By Kyle Khandikian
“Asbarez.” It means “arena” in the Armenian language, but to Armenian-Americans, it means so much more. For one hundred and one years, Asbarez has served our community unlike any other outlet of media information. A fountain of knowledge and understanding, this newspaper, though “old,” continues to flow as a fountain of youth.
To celebrate the extraordinary life of such a newspaper, a banquet was held in its honor and to all those that make up its large family on Sunday, October 11, 2009, in Montebello, California. The banquet brought the community together in a time of uncertainty and doubt to pay homage to a newspaper which has always cast light on that which was never always so bright.
At Baghramian Hall, Asbarez staff members, contributors, benefactors, readers, followers, and community leaders, members, and guests, joined to celebrate over 100 years of service to the community. Following an hour-long cocktail hour where guests mingled, the night was under way. After introductions and invocations, master of ceremonies for the evening Manoug Seraidarian welcomed all to the event.
Dinner was served, and while guests enjoyed their meals, a video presentation featuring the long and exciting life of Asbarez produced by Viken Haboyan was played for all to view. The video chronicled the Asbarez’s history, accomplishments, and rich heritage.
Sako Mardirossian was awarded the “Friend of Asbarez” award by Varoujan Koundakjian. Mardirossian, who has contributed large sums in the past to the Asbarez, modestly accepted the award and thanked all who recognized him.
Following the cutting of the Asbarez’s birthday cake, which guests later enjoyed as dessert, they were also treated by a lovely performance by the Hamazkayin “Ani” Dance Troupe: Suzy Parseghian Tarpinian and Yeghia Hasholian. “Culture has played a major part of the newspaper, and nothing is more joyous perphaps, than our dance,” said Seraidarian. The evening also featured Armenian musical performances as well.
The keynote address of the evening was delivered by Nazareth Berberian, followed by a musical performance by Knarig Nergararian in song and by Armine Nergararian on the violin.
Asbarez’s former editor Kristapor Pakradouni and the late Vahig Gourian were recognized during the event by Neshan Peroomian and Dr. Onnig Keshshian.
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian delivered the Preleate’s messaged, and the evening concluded with closing remarks by Asabrez’s English editor Ara Khachatourian and Armenian editor Apo Boghikian.
Asbarez Newspaper began publication in August 1908 in Fresno as a weekly. Since then it has moved to Los Angeles, become a bilingual daily paper, and is now the official publication of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western United States Central Committee.
“Though we may not know what the future holds for us, we know what we must do.”