Western U.S. edition - Armenian Reporter


Western U.S. edition - Armenian Reporter

Jethro Tull


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


See story on page 3m

Western U.S. Edition

Number 116

May 30, 2009

the armenian


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

Visit us at reporter.am

See story by Tatul Hakobyan on page 1 m

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009

Number 116

May 30, 2009

the armenian


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


President Serge Sargsian says amnesty for

March 1 detainees depends on public sentiment

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

Armenian-Americans and Greek-

Americans heard from Rep. Xavier

Becerra (D.-Calif.) on May 27 during

an educational issues briefing.

The briefing offered attendees an


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

Arts & Culture



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 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.

See story on page 22m

Student raises $10,000 for FAR through music

featured father-daughter duo Fr.

Untzag and Ani Nalbandian, and

the John Berberian Ensemble.

See story on page 18m

Representative Xavier Becerra briefs community


Al Pacino

to play



on HBO

Al Pacino will

star in an HBO

opportunity to interact closely

with a high-ranking member of U.S.

House of Representatives.

See story on page 2m

AGBU Europe asks European Parliament

candidates about seveb key Armenian issues



movie about

r i g h t - t o - d i e

champion Dr.

Jack Kevorkian,

Variety reported

on May 26.

The movie will

be directed by

Barry Levinson.

See story on

page 14m

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

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

At Sardarapat, Armenians

proudly celebrate indepedence

Nowhere in Armenia

is there as much

energy as at this


by Tatul Hakobyan

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

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.

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.”

“My name is Alex.”

“My name is Hrant.”

The fifth-graders of City of Artik

School No. 3 introduced themselves

during their May 22 field trip to the

Sardarapat Memorial Complex.

They were accompanied by their

teachers and parents.

Asked what had happened here

at Sardarapat, they spoke at the

same time, completing each other’s

sentences: “The Armenians beat

the Turks because the Turks were

trying to kill people and occupy Armenia.”

In May 1918, the hometown of

these children, Artik, and the whole

of the Shirak plateau were occupied

by Kazim Karabekir’s army. It was

only toward the end of the year,

when the armed forces of Ottoman

Turkey, defeated in the First World

War, were forced to leave Transcaucasia,

that Armenia – war-torn and

famine-ravaged – expanded its borders

to 60,000 sq km from 10,000.

The end of the


It seemed in May 1918 that the

end of the Armenian people had

come. Four Turkish divisions had

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.

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

Diaspora Ministry seeks to establish

“national council” to link Armenians

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.

Alina Khachatryan, host of

the Hairenik-Spiurk (Homeland-

Diaspora) 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, US-

Armenia TV, and this newspaper are

affiliated – was playing a significant

Continued on page m

2 The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


Representative Xavier Becerra briefs community on issues

Armenian and

Greek communities

hear from a top

congressional leader

LOS ANGELES – The Armenian

National Committee, Western Region,

the American Hellenic Council,

and the Armenian Assembly

of America hosted an educational

issues briefing with Rep. Xavier

Becerra (D.-Calif.) on May 27 at St.

Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral

in Los Angeles. This event was part

of the anc-wr’s Leadership Speaker

Series and offered attendees

an opportunity to interact closely

with a high-ranking member of U.S.

House of Representatives.

“America has benefited greatly

over the past two decades from

our close friendship with Armenia,

just as we have been enriched

by the contributions of a long-established

Armenian community

here in the United States,” Mr

Becerra said.

“As a close friend and ally of Armenia,

it is long past time for us to

recognize the historical fact of the

genocide committed against the

Armenian people at the turn of the

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

Armenian Genocide Resolution’ in

Congress. As always I am proud to

join with the Armenian and Hellenic

communities here in Los Angeles

who form an integral part of the

civic, cultural, and economic life

of our city and state,” Mr. Becerra


In addition to the briefing, the

evening featured remarks from

the American Hellenic Council’s

Aris Anagnos, anc-wr Executive

Director Andrew Kzirian, and

Assembly Director Yeghig Keshishian.

“Promoting awareness of issues

of concern to our community is a

priority for the anc-wr,” stated Mr.

Kzirian. “The Congressman provided

a candid overview of many

of the issues we face both at home

and abroad.”

The Armenian National Committee

has had a longstanding relationship

with Mr. Becerra since his

election to the California State Assembly

in 1990. In that post he represented

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 Armenian-

American 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

(S.C.) and Caucus Chair John Larson


Rep. Xavier Becerra (center) joined by anc-wr Board member Nishan Bostanian

(left) and anc-wr Executive Director Andrew Kzirian, Los Angeles, May 27, 2009.


Genocide Awareness Act moves to California Senate floor for a vote

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.

Meanwhile, “Justice

for Genocide

Victims” bill on

deadline for vote in

California Assembly


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Senate

Bill 234 (SB 234), authored by

California Senator Mark Wyland

(R.-Northern San Diego County) is

now on its way to the full Senate

floor for consideration. Known as

the “Genocide Awareness Act,” the

bill instructs the California State

Curriculum Commission to consider

the inclusion of an oral-history

component in its already mandated

genocide education curriculum.

“Senator Wyland has been a champion

of this issue for over a decade.

His efforts continue to ensure that

California remains at the forefront

in educating our next generation

about genocide and the role we can

play as a society to confront this

terrible crime against humanity,”

said Gayana Badalyan, chair of

the Armenian National Committee

of San Diego County.

Turkish Coalition of America

Board Member Bruce Fein came

to town from Washington in an

effort to undermine the Genocide

Awareness Act as well as Assembly

Bill 961 (AB 961), the “Justice

for Genocide Victims Bill,” introduced

by Assembly member Paul

Krekorian. Mr. Fein’s presentation

before the Senate panel, in

which he denies the Armenian

Genocide - as well as the Cambodian

and Sudan genocides - may

be viewed at http://www.youtube.


Mr. Krekorian’s AB 961 would

prevent California from awarding

contracts to companies that have

profited from genocide. The bill

awaits a vote in the California Assembly

Appropriations Committee,

which must consider the bill before

the end of this week for it to be

able to continue to the full Assembly

floor for consideration.

The anca has encouraged California

residents to contact Assembly

Speaker Karen Bass and Appropriations

Committee chair Kevin

de Leon to urge swift committee

action on the measure. Free anca

Webmails can be sent through the

anca website, www.anca.org.

With today’s action, California

comes one step closer to ensuring

that survivor and witness accounts

are used in classrooms throughout

the state to help broaden the

community’s understanding of


Speaking about the legislation

after it was unanimously approved

by the California Senate Education

Committee, Senator Wyland noted,

“The ultimate purpose is to make

students even more aware of these

horrible crimes against humanity,

so ultimately, these occurrences do

not happen again.”

Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah pledges support for Armenian

Genocide resolution


Lake City’s U.S. Representative Jim

Matheson, a Democrat, has pledged

his support for the resolution affirming

the U.S. record on the Armenian

Genocide, H.Res. 252. The

move is consistent with his longstanding

support for human rights

and genocide prevention measures.

Confirmation of Rep. Matheson’s

support came during a meeting

on Tuesday, May 26, between

Aaron Scherb, Mr. Matheson’s

foreign affairs legislative aide, and

local grassroots activists, including

Armenian National Committee of

America - Utah chairperson Sarkis

Bekearian, Armenian Relief

Society representative Raffi Shahinian,

University of Utah Armenian

“Hyrenik” Youth Organization

(ahyo) president Zaven Sargsian,

and ahyo member Natalie Torosyan.

The ahyo is active in University

of Utah campus life, where it

promotes awareness of and appreciation

for Armenian cultural, historical,

and contemporary issues

through education, social, recreational,

and cultural involvement.

“We are very pleased that Congressman

Matheson has decided to

become a co-sponsor of H.Res.252,”

Mr. Bakearian said. “His outstanding

record of supporting the Armenian-American

community and

human rights issues in Utah is an

inspiration for us all. We are very

proud to have him as our representative.”

Since his election to the House

in 2000, Mr. Matheson has shown

strong support for Armenian-American

community concerns, having

cosponsored the Armenian Genocide

resolution since the 109th Congress.

His support over the years

Rep. Jim Matheson’s foreign affairs aid Aaron Scherb, center, with Natalie

Torosyan, Raffi Shahinian, Zaven Sargsian, and Sarkis Bekearian. Photo: anca.

has been welcomed by the increasingly

vibrant local anca presence,

which works to educate, motivate,

and activate the local community to

be more engaged with Utah’s Congressional


Mr. Matheson’s support comes

as Salt Lake City’s Armenian community

battles renewed genocide

denial efforts at the University of

Utah. Recently the Turkish Coalition

of America and the university

announced a new joint program,

“The Origins of Modern Ethnic

Cleansing: The Collapse of the Ottoman

Empire and the Emergence

of Nation States in the Balkans

and Caucasus.” This program is

set to receive “insight and guidance”

from a “Partnership Board”

that includes, among others the

infamous denier of the Armenian

Genocide, Sukru Elekdag, a

member of the Turkish parliament

and former ambassador in Washington.

According to the Southern

Poverty Law Center’s David Holthouse,

“Academia is one of two

major American fronts in Turkey’s

campaign to kill the memory of

the Armenian Genocide. The other

is Congress.”

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009 3


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


“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,


“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

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


Federation of Immunogenetics,

the agency that regulates and licenses

such facilities in the region.

Given the superlative credentials of

the Stem Cell Harvesting Center’s

staff and services, Dr. Jordan said,

she expects that the facility will be

granted full licensing in the near


“Our next major goal is to establish

a dedicated stem cell transplantation

center in Armenia,” Dr.

Jordan added. “Since 80 percent of

the abmdr’s donors are from Armenia,

it was imperative to have

a Stem Cell Harvesting Center in

the country. Now that this dream

has become reality, we’re working

hard toward the next logical step,

a full-fledged transplantation center,

which would give thousands of

Armenian patients access to affordable,

life-saving stem cell transplants.”

Armenian Evangelical Center in Yerevan opened

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.




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


Celebrating another achievement

of the “Together, we can build

miracles” campaign, the amaa regarded

the grand opening of the

Evangelical Center as a demonstration

of the exemplary support from

devoted donors.

“For many years we have been

dreaming of coming to our historical

Motherland, and after our

beloved Armenia gained independence

in 1991 our dream has

come true,” said Andrew Torigian,

executive director of the

amaa. Since the devastating 1988

earthquake, the association has

helped thousands of Armenian

children and impoverished people

through various charitable, social,

educational-cultural, and medical


The Armenian Evangelical Church

has existed for over 160 years, and

the amaa is over 90 years old.

