National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion
  • No tags were found...

National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

Number 92December 13, 2008the armenianreporterCommunityArmen Aroyan: Time traveler of a different sortArmeniaIncurable forms of TB are a global challengeIn a jarring article datelined Yerevan,December 7, New York Times columnistNicholas D. Kristof soundedthe alarm about a potential worldwidepublic-health disaster, thequick spread of extensively drug-resistanttuberculosis (XDR TB).The article, “A Killer without Borders,”focuses on a young man withthe disease, and notes that by ridingcrowded public transportation,he exposes dozens of people to XDRCommunityIn a time when historic Armeniahas all but vanished into the distantlandscape of a modern world,Armenians living in the diasporaare left to put together the piecesof a fragmented past.Armen Aroyan is one of thoserare historians who not only studiesbut shares his education byleading tours to historic Armenia.The tour leader, organizer, educator,and scholar of history follows theshadowy fragments of the Armenianpast, taking those who seekhim out on a journey of healingand discovery to the places Armeniansonce called home.He is a memory maker takingvague images of a once-beautifulplace passed down almost by birthrightand making them part of thisenigmatic tapestry Armeniansstruggle to unravel.Alexandra Bezdikian reports.See story on page 12 mAnita Vogel, national correspondent for Fox News, was one of 16 young Armenian-American professionals honored at the annual Christmas Banquet of the WesternDiocese. Here she receives a miniature cross-stone, made by artist KasbarGharibian, from Abp. Hovnan Derderian, Primate. Photo: Hilma Shahinian forthe Armenian Reporter.See story on page 10 mThe price of a barrel of oil has fallenfrom a record high of $147 to about$40 today in the internationalmarket. Oil-producing countries– including Armenia’s immediateneighbors Azerbaijan and Iran, aswell as Russia – are taking a big hit.Petros Terzian, president ofPetroStrategies Consulting andPublishing in Paris, said on December9 that Azerbaijan has becomeless important than beforefor the international oil market, asCommunityTB every day. The man happens tolive in Armenia. Mr. Kristof’s pointis that he could be anywhere.The Armenian Reporter staff inYerevan spoke to public-health specialistsand people working withpatients to assess the extent of thecrisis, what is being done about it,and what more needs to be done.Maria Titizian reports.See story on page 15 mSt. Nersess Armenian Seminary to graduate fiveprospective priests in two yearsIn 1961, it took foresight to startan Armenian seminary in the UnitedStates to educate young mento serve the Armenian Church inNorth America. Nearly 50 yearsInternationallater, St. Nersess Armenian Seminaryis carrying on the vision ofits founder, Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan.See story on page 8 mPetros Terzian: Azerbaijan’s oil is no longerimportant to the international marketthe volume of consumption andprice of oil has dropped.Mr. Terzian was a guest of theCivilitas Foundation’s Council onInternational Relations. He delivereda lecture titled, “Economicsand Politics of Oil in the Caucasus.”The speaker spoke about internationaloil resources and then concentratedon Caspian and Azerbaijanireserves.See story on page 4 mArmenia marks twentiethanniversary of earthquakeby Armenian Reporter staffYEREVAN – Sunday, December 7,2008, was the 20th anniversary ofthe 1988 earthquake in Armenia,which claimed the lives of 25,000people, injured over 100,000, andleft close to half a million peoplewithout shelter. It decimated thenorthern region of the countryand crippled its industry. Spitak,a town of about 4,000 people,was completely destroyed andGyumri, Armenia’s second-largestcity, sustained heavy damage.Shoddy construction and the failureof emergency response serviceswere blamed for the large scaledeath and destruction of the 6.9magnitude earthquake.The Soviet government at thetime pledged a massive reconstructioneffort, which began. But afterArmenia’s independence in 1991,the state for some years simply didnot have the resources to continuereconstruction apace. The benevolentefforts of numerous foreigngovernments and charities, alongwith the contributions of Armeniansworldwide, helped the peopleof northern Armenia continue torecover. American-Armenian billionaireKirk Kerkorian addednew momentum and impetus tothe reconstruction efforts in theearly 2000s, donating funds for theconstruction of thousands of newhomes.Continued on page 14 mAlbright-Cohenreport sidestepsArmenian-Americanconcernsby Emil Sanamyan andNareg SeferianWASHINGTON – The UnitedStates should establish early warningmechanisms and if necessarylead an international coalitionthat would take military action toprevent incidents of mass violenceagainst civilians, says a report preparedby former senior U.S. officialsand unveiled on December 8.Preventing Genocide: A Blueprintfor U.S. Policymakers, was preparedby a bipartisan panel for the considerationof the incoming administrationof Barack Obama. Thepanel, the Genocide PreventionTask Force (GPTF), was co-chairedby Madeleine Albright and WilliamCohen, secretaries of stateand defense respectively in theClinton administration.The report called for $250 millionin annual funding for the antigenocidestrategy and appointmentof a senior White House coordinatorfor the policy.A new memorial in honor of the victims of the earthquake unvelied in Gyumri onDecember 7, 2008. The sculptor is F. Soghoyan. Photo: Photolure.United States told to give higherpriority to genocide preventionWilliam Cohen and Madeleine Albright, Nov. 13, 2007. Photo: Nareg Seferian.The mechanisms recommendedin the report include strengtheninginternational humanitarian normsand institutions, monitoring andearly warning about emerging crises,early diplomatic engagementto prevent escalation and massviolence, and resorting to militaryaction as a last resort to halt thebloodshed.The report also referred to a“growing understanding” aroundthe world that “no government hasthe right to use national sovereigntyas a shield behind which it canmurder its own people.”“It is a good piece of work on thefuture of how the United Statesshould organize itself for respondingto emerging genocides in thefuture,” former U.S. ambassador toArmenia John Evans told the ArmenianReporter.At the same time, Mr. Evanssaid, the “largely ahistorical” approachtaken by the task forceContinued on page m

The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008 7CommunityHaroutun Garabed Karakashian, 71, organizer of central NJ communityHarout Karakashian of Middletown,N.J., died on November 22 at hishome. He was active in Armenianchurch, educational, and culturalactivities in central New Jersey.Haroutun Garabed Karakashianwas born on April 23, 1937 in Jerusalemto Garabed and Kayane (neeHairabedian) Karakashian. His fatherwas a native of Kutahya, andfirst cousin, once removed, to thevenerable Armenian priest andcomposer Gomidas. His motherwas a native of Odemish, nearIzmir, and was orphaned duringthe Armenian Genocide of 1915.The family enjoyed a good lifein the vibrant Armenian communityof Jerusalem. Harout attendedthe School of the Holy Translators.His father was a blacksmithwho made keys and license plates,and his uncle Megerditch was themaster painter of the internationallyrecognized Karakashian-Balianjoint workshop of Palestine Pottery.During the Arab-Israeli War of1948, the family sought refuge inthe complex of the Armenian Patriarchate.After having their homedestroyed numerous times, Garabed,Kayane, and their three sons,Harout, Nubar, and Vicken, movedto Amman, Jordan, and lived withGarabed’s sister and her family, Zarehand Zmroukht Tashjian andsons Sebouh, Vahe, and Hagop,and Kayane’s cousins, numerousmembers of the Etyemezian family.In November 1956, Harout wasthe first of his family to move tothe United States. On December 20,1956, his parents and brothers arrivedin Newark, New Jersey, havingobtained passage as Jordanianrefugees and having been sponsoredby the St. Mary parish ofIrvington. The family was greetedby Rev. Fr. Yeghishe Gizirian andZareh Manigian, a parish councilmember. Harout’s family ownedand operated the Oriental GiftShop in Newark, where the familysold gift items and the Armenianpottery of Jerusalem.Harout proudly served in theU.S. Army for several years. In June1963, he met Serpouhi Pilavian atan Armenian dance in Asbury Parkand they were married on June 29,1963, at Sts. Vartanantz ArmenianChurch in Ridgefield, New Jersey.They moved to Middletown in 1964,and were blessed with two children,Garo and Tamar.Harout worked for Sears, Roebuck& Co. for over 33 years andhad his own construction businessfor 25 years. He also owned a drycleaningbusiness with his brother,Nubar, for 32 years, and more recently,owned a family luncheonette.Harout was appointed by ArchbishopTorkom Manoogian, Primateof the Eastern Diocese, toserve on the first Parish Councilat St. Mary Armenian Church inElberon in 1968. At various timesspanning four decades, he servedon of the Parish Council as chairperson,treasurer, and advisor. Haroutactively participated in the NewJersey Chapter of the HamazkayinArmenian Cultural and EducationalSociety for numerous years, especiallyin its choral group. He wasa former longtime member of theArmenian Revolution Federation“Dro” Gomideh of New Jersey.On September 27, 1973, he wasone of several individuals whofounded the Armenian CulturalSchool Association, an organizationdedicated to perpetuating theArmenian language, culture, andheritage in the Central New Jerseyarea. He served as one of the chartermembers of the acsa. The organizationestablished the weekly AraratArmenian School, and offeredother cultural, educational, andsocial functions to the hundredsof Armenians living in Monmouthand Ocean Counties of New Jersey.For many decades, Harout sangin the choir at Sts. Vartanantz ofRidgefield and St. Mary and St. Stepanosof Elberon. He also servedas choirmaster for several years atSt. Stepanos. He was honored asSt. Mary Man of the Year in 1979.On June 14, 1987, Harout served asone of the godfathers of the newlyconstructed St. Stepanos. He alsowas a member of the Men’s Club.Harout selflessly assisted in thegrowth of the parish, and servedon the Parish Council during thetransition from St. Mary to St. Stepanosand supervised the constructionof the new edifice. For his outstandingleadership, he was one ofHenry Zareh Karanian, 86, pharmacistHenry Zareh Karanian, a lifelongresident of New Britain, Conn.,died on October 28. He was born inNew Britain, Conn., on December23, 1921, to the late Hovhannes andArdemis Karanian. He is survivedby his wife, Agnes Barsoian Karanian,to whom he had been happilymarried for 60 years.Henry was an active member ofthe Armenian community in Connecticutand was a lifelong memberof St. Stephen’s Armenian ApostolicChurch of New Britain, where heserved for a decade as a member ofthe Board of Trustees, as treasurer,and as a delegate to the ArmenianNational Convention. He wasalso chairperson of the ArmenianLeague of Greater New Britain.Henry was a pharmacist and hedevoted his entire career to thisprofession. He worked as a retailpharmacist, owning and operatingthe Burritt Pharmacy, a neighborhooddrugstore in New Britain, for11 years. He dedicated the last 21years of his career to law enforcementand to narcotics legislationand education. He served as a seniordrug control agent with theConnecticut Department of Healthand later with the state’s Departmentof Consumer Protection.During his service with the State ofConnecticut he testified before thestate legislature, helped write druglegislation, and helped educate doctors,pharmacists, and lawyers ondrug laws and compliance issues.Henry was a 1940 graduate ofNew Britain High School. As amember of the school’s 1938 StateChampionship football team, heplayed on both the offensive anddefensive lines. He was a veteran ofWorld War II, and after high schoolserved his country in the U.S. ArmyHenry Zareh Karanian.Haroutun Garabed Karakashian.six individuals honored at the 10thanniversary of the consecration ofSt. Stepanos in 1997.Harout loved to work and oftenhad a hard time relaxing. He did,however, enjoy playing backgammon(tavloo), spending time withfriends, and traveling to Armenia.As a child he played the violinand was very passionate aboutArmenian music – a passion thatspanned his entire life.Harout was predeceased by hisparents, Garabed and Kayane, andyoungest brother, Vicken. Survivingare his wife of 45 years, Serpouhiof New Jersey; son GaroKarakashian and his wife Lisaof New Jersey; daughter Tamarand her husband John Arslanianof Pennsylvania; brother NubarKarakashian and his wife Melineof New Jersey; nephew ShantKarakashian and his wife MaryAir Corps as a meteorologist. Hegraduated with honors from theU.S. Air Force Weather School andhis tour of duty took him to theFar East.Henry attended Columbia Universityin New York City. He marriedAgnes Barsoian of Pawtucket,R.I., while he was in school. Withthe loving support of his bride hegraduated with a bachelor of sciencedegree in pharmacy. He receivedthe Seabury and BordenScholarships as the highest-rankingstudent in his graduating class.After earning his degree fromColumbia, Henry returned to NewBritain and became a devoted andfaithful member of the community.Henry’s favorite hobby waswoodworking, and he constructedmany fine pieces of furniture overthe years for his four children, includingheirloom cradles for eachof his granddaughters and a wheelbarrowfor his grandson.Henry was the oldest of sixbrothers and is survived by Richard,Charles, Arthur, and George. Hisyoungest brother, Walter, predeceasedhim. He is also survived byIn Memoriam Shoghere Markarian, 1926–2007and their sons Haig, Nikolas, Aram,and Vicken of Delaware; nephewSebouh Karakashian and his wifeSetta and their sons Raffi and Armenof New Jersey; niece LoryKarakashian of New Jersey; sisterin-lawMaral Karakashian of NewJersey; nephew Raffi Karakashianof Washington; nephew Ara Karakashianof New Jersey and hisfiance Talar Yepremian of Syria;brother-in-law Hagop Pilavian andhis wife Sona of Syria; nephew NegolPilavian and his wife Rosalineand son Hagop of California; nieceKarin and her husband KarekinKirazian and son Allen of California;sister-in-law Ani and herhusband Mehran Balkhian andsons Sarkis and Garen Balkhianof Syria; mother-in-law HripsimePilavian of Syria; and numerouscousins in Jerusalem, Sydney, Amman,Ft. Lauderdale, Buenos Aires,and Vienna.In honor of Harout’s desire to assistwith the education of the lessfortunate of Armenia and Karabakh,the family is requesting that in lieuof flowers donations be made tothe Haroutun Karakashian MemorialFund and mailed to 87 SwartzelDrive, Middletown, New Jersey07748. Funeral services were heldon November 25 at St. Stepanos ArmenianChurch in Elberon, N.J. Officiatingwere V. Rev. Fr. HaigazounNajarian, Diocesan Vicar, assistedby V. Rev. Fr. Mamigon Kiledjian,Rev. Fr. Vertanes Kalayjian, andRev. Fr. Diran Bohajian. his four sons, Robert and daughterin-lawAndrea Karanian of Avon,Conn., William and daughter-inlawDenise Karanian of Kensington,Conn., Philip and daughter-in-lawNancy Karanian of West Hartford,Conn., and Matthew of Pasadena,Calif.Henry leaves his loving grandchildrenElyssa, Justine, Jarod, Alanna,Colleen, Caroline, and Genevieve.He also leaves four sisters-in-law,his cousins, and many loving niecesand nephews.Funeral services were held November1 at St. Stephen’s ArmenianApostolic Church in New Britain.In lieu of flowers, donations maybe made in his honor to the ArmenianEyecare Project, P.O. Box 5630,Newport Beach, CA 92662-5630 orSt. Stephen’s Armenian Church,167 Tremont Street, New Britain,CT 06051.It is with deep sadness that theMarkarian family observes thefirst anniversary of the passing ofShoghere Markarian, who died onNovember 15, 2007, in Manhattanat the age of 81. Ms. Markarian wasa pianist, teacher, and writer.Raised in Providence, Rhode Island,Shoghere was one of threechildren born to the late Haroutunand Satenig (Nalbandian) Markarian.At age 16, she began her studyof piano and composition withAlan Hovhaness and became hisprotégée. After graduating fromClassical High School, she majoredin piano at Longy School of Musicin Cambridge, Massachusetts, andhad concert studies with MarjorieChurch Cherkassky. She moved toNew York City, where she had concertstudies with Grete Sultan, andattended Juilliard and the DalcrozeSchool of Music. She studied danceat the Martha Graham and KatherineDunham Schools, and theaterwith Maurice Tei Dynn and Claudiade Lys.In 1952 Ms. Markarian premieredHovhaness’ Khaldis (Ancient Godof the Universe), “Concerto for Piano,Four Trumpets and Percussion”at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Manhattan.Hovhaness assigned his pupilsto her and sent her as an emissaryon lecture-performances ofShoghereMarkarian.his music. She maintained a longstandingfriendship with the composeruntil his death in 2000. Her“Personal Remembrance of AlanHovhaness” was published in theArmenian Reporter, and she appearedon Marvin Rosen’s ClassicalDiscoveries program in Princetonfor a tribute to Hovhaness.Ms. Markarian was a frequentcontributor to Ararat magazineand the Armenian Reporter. Her poetrywas published in the ArmenianReview. She reviewed films for theArmenian Film Festival. She alsoperformed in Shakespeare and theArmenian Theatre at ShakespeareSummerfest at the American Museumof Natural History, and laterrepeated the performance for theArmenian Diocese.Ms. Markarian created a performanceproject on the music of AlanHovhaness and letters of ArshileGorky to his sister, Vartoush. Atthe New York Sculpture Center in1994, she read from Gorky’s letters,in collaboration with poet and authorJohn Ash, who read excerptsfrom his book, Journey to Van. In1996, at the opening of an exhibitiondedicated to William Saroyan at theFederal Reserve Gallery in Boston,under the auspices of the ArmenianArtists Association, she read fromGorky’s letters, accompanied bypiano selections from Hovhanessperformed by Marvin Rosen.Ms. Markarian was a facultymember of the Piano Departmentat the Diller-Quaile School of Musicfrom 1982 until the time of herpassing. Diller-Quaile awarded her agrant for her project on the music ofHovhaness and letters of Gorky. Shepreviously taught piano at Womanschool,Cedarhurst School, and TheBloomingdale House of Music.Ms. Markarian is survived by herbrother, Dr. Shant Markarian; niecesKris and Johanna; and nephewsShant, Jr., and Craig.Interment and memorial servicewere held at Swan Point Cemeteryin Providence. The Diller-QuailePiano Department held a remembrancefor her in New York City.Those who wish to honor her memorymay contact Patti Beattie at theNational Wildlife Federation at 703-438-6350.

