BY PETER MUSURLIAN
It is hard to imagine a comfortable mix of cartoons and genocide, but artist and author Lucine Kasbarian has done just that in her new book.
Perspectives from Exile is a hundred pages you can breeze through in a day of focused reading, but it will leave you thinking for weeks to come.
The book showcases the exceptional political cartoons of the author. The artwork is good and serves its purpose. But, much more important is the long-time activist’s point-of-view, enhanced by keen observational skills and a lifetime of experience reading, writing, thinking about, and participating-in Armenian issues. Not many Armenian-Americans could do what Kasbarian has done. In fact, one might suggest no other Armenian-American could combine such concise and profound opinions, in this genre, on such topics as: Hrant Dink, the Armenian Genocide, Turkish hypocrisy, corruption in Armenia, and assimilation in the diaspora.
Each cartoon leaves the reader thinking. Perhaps Kasbarian’s pointed perspectives leave some of them righteously indignant and others amused, but always intellectually stimulated.
The political cartoons were part of a 2015 Massachusetts exhibition commemorating the Armenian Genocide Centenary at the Cambridge School of Weston. Conceptualized and edited by Todd Bartel, director of the Thompson Gallery at the Cambridge School, the book also contains pictures from the exhibit, an insightful interview with Bartel and the author, and a gripping account (and update) of a trip she took to Der Zor in 2010, which she calls, “A Pilgrimage to the Killing Fields of the Armenian Genocide.”
Perspectives from Exile should be in every Armenian-American school library and taught in social studies classes in each one of those schools.
What Kasbarian has done is unique and a major contribution to understanding the relationship between Armenians, Turks, and America, in the context of the Armenian Genocide over the past 100 years of denial, propaganda, and moral failure.
Perspectives from Exile is available through the author’s website at lucinekasbarian.com.