Editor’s note: This post did not get posted on Tuesday (April 24) because of edits to this site.
By Blogger Christine Moughamian
One Yogini, Many Paths
Today, April 24, 2012 is the International Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923, when the Muslim Ottoman Empire systematically killed an estimated 1-1.5 million Christian Armenians.
The commemoration is marked in the United States by David Godine’s
release of Franz Werfel’s novel ‘The Forty Days of Musa Dagh.’ The new, expanded translation by James Reidel demands recognition as a major literary and cultural event.
Although a work of fiction, the 1933 novel is based on historical events. In his introduction to the book, Vartan Gregorian, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York, writes:
“…I had read ‘The Forty Days of Musa Dagh’ in Armenian, when I was a teenager, and it had made quite an impression on me…I believed – and still do – that ‘The Forty Days of Musa Dagh’ saved the Armenian genocide from being neglect and gave a literary symbol of survival and renewal to the Armenians.”
The novel centers on the struggle of a small Armenian community in a mountainous region of the former Ottoman Empire as they are deported and exterminated by a totalitarian regime. First published in Austria in November 1933, it achieved international success.
“To Armenians, Franz Werfel still embodies the conscience of European literature and its commitment to universal justice and the dignity of man.”
Moreover, it foreshadows the Jewish Holocaust by the Nazis during WWII.