Goodbye, Antoura to Be Presented at Armenian Museum on October 1


AntouraWATERTOWN — The recent publication Goodbye, Antoura: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide (Stanford Univ. Press, 2015), by the late Karnig Panian, will be the focus of a program on Thursday, October 1, at 7:30 p.m., at the Armenian Museum of America, Adele and Haig Der Manuelian Galleries (3rd floor), 65 Main St.

The event is co-sponsored by the Armenian Cultural Foundation, the Armenian Museum of America, Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and the Tekeyan Cultural Association.

Featuring remarks by the author’s daughter, Houry Panian Boyamian, principal of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown, the event will also include a talk by Dr. Lerna Ekmekcioglu, McMillan-Stewart Career Development Associate Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition, Prof. Keith David Watenpaugh will provide comments via video and NAASR Academic Director Marc A. Mamigonian will give introductory remarks.

Born in the Anatolian village of Gurin, Karnig Panian was only 5 when World War I began. Four years later, American aid workers found him at an orphanage in Antoura, Lebanon. He was among nearly 1,000 Armenian and 400 Kurdish children who had been abandoned by the Turkish administrators, left to survive at the orphanage without adult care. He grew up to become an educator and vice-principal at Djemaran, the Armenian Lyceum, based in Beirut, Lebanon.

His memoir, Goodbye, Antoura, offers the extraordinary story of what he endured in those years—as his people were deported from their Armenian community, as his family died in a refugee camp in the deserts of Syria, as he survived hunger and mistreatment in the orphanage. The Antoura orphanage was another project of the Armenian Genocide: its administrators, some benign and some cruel, sought to transform the children into Turks by changing their Armenian names, forcing them to speak Turkish and erasing their history.

Goodbye, Antoura was translated by Simon Beugekian and edited by Aram Goudsouzian. It includes a foreword by Dr. Vartan Gregorian and an introduction and afterword by Prof. Keith David Watenpaugh.

Panian paints a painfully rich and detailed picture of the lives and agency of Armenian orphans during the darkest days of World War I. Ultimately, Panian survived the Armenian Genocide and the deprivations that followed. Goodbye, Antoura assures us of how humanity, once denied, can be again reclaimed.

Copies of Goodbye, Antoura will be available the night of the lecture.

For more information about this program contact NAASR at 617-489-1610 or hq@naasr.org.