(Biographical Notes)

Sarkis Zeitlian, the prominent nationalist leader, member of the Political Bureau of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and director of its international media network, was born in Musa Ler or Musa Dagh (in Armenian Cilicia, today Turkey). Fighting against oppression was a family tradition as his grandmother was a freedom fighter and his father was at the forefront of the war of liberation and an early recruit of the Armenian Company of the French Foreign Legion that won the battle of Arara (1918).
Sarkis Zeitlian was educated in Aindjar,then at the Armenian Seminary in Jerusalem and Nishan Palandjian Djemaran in Beirut, where he specialized in Armenian studies.
Early in his career as an educator and community activist in Egypt, Sarkis Zeitlian organized and headed a teachers’ movement to upgrade the educational standard of Armenian schools and improve the status of teachers. Later, when he became principal of Haratch School (Aindjar, Lebanon), he added the upper school grades and a facility for boarders.
Sarkis Zeitlian distinguished himself as editor of various ARF newspapers in Cairo (Housaper) and Beirut (Aztak and Droshak) and finally set the policy and ideological guidelines of the ARF media worldwide. As a member of ARF Central Committee in Lebanon, then ARF Bureau, he was acclaimed for his dedication to the ideological and moral integrity of the party. He had the foresight to organize the party’s defense structure which would be vital during the lengthy Lebanese civil war. At this juncture he had a decisive role in developing and implementing the positive neutrality policy of the ARF and in forging an alliance with all Lebanese Armenian political parties for the protection and empowerment of the Armenian community. Under his leadership the political rights of the Lebanese Armenian community were reinforced, Parliamentary representation was increased and at least two ministerial portfolios were assured. Moreover, as a member of ARF Bureau, Sarkis Zeitlian had a crucial leadership role in the renewal of the struggle for the resolution of the Armenian cause in the diaspora.
Sarkis Zeitlian was abducted in Beirut under cover of the Lebanese civil war on March 28, 1985 and subsequently disappeared. The wide ranging investigation of his disappearance confirmed that as the ideological pacesetter of ARF’s national orientation, he was abducted because of his firm belief in the necessity to achieve Armenia’s independence and to sustain its independent statehood.
Sarkis Zeitlian married Sona Simonian. The Zeitlians have four children.

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