Presenting the Newly Translated ‘Letter to Yerevan’ in Watertown on March 21

WATERTOWN, Mass.—The Hairenik Press, the Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural and Educational Society Boston chapter, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF) Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Greater Boston Sardarabad Committee have jointly organized the Boston-area presentation of the first-ever English translation of Andranik Tzarukian’s Letter to Yerevan (Hairenik, 2018).

The event, which will be taking place at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center of Watertown (ACEC – 47 Nichols Ave, 02472) on Thursday, March 21, will feature presentations by the translators, remarks by the publishers and organizers, readings, and a traditional Ginedzon (wine dedication) ceremony.

The translation was a collaborative effort between the former director of the ARF and First Republic of Armenia Archives and former editor of the Armenian Review Tatul Sonentz-Papazian and former editor of the Armenian Weekly Rupen Janbazian. It features an in-depth introduction by another former editor of the Armenian Weekly and the volume’s English editor, Vahe Habeshian, as well as six original illustrations by Yerevan-based artist Meruzhan Khachatryan. The Armenian language republication was edited by Yeprem Tokjian of Toronto, Canada.

The publication of “Letter to Yerevan is the first of several planned initiatives celebrating the 120th anniversary of the Hairenik Association. All the proceeds from book sales are directly donated to the Hairenik Association’s Newspaper Digitization Project, which will be digitizing and publicizing the archives of the Hairenik Daily (Armenian), Hairenik Weekly (English), the Armenian Weekly (English) and the Hairenik Weekly (Armenian).

Books will be sold and signed following the event, which will take place in English and Armenian. Admission is free.

“Letter to Yerevan (1945) is urgent and timeless. It may seem easy to turn the page on an oeuvre penned in a political context that no longer exists. Yet Andranik Tzarukian’s powerful poetic rebuttal continues to resonate. When, as in the aftermath of the Velvet Revolution in Armenia, ‘Dashnak dogs’ and other Abov-esque tropes are unleashed, Tzarukian’s Letter is the best antidote. Hence its urgency. When history is distorted and ‘alternative facts’ are tossed around, Tzarukian’s Letter is highly relevant. Hence its timelessness,” said Columbia University professor Dr. Khatchig Mouradian on the occasion of the book’s publication.

The English translation of Tzarukian’s poem was announced on May 28, 2017—the 99th anniversary of the establishment of the First Republic of Armenia (1918-1920)—and published in book form on Christmas Eve 2018 —74 years to the day that Tzarukian sent his lengthy rebuttal to Abov’s publisher in Soviet Yerevan.

“Translators Sonentz-Papazian and Janbazian, two generations apart, are themselves testament to the enduring power of this work that reaches English-language readers on the 100th anniversary of the First Armenian Republic,” added Mouradian.

Parts of Sonentz-Papazian and Janbazian’s translation were periodically published in the Armenian Weekly between 2017 and 2018.

“The translators, editors, illustrator and designers have all graciously donated their time and efforts to making the publication of this book a reality and for that, we are extremely grateful,” the Hairenik Association said in a statement at the time of the book’s release.

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

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