Hagop Norashkharian (Norouni)
Biography by Shant Norashkharian
Today (July 4, 1996) is the eleventh anniversary of the death of my father, Hagop Norashkharian (Norouni). He was born on December 8, 1923, in Yoghnolouk, a village near Mousa Dagh (near Antioch, Turkey), which was at the time under the French mandate. His grandfather, Prince Nazaret Norashkharian (Nazaret Chavoush), was the leader of the 1895-1896 Zeytoun Insurgence against the Ottoman Empire, and the ruler of Zeytoun until 1915, when he was murdered after being invited under the pretext of signing a treaty with the Turks (see Armenian Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, page 377, and THE FORTY DAYS OF MOUSA DAGH by Franz Werfel).
His father, Prince Levon Norashkharian, settled in Mousa Dagh after fighting the Turks from 1915 to 1921, with his six brothers and a few hundred Zeytountsis, of whom he was the only one to survive from his family (see ZEYTOUN: 1914-1921, by Levon Norashkharian, published in Yerevan in 1984). My father grew up in Mousa Dagh until 1939, when all Armenians were subjected to more massacres and deportations after the French withdrawal from the area. The heroic struggle of some five thousand of them is described in Werfel's book above. After his family moved to Aleppo, Syria, he graduated from High School there and moved to Beirut,Lebanon, where he received a degree in Political Science from the St. Joseph French University.
He then became one of the leaders of the Hnchagyan Democratic Party and the Zeytoun Association, founder and president of Nor Serount Cultural Association, and chief editor of ARARAD KRAGAN, an Armenian literary magazine, from 1956-1966. He moved to Armenia in 1975, where he died on July 4, 1985.
He contributed to the Armenian Diaspora press and published eleven books:
- Poetry: SHIVERING SPARKS (1943) THE FRONTIER (1959), LIVING AGAIN (1973), THE FUTURE OF MY YEARS (1983).
- Plays: THE PRINCE (1944), THE ROAD TO HAPPINESS (1966), HOW QUICKLY YOU CHANGED! (1966).
- Short Stories: DOLLS FOR RENT (1970), FROM THE PATH OF SIN (1978)
- Literary Analysis: HRACHYA KOCHAR'S "THE WHITE BOOK" (1967)
- Impressions/Thoughts: LETTER TO MY ARMENIAN -AMERICAN FRIEND (1966).
(See Armenian Encyclopedia Vol. 8, page 394.)
After a life of complete dedication to Armenian causes, literature and organizations without any reward or recognition, he wrote:
- Friends and leaders of organizations took advantage of my sincerity and idealism cruelly. Because they were simply peddlers. They approached all problems with the psychology of peddlers. After years I noticed, that doing national work for some was like being in a market, a place of commerce.
Like many others before and after him, he had made the greatest mistake: Being born an Armenian writer. I will always remember him not only as a great and dedicated father, but also as a man who knew and honored his heroic legacy and inspired me with the spirit and love of my nation.
COPYRIGHT (c) Shant Norashkharian, used with permission.