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Farewell Aleppo

May 21, 2014
One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on Earth, Aleppo became a staging ground and refuge for tens of thousands of Genocide survivors.

One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on Earth, the city of Aleppo, Syria became a staging ground and refuge for tens of thousands of Armenian Genocide survivors.

by Paylag Khatchadourian (1906-1991)

Քաղաք մըն ես դուն արաբական,
Ծննդավայր իմ պատուական.
Աչքս բացի քեզի տեսայ,
Գիտցայ թէ ա´լ քաղաք չկայ։

Իմ հայրենիք երկրորդական,
Ժողովրդովդ սիրական.
Եղար հայուն բարի պաշտպան
Տուիր մեզի հաց ապաստան։

Ապրեցանք մենք միշտ միասին
Որպէս եղբայր հայն արապին.
Գործեցինք մենք միշտ միասին,
Որպէս անկեղծ Սուրիայի։

Մօտ է օրը մեր բաժանման,
Իմ մանկութեան լոյսի խորան.
Պիտի յիշենք քեզ տեւական,
Իմ մանկութեան յոյսի խորան։

Էջմիածնայ կոչնակը հնչեց,
Զաւակները իր քովը կանչեց.
Կը բաժնուիմ քեզմէ սիրով
Հալէպ քաղաք մնաս բարով։

Born in Erzerum, Turkey in 1906, Paylag Khatchadourian lost his parents, grandparents, uncle, three sisters and one brother in the Genocide. Barely escaping the atrocities himself, he was placed in the Kalekian Armenian orphanage in Syria. At the age of 18, Khatchadourian was released from the orphanage. He continued his education and subsequently settled with his family in Aleppo.

Written as the author was preparing to emigrate to Armenia along with thousands of others during the great repatriation of 1946, the poem poignantly conveys the tender love of countless Armenian genocide survivors for Aleppo, which became their “precious birthplace” and “second fatherland.” Today, as this historic city lies in ruins, the poem resonates in a new and tragic strain.

The poem was submitted by Dr. Aida Khatchadourian of Orlando, Florida, daughter of the poet, who died in 1991.

Read more about the Repatriation of 1946.

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One Comment
  1. Dear Zohrab Center: This is indeed a very touching poem. I can certainly understand why the poet has such intense loyalty to Aleppo. It is too bad Syria has been dominated by the Assad family for so many years. Without them maybe things would have gone better recently for the Armenians. Apparently the Syrian Armenians and other Syrian Christians are all supporters of the Assad regime. A Faustian bargain, indeed. Thankyoufor sharing this beautiful poem.  Anoush Miridjanian

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