Showing that this land is not only a source of tensions and massacres, but also nurtures unforgettable love stories, “Aşiq û Maşûq – Kurdish-Armenian love stories from Armenian sources” brings three unforgettable tales which are part of oral history and handed down from generation to generation. The common ground of these tales is not only impossible loves; they also voice Anatolia, Mesopotamia and all unique Dersim and reveal the life of Armenian and Kurdish peoples.
Last work of Sarkis Seropyan , based on three love stories that he compiled in Armenian and then translated to Turkish, is published by Aras Publishing.
Showing that this land is not only a source of tensions and massacres, but also nurtures unforgettable love stories, “Aşiq û Maşûq” brings three unforgettable tales which are part of oral history and handed down from generation to generation: “Siyamanto and Xıçezare”, “Lur da Lur”, “King Lusig and Sedev Hovig”. The common ground of these tales is not only impossible loves; they also voice land of Anatolia, Mesopotamia and all unique Dersim and reveal the life of Armenian and Kurdish peoples.
“Sare Sipane or Siyamanto and Xıçezare” (1884), which was written down by Bishop Karekin Srvantzdyants who travelled the villages in Anatolia and Caucasus and compiled tales and myths from people and “Lur da Lur” (1904) by historian, educator and author Vırtanes Papazyan were recorded as Kurdish tales. Published by ethnologist and historian Sarkis Hayguni, “King Lusig and Sedev Hovig” (1900) was recorded in Dersim. Talking about this tale, Seropyan once said, “I cannot categorize it; I cannot call it Kurdish, Armenian or Alevi tale.” Though the language of the narrator exhibits particularly Armenian elements, the tale probably belongs to common culture.
In this regard, the tales reveal the collective memory and imagination of the societies that created them and also have a documentary power that records a long-lost life. First two stories ‘Siyamanto and Xıçezare’ and ‘Lur da Lur’ are Kurdish folk myths. This effort might be a proof to the fact that geographical fellowship beats ethnic identity, since the common land is highly respected and the love of noble girl and the shepherd is universal.
“King Lusig and Sedev Hovig” is the love story of a highborn and a shepherd. However, the casting is different. Quite unusually, the shepherd in this tale is woman. Furthermore, she is not a beauty at the beginning. On the contrary, she is depicted as a freaky creature. Sedev blossoms as her parents begin to accept her as she is and her skills as a shepherd becomes more important than her beauty. King Lusig and Sedev Hovig go through their separate but similar processes of self-discovery. Thus, this unusual tale contains two Odysseus, one is female and other is male, and two separate journeys. The third character of the story is Dersim itself, witnessing all of these journeys. That is why this is also the tale of the rebel Dersim.
The creator of the book, Sarkis Seropyan emphasizes the paths of Kurdish and Armenian people that crossed especially in Dersim in the preface: “We can follow the customs and traditions, or cultures, of ancient peoples of our land through written literature. However, in order to read these examples, you have to be able to read the language of the people in question or you have to wait for them to be translated. Back to the book in your hands, our topic is “Kurdish literature” or the limited number of “Kurdish tales” that we were able to find; naturally, they were altered over time as they spread by the word of mouth and became different than the original… I present this work, which is a mix of one Armenian tale and two Kurdish tales and I saved as ‘fellow tales’, to the lovers of Kurdish literature, Armenians of Dersim and those who struggle for coexistence of people.”
Rober Koptaş, editor of the book, speaks about the excitement he feels by this tales: “Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Greek, Syriac, Jewish, Laz, Cherkes, Alevi , Arab and many other people living on this land contributed to our common culture with their common or peculiar narrations. From time to time, especially as a result of statist and nationalist perspectives and practices, there have been efforts to standardize or silence this common culture; however, it managed to exist, be alive and improve. It hasn’t vanished. And “Aşiq û Maşûq – Kurdish-Armenian love stories from Armenian sources” is created for hailing this resilience and emphasizing common grounds and feelings of solidarity between peoples. Consisting of the tales compiled and translated from Armenian by dear journalist and translator Sarkis Seropyan whom we lost in 2015, this book emphasizes the immortality of cultures through two Kurdish and one Armenian tales based on love; we are thrilled to have published this work.”
Sarkis Seropyan chose to narrate an old life which was ended with various massacres and finally with 1915 Armenian Genocide through its lands, mythology, tales and especially through the truth and love etched upon peoples’ memories. And this is his last gift for us. With endless gratitude for his efforts and sole existence…