Rev. Dr. Rene Leonian, president

of the Evangelical Church of

Armenia and representative in Armenia

of amaa and Hope for Armenia,

said: “Our aim is, together

with various institutions acting in

Armenia today, to support in the

best possible way upbringing in

Armenia new, worthy generations,

full of hope, and creation of conditions

for all of us to be good citizens

of our Motherland, to live in

freedom, realizing the happiness

- in spite of all our hardships - of

being an Armenian.” Rev. Leonian

especially thanked the Armenian

government for their support of

their many programs.

“The opening of a place of worship

in this particular building is

quite remarkable,” said Marie L.

Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador,

in her congratulatory speech. Ms.

Yovanovitch noted that the U.S.

Embassy in Armenia was located in

this building from 1992 to 2005.

The ambassador said: “The history

of this building really reflects

the positive development of Armenia

itself, which in 18 short years

has evolved from a Soviet republic

to a newly independent state that

today is working to consolidate the

fruits of democracy and economic


“This building will always occupy

a special place in the view of the

U.S. government because, while the

American people and the Armenian

people have had a long relationship

with each other, it’s here that the

USA and Armenia started their diplomatic

relations that continue to

evolve and strengthen.

“As you know, one of the key

democratic principles the United

States espouses, and which the U.S.

government promotes around the

world is freedom of religion,” she

said. Mentioning the early adoption

of Christianity by Armenia,

Ms. Yovanovitch continued, “Armenia

occupies a special place in the

history of world religions; it’s also

known as a nation of tolerance that

respects the faith of other peoples,

and we hope the Armenian government

continues to do its utmost

to promote Armenia as a place of

tolerance and respect toward other

peoples’ cultures, beliefs, and


Ms. Yovanovitch expressed

hope that this center “will do

its own work to strengthen the

dialogue, mutual understanding,

and respect between all the faiths

that today peacefully co-exist in


Significant renovations to the

60-year-old buildings in the complex

commenced in June 2006

and continue at a rapid pace,

amaa Executive

Director Andy

Torigian gave

plaques to

architects and

contractors on

the opening of

the Armenian


Center in

Yerevan, April

19, 2009. From

left, Armand

P. Avakian,

Gagik Galstyan,

Antranig M.

Ouzoonian, Mr.

Torigian, Hrach

Sargsyan, and

Norayr Avagyan.

thanks to the efforts of prominent

local and American-Armenian

specialists such as Gagik

Galstyan, Ph.D., president of

the Union of Builders of Armenia

and president of the Horizon-95

construction company, Hrach

Sargsyan, president of the mko

ojs air-conditioning firm, Antranig

M. Ouzoonian, chief structural

engineer, Norayr Avagyan,

Ph.D., member of the Union of

Architects of Armenia, and Armand

P. Avakian, aia, chief architect

of the amaa and Armenia

construction projects manager.

All of these men were awarded

special plaques by Mr. Torigian

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

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.

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


Ms. Hakobyan spoke of the various

activities of the Union of Armenians

in Russia.

Gerard L. Cafesjian, president of the

Cafesjian Family Foundation and

founder of CS Media, with President

Kocharian. File photo: Photolure.

“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 are supporting the establishment

of Saturday schools. Particularly,

in faraway Siberia, we have

already established six schools together.

I find the most important

work that is being done is in education,”

Ms. Hakobyan said.

Another “set of questions for

which we are very thankful to Mr.

Abramyan is his effort to move his

capital toward Armenia. He has

gathered around him some very

good Armenians, very capable boys,

who are likewise making their investments

in Armenia, in education,

science, and creative associations.”

Ms. Hakobyan added that Armenia

“seeks to create an economy

based on knowledge, and we are

doing everything so that education

and scholarship develop, as they

should, because the basic resource

of the Armenian people is people.

We must invest as much money

and means on human resources as

possible to be able to export intellectual


She said she is thankful to other

diaspora organizations that are

contributing to Armenia’s knowledge

economy. “I must mention

the AGBU, whose Central Executive

Board, headed by Berge Setrakian,

decided to create a virtual

college. Together with Yerevan

State University, they have created

the college, which will focus on

Armenian studies. This means our

mothers sitting at home can push

a button to help them teach their

Ara Abramyan is the founder of

Soglasiye, a leading investment

firm in Russia. He has extensive

interests in the Russian diamond

industry and is involved in developing

intellectual property.

Born in Yerevan, Mr. Abramyan

earned a degree in economics

from Yerevan State Agricultural

Institute. In the wake of the

first Armenia-Diaspora Conference,

held in 1999 in Yerevan, Mr.

Vahe Karapetian in Burbank, l., discusses a point with Ara Abramyan in Yerevan.

children Armenian and Armenian


An umbrella


Ms. Hakobyan noted Mr. Abramyan’s

efforts “to bring together our

diaspora organizations worldwide.”

Mr. Abramyan established the

World Armenian Congress in Moscow

in 2003 as an umbrella organization.

The presidents of Russia

and Armenia at the time, Vladimir

Putin and Robert Kocharian,

were present for the opening

session. The congress brought together

Armenian organizations

from former Soviet republics and

eastern Europe, but the major organizations

of the West declined to

participate. In the ensuring years,

Hranush Hakobyan (see profile

and interview in the Nov. 22,

2008, edition of the Reporter) is

Armenia’s first Diaspora Minister.

Born in Gavar, near Lake

Sevan, she holds degrees in applied

mathematics, political science,

and law. In the late Soviet

period, she served as the head

of Armenia’s Komsomol, the

youth organization of the Communist

Party. She was elected to

the Soviet Armenian parliament,

and reelected repeatedly to independent

Armenia’s National

Assembly, where she has headed

the Standing Committee on

Health, Social Services, and Ecology

(1994–96) and the Standing

Committee on Science, Education,

Culture, and Youth Affairs

(2003–2008). From 1996 to 1998,

she was Armenia’s minister of

social security. She is co-founder

of the Armenian American Wellness

Center in Yerevan, to which

she devoted her time as a volunteer

beginning in 1997. f

Abramyan invited the founding

congress of the Union of Armenians

in Russia in June 2000. The

congress now has 640 branches

throughout Russia. In 2003, he

invited the founding congress of

the World Armenian Congress.

Among his awards are the Order

of St. Constantine the Great and

the Order of St. Gregory the Illuminator.

He is a UNESCO goodwill



the congress has sponsored various

activities, including activities related

to the international recognition

of the Armenian Genocide.

She said it “is a very complex

process, and in developing our

Armenia-diaspora approach, we

examined matters very carefully

with the leadership of the Union

of Armenians in Russia and agreed

that we must truly create a national

council: a state body headed by

the president of the republic. With

Ara Arshavirovich [Abramyan]

we reached an agreement that he

would slow down the process of

the World Armenian Congress and

we would join forces to create a national

council, which can have great

political, moral, and historical significance.”

A note of caution

Speaking from Burbank, Mr. Karapetian

extolled Mr. Abramyan’s

virtues. He said, “I know Ara’s

mentality well: he follows through.

And now that there is a Diaspora

Ministry, the cooperation of the

Union of Armenians in Russia with

the ministry will be a great boon to


In Yerevan,

from left, Radik



Hakobyan, Ara


and Alina


participate in

a discussion

of Armeniadiaspora


“We have many organizations

throughout the diaspora, of different

sizes, capacities, and types. I

am sure that the minister’s efforts

will help bring them closer together

as a united force for the future,

including the formation of the national

council, but also the resolution

of our national issues.

“Let me add that the enormous

former Soviet space is different

from France and from Armenia.

The president, Serge Sargsian,

noted clearly that each area needs

to be seen on its own terms. We

cannot pretend the U.S. community,

the Middle Eastern community,

and the community in France are

the same. The diaspora needs to be

known community by community.”

A smaller world

Mr. Karapetian praised the founders

of CS Media – the Cafesjian

Family Foundation and the Sargsyan

family – for establishing the Armenia-diaspora

bridge represented

by Armenia TV and USArmenia TV.

He went on to say that he believed

in the concept of a national

council. “Such a council was formed

in 1905 by Catholicos Gevorg V, and

Boghos Nubar Pasha was the chairperson

of the council. He went on,

in 1906, to establish the AGBU.” The

council existed at the time of the

first Armenian republic, in 1918,

but today, “when we have this sort

of technology to communicate with

the homeland, we must use these

means. Tomorrow will be late,” he


“It is important to know the diaspora,

and not to rush into anything,”

Mr. Karapetian concluded.

Ms. Hakobyan said she shared

Mr. Karapetian’s joy that Armenia

TV and USArmenia TV “create every

opportunity for the world to

become smaller, and sitting side by

side, we can examine Armenia-diaspora



Vahe Karapetian (see profile in

the November 8, 2008, edition of

the Reporter) is an entrepreneur

and philanthropist. If you’ve ever

grabbed a bite from one of the

catering trucks that park outside

office buildings and public parks,

you may have Mr. Karapetian to

thank. He built the first such truck

at his house. He now employs

scores of workers, mostly Armenians,

building custom trucks

and also running a fleet of catering

trucks. Born in Lebanon, he

moved in 1946 to Armenia, where

he graduated from the polytechnic

university. He moved to the

United States in 1968. He played

a pivotal role in building Alex Pilibos

and Sourp Garabed Church

– the Armenian private school

and church in Hollywood. He is a

major donor to the Armenia Fund

and a member of the council of

Armenia’s Diaspora Ministry. f

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


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

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


“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

was doing anything “to draw these

people to Armenia periodically

– where perhaps one day they will

see a future for themselves”

Mr. Martirosyan said the academy

had decided to elect prominent

scholars who live abroad as

foreign members of the academy,

and in that way make them part of

Armenia’s scholarly community. In

late November 2008, the academy

elected 78 scholars from the Armenian

diaspora, all at once, as foreign

members. The scholars came from

16 different countries, though they

included 14 members of the Russian

Academy of Sciences.

Hagop Oshagan in Aleppo, 1948.

Avedis Shahinian, Photo Derounian.

– 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


While the $3,000 PEN award

cannot cover the costs of translating

a full-length work of fiction, it

often attracts publishers or sponsors

who can. It remains to be seen

whether a major Anglo-American

trade publisher or university press

will now take the risk of putting

out an English version of a work

by a novelist who is virtually unknown

to Anglophone readers and

wrote in an “exotic” language such

as Armenian.

Considered the foremost Armenian

novelist by many Armenian

literary critics in the diaspora, Oshagan

(1883-1948) is also a chronicler

of Ottoman Armenia’s modern

political, social, and literary history.

His life’s story reflects the tragedy

of his people.

