In May of 1995, members of the Compatriotic Union of Habousi decided to embark on the project of translating the History of the Village of Habousi from Armenian into English. Both young and old members hoped to make accessible to all generations a sense of our history and a better understanding of our culture. What we did not realize at the time is that this project would become so much more.
The original History of the Village of Habousi was published in 1963. As the reader will learn in the 1963 preface, the contributors were aware of the historical, geographic and ethnographic significance of their undertaking. The moral obligation that compelled them to compile a history of the village, destroyed by the genocide, for posterity and to honor the people and community devastated by the massacres was not only courageous but wise. It is true that Habousi geographically no longer exists, and the land is submerged in water, as a result to the construction of the Kevan dam by the Turkish government in this region. However, through this document the reader will soon learn that the spirit of this village of Kharpert will continue to thrive from generation to generation. For equally important to the geographical and historical information is the knowledge of Habousetzies’ love for education, human values, their piety, entrepreneurial spirit, self defense, and strong community spirit.
This English version is not a literal translation. The Book Committee and the editor deemed it necessary to rid the English version from repetitions, to abbreviate certain chapters while expanding others, to include maps and a historical sketch by Christopher Walker and David Marshall Lang, and where noted to anglicize some of the original names. All this was done to enable the reader to better comprehend the History of Habousi while maintaining the spirit and sense of pride from the original authors.
Finally, we hope to bridge readers not only with the past but with a new generation of Armenia. Habousetzies, once again, have the opportunity to contribute to the prosperity of an independent homeland. This new homeland’s strength is encouraged by our support while we pay homage to our ancestors.
In spite of the historical significance of this document, for some readers this book will be a personal journey. For beyond the written text, the voices of your parents, grandparents or great grandparents may suddenly awaken and the stories become familiar. Once again, the Compatriotic Union of Habousi felt a moral obligation to insure that these voices were heard and not forgotten. Hence our decision to translate the original document into English.
In 1963, when the History of the Village of Habousi was published, our ancestors left a legacy to their descendants that identified the hardships and challenges of the past. In 1996, we hope that the reader not only understands those hardships but also appreciates the spirit in which the challenges were overcome. Habousetzies’ respect for human dignity and perseverance transcend time and are qualities that make both Armenians and non-Armenians proud.
Compatriotic Union of Habousi