“Whatever may have been their destiny – and it has been bitter – whatever it may be in future, their country must ever be one of the most interesting on the globe; and perhaps their language only requires to be more studied… It is a rich language… If the Scriptures are rightly understood, it was in Armenia that Paradise was placed. It was in Armenia that the flood first abated, and the dove alighted.”
A week ago, I was informed by a friend that physical copies of the Armenian Weekly were available at the Charles E. Young Research Library at the University of California, Los Angeles. I was blown away at the collection, poring over stacks and stacks of newspapers, thumbing through the days of alarmed headlines and of celebratory blue skies. Flipping through decades within seconds, I was in awe of the very idea that what graced a frontpage in the 1980s is all but an anniversary we celebrate in our community now. And yet, despite its bittersweet nature, that is the mark of extraordinary journalism, which is what the Armenian Weekly has been delivering for years, preceded by the Hairenik Weekly, the longest-running Armenian-language newspaper in the world.
I even found myself amused at the transformation of the nameplate’s typeface over the years, feeling nothing but a deep reverence toward the up-to-date design choices that are at the present an endearing sign of the times. It was an emotional experience – viewing the vintage design elements – because it evoked a kind of nostalgia and longing for a time I hadn’t known, yet simultaneously know so well. My sentimentality came to a halt for a moment when I recognized how far the newspaper had come. Could you even imagine explaining to the writers from years ago that their work would be available online for everyone to read? Or even explaining the concept of a “digital archive”? I could only assume how shocked they would be. Shocked, but proud. We as a journalistic community have built upon their indestructible legacy and have carried the torch as an open and honest band of writers, editors and artists, serving as the watchdogs of the Armenian community by standing up for what is good and true – persistently.
I feel honored to be part of a newspaper that has opened its doors for Armenian journalists from around the globe. I cannot even fathom the responsibility of writing for a newspaper that once had the great William Saroyan adorning its pages. I stepped back and gazed at the physical representation of Armenian history sitting in front of me and found myself contemplating the future of print journalism in an increasingly digital world. Though many signs may point to the contrary, print is not dead, and quite frankly, because of the work of Armenian newspapers like the one you’re reading now, it never will be.
I can only attribute this to two “nevers.” First, print media will never disappear. No matter the changes in our modern age, people will always trust the print more than its chronically online counterpart. Second, what is Armenian will never die. As a people, we have an unbelievable pattern of keeping our culture extant. I don’t think anything inspires me more than the persistence of a people that have been set out to be destroyed. When you get a medium that refuses to die and a group of people who refuse to die, the result of those two components coming together is an Armenian newspaper.
Ever since I started writing for the Weekly, I have found myself connected to my culture on a level I had never imagined. I have always been a spirited Armenian. I attended Armenian school my entire life. I am an active member of the AYF “Musa Ler” Chapter. I am a member of my college’s Armenian Students Association. The list goes on. Yet, nothing has made me identify with my people as much as this newspaper. That is the power of journalism. That is the power of the Armenian Weekly, which is why it is of utmost importance to support Armenian print journalism. Keep reading. Keep sharing. Keep supporting Armenian cultural endeavors.