8 The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008CommunitySt. Nersess Armenian Seminary to graduate 5 prospective priests in 2 yearsSeminary alsocommitted to publiceducation, youthoutreachNew Rochelle, N.Y. – In 1961,it took foresight to start an Armenianseminary in the United Statesto educate young men to servethe Armenian Church in NorthAmerica. Nearly 50 years later, St.Nersess Armenian Seminary is carryingon the vision of its founder,Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan.Today, with more faculty devotedto Armenian studies than at anyuniversity in the United States and10 seminarians working towardsordination, St. Nersess, locatedin Westchester County, remainsthe only Armenian seminary inthe Western Hemisphere, educatingfuture priests and lay leadersto serve the Armenian Church inNorth America.“We are committed to the originalvision of our founder and over thepast 47 years have built upon thatwith an impressive list of alumniand lay leaders serving our Armeniancommunities,” explains theVery Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan,dean and professor of liturgicalstudies.St. Nersess will graduate fiveprospective priests in the next twoyears. Upon their graduation fromthe seminary, these current seminarianswill join a long list of alumnithat include 38 priests and ninelaymen and women serving thechurch. In fact, the largest parishesin the United States are pastoredby St. Nersess graduates, namelySt. Peter, Van Nuys, Calif.; St. John,Southfield, Mich.; St. James, Watertown,Mass.; Holy Trinity, Cambridge,Mass.; Holy Martyrs, Bayside,N.Y.; and St. Leon, Fair Lawn,N.J.Seminary publishestheological reviewWhile producing priests and layleaders to serve the church is thepriority of the seminary, this institutionalso publishes the onlytheological review of the ArmenianChurch in English. Another seminarypublication, the AVANT seriesof books, is the only ongoing celebrationof the 1700th anniversaryof the Christianization of Armenia.The St. Nersess virtual GlobalClassroom is the most extensiverepository of Armenian liturgicalresources on the Internet, statesa seminary press release. This onlinegateway to Armenian Churchstudies and theological heritageincludes a Sacred Music Lab withMP3 downloads and sheet music inArmenian and English. Also availableare downloads to various liturgicalservices.Conferences attract 200youth annuallyAlong with educating men andwomen to be faithful leaders of thechurch, offering online and printededucational materials, and conductingpublic lectures throughoutthe year, the seminary opens itsdoors to hundreds of youth andyoung adults each year for summerand winter conferences.It is through these youth conferencesthat the seed of serving thechurch is either planted or furthernurtured, as these programs providean opportunity for youth andyoung adults to gather in a safe havento discuss current and relativeissues, learn more about the Armenianculture and church, serve thecommunity, and simply mix andmingle with other Armenian youththroughout the country, forming afamily bond that endures time. Currentlyseven conferences take placethroughout the summer, rangingfrom college, high school, and juniorhigh conferences to a deacons’training program. A winter conferencefor college-aged students isalso held at Armenian Christmas.“I am a product of these conferences;therefore, I know firsthandthe profound impact these programscan have upon a teenager,”states Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian,youth and vocations director forthe seminary. “It is the seminary’sresponsibility to reach out, be involvedin the lives of our youth, andmake them realize that a vocationin the church is indeed acceptable.”Fr. Stepanos also travels to parishesthroughout the year conductingweekend conferences and otherseminary programs directed towardsyouth, as well as organizingCAMBRIDGE, Mass. – TheErevan Choral Society and Orchestraof the Holy Trinity ArmenianChurch will present itstraditional Christmas HolidayConcert on Sunday, January 4,at 4:00 p.m., in the church sanctuary,145 Brattle Street, Cambridge.The concert will be in memoryof the Very Rev. Fr. OshaganMinassian, who founded theErevan Choral Society and servedas its music director and conductoruntil his death last July 26. Fr.Oshagan also served as choir directorfor Holy Trinity ArmenianChurch for over 42 years.“It has been almost fourmonths since our beloved Fr.Oshagan entered his eternalrest in God’s kingdom,” statedFr. Vasken A, Kouzouian, pastor.“His absence from our lives,”he continued, “is absolute andprofound. Our Sunday morningexperience is different now; ourphones ring a little less, but thehumor Hayr Oshagan offeredcontinues to bring a smile to ourfaces. He is missed.”The 50-voice chorus and 25 instrumentalistswill perform underthe direction of KonstantinPetrossian. Michael Loo willmission programs to various Armeniancommunities allowing an opportunityfor current and potentialseminarians to serve others throughvisitations, prayer, Bible studies andBadarak (Divine Liturgy).The cost of operating an Armenianseminary in America is significant.More than 65 percent of theseminary’s operating budget comesfrom the generosity of friends andbenefactors.connect:www.stnersess.edu1-914-636-2003Erevan Choral Society’s Christmasconcert on January 4serve as the concertmaster andValerie Becker as accompanist-organist.Two outstandingvocalists with operatic backgroundswill be featured: VictoriaAvetisyan, mezzo-soprano,and Yeghishe Manucharyan,tenor. The program will includea set of Christmas holiday favoritesand a spectrum of songsfrom the Armenian tradition.Every year, this popular choraland instrumental ensemble performsto a standing-room-onlycrowd. The dedicated group ofaccomplished singers, soloists,and professional instrumentalistshas entertained Greater Bostoncommunities and audiencesfor the past 42 years.And this year’s Christmas HolidayConcert and tribute promiseto be yet another memorablemusical experience that will elevatethe season’s spirits of allthose attending.Following the concert, a Yuletidereception will be held in theCharles and Nevart TalanianCultural Hall of the church complex.connect:office@htaac.org1-617-354-0632.