Born and raised in Bursa, a predominantly

Turkish city with a big

Armenian population located not

far from Istanbul, he worked, before

the first World War, as a teacher

in various Armenian schools in

nearby villages, including his parents’

native Sölöz, one of the many

Armenian-speaking villages in the

Bursa region founded in the late

sixteenth century by settlers from

the Armenian provinces.

In the same period, in 1902, he

had a run-in with the Ottoman authorities

that led to a short stint in

the Bursa prison. He made his literary

debut shortly before the war,

joining four of his peers – Daniel

Varoujan, Gosdan Zaryan, Aharon

and Kegham Parseghian – in

founding the short-lived literary

journal Mehyan [Pagan Temple] in


He managed to elude the April

1915 roundup of prominent Armenians

in the Ottoman capital that

marked the beginning of the Genocide,

and lived underground there

through the war; arrested by the

Ottoman authorities on at least

seven different occasions, he managed

to escape each time.

While the experiences of these

years go altogether unmentioned

in his work, including his autobiographical

writing, it is not hard to

measure their impact on him from

his wife’s accounts of his nightmares

and panic-stricken cries and

friends’ remarks about the tears

and even paralysis that mere mention

of that period brought on in


In the last year of the war, Oshagan

escaped to Bulgaria, returning

to Allied-controlled Istanbul

Radik Martirosyan.

The academy had set some conditions

in advance of the election,

Mr. Martirosyan said. The scholars

had to agree “(1) that they would

come once a year to Armenia, participate

in our annual meeting, and

present a scholarly report; (2) that

they would be in contact with our

local scholars and discuss areas of

possible cooperation; (3) that they

would help one young scholar

from Armenia to go to their institution

or another institution for

further training; and finally, (4)

that they would participate in our

peer review process.” f

at war’s end to teach in various

Armenian schools until 1924. He

left Turkey for good in that year to

spend the last 25 years of his life

teaching Armenian literature in diaspora

communities in Cyprus and

Palestine. He died suddenly during

a visit to Aleppo in 1948, on the eve

of a planned pilgrimage to the killing

fields near Der Zor.

Oshagan’s writing falls into two

main periods: 1922-34 and 1938-44.

In the second, which he spent in

the Armenian monastery in Jerusalem,

he produced a monumental,

10-volume work of literary history

and criticism, Panorama of Western

Armenian Literature. His major fiction

was written in Cyprus in the

first. At the center of it stand a

trilogy of novels, Sentenced to 101

Years, based in part on his 1902 experience

in a Turkish prison, and

his masterpiece, The Remnants, in

which characters from the prison

trilogy reappear.

The Remnants recreates the history

of Ottoman Armenian society

by way of the depiction of life in

an Armenian village, modeled after

Sölöz, and a Turkish prison, a metaphor

for Ottoman society as it was

experienced by the Armenians. It

begins with a kind of mythological

account that traces the history of a

single family from the late seventeenth

century on, and then zooms

in, in a more realistic mode, on the

worsening relations between Turks

and Armenians in the Hamidian

and Young Turk periods.

The novel cycle was to culminate

in a fictional treatment of the

Genocide, specifically, the 24 hours

during which Bursa’s population

was deported and annihilated. But

Oshagan’s attempt to write the

Genocide led to a psychological and

physical collapse that manifested

As part of the May 24 Hairenik-

Spiurk (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 UNES-

CO 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.”

itself in a first heart attack in 1934.

Fearing that it would cost him his

life, he abandoned his plan to finish

the work.

The Remnants is thus a fiction

about the impossibility of recreating

the whole of the Armenian experience

in a fiction, an impossibility

that leaves its trace throughout

the text. The power of the whole

novel cycle ultimately comes from

the art with which, against its author’s

original intentions, it stages

its own failure.

That self-deconstructive turn,

together with the constant experimentation

with language

characteristic of all Oshagan’s

writing, help make The Remnants

a peculiarly modern work of fiction

and a fitting reflection of the

Armenian experience that should

long since have earned Oshagan

a place in a constellation of internationally

known writers such

as Proust and Joyce, William

Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia

Marquez. That it has not is due

to the fact that it is still available

only to people who read Western


In fact, until the publication, a

few months ago, of Mr. Nichanian’s

captivating book about The Remnants,

Entre l’Art et le Témoignage,

which includes generous selections

from the novel cycle in Mr. Nichanian’s

French translation, only a

tiny fraction of any of Oshagan’s

work had seen translation into any


By awarding The Remnants and

his translator a prize, the PEN Club

has served notice of its conviction

that, almost eighty years after

Oshagan’s magnum opus first appeared,

it is time for Armenians to

share one of their best writers with

the rest of the world.


Saving Armenian pilots

in Equatorial Guinea

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

hearth is Armenia.”


6 The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


agbu Europe asks Euro-candidates

about 7 key Armenian issues

St. Nersess Seminary to

hold Father’s Day picnic

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

them choose between candidates

on election day. Crucially, it will

raise awareness among candidates,

and remind them that voters care

about these issues.

Relevant EU policies include

those that concern Armenia’s future

European integration and

the newly launched Eastern Partnership,

policies on culture, language,

and freedom and justice;

peacemaking in the South Caucasus

and the future of Karabakh;

and Turkey’s accession prospects

and the recognition of the Armenian


With this campaign, the organization

hopes to encourage European-Armenians

to form an

opinion on EU policies and to cast

an educated vote. The campaign

also intends to generate debate

and raise awareness among future

members of the European

Parliament about these important

questions. For more information

on Armenians and Europe, see


Individuals and organizations

interested in raising these issues

with their candidates to the European

elections are encouraged to

contact them and publicize their


All information about the campaign,

including the seven questions,

answers received, and the

contact information for the main

political parties running in the European

elections in each country,

can be found at: http://campagneelectorale.agbueurope.org/

agbu Europe (agbueurope.org)

was established by the agbu Central

Board of Directors in January

2008 to coordinate and develop

pan-European activities. agbu Europe

promotes important initiatives

in areas as diverse as academic

research, conservation and promotion

of heritage, culture, and education.


Nersess Armenian Seminary will

be the site for a Father’s Day Picnic

celebration on Sunday, June 21.

The day will begin with Divine Liturgy

celebrated at 10 a.m. followed

at noon by picnic festivities. The

Ara Dinkjian Ensemble – including

Harold Hagopian, Dick Barsamian,

and Chuck Yegian – will entertain

the crowd with their musical talent

while picnic-goers enjoy delicious

Armenian cuisine. Traditional luleh

and chicken kebob meals with the

works will be sold, as well homemade

paklava and more. Children’s

activities will also be on hand to

amuse the little ones.

But perhaps the highlight of the

afternoon will be the St. Nersess

Store featuring logo-adorned shirts,

sweatpants, sportspacks, mugs

and more. Seminary publications

and some homemade items will be

available for purchase.

“We are very excited about the opportunity

to offer this event. Our

grounds are beautiful and we want

to share this special day with the

community,” explained Fr. Daniel

Findikyan, Dean and Professor of

Liturgical Studies at St. Nersess.

“We hope that people will join us to

celebrate fathers and at the same

time learn more about the mission

of St. Nersess.”

Visitors are encouraged to bring

lawn chairs and tavloo boards to

150 Stratton Road to participate in

the fun-filled events of the day at

St. Nersess. Admission and parking

are free and the picnic will be held

rain or shine.

Sponsorship opportunities are

available to help offset the cost of

the picnic. All proceeds from the

event will directly benefit the St.

Nersess Armenian Seminary.




The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009 7


Hrag Hamalian to head new charter middle school in San

Fernando Valley


Valor Academy

now accepting

applications for next

year’s fifth graders

LOS ANGELES –Following 18

months of planning and preparation,

educator Hrag Hamalian has

earned the approval of the Los

Angeles Unified School District

(LAUSD) to launch a charter middle

school in the San Fernando Valley.

The new school, Valor Academy,

will open its doors this fall with a

class of fifth graders. It will add a

grade each year until it becomes a

full-fledged, fifth- to eighth-grade

middle school. With plans to be located

on Woodman Avenue, Valor

Calendar of Events

Academy is a tuition-free, public

charter school, which will serve

North Hollywood, Arleta, and Panorama

City. Although any California

resident may apply, seats are limited

to 120 fifth-grade students in 2009.

If more than 120 fifth-grade children

are signed up, a lottery will

be held at the end of the sign-up

period to determine admission.

“Valor Academy is being established

to address the longstanding

educational crisis in the Arleta-

Panorama City-North Hollywood

area, which is also home to a growing

number of Armenian families,”

said Mr. Hamalian, who will lead

the school as its principal. “We are

launching the area’s first-ever charter

middle school, and our goal is to

put every one of our students on a

clear path to college.”

According to Mr. Hamalian, Valor

Academy will place equal emphasis

Mekhitarist monastery’s abbot,

assistant visit Southern California

LA CRESCENTA, Calif. – The

assistant abbot of the Mekhitarian

Monastery in Venice, Rev. Vahan

Ohanian, visited Archbishop

Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate,

at the Western Prelacy on May 26.

Rev. Ohanian and the Abbot

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 memento

prior to his departure. Rev. Vahan Ohanian, left, with Abp. Moushegh Mardirossian.

You share the same


Discover what happens

when you share

the same experience.


on educational excellence and character

building. Toward this end, he

explained, the academy will feature

a longer school day, a highly qualified

corps of teachers, free tutoring,

a disciplined school culture

that aims to foster self-respect and

initiative, frequent communication

with parents, and an overarching

focus on literacy and math.

A former member of the Teach

for America Corps, Mr. Hamalian

was associated with Locke High

School in Los Angeles, where he

served as a biology teacher, department

head, and co-founder of

the School of Math and Science.

He has spent the past two years

working in a school-leadership

residency with Building Excellent

Schools, a nationally recognized

incubator for new schools.

Studying and analyzing over 25 of

America’s highest-performing urban

charter schools, Mr. Hamalian

has drawn from the country’s best

practices to lay the foundations

of Valor Academy. Many of his

achievements as an educator are

chronicled in the book Relentless

Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches with

Teach for America.

In fulfilling his vision for Valor

Academy, Mr. Hamalian worked

closely with Valor Board chair William

Ryan and community leaders,

elected officials, and the lausd.

“As a result of their incredibly generous

work, we have reached this

milestone and are poised to open

our doors in a few short months.”

Mr. Ryan noted that as a charter

school, Valor Academy is allowed

“to operate with more freedom

compared with a conventional public

school, in terms of innovative

teaching methods and curriculum.”

