PETER BALAKIAN IN ARMENIA AGBU continues its support of the renowned writer

International conference on Armenian Genocide held in Yerevan on December 14-15, 2010, brought to Armenia the famous Armenian-American writer, poet, public and political activist Peter Balakian. The conference entitled “The Crime of Genocide: Prevention, Condemnation and Elimination of Conse-quences” was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia in cooperation with the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Prominent genocide scholars from about 20 countries participated in the conference including Yves Ternon (France), Leandro Despouy (Argentine), Israel Charny (Israel), Donna-Lee Frieze (Australia), William Schabas (Ireland), François Roelants du Vivier (Belgium), Taner Akcam (USA-Germany), Richard Hovhannisian, (USA) Tessa Hofmann (Germany), Ayman Abdel Aziz Salama (Egypt), Frank Chalk (Canada), Matthias Bjørnlund (Denmark), Mohammed Rifat (Egypt), Theofanis Malkidis (Greece), Ruben Safrastyan (Armenia), Enzo Maria Le Fevre (Italy/Hungary), Tetsushi Ogata (Japan), Dickran Kouymjian (USA-France), Anthonie Holslag(Netherlands), Armen Marsoobian (USA), Peter Balakian (USA), Wa’il Nicholas Khair (Lebanon) and Seda Parsamyan (Armenia). On December 15, 20 participants of the international conference on the Armenian Genocide were received by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Welcoming the visit of the scientists to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness encouraged and stressed the importance of their mission in the recognition efforts of the Armenian Genocide. The meeting concluded with a prayer. The participants visited the Museums of the Mother See and toured the spiritual treasures of the Armenian nation. During a meeting at the Writers Union of Armenia on December 16, famous writer Peter Balakian presented the books he published in the United States in the past several years including “Sad Days of Light”, a collection of poems translated into Armenian. On the evening of the same day, Balakian was the guest speaker at the AUA Alex and Marie Manoogian Hall to present “Armenian Golgotha”, memoirs of Bishop Grigoris Balakian, Peter’s granduncle, which the writer has translated and published together with co-writer Aris Sevag, Assistant Editor of the “AGBU News” magazine. Bishop Grigoris Balakian was one of the 250 representatives of intelligentsia arrested on April 24, 1915, and one of the few who managed to survive. “This book has raised much interest not only in US, but almost everywhere in the world, London,Jerusalem, Toronto, etc”, said Balakian. Balakian’s first visit to Armenia was initiated by the Armenian General Benevolent Union six years ago to participate in the presentation of the Armenian translation of his “Black Dog of Fate”. The book was translated by Artem Harutyunian with the sponsorship of AGBU. With AGBU’s continuous support over the years Balakian also published his “The Burning Tigris” and “Armenian Golgotha”. Author of eight books Balakian has won a number of prestigious awards. In 2004, “The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s response” was a New York Times “Notable Book”. In 1998, Balakian’s “Black Dog of Fate” was named “Book of the Year” by the LA Times. “I have brought my “Black Dog of Fate” with two additional chapters about Der Zor. When I went to the desert a film was shot and it started with a scene of bringing skeletons of Armenians out from the desert sands. This is an essential addition to the book”, said Balakian. The film was shown on US and UK TV and it soon will be shown in Armenia too. Last year Balakian published “Ziggurat”, a book of poems reflecting the author’s thoughts and feelings about the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York on September 1, 2001.

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