Eminian: We Are Brothers and We Are One: ‘The Boys of ’26’

By Sarkis J. Eminian

These days the Hairenik and many other papers are filled with something called the protocols. To refer to the protocols as controversial is to minimize the impact it has had on all Armenians. As to its advantages and disadvantages, I leave that to those qualified writers who are far more knowledgeable with diplomacy, geopolitics, and what have you.

What my friends and I believe will have no effect on the outcome of the protocols. None what-so-ever. My friends and I are first generation-born American Armenians, born in 1926. We are ordinary people. We are your average man on the street. The everyman. We are the people with a voice and opinion. It took years for us to really realize the meaning of what it meant to live in the diaspora. When we were young, that word did not hold the meaning it does today. But subjects like the protocols, the recent Armenian Genocide bills in Congress, even the threat to the abandonment of our beloved “Mer Hairenik” national anthem have brought special meaning to us.

Here is why. My three friends are soon going to be 84 years old. We were born in 1926. I was the first, born on March 9, 1926. We are the Boys of ’26, hence the subtitle of my memoir a few years ago inspired by the death of 100-year-old Garo Mesrobian, one of the fathers in our clan.

The “Boys,” Simon Bajaksouzian, Peter Dadaian, Richard Mesrobian, and I, meet approximately once a month at one of our favorite restaurants. There is a kindred spirit between us that transcends kinship, or just being friends. We are bonded by being born into our clan, and living a lifetime together that now spans more than four score years. Our discussions usually cover our families and recollections of our parents. Inevitably the talk turns to hot topics like the protocols and the genocide bill in Congress.

On this particular day we discuss both topics, and as usual we are almost in agreement on most points. But unlike most of our discussions, this one takes a most intriguing turn. As I said before, we are children of the diaspora. Actually we were only 11 years removed from the genocide itself. The memories, the visions, even the sounds were still fresh in the minds of our parents and friends who managed to survive that nightmare. When we were born, our parents were young adults, still learning a new language and shedding their refuge identity. Those were days in “Little Malatia,” where we went with our young mothers to shop, barter, and haggle with Polish storeowners for food, clothes, even school supplies. They were so young then. It is hard to imagine. Our clan was born and that is how we survived in those early years. They never once talked about the genocide or told us what had happened. They carried that hellish experience, and kept it locked in their minds.

Years later as little pieces came out, and we learned more about it, we wondered how they ever managed to survive. Imagine being there and afterwards hearing the Turks deny that the genocide ever happened. It had to be the most maddening experience! Which brings me to the point I am trying to make. Any approval of the protocols by Armenia would serve as a forgiveness of the Ottomans for their crime against humanity. This is something that would not be right. Because those who are in position to approve the protocols cannot forgive. Only the survivors of the genocide, only the victims carry the power of forgiveness. No one else caries that authority. In retrospect, is genocide forgivable? Is such a crime ever erasable, because diplomacy and politics and power dictate it? No. The carnage that exploded in 1915 is still among us, reverberating like an aftershock. The protocols simply added to the pain.

Like the bones in the great Syrian desert shown on “60 Minutes” recently, and like the bones that the churning desert sand has tossed and turned for 95 years, the act of genocide is infinite.

Sarkis J. Eminian, the author of West of Malatia: The Boys of ’26 (AuthorHouse, 2004), passed away on May 6. West of Malatia was his first book, and begins around the turn of the 20th century when Armenian refugees settled in Newburgh, Ohio. By 1920, many had married and Armenian families began to form. In 1926, five young men were born to the families in one of the “clans.” “The Boys of ’26” were the first-born sons of a clan of seven families. Eminian wrote this article for the Armenian Weekly shortly before his passing.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. God rest Sarkis Eminian’s soul. He is absolutely correct when he says that genocide is forgivable only by the victims–living and dead.  His generation–the survivor’s children of the diasporas –should be a vital part of all decisions regarding Armenian Genocide outcomes.

  2. Sarkis was our general and a good leader. We were very close to Sarkis and his father and mother. Sarkis had a brother David who was in the Navy and received the Purple Heart. He was in the Navy when he passed away at a very young age of 42. He was stationed in San Diego and had heart surgery and died.  I am writing for Peter Dadaian, Charles Mesrobian, and Gregory Gazarian. Peter Dadaian was a real estate magnate and Charles Mesrobian was  a Federal Judge, retried. Gregory Gazarian was the owner of a supermarket. Simon Bajaksouzian had his own supermarket and was a cattle buyer for the Bi Rite chain of 38 stores. We sold Back Angus cattle UADA choice.

  3. My dear friends. Richard C. Mesrobian passed away on October 10, 2012. He was the son of Garabed and Nevart Mesrobian of Newburgh Heights, Ohio. I have spoken to Si and Peter they both loved my dad as their friend so very much. Up until July 2012 the boys had gone out last to Aladins for lunch. I know dad was always very happy to go out with the boys and was very proud to be friends with all of them. He also loved his very good friend Sark very much. Dad would often tell myself and our family stories of how the boys would pal around all over. He was very proud of this Armenian Heritage that we all share and continue to grow.
    Thank you,
    Charles Mesrobian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.