On Monday 3 December, His Holiness Aram I sponsored a special evening to inaugurate the publication of Chris Bohjalian’s The Sand Castle Girls.
The two speakers of the evening were Dr. Ayda Ekmekji, Head of the Department of Arts and Sciences of Haigazian University, and the Lebanese author, Mishel Ma’ayki. Dr. Ekmekji spoke of the importance of Bohjalian’s works and the praise they have received from both the Armenian and international communities She noted that they have been translated into 25 languages. Mr Ma’ayki, speaking in Arabic, said that The Sand Castle Girls expresses the collective subconscious of the Armenian people living with the memories of the genocide.
He then spoke of his experience of being brought up by a Swedish mother and the Armenian parents of his dead father.
After a brief cultural evening, His Holiness addressed the audience, and said, “By writing this novel, Chris Bohjalian has described the atrocities of the genocide and through his research and visits to the sites related to the life and genocide of the Armenian people, he has lived the experience of his grandparents’ sufferings.” His Holiness noted that the Catholicosate of Cilicia began as an orphanage that sheltered the children of the genocide, and today is the centre that is claiming the restoration of justice and compensation to the genocide’s survivors.