Hairenik’s Anniversary Hits Home

At a time when the ethnic press is teetering on the brink of change, both the Armenian Weekly and Hairenik publications continue to toe the line with a vision to the future.

Both papers have survived a plethora of editorial exchanges, a transgression of readership over its generations, unsettled attitudes, and now the electronic age.

Yet, both papers have weathered the storm and continue to remain an organ for the ages, a voice for the Armenian community in this diaspora, a harbinger of democracy that pumps vitality into a loyal following eager for news.

Both journals are celebrating anniversary years together for the sake of not only sentiment but endurance—a testament to pride and persistence if nothing else.

A celebration is marked for Sun., Oct. 26, beginning at 5 p.m., hosted by Carmen and Avo Barmakian inside their spacious home.

The Hairenik will be observing its 115th anniversary, while the Armenian Weekly is celebrating its 80th year as an octogenarian in the business.

A reception and dinner are planned with guest speaker Richard G. Hovannisian, Professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History at the University of California, a long-time advocate of these organs.

It promises to be an evening one will embrace and cherish for years to come—intimate, social, and very much warranted.

A committee chaired by Angele Manoogian has left no stone unturned, right down to some music and entertainment for the guests. Watch for further details in both papers.

Reservations must be made by Oct. 18 through Heather Krafian by calling (617) 932-1965 or e-mailing Contributions are tax-deductible. Checks should be made payable to the ACAA and mailed to Hairenik Publications, 80 Bigelow Ave., Watertown, MA 02472.

As a correspondent and columnist who’s been attached for 50 of those years, I must admit it has brought my life as a writer and, even more important, as an Armenian, closer to my heritage.

It’s given me a wonderful livelihood ever since my days at journalism school and a career also enjoyed by my daughter. Sonya started out as an AYF correspondent and now serves as managing editor of the Andover (Massachusetts) Townsman and Andover Magazine.

She attributes her success in the medium to the Armenian Weekly, as so many others have, like Detroit’s Mitch Kehetian. This venerable journalist is the first to admit he would not have spent 50 years in newspaper work had he not flexed his wings with the Hairenik.

Nor others like William Saroyan, Hakob Karapents, Sarkis Atamian, Leo Sarkisian, our own Uncle Garabed (Kasbarian), Uncle Bozo, poetess Diana Der Hovanesian, and the inimitable editorship of Jimmy Tashjian and all the “ubiquitous Armenians” he harbored.

Ask any of the 16 editors I’ve served under who have handled this operation and they’ll tell you it was not only a labor of love but a window of opportunity in their professional world.

Ask any correspondent who ever submitted an article the feeling they got at seeing their byline attached to a story they had published. For some AYFers, that’s huge. It’s their incentive to keep on writing, develop a creative mind, do some good for their chapter and, above all, contribute to a worthwhile enterprise.

Angele Manoogian’s own allegiance to the Hairenik has been exemplary, along with her years of ARS and ARF leadership. She mirrors the generation of subscribers who have always been attached.

“Hairenik publications have informed, inspired, motivated, and educated five generations of Armenians, not only here in America but all over the world,” she says. “From the struggles of the fedayees in the motherland to the war in Syria today, the Hairenik has chronicled our contemporary history.”

“Its pages have found room for prose and poetry from AYF Juniors to Siamanto and Saroyan, while its books and periodicals have given us masterpieces in Armenian literature and thoughtful analysis,” she further notes.

Thus, let us show our diligent support of these two publications by attending this event or rendering some sort of financial contribution to sustain the operation.

By doing your bit, you’ll continue the legacy in both print and digital space, through social media, worldwide web, and e-publishing.

Regardless of the medium, it will be your privilege to continue its long tradition of service to our community and our nation.

And truthfully, folks, that’s not a bad investment for your dollar.

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian is a retired journalist with the Haverhill Gazette, where he spent 40 years as an award-winning writer and photographer. He has volunteered his services for the past 46 years as a columnist and correspondent with the Armenian Weekly, where his pet project was the publication of a special issue of the AYF Olympics each September.
Tom Vartabedian

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1 Comment

  1. “Ask any of the 16 editors I’ve served under who have handled this operation and they’ll tell you it was not only a labor of love but a window of opportunity in their professional world.”

    I don’t think any of us ever felt you or anyone else “served under” us. Rather, we served under the history, needs, and expectations of the community, and had a humbling role shepherding and coordinating a wild and unpredictable stew of energy and talent. Editors come and go; Poor Tom nevertheless shows up every week, and the Hairenik and Weekly outlive us all.

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