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Jethro Tull performed in Yerevan

See story on page 10m

Diaspora Ministry seeks a "national council" See story on page 1 m

Bone Marrow Registry to honor Ralph Yirikian

See story on page 3m

Eastern U.S. Edition Number 116

May 30, 2009

the armenian reporter

On May 28, 2009, dancers help celebrate the 91st anniversary of Armenian independence. Photo: Mkhitar Khachatryan/Photolure.

On Armenian independence day, a visit to Sardarapat, symbol of Armenian pride

See story by Tatul Hakobyan on page 1 m

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The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009

Number 116

May 30, 2009

Armenia President Serge Sargsian says amnesty for March 1 detainees depends on public sentiment

President Serge Sargsian said on May 28 that he would declare an amnesty for dozens of people imprisoned in connection with unrest that followed the February 2008 presidential elections ­ but only if Armenia's leading political groups show that there is strong public support for such a move. The Speaker of parliament had earlier said that the president would announce an amnesty on May 28. See story on page 20m

the armenian reporter

At Sardarapat, Armenians proudly celebrate indepedence

Nowhere in Armenia is there as much energy as at this monument

by Tatul Hakobyan

Commentary Turkish intellectuals and state denial

In a speech delivered on May 9 in Althen-le-Paluds, France, Laurent Leylekian argues that the Turkish political field is not neatly divided between ultranationalists who deny the Armenian Genocide and a progressive, pro-European civil society that advocates cosmopolitanism and favors recognition of the Genocide. In fact, he argues, there are those who oppose the Turkish state system and those who simply want to improve its image by giving its most questionable practices a more cosmetic appearance.

ARAKS VILLAGE, Armavir Province, Armenia ­ "My name is Karen." "My name is Rafael." "My name is Narek." "My name is Lazar." "My name is Armen." See story on page 22m "My name is Alex." "My name is Hrant." Arts & Culture The fifth-graders of City of Artik School No. 3 introduced themselves Al Pacino during their May 22 field trip to the Sardarapat Memorial Complex. to play They were accompanied by their Jack teachers and parents. Asked what had happened here Kevorkian at Sardarapat, they spoke at the on HBO same time, completing each other's Al Pacino will sentences: "The Armenians beat star in an HBO the Turks because the Turks were made-for-cable trying to kill people and occupy Armovie about menia." right-to-die In May 1918, the hometown of champion Dr. these children, Artik, and the whole Jack Kevorkian, of the Shirak plateau were occupied Variety report- by Kazim Karabekir's army. It was ed on May 26. only toward the end of the year, The movie will when the armed forces of Ottoman be directed by Turkey, defeated in the First World Barry Levinson. War, were forced to leave TranscauSee story on page 14m

Schoolchidren visit the memorial complex at the site of the May 1918 Battle of Sardarapat, May 22, 2009. Photo: Tatul Hakobyan for the Armenian Reporter.

casia, that Armenia ­ war-torn and famine-ravaged ­ expanded its borders to 60,000 sq km from 10,000.

The end of the Armenians

It seemed in May 1918 that the end of the Armenian people had come. Four Turkish divisions had

begun an attack on Gharakilisa (today's Vanadzor), Bash-Aparan, and Sardarapat. A setback in Gharakilisa did not determine the fate of the Armenian people because the Armenian forces ­ responding to an appeal from the Mother See and with the help of the people ­ Continued on page 19 m

Community Student raises $10,000 for FAR through music

A concert commemorating the Armenian Genocide and raising money for the Fund for Armenian Relief, took place at the College of the Holy Cross on April 19. The concert featured father-daughter duo Fr. Untzag and Ani Nalbandian, and the John Berberian Ensemble. See story on page 18m

Diaspora Ministry seeks to establish "national council" to link Armenians

Proposal discussed in 3 countries on USArmenia TV

by Vincent Lima

YEREVAN ­ On a television program on May 24 that connected Yerevan, Moscow, and Burbank, Calif., Armenia's Diaspora Minister Hranush Hakobyan introduced the concept of an Armenian "national council" to bring together Armenia and diaspora communities worldwide. She was joined in the Yerevan studios of Armenia TV by Ara Abramyan, president of the powerful Union of Armenians in Russia and of the fledgling World Armenian Congress. Ms. Hakobyan said that Mr. Abramyan had agreed to slow down the development of the World Armenian Congress and would work with the ministry to establish the national council, which would be chaired by the president of Armenia. Participating in the forum from USArmenia TV's studios in Burbank, businessperson and philanthropist Vahe Karapetian sounded a cautionary note, counseling against rash moves and calling for the differences and similarities of

National Representative Xavier Becerra briefs community

Armenian-Americans and GreekAmericans heard from Rep. Xavier Becerra (D.-Calif.) on May 27 during an educational issues briefing. The briefing offered attendees an opportunity to interact closely with a high-ranking member of U.S. House of Representatives. See story on page 2m

Community AGBU Europe asks European Parliament candidates about seveb key Armenian issues

The Armenian General Benevolent Union's European board (AGBU Europe) has launched a pre-electoral campaign asking candidates in the European elections for their positions on seven key issues that impact Armenia, Karabakh, and Armenians in Europe. See story on page 6m

Vahe Karapetian and Dr. Aramayis Paronian at the USArmenia TV studios in Burbank, Calif., discuss Armenia-diaspora relations with Hranush Hakobyan and Radik Martirosyan at the Armenia TV studios in Yerevan, May 24, 2009.

National Geoffrey Goshgarian wins PEN Club award for translation of Hagop Oshagan's The Remnants

Geoffrey Goshgarian's English version of an extract from Hagop Oshagan's The Remnants was one of eight translations honored with a PEN Club translation fund award at a ceremony in New York on May 19. See story on page 5 m

diaspora communities and institutions in various countries to be studied carefully and considered. The president of Armenia's National Academy of Sciences, Radik Martirosyan, participated in the forum from Yerevan. (See sidebare of page 5.) Henry Aghayan, a distinguished scientist and a member of the leadership of the Union of Armenians in Russia, participated from Moscow. Aramayis Paronian, a physician and benefactor, participated from Burbank.

Alina Khachatryan, host of the Hairenik-Spiurk (HomelandDiaspora) program on Armenia TV, moderated the panel. She was joined by the host of the Goodnight Armenians program in Moscow and Arayik Ghazarian in Burbank. The participants said CS Media ­ with which Armenia TV, USArmenia TV, and this newspaper are affiliated ­ was playing a significant Continued on page 4 m


The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


Representative Xavier Becerra briefs community on issues

last century - a historical fact that should be recognized, and learned from regardless of the strong relationship that exists between us. That is why I continue to be a strong supporter and co-sponsor of Rep. Adam Schiff's `Affirmation of the United States Record on the LOS ANGELES ­ The Armenian Armenian Genocide Resolution' in National Committee, Western Re- Congress. As always I am proud to gion, the American Hellenic Coun- join with the Armenian and Hellencil, and the Armenian Assembly ic communities here in Los Angeles of America hosted an educational who form an integral part of the issues briefing with Rep. Xavier civic, cultural, and economic life Becerra (D.-Calif.) on May 27 at St. of our city and state," Mr. Becerra Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral continued. in Los Angeles. This event was part In addition to the briefing, the of the anc-wr's Leadership Speak- evening featured remarks from er Series and offered attendees the American Hellenic Council's an opportunity to interact closely Aris Anagnos, anc-wr Executive with a high-ranking member of U.S. Director Andrew Kzirian, and House of Representatives. Assembly Director Yeghig Kesh"America has benefited greatly ishian. over the past two decades from "Promoting awareness of issues our close friendship with Arme- of concern to our community is a nia, just as we have been enriched priority for the anc-wr," stated Mr. by the contributions of a long-es- Kzirian. "The Congressman protablished Armenian community vided a candid overview of many here in the United States," Mr of the issues we face both at home Becerra said. and abroad." "As a close friend and ally of ArThe Armenian National Commitmenia, it is long past time for us to tee has had a longstanding relarecognize the historical fact of the tionship with Mr. Becerra since his genocide committed against the election to the California State AsArmenian people at the turn of the sembly in 1990. In that post he rep-

Armenian and Greek communities hear from a top congressional leader

resented Little Armenia and was a frequent guest at the Hollywood anc offices on Vermont Avenue. Since his election to the House in 1992, Mr. Becerra has established a strong working relationship with anc activists throughout his district, particularly in Eagle Rock and areas of his district bordering the City of Glendale. "Today's event demonstrates the importance of civic engagement and involvement for the ArmenianAmerican community," anc-wr Board Member and attendee Nishan Bostanian said. "Congressman Becerra is a strong supporter of human rights and the audience took advantage of an intimate town hall setting to discuss many issues of concern to the community openly," he added. Rep. Xavier Becerra has been a member of the House of Representatives since 1993, representing California's 31st Congressional District. He serves as vice-chair of the Democratic Caucus in the 111th Congress, which is the fifth-highest position in the Caucus - after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn Rep. Xavier Becerra (center) joined by anc-wr Board member Nishan Bostanian (S.C.) and Caucus Chair John Lar- (left) and anc-wr Executive Director Andrew Kzirian, Los Angeles, May 27, 2009. anc-wr son (Conn.)

Genocide Awareness Act moves to California Senate floor for a vote

Meanwhile, "Justice for Genocide Victims" bill on deadline for vote in California Assembly committee

in educating our next generation which must consider the bill before about genocide and the role we can the end of this week for it to be play as a society to confront this able to continue to the full Assemterrible crime against humanity," bly floor for consideration. said Gayana Badalyan, chair of The anca has encouraged Califorthe Armenian National Committee nia residents to contact Assembly of San Diego County. Speaker Karen Bass and ApproTurkish Coalition of America priations Committee chair Kevin Board Member Bruce Fein came de Leon to urge swift committee to town from Washington in an action on the measure. Free anca effort to undermine the Genocide Webmails can be sent through the Awareness Act as well as Assem- anca website, SACRAMENTO, Calif. ­ Sen- bly Bill 961 (AB 961), the "Justice With today's action, California ate Bill 234 (SB 234), authored by for Genocide Victims Bill," intro- comes one step closer to ensuring California Senator Mark Wyland duced by Assembly member Paul that survivor and witness accounts (R.-Northern San Diego County) is Krekorian. Mr. Fein's presenta- are used in classrooms throughnow on its way to the full Senate tion before the Senate panel, in out the state to help broaden the floor for consideration. Known as which he denies the Armenian community's understanding of the "Genocide Awareness Act," the Genocide - as well as the Cambo- genocide. bill instructs the California State dian and Sudan genocides - may Speaking about the legislation Curriculum Commission to consid- be viewed at after it was unanimously approved er the inclusion of an oral-history com/watch?v=tOwYg6yJ6ZI by the California Senate Education component in its already mandated Mr. Krekorian's AB 961 would Committee, Senator Wyland noted, genocide education curriculum. prevent California from awarding "The ultimate purpose is to make "Senator Wyland has been a cham- contracts to companies that have students even more aware of these pion of this issue for over a decade. profited from genocide. The bill horrible crimes against humanity, His efforts continue to ensure that awaits a vote in the California As- so ultimately, these occurrences do California remains at the forefront sembly Appropriations Committee, not happen again."

Senator Mark Wyland, l., with Harry Boghossian, a San Diego resident who came to Sacramento to testify on behalf of Senator Wyland's Senate Bill 234, the Genocide Awareness Act. Photo: anca.

Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah pledges support for Armenian Genocide resolution

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah ­ Salt The ahyo is active in Univermunity battles renewed genocide Lake City's U.S. Representative Jim sity of Utah campus life, where it denial efforts at the University of Matheson, a Democrat, has pledged promotes awareness of and appreUtah. Recently the Turkish Coalihis support for the resolution af- ciation for Armenian cultural, histion of America and the university firming the U.S. record on the Ar- torical, and contemporary issues announced a new joint program, menian Genocide, H.Res. 252. The through education, social, recre"The Origins of Modern Ethnic move is consistent with his long- ational, and cultural involvement. Cleansing: The Collapse of the Otstanding support for human rights "We are very pleased that Contoman Empire and the Emergence and genocide prevention measures. gressman Matheson has decided to of Nation States in the Balkans Confirmation of Rep. Mathe- become a co-sponsor of H.Res.252," and Caucasus." This program is son's support came during a meet- Mr. Bakearian said. "His outstandset to receive "insight and guiding on Tuesday, May 26, between ing record of supporting the Arance" from a "Partnership Board" Aaron Scherb, Mr. Matheson's menian-American community and that includes, among others the foreign affairs legislative aide, and human rights issues in Utah is an infamous denier of the Armenian local grassroots activists, including inspiration for us all. We are very Genocide, Sukru Elekdag, a Armenian National Committee of proud to have him as our represenmember of the Turkish parliament America - Utah chairperson Sar- tative." and former ambassador in Washkis Bekearian, Armenian Relief Since his election to the House Rep. Jim Matheson's foreign affairs aid Aaron Scherb, center, with Natalie ington. According to the Southern Society representative Raffi Sha- in 2000, Mr. Matheson has shown Torosyan, Raffi Shahinian, Zaven Sargsian, and Sarkis Bekearian. Photo: anca. Poverty Law Center's David Holhinian, University of Utah Arme- strong support for Armenian-Amerthouse, "Academia is one of two nian "Hyrenik" Youth Organization ican community concerns, having has been welcomed by the increas- be more engaged with Utah's Con- major American fronts in Turkey's (ahyo) president Zaven Sargsian, cosponsored the Armenian Geno- ingly vibrant local anca presence, gressional delegation. campaign to kill the memory of and ahyo member Natalie Toro- cide resolution since the 109th Con- which works to educate, motivate, Mr. Matheson's support comes the Armenian Genocide. The other syan. gress. His support over the years and activate the local community to as Salt Lake City's Armenian com- is Congress."

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009



Ralph Yirikian to be honored at abmdr gala, July 12

"Embodies corporate social responsibility"

LOS ANGELES ­ The Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry announced that Ralph Yirikian will be honored as its Man of the Year during "Match for Life 2009," the registry's upcoming annual gala. The event will also honor a number of volunteers for their outstanding service to the registry, and celebrate the launch of the registry's Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan. "Match for Life 2009" will be held on Sunday, July 12, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Glendale Hilton, 100 West Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale, California. "Ralph Yirikian is someone who embodies the concept of corporate social responsibility," said Dr. Frieda Jordan, president of the abmdr Board of Directors. "With his unflinching support of our work, Mr. Yirikian has shown once again that community giveback can be an integral aspect of a corporation, making a wonderful and far-reaching impact on people's lives. This is why we're so proud of his generous assistance, and privileged to name him the abmdr Man of the Year." As general manager of VivaCellmts, a telecommunications leader in Armenia, Mr. Yirikian facilitated a $350,000 contribution by his company toward the purchase of state-of-the-art medical equipment for the Stem Cell Harvesting Center. Moreover, Mr. Yirikian recently helped save a young life through the abmdr. When the family of Meline, a child who suffered from a life-threatening bloodrelated disease, turned to him for help, Mr. Yirikian did not hesitate to provide VivaCell funding for a stem-cell transplant, in keeping with his company's commitment to supporting a variety of social and cultural causes. Meline's costly operation, which had to be performed outside Armenia, was her only chance of survival. "Being a devoted father of two, and also the husband of a nurse who worked at the cancer ward of the American University of Beirut, Mr. Yirikian understands the anguish and sometimes sense of helplessness which parents of critically ill children feel," Dr. Jordan said. "With his timely support, Mr. Yirikian became a veritable angel to Meline and her family." The abmdr's Stem Cell Harvesting Center opened officially on April 28. The only one of its kind in the region, the facility can store and harvest stem cells provided by healthy bone marrow donors. The stem cells subsequently can be utilized in transplants for patients afflicted by life-threatening diseases such as leukemia and other cancers. Recently the Stem Cell Harvesting Center passed the second phase of inspections by the European Hosted by attorney Mark Geragos, chairperson of the abmdr, "Match for Life 2009" will recognize and honor the work of volunteers Steve Artinian, vice president of advertising at Closet World and chairperson of Homenetmen Western U.S.; Susanna Avagyan of Glendale Memorial Hospital; and Taleen Khatchadourian, owner of Sylvan Learning Centers. In addition, The Comedy Store will be honored as the abmdr's Business of the Year. The gala will feature a video presentation of the abmdr's accomplishments during the past year, including the opening of the Stem Cell Harvesting Center and numerous stem cell donor registration drives across the United States. "All of these achievements were made possible through honest-to-goodness grassroots support and critically important funding from our lead benefactors," Dr. Jordan said. "Our upcoming gala will be a great opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone, to publicly acknowledge their selfless dedication and abiding faith in the mission of the abmdr." For reserving tickets to the "Match for Life 2009" gala, call the abmdr office at 1-323-663-3609, Nectar Kalajian at 1-626-705-2565, or Ani Azar at 1-818-606-6000.

