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
to see Sarkis Zeitlian Publications