Although Valor Academy has secured

core public funding to open

the school, a mix of additional and

ongoing assistance is needed to

ensure the envisioned quality and

full range of its services, Mr. Hamalian

said. The school seeks donations

as well as volunteers to sign

up families for the school, attend

fairs, pass out flyers, and spread

the word. It also seeks “community

partners,” to provide the school

with in-kind products and services

such as uniforms, printing, and

afterschool programs, or to invite

Valor Academy personnel to community

events where there might

be families interested in the school.

The academy is also hiring employees,

including teachers and

various staff members.




Let’s come together, and if only

for one day, unite in the fight

against cancer. For more

information about Relay For Life

or to join an event near you, visit


or call 1.800.ACS.2345.

Paint the Town Purple in

celebration of Relay For Life on

May 1, May Day For Relay.



Northern California


MER DAY CAMP. Location:

KZV Armenian School, 825

Brotherhood Way, San Francisco,

CA. 8:30am-1:00pm Admission:

$200.00 for the week. For

more information contact Annie

Bavoukian, 415-586-8686;


Central California



Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,

Spanos Theatre, San Luis

Obispo, CA. 7 pm, for more

information contact Cal Poly

SLO at562-941-0845; bozigian@


Southern California


FAIR & FEST. Location: Holy

Cross Cathedral Grounds,

900 W Lincoln Avenue, Montebello,

CA. Noon - 10pm Admission:

Free Admission. For

more information contact

Holy Cross Cathedral, 323-727-

1113; info@armenianfoodfair.





– IN CONCERT. Location: Glendale

High School. His US tour

starts after this performance.

For more information call 818-

242-6928; 818-246-0125; 818-




BLESSING. Location: Mission

Bay Park, Mission Blvd., San

Diego, CA. 12:00pm Admission:

Free. For more information

contact St John Garabed

Armenian Church, 619-284-

7179; StJohnGarabed@sbcglobal.net.





Alex Manoogian Pasadena

Center, 2495 E. Mountain St.,

Pasadena, CA. TBA Admission:

Free. For more information

contact AGBU Generation

Next Mentorship Program,

(626)794-7942; info@agbugennext.org.




AGBU Alex Manoogian Pasadena

Center, 2495 E. Mountain

St., Pasadena, CA. Admission:

Free. For more information

contact AGBU Generation

Next Mentorship Program,

626-794-7942; info@agbugennext.org.




AGBU Alex Manoogian Pasadena

Center, 2495 E. Mountain

St., Pasadena, CA. Admission:

Free. For more information

contact AGBU Generation

Next Mentorship Program,

626-794-7942; info@agbugennext.org.




AGBU Alex Manoogian Pasadena

Center, 2495 E. Mountain

St., Pasadena, CA. Admission:

Free. For more information

contact AGBU Generation

Next Mentorship Program,

626-794-7942; info@agbugennext.org.




St John Garabed Armenian

Church, 4473 30th Street, San

Diego, CA. 12:00pm Admission:

Free. For more information

contact St. John Garabed

Armenian Church, 619-284-

7179; StJohnGarabed@sbcglobal.net.

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8 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


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

place flowers by the eternal flame.

A 2-3 hour wait was typical, by the

time you made your way from the

park’s entrance to the monument,

Tzitzernakaberd. Along the route,

you spent time getting acquainted,

chatting with others, listening to

liturgical music over loudspeakers,

and just recalling history.

Many like myself thought about

what it must felt like back in 1915

when the Ottoman Turkish hordes

invaded one village after another

and put to death 1.5 million innocent

victims while sending another

million from their homeland.

It does a population good to recall

such events annually and teach

younger generations so that history

will not repeat itself. Although

it is a national day of mourning in

Armenia, it is also a day of commemoration

and gratitude in some

A crowd estimated at 1 million pays its respects at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, April 24, 2009. Photos: Tom


ways that a country torn with strife

was able to display its resilience and

rise from the ashes.

I purposely planned my trip to coincide

with the event, having been a

part of such observances back home

which were sometimes displays of a

great sense of apathy. In Armenia,

history is laid before them. Here, it

serves people well to bury the past

and look to the future.

With 4,500 Armenians in the

Merrimack Valley, three local commemorations

drew less than 500

people. The population in all of

Yerevan is listed around 1 million.

Perhaps 80 percent of the entire

settlement turned out, joined

by another 20 percent from the

outskirts, though many of those

towns and villages conducted their

own observances.

I was also impressed by the heavy

representation of youth at this memorial.

The night before, members

of the younger generation marched

five miles in the rain to the monument,

singing patriotic songs.

Many of those also repeated the

gesture next day, hoisting signs

of every country that recognizes

the genocide. Sad to say, my own

America was not among them, even

though 44 states have formally adopted

such a position.

Those who know me recognize

the fact I’m not very good in crowd

situations and that I avoid them at

all costs. I did attend a Celtics playoff

game, and that was bad enough,

with 17,000 in attendance, only to

see my favorite Boston team lose.

You would think that 1 million

folks would resemble a mob scene,

jostling its way to irritation. On the

contrary, security guards along the

way kept the massive throng moving

in coordinated stages.

A face in the crowd. A pine needle

on an evergreen. An acorn in a forest.

For one moment in my life, I

was a pebble at the seashore. People

were everywhere - as far as the

naked eye could see.

Whether it was a rose or a lilac,

they came equipped with enough

flowers to build a 20-foot floral

wall. Vendors did a brisk business

keeping up with the trade. Men in

military uniforms stood next to

Jack Papazian remembered as Philly catalyst

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.”

by Tom Vartabedian

Every community needs a Jack Papazian

– someone to shepherd the

youth, motivate the adults, collaborate

with legislators, keep the church

front vital, and spread the good

name of Armenia at every interval.

That was Jack Papazian, a man

who served as Philadelphia’s catalyst,

role model, do-gooder, pillar, and

man for all seasons rolled into one.

His death on May 19 had farreaching

effects across the land and

sent a jolt into this city of brotherly

love, for Jack was to Philly what

Ben Franklin, Valley Forge, and Independence

Hall were for America.

Larger than life.

Whether it was the Armenian

Youth Federation or Camp Haiastan,

the Armenian Prelacy or Armenian

Youth Foundation, his arf

Gomideh or St. Gregory Church,

his immediate family or his extended

family, Jack was always on

top of his world, making it a better

place to dwell.

He played the oud and violin. But

most of all, he played the good legionnaire,

fighting his illness to the very

end until the Good Lord came calling.

His 69 years were lived exceptionally

well. It’s not the quantity of life

Jack Papazian, 1940–2009.

that delineates the man, but the

quality. Suffice it to say that Jack

left behind a legacy that will long

be remembered. If nothing else, he

gave Philly an honorable presence,

whether it was in some committee

he served or chairing the National

Representative Assembly for eight


For a mild-mannered, soft-spoken

chap who often preferred the

background, Jack carried a powerful

voice. He was not an elocutionist

or a braggart by any stretch,

but a thinker. If you needed a job

done, you would give it to Jack because

he had more than enough to

do and couldn’t stand the thought

of turning you down. Or remaining


Whether it was the twinkle in

his eye, the catch in his voice, or

that look of sincerity, Jack had experience

going. He was an ambassador

whose mission was to serve

his heritage with dignity and firmness

– not a man to be ignored or

dealt with in condescension, but a

statesman for a stateless people, a

diplomat for a people which needed


He had no delusions of grandeur,

yet he was grand. He had few pretensions

of leadership virtues, and

yet he was a leader. He worshipped

the heroism of others, little realizing

that his nation revered him as

a model of devoted service.

And as the legionnaire he was,

Jack was always at salute whenever

the legion was mustered.

I remember him first as a delegate

to ayf conventions and

later at arf conventions. He was

articulate, intelligent, and effective.

When Jack spoke, people

listened. I recall that year in 1982

when he was honored before his

hometown fans as an ayf Olympic

King and how he deferred

the tribute to others he felt were

more worthy.

His best moments were on an

ayf Olympic track, not as an athlete

– though he was a pretty decent

baseball player – but as a motivator,

especially when his children David

and Cindy were harvesting medals.

He was always there for every ayf

“Sebouh” Chapter athlete, whether

they finished first or last.

I still see him running around the

infield with his athletes, encouraging

them along with a stopwatch

in hand, shouting words of inspiration.

He ran every race with every

athlete, absorbed their joy and

frustration, trials and tribulations.

He was not only an advisor, coach

or mentor, but a surrogate father

to many.

It irked him more than anything

when some of his “kids” lost interest

in the games for whatever reason

and weren’t representing his

city properly. He lived to see Philly

retire the cup last summer for the

first time and gloated with pride

as son David – a chip off the same

block – served on the ayf Olympic

Governing Body.

An Olympic Ball was never the

same without Jack or his wife Armine.

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


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 9

Ian Anderson. Photo: Arthur Khachatryan.

Jethro Tull

performed in


Visit us at reporter.am

Gipsy Kings concert

coming next

YEREVAN – The legendary

British rock group Jethro Tull

performed on in the great

hall of the Armenian Philharmonic

on May 22. The concert

was sold out. Armenia’s true

rock fans were there, as were

the staffs of foreign missions

and businesses. Two buses full

of rock fans came down from

Tbilisi, TV Mol reports. With

the prime minister, Tigran

Sarkisian, a big fan, in attendance,

there was no shortage

of government officials on

hand either.

The hall thundered with

rhythmic clapping and dancing

of the fans. It was a wonder the

roof did not come down.

One of the fans, miraculously

circumventing the watchful

guards, managed to climb on

the stage and grabbed hold of

Ian Anderson’s leg. It wasn’t

a hologram. Yes, it was really

him. The bodyguards and the

other musicians were barely

able to detach the fan from his

idol and send him back to the

hall. The incident did not ruin

the mood; on the contrary, it

added to the excitement in the

hall, which lasted through the

last note and beyond.

Coming next, on May 30: The

Gipsy Kings. Anyone who has

been to Yerevan in recent years

has heard their music blasting

from the outdoor cafés. Now

people will get to hear the real


10 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009 11



Unsupervised at an

Armenian sports weekend

Join the discussion with a question

or an answer – or both.

Armenian rather than an odar.

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


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


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


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 Science-

Daily, 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 ethics@reporter.am


Next week’s question

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

12 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


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


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


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 Haratunian

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




Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009 13

Mark Arax will

change the way

you see California

Mark Arax.

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.


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


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.