Dr. Frieda Jordan, president of the abmdr Board of Directors, and Ralph Yirikian of VivaCell-mts during the opening of the Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan, April 28, 2009. Photo courtesy of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

Federation of Immunogenetics, Jordan added. "Since 80 percent of the agency that regulates and li- the abmdr's donors are from Arcenses such facilities in the region. menia, it was imperative to have Given the superlative credentials of a Stem Cell Harvesting Center in the Stem Cell Harvesting Center's the country. Now that this dream staff and services, Dr. Jordan said, has become reality, we're working she expects that the facility will be hard toward the next logical step, granted full licensing in the near a full-fledged transplantation cenfuture. ter, which would give thousands of "Our next major goal is to estab- Armenian patients access to afford- connect: lish a dedicated stem cell trans- able, life-saving stem cell trans- 1-323-663-3609 plantation center in Armenia," Dr. plants."

Armenian Evangelical Center in Yerevan opened

PARAMUS ­ The Armenian Missionary Association of America held an opening ceremony for its Evangelical Center on Baghramian Avenue in Yerevan on April 19. Numerous government officials, leaders of various churches, other nonprofit organizations, and ambassadors were present to share in the joy of this event. The festivities continued into the evening where young musicians of the Armenian Evangelical Church amazed the guests with their heartfelt and professional performances. amaa Executive Celebrating another achieveDirector Andy ment of the "Together, we can build Torigian gave miracles" campaign, the amaa replaques to garded the grand opening of the architects and Evangelical Center as a demonstracontractors on tion of the exemplary support from the opening of devoted donors. the Armenian "For many years we have been Evangelical dreaming of coming to our hisCenter in torical Motherland, and after our Yerevan, April beloved Armenia gained inde19, 2009. From pendence in 1991 our dream has left, Armand come true," said Andrew ToriP. Avakian, gian, executive director of the Gagik Galstyan, amaa. Since the devastating 1988 Antranig M. earthquake, the association has Ouzoonian, Mr. helped thousands of Armenian Torigian, Hrach children and impoverished people Sargsyan, and through various charitable, social, Norayr Avagyan. educational-cultural, and medical programs. The Armenian Evangelical Church government for their support of "This building will always occupy known as a nation of tolerance that thanks to the efforts of promihas existed for over 160 years, and their many programs. a special place in the view of the respects the faith of other peoples, nent local and American-Armethe amaa is over 90 years old. "The opening of a place of wor- U.S. government because, while the and we hope the Armenian govern- nian specialists such as Gagik Rev. Dr. Rene Leonian, presi- ship in this particular building is American people and the Armenian ment continues to do its utmost Galstyan, Ph.D., president of dent of the Evangelical Church of quite remarkable," said Marie L. people have had a long relationship to promote Armenia as a place of the Union of Builders of Armenia Armenia and representative in Ar- Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador, with each other, it's here that the tolerance and respect toward oth- and president of the Horizon-95 menia of amaa and Hope for Ar- in her congratulatory speech. Ms. USA and Armenia started their dip- er peoples' cultures, beliefs, and construction company, Hrach menia, said: "Our aim is, together Yovanovitch noted that the U.S. lomatic relations that continue to faiths." Sargsyan, president of the mko with various institutions acting in Embassy in Armenia was located in evolve and strengthen. Ms. Yovanovitch expressed ojs air-conditioning firm, AntraArmenia today, to support in the this building from 1992 to 2005. "As you know, one of the key hope that this center "will do nig M. Ouzoonian, chief strucbest possible way upbringing in The ambassador said: "The his- democratic principles the United its own work to strengthen the tural engineer, Norayr Avagyan, Armenia new, worthy generations, tory of this building really reflects States espouses, and which the U.S. dialogue, mutual understanding, Ph.D., member of the Union of full of hope, and creation of condi- the positive development of Arme- government promotes around the and respect between all the faiths Architects of Armenia, and Artions for all of us to be good citi- nia itself, which in 18 short years world is freedom of religion," she that today peacefully co-exist in mand P. Avakian, aia, chief arzens of our Motherland, to live in has evolved from a Soviet republic said. Mentioning the early adop- Armenia." chitect of the amaa and Armenia freedom, realizing the happiness to a newly independent state that tion of Christianity by Armenia, Significant renovations to the construction projects manager. - in spite of all our hardships - of today is working to consolidate the Ms. Yovanovitch continued, "Arme- 60-year-old buildings in the com- All of these men were awarded being an Armenian." Rev. Leonian fruits of democracy and economic nia occupies a special place in the plex commenced in June 2006 special plaques by Mr. Torigian especially thanked the Armenian development. history of world religions; it's also and continue at a rapid pace, on behalf of the amaa.


The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


Diaspora Ministry seeks to establish a "national council" to link Armenia and the diaspora

n Continued from page 1 role in facilitating Armenia-diaspora relations through the program. Extolling the vision of Gerard L. Cafesjian, founder and chairman of the board of CS Media, the participants spoke highly of the public forum that bridged 12 time zones and brought together leaders in Armenia and the United States, as well as Moscow. "This adds responsibility," Mr. Abramyan said. "It is important for such communication to be facilitated because we can work out not only what has happened but also what needs to be happening." He said it allowed teamwork, which was essential to success.

Gerard L. Cafesjian, president of the Cafesjian Family Foundation and founder of CS Media, with President Kocharian. File photo: Photolure.

Voluntary dedication

Mr. Abramyan noted that the Union of Armenians in Russia had branches in 640 Russian cities. "Today the Diaspora Ministry is working closely with those branches, and that is very important for us. We, in turn, feel at home at the ministry in Yerevan. If something is not quite as it ought to be, we go `home' and discuss matters as family." Ms. Hakobyan noted that there are some 2 million Armenians living in Russia. The 640 structures throughout Russia are "mechanisms through which we can speak and work with our Armenian communities. To be able to run this enormous structure is something only a man with extraordinary means could accomplish," she said. Ms. Hakobyan added: "We often think some people are obligated. I want us to develop the consciousness and mentality that in the diaspora every Armenian who dedicates himself or herself to Armenians, Armenia, the homeland has no obligation; he or she is doing so out of desire, the call of his or her conscience, or out of spiritual necessity. And I think [more] people like Ara Abramyan really exist in our diaspora existence, and glory and honor to them. Because it is only in this way that we can move forward with the enormous potential of the diaspora to help the homeland."

Saturday schools in Siberia

Ms. Hakobyan spoke of the various activities of the Union of Armenians in Russia.

"The first is maintaining Armenian identity in the Russian environment. Since the establishment of the ministry, we reached an agreement with Mr. Abramyan and "We have many organizations we are supporting the establishthroughout the diaspora, of differment of Saturday schools. Particuent sizes, capacities, and types. I larly, in faraway Siberia, we have am sure that the minister's efforts already established six schools towill help bring them closer togethgether. I find the most important er as a united force for the future, work that is being done is in educaincluding the formation of the nation," Ms. Hakobyan said. tional council, but also the resoluAnother "set of questions for tion of our national issues. which we are very thankful to Mr. "Let me add that the enormous Abramyan is his effort to move his former Soviet space is different capital toward Armenia. He has from France and from Armenia. gathered around him some very The president, Serge Sargsian, good Armenians, very capable boys, noted clearly that each area needs who are likewise making their into be seen on its own terms. We vestments in Armenia, in educacannot pretend the U.S. communition, science, and creative associaty, the Middle Eastern community, tions." and the community in France are Ms. Hakobyan added that Ar- Vahe Karapetian in Burbank, l., discusses a point with Ara Abramyan in Yerevan. the same. The diaspora needs to be menia "seeks to create an economy known community by community." based on knowledge, and we are children Armenian and Armenian the congress has sponsored various activities, including activities relat- A smaller world doing everything so that education history." ed to the international recognition Mr. Karapetian praised the foundand scholarship develop, as they ers of CS Media ­ the Cafesjian of the Armenian Genocide. should, because the basic resource An umbrella She said it "is a very complex Family Foundation and the Sargsyof the Armenian people is people. organization process, and in developing our an family ­ for establishing the ArWe must invest as much money and means on human resources as Ms. Hakobyan noted Mr. Abramy- Armenia-diaspora approach, we menia-diaspora bridge represented possible to be able to export intel- an's efforts "to bring together our examined matters very carefully by Armenia TV and USArmenia TV. diaspora organizations worldwide." with the leadership of the Union He went on to say that he belectual products." Mr. Abramyan established the of Armenians in Russia and agreed lieved in the concept of a national She said she is thankful to other diaspora organizations that are World Armenian Congress in Mos- that we must truly create a nation- council. "Such a council was formed contributing to Armenia's knowl- cow in 2003 as an umbrella orga- al council: a state body headed by in 1905 by Catholicos Gevorg V, and edge economy. "I must mention nization. The presidents of Russia the president of the republic. With Boghos Nubar Pasha was the chairthe AGBU, whose Central Execu- and Armenia at the time, Vladi- Ara Arshavirovich [Abramyan] person of the council. He went on, tive Board, headed by Berge Se- mir Putin and Robert Kochar- we reached an agreement that he in 1906, to establish the AGBU." The trakian, decided to create a vir- ian, were present for the opening would slow down the process of council existed at the time of the tual college. Together with Yerevan session. The congress brought to- the World Armenian Congress and first Armenian republic, in 1918, State University, they have created gether Armenian organizations we would join forces to create a na- but today, "when we have this sort the college, which will focus on from former Soviet republics and tional council, which can have great of technology to communicate with Armenian studies. This means our eastern Europe, but the major or- political, moral, and historical sig- the homeland, we must use these means. Tomorrow will be late," he mothers sitting at home can push ganizations of the West declined to nificance." said. a button to help them teach their participate. In the ensuring years, A note of caution "It is important to know the diSpeaking from Burbank, Mr. Kara- aspora, and not to rush into anyHranush Hakobyan (see pro- dependent Armenia's National petian extolled Mr. Abramyan's thing," Mr. Karapetian concluded. file and interview in the Nov. 22, Assembly, where she has headvirtues. He said, "I know Ara's Ms. Hakobyan said she shared 2008, edition of the Reporter) is ed the Standing Committee on mentality well: he follows through. Mr. Karapetian's joy that Armenia Armenia's first Diaspora Min- Health, Social Services, and EcolAnd now that there is a Diaspora TV and USArmenia TV "create evister. Born in Gavar, near Lake ogy (1994­96) and the Standing Ministry, the cooperation of the ery opportunity for the world to Sevan, she holds degrees in ap- Committee on Science, EducaUnion of Armenians in Russia with become smaller, and sitting side by plied mathematics, political sci- tion, Culture, and Youth Affairs the ministry will be a great boon to side, we can examine Armenia-dif ence, and law. In the late Soviet (2003­2008). From 1996 to 1998, Armenia. aspora relations." period, she served as the head she was Armenia's minister of of Armenia's Komsomol, the social security. She is co-founder Vahe Karapetian (see profile in youth organization of the Com- of the Armenian American Wellthe November 8, 2008, edition of munist Party. She was elected to ness Center in Yerevan, to which the Reporter) is an entrepreneur the Soviet Armenian parliament, she devoted her time as a volunf and philanthropist. If you've ever and reelected repeatedly to in- teer beginning in 1997. grabbed a bite from one of the catering trucks that park outside office buildings and public parks, Ara Abramyan is the founder of Abramyan invited the founding you may have Mr. Karapetian to Soglasiye, a leading investment congress of the Union of Armethank. He built the first such truck firm in Russia. He has extensive nians in Russia in June 2000. The at his house. He now employs interests in the Russian diamond congress now has 640 branches scores of workers, mostly Armeindustry and is involved in de- throughout Russia. In 2003, he nians, building custom trucks veloping intellectual property. invited the founding congress of and also running a fleet of caterBorn in Yerevan, Mr. Abramyan the World Armenian Congress. ing trucks. Born in Lebanon, he bos and Sourp Garabed Church earned a degree in economics Among his awards are the Order moved in 1946 to Armenia, where ­ the Armenian private school from Yerevan State Agricultur- of St. Constantine the Great and he graduated from the polytech- and church in Hollywood. He is a al Institute. In the wake of the the Order of St. Gregory the Ilnic university. He moved to the major donor to the Armenia Fund first Armenia-Diaspora Confer- luminator. He is a UNESCO goodUnited States in 1968. He played and a member of the council of f ence, held in 1999 in Yerevan, Mr. will ambassador. a pivotal role in building Alex Pili- Armenia's Diaspora Ministry. f

In Yerevan, from left, Radik Martirosyan, Hranush Hakobyan, Ara Abramyan, and Alina Khachatryan participate in a discussion of Armeniadiaspora relations.

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009



Geoffrey Goshgarian wins PEN Club award for translation of Hagop Oshagan's Remnants

NEW YORK ­ Geoffrey Goshgarian's English version of an extract from Hagop Oshagan's The Remnants was one of eight translations honored with a PEN Club translation fund award at a ceremony in New York on May 19. Mr. Goshgarian, a freelance translator, was educated at Yale and UCLA. He has to his credit sixteen book-length translations from French and German, including Louis Althusser's writings. He is the author of To Kiss the Chastening Rod. Mr. Goshgarian began englishing Oshagan's 1,500-page novel cycle in the 1990s. His translation of part of the first novel in the cycle was originally intended for inclusion in a projected multivolume work on modern Armenian literature by Marc Nichanian, then professor of Armenian studies at New York's Columbia University. The translation was "consigned to limbo," Mr. Goshgarian told the Reporter, "when, after publishing the first volume in the series in English with Gomidas Press, Professor Nichanian unexpectedly decided to produce the rest of his study in his native French." [An excerpt from Mr. Goshgarian's work in that first volume appeared in the Reporter's editorial for April 18, "Remembering the Cilician massacres of 1909."] "Except for a short passage published in Ararat in 1998 and another released by the online journal Words without Borders in December of last year," he added, "my translation [of Oshagan] would probably still be moldering in the same closet in which reams of Armenian prose and poetry that I've translated have been languishing for more than a decade if Nanor Kebranian and Taline Voskeritchian hadn't taken an interest in it last year." Ms. Kebranian, a native of the Armenian village of Anjar, Lebanon, who was educated in the United States and Britain, is currently writing her doctoral dissertation at Oxford University on Oshagan and Armenian penological literature, while teaching Armenian literature ­ including a course on Oshagan ­ at Columbia. Ms. Voskeritchian, a native of Jerusalem and Oshagan's granddaughter, is a literary translator in her own right who also teaches writing at Boston University. "On Nanor and Taline's urging and with their very considerable help," Mr. Goshgarian said, "I submitted an extract from The Remnants to the PEN Club, which, in coordination with Columbia's Literary Translation Center, has since 2003 been promoting what it considers to be competent English translations of first-rate works of literature by awarding grants to their translators. The fact that Oshagan's text has been singled out for an award means that I can now translate enough of it to bring an English translation of at least one novel in the cycle into the realm of possibility." While the $3,000 PEN award Hagop Oshagan in Aleppo, 1948. cannot cover the costs of translat- Avedis Shahinian, Photo Derounian. ing a full-length work of fiction, it often attracts publishers or spon- thorities that led to a short stint in sors who can. It remains to be seen the Bursa prison. He made his litwhether a major Anglo-American erary debut shortly before the war, trade publisher or university press joining four of his peers ­ Daniel will now take the risk of putting Varoujan, Gosdan Zaryan, Ahaout an English version of a work ron and Kegham Parseghian ­ in by a novelist who is virtually un- founding the short-lived literary known to Anglophone readers and journal Mehyan [Pagan Temple] in wrote in an "exotic" language such Constantinople. as Armenian. He managed to elude the April Considered the foremost Arme- 1915 roundup of prominent Armenian novelist by many Armenian nians in the Ottoman capital that literary critics in the diaspora, Os- marked the beginning of the Genohagan (1883-1948) is also a chroni- cide, and lived underground there cler of Ottoman Armenia's modern through the war; arrested by the political, social, and literary history. Ottoman authorities on at least His life's story reflects the tragedy seven different occasions, he manof his people. aged to escape each time. Born and raised in Bursa, a preWhile the experiences of these dominantly Turkish city with a big years go altogether unmentioned Armenian population located not in his work, including his autobiofar from Istanbul, he worked, be- graphical writing, it is not hard to fore the first World War, as a teach- measure their impact on him from er in various Armenian schools in his wife's accounts of his nightnearby villages, including his par- mares and panic-stricken cries and ents' native Sölöz, one of the many friends' remarks about the tears Armenian-speaking villages in the and even paralysis that mere menBursa region founded in the late tion of that period brought on in sixteenth century by settlers from him. the Armenian provinces. In the last year of the war, OsIn the same period, in 1902, he hagan escaped to Bulgaria, returnhad a run-in with the Ottoman au- ing to Allied-controlled Istanbul at war's end to teach in various itself in a first heart attack in 1934. Armenian schools until 1924. He Fearing that it would cost him his left Turkey for good in that year to life, he abandoned his plan to finish spend the last 25 years of his life the work. teaching Armenian literature in diThe Remnants is thus a fiction aspora communities in Cyprus and about the impossibility of recreatPalestine. He died suddenly during ing the whole of the Armenian exa visit to Aleppo in 1948, on the eve perience in a fiction, an impossibilof a planned pilgrimage to the kill- ity that leaves its trace throughout ing fields near Der Zor. the text. The power of the whole Oshagan's writing falls into two novel cycle ultimately comes from main periods: 1922-34 and 1938-44. the art with which, against its auIn the second, which he spent in thor's original intentions, it stages the Armenian monastery in Jeru- its own failure. salem, he produced a monumental, That self-deconstructive turn, 10-volume work of literary history together with the constant exand criticism, Panorama of Western perimentation with language Armenian Literature. His major fic- characteristic of all Oshagan's tion was written in Cyprus in the writing, help make The Remnants first. At the center of it stand a a peculiarly modern work of fictrilogy of novels, Sentenced to 101 tion and a fitting reflection of the Years, based in part on his 1902 ex- Armenian experience that should perience in a Turkish prison, and long since have earned Oshagan his masterpiece, The Remnants, in a place in a constellation of inwhich characters from the prison ternationally known writers such trilogy reappear. as Proust and Joyce, William The Remnants recreates the his- Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia tory of Ottoman Armenian society Marquez. That it has not is due by way of the depiction of life in to the fact that it is still available an Armenian village, modeled after only to people who read Western Sölöz, and a Turkish prison, a met- Armenian. aphor for Ottoman society as it was In fact, until the publication, a experienced by the Armenians. It few months ago, of Mr. Nichanian's begins with a kind of mythological captivating book about The Remaccount that traces the history of a nants, Entre l'Art et le Témoignage, single family from the late seven- which includes generous selections teenth century on, and then zooms from the novel cycle in Mr. Nichain, in a more realistic mode, on the nian's French translation, only a worsening relations between Turks tiny fraction of any of Oshagan's and Armenians in the Hamidian work had seen translation into any and Young Turk periods. language. The novel cycle was to culmiBy awarding The Remnants and nate in a fictional treatment of the his translator a prize, the PEN Club Genocide, specifically, the 24 hours has served notice of its convicduring which Bursa's population tion that, almost eighty years after was deported and annihilated. But Oshagan's magnum opus first apOshagan's attempt to write the peared, it is time for Armenians to Genocide led to a psychological and share one of their best writers with f physical collapse that manifested the rest of the world.