The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008 9Communityaiwa scholarships include the Lucy Kasparian Aharonian AwardsWATERTOWN, Mass. – Scholarshipsawarded by the ArmenianInternational Women’s Associationhave increased substantially thisyear, thanks to the Lucy KasparianAharonian program, administeredin association with the Society ofWomen Engineers (Boston Chapter).Under this program, beginningwith the current academic year(2008-2009), juniors and seniors inthe fields of science, mathematics,or engineering (including architecture)are eligible for awards of upto $6,000. Graduate students in thesame fields can be granted up to$10,000.The scholarship program was establishedin 2007 in memory of thelate Lucy Kasparian Aharonian bythe Aharonian family.Lucy Aharonian.Current recipientsRecipients of aiwa scholarshipshave strong interests in their Armenianheritage, multifacetedbackgrounds, and have attainedand continue to pursue high academicachievements.The two 2008-2009 winners ofthe Lucy Kasparian Aharoniangraduate student awards, whoreceived $5,000 each, are NarineBolghourjian, from Beirut, Lebanon,and Sevan Suni, of RedwoodCity, Calif.Ms. Bolghourjian, who receivedher undergraduate degree with highdistinction from the American Universityof Beirut, is one of the fewinternational students currentlypursuing a master of science degreeat the University of California,Berkeley, in a highly selective structuralengineering and mechanics ofmaterials program. She ultimatelyaspires to attain a Ph.D. and hopesto return to her native Lebanon asa civil engineer and continue to beactive in the Armenian communitythere.Ms. Suni is a fourth-year graduatestudent in the biology departmentat Stanford University, focusingon genetic diversity of speciessuch as the red harvester ant. Sheis on track to be awarded her spring 2010. She is also activein promoting Armenian music, forexample by playing works by thecomposer Grikor Mirzaian Suni onher violin in concerts. Suni plans tobecome a professor of biology.The winners of the Kasparian undergraduateawards are TarmaraAlexander, Ani Sahagian, andJustine Karanian, who received$3,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.Ms. Alexander, from RedwoodCity, Calif., is currently in a dualundergraduate/graduate program,and will graduate in 2010 with aB.S. in mathematics and a M.S. inmanagement science and engineeringfrom Stanford University. Sheis active in the Armenian StudentsAssociation, which also supportsthe nonprofit organization Act ForArmenia, raising money for underprivilegedschools in Armenia.Ms. Sahagian, who hails fromNew Milford, N.J., is pursuing hernursing degree from Ramapo Collegein New Jersey, now as a senior.She is a member of Phi ThetaKappa and on the dean’s list. Ms.Sahagian previously worked for 15Narine Bolghourjian.years at the Diocese of the ArmenianChurch of America in NewYork City.Ms. Karanian, from Avon, Conn.,is now a senior chemistry majorwith a minor in mathematics atMerrimack College in North Andover,Mass. She is planning to applyto dental school upon graduation.Ms. Karanian helped organize avitamin drive for an Armenian orphanageand then traveled to Armeniawith her family to personallydistribute the donations.Other recipientsaiwa scholarships for 2008-2009include several other named awards.The awards and current recipientsinclude the following:Dr. Carolann S. Najarian Scholarships(awards of $1,000 each):Tina Bastajian, Amsterdam, TheNetherlands, Ph.D. candidate, mediastudies, Amsterdam School ofAnalysis; Dzovinar Derderian,Washington, M.A. candidate, 2ndyear, Georgetown University, Russian& East European studies; ElenGalajyan, Yerevan, Armenia, enteringmaster of health administrationprogram, University of SouthernCalifornia; Tamar Salibian,Van Nuys, Calif., Ph.D. candidate,cultural/media studies, ClaremontSevan Suni.Graduate Institute (Calif.); SarahVaradian, Norwood, Mass., junior,majoring in American studies,Stonehill College, Easton, Mass.Agnes Missirian Awards: $1,000to Maral Balayan, Auburn, Mass.,graduate of Misr InternationalUniversity (Cairo), M.A. candidate,1st year, Boston University Schoolof Journalism.Rose “Azad” Hovannesian Scholarship($500): Tatev Yeghiazaryan,Hewitt, N.J., junior, majoring inmusic (jazz), William PattersonUniversity, N.J.Zarouhi Y. Getsoyan Scholarship($500): Nara Martirosyan, Ruston,La., Ph.D. candidate in education,Grambling State University,La.Lucy Kasparian Aharonian AIWAScholarship ($1,000): $500 each toEmma Danielyan, Yerevan StateUniversity, Armenia, M.S. candidatein radiophysics; and AniTshantshapanyan, Russian-ArmenianState University, Yerevan,Ph.D. candidate in physics (semiconductor).Long career in software engineeringBorn in Lynn, Mass., Lucy KasparianAharonian died of complicationsfrom pancreatic cancer onNovember 5, 2006.Starting a long history of furtheringher education, after attendingelementary and secondaryschools in Saugus, Mass., Mrs.Kasparian graduated cum laudefrom Salem State College andearned her master of arts degreein mathematics from Clark University,where she was a teachingfellow. In her mid-fifties, sheearned a master of business administrationdegree from BostonUniversity.Her career in software engineeringwas put on hold when shestarted raising a family and wasresumed when her children werein school. She worked for Raytheon,mitre Corporation, andgte, and was also an independentconsultant. She had been an activemember of the Society of WomenEngineers.Mrs. Aharonian taught on a parttimebasis and spoke with convictionabout the learning and educationprocess. She was proud thatshe had taught at the elementary,secondary, junior college, and collegelevels as well as continuing educationand crafts training. In lateryears, Mrs. Aharonian had a secondcareer as a basket artist and operatedher own studio at Art/Space inMaynard, Mass.Deadline April 6Applications for all aiwa scholarshipsfor the 2009-2010 academicyear will be available online or bymail on January 1, 2009. The scholarshipsare awarded to women ofArmenian descent, both undergraduate(junior and senior year)and graduate students, based onacademic achievement and financialneed. The deadline for these applicationsis April 6, 2009. Winnerswill be announced at the association’sannual meeting in May. connect:www.aiwa-net.org617-926-0171agbu Young Professionals of Yerevan help Gyumri orphansFar left: YPYerevansponsored a tripto the capitalcity for childrenat the Gyumriorphanage,including a visitto the NationalGallery. Left:In front of theNational Galleryof Armenia,YP Yerevanmembers andGyumri orphanswere all smilesas they spent aday together inArmenia’s capitalcity.NEW YORK – On November 2,2008, the agbu Young Professionalsof Yerevan (YP Yerevan) organizeda trip to Armenia’s capital for70 orphans at the Nansen Orphanagein Gyumri, Armenia. YP Yerevanmembers hoped to give thesechildren a taste of Armenia’s capitalcity. The trip would later serveas inspiration for an art projectfundraiser.The children enjoyed walkingaround Yerevan, visiting outdoorspaces, the newly renovated Lovers’Park, restaurants, and spendingthe afternoon in the NationalGallery of Armenia. In the evening,the YPs treated the children to acircus performance, which madea strong impression on the youngvisitors.After an exciting day in Yerevan,the orphans returned to Gyumriinspired by their journey. YP Yerevanasked the children to create artbased on their impressions of thecapital with the goal of selling thework during a fundraising event forthe orphanage.Established in 2000, the NansenOrphanage of Gyumri was createdto help parentless children whocontinued to feel the impacts of the1988 Spitak. In 2002, the orphanagecame under the administration ofthe Republic of Armenia’s Ministryof Social Welfare. Today, the NansenOrphanage provides art, sports,dance, vocal, and foreign languageinstruction to dozens of children.Helping the orphansOn November 16, YP Yerevanhosted a fundraising event for theorphanage at the Yerevan PuppetTheater. The theater’s auditoriumwas filled with special guests, includingfamous singers and artists,bankers, businesspeople, and localcelebrities, all of whom touredthe display of art that was inspiredby the children’s day in Yerevan.The children also returned to thecapital and gave several song-anddanceperformances, which createda festive atmosphere for the theaterguests. A video of the event isavailable on agbu’s YouTube exhibition sale raised over1,239,000 amd (more than $4,000),greatly exceeding the organizers’expectations. Proceeds from theart sale will be used to build a computercenter at the orphanage. SeveralYP Yerevan members have ITtraining and plan on teaching thechildren how to use the equipment.YP Yerevan plans to use any additionalfunds from the event to hireEnglish-language teachers to assistthe children to improve their languageskills.The agbu Young Professionalsare committed to preserving andpromoting the Armenian identityand heritage through educational,cultural, and humanitarian programs.For more information onthe agbu Young Professionals,please contact the agbu yp Liaisonat or (212)319-6383.For more information on agbuand its worldwide programs, pleasevisit

10 The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008CommunityDiocese kicks off Christmas season withcommunity banquetSixteen youngprofessionalshonored foroutstandingachievementsby Tamar KevonianBURBANK, Calif. – The firstSaturday of December is the traditionalday when the Western Dioceseofficially kicks off the Christmasseason. On December 6, some350 people filled the main hall ofthe Diocesan Complex in Burbank,California, to attend the Fifth AnnualChristmas Ball.The much-anticipated event isa chance for the community andthe church to come together tocelebrate a joyous occasion. Thisyear’s Christmas Ball was evenmore special because the ChristmasCelebration Committee usedthe opportunity to honor 16 youngArmenian-American professionalsfrom various fields.The evening began with a cocktailreception during which guests,dressed in their best holiday finery,greeted each other in merriment.In the adjoining reception hall wasan art exhibition by Aram Vartanov,a young artist who specializesThe honorees with Abp. Derderian and Paul Kerkorian, assistant majority leader of the California State Assembly. Photos: Hilma religious-themed miniaturescreated with acrylics on parchment.Involved in art since childhood,Vartanov was inspired a few yearsago to focus on illuminated manuscripts.His artworks were a fittingaccompaniment to the evening’stheme.During dinner Raffi Kendirjian,chairperson of the Christmas CelebrationCommittee, thanked theattendees for their continued support.The tradition of the Christmasbanquet “started five years agowith a tradition of honoring an individual,”he said from the podium,but “this time we have chosen 16young Armenian professionals.”Using his background in finance todescribe those chosen, Kendirjiancontinued: They “are individualswho have success as their numeratorand the Armenian heritage asthe denominator.”The honorees were MichaelAmerian, Esq., Ara Apkarian,Ph.D., Daniel Banks, MartyDakessian, Esq., Jack K. Der-Sarkissian, MD, Carla Garabedian,Ph.D., Arto Haddadian,MD, Steven Kamajian, MD, TalinKargodorian, Ed.D., HratchKourouyan, MD, Maria Mehranian,Jack H. Sarkissian, MD,Hratch Sepetjian, Vicken Sepilian,MD, Hon. Judge Zaven Sinanian,and Anita Vogel.Recognizing young professionals“is a good idea because it encouragesthe young generation to participatein the community of the Diocese,”said Marie Dakessian, wife of Dr.Jack Der-Sarkissian. “It’s a greathonor [to be chosen] and I’m proudof him.” Dr. Der-Sarkissian decidedto become active in the work ofthe Diocese because, he said, hebelieves that the church needs toprovide the young generation withbetter outreach and he is happy todo what he can to encourage it. “I’mproud to be a part of it,” he noted.In a departure from past practice,this year the Diocese specificallysought to recognize a youngergroup of people. “For the firsttime in the history of the WesternDiocese, young professionalsare being honored for their successand achievements,” explainedArchbishop Hovnan Derderian,Primate. “They are the pride ofContinued on page 11

The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008 11CommunityCarla Garabedian, Ph.D., who madeScreamers.Marty Dakessian, Esq. with his sons,Aram Khachadour and Haig Mardiros.Ara Apkarian, Ph.D.Hratch A. Sepetjian with daughter, Lori. Continued from page 10the American community. It is thegreatest success to understandthat we are Armenian in spirit butAmerican in our loyalty. It’s a clearmessage to our youth to becomeleaders in the United States ofAmerica.”During a video presentation,each honoree thanked the SelectionCommittee and the archbishopfor being selected, gave a briefexplanation of the influences thatthey believed have contributed totheir success, and stated what theyhoped to do in the future.Ms. Vogel, of Fox News, wasraised by an Armenian grandmother“and you all know howthat squashed the other side of thefamily,” she said with a knowingchuckle. Because of her love of hergrandmother and her history ofsurvival, “I never deny any requestto participate in Armenian events,”Ms. Vogel added.Mr. Amerian is looking forwardto “playing a role in creating an environmentfor future generationsto grow, like my father did for mygeneration.”Judge Sinanian is “happy to assistyouths in guiding them in thelegal profession.”Dr. Der-Sarkissian thanked thethree most important people whohave influenced his life: his mother,who instilled in him the Armenianspirit; his grandmother, who instilledin him religious values; andhis wife, who brought together allthe elements of his culture, hisreligion, and his profession. “Andtogether we have chosen to passthose values onto our two sons,” hesaid.In his remarks, Paul Krekorian,who was recently named assistantmajority leader of the CaliforniaState Assembly, said, “It hasn’t beenthat long since we survived the desertof Der-Zor . . . and here we haveleaders in the fields of medicine, law,finance, and education.”Archbishop Derderian, in hisbrief remarks, stressed that “Godhas given each of us a grace: life.We must live it with meaning,filled with love and hope.” Thearchbishop pointed out that the16 young professionals receivingrecognition bring honor to ourcommunity with their success inthe American mainstream. He alsopaid tribute to their parents, whohave sacrificed so much to helptheir children along the road ofachievement.The Primate then presented eachhonoree with a miniature khachkar.The intricately carved traditionalcross stones, made with tufa,were the work of renowned artistKasbar Gharibian. Each was asunique as its recipient. On his part,Mr. Krekorian awarded each of thehonorees with a Certificate of Recognitionfrom the California StateAssembly.The evening ended on a muchmore casual note, with dancing andrevelry following the program anddinner.

