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The Literary Groong - 03/26/2005

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	By Ara Baliozian

	The ghetto in Athens were I was born and raised
	has been torn down and paved over.
	The school in Venice where I was educated
	has been converted to a hotel.
	Even so, they continue to live in my memory and dreams.
	Canada, where I have spent most of my life,
	has so far failed to enter my dream world.
	From my days in Venice
	I remember Garo Basmajian,
	a pale sickly boy of fifteen from Marseilles
	who knew the PETIT LAROUSSE by heart
	and could identify a Rossini overture
	as surely as a Mozart symphony
	and a Beethoven sonata.
	What happened to him?
	I have made several attempts to reestablish contact
	without any results.
	I remember Padre Elia Pechikian, (Elia the Good),
	a Mekhitarist monk and headmaster of the Moorat-Raphael
	who loved to reminisce about his childhood
	in a tiny village in some forgotten corner of the Ottoman Empire.
	"When I asked my dad about the size of the moon,"
	he once said, "he replied: `Same as our backyard.'
	The poor fellow - he was just an uneducated farmer."
	I remember Padre Elia (the Bad)
	another Mekhitarist headmaster and a notorious sadist
	who believed and practiced corporal punishment.
	He ended his career by defrocking himself and
	running away to Argentina with a young mistress from Beirut.

Ara Baliozian was born in Athens, Greece and received his education
in Venice, Italy. He lives in Ontario, Canada and writes in
Armenian and English and has published over 20 books of his
works. He has translated works from Armenian writers, such as
Grigor Zohrab, Zabel Yessayan, and Kostan Zarian into English.

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