Alas… Yet Inspirational


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I haven’t even gotten to write the second one, and now I’m compelled to write the “third” tribute/testimonial/memorial of the year. I had feared this might become a more frequently occurring duty, but never would I have thought that I’d be trying to address the loss of a 28- and 30-year-old couple. Setting my fingers to the keyboard to write this piece just has not come easy.

The tragedy has sent severe shock waves throughout our dispersed nation, not just because of Allen Yekikian and Sosé Thomassian’s age, but because they embodied so much of what all of us claim to want to do. They were doing it, bit by bit. “They were my reality show” is how one friend described it.

I cannot claim the honor of having known them well, especially Sosé. But I’ve seen Allen in action. He had a good moral compass, and wasn’t afraid to use it. He’d stake out a position and defend it tenaciously. Usually he was right. He had a low tolerance for foolishness, and challenged it, not just for kicks, but to improve our collective existence. I mean, how can one not be proud of and respect a man who joins the ARF, and, when asked why, responds that he wants to fix it?

Allen and Sosé did the right things. They were in the AYF—and not passively, but energetically, and led by action and example. They took on responsibilities. Allen worked for Asbarez and updated much of the electronic communications capacity of the publication. Then he moved on to a non-profit, and finally found the way to parlay his Armenian and work experience into a pathway to repatriation, taking on a position with the American University of Armenia.

They’re gone, but the connections they made along the way throughout the diaspora and homeland will keep their memory alive. Far more importantly, the path they traveled can serve as a guide to others who have not been able to find their way back to the homeland Armenians crave. Who knows, some might even widen that path and start the return to Turkish-occupied Western Armenia.

Let Allen and Sosé’s deaths at the hands of a reckless bus driver not be in vain. Let them inspire us to always do the right thing for our struggle.