12 The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008CommunityTime traveler of a different sortArmen Aroyan’scustom tours toWestern Armeniahelp bring the pastaliveby Alexandra BezdikianOAKLAND, Calif. – In a timewhen historic Armenia has all butvanished into the distant landscapeof a modern world, Armenians livingin the diaspora are left to puttogether the pieces of a fragmentedpast. Armen Aroyan is one of thoserare historians who not only studiesbut shares his education byleading tours to historic Armenia.Aroyan is a time traveler who deconstructsthe fine strands of ourscarred history to weave new memoriesfor new generations. Sittingat the loom, he helps to rekindlethose memories of “back home”that most of today’s young Armenianshave come to know and understandthrough the eyes of theirgrandparents and the distortion ofmodernity.The tour leader, organizer, educator,and scholar of history is theone following the shadowy fragmentsof our past, taking thosewho seek him out on a journey ofhealing and discovery to the placeswe all once called home. He is thememory maker taking vague imagesof a once-beautiful place passeddown almost by birthright andmaking them part of this enigmatictapestry we all struggle to unravelas Armenians.The first sojournArmen Aroyan first began givingtours into the lands of historicalArmenia in the early 1990s, afterhaving completed in the 1980s abusiness trip-turned-pilgrimagethat uncovered his own roots.“My grandmother always talkedabout what it was like living inAintab,” he shared fondly. “Shewould say that life was so goodover there and she would say how[Aintab] had the best fruits andfood, and was so beautiful. So thisplace was inbred in me and I alwayshad a curiosity to see it, a kind ofdraw to Aintab. And so, when I hadthe chance when I got older, I wentto visit it.”After fulfilling what can be describedas an emotional expeditionto the villages of his own past, Aroyandedicated the next decade anda half to taking willing participantson similar journeys of their own.With first-class treatment servedwith a side of exciting and uniqueexperiences, Aroyan soon hadpeople seeking him out with vigor.After his first official trip as a tourguide, back in October 1991, 20people were waiting and ready togo on his return trip. Since then hehas organized some 60 trips.At the monastery of Abrank near Erznga (Erzincan) June 2007“There was no problem findingpeople [who wished to] go,” Aroyanexplained. “They were very happyto go. They had the desire and it becamea fulfillment of a dream theydidn’t think was possible. It was apassing of heritage between grandparentsto their grandchildren.”Because Aroyan caters each tripto the specific wishes of those whoaccompany him, participants ofhis Armenian Heritage Tours walkaway feeling a sense of exclusivityand personal attention that is virtuallyunmatched by any other tourof its kind.“It’s all custom-planned,” Aroyansaid. “You tell me where yourgrandmother is from and I’ll incorporateall these villages on topof the major attractions like Aniand Lake Van and Mount Ararat.So every trip has been different. Itcompletely depends on the participants.”Tour takers can attest to his fiercecommitment to providing a meaningfulexperience for all, as well asto the dedication Aroyan possessesto helping preserve an importantlegacy for the future.“He is driven by a mission,” saidPerouz Seferian of Ontario, Canada,one of Aroyan’s most recenttour participants. “I think Armenwould try to move Mount Ararat ifthat was the only way he could getyou to your village. I have for manyyears had a profound need to seeKalan, the village where my fatherand grandfather were born. It’s noton the map, but Armen somehowtook me there.”“Armen is a laid-back individualand has to balance the desires andwishes of different people withdifferent expectations,” addedDon Barsumian of Los Angeles. “Ithought he did an excellent jobkeeping most everybody happy.All the accommodations were firstclassand enjoyable.”Having amassed an extensive collectionof archival material, such asphotos and videotapes, as well asfriends over the years, Aroyan hascreated a network of Armeniansfrom all over the world, who cometogether to enjoy some of the mostbeautiful and historic Armeniansites.EpiphaniesFrom Adana, Aghtamar, andAintab to Marash, Talas, and Zeytun,Armenians are able to unveilthese places of the past withoutfear or hesitation. For many, thesetrips are vehicles of catharsis, waysfor many to reconcile events of thepast with a hopeful future.For Seferian, her experience wassimply life-changing. “I stood inthe village my father and grandfatherhad yearned for all their exiledlives,” she said of her trip this pastSeptember. “And wished so muchthat they could have been therewith me. As a child, I would hearthem weep in the night for lostfamily members and for the simplefamiliar comforts of home in theirvillage.”Aroyan led Seferian along thecaravan route that her family hadtaken, along the road where, asher father had written, he saw hisgrandmother murdered.“In Oghnout, where the caravanhad stopped for four days, I meta man whose great grandfatherhad been left behind as a child,in hopes that he would somehowsurvive,” Seferian said. “I wasflooded with emotion as I realizedthat his ancestors and mine hadshared a common terror at thevery place we were both standing.I cast flower seeds in all these places,and around the cathedral atAni, in memory of all the 1.5 millionwho [have no graves bearingtheir names]. I cast root-vegetableseeds, in acknowledgment of theirterrible hunger, and I scattered fiberflax seeds, which linen is spunfrom, remembering that most ofthe victims first had their clothingremoved.”Seferian says she is going backnext spring.“I want to see if the pink and goldflowers of memory have grown, ifroot vegetables have taken hold,and if the fiber flax seed hassprouted,” she said. “I left candlesburning at Ani. I don’t want anyoneto think that we have forgotten1915.”Aroyan has impacted andchanged many lives for the better.Without his service and dedicationto the cause of giving his fellow Armeniansthe missing pieces to theirown family puzzles, many wouldcontinue to live lives without peaceor closure.That is Armen Aroyan’s legacy. Hecontinues to give a sense of peaceto those who embrace it.“It is extremely gratifying to seepeople happy,” Aroyan said. “I geta lot of satisfaction from that. Itgives them a lot of closure and athird dimension. Now they areable to see their village and couldpicture the images of the past thatwas passed down to them throughparents and grandparents.”

The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008 13CommunityLet us know what’s onyour mind.Write to us atletters@reporter.amYou share the samecommunity. Discover whathappens when you sharethe same experience.For more information aboutRelay For Life or to join anevent near you, call 1.800.ACS.2345.Paint the Town Purple incelebration of Relay For Life onMay 1, May Day For Relay.Calendar of YorkDECEMBER 31 – HMADS NEWYEAR’S EVE PARTY. Hosted bythe Friends of HMADS andPTO at The Armenian Churchof the Martyrs Kalustyan Hall8:00 p.m. featuring VarujanVartanian and his band withhors d’oeuvres, full dinnerand Champagne. DJ and SantaClaus for the kids. Adults:$ 100, Children under 14: $60.For reservations please call:school office: (718) 225-4826,Nyda: (516) 603-2809, Shakay(516) 398- 0410, Hovsep: (718)225-2515.DECEMBER 31 - NEW YEAR’SEVE DINNER DANCE sponsoredby St. Thomas ArmenianChurch. Corner of East ClintonAve., & Rt. 9W, Tenafly, NJ. FullCourse Dinner with Filet Mignon/Chicken,hors d’oeuvresBuffet & “Lakerda” specialty,Viennese Table, Free Champagne,Noisemakers, SANTA;DJ ALAN; Children supervisedand entertained in adjacentroom. Donation: Adults$65, Children 11 & under $20,Children under 3 FREE, Forreservations call Ani Capan at201-767-3846, Sirvart Demirjian201-265-5230, Rosine Hovsepianat 201-265-1275 or theChurch Office at 201-567-5446.Ample FREE parking on premises.MARCH 28, 2009 - SAVE THEDATE! ARS Centennial GalaBanquet at the prestigious YaleClub of NYC. Details to follow.718-961-9550.MAY 16, 2009- SAVE THEDATE! HMADS Gala DinnerDance at Russo’s on the Bay. tofollow, for information pleasecall: (718) 225 4826.New JerseyDECEMBER 31 – Sts. VartanantzAnnual New Year’s EveGala. At the Sheraton Meadowlands,East Rutherford, NJ.Live Music, open bar, mezze,full dinner, desserts, prizes. Supervisionand Santa Claus forthe kids. For tickets & info. callVartivar Keshishian, (201) 662-6200, or church office (201) 943-2950..NOVEMBER 15, 2009 - “ONENATION, ONE CULTURE” ACultural Festival organizedby Hamazkayin Eastern USARegional Executive, FeaturingAlla Levonian from Armeniaand Babin Boghosian & Ensemblefrom Los Angeles, Withthe participation of AntranigDance Ensemble of AGBU,Akh’tamar Dance Ensemble ofSt. Thomas Armenian Church,Yeraz Dance Ensemble of St.Sarkis Church, NJ HamazkayinNayiri Dance Group &Arekag Children’s Choir & DholGroup. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER15, 2009. 4pm. Felician CollegeLodi, New Jersey. Donation:$75, $50, $35, $25. For moreinformation or tickets pleasecontact: Hamazkayin @ 201-945-8992 or Paradon2009@gmail.comDECEMBER 31 - “NEWYEAR’S EVE – 2009” GALADINNER DANCE sponsoredby the ARMENIAN SOCIETY,39-03 Little Neck Parkway, LittleNeck, New York. Wednesday,December 31, 2008 at 8PM Music by famed ‘MOSHE”and his “Continentals Orchestra”.. Excelsior Cocktail hour:8 PM to 9 PM, followed by aGOURMET dinner. Donation- Adults: One hundred andthirty-five dollars per person(all inclusive), Youth under 17years of age: Seventy-five dollars.RSVP - Avedian: (718)225-0286, Babaian: (516) 869-8249, Grigorian: (516) 359-8867, (516) 822-4819, Minassian:(516) 603-5889, Pabouban(1-800-431-0041, Tatevossian:(718) 268-3919 or the Society.DECEMBER 31- NEW YEAR’SEVE DINNER DANCE sponsoredby St. Thomas ArmenianChurch. Corner of East ClintonAve., & Rt. 9W, Tenafly, NJ. FullCourse Dinner with Filet Mignon/Chicken,Hors D’euvresBuffet & “Lakerda” specialty, VienneseTable, Free Champagne,Noisemakers, SANTA; DJALAN; Children supervised andentertained in adjacent room.Donation: Adults $65, Children11 & under $20, Children under 3FREE, For reservations call AniCapan at 201-767-3846, SirvartDemirjian 201-265-5230, RosineHovsepian at 201-265-1275or the Church Office at 201-567-5446. Ample FREE parking onpremises.MassachusettsDECEMBER 14 - ST. JAMESARMENIAN CHURCH’S77TH ANNIVERSARYNAME DAY BANQUET ANDCELEBRATION. HONORINGDR. NISHAN AND MARYGOUDSOUZIAN. St. James 465Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown,Massachusetts. 10:00 a.m. DivineLiturgy, Name Day Banquetto follow in Keljik Hall, $30 perperson 15 for children 12 andunder. R.S.V.P. by December 8,2007. Advanced ReservationsRequired, tickets will not beavailable at the door. For moreinformation please call the St.James church office at (617) 923-8860 or email info@sthagop.comAnn Arbor, MichiganSubscription Couponthe armenianreporterannual ratesU.S.A.: First Class Mail, $125; Periodicals Mail, $75Canada: $125 (u.s.); Overseas: $250 (u.s.)namestreetcity/state/zipJANUARY 2, 2009 - ArmenianMusic of Grikor Mirzaian Suni(1876-1939): our FREE concert.7pm Friday, Janaury 2, 2009invited by the Ann Arbor DistrictLibrary, 343 S. Fifth Ave,Ann Arbor, Michigan will bepresented by a chamber ensembleof musicians includingGrikor Suni’s great granddaughtersviolinists SevanSuni (26), and Anoush Suni(21, who will also play oud),their mother pianist ArmenaMarderosian, (wife of ProfessorRonald Grigor Suny), tenorRubik Mailian, and sopranoAnahit Toumajan. Grikor Sunicollected Armenian folk music, thru all Armenian areasof the Caucasus + Middle East,from which he created beautfulconcert works.Contact infoArmena Marderosian 734.996-1949,,www.suniproject.orgCheck Enclosed OR Charge My:Mastercard Visa Amex DiscoverExp.mail coupon to: armenian reporterp.o. box 129, paramus, nj 07652orfax coupon to (201) 226-1660(credit card orders only)