14 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009 15

Program Grid

1 – 7 June


09:30 pm 12:30 am

10:00 pm 1:00 am

10:30 pm 1:30 am

11:00 pm 2:00 am

11:30 pm 2:30 am

12:00 am 3:00 am

12:30 am 3:30 am

1:00 am 4:00 am

1:30 am 4:30 am

2:00 am 5:00 am

2:30 am 5:30 am

3:00 am 6:00 am

3:30 am 6:30 am

4:00 am 7:00 am

4:30 am 7:30 am

5:00 am 8:00 am

5:30 am 8:30 am

6:00 am 9:00 am

6:30 am 9:30 am

7:00 am 10:00 am

7:30 am 10:30 am

8:00 am 11:00 am

8:30 am 11:30 am

9:00 am 12:00 am

9:30 am 12:30 pm

10:00 am 01:00 pm

10:30 am 01:30 am

11:00 am 02:00 pm

11:30 am 02:30 pm

12:00 pm 03:00 pm

12:30 pm 03:30 pm

01:00 pm 04:00 pm

01:30 pm 04:30 pm

02:00 pm 05:00 pm

02:30 pm 05:30 pm

03:00 pm 06:00 pm

03:30 am 06:30 am

04:00 pm 07:00 pm

04:30 am 07:30 am

05:00 pm 08:00 pm

05:30 pm 08:30 pm

06:00 pm 09:00 pm

06:30 pm 09:30 pm

07:00 pm 10:00 pm

07:30 pm 10:30 pm

08:00 pm 11:00 pm

08:30 pm 11:30 pm

09:00 pm 12:00 am

1 June 2 June 3 June 4 June 5 June 6 June


The Armenian

Stepan Partamian

Bari Louys Hayer

7 Mekhq



When Stars are Dancing




Bari Louys Hayer

CLONE Repeat


Sassounian Commentary

Unlucky Happiness



Bari Kisher Hayer


The Armenian

Stepan Partamian

Sassounian Commentary

7 Mekhq


P S Club


When Stars are Dancing

Live from America


CLONE Original


Unlucky Happiness




Gyanki Keene – Original


Bari Kisher Hayer

The Armenian

Stepan Partamian

Bari Louys Hayer

7 Mekhq



When Stars are Dancing




Bari Louys Hayer

CLONE Repeat



Unlucky Happiness



Bari Kisher Hayer


The Armenian

Stepan Partamian


7 Mekhq


Mi Gatil Megher


When Stars are Dancing

Live from America


CLONE Original


Unlucky Happiness




Gyanki Keene – Original


Bari Kisher Hayer

The Armenian

Stepan Partamian

Bari Louys Hayer

7 Mekhq



When Stars are Dancing




Bari Louys Hayer

CLONE Repeat



Unlucky Happiness Repeat


Bari Kisher Hayer


The Armenian

Stepan Partamian


7 Mekhq




When Stars are Dancing

Live from America


CLONE Original


Unlucky Happiness




Gyanki Keene – Original


Bari Kisher Hayer

The Armenian

Stepan Partamian

Bari Louys Hayer

7 Mekhq







Bari Louys Hayer

CLONE Repeat



Unlucky Happiness Repeat


Bari Kisher Hayer


The Armenian

Stepan Partamian


7 Mekhq


Yere 1



Mi Gatil Megher


CLONE Original


Unlucky Happiness




Gyanki Keene -Original


Bari Kisher Hayer

The Armenian

Stepan Partamian

Bari Louys Hayer

7 Mekhq







Bari Louys Hayer

CLONE Repeat



Unlucky Happiness Repeat


Bari Kisher Hayer


The Armenian

Stepan Partamian


7 Mekhq


Garkin Haghortum



Mi Gatil Megher


CLONE Original


Unlucky Happiness




Gyanki Keene -Original


Bari Kisher Hayer

Hot Line








My Big, Fat



Deal or No Deal


Mer Aibenarane

Mer Lezoun Mer Khoske

Yere 1 (ye:re:van)

P S Club

When Stars

Are Dancing (Hamerk)

Hay Film





Mi Gatil Megher

Yere 1 (ye:re:van)

Garkin Haghortoum

Sassounian Commentary



Mer Lezoun Mer Khoske

Armenia Diaspora

Deal or No Deal

Sassounian Commentary


Gongret Show


Film Story

Hot Line

7 June


Hot Line

Gongret Show

P S Club


Yere 1 (ye:re:van)

Mer Lezoun - Mer Khoske

Mer Aybenaran



Film Story

Hay Film



Deal or No Deal

Hot Line

Armenian Teletime

Film Story

Hay Film




Love E Lee


Mi Gatil Megher

Yere 1 (ye:re:van)

Garkin Haghortoum

Sassounian Commentary

Deal or No Deal


My Big, Fat



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,

June 7, at 5 p.m. The “Let’s Sing &

Dance” concert will take place at

Plaza Del Sol Performance Hall,

18111 Nordhoff Street, at California

State University Northridge.

Taline’s “bright and cheerful

song and dance bring joy to

Armenian children and warm

their parents’ hearts,” according

to the cover story for the

May 5, 2007 Armenian Reporter

Arts & Culture section.

The June 7 concert promises to

be full of singing, dancing, audience

participation, and fun.

16 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 – 7 June

1 June 2 June 3 June



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Unhappy


6:00 9:00 Los - Armeniûs

6:30 9:30 Cost of life-


7:20 10:20 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:45 10:45 Good


9:30 12:30 News in


10:00 13:00 The Armenian


11:00 14:00 News in


11:30 14:30 Telekitchen

12:00 15:00 Our Alphabet

12:30 15:30 Los - Armeniûs

13:00 16:00 News in


13:30 16:30 Cool Program

14:00 17:00 A Drop of


15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Two Faces-


16:30 19:30 Unhappy


17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

17:30 20:30 Cost of life-


19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 Good


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

22:35 1:35 Our

Language,Our Speech

23:00 2:00 Unhappy


0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


1:00 4:00 Blef

1:30 4:30 News in


2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

2:30 5:30 Los - Armeniûs

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Unhappy


6:00 9:00 Yere1

6:30 9:30 Cost of life-


7:20 10:20 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:45 10:45 Good


9:30 12:30 News in


10:00 13:00 The Armenian


11:00 14:00 News in


11:30 14:30 Telekitchen

12:00 15:00 Our

Language,Our Speech

12:30 15:30 Yere1

13:00 16:00 News in


13:30 16:30 VOA(The Voice

of America)

14:30 17:30 Los - Armeniûs

15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Two Faces-


16:30 19:30 Unhappy


17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

17:30 20:30 Cost of life-


19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 Good


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

23:00 2:00 Unhappy


0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


1:00 4:00 News in


2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

2:30 5:30 Yere1

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Unhappy


6:00 9:00 Cool Program

6:30 9:30 Cost of life-


7:20 10:20 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:45 10:45 Good


9:30 12:30 News in


10:00 13:00 The Armenian


11:00 14:00 News in


11:30 14:30 Telekitchen

12:00 15:00 Yere1

12:30 15:30 A Drop of


13:00 16:00 News in


13:30 16:30 Concert

15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Two Faces-


16:30 19:30 Unhappy


17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

17:30 20:30 Cost of life-


19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 Good


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

23:00 2:00 Unhappy


0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


1:00 4:00 News in


2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

2:30 5:30 Cool Program

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-


4 June 5 June 6 June 7 June



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Unhappy


6:00 9:00 Blef

6:30 9:30 Cost of life-


7:20 10:20 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:45 10:45 Good


9:30 12:30 News in


10:00 13:00 The Armenian


11:00 14:00 News in


11:30 14:30 Telekitchen

12:00 15:00 Cool Program

12:30 15:30 The Armenian


15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Two Faces-


16:30 19:30 Unhappy


17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

17:30 20:30 Cost of life-


18:00 21:00 Super Duet

18:30 21:30 Sit.Com.

19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 Good


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

23:00 2:00 Unhappy


0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


1:00 4:00 Blef

1:00 4:00 News in


2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

2:30 5:30 Our

Language,Our Speech

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Unhappy


6:00 9:00 Yere1

6:30 9:30 Cost of life-


7:20 10:20 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:45 10:45 Good


9:30 12:30 News in


10:00 13:00 The Armenian


11:00 14:00 News in


11:30 14:30 Telekitchen

12:00 15:00 Yere1

13:00 16:00 The Armenian


15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Two Faces-


16:30 19:30 Unhappy


17:00 20:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

17:30 20:30 Cost of life-


18:00 21:00 Super Duet

19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 The Armenian


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

23:00 2:00 Unhappy


0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


1:30 4:30 News in


2:00 5:00 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

2:30 5:30 Our Alphabet

3:00 6:00 Two Faces-


4:00 7:00 Match Show



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 A Drop of


5:30 8:30 Blef

6:00 9:00 Cool Program

6:30 9:30 Red or Black

7:20 10:20 The Armenian


10:30 13:30 A Drop of


11:30 14:30 Los-Armenios

12:00 15:00 Yere1

12:30 15:30 Blef

13:00 16:00 News in


13:30 16:30 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

15:00 18:00 News in


15:30 18:30 Our Alphabet

16:00 19:00 The Armenian


18:30 21:30 voa(The Voice

of America)

21:00 0:00 Our Alphabet

21:30 0:30 A Drop of


22:00 1:00 Cool Program

22:20 1:20 Yere1

22:40 1:40 Los-Armenios

23:10 2:10 Red or Black

0:00 3:00 Cost of life-


3:00 6:00 Jo-Jo

3:30 6:30 A Drop of


4:00 7:00 Match Show



4:30 7:30 News in


5:00 8:00 Fort Boyar

6:00 9:00 Concert

7:30 10:30 Unhappy


13:00 16:00 voa(The Voice

of America)

13:30 16:30 Jo-Jo

14:00 17:00 Cost of life-


19:00 22:00 News in


19:30 22:30 Good Morning,


21:00 0:00 News in


21:30 0:30 Two Faces-


22:15 1:15 Telekitchen

22:40 1:40 Our Alphabet

23:10 2:10 Fort Boyar

1:30 4:30 News in


2:10 5:10 A Drop of


3:00 6:00 Two Faces-


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


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 Tabarjian,

is Armenian.

The Savior, Jesus of Nazareth by Nazareth native Micha.





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.

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture | May 30, 2009 17

18 The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009


College student raises $10,000 for far through music

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

Participants at

the Standing

Conference of

the Oriental


Churches in

America meeting,

Paramus, N.J.,

May 18, 2009.

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 Orthodox

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

WORCESTER, Mass. – A magnificent

concert commemorating

the Armenian Genocide and raising

money for the Fund for Armenian

Relief, took place at Seelos Theater

at the College of the Holy Cross on

April 19.

The concert, featuring fatherdaughter

duo Fr. Untzag and Ani

Nalbandian, in addition to the

John Berberian Ensemble, was sold

out, with 370 people in attendance.

