Hye Oozh hosts Vartush Mesropyan, Tatevik Ekezian and Marine Vardanyan (Photo by Paul Schlesinger/The Collegian)
Hye Oozh on Fresno State’s 90.7 KFSR-FM broadcasted a special episode dedicated to the 100th anniversary to the Armenian Genocide.
The radio station’s only ethnic program played patriotic music dedicated to Armenia and music related to the genocide alongside interviews with former host Sevag Tateosian and Barlow Der Murgrdechian, Armenian Studies Program coordinator and professor.
Students from the Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School also were invited into the studio to read poetry in Armenian and English.
Tatevik Ekezian, co-host and program director said that she was “hoping and praying every day and have for as long as I’ve known about the genocide for recognition, and we’re going to continue to do that.”
Ekezian spoke about the importance of teaching young Armenians about the genocide.
“You give your children your culture, their heritage, you never let them forget it,” she said.
“That’s the only way to survive and flourish and prosper, and, yes, one day we will get our recognition,” Ekezian said.
Tateosian was interviewed by Ekezian and spoke about his love living in the U.S., and it’s because it gives “us an opportunity to eat, work, put a roof over our head.”
“We don’t have to worry about some people with guns, the government coming after us,” he said, “moving us from our homes, marching us through the desert like the Ottoman Turks did in 1915.”
Der Murgrdechian said that every generation of students has to really find a way to communicate and give back to the community.
He said that it didn’t matter how students got involved.
“It doesn’t have to be related to the Armenian Genocide,” Der Murgrdechian said. “There’s a rich culture, language, arts, history and whatever you are good at doing, you need to give back to the community in those areas.”
Der Murgrdechian also discussed the unveiling of the Armenian Genocide Monument on Thursday and spoke about the energy of the night.
“If we could’ve captured the spirit and the emotion of that night and just say that we could spread it out for the next ten years,” he said.
“I think our Armenian community here, in Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley, at the end of that ten years, you’d see, just a transformed community.”
Marine Vardanyan, co-host of Hye Oozh, spoke about being a part of the radio program and particularly the centennial commemoration episode.
“Being a host of this show throughout the years and especially today as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the genocide,” she said. “it’s just, I think I speak for all of them when we say it gives us more hope for the future.”
Vardanyan said that having the children from the Armenian school participate in the radio program’s centennial commemoration episode “gets us more excited for the fact that this will ensure that in the future, Hye Oozh will continue to be around.”
“We’ll have more students who will come and contribute their time and we’ll be able to impact the community as we have been doing,” she said.
Ekezian said that the radio program serves as a niche station to make sure the Armenian community in the Valley stays united.
“The important part of this is and it comes from our history and really, with the genocide in mind,” Ekezian said. “That we really were so close to extinction, and this is why we should stay united.”
“It’s not to say we exclude anybody else, in fact we include as many as we can,” Ekezian said, “but this is our way of staying united so we don’t lose that part of our culture and our heritage.”
Co-host Vartush Mesropyan talked about how a phone call from a loyal listener named Joan, who calls every Saturday, felt impacted by the genocide commemoration program.
Mesropyan said that Joan told her that she was “so emotional by hearing your program today, and I love it so much. It really touched my heart.”
“You know, it’s things like this that we have to, of course, bring the students in,” Mesropyan said. “Bring everyone in and just to show them that, hey, we’re still alive and no matter the centennial or just as an Armenian, as a person, we have to do everything we can to you know, to keep the Armenian culture alive in Fresno of course.”