14 The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008ArmeniaFrom Armenia, in briefArmenian intellectualssign an open letter toAbdullah GülOver three hundred Armenianwriters, journalists, composers,and academics from Armenia havesigned an open letter to Turkey’sPresident Abdullah Gül. The letterstates that while the normalizationof relations between Armenia andTurkey calls for brave and realisticsolutions, the Armenian Genocideremains a critical issue. The letterstates: “The Armenian Genocideis a crime against humanity andagainst the values of modern civilization,and no individual, organization,or even state authority hasthe power to question these events.We should all accept the fact thatOttoman Turkey is responsiblefor the genocidal crime againstArmenians, while today’s Turkishstate has inherited this responsibility.”The signatories of the letteracknowledge that Abdullah Gül’svisit to Armenia inspires hope thatthere is progress in Turkey. “Theseefforts, however may fail, if thestate does not take decisive stepstoward putting an end once and forall to its present policy of denyingthe Armenian Genocide,” the letterconcludes. The full text and listof signatories appears on pardonsthree people convictedfor March 1 eventsOn December 8, President SergeSargsian pardoned three peopleDecember 7, 198820 years onconvicted of participating in themass unrest in Yerevan on March 1.Edward Ashughyan, ArmanMargaryan, and SurenNazaryan, who were sentencedto three to three and a half yearsfor putting up resistance againstthe police and taking part in massdisturbances, were pardoned. Accordingto the president’s spokespersonSamvel Farmanyan,“While making the decision to signthe decree, the president took intoconsideration the applications ofamnesty by the mentioned convicts,the fact that they have notbeen convicted before, their criminalcase, and other family circumstances.The president of the republichas always been ready to studyamnesty applications. There areno changes in these approaches.”Thomas Hammarberg, theCouncil of Europe’s ParliamentaryAssembly’s human rights commissionerduring a visit to the countrylast month had said that the administrationshould free all those jailedLeft: Taxisprotesting inYerevan.Right:Conferenceon SuccessfulTechniques forthe Investigationand Prosecutionof Corruption.Photos:Photolure.on politically motivated charges orface the possibility of sanctions. fTaxi drivers take to thestreetsOn December 8, hundreds of taxidrivers staged a protest in downtownYerevan in front of the governmentbuilding on RepublicSquare. They were protesting newrequirements approved by thegovernment in March 2007, whichcalled for stricter licensing andtaxation rules. Another stipulation,which has frustrated primarily independenttaxi drivers, is that allcars operating as taxis cannot bemore than 10 years old. All taxis areto have electronic fee meters andpay an annual state duty of 200,000AMD (approximately $650) in additionto their regular revenue tax.Similar protests took place inJuly of last year, which forced thegovernment to delay enforcementof the new regulations until afterFebruary 2008.According to RFE/RL one of thedrivers said, “If our demands arenot met today, we are ready to goon a hunger strike. Or else, ourchildren will go hungry.”Government officials have saidthat they will not ensure enforcementof the law till after January15 and will continue negotiationswith the taxi drivers including simplifyingtaxation procedures for independentcab drivers. fU.S. Department ofJustice organizescorruption conferencein YerevanA conference titled SuccessfulTechniques for the Investigationand Prosecution of Corruptionkicked off in Yerevan on December8 with the participation ofArmenian and U.S. law enforcementbodies. The two day conferencewas organized by the UnitedStates Department of Justice.Speaking at the conference,U.S. ambassador to ArmeniaMarie Yovanovich emphasizedthe necessity to increase publicconfidence in law enforcementbodies. According to Mediamax,Ambassador Yovanovich alsonoted that the main danger isthe overriding perception in Armeniathat corruption in societyis a given.According to Armenpress, U.S.and Armenian law enforcementofficials spoke about their respectiveapproaches to fighting allforms of corruption, includingmisconduct by police, judges, andother high ranking officials. Techniques,including the use of confidentialinformants, undercoverpolice officers, drug screening,financial investigations, and electronicsurveillance were discussed.The ambassador also stated thatthe U.S. government will assistin every possible way to help Armenianauthorities fight corruption.fArmenia commemorates 20th anniversary of earthquaken Continued from page On Sunday morning, a specialchurch service in Gyumri attendedby Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians,and broadcast live acrossthe republic, was attended by PresidentSerge Sargsian and NikolayRyzhkov. Mr. Ryzhkov, thepremier of the Soviet Union at thetime of the earthquake, had personallyoverseen initial rescue andrelief efforts. During the service amoment of silence was observedat the exact time the earthquakestruck, 11:41 a.m.After the service, the presidentand the Catholicos led a processionto the nearby site of a newmemorial in honor of the victimsof the earthquake. Joining themat this time was former PresidentRobert Kocharian. Mr. Sargsianmade a speech in which hethanked all those who came tothe aid of Armenia during thosedifficult days. He also promisedthat by 2013, every last person lefthomeless by the earthquake wouldreceive a home.Mr. Ryzhkov read a messagefrom Russian President DimitriMedvedev: “We bow our heads beforethe memory of the thousandsof victims of this natural disaster.We remember with deep respectand gratitude today the courage ofSquare in Spitak named after Ukrainian politicianVictor Yanukovich. Photo: Photolure.Victor Yanukovich, formerprime minister of Ukraine andcurrent leader of Ukraine’s mainopposition party, was in Armeniato commemorate the 20thanniversary of the 1988 Spitakearthquake. Mr. Yanukovich hadtaken an active role in the reconstructionefforts in the earthquakezone from 1988 to 1989,when he was sent there by theSoviet government. At the timehe was the head of a constructioncompany.A square in the town of Spitakwas named after Victor Yanukovich.Armenian officials and manyothers took part in the official ceremonies.“ I have come to bow to this longsufferingland and the Armenianpeople,” Yanukovich told RFE/RL.“I haven’t forgotten anything. Iremember how people cried forhelp in clearing the rubble andrescuing people trapped there. Iremember seeing a crane operatordying of a heart attack after noticinga woman who shielded her twochildren with her body,” he said.While in the earthquake zone,Mr. Yanukovich also went to Gyumriwhere he laid flowers at thememorial to the earthquake victimsand said a prayer in a localchurch. Later that day, he had aprivate meeting with PresidentSerge Sargsian.fSpecial churchservices forthe 20thanniversary ofthe earthquakepresided overby Karekin II,Catholicos of AllArmenians inGyumri. Photo:Photolure.the rescuers who answered the callfor help. In this hour of difficultyRussia quickly extended a helpinghand to Armenia, made its contributionto the rescue operationArmenian PM pledges changesWhile taking part in commemorationceremonies for the20th anniversary of the Spitakearthquake, Armenia’s PrimeMinister Tigran Sarkisiansaid that the government islooking into plans to turn Gyumriand Spitak into free economiczones. He said that thiswill create extra stimulus forthe development of the shatteredeconomies in the earthquakezone. The prime ministeralso promised that housingissues for the homeless wouldbe resolved in the next fewyears.According to Arminfo, Mr.Sarkisian said that 4,883 newand recovery work. It is cause forgratitude that the memory of thisis carefully preserved by the Armenianpeople.”Earlier in the week, Mr. Ryzhkov,who is a member of Russia’sFederation Council and co-chair ofthe Armenia-Russian committeeon interparliamentary cooperation,was named a National Hero of Armenia.On the occasion of the 20th anniversary,messages and lettersof sympathy were received fromworld leaders, including U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush.Similar commemoration ceremoniestook place in Vanadzor,another city damaged by the earthquake.Taking part in the commemorationwas former Georgianleader Jumber Patiashvili, aswell as builders and rescuers fromRussia and Ukraine who had takenpart in the reconstruction effortsin the years immediately followingthe earthquake.fapartments and houses will bebuilt by 2013. It is foreseen that2,300 apartments in Gyumri, inthe Ani and Mush districts; 182apartments in Akhuryan villageof Shirak; 354 apartments in Spitak;and 1,821 houses in the Loriregion will be built. The budgetalso include 49 apartments inStepanavan.Between 1998 and 2006 over20,000 families either receivednew apartments or had theirexisting homes improved; 5,914received apartments throughthe program of issues housingcertificates. Many schools,health and cultural centers wererestored.f

