National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

NyreeAbrahamianon winter inArmeniaSee story on page 19 mGor Mkhitarianexplores therealm of thesacredSee story on page C6 mApo Torosyanspreads anabiding messageof hopeSee story on page 5mWestern U.S. EditionNumber 99January 31, 2009the armenianreporterA passion for paragliding combined with a passion for Armenia. From an exhibit titled, “The Tricolor in Our Hands,” which opens Monday in Yerevan. Photo: Geghard Khoshian.On Army Day, a strongArmenia celebratespatriotism and serviceVisit us at the new reporter.amSee story on page 16 m

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009

Number 99January 31, 2009the armenianreporterInternationalSerge Sargsian, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meet in DavosThe president of Armenia and primeminister of Turkey met on the sidelinesof the World Economic Forumtaking place in Davos, Switzerland,this week.According to The AssociatedPress, Mr. Sargsian said that talkswith Mr. Erdoğan were “very useful.”Speaking to reporters followingtheir meeting, Mr. Sargsiansaid, “I’ve seen a willingness of theprime minister to solve our issues.I think this is a positive signal.”According to Reuters, Mr.Erdoğan said that talks betweenthe two countries could yield aroadmap for relations if Yerevanshows a “sincere” attitude. TheTurkish prime minister during apanel session at the forum said,“It would be a shame if all theseefforts are made a victim of [theAn archaeological expedition investigatingcaves located aroundthe Arpa River made a significantand valuable historical discoverynear the famous Noravank monasticcomplex in Vayots Dzor. Theydiscovered a site containing skullsfrom the Bronze Age. Radiocarbondating shows that the skulls areabout 6,000–7,000 years old, andArmeniaA well-preserved ancient site discovered in ArmeniaCommunityCommunityaccording to experts, they can providea wealth of information aboutthe region, economy, and craftsfrom that time period. One of theskulls contained a well-preservedportion of the brain. Archaeologicalteams from Ireland and the UnitedStates were part of the excavation,Armen Hakobyan reports.See story on page 15 mThe Fuller Center builds hope, one house at a time. Volunteers from the U.S. helpto build homes for families in need in Armenia.See story on page 7 mThe biennial FOCUS weekend isheading to Chicago for 2009, theAGBU has announced. Eventsare planned for July 16–19. TheArmenian General BenevolentUnion expects hundreds of youngCommunityEyes on Chicago for AGBU “Focus”Armenian] diaspora’s works.” Thiswas not the only time Mr. Erdoğantried to drive a wedge between Armeniaand the diaspora. Accordingto Today’s Zaman, Mr. Erdoğanalso had the following to say: “TheArmenian diaspora is plotting. Butwe can see very clearly and sharplythat their efforts are aimed at utilizing[this issue]. This is obvious.But I also see that the current administrationin Armenia doesn’ttake part in this,” Mr. Erdoğanstressed.Relations between Armenia andTurkey began to thaw after Mr.Sargsian invited Turkey’s PresidentAbdullah Gül to Yerevan towatch the World Cup qualifyingmatch between the two country’snational soccer teams in September2008.f“It Girl” Kim Kardashian helps raise $90,000 forArmenian orphansThe unlikely pairing of the ArmenianChurch and sex-scandal-infamous,party-girl-turned-celebrityKim Kardashian helped raise morethan $90,000 for the EtchmiadzinChildren’s Fund (EFC). The charity’sannual Gala Night, Friday, January23, attracted more than 350 guestsand featured real, somewhat real,and fake Hollywood stars, celebritylook-alikes, Las Vegas impersonators,and a few disconcertedchurch ladies. For almost two decades,the EFC has raised funds tohelp build an orphanage and helpchildren in need. The EFC providesfood, clothing, medical care, andschool supplies through annualsponsorships. More than a thousandchildren have benefited fromsponsorships of $250 annually.See story on page 10 mArmenian professionals to attendfrom all parts of the globe for aweekend that includes networkingand cultural events, a club night,and a formal gala celebration.See story on page 9 mArmenia given more time torelease accused insurrectionistsLaw to be eased withretroactive effectby Tatul HakobyanYEREVAN – With Armenia’s authoritiesand European civil rightsmonitors at an impasse over therelease of prisoners detained inconnection with the riots of March1, and accused of attempting to“usurp state power,” a key Europeanbody was set to impose sanctionson Armenia this week. But a planput forward by the Speaker of Armenia’sNational Assembly brokethe impasse and allowed Armeniato avoid the sanctions.At the quarterly session of theParliamentary Assembly of theCouncil of