‘As I See It’ (‘Eem Dessangyune’)

When is a book considered worthy of the investment of its readership? From personal experience I can say it’s when the book is so interesting that you can’t stop turning the pages fast enough to digest its contents.

So it is with Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian’s latest book, the bilingual As I See It/Eem Dessangyune, number 30 in the Detroit scholar’s arsenal of well-researched and extremely well-written publications. It is no wonder many of them are used as college textbooks.

If you think Rev. Dr. Tootikian’s books deal exclusively with religious tones, you would be sadly mistaken. For the novice in Armenian history, his books are wonderful instructional tools. Yes, the books are written by an intellectual but they are written for the benefit of all of us. In other words, they are for everyday consumption.

If you know little about Christianity or other world religions, his books bring a new world of light to you. If you seek inspiration or have doubts as to God’s mission for you and mankind, read As I see It or any of his other books. They can, if you open your heart and mind, bring you contentment and hope. Each book deserves a place on your bookshelf and is an investment to pass on to those you care about.

Do not be wary. To Rev. Dr. Tootikian’s credit, his books don’t “preach.” His knowledge and insight into the common issues we face daily are addressed in a humanistic, down-to-earth fashion. My desire is to convince you to become the privileged owner of any one of his publications, to find out for yourselves how much you will benefit.

The saying “There is no time like the present” has more meaning in today’s turbulent world when faith can play an important role to everyone riding the tide of life’s uncertainties.

This new title deals with a great deal of Armenian history, including how we celebrate holy days and holidays, such as Christmas and Easter; the meaning of the cross; special anniversaries such as the death of Hrant Dink and the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Armenia; and a brief history of the Armenian Evangelical World Council. It emphasizes that we should take our Christian religion seriously as a commitment to God in the human quest for a meaningful life. Even the people of the first Christian nation, the Armenians, need continual motivation to strengthen their relationship with our Creator.

As I See It talks about the first independent Armenian Republic of 1918, the Soviet era, the 1988 earthquake, and present-day Armenia. Rev. Dr. Tootikian’s obligation toward the Armenian martyrs and victims of the first genocide of the 20th century is clear. He says, “The deaths of one and a-half million Armenians was not the result of a ‘relocation’ or ‘some mishaps’ or ‘disease or famine.’” His graphic description of these events leaves no question as to the culprits and his dedication to the Armenian Cause.

Rev. Dr. Vahan H.Tootikian is the Minister Emeritus of the Armenian Congregational Church of Greater Detroit and the executive director of the Armenian Evangelical World Council. As an internationally renowned clergyman of note, he has always been one of the most well-respected, approachable, and humble representatives of the cloth in this area.

It was last summer when I witnessed the respect with which he and his charming wife Rosette were received in Cambridge, Ontario at the annual Kessab picnic. Upon the pastor’s arrival, his fellow Kessabtsis swarmed around him with admiration. Rev. Dr. Tootikian was, as usual, the warm and friendly Badveli greeting his fellow Hyes with sincere embraces. He then addressed all the picnickers, offering his blessings and goodwill.
That’s the man Detroiters have had the pleasure of knowing for over 30 years.
Thankfully he has chosen to remain in this area to be near family, friends, and his beloved grandchildren. He is admired for his camaraderie and cooperation with all the local Armenian churches. Rev. Dr. Tootikian is a very dedicated Armenian who believes in building a strong Armenia and in the importance of passing the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

He is identified in the role of minister, lecturer, administrator, scholar, community leader, and of course, prolific writer. He has been a long-term lecturer at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield and at the University of Michigan.

Reading a book is an investment of your time, and you know the author has written gold when you read a certain passage and momentarily put the book down to contemplate what you have just read—how it effects you personally, in your interactions with family members and fellow beings. Has the book inspired you enough to recommend it to others?

Please support Armenian authors. It has been said the sole reason Armenia has survived centuries of invasions and destruction has been because Armenians have always written books!

As I See It or the numerous other titles written by Badveli can be obtained by writing to the Armenian Heritage Committee, 3922 Yorba Linda Blvd., Royal Oak, MI 48073-6455 (The price is $25, with $2.50 S&H.)


Betty Apigian-Kessel

Betty (Serpouhie) Apigian Kessel was born in Pontiac, Mich. Together with her husband, Robert Kessel, she was the proprietor of Woodward Market in Pontiac and has two sons, Bradley and Brant Kessel. She belonged to the St. Sarkis Ladies Guild for 12 years, serving as secretary for many of those years. During the aftermath of the earthquake in Armenia in 1988, the Detroit community selected her to be the English-language secretary and she happily dedicated her efforts to help the earthquake victims. She has a column in the Armenian Weekly entitled “Michigan High Beat.”

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