ALTADENA, Calif. — After the fall of the Cilician kingdom, the Armenian people lost not only their state and country, but also their culture and language as a result of being under Turkish rule for almost 600 years. Despite the fact that only 20 percent of the current population of Turkey is of Turkish ethnic origin, according to historical sources, Turkey has been able to forcibly rule and Turkify the majority of the population, especially the population of Cilicia, such as Armenians, Assyrians, Greek and Arabs. A collection of sayings used during Ottoman rule have been passed down from generation to generation to Kevork Keushkerian, the author of Armenian Sayings Translated from Turkish into English.
The book presentation ceremony was organized by the Tekeyan Cultural Association Pasadena-Glendale chapter on December 12 at the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) Beshgeturian Center in Altadena, California. Siran Oknayan, chairlady of the TCA Pasadena-Glendale Chapter, opened the event by warmly welcoming those in attendance. She then introduced each of the speakers of the day. Afterwards, she invited Lulu Ekizian, Sofi Yousefian, Elen Vartanian and Daron Yacoubian, four students from Blair High School in Pasadena, to recite and utter dialogues in the Hamshen dialect in an atmosphere of joy and excitement.
Dr. Krikor Simonian, chairman of the AGBU Krikor Satamian Theater Group, was invited to the stage to read a few passages from Keushkerian’s book. This was followed by Krikor Satamian, who presented the book. Satamian, a well-known name among Armenians from around the world for his cultural and theatrical activities, presented to the public the motivation for the publication of this book, which sought to preserve valuable Armenian heritage sayings that might be lost over time. Satamian selectively prepared a series of different themes of sayings and invited the author to the stage to read the sayings in Turkish and then translate their content. This created a very interesting and satiric dialogue, something that both Satamian and Keushkerian are very well known for.
Upon the conclusion of the book ceremony, a traditional kinetson was held followed by a reception. This book presentation was different from many other Armenian cultural and literary events, as it was very pleasant and light in nature, with the audience enjoying the sayings and the performances.