Europe, which brings togetherdelegations from the parliamentsof member-states, the stateof democracy in Armenia was onthe agenda for the third time sincethe March events.In its April 2008 session, the assemblyhad demanded that “personsdetained on seemingly artificialand politically motivatedcharges or who did not personallycommit any violent acts or seriousoffences in connection with themshould be released as a matter ofurgency.”When the PACE Monitoring Committeemet on December 17, it cameto the conclusion that the chargesand evidence against such personswas unpersuasive. The committeenoted that in several cases, thecourts had relied exclusively onpolice evidence. It also found thatthe laws under which many defendantshad been charged was vagueenough to allow for politically motivatedprosecutions.The Monitoring Committeedrafted a resolution, to be presentedto the January 27 session of theParliamentary Assembly, declaringby Armen HakobyanYEREVAN – The World Bank willgrant Armenia financial support inthe amount of $525 million over thenext four years, said Shigeo Katsu,vice president of the World Bank, ata press conference on January 27. Adelegation headed by Mr. Katsu metwith Armenia’s president, prime minister,Central Bank chairperson, andseveral ministers.“In this time of unprecedentedglobal crisis, which has already affectedArmenia, we are looking forassistance solutions so that Armeniawill overcome the crisis and its consequences,”Mr. Katsu said. “The WorldBank informed the authorities thatafter long deliberation, it decidedto grant financial support amountingto $525 million within the WorldBank’s future strategic framework.This support is intended for financingnew programs, technical assistance,and advisory services,”Georges Colombier presents his report on Armenia while co-rapporteur JohnPrescott, center, looks on. Photo: Alban Bodineau. © Council of Europe.that Armenia was holding politicalprisoners and depriving the Armeniandelegation to PACE from itsright to vote.The president of Armenia, SergeSargsian, signaled his willingnessto grant pardons to those who ask.And in fact he has already granted 28pardons in March 1–related cases.An applicant for a pardon has toacknowledge guilt, however, whichmade this solution unpalatablefor many of the antigovernmentfigures in custody. A presidentialamnesty would not require an admissionof guilt, but the presidentruled out amnesty for defendentswho had not yet been tried, arguingthat it would undermine therule of law.A solutionThe PACE co-rapporteurs returnedto Armenia a month after the December17 Monitoring Committeemeeting to make a final assessmentof Armenia’s compliance with PACEresolutions before the January 27session.At a meeting with the Speakerof the National Assembly, HovikAbrahamian, a solution to theimpasse was discussed.This financial support will begranted over the next four years,until 2012. Mr. Katsu also underlinedthat this amount is 2.5 timesmore than the previous financialsupport granted by the World Bankin 2004–2008, which amounted toabout $220 million. The $525 millionfinancial support for the nextThen, on January 23, Mr. Abrahamiansigned a decree setting upa working group to modify Articles225 and 300 of Armenia’s CriminalCode. These are the articles thatthe monitors had found to be overlyvague.The working group, chaired byDavit Harutiunian, who is the headof the parliament’s Standing Committeeon State and Legal Issuesand of the Armenian delegation toPACE, has one month to prepare arevised law. It is to do its job in cooperationwith the European Commissionfor Democracy throughLaw (the Venice Commission) andthe Council of Europe’s Commissionerfor Human Rights.In a letter to the co-rapporteurs,Mr. Abrahamian committed to gettingthe revisions passed within thefollowing month. Under Armenia’sconstitution, he revisions would beretroactive – allowing for the releaseof prisoners.Citing this commitment, theco-rapporteurs suggested to theMonitoring Committee that it reviseits report to the ParliamentaryAssembly.World Bank more than doublesfinancial assistance to ArmeniaContinued on page mShigeo Katsu,vice presidentof the WorldBank, in Yerevan.Photo: Photolure.four years includes assistance bythe International Finance Corporation(IFC) for the improvementof Armenia’s private sector to thetune of $50 million annually.Mr. Katsu noted that the globalcrisis and Armenia’s recent effortsContinued on page 17 m

