Monday, 16 December

Armenian Prime Minister Attends Aznavour Tribute in Paris: "To my greatest regret, I did not meet the great maestro"

Below is the unedited Armenian government press release regarding the participation of an Armenian delegation, led by PM Nikol Pashinyan, in today's National Day of Hommage for Charles Aznavour in Paris.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, his spouse Mrs. Anna Hakobyan, President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian and his spouse Mrs. Nune Sarkissian, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II attended the national homage ceremony for world-renowned Armenian chansonnier Charles Aznavour, which was held at the Palace of Invalids (Hotel des Invalides) in Paris today.

The event was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and his spouse Mrs. Brigitte Macron, former French Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, prominent public, political and cultural figures, as well as representatives of the Armenian community of France.

The French National Guard Orchestra performed the national anthems of Armenia and France, after which Prime Minister Pashinyan and President Macron approached Charles Aznavour’s family members and expressed condolences to them.

In his speech, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated, in part:

“Honorable Mr. President of the French Republic,
Honorable President of the Republic of Armenia,
Mr. Prime Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Parliamentarians,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Representatives of Government and Diplomatic Corps,
Dear Ulla Aznavour,
Dear Aznavour family members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we are here to pay homage to French chanson’s Great Master Charles Aznavour.

For about eight decades, his name made millions of faces smile, accelerated or slowed down the breath of tens of millions of people, sparkling in hundreds of millions of eyes. On October 1, 2018, this name dropped the world and the course of international life by placing an unbearable glimpse of sadness on the faces of hundreds of millions of people, releasing its latest and most massive poster on front pages of the world’s leading media: “Charles Aznavour dies, aged 94."

What did all these titles and headlines mean after all: vanity or despair? Not at all, these posters were telling about this great man’s and his dynasty’s glorious victory over destiny. Charles Aznavour’s ancestors escaped from the Armenian Genocide and eventually settled in France, which hosted hundreds of thousands of Armenians. Here, Vaghinak Aznavouryan was born who was to be known to the world as Charles Aznavour

After defying many challenges, Vaghinak-Charles finally found his calling, but no one believed in his success except for himself. Everyone tried to dissuade him by saying that the stage was not his job; singing was not his calling, and that destiny had been too generous to him by saving his parents from the Genocide. But Vaghinak Aznavouryan needed no compassion but a mission, and he knew his mission, and that mission was an incredible way to grow into Charles Aznavour

And he sang and wrote, and he wrote and sang in empty and half-empty halls, and he sang tirelessly, and gave the mankind sufficient notice to understand and realize that a great star was emerging in the world of culture that had to “explode” the globe’s most prestigious halls for the next couple of decades.

And his voice was spread all over the world; it reached the most distant countries and was able to warm up even the coldest hearts.

To my greatest regret, I did not manage to get acquainted with the great Maestro. But believe me, I perceive him as a close relative of mine just as any other Armenian does, since every Armenian thinks of him as a kind of kinsman who has carried our name to the world, who gave us a new sense of pride and a new tint by entertaining his historical homeland’s and nation’s pains, concerns and dreams.

This is why Charles Aznavour was awarded the title of National Hero of Armenia. But he had earned this title not only for his singer’s genius, but also for his undeniable merit in the establishment of the Republic of Armenia.

Streets and public squares are called after his name in Armenia; his statue has been standing in Armenia’s second largest city of Gyumri for many years now, and he is probably the only person in Armenia who has been staged during his lifetime.

A day of national mourning will be marked in Armenia in connection with the passing of Charles Aznavour as an expression of the greatest love that every Armenian has for the great Frenchman and the great citizen of the world.

Honorable President of the French Republic, Mr. Emmanuel Macron,

As we bid the last farewell to Charles Aznavour, I cannot help conveying our people’s feeling of special respect and deep gratitude for your country. And on behalf of the entire Armenian nation, I would like to express gratitude to the French Republic and to all Frenchmen for giving refuge to our compatriots who survived the Genocide, as well as for providing a propitious environment for the development of Armenian talents, such as Charles Aznavour, Henry Verneuil, George Garvarents, Garzou, Jansem. Thus, France has become a favorite oasis for our people’s revival.

Indeed, Charles Aznavour was a great devotee of France, a great French citizen, an unparalleled distributor of the French language, and in the meantime, he was a great contributor and citizen of Armenia; he was the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia. He used to share in all the troubles of Armenia: our people could witness his care during the devastating earthquake that hit the country thirty years ago; he was with us all the way through the hardships we faced after the reinstatement of independence.

Charles Aznavour was not indifferent to the non-violent velvet revolution in Armenia. In a recent letter to me, he wrote, in particular: “I look forward to traveling to the new Armenia and getting acquainted with those healthy forces that will shape our nation’s future, as soon as my health permits.”


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