Daniel Varoujan

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Daniel_Varoujan&chld=H_100&junk=junk.png Daniel Varoujan Mars symbol.svg
Birth name Daniel Tchboukkiarian
Name in Armenian Դանիէլ Վարուժան
Birthplace Prknig
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Birth date 20 April 1884
Lived in Prknig, Istanbul
Resides in Istanbul
Death place Tiuna
Death date 1915/08/26
Death year 1915
Education Ghent University
Profession Writer
Languages Armenian, Turkish
Ethnicities Armenian
Dialects Western Armenian
Spouses Araksi Varoujan

Daniel Varoujan (Armenian: Դանիէլ Վարուժան, 20 April 1884 – 26 August 1915) was an Armenian poet of the early 20th century. At the age of 31, when he was reaching international stature, he was deported and murdered by the Young Turk government, as part of the officially planned and executed Armenian Genocide.[1][2]

Life and education

Varoujan was born Daniel Tchboukkiarian (Դանիէլ Չպուքքեարեան)[3] in the village of Prknig (now called Çayboyu[4]) near the town of Sivas in Turkey. After attending the local school, he was sent in 1896, the year of the Hamidian massacres, to Istanbul, where he attended the Mkhitarian school. He then continued his education at the Mourad-Rafaelian school of Venice, and in 1905 entered Ghent University in Belgium, where he followed courses in literature, sociology and economics. In 1909 he returned to his village where he taught for three years. After his marriage with Araksi Varoujan in 1912, he became the principal of St. Gregory The Illuminator School in Constantinople.

Mehean literary group

In 1914, he established the Mehean literary group and magazine with Gostan Zarian, Hagop Oshagan, Aharon Dadourian and Kegham Parseghian. The movement aimed to start an Armenian literary and artistic renaissance. Participants saw as their purpose creating a "center", a temple of Art which, according to their manifesto, would attract a fragmented and spiritually scattered nation in order to promote its artistic creativity. Heavily influenced by Nietzschean ideas, they struggled, however, to reconcile two opposing directions in their understanding of ends and means, that is, between art as means to find a "center" for the nation, or centering the nation as a means to achieving meaningful and universal artistic creation, the latter being Varoujan's position.

The fundamental ideology of Mehean was expressed in the following excerpt of their manifesto on the importance of recreating a genuinely autochthonous creative "spirit" in Armenian literature:

We announce the worship and the expression of the Armenian spirit, because the Armenian spirit is alive, but appears only occasionally. We say: Without the Armenian spirit there is no Armenian literature and no Armenian artist. Every true artist expresses only his own race's spirit...[citation needed]

Death

According to Grigoris Balakian, who saw the victims in Chankiri on the day of their departure and later talked with their Turkish carriage drivers, Varoujan and four other detainees were being transferred from Chankiri to Ankara when their carriage was intercepted at a place called Tiuna. At that location, beside a stream, they were murdered by four Kurds headed by a local criminal named Halo acting under the instructions of members of the Ittihadist committee in Chankiri. The senior of the two escorting policemen was aware of the committee's plan and allowed them to be taken off the carriage. After the murders, the Kurds divided the clothing and possessions of the victims among themselves and the policemen.[3]

Daniel Varoujan memorial at the Şişli Armenian Cemetery of Istanbul

The Armenian writer and doctor Roupen Sevag and three other eyewitnesses described the torture and death of Varoujan. After being arrested and jailed, they were told that they were being taken to a village. On the way, a Turkish official and his assistant, accompanied by five heavily armed "policemen", stopped the convoy. After robbing the five prisoners, the first two who were in charge left and ordered the other five to take them away. After taking them to the woods, they attacked the prisoners, took off their clothes until all of them were left naked. Then they tied them one by one to the trees and started cutting them slowly with knives. Their screams could be heard by witnesses in hiding from a long distance.

One of Varoujan's major works was The Song of the Bread (Հացին երգը) a fifty-page collection of poems. Confiscated during the genocide, it was an unfinished manuscript at the time of his death. Reportedly saved by bribing Turkish officials. The Song of the Bread was published posthumously in 1921. The poems celebrate the simple majesty of village agricultural life led by Armenian peasant farmers.

