is a overseas member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia who has been given honorary doctoral degrees by both Yerevan State University and the Khachatur Abovyan Armenian State Pedagogical University, and is a member of the Writers Union of Armenia.

Edmond Azadian’s new volume, Echer goruseal yev angorusd [Lost and Unlost Pages]
At the Tekeyan Center

Those present at the Tekeyan Center celebration included Rector Ruben Mirzakhanyan of the Khachatur Abovyan Armenian State Pedagogical University, Dean of the Department of Philology of Yerevan State University, President of the Writers Union of Armenia Eduard Militonyan, Secretary of the Writers Union Petros Demirchyan, literary critic Aleksandr Topchyan, Hamshen Armenian specialist Sergey Vardanyan, satirical cartoonist Sukias Torosyan, and various guests from Montreal, Canada.

Hagop Avedikian, editor of the newspaper Azg and chairman of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, served as master of ceremonies. He said that Azadian is among the rare group of people who create, write and publish books simultaneously. He said Azadian writes editorials for two newspapers, works diligently on behalf of his political party, and does many other labors, yet despite all these burdens, has managed to publish two books during the course of one year.

Demirchyan, while evaluating Azadian’s characteristics, compared him with Yeghia Demirjibashian. Literary critic Topchyan spoke words of praise concerning Azadian, calling him a writer of wisdom and courage, though he has not yet read this new volume. Militonyan in his turn noted that writers like Azadian are true classical figures from whom one can learn every day.

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The compiler and editor of the book, Yervand Ter-Khachatryan, who is a respected literary critic philologist and writer, in his own right, emphasized the importance of the contents of the book and its author. He exclaimed that it is so pleasant to encounter a work written in Armenian by an author whose writing and thinking is truly Armenian, in contrast to the truly terrible state of Armenian language writing in general. He continued, “Azadian is one of those unique men whose perspective is broad.” He can write about opera, literature, theater, sculpture or many other fields. Ter-Khachatryan pointed out a third important aspect to Azadian’s works, which is his taking civic positions on issues, as Ter-Khachatryan said that a public figure should be a moral character.

Ruben Mirzakhanyan

Director, actor and musician Gerald Papasian of Paris read the final story of Azadian’s book, “The Desire of the Elderly,” while the periodic performances throughout the evening of the Zvartnots kanon players of the Armenian State Pedagogical University led by Hasmik Leyloyan created a pleasant atmosphere.

Mirzakhanyan, who had organized the event and also is president of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of Armenia, spoke of Azadian’s literary, political and public path and commented on Azadian’s essay “Blue Yerevan.” He said that though the author lived distant from Armenia, he expressed such warm sentiments about it, and concluded, “Behold Edmond Azadian, one of the best intellectuals of our times.”

The evening closed with Azadian’s expression of thanks to all those who participated in the event. He said that he always tries to publish his books in Armenia as a gesture towards national unity. He said, “We always speak of repatriation, but we must accept that together with people, those pages of literature must come to the homeland which have been created abroad, and are largely unknown to our compatriots living in the homeland. Is literature not a great force? I attempt also to bring Western Armenian here, where unfortunately it gradually is hardening like a diamond. Many no longer are able to take advantage of this hardness. This issue requires an urgent solution. UNESCO has already placed Western Armenian in the category of languages at risk. Why does this realization not exist in our homeland? I have great hope that soon work in this direction will be carried out, while in the future, concrete results will already be seen. I will contribute everything possible that I can for this work.”

Eduard Militonyan

At Yerevan State University

Yerevan State University’s Armenian Philology Department organized a book presentation event for Edmond Y. Azadian on September 30 at which students and faculty were present. Department dean Artsrun Avagyan pronounced Azadian to be a Mohican in his approaches to Armenian culture and the themes he has chosen. Avagyan went on to say to the audience, “You see before you a man who is Western Armenia to the marrow, who speaks, writes, reads and thinks in Western Armenian—this is a great distinctiveness.” Avagyan said that the editor and compiler of the volume, Yervand Ter-Khachatryan, is himself a Mohican in his approaches to literary criticism and rigor, which are joined in his person to form the true synthesis of a writer and literary critic.

A dialogue between Azadian and the students emerged during the course of a question and answer session. Azadian advised all to familiarize themselves closely with the richness of Western Armenian, which today, unfortunately, is endangered as a language. He said, “Do not shy away from that language. Love it, learn it, master that language with which Varouzhan and Siamanto [two Western Armenian master poets] wrote.”

Ter-Khachatryan, while emphasizing Azadian’s unique aspects as a thinker, also pointed out his “imperfections.” He said that the latter is absolutely indifferent to his creations. He does not collect or preserve them, so that there is no bibliography to this day of his writings, despite Ter-Khachatryan’s repeated advice to this effect.
Ter-Khachatryan said, “Azadian is an extremely modest man. Few today know that it is thank to him that the letters of the Western Armenian writer Indra [Diran Chrakian] have reached us—something which Azadian accomplished silently.

At the end of the event, students received signed copies of Azadian’s book as a gift.

(The above translation is based on articles by Gevorg Gyulumyan in Azg and Baikar.)

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