Goodbye, Antoura Memoir to Be Presented at Armenian Society of Los Angeles


AntouraGLENDALE — The noteworthy memoir, 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, February 18, at 7:30 p.m., at the Armenian Society of Los Angeles Main Hall, 117 S. Louise St.

The event is organized by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and co-sponsored by the Ararat-Eskijian Museum, Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, Hamazkayin Jemaran Association, Nor Serount Cultural Association and 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 presentations by Dr. Richard G. Hovannisian, professor emeritus of Modern Armenian and Near Eastern History, UCLA, and Adjunct Professor of history, UCLA, as well as independent researcher Maurice Missak Kelechian. Dr. Keith David Watenpaugh of the University of California, Davis, will provide comments via video, and Dr. Viken Yacoubian of Woodbury University and the Hamazkayin Central Executive Board will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

Born in the Anatolian village of Gurin, Karnig Panian was only five years old 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, Karnig 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 through a partnership with Abril Bookstore of Glendale.

For more information about this program contact NAASR or hq@naasr.org.