Introducing ‘Our English Weekly’ to the World

From the December 2019 Special Anniversary Magazine Dedicated to the 120th Anniversary of the Hairenik and the 85th Anniversary of the Armenian Weekly

The following is the English translation of one of the two editorials that appeared in the Hairenik on Feb. 13, 1934. Entitled «Մեր անգլիերէն շաբաթաթերը» (“Our English Weekly”) and likely penned by then-editor Reuben Darbinian (born Artashes Stepan Chilingarian; Minister of Justice during the First Republic of Armenia), this editorial explains the importance of publishing a dedicated English-language newspaper and defines its purpose.

The front page of the Feb. 11, 1934 issue of the Hairenik Daily (Armenian) announces the creation of the English-language Hairenik Weekly (later called the Armenian Weekly).

As was advertised in our pages yesterday, we will begin to publish an English-language weekly newspaper alongside the Hairenik Daily and Monthly (Amsagir).

From the moment that Hairenik sent out the now well-known questionnaire to the American-born-and-raised Armenian youth and considering the unexpectedly positive response to it, it is evident to all that the existence of an English-language newspaper has become an imminent necessity—to evoke the Armenian spirit in our new English-speaking generation and to connect this generation to the Armenian nation. In order to fulfill that need to some extent, we immediately began an English section in the Hairenik Daily, publishing three to four columns a day in English for readers who did not understand or read Armenian. This, of course, was only a temporary solution, which could not take the place of a dedicated English-language paper.

Encouraged by the ever-growing interest in our English section—especially that of the youth—and understanding the mounting demand for a separate English newspaper, we finally decided to begin work on the publication of an English-language weekly newspaper—the need, of which, we realized three years ago. However, in order to keep our new generation at least somewhat connected with the Armenian newspaper, we will continue to publish short news items and articles in English in no more than two columns henceforth.

We may be asked, what is the need to publish our new weekly newspaper when there are English-language weeklies being published by Armenians in New York and Boston for the past year or two?

The front page of the Feb. 11, 1932 issue of the Hairenik Daily (Armenian) included “Hairenik’s Questionnaire to the Armenian Youth of America.” It asked questions like: “Are you conscious in your daily life that you are an Armenian?”; “Do you read Armenian books, magazines, or newspapers?”; and “Do you see the necessity of publishing an English paper, weekly or monthly, for our young generation?” The responses to the questionnaire overwhelmingly confirmed that Armenian-American youth were interested in participating in Armenian life and reading Armenian-interest newspapers as long as they could do so through the language they preferred—the language, in which they are more comfortable.

Of course, if those weeklies were sufficient in spirit, ideas, aspirations, and content, the publication of a new weekly would be superfluous. However, unfortunately, not the New York publication, nor the one in Boston, could be considered even close to satisfactory. Both of those newspapers are published by individuals or groups, who are under the influence of Bolsheviks or quasi-Bolsheviks; they present the Armenian reality, the Armenian past and present, Armenian history and literature, Armenian facts and figures, Armenia and the communities, the Armenian national movements and aspiration from their points of view.

It is a fact that an English-language publication colored with the Armenian spirit, one filled with ideas and dedicated to Armenian national ideals, does not yet exist in America. The Hairenik Weekly comes to fill that exact void.

To introduce our new generation to the epic and didactic pages of ancient and especially modern Armenian history; to introduce our new generation to the beautiful pieces of early and contemporary Armenian literature; to objectively enlighten the minds of our new generation about the current state of our people, its struggles, and aspirations; to give an idea about the reality in Armenia today and to make them love their country regardless of its current evil regime; to rekindle within them the dream of a free, independent, and united motherland; and to awaken within them their sacred duty towards the fatherland: this is that noble, beautiful purpose, to which our weekly newspaper will dedicate itself—in the English language.

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