Saving Armenian pilots in Equatorial Guinea

As part of the May 24 HairenikSpiurk (Homeland-Diaspora) program on Armenia TV, host Alina Khachatryan showed a video clip recalling the arrest, trial, and sentencing of six Armenian pilots in Equatorial Guinea. A delegation headed by Ara Abramyan, who is the president of the Union of Armenians in Russia and a UNESCO goodwill ambassador ­ went to Equatorial Guinea and secured the release of the pilots. Ms. Khachatryan spoke of the mission as an example of the Russian-Armenian diaspora coming to the aid of Armenian diplomacy. Mr. Abramyan, who was in the studio, said, "Wherever there are Armenians, we must take care of each other, look after each other. This was a victory for all our compatriots. We have influence and we will not let our innocent compatriots suffer in vain." He said Armenians "use 3 percent of the diaspora's potential. If we look at Russia ­ and I don't want to talk about the United States, which is the most powerful nation on earth and we have high expectations of our compatriots there ­ we are just starting to work in this way: to become more respectful of each other, to work in an organized fashion, to realize our potential, to help each other, to raise hope, to raise ethical standards. It should become fashionable to love the homeland."

Handling the brain drain

Alina Khachatryan, host of the Hairenik-Spiurk (Homeland-Diaspora) program on Armenia TV, on May 24 asked Radik Martirosyan, the president of Armenia's National Academy of Sciences, how the academy was using diaspora support to help Armenia reach its declared goal of becoming a knowledge-based economy. Mr. Martirosyan noted that early support for the academy helped the academy and its members simply survive. For example, Ara Abramyan, president of the Union of Armenians in Russia, would donate funds to provide heat to some of the academy's institutes. He also donated computer technology and supported the publication of books. Now, Mr. Martirosyan said, Mr. Abramyan has established the Fund for the Development of Scholarship at the academy. The two men co-chair the fund's board of trustees. Donors include Gagik Tsarukian, a member of parliament who heads the Prosperous Armenia Party. One project of the fund is to award prizes for the best scholarly work of the previous year. "Awards have gone to scholars whose work has appeared in the world's most respected journals and collections," Mr. Martirosyan said. He added that many of the winners were "representatives of the younger generation." Speaking from Burbank, Calif., over a split screen, Arayik Ghazarian noted that many young Armenians had moved permanently to places like Silicon Valley, where "their brains serve the progress of science and technology in the United States." He asked whether the National Academy of Sciences Radik Martirosyan. was doing anything "to draw these people to Armenia periodically The academy had set some con­ where perhaps one day they will ditions in advance of the election, see a future for themselves?" Mr. Martirosyan said. The scholars Mr. Martirosyan said the acad- had to agree "(1) that they would emy had decided to elect promi- come once a year to Armenia, parnent scholars who live abroad as ticipate in our annual meeting, and foreign members of the academy, present a scholarly report; (2) that and in that way make them part of they would be in contact with our Armenia's scholarly community. In local scholars and discuss areas of late November 2008, the academy possible cooperation; (3) that they elected 78 scholars from the Arme- would help one young scholar nian diaspora, all at once, as foreign from Armenia to go to their instimembers. The scholars came from tution or another institution for 16 different countries, though they further training; and finally, (4) included 14 members of the Rus- that they would participate in our f sian Academy of Sciences. peer review process."

One of the freed pilots welcomed home in Yerevan.

Mr. Abramyan said that in Russia in the 1980s, it became fashionable to have a library. "I read little Russian, but I had a good Russian library," he said. In the same way, he said, "it should become fashionable to care for the homeland. It's not useful for me to sit in Russia and criticize. If I have something to say, we can come to Armenia and sit down with our leaders, with the Diaspora Ministry, and work things out." Speaking over a split screen from Burbank, Calif., Arayik Ghazarian added, "There is a view among Armenian-Americans that holding a U.S. passport, they enjoy protection. An incident like the one with the pilots shows that people with Armenian passports, too, can enjoy protection, and that instills confidence." Vahe Karapetian, the businessperson and philanthropist, also speaking from Burbank, added, "Our home is the world. Our f hearth is Armenia."


The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


agbu Europe asks Euro-candidates about 7 key Armenian issues

PARIS ­ The Armenian General Benevolent Union's European board (agbu Europe) has launched a pre-electoral campaign asking candidates in the European elections for their positions on seven key issues that impact Armenia, Karabakh, and Armenians in Europe. In June 2009, Europeans, including of course those of Armenian descent, will have a chance to vote in the European Union (EU) elections. Their vote could affect the future of Armenia and the Armenian diaspora. The European Union makes important decisions for all Europeans, including Armenians living in EU member states. The campaign will ask candidates in every EU country seven questions on relevant EU policies, which will be published for the general public. This will provide Europeans, particularly European-Armenians, with factual information to help

St. Nersess Seminary to hold Father's Day picnic

them choose between candidates on Armenians and Europe, see NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. ­ St. portunity to offer this event. Our Nersess Armenian Seminary will grounds are beautiful and we want on election day. Crucially, it will raise awareness among candidates, Individuals and organizations be the site for a Father's Day Picnic to share this special day with the and remind them that voters care interested in raising these issues celebration on Sunday, June 21. community," explained Fr. Daniel The day will begin with Divine Lit- Findikyan, Dean and Professor of about these issues. with their candidates to the EuroRelevant EU policies include pean elections are encouraged to urgy celebrated at 10 a.m. followed Liturgical Studies at St. Nersess. those that concern Armenia's fu- contact them and publicize their at noon by picnic festivities. The "We hope that people will join us to Ara Dinkjian Ensemble ­ including celebrate fathers and at the same ture European integration and answers. the newly launched Eastern PartAll information about the cam- Harold Hagopian, Dick Barsamian, time learn more about the mission nership, policies on culture, lan- paign, including the seven ques- and Chuck Yegian ­ will entertain of St. Nersess." guage, and freedom and justice; tions, answers received, and the the crowd with their musical talent Visitors are encouraged to bring peacemaking in the South Cauca- contact information for the main while picnic-goers enjoy delicious lawn chairs and tavloo boards to sus and the future of Karabakh; political parties running in the Eu- Armenian cuisine. Traditional luleh 150 Stratton Road to participate in and Turkey's accession prospects ropean elections in each country, and chicken kebob meals with the the fun-filled events of the day at and the recognition of the Arme- can be found at: http://campagne- works will be sold, as well home- St. Nersess. Admission and parking made paklava and more. Children's are free and the picnic will be held nian Genocide. With this campaign, the orgaagbu Europe ( activities will also be on hand to rain or shine. nization hopes to encourage Eu- was established by the agbu Cen- amuse the little ones. Sponsorship opportunities are But perhaps the highlight of the available to help offset the cost of ropean-Armenians to form an tral Board of Directors in January opinion on EU policies and to cast 2008 to coordinate and develop afternoon will be the St. Nersess the picnic. All proceeds from the an educated vote. The campaign pan-European activities. agbu Eu- Store featuring logo-adorned shirts, event will directly benefit the St. also intends to generate debate rope promotes important initia- sweatpants, sportspacks, mugs Nersess Armenian Seminary. and raise awareness among fu- tives in areas as diverse as academic and more. Seminary publications ture members of the European research, conservation and promo- and some homemade items will be connect: Parliament about these important tion of heritage, culture, and edu- available for purchase. "We are very excited about the op- 1-914-636-2003 questions. For more information cation.

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Paint the Town Purple in celebration of Relay For Life on May 1, May Day For Relay.


The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009



Hrag Hamalian to head new charter middle school in San Fernando Valley

Tuition-free Valor Academy now accepting applications for next year's fifth graders

Academy is a tuition-free, public on educational excellence and charcharter school, which will serve acter building. Toward this end, he North Hollywood, Arleta, and Pan- explained, the academy will feature orama City. Although any California a longer school day, a highly qualiresident may apply, seats are limited fied corps of teachers, free tutorto 120 fifth-grade students in 2009. ing, a disciplined school culture If more than 120 fifth-grade chil- that aims to foster self-respect and dren are signed up, a lottery will initiative, frequent communication be held at the end of the sign-up with parents, and an overarching period to determine admission. focus on literacy and math. LOS ANGELES ­Following 18 "Valor Academy is being estabA former member of the Teach months of planning and prepara- lished to address the longstanding for America Corps, Mr. Hamalian tion, educator Hrag Hamalian has educational crisis in the Arleta- was associated with Locke High earned the approval of the Los Panorama City-North Hollywood School in Los Angeles, where he Angeles Unified School District area, which is also home to a grow- served as a biology teacher, de(LAUSD) to launch a charter middle ing number of Armenian families," partment head, and co-founder of school in the San Fernando Valley. said Mr. Hamalian, who will lead the School of Math and Science. The new school, Valor Academy, the school as its principal. "We are He has spent the past two years will open its doors this fall with a launching the area's first-ever char- working in a school-leadership class of fifth graders. It will add a ter middle school, and our goal is to residency with Building Excelgrade each year until it becomes a put every one of our students on a lent Schools, a nationally recogfull-fledged, fifth- to eighth-grade clear path to college." nized incubator for new schools. middle school. With plans to be loAccording to Mr. Hamalian, Valor Studying and analyzing over 25 of cated on Woodman Avenue, Valor Academy will place equal emphasis America's highest-performing urban charter schools, Mr. Hamalian cured core public funding to open has drawn from the country's best the school, a mix of additional and practices to lay the foundations ongoing assistance is needed to of Valor Academy. Many of his ensure the envisioned quality and achievements as an educator are full range of its services, Mr. Hachronicled in the book Relentless malian said. The school seeks donaPursuit: A Year in the Trenches with tions as well as volunteers to sign Teach for America. up families for the school, attend In fulfilling his vision for Valor fairs, pass out flyers, and spread Academy, Mr. Hamalian worked the word. It also seeks "community closely with Valor Board chair Wil- partners," to provide the school liam Ryan and community leaders, with in-kind products and services elected officials, and the lausd. such as uniforms, printing, and "As a result of their incredibly gen- afterschool programs, or to invite erous work, we have reached this Valor Academy personnel to commilestone and are poised to open munity events where there might our doors in a few short months." be families interested in the school. Mr. Ryan noted that as a charter The academy is also hiring emschool, Valor Academy is allowed ployees, including teachers and "to operate with more freedom various staff members. compared with a conventional public school, in terms of innovative connect: teaching methods and curriculum." 1-818-528-5467 Although Valor Academy has se-

Mekhitarist monastery's abbot, assistant visit Southern California

LA CRESCENTA, Calif. ­ The Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, assistant abbot of the Mekhitar- at the Western Prelacy on May 26. ian Monastery in Venice, Rev. VaRev. Ohanian and the Abbot han Ohanian, visited Archbishop Most Rev. Fr. Yeghia Kilaghbian are currently in Los Angeles to attend the 30th anniversary celebration of the Mekhitarist Fathers' School over the weekend. During their meeting the Prelate and Rev. Ohanian exchanged information regarding the endeavors of their respective institutions. The Prelate wished Rev. Ohanian success in his upcoming endeavors and presented him with a memen to prior to his departure.

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Rev. Vahan Ohanian, left, with Abp. Moushegh Mardirossian.

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Calendar of Events


MAY 31 ­ AMAA ANNUAL SPRING CONCERT, 2:00 PM at Armenian Evangelical Church of NY to benefit children to attend summer camps in Armenia & Karabagh. Ani Kalayjiancello, Sofya Melikyan-piano, Sami Merdnian-violin, Solange Merdinian-mezzo soprano. Tickets: $20 ($10/students). Tickets & info call AMAA at 201.265.2607, New York Church at 212.685.3177, Ida Gueyikian at 732.946.2730, or Elizabeth Aynilian at 201.444.8122 JUNE 13-14 - Theatrical Presentation on June 13 Saturday 8PM and June 14 Sunday 3PM ­ Church Auditorium. Arousiag Papazian Theatrical Group of the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs presents "The Last Mohigian" a two-act play by Dr. Nishan Parlakian, directed by Lucy Jamgochian Djirdjirian. For tickets call the church office 718-225-0235, Maro Jamgochian 516-3522565 (eve) or Talene Nigdelian 917-837-6006. JUNE 14- NEW YORK ARMENIAN HOME'S ANNUAL PICNIC on the home grounds at 137-31 45th Ave, Flushing, NY 11355. Music by John Tarpinian and Ensemble. Delicious food. Parking available. 1:00PM-? For info call 718.461.1504. JUNE 21 - ARS NY EREBUNI CHAPTER'S FATHERS DAY LUNCHEON. Maestro Raffi Sevadjian will be honored as Father of the Year. St. Sarkis Church Hall 38-65 234 Douglaston, NY @ 1:00 pm. Admission: $40 adults & $20 children (12 & under). For reservations contact: Nayda Voskeritchian @ (516) 603-2809 or Yeran Atakhanian @ (718)-279-9658 JULY 1-4-ARMENIAN MEDICAL WORLD CONGRESS (AMWCO9) Hilton, NewYork, in NYC. For more imformation visit


tive, Featuring Alla Levonian Female Armenian-American Can speak fluent Armenian, from Armenia and Babin Bog- available for part- time nanny teach piano and tutor children. hosian & Ensemble from Los services, located in the nyc area. Call Monique at 415-297-6804. Angeles, With the participation of Antranig Dance Ensemble of AGBU, Akh'tamar Dance Ensemble of St. Thomas Armenian Church, Yeraz Dance Ensemble of St. Sarkis Church, Subscription Coupon NJ Hamazkayin Nayiri Dance Group & Arekag Children's Choir & Dhol Group. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2009. 4pm. Felician College, 262 S. Main St., Lodi, NJ. Donation: $75, $50, $35, $25. For more information or tickets please contact: Hamazkayin @ 201-945-8992 or annual rates [email protected] NEW JERSEY U.S.A.: First Class Mail, $125; Periodicals Mail, $75 Canada: $125 (u.s.); Overseas: $250 (u.s.) SEPTEMBER 24 - - Sts. Var- MASSACHUSETTS tanantz Church 7th Annual Golf Outing. River Vale, NJ name Country Club. Lunch, Din- ACAA ARMENIAN HERIner, Golf and More. Shotgun TAGE CRUISE XIII - 2010 street start at 1:00pm. For reserva- FT. LAUDERDALE, FL - Join tions or more info please call : Armenians worldwide on city/state/zip Mark Alashaian 201-483-3200, the ARMENIAN HERITAGE Sarkis Shirinian 201-307-0825 CRUISE XIII 2010. Sailing on Check Enclosed OR Charge My: or the Church Office 201- 943- Saturday, January 16-23, 2010. Mastercard Visa Amex Discover 2950. To San Juan, PR, St. Thomas NOVEMBER 15 - SAVE THIS and Grand Caicos Islands on Exp. DATE: "ONE NATION, ONE the Costa Atlantica. Prices start CULTURE" A Cultural Festival at $679.00 per person. Contact mail coupon to: armenian reporter Under the Auspices of Dr. Hra- TravelGroup International 1p.o. box 129, paramus, nj 07652 nush Hakobyan, Republic of 866-447-0750,ext 102 or 108. or Armenia Minister of Diaspora, Westcoast: Mary Papazian 818fax coupon to (201) 226-1660 Organized by Hamazkayin 407-140; Eastcoast: Antranik (credit card orders only) Eastern USA Regional Execu- Boudakian 718-575-0142

the armenian reporter


The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


One in a million on April 24 in Armenia

by Tom Vartabedian

HAVERHILL, Mass. ­ When people tell me I look like a million, I don't know who's fooling whom. I don't know whether they mean I feel like I just inherited a million bucks, or that I look like a million years. Either way, it turns into a numbers game that is far beyond my comprehension and yours. People with a $10 million lottery ticket are no better off than a $9 million winner. A million in this case doesn't make a big difference either way. While touring Armenia in April, I was "one in a million." On April 24th, the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, I joined a crowd estimated at 1 million making its annual pilgrimage to the memorial on the outskirts of Yerevan. Had you been there, you would not have seen a bigger crowd anywhere, no matter what the activity. I was incredulous three years ago during my first trip to Armenia that I was immersed in a crowd of 100,000, which turned out to celebrate Armenian Independence Day. My Genocide Memorial Day encounter topped that figure tenfold. The entire city shut down for this commemoration so mourners could gather with their families and A crowd estimated at 1 million pays its respects at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, April 24, 2009. Photos: Tom place flowers by the eternal flame. A 2-3 hour wait was typical, by the Vartabedian time you made your way from the park's entrance to the monument, ways that a country torn with strife towns and villages conducted their with 17,000 in attendance, only to Tzitzernakaberd. Along the route, was able to display its resilience and own observances. see my favorite Boston team lose. you spent time getting acquainted, rise from the ashes. I was also impressed by the heavy You would think that 1 million chatting with others, listening to I purposely planned my trip to co- representation of youth at this me- folks would resemble a mob scene, liturgical music over loudspeakers, incide with the event, having been a morial. The night before, members jostling its way to irritation. On the and just recalling history. part of such observances back home of the younger generation marched contrary, security guards along the Many like myself thought about which were sometimes displays of a five miles in the rain to the monu- way kept the massive throng movwhat it must felt like back in 1915 great sense of apathy. In Armenia, ment, singing patriotic songs. ing in coordinated stages. when the Ottoman Turkish hordes history is laid before them. Here, it Many of those also repeated the A face in the crowd. A pine needle invaded one village after another serves people well to bury the past gesture next day, hoisting signs on an evergreen. An acorn in a forand put to death 1.5 million inno- and look to the future. of every country that recognizes est. For one moment in my life, I cent victims while sending another With 4,500 Armenians in the the genocide. Sad to say, my own was a pebble at the seashore. Peomillion from their homeland. Merrimack Valley, three local com- America was not among them, even ple were everywhere - as far as the It does a population good to re- memorations drew less than 500 though 44 states have formally ad- naked eye could see. call such events annually and teach people. The population in all of opted such a position. Whether it was a rose or a lilac, younger generations so that his- Yerevan is listed around 1 million. Those who know me recognize they came equipped with enough tory will not repeat itself. Although Perhaps 80 percent of the entire the fact I'm not very good in crowd flowers to build a 20-foot floral it is a national day of mourning in settlement turned out, joined situations and that I avoid them at wall. Vendors did a brisk business Armenia, it is also a day of com- by another 20 percent from the all costs. I did attend a Celtics play- keeping up with the trade. Men in memoration and gratitude in some outskirts, though many of those off game, and that was bad enough, military uniforms stood next to

A youngster places a flower by the eternal flame.

A lone demonstrator pays homage to slain journalist Hrant Dink.

youngsters sporting neckties. No fanfare or ritual. They arrived to pay homage, place a flower, and off they went. It was easy to understand why businesses and schools were closed for the day. It took that long to work through the crowd. One or two were seen draped in red, blue, and orange - the colors of the Armenian flag - while one demonstrator, an older woman, held a sign in memory of Hrant Dink, the slain Turkish-Armenian journalist. She held her ground from morning till night. "He gave his life for his country and his people," she said. "Hrant Dink was a modern-day martyr whose memory will never be forgotten."

Jack Papazian remembered as Philly catalyst

tionist or a braggart by any stretch, hometown fans as an ayf Olymbut a thinker. If you needed a job pic King and how he deferred done, you would give it to Jack be- the tribute to others he felt were Every community needs a Jack Pacause he had more than enough to more worthy. pazian ­ someone to shepherd the do and couldn't stand the thought His best moments were on an youth, motivate the adults, collaboof turning you down. Or remain- ayf Olympic track, not as an athrate with legislators, keep the church ing idle. lete ­ though he was a pretty decent front vital, and spread the good Whether it was the twinkle in baseball player ­ but as a motivator, name of Armenia at every interval. his eye, the catch in his voice, or especially when his children David That was Jack Papazian, a man that look of sincerity, Jack had ex- and Cindy were harvesting medals. who served as Philadelphia's catalyst, perience going. He was an ambas- He was always there for every ayf role model, do-gooder, pillar, and sador whose mission was to serve "Sebouh" Chapter athlete, whether man for all seasons rolled into one. his heritage with dignity and firm- they finished first or last. His death on May 19 had farness ­ not a man to be ignored or I still see him running around the reaching effects across the land and dealt with in condescension, but a infield with his athletes, encouragsent a jolt into this city of brotherly statesman for a stateless people, a ing them along with a stopwatch love, for Jack was to Philly what diplomat for a people which need- in hand, shouting words of inspiBen Franklin, Valley Forge, and Ined diplomats. ration. He ran every race with evdependence Hall were for America. He had no delusions of grandeur, ery athlete, absorbed their joy and Larger than life. yet he was grand. He had few pre- frustration, trials and tribulations. Whether it was the Armenian Jack Papazian, 1940­2009. tensions of leadership virtues, and He was not only an advisor, coach Youth Federation or Camp Haiasyet he was a leader. He worshipped or mentor, but a surrogate father tan, the Armenian Prelacy or Ar- that delineates the man, but the the heroism of others, little real- to many. menian Youth Foundation, his arf quality. Suffice it to say that Jack izing that his nation revered him as It irked him more than anything Gomideh or St. Gregory Church, left behind a legacy that will long a model of devoted service. when some of his "kids" lost interhis immediate family or his ex- be remembered. If nothing else, he And as the legionnaire he was, est in the games for whatever reatended family, Jack was always on gave Philly an honorable presence, Jack was always at salute whenever son and weren't representing his top of his world, making it a better whether it was in some committee the legion was mustered. city properly. He lived to see Philly place to dwell. he served or chairing the National I remember him first as a del- retire the cup last summer for the He played the oud and violin. But Representative Assembly for eight egate to ayf conventions and first time and gloated with pride most of all, he played the good legion- years. later at arf conventions. He was as son David ­ a chip off the same naire, fighting his illness to the very For a mild-mannered, soft-spo- articulate, intelligent, and effec- block ­ served on the ayf Olympic end until the Good Lord came calling. ken chap who often preferred the tive. When Jack spoke, people Governing Body. His 69 years were lived exception- background, Jack carried a pow- listened. I recall that year in 1982 An Olympic Ball was never the ally well. It's not the quantity of life erful voice. He was not an elocu- when he was honored before his same without Jack or his wife Ar-

by Tom Vartabedian

mine. In latter years, he had taken a back seat, but his spirit never waned. As the son-in-law to the legendary Arthur Giragosian, a Providence icon, he needed no further divine intervention. Think of it as a Norman Rockwell painting of an aging professor speaking words of wisdom to his student. Jack took that knowledge and imparted it to generations that followed. Nothing would have pleased him more than to have seen his four grandchildren participate in an Olympics ­ Eric and Taline Papazian and Kail and Alexandra McHugh. I did not know he had a master's degree from Drexel University or was a lieutenant in the Army once stationed in Germany. He never mentioned it. I did know he worked 35 years at a pharmaceutical firm and had retired as director of administration. Jack was just as effective in the outside community, especially with the Montgomery County Norristown Public Library where he served as a director the past six years. He remained the consummate American-Armenian. A man such as this never dies in the eyes of a grateful community. May God rest his soul.

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009



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Ian Anderson. Photo: Arthur Khachatryan.

Jethro Tull performed in Yerevan

roof did not come down. One of the fans, miraculously circumventing the watchful guards, managed to climb on YEREVAN ­ The legendary the stage and grabbed hold of British rock group Jethro Tull Ian Anderson's leg. It wasn't performed on in the great a hologram. Yes, it was really hall of the Armenian Philhar- him. The bodyguards and the monic on May 22. The concert other musicians were barely was sold out. Armenia's true able to detach the fan from his rock fans were there, as were idol and send him back to the the staffs of foreign missions hall. The incident did not ruin and businesses. Two buses full the mood; on the contrary, it of rock fans came down from added to the excitement in the Tbilisi, TV Mol reports. With hall, which lasted through the the prime minister, Tigran last note and beyond. Sarkisian, a big fan, in atComing next, on May 30: The tendance, there was no short- Gipsy Kings. Anyone who has age of government officials on been to Yerevan in recent years hand either. has heard their music blasting The hall thundered with from the outdoor cafés. Now rhythmic clapping and dancing people will get to hear the real of the fans. It was a wonder the thing.

Gipsy Kings concert coming next

Visit us at


Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009


Unsupervised at an Armenian sports weekend


Join the discussion with a ques- Armenian rather than an odar. tion or an answer ­ or both. Am I a hypocrite? I am very protective of my teenaged children. But I am considering letting them go to an Armenian sports weekend on their own and getting them their own room at the hotel. I figure that for all my vigilance, they're going to be able to hook up behind my back; it might as well happen at an Armenian weekend, where there's a chance the (potential) hookup will lead to a relationship with an Signed, Father of Armenian Twins Dear fat, Yes, of course you're being hypocritical. You're very protective of your children because they are children, and thus vulnerable, and thus need your protection and guidance. It's good that you want your children to form lasting relationships with fellow Armenians. And a sports weekend is an ideal place for teenagers to start or continue friendships and loves. But that doesn't change your obligation to protect your children. Even in an Armenian environment, not everyone is an angel. By the way ­ ethics aside ­ consider how your brilliant plan could backfire. Your kids could have bad experiences with fellow Armenians and vow never to deal with an Armenian again. You know you need to be there to guide and protect them. Sure, things you don't want could happen behind your back ­ in an Armenian setting or a non-Armenian one. But don't despair. According to a new study, teens who take part in routine family activities like eating meals together or joining in fun project are less likely to engage in risky sexual activity, and teens who didn't engage in risky sexual behavior were more likely to participate in family activities. (See ScienceDaily, May 21, 2009.) So why not make the sports weekend a family activity? Go for the sports weekend with them, keep an eye on them, and enjoy yourself too. Avak Yeterian Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Have a question of your own? Write [email protected] today. I do not enjoy Armenian banquets. The speeches are long and self-congratulatory. My parents' generation may enjoy the entertainment because of the nostalgia it evokes, but it makes me sick. Yet I have been taught that I have to "support" Armenian events as a way of giving back to the community. Sending a donation isn't good enough, because people will judge the event not only by the income but also by the turnout. Is it wrong for me to simply stop going?

Next week's question


Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009

Shushi ensemble to dance at consecration of St. Vartan entry doors

NEW YORK ­ The Shushi Armenian Dance Ensemble of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral will perform at the consecration of the cathedral's new bronze entry doors on Sunday, May 31. The cathedral's new doors ­ a project more than 30 years in the making ­ will be consecrated by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). The day will begin with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at 10:30 a.m. Services will be followed by a procession to the cathedral plaza for the unveiling and consecration of the doors. The Shushi Dance Ensemble, under the direction of Seta Paskalian-Kantardjian, will perform after the consecration. A reception and program will follow in the Haik and Alice Kavookjian Hall, honoring benefactors who made the doors possible and recognizing dignitaries and organizations who helped realize the Diocesan Complex. Also, a special photo and art exhibit will be on display in the adjacent Guild Hall, chronicling the fabrication of the doors. The reception and program are open to the public. The bronze doors depict in three-dimensional relief the baptism of Armenia's King Drtad III by St. Gregory the Illuminator. That development marked Armenia's conversion to Christianity, making it the first nation in the world to be converted. Fundraising for the doors project began decades ago with efforts led by the St. Vartan Cathedral Guild. Funds lay dormant for a while, as the cathedral (and the community itself) turned its attention to other matters. But recently, a sizable contribution from the Dadourian family ­ descendants of one of the original benefactors of the cathedral ­ allowed the project to move forward.

The Shushi Armenian Dance Ensemble of St. Vartan Cathedral will take part in the consecration of the cathedral's new bronze entry doors on Sunday, May 31, in New York.

A committee comprised of cathedral dean Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Fr. Garabed Kochakian, Yeretzgin Yefkin Megherian, and Michael Haratu-

nian designed the doors, conceived the artwork, and guided the engineering. Fabricating the doors was a labor of love for Setrak Agonian and his

International Creative Metal firm.

connect: 1-212-686-0710

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009


Mark Arax will change the way you see California

LOS ANGELES ­ Award-winning author and journalist Mark Arax, a former senior writer at the Los Angeles Times, will be hosted by the agbu Young Professionals of Los Angeles for a book talk on June 3. Arax's new book, West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Builders, and Killers in the Golden State, gives California readers a fresh perspective on their adopted home state. The world's perception of the states - a place of earthquakes, fires, celebrities, and good weather - takes a back seat to the reality of Arax's descriptions of the grape fields and the marijuana fields and all who contributed to the evolution of the nation's richest and most mystifying state. This rare opportunity to meet the author and discover how Arax wove these unique Californian tales together in West of the West will be taking place on at Vertical Wine Bistro, 70 N. Raymond, Pasadena, Calif. Copies of the book can be reserved, with a 10 discount, by e-mailing agbu. [email protected]

Mark Arax.

Al Pacino to play Jack Kevorkian on hbo

Al Pacino will star in an hbo made-for-cable movie about right-to-die champion Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Variety reported on May 26. The pic will be directed by Barry Levinson. The movie will revolve around Dr. Kevorkian's construction of his "Mercy Machine," his first assisted suicide in the early 1990s, and the resulting media frenzy. Dr. Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 as a result of his involvement in an assisted suicide that was videotaped and later shown on TV. He was released from prison in 2007. The movie is based on a manuscript for a book about Dr. Kevorkian, "Between the Dying and the Dead," written by Harry Wylie and Neal Nicol, longtime friends and associates of Dr. Kevorkian's. According to Variety, it is not yet known whether Dr. Kevorkian himself will be involved in the production of the movie.

Al Pacino.

Mr. Jones also just completed work on a feature-length domentary on Dr. Kevorkian's unsuccessful bid for the U.S. House of Representatives last year. He was running against Joe Knollenberg, a passionate advocate of Armenian-American interests who at the time was co-chair of the Armenian Caucus in the House.


Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009


1 ­ 7 June

MONDAY EST 09:30 pm 10:00 pm 10:30 pm 11:00 pm 11:30 pm 12:00 am 12:30 am 1:00 am 1:30 am 2:00 am 2:30 am 3:00 am 3:30 am 4:00 am 4:30 am 5:00 am 5:30 am 6:00 am 6:30 am 7:00 am 7:30 am 8:00 am 8:30 am 9:00 am 9:30 am 10:00 am 10:30 am 11:00 am 11:30 am 12:00 pm 12:30 pm 01:00 pm 01:30 pm 02:00 pm 02:30 pm 03:00 pm 03:30 am 04:00 pm 04:30 am 05:00 pm 05:30 pm 06:00 pm 06:30 pm 07:00 pm 07:30 pm 08:00 pm 08:30 pm 09:00 pm PST 12:30 am 1:00 am 1:30 am 2:00 am 2:30 am 3:00 am 3:30 am 4:00 am 4:30 am 5:00 am 5:30 am 6:00 am 6:30 am 7:00 am 7:30 am 8:00 am 8:30 am 9:00 am 9:30 am 10:00 am 10:30 am 11:00 am 11:30 am 12:00 am 12:30 pm 01:00 pm 01:30 am 02:00 pm 02:30 pm 03:00 pm 03:30 pm 04:00 pm 04:30 pm 05:00 pm 05:30 pm 06:00 pm 06:30 am 07:00 pm 07:30 am 08:00 pm 08:30 pm 09:00 pm 09:30 pm 10:00 pm 10:30 pm 11:00 pm 11:30 pm 12:00 am

Program Grid


1 June


2 June

3 June

WEDNESDAY The Armenian Stepan Partamian Bari Louys Hayer 7 Mekhq 2 Khohanotz When Stars are Dancing Discovery Century Gevo Bari Louys Hayer CLONE Repeat 2 News Unlucky Happiness Repeat 2 Bari Kisher Hayer Live The Armenian Stepan Partamian News 7 Mekhq 3 Blef YO YO When Stars are Dancing Live from America News CLONE Original 3 Unlucky Happiness Original 3 News Gyanki Keene ­ Original 3 Bari Kisher Hayer

4 June


5 June

SATURDAY Hot Line Hamerk

6 June


7 June

The Armenian Stepan Partamian Bari Louys Hayer 7 Mekhq 5 Khohanotz When Stars are Dancing Discovery Century Gevo Bari Louys Hayer CLONE Repeat 5 Sassounian Commentary Unlucky Happiness Repeat 5 Bari Kisher Hayer Live The Armenian Stepan Partamian Sassounian Commentary 7 Mekhq 1 P S Club YO YO When Stars are Dancing Live from America News CLONE Original 1 Unlucky Happiness Original 1 News Gyanki Keene ­ Original 1 Bari Kisher Hayer

The Armenian Stepan Partamian Bari Louys Hayer 7 Mekhq 1 Khohanotz When Stars are Dancing Discovery Century Gevo Bari Louys Hayer CLONE Repeat 1 News Unlucky Happiness Repeat 1 Bari Kisher Hayer Live The Armenian Stepan Partamian News 7 Mekhq 2 Mi Gatil Megher YO YO When Stars are Dancing Live from America News CLONE Original 2 Unlucky Happiness Original 2 News Gyanki Keene ­ Original 2 Bari Kisher Hayer

The Armenian Stepan Partamian Bari Louys Hayer 7 Mekhq 3 Khohanotz Arogchabahagan Discovery Century Gevo Bari Louys Hayer CLONE Repeat 3 News Unlucky Happiness Repeat 3 Bari Kisher Hayer Live The Armenian Stepan Partamian News 7 Mekhq 4 Yere 1 YO YO Arogchabahagan Mi Gatil Megher News CLONE Original 4 Unlucky Happiness Original 4 News Gyanki Keene -Original 4 Bari Kisher Hayer

The Armenian Stepan Partamian Bari Louys Hayer 7 Mekhq 4 Khohanotz Arogchabahagan Discovery Century Gevo Bari Louys Hayer CLONE Repeat 4 News Unlucky Happiness Repeat 4 Bari Kisher Hayer Live The Armenian Stepan Partamian News 7 Mekhq 5 Garkin Haghortum YO YO Arogchabahagan Mi Gatil Megher News CLONE Original 5 Unlucky Happiness Original 5 News Gyanki Keene -Original 5 Bari Kisher Hayer

Khohanotz Arogchabahagan Discovery Century Gevo Tesangouyn My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding Deal or No Deal News Mer Aibenarane Mer Lezoun Mer Khoske Yere 1 (ye:re:van) P S Club When Stars Are Dancing (Hamerk) Hay Film Armenian Movie News Tesangouyn Mi Gatil Megher Yere 1 (ye:re:van) Garkin Haghortoum Sassounian Commentary Discovery Century Mer Lezoun Mer Khoske Armenia Diaspora Deal or No Deal Sassounian Commentary Blef Gongret Show PS NEWS Film Story Hot Line

Hot Line Gongret Show P S Club Blef Yere 1 (ye:re:van) Mer Lezoun - Mer Khoske Mer Aybenaran Century Discovery Film Story Hay Film Armenian Movie Deal or No Deal Hot Line Armenian Teletime Film Story Hay Film Armenian Movie Hamerk Love E Lee Tesangouyn Mi Gatil Megher Yere 1 (ye:re:van) Garkin Haghortoum Sassounian Commentary Deal or No Deal Blef My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding Directions With Rafi Manoukian When Stars Are Dancing Yere 1 (ye:re:van) Cool Program Hot Line

Taline and Friends, whose "bright and cheerful song and dance bring joy to Armenian children and warm their parents' hearts."

Taline and Friends to perform in Northridge June 7

LOS ANGELES The popular children's singer Taline will be joined by the bunny rabbit Nabig, the kitty cat Peeso, and Dzaghradzou the clown for a concert on Sunday, 18111 Nordhoff Street, at CaliforJune 7, at 5 p.m. The "Let's Sing & nia State University Northridge. Dance" concert will take place at Taline's "bright and cheerful Plaza Del Sol Performance Hall, song and dance bring joy to Armenian children and warm Arts & Culture section. their parents' hearts," accordThe June 7 concert promises to ing to the cover story for the be full of singing, dancing, audiMay 5, 2007 Armenian Reporter ence participation, and fun.


Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009

Watch Armenia TV on Dish Network. To get a dish and subscribe, call 1-888-284-7116 toll free.

Satellite Broadcast Program Grid

1 June

MONDAY EST PST 4:30 7:30 News in Armenian 5:00 8:00 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 6:00 9:00 Los - Armeniûs 6:30 9:30 Cost of lifeSerial 7:20 10:20 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 7:45 10:45 Good Night,Armenians 9:30 12:30 News in Armenian 10:00 13:00 The Armenian Film 11:00 14:00 News in Armenian 11:30 14:30 Telekitchen 12:00 15:00 Our Alphabet 12:30 15:30 Los - Armeniûs 13:00 16:00 News in Armenian 13:30 16:30 Cool Program 14:00 17:00 A Drop of Honey 15:00 18:00 News in Armenian 15:30 18:30 Two FacesSerial 16:30 19:30 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 17:30 20:30 Cost of lifeSerial 19:00 22:00 News in Armenian 19:30 22:30 Good Morning,Armenians 21:00 0:00 News in Armenian 21:30 0:30 Two FacesSerial 22:15 1:15 Telekitchen 22:35 1:35 Our Language,Our Speech 23:00 2:00 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 0:00 3:00 Cost of lifeSerial 1:00 4:00 Blef 1:30 4:30 News in Armenian 2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 2:30 5:30 Los - Armeniûs 3:00 6:00 Two FacesSerial TUESDAY EST PST 4:30 7:30 News in Armenian 5:00 8:00 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 6:00 9:00 Yere1 6:30 9:30 Cost of lifeSerial 7:20 10:20 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 7:45 10:45 Good Night,Armenians 9:30 12:30 News in Armenian 10:00 13:00 The Armenian Film 11:00 14:00 News in Armenian 11:30 14:30 Telekitchen 12:00 15:00 Our Language,Our Speech 12:30 15:30 Yere1 13:00 16:00 News in Armenian 13:30 16:30 VOA(The Voice of America) 14:30 17:30 Los - Armeniûs 15:00 18:00 News in Armenian 15:30 18:30 Two FacesSerial 16:30 19:30 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 17:30 20:30 Cost of lifeSerial 19:00 22:00 News in Armenian 19:30 22:30 Good Morning,Armenians 21:00 0:00 News in Armenian 21:30 0:30 Two FacesSerial 22:15 1:15 Telekitchen 23:00 2:00 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 0:00 3:00 Cost of lifeSerial 1:00 4:00 News in Armenian 2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 2:30 5:30 Yere1 3:00 6:00 Two FacesSerial

1 ­ 7 June

4 June

THURSDAY EST PST 4:30 7:30 News in Armenian 5:00 8:00 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 6:00 9:00 Blef 6:30 9:30 Cost of lifeSerial 7:20 10:20 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 7:45 10:45 Good Night,Armenians 9:30 12:30 News in Armenian 10:00 13:00 The Armenian Film 11:00 14:00 News in Armenian 11:30 14:30 Telekitchen 12:00 15:00 Cool Program 12:30 15:30 The Armenian Film 15:00 18:00 News in Armenian 15:30 18:30 Two FacesSerial 16:30 19:30 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 17:30 20:30 Cost of lifeSerial 18:00 21:00 Super Duet 18:30 21:30 Sit.Com. 19:00 22:00 News in Armenian 19:30 22:30 Good Morning,Armenians 21:00 0:00 News in Armenian 21:30 0:30 Two FacesSerial 22:15 1:15 Telekitchen 23:00 2:00 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 0:00 3:00 Cost of lifeSerial 1:00 4:00 Blef 1:00 4:00 News in Armenian 2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 2:30 5:30 Our Language,Our Speech 3:00 6:00 Two FacesSerial FRIDAY News in Armenian 5:00 8:00 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 6:00 9:00 Yere1 6:30 9:30 Cost of lifeSerial 7:20 10:20 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 7:45 10:45 Good Night,Armenians 9:30 12:30 News in Armenian 10:00 13:00 The Armenian Film 11:00 14:00 News in Armenian 11:30 14:30 Telekitchen 12:00 15:00 Yere1 13:00 16:00 The Armenian Film 15:00 18:00 News in Armenian 15:30 18:30 Two FacesSerial 16:30 19:30 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 17:30 20:30 Cost of lifeSerial 18:00 21:00 Super Duet 19:00 22:00 News in Armenian 19:30 22:30 The Armenian Film 21:00 0:00 News in Armenian 21:30 0:30 Two FacesSerial 22:15 1:15 Telekitchen 23:00 2:00 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 0:00 3:00 Cost of lifeSerial 1:30 4:30 News in Armenian 2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 2:30 5:30 Our Alphabet 3:00 6:00 Two FacesSerial 4:00 7:00 Match Show EST PST 4:30 7:30

2 June

3 June

WEDNESDAY EST PST 4:30 7:30 News in Armenian 5:00 8:00 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 6:00 9:00 Cool Program 6:30 9:30 Cost of lifeSerial 7:20 10:20 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 7:45 10:45 Good Night,Armenians 9:30 12:30 News in Armenian 10:00 13:00 The Armenian Film 11:00 14:00 News in Armenian 11:30 14:30 Telekitchen 12:00 15:00 Yere1 12:30 15:30 A Drop of Honey 13:00 16:00 News in Armenian 13:30 16:30 Concert 15:00 18:00 News in Armenian 15:30 18:30 Two FacesSerial 16:30 19:30 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 17:30 20:30 Cost of lifeSerial 19:00 22:00 News in Armenian 19:30 22:30 Good Morning,Armenians 21:00 0:00 News in Armenian 21:30 0:30 Two FacesSerial 22:15 1:15 Telekitchen 23:00 2:00 Unhappy Happiness-Serial 0:00 3:00 Cost of lifeSerial 1:00 4:00 News in Armenian 2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat Armenian Wedding 2:30 5:30 Cool Program 3:00 6:00 Two FacesSerial

5 June


6 June

SATURDAY 4:30 7:30 5:00 8:00 5:30 8:30 6:00 9:00 6:30 9:30 7:20 10:20 10:30 13:30 11:30 14:30 12:00 15:00 12:30 15:30 13:00 16:00 13:30 16:30 15:00 18:00 15:30 18:30 16:00 19:00 18:30 21:30 21:00 0:00 21:30 0:30 22:00 1:00 22:20 1:20 22:40 1:40 23:10 2:10 0:00 3:00 3:00 6:00 3:30 6:30 4:00 7:00 News in Armenian A Drop of Honey Blef Cool Program Red or Black The Armenian Film A Drop of Honey Los-Armenios Yere1 Blef News in Armenian My Big, Fat News in Armenian Our Alphabet The Armenian Film voa(The Voice of America) Our Alphabet A Drop of Honey Cool Program Yere1 Los-Armenios Red or Black Cost of lifeSerial Jo-Jo A Drop of Honey Match Show Armenian Wedding SUNDAY

7 June

EST PST 4:30 7:30 News in Armenian 5:00 8:00 6:00 9:00 7:30 10:30 Fort Boyar Concert Unhappy

Happiness-Serial 13:00 16:00 voa(The Voice of America) 13:30 16:30 14:00 17:00 Jo-Jo Cost of lifeSerial 19:00 22:00 News in Armenian 19:30 22:30 Good Morning, Armenians 21:00 0:00 News in Armenian 21:30 0:30 Two FacesSerial 22:15 1:15 22:40 1:40 23:10 2:10 1:30 4:30 Telekitchen Our Alphabet Fort Boyar News in Armenian 2:10 5:10 A Drop of Honey 3:00 6:00 Two FacesSerial

Pope receives Lebanese-Armenian artist's work

GLENDALE ­ A work by Micheline Abounassar, better known as Micha, was presented to Pope Benedict XVI on May 12 during his visit to Jerusalem. The executive director of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops in the Holy Land, Wadie Abunassar, presented The Savior to the Bishop of Rome. The presentation took place during the Luncheon with the Ordinaries of the Holy Land, the Abbots, and the Papal Entourage in the Patriarchate of the Latins in Jerusalem. The pope blessed Micha's work. The work is a printed oil painting, number 2 of a limited edition of 500, signed and numbered by the artist. The work portrays Jesus as a blue-eyed man with a light olive complexion and dark beard. The background is pitch black ­ so much so that it reflects the ambient light. Micha, who lives in Glendale, Calif., is from Nazareth. Her grandmother, Haigo-He Tabar jian, is Armenian.

connect: 1-818-522-7123 Micha Micheline E. Abounassar, the artist, with print 2 of 500 of The Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, before it was shipped from Glendale Calif., to Jerusalem, and onward to the Vatican.

The Savior, Jesus of Nazareth by Nazareth native Micha.


Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009



The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


College student raises $10,000 for far through music

WORCESTER, Mass. ­ A mag- bandian. Also in attendance was staff of the College of the Holy nificent concert commemorating the executive director of Fund for Cross, the concert was a beautiful the Armenian Genocide and raising Armenian Relief, Garnik Nana- introduction to the richness of Armoney for the Fund for Armenian goulian, who offered his remarks, menian music and language. In letRelief, took place at Seelos Theater reflecting upon Ani's welcoming ters and emails to Ani, many people at the College of the Holy Cross on statement in which she spoke relayed their feelings of joy during April 19. about the importance of solidarity the concert, and how the music and The concert, featuring father- among Armenians and non-Arme- atmosphere brought them to tears, daughter duo Fr. Untzag and Ani nians alike in helping the people and even had them stomping their Nalbandian, in addition to the of Armenia. feet with the music. John Berberian Ensemble, was sold Local members of the Worcester The musical performances by out, with 370 people in attendance. and neighboring Armenian com- the Nalbandian duo were all songs, The concert made for a truly his- munities also flocked to this event, sung solo by either father or toric occasion, serving as the inau- including local clergy and members daughter, or jointly. Both Fr. Untgural event of the college's Arme- of the Armenian communities in zag and Ani played the piano, and nian Students' Association, which Worcester, Whitinsville, Fram- Ani also surprised the audience by was newly founded by Ms. Nalban- ingham, Springfield, Watertown, playing the accordion, and recitdian, a senior. What is more, Ms. and even as far as southwestern ing parts of Paruir Sevak's poem, Nalbandian and the other students Connecticut and New Jersey. For Anlreli Zangakatun, with the familinvolved succeeded in raising up- months leading up to it, the con- iar tune of Dle Yaman in the backward of $10,000 for Armenia. Fully cert was highly publicized in Arme- ground. $7,657.12 of this sum remains after nian and non-Armenian networks, In addition, the Nalbandian expenses, and is being donated to with Ms. Nalbandian and John duo was accompanied by several far. The money is to specifically Berberian even being invited for highly accomplished student mubenefit young students and chil- a guest appearance on the Hank sicians at the College of the Holy dren in Gyumri, Armenia, the site Stolz Show. The Worcester Telegram Cross, including: Michael Ferraof the devastating earthquake in & Gazette also ran a feature story guto on violin, Justin Rucci on December 1988. on Ani, John, and the concert, as drums, David Sheerin on piano, Among the audience members did the College of the Holy Cross and Michael Simms on clarinet. was the president of the college, Public Relations office, which post- The concert also featured the acFr. Michael McFarland, SJ, who ed an online video of an interview claimed oudist, John Berberian, offered his remarks praising the with Ani. and members of his ensemble: Mal concert, the students of the asa, For approximately 150 non-Ar- Barsamian on clarinet and guitar, and concert organizer, Ms. Nal- menian students, professors, and Harry Bedrosian on keyboard, and Bruce Gigarjian on dumbeg. Their selections included traditional Armenian music, from the melancholy Yeraz to the uplifting Hamest Kourikner (Tamzara). To conclude the concert, the last performance was Fr. Untzag and Ani singing the song Pour Toi, Armenie, one of the many in the repertoire of Charles Aznavour, and was composed in commemoration of the victims of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. The song was also the inspiration for the title of this benefit concert. Reflecting upon the concert, Ani Nalbandian remarked, "I believe that we succeeded in achieving something unprecedented that day. We fostered an atmosphere of sincere interest and compassion at our college for the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, and for those who continue to lead difficult lives in Armenia. More importantly, we did so by bringing together young and old, non-Armenian students and non-Armenian professors, as well as Armenians from the nearby and not-so-nearby communities. Never before has such unity of spirit for Armenia been experienced on this campus." It truly was something special.

Ani Nalbandian, College of the Holy Cross senior, and concert organizer, singing onstage at the April 19, 2009 concert, "Pour Toi, Armenie."

Standing Conference of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in America holds spring meeting

NEW YORK Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), attended a meeting of the Standing Conference of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in America on Tuesday, May 18. The meeting, held at the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Paramus, N.J., was led by Standing Conference chairperson Archbishop Barsamian and hosted by Metropolitan Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, the head of the Syriac Archdiocese of the Eastern United States. It was also attended by other clergy of the Eastern Diocese who are members of the Standing Conference, including the Very. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, the Very Rev. Fr. Vahan Hovhanessian, and the Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian. Participants discussed programs for youth, the development of a brochure about Oriental Orthodox Churches, and an effort to strengthen the presence of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches in Washington through the creation of a special joint commission. In addition, participants began to make plans for this year's Or-

Participants at the Standing Conference of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in America meeting, Paramus, N.J., May 18, 2009.

thodox Prayer Service, the annual gathering organized under the auspices of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches, to give Orthodox Christians an

opportunity to come together for worship and to learn more about each other's culture and heritage. Last year's prayer service was held at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral. The gathering included worship and a program focusing on the

United Nations Millennium Development Goal to stamp out poverty and inequality. Also under discussion was the upcoming Roman Catholic Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches Dialogue, scheduled for Septem-

ber 30, 2009, and the proceedings from the last international Roman Catholic and Oriental Orthodox Dialogue held in Rome in January. Before adjourning, participants prayed together and shared news from their respective churches.

Kay Armen Manoogian honored at Diocesan Center in New York

NEW YORK ­ Kay Armen Manoogian was awarded the St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Medal and a pontifical encyclical issued by Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), presented the medal at St. Vartan Cathedral on Wednesday, May 20. Ms. Armen was honored for her dedication to the Armenian Church and her accomplishments in the performing arts. This award was given to her as part of the celebration of St. Vartan Cathedral's 40th anniversary. Earlier recipients include Lucine Amara, Anahid Ajemian, and Lili Chookasian, who were honored with a medal and encyclical from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in October 2008. Forty people gathered at the Diocesan Center on Wednesday to celebrate Ms. Armen's achievements and accomplishments. She recalled how her mother brought home a shovel used at the groundbreaking of St. Vartan Cathedral over 40 years ago and how involved her family was in the Armenian Church, and especially in the life of the cathedral. "I love the church," said Ms. Armen. "Everywhere I've gone, I have found an Armenian Church. I've loved every Armenian Church I visited." "Kay Armen Manoogian has been closely involved in the cathedral since the very beginning," Archbishop Barsamian said. "As a community, we all felt a part of her great artistic achievement." Ms. Armen is a singer, composer, and actress who has made many records and performed in theatres, nightclubs, films, and on television. She joined the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ascap) in 1953. Her popular song compositions include "Be Good to Yourself," "My Love and I," and "It's a Sin to Cry Over You."

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian presents the pontifical encyclical to Kay Armen Manoogian at St. Vartan Cathedral, New York, May 20, 2009.

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009



Above: Schoolchildren from Artik visit the Sardarapat Memorial Complex. Top right and above right: The memorial wall at Sardarapat. Photo: Tatul Hakobyan for the Armenian Reporter.

At Sardarapat, Armenians celebrate indepedence

days of the wars of the Immortal Vartan. Follow their example. were able to stop the Turks at Bash"For the physical existence of the Aparan and Sardarapat and then to tormented Armenian people. For push them back. trampled-upon truth. Rise. Toward Catholicos of All Armenians work. Toward holy war." Gevorg V addressed the people: "The Turk, the bloodthirsty enemy Another chance of our rational flock, is moving to- The Armenian territories had been ward the heart of our country, our part of the Czarist Empire. With faith, our life's story, toward Etch- the victory of the Bolsheviks in miadzin. Our generals are suggest- late 1917, Lenin's Russia had withing to the Catholicos of All Arme- drawn from Transcaucasia, and the nians to leave in the enemy's jaws territory was nominally administhe Mother See at Etchmiadzin, our tered by the "Sejm," or parliament holy places, the Armenian people, of the Federated Republic of Transcaucasia. and to take refuge in Byurakan. On May 26, the Sejm held its last "No and No, and a thousand times, No. I will not abandon the Mother session, where it adopted the proSee entrusted to me by our fore- posal of the Georgian Mensheviks bears. I will not leave the hearth of to dissolve. On the same evening the Armenian Apostolic faith. If the the Georgian National Council pro- Outside Armenian soldiers themselves, if claimed the independence of Geor- Armenia's the Armenian people are unable to gia. On May 27, in Tiflis, the Muslim Museum of stop the enemy's progress, if they National Council proclaimed the Ethnography at cannot save our sanctities, then let independence of Azerbaijan. Also the Sardarapat in Tiflis, the Armenian National Memorial me be martyred right here. "I, who have the honor of occu- Council, after long deliberations, Complex, carved pying this throne through the just on May 28 proclaimed Armenia in- stones are on intercession of our holy predeces- dependent. On May 30 it officially display. sors and the grace of God, [would announced its decision. An Armenian delegation in Ba- nation of the Armenian people unit- the Armenian mountains represent rather fall] on the doorstep of the tumi signed a peace agreement ed. These bulls are also the guardians statehood and power. As alert watchMother See." with the Turks in early June. Alek- of victory, scaring away any evildoer ers, they keep guard over the present sandr Khatisian, the head of the who would seek entrance, and de- and future of the Armenian people. "No and No, and a Carved on a 55-meter, fencedelegation, notes in his memoirs: fending the homeland. thousand times, No. shaped memorial wall are fiery "We stayed in Batumi for eight days, steeds representing victory. Under until June 5, and the whole time "After dreaming for I will not abandon the hooves of the horses, serpents we were engaged in preparing the the Mother See are breathing their final breaths. A peace agreement. On the first ses- centuries, we would standing child and a woman draped entrusted to me by our sion, Vehib Pasha personally drew finally have a little in grapevines represent the rebirth Armenia's borders on the historic forebears." of the Armenian people. The wall is map that I had with me in Trabizon corner of our own on decorated with bas relief represen--Catholicos Gevorg V and later in Constantinople, Alek- the map of the world. tations of the Armenian people's sandropol, and Europe. peaceful creative work and military "When we looked at the map, we [But] this corner was heroism. Episodes from the battle were overwhelmed with two sharp barely 9,000 sq km, are etched on the wall. On one side feelings. The first was pride: after is Mother Armenia, who is calldreaming for centuries, we would fi- absolutely inadequate The commander of the Yerevan nally have a little corner of our own for accommodating ing on her children for help. The forces, General Movses Silikian, on the map of the world. The second leader of the clergy holds the book called upon every Armenian man was bitterness: this corner was barely our people." of Yeghishe ­ invoking the spirit of to make every last effort to strike 9,000 sq km, absolutely inadequate --Aleksandr Khatisian the 5th-century Battle of Avarayr. at the enemy to save his patrimony for accommodating our people." Raising a glass and defend his wife's and daughThe Vartavar tavern is below the ters' honor: "Armenian men! It is The memorial complex complex. The entrance holds this not time to slow down. Every man Fifty years after the heroic Battle inscription: "Bowing before the up to the age of 50 is obliged to of Sardarapat, on May 28, 1968, The bell-tower, 35 meters high, is names of our great forebears, and take arms and I demand that they the Sardarapat Memorial Complex report with their firearms and am- opened in the Araks village of Ar- the memorial stone to the heroes inspired by their industry, we, their munition for the defense of the mavir. Its authors were architect martyred in the battle. At the time grateful progeny, built this tavern." Rafael Israelian and sculptors of the Battle of Sardarapat, church Architect Rafael Israelian said it homeland. "Armenian women! Remember the Ara Harutiunian, Samvel Mana- bells had raised the alarm and was not possible to visit this heroic place and not raise a glass to the called the people to arms. `delicate ladies' of the fifth century sian, and Arsham Shahinian. At the entrance are two stone bulls, Going toward the memorial wall, memory of the heroes who sacriwho encouraged their husbands to undertake the Great Task in the symbolizing the force and determi- eagles facing Biblical Ararat and ficed their lives for the homeland. n Continued from page 1

Next to the tavern there is a little restaurant with a long hall looking toward the Armenian mountains. Part of the memorial complex is Armenia's Museum of Ethnography. It was built later, in 1978. From outside, it looks like a medieval castle. The building has two corner windows, one of which looks toward Mount Aragatz, the other toward Mount Ararat. There are artifacts here ranging from the Urartu period all the way through the beginning of the 20th century. Taguhi Lambarjian is the head of the tours and exhibits department of the museum. We walked through the museum with her guidance and became familiar with the different parts of Armenia's richest ethnographic museum. One part is dedicated to the First Republic of Armenia, 1918­20. The calls to arms of Catholicos Gevorg V and General Movses Silikian are held here, along with numerous photographs and other artifacts from the first republic. After independence was restored in 1991, the symbolism of Sardarapat found new meaning, and May 28 was adopted as a state holiday. Every year on that day the people and the leaders of Armenia and Karabakh f converge on the monument.


The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


President says amnesty depends on public sentiment

by Hovannes Shoghikian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) ­ President Serge Sargsian said on May 28 that he would declare an amnesty for dozens of people imprisoned in connection with unrest that followed the February 2008 presidential elections ­ but only if Armenia's leading political groups show that there is strong public support for such a move. The remarks came amid renewed speculation about the possible release of some 55 supporters of opposition figure Levon Ter-Petrossian who remain in jail. Parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian told RFE/RL on May 21 that Mr. Sargsian would declare amnesty on May 28, independence day. However, Mr. Abrahamian effectively retracted his claim the next day, saying through a spokesperson that he simply "did not rule out the possibility of a general amnesty." Under the Armenian constitution, an amnesty can be initiated only by the president and needs to be approved by the National Assembly. The latter is dominated by Mr. Sargsian's allies. "An amnesty was last declared in our republic in 2006," Mr. Sargsian told journalists while attending of- Serge Sargsian. ficial celebrations at the Sardarapat Photo: Mkhitar Memorial Complex 40 km west of Khachatryan/ Yerevan. "If the idea, the neces- Photolure. sity of calling a new amnesty has matured in the society in the last the presidential administration. three years, then I am really ready And if it emerges as a result that to make use of my constitutional there is such a desire in the society, right," he said. then I will immediately make use of "I therefore call on all political my constitutional right and appeal forces, public figures, the [presi- to the National Assembly to pass a dential] Public Council to submit law," he said. their proposals on the necessity A top representative of Mr. Terand conditions of the amnesty to Petrossian's Armenian National our comrades," Mr. Sarkisian told RFE/RL as he visited Sardarapat with Mr. Ter-Petrossian and other HAK leaders later in the day. The HAK regards the jailed oppositionists as political prisoners, while the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) believes that at least some of them were prosecuted on "seemingly artificial or politically motivated charges." PACE has repeatedly threatened to impose sanctions against Yerevan if those individuals are not set free. The Strasbourgbased body is expected to again discuss the issue at its next session in late June. President Sargsian has until now been willing to pardon only those individuals who admit their guilt and ask him for clemency. The proposal under consideration is a broader amnesty rather than indif vidual pardons.

Congress (HAK) scoffed at the proposal. "It's very bad that Serge Sargsian doesn't know his people's feelings and desires and is thus unable to assess the situation in the country," said Aram Sarkisian, a former prime minister. "We have no need to appeal for anything. We ourselves will free

Armenian unrest probe in deadlock

by Karine Kalantarian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) ­ A bipartisan body conducting an independent inquiry into last year's deadly postelection violence in Yerevan has been effectively paralyzed by mounting tensions between its members chosen by Armenia's government and opposition. Vahe Stepanian, chairperson of the Fact-Finding Group of Experts, not linked with either rival camp, said on May 25 that he had failed to reconcile his wrangling pro-government and pro-opposition colleagues and would step down as a result. The five-member group was set up by President Serge Sargsian last October with the aim of collecting information that would shed more light on the causes of the March 1, 2008, clashes between opposition protesters and security ation was becoming increasingly forces. In accordance with an exec- tense," Mr. Stepanian told RFE/RL. utive order signed by Mr. Sargsian, "I hoped that if we didn't meet for a the opposition Armenian National while, tensions would ease. But the Congress (HAK) and Heritage party opposite happened." each named one member of the Mr. Stepanian said he would not group. Two other members were continue to coordinate the inquiry nominated by Armenia's governing despite being asked by Mr. Harucoalition loyal to the president. tiunian to reconsider his decision. The state Human Rights Defend- "I just can't balance the two sides er, Armen Harutiunian, picked and ensure their cooperation anythe fifth member, Mr. Stepanian. more," he said. "Maybe somebody The group elected the latter as its else can." chairperson when it met for the That tensions inside the investifirst time in November. Mr. Stepa- gative body are running high was nian and the group's two pro-gov- confirmed by Robert Avagian, ernment members caused a stir one of its two pro-government early this month they went on a members. "Vahe Stepanian played two-week vacation, forcing a tem- the role of a balancer, but they put porary suspension of the Western- him into this situation," Mr. Avabacked inquiry. gian said, referring to his pro-opThe group resumed its work on position colleagues. May 17 only to suspend it again two One of them, Andranik Kodays later because of Mr. Stepan- charian, said Mr. Stepanian should ian's intention to resign. "The situ- have acted faster. "If he didn't want to work, then he should have either resigned as the group's chairperson or ended his membership in the group," he said. The group's activities reached deadlock after it submitted its first report to a special commission of the Armenian parliament also investigating the deadly clashes. The confidential report, leaked to the opposition press late last month, focused on circumstances of the death of Captain Hamlet Tadevosian, one of the two police officers killed in pitched battles with opposition protesters who barricaded themselves in central Yerevan. Captain Tadevosian was apparently the first casualty of the fierce clashes, which also left eight civilians dead. According to the Armenian law-enforcement authorities, he was killed by an explosive device thrown by one of the protesters. They have presented that as proof of their claims that some of the opposition supporters had firearms and that the use of lethal force against them was therefore justified. In its leaked report, the FactFinding Group questioned these claims, saying that investigators failed to properly examine the officer's body, clothes, and flak jacket. It suggested that the grenade that killed him exploded by his waist, rather than feet, as is claimed by the investigators. Opposition representatives have construed this as an implicit assertion that Captain Tadevosian held the grenade in his hand and set it off inadvertently. Mr. Avagian revealed on Monday that he and the group's other pro-government member, Gevorg Tovmasian, did not sign the report and disagree with its conclusions, which are largely rejected by f state prosecutors.