The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008 15ArmeniaIncurable forms of TB are a global challengeby Maria TitizianYEREVAN – In a jarring articledatelined Yerevan, December 7,New York Times columnist NicholasD. Kristof sounded the alarmabout a potential worldwide publichealthdisaster, the quick spread ofextensively drug-resistant tuberculosis(XDR TB).The article, “A Killer without Borders,”focuses on a young man withthe disease, and notes that by ridingcrowded public transportation,he exposes dozens of people to XDRTB every day. The man happens tolive in Armenia. Mr. Kristof’s pointis that he could be anywhere.Only a fraction of people exposedto TB actually develop the disease.People with weak immune systemsare especially vulnerable.How the healthcare system andpublic-health officials of any countryhandle tuberculosis effects the situationin the country and beyond.Armenian public-health authoritieshave been grappling with TBfor a long time. Indeed, childrenhave been given a mandatory vaccineagainst TB, the BCG vaccine,since Soviet times. There are signsthat the authorities are now steppingup their efforts, with the supportof Médecins Sans FrontièresFrance (MSF), the Global Fund, theInternational Committee of theRed Cross, and others.Infection, treatmentThe World Health Organizationestimates that one-third of theworld’s population is infected withlatent TB bacteria. TB is spreadthrough the air when a personwith active TB disease of the lungsor throat coughs or sneezes. Thesun quickly kills the bacteria, butin confined spaces, people nearbymay breathe in live bacteria and becomeinfected.According to the U.S. Centers forDisease Control, in most peoplewho breathe in TB bacteria and becomeinfected, the body is able tofight the bacteria to stop them fromgrowing. The bacteria become inactive.The person has no symptomsand cannot spread TB to others.But the bacteria remain alive inthe body and can become activelater – if the body’s immune systemcannot stop them. People withHIV, the virus that causes AIDS, andothers with weak immune systemsare at particular risk of developingtuberculosis.If active TB disease is detectedearly and fully treated with a courseof four standard, or first-line, anti-TB drugs, most people with the diseasequickly become noninfectiousand are eventually cured.But if they are infected with amultiple-drug-resistant strain ofTB (MDR TB), treatment becomesmuch more difficult. If they areinfected with XDR TB, which is resistantto first-line and second-linedrugs, they are left with treatmentoptions that are much less effective.Patients with active TB diseasewhose treatment is mismanagedcan develop MDR TB.Public-health challengeThe public-health challenge is tocontain MDR TB and XDR TB, and tomake sure that regular TB cases aremanaged properly.Gayane Ghougasyan, programcoordinator for communicable diseasesat the World Health Organization’soffice in Armenia, told theArmenian Reporter that several governmentinitiatives seek to tacklethis public-health challenge.Primary healthcare providersare familiar with the symptoms oftuberculosis and are able to referpatients to free treatment centers.A national TB dispensary has beenestablished in the city of Abovian,not far from the capital. Anotherdispensary has been established inYerevan. Regional hospitals haveTB units.Patients receive in-patient treatmentuntil they test negative foractive TB infection, which usuallytakes two months. They must thencontinue to take anti-TB drugs foranother four months.Because a failure to complete thecourse of treatment can lead to drugresistance, physicians are responsiblefor administering the drugsto outpatients every day, which canbe a formidable challenge.But Christian Ferrier, head ofmission of Médecins Sans FrontièresFrance (MSF), the medicalcharity, told the Armenian Reporterin an interview that primaryhealthcare providers do not alwaysknow what steps to take whenfaced with a TB case. Patients mayget incomplete treatment, or maybe treated with second-line drugs,increasing the danger that they willdevelop a drug-resistant infection.He said the Ministry of Health hasto tackle this problem with greaterenergy.Drug-resistant casesMDR TB cases are referred to MSF,which is implementing a pilotproject in two districts of Yerevan,Malatia-Sebastia and Shengavit.Mr. Ferrier said MSF has a contractwith the government to expand theproject, but implementation awaitsthe resolution of practical issueslike who is going to pay for hospitalfurniture.Mr. Ferrier said MSF has beentreating 170 MDR TB patients. Accordingto Ms. Ghougasyan, thepatients under MSF’s care accountfor about 15 percent of people withactive MDR TB in Armenia.Varduhi Petrosyan, associatedean of the College of Health Sciencesand director of the Centerfor Health Services Research andDevelopment at the American Universityof Armenia (AUA) told theArmenian Reporter in an interviewthat prisoners account for a significantportion of the populationwith active TB disease. With the assistanceof several international organizations,a program was implementedto control the spread of thedisease among the prison population.“We had amazingly positiveCause for concernA recent WHO report, Anti-TuberculosisDrug Resistance in theWorld, which is based on informationcollected between 2002and 2006 on 90,000 TB patientsin 81 countries found that XDRTB has been recorded in 45 countries.Based on this survey, WHOestimates that there are nearlyhalf a million new cases of MDRTB, or about 5 percent of all newglobal TB cases (approximately 9million). The highest rate was recordedin Baku, Azerbaijan, wherenearly a quarter of all new TB cases(22.3 percent) were reported asMDR TB. The highest incidences ofMDR TB among new TB cases: 19.4percent in Moldova; 16 percent inDonetsk in Ukraine; 15 percent inTomsk Oblast in the Russian Federation;and 14.8 percent in Tashkentin Uzbekistan. These ratessurpass the highest levels of drugresistance published in the lastWHO report in 2004. The situationis also widespread in China. fresults,” Dr. Petrosyan said. “Thisshows that we can make changes.”Treatment of MDR TB involves anextended period of inpatient care– often six months – followed by twoyears of continued daily drug treatment.Ms. Petrosyan said the treatmentcosts over $50,000 per person.Based on the MSF pilot project,Mr. Ferrier said it is important toindividualize treatment, based onthe patient’s response to variousdrugs, side effects, other ailments,and similar considerations. He saidthe Ministry of Health needs todevelop firm yet flexible guidelines.“The attitude of healthcare providersin Armenia is that they can onlydo what is explicitly allowed,” hesaid. “Our attitude is that we cando whatever is not forbidden. Wecome across new challenges everyday, and physicians need to be creativein their solutions.”The National TB Program, underthe auspices of the Ministry ofHealth, declined repeated requestsfor an interview. However, the programis hosting a two-day conferencefor journalists on December13–14 as part of an effort to get theword out about TB.Indeed, Dr. Petrosyan said fearand stigma attached to TB areamong the factors that contributeto inadequate treatment. “TB inArmenian society carries a hugeMédecins Sans Frontières FranceMSF France has been working inArmenia since the earthquake 20years ago. Since 2004, it has focusedexclusively on tuberculosis.“We started our program in 2004with a pilot project,” head of missionChristian Ferrier said in aninterview. “This project had twocomponents – an institutionalcomponent to organize a goodsystem, a decentralized system toimprove the quality of the diagnosisand the detection of TB patients,all the TB patients, but wewere focusing on the treatment ofthe MDR TB patients.“The Ministry of Health and theauthorities were not able to treatTB patients at the beginning ofthe program. Therefore we treatedregular TB patients. From 2005,the Ministry of Health receivedstigma. Even health providers areafraid of patients with TB,” shesaid.An intensive effortAn important contribution mightbe a public awareness campaignto help people and health providersbetter understand the disease.“We need to understand that TB iscurable if managed properly,” Dr.Petrosyan added.In October, a conference broughttogether all the major stakeholdersin the fight against tuberculosis inArmenia. They included Armenia’sMinistry of Health, its NationalTB Program, the Global Fund, MSFFrance, the International Committeeof the Red Cross (ICRC), andothers.The conference considered astudy carried out by the AmericanUniversity of Armenia on behalf ofthe ICRC. The study will be releasedin January, Dr. Petrosyan said.A five-year grant from the GlobalFund supports TB treatment in Armenia.A second grant, under consideration,would build on that supportstarting in 2009. Mr. Ferrier saidthat the fund’s Green Light Committeehas set forth certain criteria; ifArmenia’s healthcare system meetsthose criteria, anti-TB drugs will becomeavailable to Armenia at about aquarter of the market cost. fsupport from the Global Fundand they also received supportfrom the ICRC and German bilateralcooperation. From 2005, theauthorities have had the means totreat regular TB patients. So fromthis point on we focused only onMDR TB patients,” he said.Today, MSF France is treating170 MDR TB patients in Armenia.Mr. Ferrier said 7.7 percentof their patients have been diagnosedwith XDR TB.MSF relies on volunteers, whotypically go on missions lastingan average of six months. Mr. Ferriersaid the organization does nottake money from governments; itwelcomes private contributions,however.f Darchinian visits Gyumri on 20thanniversary of earthquakeWBC, WBA, and IBF world boxingchampion Vic Darchinian tookpart in the 20th anniversary commemorationsof the 1988 SpitakEarthquake. While in Gyumri, Mr.Darchinian visited the Hope Children’sHouse where he passed outgifts he had brought for the children.According to Armenpress,the world famous boxer said, “AlthoughI have a big fight comingup, I felt I had to be here to honorthe memory of the victims of theearthquake. I am happy that I’mhere at the children’s house andcan communicate with the childrenmore closely.”The Hope Children’s Houseopened its doors in 2000 forhomeless orphans, beggars andabandoned children. The centernamed after Frederich Nansen ishome to 69 children. While thehouse struggles to keep operating,the director Rubik Markosian saidthat all these can be resolved.Vic Darchinian Photo: Photolure.“If you are not alone and thereare people by you, the difficultiesare possible to overcome.The only unsolved issue is theemployment of children of thehouse in future,” the directersaid.f