The concert made for a truly historic

occasion, serving as the inaugural

event of the college’s Armenian

Students’ Association, which

was newly founded by Ms. Nalbandian,

a senior. What is more, Ms.

Nalbandian and the other students

involved succeeded in raising upward

of $10,000 for Armenia. Fully

$7,657.12 of this sum remains after

expenses, and is being donated to

far. The money is to specifically

benefit young students and children

in Gyumri, Armenia, the site

of the devastating earthquake in

December 1988.

Among the audience members

was the president of the college,

Fr. Michael McFarland, SJ, who

offered his remarks praising the

concert, the students of the asa,

and concert organizer, Ms. Nalbandian.

Also in attendance was

the executive director of Fund for

Armenian Relief, Garnik Nanagoulian,

who offered his remarks,

reflecting upon Ani’s welcoming

statement in which she spoke

about the importance of solidarity

among Armenians and non-Armenians

alike in helping the people

of Armenia.

Local members of the Worcester

and neighboring Armenian communities

also flocked to this event,

including local clergy and members

of the Armenian communities in

Worcester, Whitinsville, Framingham,

Springfield, Watertown,

and even as far as southwestern

Connecticut and New Jersey. For

months leading up to it, the concert

was highly publicized in Armenian

and non-Armenian networks,

with Ms. Nalbandian and John

Berberian even being invited for

a guest appearance on the Hank

Stolz Show. The Worcester Telegram

& Gazette also ran a feature story

on Ani, John, and the concert, as

did the College of the Holy Cross

Public Relations office, which posted

an online video of an interview

with Ani.

For approximately 150 non-Armenian

students, professors, and

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

staff of the College of the Holy

Cross, the concert was a beautiful

introduction to the richness of Armenian

music and language. In letters

and emails to Ani, many people

relayed their feelings of joy during

the concert, and how the music and

atmosphere brought them to tears,

and even had them stomping their

feet with the music.

The musical performances by

the Nalbandian duo were all songs,

sung solo by either father or

daughter, or jointly. Both Fr. Untzag

and Ani played the piano, and

Ani also surprised the audience by

playing the accordion, and reciting

parts of Paruir Sevak’s poem,

Anlreli Zangakatun, with the familiar

tune of Dle Yaman in the background.

In addition, the Nalbandian

duo was accompanied by several

highly accomplished student musicians

at the College of the Holy

Cross, including: Michael Ferraguto

on violin, Justin Rucci on

drums, David Sheerin on piano,

and Michael Simms on clarinet.

The concert also featured the acclaimed

oudist, John Berberian,

and members of his ensemble: Mal

Barsamian on clarinet and guitar,

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.

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 September

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.”




presents the


encyclical to

Kay Armen

Manoogian at St.

Vartan Cathedral,

New York, May

20, 2009.

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009 19


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

n Continued from page

were able to stop the Turks at Bash-

Aparan and Sardarapat and then to

push them back.

Catholicos of All Armenians

Gevorg V addressed the people:

“The Turk, the bloodthirsty enemy

of our rational flock, is moving toward

the heart of our country, our

faith, our life’s story, toward Etchmiadzin.

Our generals are suggesting

to the Catholicos of All Armenians

to leave in the enemy’s jaws

the Mother See at Etchmiadzin, our

holy places, the Armenian people,

and to take refuge in Byurakan.

“No and No, and a thousand times,

No. I will not abandon the Mother

See entrusted to me by our forebears.

I will not leave the hearth of

the Armenian Apostolic faith. If the

Armenian soldiers themselves, if

the Armenian people are unable to

stop the enemy’s progress, if they

cannot save our sanctities, then let

me be martyred right here.

“I, who have the honor of occupying

this throne through the just

intercession of our holy predecessors

and the grace of God, [would

rather fall] on the doorstep of the

Mother See.”

“No and No, and a

thousand times, No.

I will not abandon

the Mother See

entrusted to me by our


—Catholicos Gevorg V

The commander of the Yerevan

forces, General Movses Silikian,

called upon every Armenian man

to make every last effort to strike

at the enemy to save his patrimony

and defend his wife’s and daughters’

honor: “Armenian men! It is

not time to slow down. Every man

up to the age of 50 is obliged to

take arms and I demand that they

report with their firearms and ammunition

for the defense of the


Armenian women! Remember the

‘delicate ladies’ of the fifth century

who encouraged their husbands

to undertake the Great Task in the

days of the wars of the Immortal

Vartan. Follow their example.

“For the physical existence of the

tormented Armenian people. For

trampled-upon truth. Rise. Toward

work. Toward holy war.”



Museum of

Ethnography at

the Sardarapat


Complex, carved

stones are on


Another chance

The Armenian territories had been

part of the Czarist Empire. With

the victory of the Bolsheviks in

late 1917, Lenin’s Russia had withdrawn

from Transcaucasia, and the

territory was nominally administered

by the “Sejm,” or parliament

of the Federated Republic of Transcaucasia.

On May 26, the Sejm held its last

session, where it adopted the proposal

of the Georgian Mensheviks

to dissolve. On the same evening

the Georgian National Council proclaimed

the independence of Georgia.

On May 27, in Tiflis, the Muslim

National Council proclaimed the

independence of Azerbaijan. Also

in Tiflis, the Armenian National

Council, after long deliberations,

on May 28 proclaimed Armenia independent.

On May 30 it officially

announced its decision.

An Armenian delegation in Batumi

signed a peace agreement

with the Turks in early June. Aleksandr

Khatisian, the head of the

delegation, notes in his memoirs:

“We stayed in Batumi for eight days,

until June 5, and the whole time

we were engaged in preparing the

peace agreement. On the first session,

Vehib Pasha personally drew

Armenia’s borders on the historic

map that I had with me in Trabizon

and later in Constantinople, Aleksandropol,

and Europe.

“When we looked at the map, we

were overwhelmed with two sharp

feelings. The first was pride: after

dreaming for centuries, we would finally

have a little corner of our own

on the map of the world. The second

was bitterness: this corner was barely

9,000 sq km, absolutely inadequate

for accommodating our people.”

The memorial complex

Fifty years after the heroic Battle

of Sardarapat, on May 28, 1968,

the Sardarapat Memorial Complex

opened in the Araks village of Armavir.

Its authors were architect

Rafael Israelian and sculptors

Ara Harutiunian, Samvel Manasian,

and Arsham Shahinian.

At the entrance are two stone bulls,

symbolizing the force and determination

of the Armenian people united.

These bulls are also the guardians

of victory, scaring away any evildoer

who would seek entrance, and defending

the homeland.

“After dreaming for

centuries, we would

finally have a little

corner of our own on

the map of the world.

[But] this corner was

barely 9,000 sq km,

absolutely inadequate

for accommodating

our people.”

—Aleksandr Khatisian

The bell-tower, 35 meters high, is

the memorial stone to the heroes

martyred in the battle. At the time

of the Battle of Sardarapat, church

bells had raised the alarm and

called the people to arms.

Going toward the memorial wall,

eagles facing Biblical Ararat and

the Armenian mountains represent

statehood and power. As alert watchers,

they keep guard over the present

and future of the Armenian people.

Carved on a 55-meter, fenceshaped

memorial wall are fiery

steeds representing victory. Under

the hooves of the horses, serpents

are breathing their final breaths. A

standing child and a woman draped

in grapevines represent the rebirth

of the Armenian people. The wall is

decorated with bas relief representations

of the Armenian people’s

peaceful creative work and military

heroism. Episodes from the battle

are etched on the wall. On one side

is Mother Armenia, who is calling

on her children for help. The

leader of the clergy holds the book

of Yeghishe – invoking the spirit of

the 5th-century Battle of Avarayr.

Raising a glass

The Vartavar tavern is below the

complex. The entrance holds this

inscription: “Bowing before the

names of our great forebears, and

inspired by their industry, we, their

grateful progeny, built this tavern.”

Architect Rafael Israelian said it

was not possible to visit this heroic

place and not raise a glass to the

memory of the heroes who sacrificed

their lives for the homeland.

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, 1918–20. 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

converge on the monument. f

20 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 official

celebrations at the Sardarapat

Memorial Complex 40 km west of

Yerevan. “If the idea, the necessity

of calling a new amnesty has

matured in the society in the last

three years, then I am really ready

to make use of my constitutional

right,” he said.

“I therefore call on all political

forces, public figures, the [presidential]

Public Council to submit

their proposals on the necessity

and conditions of the amnesty to

Serge Sargsian.

Photo: Mkhitar



the presidential administration.

And if it emerges as a result that

there is such a desire in the society,

then I will immediately make use of

my constitutional right and appeal

to the National Assembly to pass a

law,” he said.

A top representative of Mr. Ter-

Petrossian’s Armenian National

Armenian unrest probe in deadlock

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

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 individual



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


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

forces. In accordance with an executive

order signed by Mr. Sargsian,

the opposition Armenian National

Congress (HAK) and Heritage party

each named one member of the

group. Two other members were

nominated by Armenia’s governing

coalition loyal to the president.

The state Human Rights Defender,

Armen Harutiunian, picked

the fifth member, Mr. Stepanian.

The group elected the latter as its

chairperson when it met for the

first time in November. Mr. Stepanian

and the group’s two pro-government

members caused a stir

early this month they went on a

two-week vacation, forcing a temporary

suspension of the Westernbacked


The group resumed its work on

May 17 only to suspend it again two

days later because of Mr. Stepanian’s

intention to resign. “The situation

was becoming increasingly

tense,” Mr. Stepanian told RFE/RL.

“I hoped that if we didn’t meet for a

while, tensions would ease. But the

opposite happened.”

Mr. Stepanian said he would not

continue to coordinate the inquiry

despite being asked by Mr. Harutiunian

to reconsider his decision.

“I just can’t balance the two sides

and ensure their cooperation anymore,”

he said. “Maybe somebody

else can.”

That tensions inside the investigative

body are running high was

confirmed by Robert Avagian,

one of its two pro-government

members. “Vahe Stepanian played

the role of a balancer, but they put

him into this situation,” Mr. Avagian

said, referring to his pro-opposition


One of them, Andranik Kocharian,

said Mr. Stepanian should

have acted faster. “If he didn’t want

Yerevan mayor confident about election win

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


“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

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,”

he added.


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

Watchdog sees improved

election coverage in


by Tatevik Lazarian

as proof of their claims that some

of the opposition supporters had

firearms and that the use of lethal

force against them was therefore


In its leaked report, the Fact-

Finding 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

state prosecutors.


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


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 ballot.

