‘For eight decades this name engraved smiles on millions of faces’ – Armenian PM’s eulogy at Charles Aznavour’s state funeral in Paris

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Society

Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan delivered a speech at the national homage ceremony honoring Charles Aznavour in Paris, France.

“We gathered today to bow and honor the great master of French chanson, Charles Aznavour. For eight decades this name has engraved smiles on millions of faces, has excited or calmed the breath of tens of millions, has injected glow in hundreds of millions of eyes.

And on October 1, 2018, this name stopped the world and international life for a moment, bringing an irreversible grief to the faces of hundreds of millions of people, publishing its last biggest poster in the headlines of leading newspapers of the world : « Charles Aznavour has died at the age of 94 ».

But what do these headlines tell us about? Emptiness or despair? Not at all, these headlines tell about the glorious victory of this great man and his family against his own destiny.

Charles Aznavour’s predecessors, surviving the Armenian Genocide, roamed worldwide and eventually settled in France, a country which gave shelter and hope to hundreds of thousands of Armenians, where Vaghinak Aznavour was born from, who then went on to become the great Charles Aznavour.

Bearing unimaginable difficulties, Vaghinak-Charles eventually found his calling, but no one else other than himself believed in this calling. Everyone was convincing him, explaining, that the stage isn’t his business, that singing isn’t his calling, that destiny in itself had been very generous toward him, by saving his parent from the disaster of genocide.

But Vaghinak Aznavuryan didn’t need compassion, but a mission, and he knew his mission and this mission was the unimaginable path of becoming Charles Aznavour. And he sang, he wrote, and he wrote and sang in empty and semi-empty halls and he sang tirelessly and without stopping and gave humanity time to understand and realize that a great star has originated in the skies of the global culture, which has yet to “blow up” the most prestigious concert halls of the world for several decades.

And his voice spread in all parts of the world, it reached the most remote countries and warmed up even the coldest hearts.

Unfortunately I did not manage to personally know the great master, Charles Aznavour. But believe me, I perceive him as my closest friend. Any Armenian perceives him this way, because Aznavour is the person who increased the name of Armenians to new heights, who gave new breath to the pride of Armenians, who was able to live with the pains, concerns and dreams of his historic homeland and his people.

This is also the reason that Charles Aznavour was awarded the title of National Hero of Armenia. But he earned this title not only with his genius of a chansonnier, but for the unforgettable contribution for the establishment of the Republic of Armenia.

Streets and Squares are named after him in Armenia, while his majestic statue rises for already many years in Armenia’s second city of Gyumri, and he is perhaps the only man for whom a statue was erected in Armenia in his living years.

Mourning is declared in Armenia on the occasion of Charles Aznavour’s death and this all expresses the kind of Armenian love, which any Armenian, any Armenian with no exception has for this great man, this great Frenchman, this great citizen of the world.

Your Excellency President of France Mr. Emmanuel Macron,

During this monumental farewell ceremony of Charles Aznavour, I can’t not express the special respect and gratitude that our people have for your country. I would like to express the gratitude of the Armenian people to the French state and all French people for giving shelter to our people who survived the genocide and creating favorable environment for the development of Armenian talent.

Armenians of France have given names such as Charles Aznavour, Henri Verneuil, Georges Garvarentz, Jansem, Carzou and France became a kind oasis of the rebirth of our people.

Certainly, Charles Aznavour, was a great devotee of France, a great citizen of France, a unique messenger of French, but he was also a great defender of Armenia, a citizen of Armenia, and Ambassador of Armenia.

He was living with the concerns of Armenia, and our people saw and felt his care during the major earthquake which took place thirty years ago, during all the difficult years of Armenia’s independence.

Charles Aznavour also did not remain indifferent towards the non violent, velvet, democratic revolution which took place in Armenia, and in the last letter addressed to me he in part wrote : « As soon as my health will allow, I am planning to visit new Armenia and get to know the healthy forces which will develop the future of our nation. »

The great maestro was planning to visit Armenia next week, on the occasion of the 17th La Francophonie summit, and I promised him to introduce to New Armenia, I promised that he would instantly feel the optimism and spirit of the victorious citizens of New Armenia.

Unfortunately, I was unable to keep this promise, i regret, that nevertheless Aznavour managed to address his final message to New Armenia in the letter written to me, saying : I heartily want Armenia’s youth to be able to display its entire potential and make their dreams come true in Armenia.

Dear Maestro, Honorable Charles Aznavour,

In your letter, you accurately coined what the Armenian people want, what the Armenian youth wants. And now, here, in front of the entire world I want to solemnly promise to you, that we will make your dream come true. I would like to reassure that I am selflessly dedicated to the work which must make New Armenia the way you dreamt about it. Free and happy Armenia will truly be the worthy appreciation toward your unforgettable contribution towards the Armenian people and Armenia.

I bow before you, great Frenchman, great Armenian, great artist, great humanist.

Rest in Peace, dear Maestro,’ Pashinyan said.

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS