08 October 2005

Armenian Writers in Arabic from Aleppo

AZAD-HYE (Dubai): From the 9th century up to this date some 400
personalities of Armenian origin from Aleppo have contributed to the Arab
culture. Within this group you can find poets, novelists, short story
writers, philologists, journalists, correspondents, editors, publishers,
translators, linguists, etc. Almost all aspects of literature are covered by

It is obvious that not all these figures have achieved the same quality of
writing. Some have not risen beyond the level of being simple reporters, but
others have been known in all the Arab World such as Rizqallah Hassoun.

A great number of them have kept their relationship with their original
identity, but there are some who have adopted Arabic as their sole language
of communication and expression.

Mihran Minassian is a Syrian Armenian scholar (born in Aleppo, 1959), has
researched the history behind these writers and published an article in the
6th issue of "Keghart" Aleppo Armenian Yearbook (2000), under the title:
"Armenian Writers in Arabic from Aleppo along the Centuries".

See the Armenian text at the following link provided by the "Research Center
on the Armenian Diaspora", Paris (since 1976):

Biography of Mihran Minassian

Translator (Armenian/Arabic) and scholar of Armenian subjects related to the
Arab World.

Born in Aleppo, 1959

Completed studies in Haigazian Elementary School and Karen Jeppe Armenian
High School (Jemaran) in Aleppo.

His first translations from Armenian to Arabic (poems by Kevork Emin)
appeared in the student magazine of Karen Jeppe Jemaran ("Dziler").

Poems of Barouyr Sevag ("Let There Be Light … And Other Poems") and Nahabed
Kouchak ("Pomegranate Seed … And One Hundred Armenian Love Verses") appeared
in separate publications in Arabic language in 1995, 1999 respectively
(published in Lattakia, Syria). The poems of Barouyr Sevag were previously
published in the "Foreign Literatures" prestigious periodical publication of
the Arab Writers' Union in Damascus.

During his active membership in the Publication Committee of "Hamazkayin"
(Aleppo branch), Minassian supervised and edited the publishing of more than
30 books in Arabic language (history, literature, Armenian cause, memories,
Genocide, etc.) and managed to send all these publications in a systematic
way to prominent Syrian and Arab intellectuals and media establishments.
He has published articles in Cilicia's Catholicosate "Hasg", Haigazian
Armenological Review and in other reputable publications in Armenia and

He has managed to record and preserve many important testimonies from
survivors of the Genocide. He has also saved popular songs, stories,
traditions, etc. and is trying now to allocate funds to publish them. He has
also a large collection of Armenian old books, silverware, photos, materials
of historical values, etc.

He deeply believes that time has come to tell the Arab reader that the
Armenians are not just successful craftsmen, but also they have rich
cultural heritage.

Nowadays he is busy in researching old Armenian manuscripts in the Aleppo
Prelacy. He earns his living as self-employed trader.

Upper-Left Photo: Front cover of Mihran Minassian's translation into Arabic
of Nahabed Kouchak's (Medieval Armenian poet) verses, published in Lattakia,
Syria, 1999.

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