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

televised campaign ads. f

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009 21


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 23–24, 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

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

in the peace process, but with the

current Armenian administration

we have achieved nothing,” he said.

“As a person leading the negotiations,

I cannot boast that we have

made even some progress in outstanding


Mr. Mammadyarov’s Turkish

counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu,

had a similar take on the current

state of the Armenian-Azerbaijani

negotiating process. “There has

been no progress,” he told the Anatolia

news agency on Sunday. “It is

time to revive this process. Turkey

will continue its efforts.”

The two ministers spoke in Damascus,

Syria, where they attended

a high-level meeting of the Organization

of the Islamic Conference

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

countries. They were due to fly to

Baku and hold talks there late on


President Serge Sargsian has

held four face-to-face meetings with

Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev since taking

office in April 2008. Their most

recent talks took place in Prague

on May 7. According to the U.S.,

Russian, and French diplomats cochairing

the OSCE Minsk Group, the

two leaders further narrowed their

differences over the basic principles

of a Karabakh settlement proposed

by the mediating troika.

The mediators’ upbeat statements

about chances for the signing

of an Armenian-Azerbaijani

framework peace accord have been

strongly denounced by Mr. Aliyev’s

recently discharged from a hospital

where he had been treated for


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

apply to them as well.” f

chief foreign policy aide, Novruz

Mammadov. He has accused them

of adopting “double standards” and

favoring the Armenian side out of

“Christian solidarity.”

Still, the Minsk Group’s U.S. cochair,

Deputy Assistant Secretary

of State Matthew Bryza, insisted

on May 15 that Mr. Aliyev and

Mr. Sargsian did make “significant

progress” in Prague. “Novruz Mammadov

has no way to judge what

the outcome of the discussion was

because he wasn’t there,” Bryza

told RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani service.

“We have a series, between 10 and

20 basic principles in our Madrid

document, and we have a handful

of the 10–12 issues that still need to

be worked out conceptually,” he said.

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


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

U.S.-backed “roadmap” to improving

Turkish-Armenian relations,

announced by the two governments

in late April. “Stay tuned,

keep watching for additional statements

by top officials in both Turkey

and Armenia, which hopefully

will show the implementation is

moving forward,” he told RFE/RL.

But Mr. Bryza acknowledged that

there is at least some connection between

Karabakh peace and the success

of the Turkish-Armenian dialogue.

“As we make progress, let’s say,

on Nagorno-Karabakh, it’s easier to

make progress on Turkey-Armenia,”

he said. “As we make progress on

Turkey-Armenia, it’s easier to make

progress on Nagorno-Karabakh.

“It’s not that there are preconditions.

There are no preconditions.

There are commitments by the

countries to do one or another set

of issues,” Mr. Bryza said.

The Armenian leadership maintains

that it has been discussing

with Ankara only an unconditional

normalization of relations and that

the agreed roadmap makes no references

to the unresolved Karabakh

conflict. Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly

stated, however, that Turkey will

not establish diplomatic relations

and open its border with Armenia

unless the latter makes peace with


Neither side has publicized the

“roadmap” yet. Mr. Bryza also declined

to divulge its details. “I hope

that it will be publicized soon,” he


The Turkish-Armenian deal was

announced on the eve of April 24.

Many in Armenia and its worldwide

diaspora believe the timing helped

U.S. President Barack Obama

backtrack on his pledges to recognize

the mass killings of 1915–17 as

genocide. Mr. Sargsian’s critics also

say the yearlong rapprochement

has earned Armenia no tangible


“Those people don’t understand

what’s happening,” countered Mr.

Bryza. “That is a mischaracterization

of reality.”

[The critics include Vartan Oskanian,

who served for 10 years

as Armenia’s foreign minister at a

Armenia’s ombudsperson deplores violence in the military

Armen Harutiunian. Photo: Melik Baghdasaryan/Photolure.

“And what I felt during those negotiations

. . . was that the presidents did

in fact work through the concepts

of that handful of basic principles

that had not been agreed. What they

didn’t do was agree on the details.

“And that’s the focus of our negotiations

right now. To have a

conceptual agreement, but not to

agree on the details, is significant


Mr. Bryza and his French and

Russian colleagues are due to again

visit the conflict zone this week to

prepare for yet another Armenian-

Azerbaijani summit tentatively

scheduled for the beginning of next

month. They hope that it will yield

a long-awaited breakthrough in the

Karabakh peace process. f

time when secret talks were held

with Turkey, and Armen Rustamian,

who as head of the parliamentary

foreign relations committee

could expect to be fully briefed

on the talks.]

“Armenia has neither won nor

lost anything, Turkey has neither

won nor lost anything, because

the Turkey-Armenia agreement

has not been implemented

yet,” he said. “The sides are in

the process of implementing the

roadmap. Only then will there be


“It’s time for the process to move

forward,” he added. “I strongly

agree with those critics who say

the agreement needs to be implemented.”


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


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

counterpart, Serge Sargsian, are

expected to meet in the Russian

city of Saint Petersburg on June 4

for the second time in less than a

month. According to the mediators,

the two leaders further narrowed

their disagreements over the basic

principles of a Karabakh settlement,

proposed by the troika, during

their last face-to-face talks held

in Prague.

“They made significant progress

in Prague and I expect the same in

Saint-Petersburg,” Mr. Bryza told

RFE/RL in an interview. “I hope that

the world will then see, within the

next couple of months, that they

have achieved a breakthrough.”

Mr. Bryza made clear that Mr.

Aliyev and Mr. Sargsian are unlikely

to iron out all of their disagreements

on “a handful of remaining

principles” in Saint Petersburg and

will therefore need to hold more

talks “relatively quickly.” “Based

on their conversation in Prague, I

do believe that a breakthrough can

happen at Saint Petersburg and/or

shortly thereafter,” he said.

Some Azerbaijani officials take

a dim view of the cautious optimism

expressed by the mediators.

A top aide to Mr. Aliyev last

month denounced Mr. Bryza’s

upbeat statements, while Foreign

Minister Elmar Mammadyarov

claimed over the weekend

that the conflicting parties have

not moved closer to a settlement

since Mr. Sargsian took office in

April last year.

Mr. Bryza dismissed these

statements as negotiating ploys

that are not indicative of the current

state of the Karabakh peace

process. “That’s normal,” he said.

“Each side has to follow its own tactics

to try influence the other side.

That’s fair game.”

The U.S. official was at the same

time reluctant to speculate about

chances for the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani

framework peace

accord this year. “The presidents

could have a peace deal tomorrow if

they wanted to,” he said. “They are

close. But I have no way to predict

whether or not they will be sufficiently

confident that they are getting

the best possible agreement for

their countries by any specific day

on the calendar.”

The agreement proposed by the

mediators reportedly calls for a

gradual solution to the bitter dispute

that would end in a referendum

of self-determination in Karabakh.

The disputed region’s predominantly

Armenian population

would presumably be able to legitimize

its secession from Azerbaijan

after the liberation of Armenianoccupied

territories surrounding


Mr. Aliyev claimed on Wednesday,

however, that “there is and

there can be no mechanism for

Nagorno-Karabakh’s secession

from Azerbaijan at the negotiating

table.” “Nagorno-Karabakh

will not be an independent state

neither today, nor in 10 or 100

years,” he said in a televised address

to the nation. “Despite all

the pressures, we will assert this

position till the end.” f

© 2009 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the

permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio

Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

22 The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009



the armenian


A renewed commitment to a strong, stable land

May 28 was the 91st anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia.

When the independence of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan came in 1918, it was a dream

come true for many.

At the same time, independence brought enormous challenges. As the South Caucasus

split into nation states, hundreds of thousands of people – Armenians living in Georgia

and Azerbaijan, Azerbaijanis living in Armenia and Georgia, and so on – became outsiders

of sorts in their hometowns. In Tiflis (today’s Tbilisi), at that time the cultural and political

capital of the region, Armenians had constituted a thriving plurality. In the oil boom city of

Baku, too, Armenians had been an important part of the middle class. In Yerevan, then a

small town, Azerbaijanis held sway.

But that was not all. It was a horrible time, more horrible than it is comfortable to recall.

The whole world was at war. During the same war, only three years previously, the Turkish

state had undertaken to eliminate the Armenian people. Over a million Armenians were

either killed outright or deported. The Caucasus was overrun with refugees.

And now, the new Armenia had to face the Turkish army alone. That Armenians held their

own is nothing short of a miracle.

Besides war, the new state had to face famine and disease. The United States sent wheat.

The president, Woodrow Wilson, also made promises to protect Armenia, which he was not

able to keep. At the conclusion of the world war, a defeated Turkey signed a peace treaty in

which it ceded the Armenian provinces of the Ottoman Empire to the new Armenian republic.

President Wilson was to arbitrate the borders.

But before the ink was dry on that treaty, the Treaty of Sèvres, Turkey’s Mustafa Kemal

made a secret deal with Russia’s Lenin and started a new war with Armenia. Unable to resist

both powers, the Armenian government ceded power to the Bolsheviks, and over time

Armenia became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. It was seventy years later, on

September 21, 1991, that Armenia once again became an independent republic.

Notwithstanding all these challenges and difficulties, the Armenian people found that an

Armenian state was a condition for their survival in the world of nations and nation states

that was emerging in the wake of the First World War. What emerged out of the first republic

was a defined Armenia on the modern world map, an Armenian polity, and a commitment

to statehood.

This commitment stayed alive in Armenia and in the diaspora until it became a reality in


The world has changed in many ways since 1918, and will continue to change. For some

groups of states, borders are no longer barriers to travel and trade. With information

becoming a most important commodity, neither distance nor borders are barriers to cooperation.

A stable state able to defend its borders – and its people – will remain a condition for the

survival of the Armenian people. But, as we have argued before in this space, it will not be

enough. Improved relations with other states, especially neighbors, will continue to be necessary.

Add to that transnational networking and cooperation – in other words, Armenians

across the globe working together and facing challenges together.

May 28 is a time to rededicate ourselves to maintaining a strong and stable Armenia and

Karabakh. It is also a time to commit to working for an ever expanding web of economic,

financial, cultural, athletic, political, social, and family ties wherever in the world Armenians

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


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

westernized and pro-European intellectuals,

and their rhetoric fits in perfectly with the

political criticism of Kemalism, of ultranationalism

and, in general, of the authoritarian

tendencies of Turkish society and the

Turkish state.

It is therefore quite natural that these people

were so enthusiastically received by the

European intelligentsia in general, and by

what I will call the liberal-socialist consensus,

i.e., by this important group of policymakers

in the European Union that identifies

nationalism with ultranationalism and sees

in the free-market system – possibly with social

safeguards – the resolution of all political,

cultural, and identity issues.

