Legendary Charles Aznavour: Unquestionable Celebration of a Triumphant Life!
Posted on December. 18. 2018
BY APPO JABARIAN
EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER/MANAGING EDITOR
USA ARMENIAN LIFE MAGAZINE
A universally beloved, the internationally acclaimed Patriarch of French songs, legendary Armenian-French singing star and a hero – my hero, Charles Aznavour has passed on just a few days ago.
While it’s a monumental loss for me and for many fans and friends of the truly legendary Aznavour, it is also an unquestionable celebration of a triumphant life on all levels!
I’m a type of a person who firmly believes in immortality of the Spirit. And because of the strong belief in immortality of the human Spirit which is created by Almighty in the image of the Creator Himself, I consider human Spirit invincible.
Of course when I write the word “Spirit” with a capital “S,” I refer to those especially kind and big-hearted human beings who make a gigantic difference in the lives of millions or perhaps billions of human beings on planet earth! And certainly Aznavour is on top of the list. He embodies it!
I remember vividly when I was growing up in Lebanon and I was barely 10-11, I could not help but notice the melancholy of my father who was always a jovial man. But during those years I could tell he was going through some sort of difficulties.
Later, I found out that his shoe-designing and manufacturing business was suffering major losses as a result of the widespread economic downturn in Lebanon and the Middle East region, and my mother had started doing tailoring and sewing work at home to help my father raise their children — us.
It’s was during those years that I first ‘discovered’ Aznavour via radio transistors at a every step of the way that featured his deeply moving voice in our quarter of Nor Sis, Bourj Hammoud.
Our quarter was named after Turkish-occupied capital of Cilician Armenia and Bourj Hammoud had become an Armenian Lebanese municipality by the decree of Lebanese government as a gratitude for the hardworking Armenian Lebanese who had turned the barren lands of the area in a humble yet neat mini metropolis.
Everywhere I went I couldn’t help but hear Aznavour singing, and not just in Bourj Hammoud.
And of course during those years of financial hardship for my father, I slowly discovered that many other people including several first-generation survivors of Armenian Genocide like my grandfathers, and second-generation survivors like my parents, were going through triple whammies: 1) economic hardship; 2) deprivation of ancestral Armenian homeland as a result of forcible deportation by Turkey; 3) massive dispossession— like many millions of Armenians, our family had lost countless loved ones as well as real and personal properties in Armenia only few decades ago.
Later I also learned at school about Lebanese history and learned that our fellow Lebanese had their share of calamity as a result of the Turkish Ottoman atrocities in 1916’s Turkish-imposed famine, mass hanging and killings of both Christian and Muslim Lebanese.
As I became more and more aware of the intensity of the national calamity both on Armenian and mainstream Lebanese levels, and being in solidarity with all the victims regardless of their religion, race or ethnicity, my own pain started accumulating. As an avid and spiritually ‘thirsty’ fan, I joined those countless souls who were ‘addicted’ to Aznavour’s deeply philosophical yet nurturing songs. Aznavour kept empowering all of us — his fans maintain our sanity in this insane world.
In later years, during summer school breaks, when I had just turned 17, I had started working as a sales clerk at Bolmard Menswear Company in downtown Beirut. At his young age of 20, through his dedication and very personable character, my older brother Vatche had earned the respect and trust of company owner Mardiros Bolian who had promoted Vatche as general manager.
In order to get to work from Bourj Hammoud to Rue Weygand Street in Downtown Beirut’s Central Business District, I had to take a taxi or hop on a bus and Aznavour’s voice befriended me everywhere.
Nearly all his songs are still humming in my head. “Hier encore j’avais vingt ans,” Only yesterday, I was twenty years old… To this day, his songs continue ringing in my head and those years and scenes parade in my mind like a soothing movie.
Merci, Monsieur Charles!
May your Pathway to Eternity be forever illuminated!