16 The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008ArmeniaDecember 7, 198820 years onThe inextinguishablepower of lifeby Armen HakobyanYEREVAN – Many are well acquaintedwith Marineh Nouroyanfrom the photograph in which sheis pictured with her three daughtersa few days after the 1988 Spitakearthquake. This photo, coinedthe “Madonna” or the “ArmenianMadonna,” became the witness andsymbol of a nation’s tragedy and atthe same time the unbreakable willof the Armenian people to surviveand live after that horrifying disaster.Even today it seems as if theface of that Armenian woman andher daughters staring at us fromthis 20-year-old picture says, “I callupon the living.” The expressionson their faces exude a combinationof terror, pain, and uncertainty; butabove all, they radiate the power oflife. Life, as it is.It is natural therefore, that in aphoto exhibition organized by theUrban Foundation for SustainableDevelopment (UFSD) and the U.S.Embassy a day before the 20th anniversaryof the earthquake, titledThe Path to Revival, in the foyer ofthe Moscow Cinema, this famousphotograph of Marineh Nouroyanand her three daughters togetherwith another, not-so-famous photograph,20 years later with hergrandchildren, was chosen as thefocal point of the exhibition andwas also the cover image used onthe exhibition booklet.“At that time I was at home,” Mrs.Nouroyan said during the openingceremony of the exhibition, recountingthe dreadful moments of1988. Her speech was brief but atthe same time very moving. “Whenit shook, I took the children andran toward the door. We reachedthe door, but the ground slippedfrom under out feet and we fellDecember 7, 198820 years onThe Armenian Madonna lives onMkhitar Khachatrian and Marineh Nouroyan. Photo: Armen Hakobyan for theArmenian Reporter.down. Then it shook again and weonce again went down. Then somefresh air came in and we startedbreathing. The rescue group ofthe Nairit Factory pulled us out ofthe ruins on the second night.” Atthat time Mrs. Nouroyan’s familylived on the 5th floor of Hertzen1/1 building. The building was completelydestroyed.Marineh falls silent. Her emotionspeak and through her eyes she reachesthe hearts of each and every onein the foyer. I spoke with Marineh’shusband, Saro Mirzakhanian. “Itwas a disaster. What should I tellyou?” he sighs heavily and only thendoes he realize that I have askedhim to talk about himself and hisfamily’s present life and not the disaster.About life. Saro is a carpenterand makes doors and windows.During the past several years he hasbeen able to care for the needs ofhis family by working abroad, butthe last time he went to work thereit was not good. In his home cityof Gyumri, Saro tries to resolve thefinancial issues of his family by takingoccasional orders. He is only 51years old and knows his craft well.I want to believe that there will beemployment for him in the promisedreconstruction works.The family has grown during thepast 20 years. Marineh and Saroproudly say, “We have four children:Anna (28 years old), Christine(26), Shushanik (21) and David(13). Our David was born after theearthquake.” If we bear in mindthat, as a result of the earthquake,Marineh’s health was affected (theboard of doctors evaluated her conditionas a second degree disability),then the birth of the fourthchild David is indeed heroism onher part. Marineh with her kindsmile and with the pride of an experiencedgrandmother adds, “Ihave four grandchildren: two boysand two girls: Samvel and Arman,Suzanna and Marineh.” Their threedaughters have given their parentsthe joy of being grandparents.I ask them how they survive.“Wedo it just like the others. I have acraft, if there is an order I work.Work is intermittent, not stable.Marineh receives second degreedisability benefits and we receivea family allowance,” Saro says.Marineh Nouroyan adds, “I live formy children. Life is monotonous.You know, life in Gyumri seems tohave stopped; there are no jobs andthe menfolk go abroad to work. Itis very hard. We live in the Austriandistrict. I receive a benefit for myillness. My husband was abroad;his work did not go so well, so hehas returned. He strives and worriestrying to achieve something.Let’s see what happens.”Photojournalist Mkhitar Khachatrian,our colleague from thePhotolure Agency in Armenia, thephotographer of that picture, isalso at the exhibition. I ask him torecount how he captured that photo,which became a unique symbolof survival after the 1988 disaster.“Misha Kalantar and I wereat the airport,” recounts Mkhitar.“Suddenly one of the journalists ofthe Russian-language Communistnewspaper told me about a womanand her three daughters who hadbeen saved after they had spent aday under the ruins and gave methe address. However, to be honestwith you, I did not particularly wantto go. There was so much chaos atthe time, even the addresses hadconditional meanings. Those whohad been saved wrote on the ruins,‘We are in such and such a place, donot keep searching for us…’“Finally we went and foundMarineh, who had found shelter inher mother’s home. We knockedon the door and her daughteropened it. I took a picture of herright there, like that. I told them‘Children hold on tight to yourmother,’ and I took the picture.We named this picture the Madonna.Even that has an interestingstory. The picture was printedon the front page of the Russianlanguagedaily Izvestia publishedin Moscow and one of the readers,a Russian woman inspired bythe photograph, wrote a touchingpoem entitled “The Madonna ofthe 20th Century.” My Russiancolleagues sent me that poem andthat is how we named the picture,the Madonna,” he tells us.Mkhitar falls silent too. A littlebit later, he notes, “Wheneverpeople from our generation talkabout the earthquake, their mindstays all day on the earthquakeand they can only think aboutthat. Probably there is an explanationfor that. Twenty years havepassed and many of the youngpeople are aware of it only becausethey have heard about it,but have not seen it. God forbidthat they ever see it. Anyway, thesubject changes and life moveson. Yes, I still visit the same sitesof the disaster. Of course, thereare many changes. We are movingforward, but slowly. However,there should not have been anyruins left there after 20 years, butif you visit today you can still photographthem.” Nevertheless, asMkhitar says “the subject changes.”Life moves on; it moves on withthe power of survival of peoplelike Marineh and thousands andthousands of people like her. fArmenia will never forget the support of the United Statesby Armen HakobyanYEREVAN – The photo exhibitiontitled, The Path to Revival, whichopened on December 5, a day beforethe 20th anniversary of the1988 Spitak earthquake, emphasizedsomething truly significant.It reflected the compassionate responseto Armenia’s loss and pain.Together with the United States,more than 70 other countries cameto Armenia’s aid. At the same timethe photos on exhibit told the storyof how the United States and itshumanitarian organizations andthe American-Armenian communitycame together during the daysand weeks following the tragedy.As Marie Yovanovich, the U.S.ambassador to Armenia, noted atthe opening ceremonies, duringthe period of immediate responseto the disaster, and also during thefollowing years, the U.S. governmentand several volunteer agenciesallocated about $51 million ofaid to Armenia. This aid was distributedvia several projects. AfterWorld War II, the 1988 earthquakewas the first time the USSR acceptedhelp from the U.S. In essence,apart from the material factor, thecore value of the aid was importantboth as the manifestation of thegoodwill of the American state andgoodwill on a humanitarian andpersonal level.As far as recent U.S. supportis concerned, USAID projects implementedin the disaster zonewithin the framework of the Certificatesfor Apartment Purchase(CAP) from 2000 to 2004 were amajor contribution. Steve Anlian,who was head of the projectat the time, said that the entireproject was worth about $35 million.Through the implementationof that program about 7,000families who had been left homelessand were living in temporaryshelters or shacks received apartments.In addition, numerous districtsof temporary shacks werecleared away as their former residentshad acquired apartmentsthrough the U.S.-funded project.The mechanism of the project wasvery simple: after doing the researchanalysis, certificates guaranteeing acertain sum were given to those residentsin need. The residents thenwere able to purchase apartmentswith those certificates (if they wereable, they could add their own moneyto the sum). Within the frameworkof this project, it is envisagedthat in 2009 another 480 familieswill receive apartment purchasecertificates. The Armenian governmentadopted the mechanism ofapartment purchase certificates anduses it when implementing projectsaimed at securing the housing needsof other social groups.Felix Pirumian, PresidentSerge Sargsian’s consultant, whowas the minister of city constructionfrom 1993 to 1999 and theShirak governor during the implementationof the CAP project,spoke with the Armenian Reporterduring the opening of the photoexhibit. “If we view the pictureof the disaster zone objectively,during the past 20 years and thelast 10 years, then we will see thatduring the first period, the entireworld, about 75 states, helped andthere was also the Soviet Unionwith its immense potential. However,after the collapse of the USSR,U.S. AmbassadorMarieYovanovichlooking at thephotos fromthe earthquake.Photo: ArmenHakobyan forthe ArmenianReporter.when the construction teams ofother countries left Armenia, wewere left alone with our problem.At that time, Armenia had no financialmeans to solve the issueof restoring the disaster zone,” Mr.Pirumian said.He said that when RobertKocharian became the primeminister in 1997, the issue of reassessingthe situation in orderto understand the state’s responsibilitiesand prepare a programwas put into motion. The preparationof the project took a verylong time, as implementing a censusof a poor population in thecommunities was very difficult,especially when the situation inGyumri was so dire that no datahad been preserved. “The programswere carried out, nevertheless,and we managed to set thesolution of the issue on a course,which demanded huge financialresources,” he said.It was during this time periodthat USAID implemented the Certificatefor Apartment Purchaseproject and extended a handto Armenia. This endeavor wasmatched by the Lincy Foundation,Armenia’s state budget, andthe support of other benefactors.“However, they took the first bigand essential step. It was a greathelp. At that time we were solvingissues only through capital investmentsaimed at apartment construction.In other words, havinglimited resources we were solvingthe issue by the most expensivemethods and we were not usingavailable resources. Many thoughtthat it would not be a big deal andthe numbers of those receivingcompensation would not exceed1,000. However, the number ofthose families in Gyumri exceeded3,500. And today the CAP projectcontinues; it was one of the bestmethods for the solution of the issue,”Mr. Pirumian said. f

The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008 17ArmeniaDecember 7, 198820 years onA doctor’s journey into devastationDr. VartiterKotcholosianHovannisian’sefforts in ArmeniaDr. Vartiter Kotcholosian Hovannisian,an internist, was one of thosevaliant Armenian professionalswho, when the earthquake struckher homeland 20 years ago, didn’twait for a call to arms, but rathertook the initiative to become engagedin one of her nation’s greatesttragedies.At an address, which she gaveat the International Conferenceon Emergency Health Care Developmentin Washington in August1989, Dr. Hovannisian recountedhow she became part of the USAIDteam to Armenia.“The tragedy triggered a broadspectrum of responses worldwide.In my case, after numerous calls toWashington to offer my services,it was with the assistance of theArmenian Assembly of Americathat at 5 P.M. on December 13, Iwas asked to join the U.S. aid teamof 21 medical and disaster specialists.The chartered American TransAir carrier touched down in Armeniaat 2:25 P.M.. on December 17,and the same evening was to takehomeward the first U.S. Search andRescue team and medical relief personnelwho, on December 12 hadjoined their European counterpartsin frantic search efforts andwere then instructed to abandontheir mission on Friday, December16, 1988.”During this presentation, Dr.Hovannisian painstakingly explainedhow events unfolded inthe country. “The capital, Yerevan,itself devoid of disaster preparednessand shaken vigorously by thetemblor, learned of the gravity ofthe situation by 3:00 P.M., at whichtime individuals and institutionsalike frantically rushed to the rescue,immediately clogging the insufficientroads,” she states.“The earthquakestruck at 11:41 A.M.,figuring decisivelyin the demographicdistribution ofcasualties as theeducation and workestablishments, aswell as the newsubstandard highriseapartments,had become instantgraveyards. Had therebeen four minutes ofgrace time, thousandsof schoolchildren andfactory workers wouldhave been on theirbreak time and out ofdoors....”“Hundreds of patients arrivedwith complex injuries: multiplelimb trauma, amputations, pneumothorax,head trauma, abdominalinjury, hemorrhagic shock, burn,etc. The most critical cases wereflown to Moscow and other Sovietspecialized medical centers.“Having met the challenge of acutetrauma care, the next phase wasmarked by the sudden emergencyArmenian-bound USAID chartered American Trans Air Carrier. December 16,1988 (21 medical and disaster specialists and supplies traveled from Los Angeles-Florida-Belgrade-Yerevan). Mother and son (Raffi Hovannisian) meet en route.With Dr. Vartiter Hovannisian (standing, center) are an international disasterspecialist; a John Hopkins MD; young Russian musicians who had hitchikedfrom Leningrad – as volunteers – and local bus driver, with a cigarette (a nationalsymbol).Leninakan. No bulldozers. Only bare hands searching for a sign of life. Aflickering fire.of crush injury manifestations,which demanded prompt diagnosisand treatment by dialysis. Just asthe 72-hour delay in marshalling acoordinated rescue effort resultedin the failure to retrieve thousandsof victims crying out from underthe rubble, so too many died unnecessarilybecause of the delayedarrival of U.S. and European dialysissystems,” she recalled.“The world response to this catastrophewas undoubtedly facilitatedby the political climate. The...earthquake provided the dramaticclimax for the U.S.A. - U.S.S.R. NewYork summit. It opened the firsteast-west window of unprecedentedcooperation, with all politicalbarriers lifted temporarily. TheYerevan (then truly) InternationalAirport witnessed the unhinderedarrival of aircraft of some 40 countries,whose private sector rescueand relief teams worked tirelessly,oblivious to the freezing temperaturesand curfew imposed by armoredmilitary throughout thelandlocked, politically troubled Republic.”She remembers Prime MinisterRyzhkov’s “most commendableand lifesaving leadership,” andthe humanitarian work down bythe League of Red Cross and RedContinued on page 18 mA panorama of destruction in Leninakan (present day Gyumri).Spitak leveled. Total destruction of a school. Torn notebooks carried by icy windabove the ruins, which cover hundred of suffocated youngsters. And the clock ofdeath. Photos: Personal archives of Dr. Vartiter Hovannisian.

