By ANNA GASPARYAN, ANCA
The ANCA-Western Region Education Committee organized a “kinetzon”, or wine blessing, for one of its own members, author Katia Tavitian Karaguezian, in a book launch for Forbidden Homeland, a personal account of diaspora with a focus on the Armenian Genocide and the ongoing Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict.
“The ANCA-WR Education Committee was pleased to host the traditional Armenian book blessing, Kinetzon,” said Alice Petrossian, Chairperson of the ANCA-WR Education Committee. “Birthing a book is as difficult as birthing a child. Katia Tavitian Karageuzian has made us proud by telling her story through the lens of our painful history.”
“They say when you send the universe question marks, sometimes it sends you back the answers,”remarked Katia. Forbidden Homeland is a true account of the author’s family’s survival story and how a seemingly unremarkable comment she made in college led to the discovery of her roots and heritage.
The launch took place at the Glendale Public Library, where over 200 Armenian-American community members, public officials, and the author’s family members packed the hall to hear excerpts from the book and to witness the wine blessing, initiating its success.
“A whole community with churches, schools, and centers had risen from muddy marshes thanks to the will of an exiled people who fought to survive by rebuilding a new home to identify with” read artist and MC, Arpi Krikorian, from the chapter “Bourj Hammoud”.
Katia Karageuzian expressed her gratitude to the ANCA-WR Board and Education Committee for their support of the project. She went over some historic facts covered in her memoir adding, “And so it is, that regional players continue to use Armenian lands to negotiate compromises and push for their interests, while we constantly fight to hang on to our ever-shrinking forbidden homeland.” She hopes that her book will not only be a conversation starter when it comes to sharing our diverse backgrounds but that it will also reveal truths about the Armenian Genocide that seems to be continuing today in Artsakh and Armenia.
The timely launch of Forbidden Homeland sheds light on the origins and root causes of the Karabakh Conflict. After 44 long days of Azerbaijan’s illegal blockade, the United States and other western countries continue their shocking inaction: withholding aid for the Armenians in Artsakh who are at the brink of starvation and a complete lack of life-saving resources.