A Blog of Classical Armenian Poetic Beauty
*By EDWINA CHARLES*
Mrs. Phaedra Behrent is a woman-poet, from a British sea-town – Margate – made famous by William Turner, according to John Ruskin, the greatest English painter (of his time, in Ruskin’s mind meaning of course “of all time”). Mrs. Behrent, with a savvy initiative has created and just launched a most stunningly beautiful Blog-site http://vahe-vahian-poet.blogspot.co.uk/ dedicated to a great modern Armenian poet of the Western Armenian literary tongue – Vahé-Vahian.
The latter was a survivor of the most horrendous genocide of the Armenians by the Young Turks perpetrated in 1915 – the first of its kind launching the First World War – and had ended up in Beirut, the vibrant capital city of the beautiful Lebanon, frequently referred to as “the Switzerland of the Middle East”, but as Professor Pilikian (who grew up there in the sixties) puts it,
“Converted into a … brothel, by and for the Saudi Arabian Sheikhs – hypocrites, who run to the mountains of Lebanon to guzzle alcohol, as endless as their petrol … guzzled in turn by their American slave-masters”.
Vahé-Vahian, tasting poverty, and through sheer hard-work turns himself into one of the great poets of Western Armenian literature. Unfortunately, unbearable tragedies strike him. As if the genocide by the Turkish beasts were not enough, Vahé-Vahian loses his beautiful wife, and then their second son to a fatal car crash in Dubai. Against all the odds, the last tragedy renders him even a greater poet … he conceives and publishes a unique book in world-literature; a father’s unbearable grief and lamentation for his son. And herein lies the second most powerful feature of Mrs. Behrent’s Blog – inspired by the most learned intellectual of the Armenian Diaspora (with University Degrees in English Literature, Social Anthropology, Economics, from Universities in the Lebanon, Germany, and Britain) Professor Hovhanness I. Pilikian’s translation and exegesis of Vahé-Vahian’s work, Mrs. Behrent has written a huge commentary with the clever ironic little title of a Brief Comment!
Mrs Behrent is entirely right to relate to the grand theme of Love propagated by Professor Pilikian as the grand theme of Vahé-Vahian’s poem. Her views are a tad naive and rosy-tinted, with US New Age hippy sweetness – go out and enjoy the sunshine! If you could find it of course in cold Britain – but strangely Mrs. Behrent’s heart-warming optimism works mental miracles as a total contrast to Professor Pilikian’s powerful, mind-blowing socio-political ideas.
Mrs. Behrent escapes personal controversy shrewdly by publishing directly citations/gems from the Professor’s intellectual treasure-house. Upon the basis of this Blog alone, one can confidently consider the Professor to be one of the great thinkers of our time, Karl Marx & Sigmund Freud in one – Pilikian is definitely the most inventive and innovative of the lot, always evidence-led even in a most boring field of study such as Theology; the Professor argues very convincingly that the Pre-Socratic philosophers were a great source of influence in the construction of the Christian dogma. This idea (as all of the Professor’s radically new ideas) is worth a whole PhD thesis!
A Polymath, by definition an expert in many fields of knowledge, Professor Pilikian’s incredible discovery of Picasso’s famous outraged horse in Guernica, the most powerful anti-war painting in Art-history, found in a Lady Elizabeth’s 19th c. anti-war Painting, is an unexpected major art-archaeological find.
Finally, the most extraordinary paradigmatic shift yet affected by Professor Pilikian in the context of world-wars (in plural) is the following; Granted that thenotion is common (first propagated by the gay Bloomsbury set) that the 2nd World War happened because the victors of the First were too harsh with the instigators (the German Kaiser and his ‘British’-imperialist set), the Professor argues that in fact the Germans were not punished enough for a deed that cost the world 20 million dead, and equal numbers of the maimed. Professor Pilikian offers the outstanding concept that actually there only was a single World War, the First stretched into the Second, extended further into the Korean War … in terms of statistical numbers, perhaps 200 million people were killed as a result of idiots, like hyenas tearing nations apart for almost half a century of the 20th …
According to the Professor, “the Military, were they not such butchers, are always ridiculously hilarious with their stiff rhythmic walking in North Korea, and oven-heat producing tall fur hats of the daily British Changing of the Guards – we laugh at the Koreans, but tourists take selfies with the equally ridiculous Brits! Alas, this is the way of the world – one is loved and the other is hated precisely for the same reason…”
Mrs. Behrent has most kindly dedicated her Blog to several distinguished Editors of multilingual Armenian websites, Messrs Garabed Hakopian (from Sweden), Yervand Khosrofian (from Germany), Simon Aynedjian (from Cyprus), Dikran Aprahamian & Jerry Tutunijian (from Canada), and the Milton Keynes poet Richard Skellington, founder-Editor of Britain’s Open University Forum on the Net.
What is even more extraordinary, is Mrs. Behrent’s next sweetest thought – she has dedicated her Blog to the global Readers, every one of them, of those websites where they had read Professor Pilikian’s published translation of Vahé-Vahian’s unique world-masterpiece. She calls upon them to re-appear and inscribe their names on her Blog as a Memorial Stele honouring the great Armenian poet himself, Vahé-Vahian.