18 The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008EditorialCommentarythe armenianreporterConfronting mass atrocities 60 years after theUnited Nations Genocide ConventionOn this 60th anniversary of the passage of the United Nations Convention on the Preventionand Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the prevention of genocide is emerging as animportant issue for the political and media establishment. For this we are grateful.The President-electThe president-elect, Barack Obama, has made a point of selecting an outspoken advocateof action against genocide, Susan Rice, as the next U.S. permanent representative to theUnited Nations.During the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama said repeatedly that he had a principledcommitment to genocide prevention, and that as president he would act to end the genocidein Darfur. The selection of Ms. Rice is a sign that Mr. Obama takes this commitment veryseriously.The taskforceA high-profile project started last November, the Genocide Prevention Task Force, has issuedits final report, Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for U.S. Policymakers. The report includes aset of sensible recommendations directed at the president, the Congress, the Americanpeople, and the national-security establishment.The recommendations call for early warning and early engagement before genocide is undertaken;preventive diplomacy; the availability of military options; as well as strengtheninginternational norms.We welcome the report as a positive step forward.The taskforce began with a handicap: the identity of its co-chairs. The co-chairs, formersecretary of state Madeline Albright and former secretary of defense William Cohen, onthe eve of their appointment to this taskforce signed a letter urging Congress not to adoptthe Armenian Genocide resolution. Asked on 60 Minutes on May 11, 1996, whether she wastroubled by the fact that sanctions on Iraq in the Clinton era may have resulted in the deathof 500,000 Iraqi children, Ms. Albright had replied callously, “I think this is a very hardchoice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”Thus, the taskforce had a credibility gap to overcome.Did it overcome that credibility gap? On the negative side, the report is deliberately ahistorical;that is to say, it avoids history. While the authors necessarily draw on the lessons of history, theydo not do so explicitly. The words Jew and gypsy do not occur in the final report even once; andthe report makes only passing references to the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust.Preventing genocide “starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in worldhistory.” These are the words of Mr. Obama, and we agree with them wholeheartedly. Thewillingness to avoid history in order to appease a state benefiting from the fruits of genocide,Turkey, is a bad sign; it means the taskforce has failed to learn probably the biggest lesson ofthe past, that impunity breeds contempt for law. Those contemplating genocide today needto know that they and their successors will not be able to sweep their crimes under the rugwhile they enjoy the fruits of those crimes against humanity.On the positive side, the taskforce has further raised the profile of genocide prevention as anational priority. It consulted widely, and succeeded in developing sound recommendations.We welcome the final report as a step in the right direction, and look forward to workingwithin a broad coalition – the report calls it “a permanent constituency for the prevention ofgenocide and mass atrocities” – to build on the recommendations.The CNN documentaryThe effort to build such a “permanent constituency” got a boost from a new CNN documentary,Scream Bloody Murder, which premiered on December 4.As leading voices in that constituency for the prevention of genocide, Armenian-Americansshould welcome the attention of CNN and its chief international correspondent, ChristianeAmanpour, who hosts the documentary, to fighting genocide.The documentary puts Ms. Amanpour and CNN firmly in the camp of those who recognizethe importance of fighting genocide – and not sticking our heads into the sand. As we contemplatefuture confrontations between the forces of complacency and the “constituencyfor the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities,” we are pleased to have these powerfulmedia partners.The documentary movingly and effectively focuses on the need for political will to confrontgenocide. It starts, albeit briefly, with the Armenian experience. Outraged by theTurkish state effort to eradicate the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire, a younglawyer, Raphael Lemkin, coined the word genocide and set out to get the world to recognizeit as a crime against humanity, subject to universal jurisdiction. Quoting Mr. Lemkin on thedestruction of Armenians, a voice in the documentary chillingly intones, “Why is the killingof a million a lesser crime than the killing of a single individual?”The bulk of the documentary, as we reported previously, focuses on recent instances ofgenocide or mass atrocities. These are the stories Ms. Amanpour has covered over the years,and she goes back to them to focus on the voices that spoke out and screamed “bloody murder.”The question is why, even with the Genocide Convention in place, world powers do littleto prevent and stop genocide as it happens.Watching the documentary, we think, of course, of some of the voices that screamedbloody murder in 1915–17. The publication, in 1916, of the British Parliamentary Blue Book,The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, was an extraordinary development. Evenas the genocide was in progress, an authoritative study systematically brought together verifiedreports from different parts of the Ottoman Empire. It methodically showed the worldcommunity that atrocities against Armenians were not simply local incidents; they formeda chilling empirewide pattern.Reports written by American consular officials and missionaries and forwarded by U.S.Ambassador Henry Morgenthau to the State Department form the backbone of the BlueBook. This documented scream of “bloody murder” was heard clearly, and the world wasgenerous with humanitarian aid; but as the First World War continued, no one found a wayto stop what Amb. Morgenthau called the “campaign of race extermination.”CNN, through its iReports, allows enterprising citizen-journalists to help it build on itsdocumentary with such compelling stories.The documentary will be airing again in the coming days. If you have not yet watched thedocumentary, we commend it to you.Meanwhile, we call on readers to thank CNN and Ms. Amanpour for focusing on genocideprevention and for starting, as they should have, with the Armenian experience. Those witha passion for storytelling can use the iReports feature to help CNN build on the documentary.fconnect: 7, 198820 years onA doctor’s journey into devastationDr. VartiterKotcholosianHovannisianmaking anaddress.Photos:Personalarchives ofDr. VartiterKotcholosianHovannisian.See morephotos onp.19. mn Continued from page 17Crescent Societies, while “WHO and UNDROquietly left the tragic scene.”When Dr. Hovanissian’s team decided topull out after only six days, she decided tostay. She had been granted a two-week visaand now she was faced with being a privateU.S. citizen in a country ravaged by the effectsof a massive earthquake. Taking intoconsideration the unpreparedness of authoritiesand the chaos following the devastation,Dr. Hovanissian was instrumental inhelping coordinate various relief operationsby directing the flow of incoming medicalequipment and supplies from the privateteams of other countries. She recalls thoseharrowing days: “Countless cargoes of lifesavingmedications and supplies flew infrom all over the world, yet the absence ofa central coordinating body hampered theirdistribution. This was accentuated by a lackof computers to log incoming and outgoingsupplies. A major obstacle to adequatemedical care continued to be the unavailabilityof medical technology; bacteriology,biochemistry, sterilizing laboratories; ventilators,respirators, aspirators, cardiac monitors,cardioversion systems, portable x-rayequipment, ultrasound systems, surgicalequipment, endoscopes, bronchoscopes, etc.... and other basic hospital equipment andsupplies as well as specialized computers.”In an interview with Coverage magazinein the summer of 1989, Dr. Hovanissiansaid, “Some good things come out of tragicevents. Because of American and Europeandoctors who assisted during the earthquake,Armenians were exposed to medical knowhowand technology, which otherwise wouldnot have reached them. And the December7 earthquake opened the first window betweenEast and West, in unprecedented collaboration.”fArmenian Reporter (ISSN 0004-2358), an independent newspaper,is published weekly by Armenian Reporter llc.Gerard L. Cafesjian, President and ceoPublisher Sylva A. BoghossianOffice manager Lisa KopooshianCopyright © 2008 by ArmenianReporter llc. All Rights ReservedPeriodicals postage paid at Paramus, N.J., andadditional mailing offices.POSTMASTER: Send address changes to PO Box129, Paramus, NJ 07652-0129.The views expressed, except in the editorial, arenot necessarily those of the publishers.Editor Vincent LimaWestern U.S. Bureau Chief andArts & Culture editor Paul ChaderjianWashington editor Emil SanamyanAssociate editor Maria TitizianAssistant to the Editor Seda StepanyanCopy editor Ishkhan JinbashianArt director Grigor HakobyanLayout assistant Nareh BalianThe Armenian Reporter is your newspaper. We urge you to send us your news and yourviews.News. Please send your news to .Letters. Please send your letters to Letters should be no morethan 250 words long and may be edited for clarity. Please include your mailing addressand daytime telephone number.Commentary. Please send your essays to Essays and articlesnormally should be no longer than 900 words.Photos and artwork. We require high-resolution originals. All photos and artworkmust include a credit to the photographer and a signed statement granting us permissionto publish.Advertising and subscriptions. Please direct questions to orcall us.Our officesPO Box 129Paramus NJ 076521-201-226-1995 phone1-201-226-1660 fax2727 West Alameda BlvdBurbank CA 915051-818-955-9933 phone1-818-955-8799 fax1 Yeghvard Hwy Fl 5Yerevan 0054 Armenia374-10-367-195 phone374-10-367-194 fax

The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008 19CommentaryScream sacred stones: Remembering one ofArmenia’s largest historic sitesAnd not letting Azerbaijanget away with an act ofwillful vandalismby Simon MaghakyanThree years after the largest medieval Armeniancemetery was reduced to dust by Azerbaijan,the world has remained aloof.Official Armenia and much of the Diasporaappear incapable of imposing any costs onthe perpetrators of the destruction of sacredDjulfa.Have Armenians become a single-issuecommunity where only genocide recognitionand Turkey’s denial ring a bell for action?Have we become so concentrated on onecause that we can’t see anything else?For those who don’t know, Djulfa, or Jughain Armenian, was an ancient city in Nakhichevan,today controlled by Azerbaijan.First mentioned by the “father” of Armenianhistory, Movses Khorenatsi or Moses ofKhoren 1,500 years ago, Jugha gained prominencein the medieval period.In 1604, Persian Shah Abbas, at war withthe Ottomans and at risk of losing Nakhichevan,forced Armenians of Jugha to resettlenear Iran’s capital of Isfahan.Deserted, Jugha remained rich in the materialhistory Armenians had left behind.Churches and a cemetery with thousands ofbeautifully carved khatchkars (cross-stones)had survived.As Armenians built Nor Jugha – newJugha – now part of Isfahan, their historiccity became known as Old Jugha. The Armenianname was transformed by its neighborsto Djulfa (or Julfa, Culfa). Together with therest of Nakhichevan, the Djulfa area was assignedto Soviet Azerbaijan by Joseph Stalinin the 1920s.Although repeatedly damaged throughoutthe 20th cemetery, Old Jugha was still largelyintact by the 21st. But in recent years, theAzerbaijani government undertook severaldeliberate efforts to destroy the cemetery. Asrecently as in the summer of 2005 StevenSim observed a few thousand khatchkars– some broken, others intact.Finally in December 2005, a group of uniformedmen in Azerbaijani territory werevideotaped destroying the remaining stonesusing sledgehammers, cranes, and trucks. Thevideo was recorded from the opposite side ofthe border, just across the Araks River.As a result, about 2,000 intricately carvedcenturies-old khatchkars were reduced to dust.A few survive in Holy Etchmiadzin, wherethey were brought from Djulfa decades ago;images of others survive in photographs.Simon Maghakyan is a graduate student in politicalscience at University of Colorado Denver. He regularlywrites at www.blogian.netBehold one of Djulfa’s khatchkars in thegarden of the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, andyou will realize what treasure has been lost.Each khatchkar is a beautiful pink sandstoneslab with its entire surface intricately carved.Each khatchkar is unique, but Djulfa’s wereoutstanding.A European traveler to the Djulfa cemeterybefore its destruction observed, “Thereare thousands of khatchkars here. Eachkhatchkar could very easily become a rareexhibit in any of the most famous Europeanmuseums.”Instead, the hateful Azerbaijani governmentdecided to wipe out any sign of Armenianpresence and converted the site to amilitary shooting range. Azerbaijani officialsthen promptly denied the crime was committedand now claim Old Jugha never existed.But even in Azerbaijan, dissident voicesemerged. Writing for the London-based Institutefor War and Peace Reporting and (thenow banned) Real’ny Azerbaijan in April 2006,journalists Idrak Abbasov, Jasur Mamedov,and Shahin Rzayev confirmed that thehistoric Armenian site had been wiped out.Another journalist, Alekper Aliyev, calledthe destruction of Djulfa, along with earlierA doctor’s journey into devastationLeft:Khachkarsfrom OldJughaexhibited atEtchmiadzin.Wikimedia.Above: AzerisoldiersdesrtroyingOld Jugharemains,December2005. Photo:still fromArmenianMFA video.anti-Armenian pogroms in Sumgait and Baku,“our shame.”Although the European Parliament condemnedthe destruction in a February 2006resolution, Azerbaijan successfully blockedseveral attempts by European observers tovisit the site.With no real consequences for itself, Azerbaijanis continuing to wipe out remainingsigns of Armenian culture while seeking toturn the reality upside down.Earlier this month, Azerbaijan hosted ameeting of culture ministers of Council ofEurope states. At the meeting, President IlhamAliyev said his country was “preservinghistorical monuments” and accused Armeniaof destruction.While Azerbaijan’s shameless tactics arenot surprising, the unfortunate conclusionis that Armenia and the rest of the worldare letting Azerbaijan get away with itscrime.Armenia’s culture minister did not travelto Baku for this month’s conference – missingan opportunity to raise the issue.Outside of immediate outrage in December2005, Armenian diaspora communitieshave paid little attention to the issue.I remember the American-American uproara few years ago when PBS decided to aira panel, after an Armenian Genocide documentary,that included genocide deniers.Armenians in the United States protestedin thousands, wrote letters, called PBS, andwrote to Congress.Why does Djulfa’s story, which is about whatis happening to the Armenian heritage today,seem so unimportant to our community?Why has the issue not become part of ourcongressional agenda? Armenians couldhave lobbied Congress for a resolution condemningthe destruction and condition U.S.engagement with Azerbaijan to its policy onArmenian cultural heritage.Similar legislation exists vis-à-vis Europeancountries and their endangered Jewishheritage sites.In an October 2006 memorandum toUNESCO, a group of parliamentarians fromEurope and Canada suggested erecting “areligious memorial building to honour thememory of those generations, who rest interredat this place.”But otherwise there has been very littleattention paid.International officials involved in the Nagorno-Karabakhpeace process between Armeniaand Azerbaijan justify their inactionby desire to keep the “peace process” going.But if Azerbaijani government is destroyingdefenseless monuments in a remote region,what kind of a peaceful coexistence canit envision with Armenians?Can the world afford to forget the lessonsof Djulfa? Can Armenians afford silence?Some Armenians are not idle. Accordingto press reports, an Armenian organizationin France has filed a case against Azerbaijanwith the European Court for Human Rights.What about the rest of us? What are wedoing?Those who don’t want to waste timemourning can learn more about the destructionat and act to give voiceto Djulfa’s silenced sacred stones. fn See page 18 for story. “Reporting to my colleagues with humility, the privilege of sharing pain; countering it withhope when all else would fail.”The first USAID team back in the United States reports to the media and public. Drs.Garo Tertzakian and Vartkes Najarian with Prof. Richard Hovannisian.

20 The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008

The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008

The Armenian Reporter | December 13, 2008

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines