By Ungh. MaryAnne Bonjuklian.
On a warm, Sunday afternoon, September 22, 2013, the four New Jersey chapters of the Armenian Relief Society, EUSA, once again joined together to celebrate the book signing of Vahan Zanoyan’s first novel, A Place Far Away. The event, with over one hundred in attendance, took place at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. Following a warm welcome by Ungh. Arpi Misserlian, chairlady of the ARS Spitak chapter of New Jersey, Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church performed a traditional book blessing (Kinetson) and congratulated the author and encouraged everyone to read the book. Mr. Zanoyan, a global energy expert, went on to talk about the book and his reasons for writing about this topic. Ungh. Houry Geudelekian, ARS Coordinator at the UN, welcomed Mr. Zanoyan and discussed the ARS involvement at the UN, attending workshops and seminars on human trafficking. Mr. Zanoyan asked Ani Tchaglassian to assist him in reading a few compelling excerpts from the text to give the audience a flavor of his style of writing. He continued by suggesting that the book, written in English and translated to Armenian, should be made available for all to read, in order to expose human trafficking, and suggested that purchased books be donated to local libraries. Finally, Mr. Zanoyan thanked his good friends, Mr. and Mrs. Vatche and Elbiz Baghdikian, who introduced him to the New York/New Jersey communities.
A Place Far Away, Mr. Zanoyan’s first novel, tells a tale of a poor family in a rural village of Armenia, who is so terribly affected by the greed and conspiracy of fellow Armenians to kidnap their beautiful daughter and sister from their home, and the journey the 16 year old girl endures while being trafficked from Armenia to Moscow, through the Middle East, Istanbul and back to Armenia. This book, depicts the world of human trafficking, but gives it the realistic edge, as readers, familiar with the people and setting of Armenia can readily understand, as well as others, not so familiar, can also relate. Mr. Zanoyan has previously authored two volumes of Armenian poetry, but felt compelled to write about human trafficking in Armenia to awaken the readers’ consciousness to the realities of what life in the poor villages can endure. He divides his time, residing in Southern California, Armenia and the Middle East.
All net proceeds from this event will be donated to Orran and the United Methodist Committee of Relief, organizations committed to protecting children and fighting human trafficking in Armenia. In addition, a portion of the proceeds of the signing event that was collected by the ARS was donated to Orran, as well.