Fresno State grad recalls when he wrote for the student newspaper — the Armenian one | Opinion

It seems like yesterday I wandered through the hallways of Fresno State, books in hand, running from class to class. During my morning breaks that I purposely created in my schedule to hang out outside what was the Carl’s Jr. area, I’d talk to friends and we’d people watch. As a first-generation college student, Fresno State was an enjoyable experience for me.

My first published article was when I was a student at Fresno State. Even though I’ve been writing for The Fresno Bee for decades, it wasn’t in The Bee. Instead, it was for the Hye Sharzoom (Armenian Action), an ethnic supplement to The Collegian published twice a year and still available in print.

Hye Sharzoom celebrated its 45-year anniversary this year. In fact, the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State dedicated its student scholarship banquet to talk about the 45 years of Hye Sharzoom. With articles written and edited by students, the paper offers an incredible hands-on experience.

An everlasting memory was the evenings before Hye Sharzoom was mailed out. To mitigate costs, a group of students would volunteer to fold and label the papers being mailed out. I remember labeling copies of the newspaper and seeing addresses all over the United States, in Mexico and Canada, and countries in other continents.


Reminiscing on those days, I recently scrolled through the paper’s archives, which are located at The hundreds of editions and thousands of articles are a testament to the resilience of Armenian-Americans and their push to tell their stories. Rightfully so, the topic of the Armenian Genocide over the years always seems to be on the minds of the student writers and editors, many of whom are children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of survivors.

As April 24 approaches, papers like Hye Sharzhoom become even more important. It is during this time that the world pauses to remember the plight of the Armenians in what was the first genocide of the 20th century — a dark chapter in the book of a people first mentioned in 7th century BC, according to several sources.

As far as recognition has come, there still is work to do. Modern-day Turkey, for one, continues to deny that a genocide occurred. Member of the Turkic world, Azerbaijan, just finished forcefully removing 120,000 Armenians who lived in the autonomous region of Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s president, whose wife is vice president and whose country enjoys a “not free” rating by Freedom House, called this a “cleansing” of Karabakh.

Then you have Pakistan, who despite their own challenges, does not even recognize that Armenia exists. These countries create a dangerous situation for the region and fears for the safety of the Armenians.

This year on April 24 at 6:30 p.m., the community will gather at the Armenian Genocide Monument located at Fresno State, not too far from that same bench that was once outside of that Carl’s Jr. where my friends and I hung out. Flowers will be laid in memory of those who perished. This will be followed by a church service and musical selection.

Other programs in the Valley include a lecture at Reedley College on April 17 at 6:30 PM and the raising of the Armenian flag at City Hall on April 24.

After the events, I’ll monitor Hye Sharzhoom to read the articles about this year’s commemorative activities and think about the thousands of readers across the world who’ll get glimpse into the activities of Fresno’s Armenian Americans.

Sevag Tateosian of Fresno is host and producer of San Joaquin Spotlight and the Armenian News Update on TalkRadio 1550 KXEX, CMAC Fresno/Clovis and Anchor FM podcasts.

Sevag Tateosian Contributed/Special to The Bee
Sevag Tateosian Contributed/Special to The Bee