More than anyone else of their time, Siamanto and Varoujan verbalized the hopes of the Armenians around the start of the 20th century. Using legends, old epics, and pagan history as the springboard and allegory for their aspirations, they waited for deliverance from oppression and the rebirth in Armenian arts.

Bio by Shant

Դանիել Վարուժան (1884-1915)

Biography by Shant Norashkharian

Taniel Varoujan was one of the greatest Armenian poets of the 20th century. At the age of 31, when he was blossoming to become a poet of international stature, he was brutally murdered (see below) by the government of "The Young Turks", like Siamanto, Zohrab and many others, as part of the officially planned and executed Genocide of the whole Armenian nation.

Varoujan was born in the Prknig village of Sivas, Turkey. After attending the local school, he was sent in 1896, the year of the Hamidian massacres, to Istanbul, where he attended the Mkhitarian school. He then continued his education at Mourad-Rafaelian school of Venice, and in 1905 entered the university of Ghent in Belgium, where he followed courses in literature, sociology and economics. In 1909 he returned to his village where he taught for three years. After his marriage in 1912, he became the principal of St. Gregory The Illuminator School in Istanbul.

In 1914, Taniel Varoujan established the "Mehian" literary group and magazine with Gosdan Zarian, Hagop Oshagan, Aharon and Kegham Parseghian. The purpose of this movement was to start an Armenian Renaissance, to wake the nation up from centuries of slavery and darkness, to reconnect it to its great Pre-Christian past ("Mehian" means temple), and to encourage it to stand up on its own feet and not tolerate any tyranny, whether from its own corrupt leadership or the Turkish government. The fundamental ideology of Mehian was expressed as:

"We announce the worship and the expression of the Armenian spirit, because the Armenian spirit is alive, but appears occasionally. We say: Without the Armenian spirit there is no Armenian literature and Armenian artist. Every true artist expresses only his own race's spirit...We say: External factors, acquired customs, foreign influences, diverted and deformed emotions have dominated the Armenian spirit, but were unable to assimilate it."

Varoujan has produced four great volumes of poetry: SHIVERS (1906), THE HEART OF THE RACE (1909), PAGAN SONGS (1912), and THE SONG OF THE BREAD (1921). The last book is an unfinished manuscript which was saved by bribing Turkish officials.

An eyewitness* has narrated the torture and martyrdom of Taniel Varoujan, Roupen Sevag (another great Armenian writer), and three others. After being arrested and jailed, they were told that they were being taken to a village. On the way, a Turkish official and his assistant, accompanied by five "policemen" who were armed to the teeth, stopped the convoy. After robbing the five prisoners, the first two who were in charge left and ordered the other five to take them away. After taking them to the woods, they attacked the prisoners, took off their clothes until all of them were completely naked. Then they tied them one by one to the trees and started cutting them slowly with their knives. Their screams could be heard from a long distance where this eyewitness was hiding.

A coachman named Hassan (from Modern Armenian Literature, Volume C, 1900-1915 [Beirut: Hamazkayin Publishing House, 1992]).

Ms. Gia Aivazian had titled her presentation "Memory in Taniel Varuzhan's Poetry". She began by stating that Varuzhan (1884-1915) is one of the most loved and influential Armenian poets of modern times. "His poetry is powerful, passionate, provocative, original" she added. Dwelling on Varuzhan's three major poetic collections (The Heart of the Race, Pagan Songs, Song of the Bread), Aivazian proceeded to show how the poet reached into the historic past, even the pagan past, and wove historic events and figures as well as mythic figures into his poetry and by comparing them to the current miserable reality, he tried to redefine the self-identity of his readers. By so doing, he hoped to provoke action towards a better future for his people.

In popular culture

Films

Varoujan's last months, starting from his arrest to death, were portrayed in an award-winning short arthouse film Taniel by British director Garo Berberian, narrated by Sean Bean.

Bibliography

Varoujan produced four major volumes of poetry:

  • Shivers (Սարսուռներ, 1906, Venice)
  • The Heart of the Race (Ցեղին սիրտը, 1909, Constantinople)
  • Pagan Songs (Հեթանոս երգեր, 1912, Constantinople)
  • The Song of the Bread (Հացին երգը, 1921, Constantinople).

Other editions:

  • Varoujan, Daniel. Le chant du pain (Marseilles: Editions Parentheses, 1990).
  • Varujan, Daniel. Il canto del pane (Milan: Edizioni Angelo Guerini e Associati, 1992).
  • Varuzhan, Daniel. Արծիւներու կարավանը (Erevan: "Hayastan" Hratarakchutyun, 1969).
  • Բանաստեղծական երկեր (Antelias: Tp. Kilikioy Katoghikosutean, 1986).
  • Բանաստեղծություններ (Erevan: Haypethrat, 1955).
  • Ձօն (Erevan: Hayastan Hratarakchutyun, 1975).
  • Երկեր (Erevan: "Hayastan," 1969).
  • Երկեր (Jerusalem: "Haralez Hratarakchutiwn," 1973).
  • Երկեր (Erevan: "Sovetakan Grogh" Hratarakchutyun, 1984).
  • Երկերի լիակատար ժողովածու երեք հատորով (Erevan: Haykakan SSH GA Hratarakchutyun, 1986, 1987).
  • Հարճը (Erevan: Haypethrat, 1946).
  • Հարճը (Beirut: Tparan Etvan, 1952).
  • Հարճը (Erevan: "Sovetakan Grogh" Hratarakchutyun, 1977).
  • Հատընտիր (Istanbul: Grakan Akumb-Zhamanak Gortsaktsutiwn, 1994).
  • Հատընտիրներ (Istanbul: Zhamanak, 1994).
  • Հացին երգը (Jerusalem: Tparan Srbots Hakobeants, 1950).
  • Հացին երգը (Erevan: Haypethrat, 1964).
  • Հացին երգը (Constantinople: O. Arzuman, 1921).
  • Հեթանոս երգեր (Ghalatia [Constantinople]: Tpagrutiwn "Shant," 1912).
  • Հեթանոս երգեր (Jerusalem: Tparan Srbots Hakobeants, 1953).
  • Հեթանոս երգեր. Հացին երգը. հատուածներ (Venice-S. Ghazar: Mkhitarean hratarakutiwn, 1981).
  • Նամականի (Erevan: Haypethrat, 1965).
  • Poemes Varoujean (Beirut: Impr. Hamaskaine, 1972).
  • Սարսուռներ ([Jerusalem:] Srbots Hakobeants, 1950).
  • Սարսուռներ. Ցեղին սիրտը. հատուածներ (Venice-S. Ghazar: Mkhitarean hratarakutiwn, 1981).
  • Stikhi (Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia lit-ra, 1984).
  • Stikhi (Erevan: Izd-vo "Sovetakan Grogh," 1985).
  • Ցեղին սիրտը (Constantinople: Hratarakutiwn Artsiw Zogh. Gravacharanotsi, 1909).
  • Ցեղին սիրտը (Jerusalem: Tparan Srbots Hakobeants, 1953).
  • Varoujean: poems (Beirut: Impr. Hamaskaine, n.d.).

About Varoujan:

  • Esajanian, Levon. Դանիէլ Վարուժան (կեանքը եւ գործը) (Constantinople: Berberian, 1919).

See also

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References

  1. Aberbach, David (2012). The European Jews, Patriotism and the Liberal State 1789–1939: A Study of Literature and Social Psychology. Routledge. p. 194. ISBN 9781136158957. https://books.google.com/books?id=B3kXQEUJy_YC&pg=PA194. 
  2. Dadrian, Vahakn N.; Akçam, Taner (2011). Judgment at Istanbul the Armenian genocide trials. New York: Berghahn Books. p. 123. ISBN 9780857452863. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Balakian, Grigoris (2010). Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915–1918. New York: Vintage Books. p. 115. ISBN 9781400096770. 
  4. Maggie Blank, "Pirkinik, Perkinik, Perkenik, Perknig, Perknik, Prknik" [1]

External links

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