Posts Tagged ‘Armenagan Party’


Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)


Foundation of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party
(October 1, 1921)

The Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL; in Armenian, Ramgavar Azadagan Goosagtsootioon) was founded in Constantinople on October 1, 1921. It is considered the continuation of the first Armenian party, the Armenagan Organization, which was created in 1885 in Van.

The DeRamgavarmocratic Liberal Party was the result of the alliance of four liberal and conservative parties from Western and Eastern Armenia: the Armenagan Organization, which had lost its headquarters in Van after the genocide; the Armenian Constitutional Democratic Party (1907-1921), which had acted within the frame of constitutionalism in the Ottoman Empire after the Ottoman Revolution of 1908; the Reorganized Hunchakian Party, a right-wing split of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party after 1896; and the Armenian Popular Party, founded in 1917 in Tiflis (Tbilisi) after the model of the Russian Constitutional Democratic (Kadet) party.

The party advocated liberalism and capitalism, while the other two political parties, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Hunchakian Party, had a left-leaning platform. For the next seventy years, the action of the Democratic Liberal Party, as well as of the other two, was limited to the Diaspora, since Armenian political parties were banned by the Communist regime in Soviet Armenia. Its position, nevertheless, has consistently been one of support for Armenia, regardless of the regime or government in charge.

The party established its main headquarters in the Middle East (Egypt and later Lebanon), with branches in various communities, particularly Syria, Greece, France, the United States, Canada, and Argentina, publishing newspapers and magazines in some of them. Nowadays, it has the following media in the Diaspora: Zartonk (Beirut), Arev (Cairo), Nor Ashkharh (Athens), Abaka (Montreal), Nor Or (Pasadena), The Armenian Mirror-Spectator (Boston), Sardarabad (Buenos Aires). It has had representation in the Lebanese Parliament since 2000 as a member of the Future Movement chaired by the late prime minister Rafik Hariri (now called March 14 Alliance).

After the independence of Armenia and the disappearance of the one-party system, the Democratic Liberal Party of Armenia was founded in 1991 as a local counterpart to the Diasporan party. Various rifts within the party caused the formation of a second party, the Armenakan-Democratic Liberal Party, in 2009. Both parties were unified in 2012 under the name “Democratic Liberal Party (Armenia).” The newspaper Azg, one of the most respected press organs in Armenia, was founded by the party in 1992, but in the last few years became an independent, non-partisan newspaper.


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 Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee

 Birth of Kourken Mahari

 (August 1, 1903)

 Modern Armenian literature had three major enemies: tuberculosis, Turkish genocide, and Stalinist repression. The so-called “second April 24” harvested the lives of many remarkable Armenian intellectuals and public figures between 1936 and 1938, who were shot, died in prison, or in exile. Many others suffered short or long years in prison, labor camps, internal exile, and were fortunate enough to survive until the death of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin when they returned.

 Poet and novelist Kourken Mahari (Ajemian) was born in Van. His father, Krikor Ajemian, was an important member of the Armenagan Party (the first Armenian political party, founded in Van in 1885). Mahari became an orphan in 1907, when his father was shot by his brother-in-law, an A.R.F. member, in a confusing incident. In 1915, after the heroic self-defense of Van during the genocide, the future writer migrated to Eastern Armenia with his family. They lost each other on the road of exile, and Mahari lived in orphanages in Dilijan and Yerevan until he found his family again.

 He published his first poems in the press during the first republic, and later, in the Soviet period, he studied at Yerevan State University. He published five collections of poetry and short stories between 1924 and 1931, but his fame in the 1930s was cemented by the first two books of his biographical trilogy, “Childhood” and “Adolescence” (1930). Meanwhile, he had married and had a son. He became a member of the Writers Union of Armenia in 1934.

 The wave of repression unleashed in Armenia after the assassination of Aghasi Khanjian in 1936 reached Mahari too. Trumped-up charges were brought against him and he was condemned to a ten-year exile from 1936-1946 in Siberia. After returning to Yerevan, in 1948 he was condemned, through new trumped-up charges, to life exile. In Siberia, he met Lithuanian student Antonina Povilaitite, who had also been condemned to life exile. They married and lived with the hope of change. Stalin died in 1953, and Mahari and his wife, together with their newly-born daughter, managed to return to Yerevan in 1954. Their daughter would die shortly thereafter, and they would later have a son.

 After seventeen years of exile, the writer returned to his homeland in bad health, but with the inner strength to continue his writing. He became one of the leading voices in the literary life of Armenia during the 1950s and 1960s. He published the third part of his trilogy, “On the Eve of Youth” (1956), a volume of poetry in 1959 and a collection of short stories, “The Voice of Silence” (1962), where he reflected the Siberian years.  Another Siberian memoir, “Barbed Wire in Flower,” was first published posthumously in the weekly “Nayiri” of Beirut (1971); it was published in Yerevan only in 1988. He received the title of Emeritus Cultural Activist of Armenia in 1965.

 Mahari published his most important book, the novel “Burning Orchards,” in 1966 (there is a translation in English), an account of Armenian life in Van before World War I, during the self-defense of the city, and afterwards. It created a lively controversy because of some of his views, and he was forced to rewrite it; the second version was published in 1979 in a curtailed form. The final edition was only published in 2004, edited by Grigor Achemyan, Mahari’s eldest son, who has published several unpublished volumes and has prepared an edition of unpublished works in thirteen volumes.

 Kourken Mahari passed away in Palanga (Lithuania), on June 17, 1969, and was buried in Yerevan. He concluded one of his autobiographical works with a characteristic paragraph: “[If] the terrible and omnipotent Jehovah entered this moment, sat in front of me, lit a cigarette and said: ‘I’m giving you a second life; trace the path of your second life from cradle to tomb, as you wish, and your wish will be accomplished . . . How would you like to live?,’ I would answer him, without hesitation: ‘Exactly as I lived it.’



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