Yerevan mayor confident about election win Watchdog sees improved election coverage in Armenia

by Emil Danielyan

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) ­ Yerevan Mayor Gagik Beglarian said he expects the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) to win the May 31 municipal elections and reinstall him in his current position, as he campaigned in the capital on May 27. "I am intent on winning," he told journalists. "There are opinion polls testifying to [a Republican victory.] I believe in our people." When asked whether he thought the HHK will clear a 40 percent vote threshold and thereby automatically gain control in the new city council, Mr. Beglarian said, "We'll see on May 31." Mr. Beglarian, who tops the HHK's list of candidates, has been dogged by opposition allegations of foul play throughout the mayoral race. The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) has repeatedly accused the party led by President Serge Sargsian of illegally using his extensive government levers and planning other vote falsifications on polling day. The HHK has brushed aside the allegations. Mr. Beglarian risked more controversy on May 27 as he combined a campaign rally in central Yerevan with the inauguration of a children's playground built with public funds in one of the local courtyards. The neighborhood is part of a largely

by Tatevik Lazarian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) ­ A leading Armenian media watchdog on May 22 gave a largely positive assessment of television coverage of the ongoing mayoral election campaign in Yerevan. The independent Yerevan Press Club (YPC) said Armenia's seven leading TV stations are now more neutral and objective than they were in the run-up to the last national elections. The YPC began a daily monitoring of their political news reporting on April 16, two before the official start of campaigning for the May 31 elections of a new municipal council. "I am pleased to say that 97 percent of the TV coverage has been neutral," said Elina Poghosbekian, the monitoring coordinator. "In my opinion, that is a very good indicator. Unlike the last presidential and parliamentary elections, these elections are being covered in a relatively neutral way." Both the YPC and Western observers were highly critical of the Armenian broadcasters' coverage of the national elections, notably the February 2008 presidential bal-

Mayor ­ and mayoral candidate ­ Gagik Beglarian. Tigran Tadevosyan/Photolure.

blue-collar section of the city's central Kentron district that has long been considered his stronghold. Addressing several hundred people who gathered in the newly paved courtyard, Mr. Beglarian acknowledged "many shortcomings" committed in his previous capacity as elected head of the Kentron administration. But he blamed them on a lack of powers vested in municipal communities. In particular, he stressed that he had no control over recent years' redevelopment

projects in downtown Yerevan that were accompanied by forcible evictions of thousands of city residents. "After May 31 all powers will be transferred to the city of Yerevan by means of your votes," said Mr. Beglarian. "Then, dear people, you'll see how many things will be done for all of you." "After May 31 we will work so hard, so well that the people will love and accept us more than anyone else," f he added.

lot. They said it favored pro-government candidates and was biased against the opposition. Presenting its latest monitoring results, the YPC said at the same time that the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) has so far received much less TV coverage than virtually all other election contenders. The largest amount of airtime was found to have been given to the small People's Party, whose owner, Tigran Karapetian, controls one of the seven TV channels in question. The People's Party was followed by the pro-government Prosperous Armenia Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun), which pulled out of the country's governing coalition late last month. Dashnaktsutiun controls another channel monitored by the YPC. Surprisingly, President Serge Sargsian's Republican Party of Armenia, the election favorite, has so far been only the fifth most-covered contender, according to the YPC. The Republican Party is also trailing the Prosperous Armenia Party, its most important coalition partner, in terms of spending on f televised campaign ads.

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009



Azerbaijani, Turkish leaders see no progress in Karabakh talks

by Emil Danielyan

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) ­ Armenia and Azerbaijan have made no progress in resolving the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azerbaijani and Turkish foreign ministers said over the weekend of May 23­24, sharply contradicting optimistic statements made by international mediators. "Despite the development of a new situation in the region, Armenia has unfortunately begun having a negative influence on the peace process," Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told the Trend news agency. "We achieved everything with the previous Armenian administration in the peace process, but with the countries. They were due to fly to chief foreign policy aide, Novruz "And what I felt during those negotiacurrent Armenian administration Baku and hold talks there late on Mammadov. He has accused them tions . . . was that the presidents did we have achieved nothing," he said. Monday. of adopting "double standards" and in fact work through the concepts "As a person leading the negotiaPresident Serge Sargsian has favoring the Armenian side out of of that handful of basic principles tions, I cannot boast that we have held four face-to-face meetings with "Christian solidarity." that had not been agreed. What they made even some progress in out- Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev since takStill, the Minsk Group's U.S. co- didn't do was agree on the details. standing issues." ing office in April 2008. Their most chair, Deputy Assistant Secretary "And that's the focus of our neMr. Mammadyarov's Turkish recent talks took place in Prague of State Matthew Bryza, insist- gotiations right now. To have a counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, on May 7. According to the U.S., ed on May 15 that Mr. Aliyev and conceptual agreement, but not to had a similar take on the current Russian, and French diplomats co- Mr. Sargsian did make "significant agree on the details, is significant state of the Armenian-Azerbaijani chairing the OSCE Minsk Group, the progress" in Prague. "Novruz Mam- progress." negotiating process. "There has two leaders further narrowed their madov has no way to judge what Mr. Bryza and his French and been no progress," he told the Ana- differences over the basic principles the outcome of the discussion was Russian colleagues are due to again tolia news agency on Sunday. "It is of a Karabakh settlement proposed because he wasn't there," Bryza visit the conflict zone this week to time to revive this process. Turkey by the mediating troika. told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani service. prepare for yet another Armenianwill continue its efforts." The mediators' upbeat state"We have a series, between 10 and Azerbaijani summit tentatively The two ministers spoke in Da- ments about chances for the sign- 20 basic principles in our Madrid scheduled for the beginning of next mascus, Syria, where they attended ing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani document, and we have a handful month. They hope that it will yield a high-level meeting of the Orga- framework peace accord have been of the 10­12 issues that still need to a long-awaited breakthrough in the f nization of the Islamic Conference strongly denounced by Mr. Aliyev's be worked out conceptually," he said. Karabakh peace process.

Turkish-Armenian talks not in deadlock, says U.S. envoy

by Emil Danielyan

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) ­ Armenia's rapprochement with Turkey has not reached an impasse despite Ankara's renewed linkage between the normalization of bilateral relations and a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza also dismissed mounting domestic criticism of President Serge Sargsian's conciliatory line on Turkey. In an interview with RFE/RL, Mr. Bryza insisted that recent statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan do not preclude the implementation of a "It's not that there are precondiU.S.-backed "roadmap" to improv- tions. There are no preconditions. ing Turkish-Armenian relations, There are commitments by the announced by the two govern- countries to do one or another set ments in late April. "Stay tuned, of issues," Mr. Bryza said. keep watching for additional stateThe Armenian leadership mainments by top officials in both Tur- tains that it has been discussing key and Armenia, which hopefully with Ankara only an unconditional will show the implementation is normalization of relations and that moving forward," he told RFE/RL. the agreed roadmap makes no refBut Mr. Bryza acknowledged that erences to the unresolved Karabakh there is at least some connection be- conflict. Mr. Erdogan has repeatedtween Karabakh peace and the suc- ly stated, however, that Turkey will cess of the Turkish-Armenian dia- not establish diplomatic relations logue. "As we make progress, let's say, and open its border with Armenia on Nagorno-Karabakh, it's easier to unless the latter makes peace with make progress on Turkey-Armenia," Azerbaijan. he said. "As we make progress on Neither side has publicized the Turkey-Armenia, it's easier to make "roadmap" yet. Mr. Bryza also deprogress on Nagorno-Karabakh. clined to divulge its details. "I hope that it will be publicized soon," he time when secret talks were held said. with Turkey, and Armen RustaThe Turkish-Armenian deal was mian, who as head of the parliaannounced on the eve of April 24. mentary foreign relations commitMany in Armenia and its worldwide tee could expect to be fully briefed diaspora believe the timing helped on the talks.] U.S. President Barack Obama "Armenia has neither won nor backtrack on his pledges to recog- lost anything, Turkey has neinize the mass killings of 1915­17 as ther won nor lost anything, begenocide. Mr. Sargsian's critics also cause the Turkey-Armenia agreesay the yearlong rapprochement ment has not been implemented has earned Armenia no tangible yet," he said. "The sides are in benefits. the process of implementing the "Those people don't understand roadmap. Only then will there be what's happening," countered Mr. benefits." Bryza. "That is a mischaracteriza"It's time for the process to move tion of reality." forward," he added. "I strongly [The critics include Vartan Os- agree with those critics who say kanian, who served for 10 years the agreement needs to be implef as Armenia's foreign minister at a mented."

Armenia's ombudsperson deplores violence in the military

by Karine Kalantarian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) ­ Armenia's Human Rights Defender, or ombudsperson, Armen Harutiunian, released on May 27 a special report aimed at exposing the problems that exist in the army and often lead to human-rights violations. Answering an RFE/RL question regarding the degree to which the rights of soldiers and servicemen in the Armenian military are protected, Mr. Harutiunian said: "A serviceman in the army is unprotected to the extent that we would like him to feel protected. That is why we have prepared this ad hoc report and decided not to wait to incorporate this information in the annual report. If it is an ad hoc report, it already shows that the matter is urgent enough and one has to respond to this very quickly." The ombudsperson will soon submit the report to both the minister of defense and the country's government. The report draws particular attention to the conduct of officers and commanders and the issue of their responsibility. "In a number of cases a commander behaves in a way that promotes the turning of a disciplinary action into real suffering for the serviceman," the report says. In one of the military units, for example, a soldier was punished and locked in a cell despite the circumstance that he had been only recently discharged from a hospital where he had been treated for pneumonia. A total of 171 cases of beatings and hazing were reported over nine months in 2008; 38 of these cases concerned officers beating conscripts. And 97 cases concerned soldiers beating fellow army conscripts. In five reported cases soldiers beat officers or warrant officers. "A commander must indeed bear personal responsibility for issues connected with the personnel," said Mr. Harutiunian. "Many disciplinerelated matters here have a punitive meaning, and that is right for those cases. But provisions of the guarantees of the European Convention on Human Rights should f apply to them as well."

Armen Harutiunian. Photo: Melik Baghdasaryan/Photolure.

Mediators prepare for another Armenian-Azerbaijani summit

by Emil Danielyan

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) ­ International mediators on May 29 were to open a new round of regional shuttle diplomacy to prepare for next week's meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents, which they hope will mark a further step toward the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The U.S., Russian, and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group will start their joint regional tour with talks in Baku with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev. One of them, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza, was in Yerevan on May 28 to meet with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian. Mr. Aliyev and his Armenian principles" in Saint Petersburg and process. "That's normal," he said. dominantly Armenian population counterpart, Serge Sargsian, are will therefore need to hold more "Each side has to follow its own tac- would presumably be able to legitiexpected to meet in the Russian talks "relatively quickly." "Based tics to try influence the other side. mize its secession from Azerbaijan city of Saint Petersburg on June 4 on their conversation in Prague, I That's fair game." after the liberation of Armenianfor the second time in less than a do believe that a breakthrough can The U.S. official was at the same occupied territories surrounding month. According to the mediators, happen at Saint Petersburg and/or time reluctant to speculate about Karabakh. the two leaders further narrowed shortly thereafter," he said. chances for the signing of an ArmeMr. Aliyev claimed on Wednestheir disagreements over the basic Some Azerbaijani officials take nian-Azerbaijani framework peace day, however, that "there is and principles of a Karabakh settle- a dim view of the cautious opti- accord this year. "The presidents there can be no mechanism for ment, proposed by the troika, dur- mism expressed by the media- could have a peace deal tomorrow if Nagorno-Karabakh's secession ing their last face-to-face talks held tors. A top aide to Mr. Aliyev last they wanted to," he said. "They are from Azerbaijan at the negotiatin Prague. month denounced Mr. Bryza's close. But I have no way to predict ing table." "Nagorno-Karabakh "They made significant progress upbeat statements, while For- whether or not they will be suffi- will not be an independent state in Prague and I expect the same in eign Minister Elmar Mammady- ciently confident that they are get- neither today, nor in 10 or 100 Saint-Petersburg," Mr. Bryza told arov claimed over the weekend ting the best possible agreement for years," he said in a televised adRFE/RL in an interview. "I hope that that the conflicting parties have their countries by any specific day dress to the nation. "Despite all the world will then see, within the not moved closer to a settlement on the calendar." the pressures, we will assert this f next couple of months, that they since Mr. Sargsian took office in The agreement proposed by the position till the end." have achieved a breakthrough." April last year. mediators reportedly calls for a Mr. Bryza made clear that Mr. Mr. Bryza dismissed these gradual solution to the bitter dis- © 2009 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the Aliyev and Mr. Sargsian are unlike- statements as negotiating ploys pute that would end in a referen- permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio ly to iron out all of their disagree- that are not indicative of the cur- dum of self-determination in Kara- Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. ments on "a handful of remaining rent state of the Karabakh peace bakh. The disputed region's pre- Washington DC 20036.


The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009

Commentary Editorial

the armenian reporter

A renewed commitment to a strong, stable land

May 28 was the 91st anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia. sist both powers, the Armenian government ceded power to the Bolsheviks, and over time When the independence of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan came in 1918, it was a dream Armenia became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. It was seventy years later, on come true for many. September 21, 1991, that Armenia once again became an independent republic. At the same time, independence brought enormous challenges. As the South Caucasus Notwithstanding all these challenges and difficulties, the Armenian people found that an split into nation states, hundreds of thousands of people ­ Armenians living in Georgia Armenian state was a condition for their survival in the world of nations and nation states and Azerbaijan, Azerbaijanis living in Armenia and Georgia, and so on ­ became outsiders that was emerging in the wake of the First World War. What emerged out of the first republic of sorts in their hometowns. In Tiflis (today's Tbilisi), at that time the cultural and political was a defined Armenia on the modern world map, an Armenian polity, and a commitment capital of the region, Armenians had constituted a thriving plurality. In the oil boom city of to statehood. Baku, too, Armenians had been an important part of the middle class. In Yerevan, then a This commitment stayed alive in Armenia and in the diaspora until it became a reality in small town, Azerbaijanis held sway. 1991. But that was not all. It was a horrible time, more horrible than it is comfortable to recall. The world has changed in many ways since 1918, and will continue to change. For some The whole world was at war. During the same war, only three years previously, the Turkish groups of states, borders are no longer barriers to travel and trade. With information state had undertaken to eliminate the Armenian people. Over a million Armenians were becoming a most important commodity, neither distance nor borders are barriers to coeither killed outright or deported. The Caucasus was overrun with refugees. operation. And now, the new Armenia had to face the Turkish army alone. That Armenians held their A stable state able to defend its borders ­ and its people ­ will remain a condition for the own is nothing short of a miracle. survival of the Armenian people. But, as we have argued before in this space, it will not be Besides war, the new state had to face famine and disease. The United States sent wheat. enough. Improved relations with other states, especially neighbors, will continue to be necThe president, Woodrow Wilson, also made promises to protect Armenia, which he was not essary. Add to that transnational networking and cooperation ­ in other words, Armenians able to keep. At the conclusion of the world war, a defeated Turkey signed a peace treaty in across the globe working together and facing challenges together. which it ceded the Armenian provinces of the Ottoman Empire to the new Armenian repubMay 28 is a time to rededicate ourselves to maintaining a strong and stable Armenia and lic. President Wilson was to arbitrate the borders. Karabakh. It is also a time to commit to working for an ever expanding web of economic, But before the ink was dry on that treaty, the Treaty of Sèvres, Turkey's Mustafa Kemal financial, cultural, athletic, political, social, and family ties wherever in the world Armenians f made a secret deal with Russia's Lenin and started a new war with Armenia. Unable to re- may live.