It is thus also quite natural that Armenians

have lumped together these people, whose

discourse is generally progressive, with the

older, more radical, and therefore systemically

less promoted dissidents, including those

who genuinely and sincerely want a recognition

by Turkey of the Armenian Genocide,

with all that that implies.

Therefore, naïve imagery depicts the Turkish

political field as ultranationalist and denialist

Kemalists versus a progressive, pro-

European civil society that advocates cosmopolitanism

and favors the recognition of

the Armenian Genocide. However, the actual

situation is infinitely more subtle because in

truth, we cannot understand this new Turkish

intelligentsia with such a blanket generalization.

The common thread:

critiquing Kemalism

The thinking as well as the political intentions

of its various members covers a very

wide spectrum, ranging from radical critique

of the Turkish state, Turkish society, and

even the Turkish people, to a very limited

critique of the management of certain issues

by Turkey. 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.

To name names, the thinking of a Ragip

Zarakolu is no doubt quite different from

that of an Ayse Hur, whose thinking is itself

scarcely comparable to that of Erol Özköray,

all of which are probably unrelated to the

thinking of Ahmet Insel or Baskin Oran.

What links most – but not all – of the new

Turkish intellectuals is the more-or-less open

critique of Kemalism. Often the reasoning

behind this critique pays less attention to the

moral failings of this state ideology than to

its inability to adequately manage the factors

that threaten to disrupt Turkish society.

It is therefore quite natural that many of

them – not necessarily proponents of political

Islam – developed at the dawn of the

2000s a certain sympathy for the AKP [Adalet

ve Kalkinma Partisi, or Justice and Development

Party] because that political force was,

sociologically speaking, the only one able to

move the Turkish state. These intellectuals,

who supported the political priorities of the

AKP government in the first half of the 2000s,

were naturally promoted by the Turkish media

and by the European political forces who

believe in the European vocation of Turkey.

What were these policy priorities

• Support for Turkey’s European Union


• Support for appropriate institutional reforms

(“democracy and rule of law”)

• Respect for human rights and minorities

For example, one might mention the famous

report on minority rights in Turkey,

for which Ibrahim Kaboglu and Baskin

Oran were persecuted by Turkish ultranationalist

groups. Indeed, this report and the

reforms it proposed struck squarely at the

monolithic conception of Turkey advocated

by Kemalists.

Kemalists, Islamists, and

Turkish nationalism

However, as opposed as they may be on the

form of the state they offer and on the societal

choices they promote, the Kemalists and

the Islamists agree on a number of points

that are in truth a national consensus, simply

because these are prerequisites to the existence

and the affirmation of their nation,

especially as this nation is newly created and,

like all nations, artificial.

Very prosaically, these issues that already

constitute the essence of the National Pact of

Atatürk consist of affirming without ambiguity

the preeminence – the unshared legitimacy

– of a people on a territory. This statement

implies, above all, a denial or appropriation

of other legitimacies.

In this case, the denial of the Armenian

Genocide as well as the appropriation of

elements of Armenian history and culture

– think of Urartu – or the denial of the Kurdish

reality as a political question constitute,

in my view, political priorities of the Turkish

nation well beyond the sole Turkish state.

It is a process of vampirization that Marc

Nichanian, of late has perfectly described.

In this process, the victims must be totally

deprived of the power of symbolization for

the benefit of the vampire people. It is not

just about land, nor even blood; it is, in this

instance, about emptying the Armenians of

their humanity, of their capacity of representation,

so as to appropriate the latter.

The enemies of our enemies

The alignment of Turkish Islamists to this

national priority was not clearly evident

from the outset. For about six months after

Recep Tayyip Erdogan became prime minister,

one could have had some hope. Nevertheless,

very quickly, with good or bad grace,

the Islamists have had to pledge allegiance to

the national dogma, at least regarding

• the denial of the Armenian Genocide

• the denial of the Kurdish reality

• the occupation of Cyprus

In other words, the enemies of our Kemalist

enemies are not necessarily our friends. In

this regard, reading Kar (Snow), one of the re-

Continued on page 23 m

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The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009 23



Click away with a clear



I disagree with the notion that the “Google

ad program is designed for advertisers to pay

for clicks made in good faith” (“Situational

Ethics: Tainted Money,” May 23).

I personally have used Google ads to advertise

some videos I made on YouTube [Google

owns YouTube]. YouTube would bring my

videos to the top of the search list when a

user searched for a term possibly relevant to

my video in exchange for a few cents a click.

However, this system is far from perfect and

it attracted many people to my videos who

were looking for things completely different

and had no intention of watching my video.

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,

and frankly this is just part of the risk we

take in advertising through this system.

Therefore if a Turkish organization

wants to put itself out there by using this

pay-per-click system to spread its vile propaganda

to every Google user with an Armenian-related

e-mail, then they must deal with

the consequences of potential unwanted

clicks, as I have.

I eventually stopped using the service because

it got too expensive, but I should also

include the fact that you are able to cap the

amount of money you spend each day. Therefore

if thousands of Armenians clicked the

ad in a single day, the cap would likely come

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.

The discourse of humiliation

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

commitments to Europe in order to join.

Let us note for example that the recognition

of the Genocide was originally a condition

for opening negotiations, then a condition

of their conclusion, before becoming

a non-condition. Of course, this rhetoric of

humiliation is never used about the Armenians,

who are generally depicted in dehumanizing

terms: lobby, diaspora, etc.

The strategy of containment

The question must be addressed by historians,

experts, by examining the archives, etc.

This strategy is actually intended to remove

the political and international dimension of

the issue of the Armenian Genocide in order

to confine it to a panel discussion. In the

words of Georges Clemenceau, “when I want

to bury a case, I create a commission.” In

truth, the strategy of containment is little

used by the Turkish intellectuals who willingly

leave it to the state.

The strategy of formal


The discourse of “we all suffered.” This strategy

is to recognize a part of the evil suffered

by Armenians but to relativize it by putting it

in the context of the damage suffered equally

by the Turks, or better yet, the [emotional]

violence allegedly felt by the Turks at the

time of the Armenian Genocide. This strategy

is found for example in a recent article by

Cengiz Aktar in the French daily, Libération:

“In this sense, the Armenian Genocide is

a common tragedy of Anatolia, and even

today what is uttered in the villages of Anatolia

as part of the old stories is the tally of

an unprecedented catastrophe. Yet, I am not

convinced that the ‘genocide’ word is sufficient

to accurately read the consequences of

this irrational decision that Anatolia was

subjected to. . . . Almost every year until

2023 [the founding date of the Turkish republic],

and even beyond, will provide us the

opportunity to learn and remember the fate

of Armenians, as well as the consequences of

that common catastrophe for people of

Anatolia. Justice will rule as we learn about

the dimensions of the process which has begun

a hundred years ago and about what it

has cost to all of us.”

The direct result of this strategy is the

concept of initiatives such as Biz Miassin or

Yavash Gamats or the somewhat sentimental

formula that “we drank the same water” in

which the key idea is that we all allegedly

suffered a violence of third-party origin, otherwise


Taken to its extreme, this strategy has led

to the famous petition of apology, one of the

initiators of which we have here, and even to

initiatives of thanks among the Armenians.

But this petition carefully avoids the term

Genocide, the only bearer of political and legal

meaning, and deliberately decouples the

Turkish state from liability while transforming

a political issue of international relations

to one of individual, conscious choice.

Baskin Oran revealed the objective of this

scheme by telling Milliyet:

“Mr. Prime Minister ought to be thanking us

for this campaign. All over the world, parliaments

were adopting resolutions, automatically.

Now, this will all stop. The diaspora is softening.

The international media have begun to

abandon the use of the term Genocide.”

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

The strategy of rejecting the


This strategy is to present Turkish and Armenian

nationalists as similar extremists.

Mr. Oran is also a great specialist in this

technique and it applies just as much to the

present situation as to that which prevailed

in the era of the Young Turks: he regularly

refers to the “hawks” of the diaspora, recalls

at leisure the attacks of ASALA, and puts on

one plane the actions of Armenian “komitajis”

and a few hundred Turkish victims of

reprisals in 1917 with the incomparable state

violence embodied in the Genocide and later

in its denial.

If one follows this logic of moral equivalence,

there is no ontological difference between

the Jewish [resisters] of the Warsaw

Ghetto and the Nazis who tried to exterminate


Mr. Oran, I am sorry to quote you again

to answer your questions, but you said: “Because

for the Armenians ‘genocide’ means

one thing: 1915. But for Turks it also means

one thing: 1933-1945. This means that in the

minds of Turks, Armenians are telling them:

‘Your grandfather was a Nazi.’”

Well, yes, your grandparents were Nazis, or

their equivalents, and that is exactly what

you have to admit. Nobody is saying it will

be easy, but truly the Turks have no escape

and the longer you wait, the more painful

it will be.

The strategy of deprivation

This strategy is to create a debate where the

Armenian voice is illegitimate. Thus the public

sphere in Turkey is now besieged by Turkon-Turk

controversies: Who said what Who is

willing to go how far Who would disagree and

why And thus the world, and particularly

Armenians, is to be expected to wait, during

these endless discussions from which we

are excluded, for the emergence of an “authorized”

view on how to tackle “the events

of 1915,” the nature and name of which we

already know perfectly well.

This strategy is beginning to have some

success outside of Turkey. I believe it is highly

significant that Libération has recently invited

Cengiz Aktar and Pierre Weill – whose

primary competence in this matter is clearly

that of having easy access to the media – to

speak on the Armenian Genocide while Armenians

have been banned.

Four years ago, we organized in the European

Parliament a debate on Turkey. On this

occasion, I invited a Member to speak and he

refused, saying, “It is not for you to discuss

Turkey.” This response is extraordinary: at

that time, the debate on Turkey was everywhere

and everyone was entitled to speak

about it, but we, because we were Armenians,

were to be banned from the debate.

Following a recent discussion with Varoujan

Sarkissian, the former editor of France-

Arménie, I realized how much these last three

strategies recalled in a striking manner some

of the figures of speech presented by Roland

Barthes in order to uncover mythic structures.

Barthes spoke of the vaccine with which

one immunizes the [contents of the] collective

imagination by a small inoculation of

acknowledged evil; the deprivation of history,

which consists of depriving people, those of

whom one is speaking, of any specific term in

1776 vs 1787


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


Very truly yours,

Andrew Kevorkian


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


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


• 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



24 The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009

The Armenian Reporter | May 30, 2009



MAY 31, 2009

3:00-9:00 PM PDT


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