Turkish intellectuals and state denial

The enemies of my enemy may not be my friends

by Laurent Leylekian

ALTHEN-LE-PALUDS, France ­ This authorized English version of Laurent Leylekian's keynote address to the May 9, 2009, conference "Althen Meets Armenia," Althen-le-Paluds, France, has been translated from the French by Lou Ann Matossian for the Armenian Reporter and is published with the author's permission. Mr. Leylekian is executive director of the European Armenian Federation (Armenian National Committee of Europe). A response, in Turkish, from Baskin Oran, appears on the website of the daily Radikal. Like the god Vishnu, my press will have a hundred arms, and these arms will stretch out their hands throughout the country delicately giving form to all manner of opinion. Everyone will belong to my party without knowing it. Those who believe they are speaking the language of their party will be acting for mine. Those who think they are marching under their own banner will be marching under mine. --Maurice Joly, The Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu Forgetting, I would even go so far as to say historical error, is a crucial factor in the creation of a nation, which is why progress in historical studies often constitutes a danger for [the principle of] nationality. . . . But the essence of a nation is that all individuals have many things in common, and also that they have forgotten many things. --Ernest Renan, What is a Nation? The fact that in the early 2000s, a significant number of Turks began to speak broadly of Armenians, genocide, or the various abuses of the Ottoman Empire or Turkey today was experienced as a gift from heaven by most Armenians, the descendants of Genocide survivors. Socially speaking, these Turkish people are mostly very questionable practices a more cosmetic ap- etal choices they promote, the Kemalists and the Islamists agree on a number of points westernized and pro-European intellectuals, pearance. To name names, the thinking of a Ragip that are in truth a national consensus, simand their rhetoric fits in perfectly with the political criticism of Kemalism, of ultrana- Zarakolu is no doubt quite different from ply because these are prerequisites to the extionalism and, in general, of the authoritar- that of an Ayse Hur, whose thinking is itself istence and the affirmation of their nation, ian tendencies of Turkish society and the scarcely comparable to that of Erol Özköray, especially as this nation is newly created and, all of which are probably unrelated to the like all nations, artificial. Turkish state. Very prosaically, these issues that already It is therefore quite natural that these peo- thinking of Ahmet Insel or Baskin Oran. What links most ­ but not all ­ of the new constitute the essence of the National Pact of ple were so enthusiastically received by the European intelligentsia in general, and by Turkish intellectuals is the more-or-less open Atatürk consist of affirming without ambiguwhat I will call the liberal-socialist consensus, critique of Kemalism. Often the reasoning ity the preeminence ­ the unshared legitimai.e., by this important group of policymak- behind this critique pays less attention to the cy ­ of a people on a territory. This statement ers in the European Union that identifies moral failings of this state ideology than to implies, above all, a denial or appropriation nationalism with ultranationalism and sees its inability to adequately manage the factors of other legitimacies. In this case, the denial of the Armenian in the free-market system ­ possibly with so- that threaten to disrupt Turkish society. It is therefore quite natural that many of Genocide as well as the appropriation of cial safeguards ­ the resolution of all political, them ­ not necessarily proponents of po- elements of Armenian history and culture cultural, and identity issues. It is thus also quite natural that Armenians litical Islam ­ developed at the dawn of the ­ think of Urartu ­ or the denial of the Kurdhave lumped together these people, whose 2000s a certain sympathy for the AKP [Adalet ish reality as a political question constitute, discourse is generally progressive, with the ve Kalkinma Partisi, or Justice and Develop- in my view, political priorities of the Turkolder, more radical, and therefore systemical- ment Party] because that political force was, ish nation well beyond the sole Turkish state. ly less promoted dissidents, including those sociologically speaking, the only one able to It is a process of vampirization that Marc who genuinely and sincerely want a recogni- move the Turkish state. These intellectuals, Nichanian, of late has perfectly described. tion by Turkey of the Armenian Genocide, who supported the political priorities of the In this process, the victims must be totally AKP government in the first half of the 2000s, deprived of the power of symbolization for with all that that implies. Therefore, naïve imagery depicts the Turk- were naturally promoted by the Turkish me- the benefit of the vampire people. It is not ish political field as ultranationalist and de- dia and by the European political forces who just about land, nor even blood; it is, in this nialist Kemalists versus a progressive, pro- believe in the European vocation of Turkey. instance, about emptying the Armenians of their humanity, of their capacity of represenEuropean civil society that advocates cos- What were these policy priorities? · Support for Turkey's European Union tation, so as to appropriate the latter. mopolitanism and favors the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. However, the actual candidacy · Support for appropriate institutional re- The enemies of our enemies situation is infinitely more subtle because in The alignment of Turkish Islamists to this truth, we cannot understand this new Turk- forms ("democracy and rule of law") national priority was not clearly evident · Respect for human rights and minorities ish intelligentsia with such a blanket generFor example, one might mention the fa- from the outset. For about six months after alization. mous report on minority rights in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan became prime minThe common thread: for which Ibrahim Kaboglu and Baskin ister, one could have had some hope. NeverOran were persecuted by Turkish ultrana- theless, very quickly, with good or bad grace, critiquing Kemalism tionalist groups. Indeed, this report and the the Islamists have had to pledge allegiance to The thinking as well as the political inten- reforms it proposed struck squarely at the the national dogma, at least regarding tions of its various members covers a very monolithic conception of Turkey advocated · the denial of the Armenian Genocide wide spectrum, ranging from radical critique by Kemalists. · the denial of the Kurdish reality of the Turkish state, Turkish society, and · the occupation of Cyprus even the Turkish people, to a very limited Kemalists, Islamists, and In other words, the enemies of our Kemalcritique of the management of certain issues Turkish nationalism ist enemies are not necessarily our friends. In by Turkey. There are those who oppose the this regard, reading Kar (Snow), one of the reTurkish state system and those who simply However, as opposed as they may be on the want to improve its image by giving its most form of the state they offer and on the sociContinued on page 23 m The Armenian Reporter is your newspaper. We urge you to send us your news and your views. News. Please send your news to <[email protected]>. Letters. Please send your letters to <[email protected]> Letters should be no more than 250 words long and may be edited for clarity. Please include your mailing address and daytime telephone number. Commentary. Please send your essays to <[email protected]> Essays and articles normally should be no longer than 900 words. Photos and artwork. We require high-resolution originals. All photos and artwork must include a credit to the photographer and a signed statement granting us permission to publish. Advertising and subscriptions. 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The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


Commentary Letters

They would often leave after a couple seconds of seeing my video was not what they wanted. Google had no problem taking my money for these accidental or incorrect clicks though, Sir: and frankly this is just part of the risk we I disagree with the notion that the "Google take in advertising through this system. ad program is designed for advertisers to pay Therefore if a Turkish organization for clicks made in good faith" ("Situational wants to put itself out there by using this Ethics: Tainted Money," May 23). pay-per-click system to spread its vile proI personally have used Google ads to adver- paganda to every Google user with an Armetise some videos I made on YouTube [Google nian-related e-mail, then they must deal with owns YouTube]. YouTube would bring my the consequences of potential unwanted videos to the top of the search list when a clicks, as I have. user searched for a term possibly relevant to I eventually stopped using the service bemy video in exchange for a few cents a click. cause it got too expensive, but I should also However, this system is far from perfect and include the fact that you are able to cap the it attracted many people to my videos who amount of money you spend each day. Therewere looking for things completely different fore if thousands of Armenians clicked the and had no intention of watching my video. ad in a single day, the cap would likely come

Click away with a clear conscience

into play at some point and stop charging the Turks anyway [and thus prevent the ad from being seen by others that day, to boot.] This is a business, and business is all about risk and reward. Since this is a program run by Google, there is technically nothing unethical ­ no matter how offputting ­ about Turks putting themselves out there in our inboxes daily because they are paying for the right. As the ones being advertised to, it is completely our own right to charge them for the regular inconvenience by clicking or to ignore it. That's part of the contract and I see no reason why the taint of the word "unethical" need be applied to this business choice. Very truly yours, Paul Sookiasian by email

1776 vs 1787

Sir: If, in the penultimate paragraph of her book review, "New book extols ancient civilizations of Mr. Ararat," (May 16), Mae Derdarian was referring to the American Constitution when she said, "those who believe 1776 was the year the first national constitution was conceived," then, perhaps someone should tell her that 1776 was the year that the American Declaration of Independence was produced. The American Constitution was adopted in 1787. Very truly yours, Andrew Kevorkian Philadelphia

Turkish intellectuals and state denial

n Continued from page 22 cent novels by Orhan Pamuk, is something I cannot recommend highly enough. I do not know if it is an unconscious confession, but in this novel the main character goes through the town of Kars encountering various groups labeled Kemalists, Islamists, Kurds, and so on. In the end, the hero realizes that the characters who presented themselves as close to the PKK are also close to the police, that the supposed Islamists participate in meetings of the [fascist] Gray Wolves, and that in fact all of them are nationalists, first and foremost. There emerges a picture of ideological confusion and duplicity that seems to be a local projection of the reality of Turkey. Thus, most of these Turkish intellectuals ­ at least most of those promoted by the Turkish media and subsequently by the international media ­ have a critical discourse, certainly, but one that remains compatible with Turkey's goal of joining the European Union, and with the national goal of getting rid of unwelcome questions or at least their political significance. It is certainly no coincidence that most promoted Turkish intellectuals ­ Ahmet Insel, Baskin Oran, Orhan Pamuk, and Cengiz Aktar, to name a few ­ are also those whose rhetoric serves the objectives of Ankara. Their approach to the Armenian Genocide seeks to subvert its meaning ­ that of a political crime in need of an international legal response ­ so as to deal with it solely within the Turkish nation and in a way that will be painless for that nation. Let us now turn to the methods employed for this purpose. Any request addressed to Turkey is said to constitute an insult to the nation. This applies to the Armenian Genocide, Cyprus, and the Kurds, as well as to the other criteria for membership in the European Union. The words "humiliating," "hurtful," and "annoying" are regularly attached to the Turkish question, which has never been the case for other candidate countries. Turkish intellectuals enter fully into this strategy that plays upon the Europeans' guilty conscience toward the Muslim world. We should not humiliate Turkey. That was the title of an interview with Orhan Pamuk, "Do not humiliate Turkey," in the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, and I would like to read an excerpt from another Pamuk text ["In Kars and Frankfurt"]: "Let me begin by saying that Europe is a very delicate, very sensitive subject for a Turk. Here we are, knocking on your door, asking to come in, full of high hopes and good intentions but also feeling rather anxious and fearing rejection. I feel such things as keenly as do other Turks, and what we all feel is very much akin to the `silent shame' I was describing earlier. As Turkey knocks on Europe's door, as we wait and wait and Europe makes promises and then forgets us, only to raise the bar . . . we've seen a lamentable hardening of anti-Turkish sentiment in certain parts of Europe." Thus, a ruthless Europe is said to be raising the bar because of anti-Turkish sentiment and does not respect its promises, which is the exact opposite of reality: in reality, Europe has gradually removed all its requirements with the exception of the quite painless signing of the Ankara Protocol. In contrast, it is Turkey that made

The discourse of humiliation

The strategy of rejecting the commitments to Europe in order to join. Let us note for example that the recogni- extremes tion of the Genocide was originally a condition for opening negotiations, then a con- This strategy is to present Turkish and Ardition of their conclusion, before becoming menian nationalists as similar extremists. a non-condition. Of course, this rhetoric of Mr. Oran is also a great specialist in this humiliation is never used about the Arme- technique and it applies just as much to the nians, who are generally depicted in dehu- present situation as to that which prevailed in the era of the Young Turks: he regularly manizing terms: lobby, diaspora, etc. refers to the "hawks" of the diaspora, recalls The strategy of containment at leisure the attacks of ASALA, and puts on The question must be addressed by histori- one plane the actions of Armenian "komians, experts, by examining the archives, etc. tajis" and a few hundred Turkish victims of This strategy is actually intended to remove reprisals in 1917 with the incomparable state the political and international dimension of violence embodied in the Genocide and later the issue of the Armenian Genocide in order in its denial. to confine it to a panel discussion. In the If one follows this logic of moral equivawords of Georges Clemenceau, "when I want lence, there is no ontological difference beto bury a case, I create a commission." In tween the Jewish [resisters] of the Warsaw truth, the strategy of containment is little Ghetto and the Nazis who tried to extermiused by the Turkish intellectuals who will- nate them. ingly leave it to the state. Mr. Oran, I am sorry to quote you again to answer your questions, but you said: "BeThe strategy of formal cause for the Armenians `genocide' means one thing: 1915. But for Turks it also means empathy one thing: 1933-1945. This means that in the The discourse of "we all suffered." This strat- minds of Turks, Armenians are telling them: egy is to recognize a part of the evil suffered `Your grandfather was a Nazi.'" by Armenians but to relativize it by putting it Well, yes, your grandparents were Nazis, or in the context of the damage suffered equally their equivalents, and that is exactly what by the Turks, or better yet, the [emotional] you have to admit. Nobody is saying it will violence allegedly felt by the Turks at the be easy, but truly the Turks have no escape time of the Armenian Genocide. This strat- and the longer you wait, the more painful egy is found for example in a recent article by it will be. Cengiz Aktar in the French daily, Libération: "In this sense, the Armenian Genocide is The strategy of deprivation a common tragedy of Anatolia, and even This strategy is to create a debate where the today what is uttered in the villages of Ana- Armenian voice is illegitimate. Thus the pubtolia as part of the old stories is the tally of lic sphere in Turkey is now besieged by Turkan unprecedented catastrophe. Yet, I am not on-Turk controversies: Who said what? Who is convinced that the `genocide' word is suffi- willing to go how far? Who would disagree and cient to accurately read the consequences of why? And thus the world, and particularly this irrational decision that Anatolia was Armenians, is to be expected to wait, dursubjected to. . . . Almost every year until ing these endless discussions from which we 2023 [the founding date of the Turkish re- are excluded, for the emergence of an "aupublic], and even beyond, will provide us the thorized" view on how to tackle "the events opportunity to learn and remember the fate of 1915," the nature and name of which we of Armenians, as well as the consequences of already know perfectly well. This strategy is beginning to have some that common catastrophe for people of Anatolia. Justice will rule as we learn about success outside of Turkey. I believe it is highthe dimensions of the process which has be- ly significant that Libération has recently ingun a hundred years ago and about what it vited Cengiz Aktar and Pierre Weill ­ whose primary competence in this matter is clearly has cost to all of us." The direct result of this strategy is the that of having easy access to the media ­ to concept of initiatives such as Biz Miassin or speak on the Armenian Genocide while ArYavash Gamats or the somewhat sentimental menians have been banned. Four years ago, we organized in the Euroformula that "we drank the same water" in which the key idea is that we all allegedly pean Parliament a debate on Turkey. On this suffered a violence of third-party origin, oth- occasion, I invited a Member to speak and he refused, saying, "It is not for you to discuss erwise unidentified. Taken to its extreme, this strategy has led Turkey." This response is extraordinary: at to the famous petition of apology, one of the that time, the debate on Turkey was everyinitiators of which we have here, and even to where and everyone was entitled to speak initiatives of thanks among the Armenians. about it, but we, because we were Armenians, But this petition carefully avoids the term were to be banned from the debate. Following a recent discussion with VarouGenocide, the only bearer of political and legal meaning, and deliberately decouples the jan Sarkissian, the former editor of FranceTurkish state from liability while transform- Arménie, I realized how much these last three ing a political issue of international relations strategies recalled in a striking manner some of the figures of speech presented by Roland to one of individual, conscious choice. Baskin Oran revealed the objective of this Barthes in order to uncover mythic structures. scheme by telling Milliyet: Barthes spoke of the vaccine with which "Mr. Prime Minister ought to be thanking us for this campaign. All over the world, parlia- one immunizes the [contents of the] collecments were adopting resolutions, automatical- tive imagination by a small inoculation of ly. Now, this will all stop. The diaspora is soft- acknowledged evil; the deprivation of history, ening. The international media have begun to which consists of depriving people, those of whom one is speaking, of any specific term in abandon the use of the term Genocide."

order to reduce them to the status of an object whose fate one decides; neither-nor-ism, where one balances two opposites in order to position oneself as the supposedly impartial arbitrator and renders a biased judgment; and finally identification, by which one transforms oneself into the other. According to Barthes, all these rhetorical processes aim to produce myth, i.e., to avoid the unbearable confrontation with reality, and I think that in this respect, the denial of Turkish intellectuals is a good subject for a thesis in sociology.

What to do with Turkish intellectuals?

To summarize, this prominent fringe of Turkish intellectuals has the following objectives: · To deny us justice by describing us as extremists with unreasonable demands. Let me stress this point: we, whose ancestors were robbed, raped, killed, and then extirpated from their own history, and who in the end ask for no more than the recognition of a factual truth and the assumption of all its consequences, we are allegedly dangerous extremists. In denying us this recognition, these people participate in the denial of justice. · To deprive us of logos by monopolizing the discourse on "the events of 1915," these people are trying to delegitimize our words and eventually reproduce toward us the infantilizing behavior, which was that of the ruling nation ­ the hakim millet ­ over the subjugated peoples, the rayas. The denial of justice and the denial of logos are direct attacks on human dignity. When applied to the group as such, they are the two most characteristic signs of acquiescence to the genocidal project. These people are thus making themselves the conscious instruments of the completion of this project. In these circumstances, any uncontrolled dialogue with those intellectuals participates in the symbolic transfer of legitimacy described by Marc Nichanian as it reproduces the structure of domination that led us finally to the disaster. Thus it is associated with inherently harmful approaches. I argue for turning the tables. We must put preconditions to dialogue with these people. In my opinion, there are two preconditions: · Recognition of the Genocide, not only as a historical fact but also as a political problem today; of the Genocide and not of disaster, tragedy, the G-word, or any other euphemism. · Acceptance of the political, legal, and moral responsibility of the present Turkish state as the continuator state of the one that perpetrated the Genocide. This is not unrealistic. The examples of Ragip Zarakolu and Ayse Günaysu prove that such people exist. Even someone like Taner Akçam has evolved from an ambiguous position to one that is far more acceptable. These people are now little promoted by the mainstream media and this is no coincidence. I note that even Taner Akçam is less promoted today than formerly, when his positions were better fitted to the global media system. There is much to say on the subject, perhaps at another conference. In the meantime, we are not obliged to choose the worst of our f interlocutors.


The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


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