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009NationalWashington briefingby Emil SanamyanObama seeks dialoguewith Iran, Muslimworld“As I said during my inaugurationspeech, if countries like Iran arewilling to unclench their fist, theywill find an extended hand fromus,” President Barack Obama saidin his first White House interview,granted to Saudi-owned Al-Arabiyatelevision on January 27.In response, President MahmoudAhmadinejad said Iranwould “welcome” a change in U.S.policy. But, as BBC News reported,that statement came after the Iranianpresident, who is facing reelectionthis June, issued a tiradeof grievances against the UnitedStates.Earlier, in an unusual gesture,Mr. Ahmadinejad sent a lettercongratulating Mr. Obama onhis election. The White House isreported to be currently draftinga letter to Iran. According to theDaily Telegraph “diplomatic drafts[of the letter] give assurancesthat Washington does not wantto overthrow the Islamic regime,but merely seek a change in itsbehavior.”In the interview this week, Mr.Obama stressed the importanceof dialogue. “It [is] important forus to be willing to talk to Iran, toexpress very clearly where our differencesare, but where there arepotential avenues for progress,”he said.By contrast, the former president,George W. Bush, refused totalk to Iran and pushed for toughersanctions over Iran’s enrichment ofuranium.In October 2007, both PresidentBush and Vice President DickCheney issued dire warnings.Mr. Cheney said that the UnitedStates “will not allow” Iran to havea nuclear weapon, while Mr. Bushspoke of possible “World WarIII” should Iran acquire a nuclearweapon.But in December 2007, a U.S. intelligenceassessment determinedthat Iran suspended its nuclearweapons program in 2003. Althoughmembers of the U.S. andIsraeli political establishments disagreedwith the assessment, theBush Administration began to tonedown its Iran rhetoric.Notwithstanding the Obamaadministration’s emphasis ondialogue, Secretary of State HillaryClinton hinted recently thata military option remains on thetable. In her January 13 Senatetestimony, she said the new administrationwas “not taking anyoption off the table at all . . . totry to prevent” Iran from acquiringnuclear weapons.(As a candidate for the Democraticpresidential nomination, Mrs.Clinton had threatened to “obliterate”Iran if it used nuclear weaponsagainst Israel and had criticized herultimately victorious rival’s readinessto talk to Iran without preconditions.)Mr. Obama, while reiteratingthe importance of Israel’s securityto the United States, said hewanted to convince the Muslims“that Americans are not your enemy.”Among steps designed to reachthat goal, the Obama Administrationis closing the Guantánamo Baydetention center, making preparationsfor pulling out of Iraq, andpledging a renewed focus on settlingthe Israeli-Palestinian conflictin the wake of Israel’s devastatingattack on Gaza.U.S. envoy George Mitchell willbe visiting Israel, Jordan, SaudiArabia, and Turkey. The Turkishmedia noted that the visit will bethe first high-level U.S.-Turkishcontact since the new president’sinauguration.Separately, Turkish Prime MinisterRecep Tayyip Erdogan senta message to the president invitingto him to attend the summitdubbed the Alliance of Civilizationsplanned for April 6–7 in Istanbul.That initiative was first launchedby Turkey and Spain under theUnited Nations umbrella in 2007.Its first forum in January 2008 didnot include U.S. officials.Jewish Americans“gravely distressed”with Turkey, which inturn is upset with IsraelLeaders of five Jewish-Americanorganizations expressed profoundconcern over what theydescribed as “the current waveof anti-Semitic manifestations inTurkey.”In a January 21 letter addressedto Turkish Prime Minister RecepTayyip Erdogan and made availableto the Armenian Reporter, theletter’s co-signers said their “Jewishfriends in Turkey feel besiegedand threatened” and called on Turkeyto address “these disturbingdevelopments.”They also disagreed with Turkey’sharsh criticism of Israel’s recentcampaign in Gaza.Mr. Erdogan called the Israelioperation a “crime against humanity”and an “evil” deed and went sofar as to suggest that Israel shouldbe barred from the United Nations.There have been numerous publicdemonstrations in Turkey in solidaritywith Gaza.On January 29, Mr. Erdoganjoined Israel’s President ShimonPeres at the Global Economic Forumin Switzerland and accusedIsrael of “barbarism” in Gaza, BBCNews reported. The Turkish premierleft the panel after the moderator,David Ignatius of theWashington Post, tried to cut off hismicrophone.“We’re not convinced that Turkeyhas earned the right to lectureIsraelis about human rights,”the Jerusalem Post had written inan editorial on January 5, citingTurkey’s decades-long campaignagainst Kurdish rebels that hasleft tens of thousands of peopledead.The five co-signers of the letter aresenior executives from the AmericanJewish Committee, the Anti-DefamationLeague (ADL), B’nai B’rithInternational, Conference of Presidentsof Major Jewish American Organizations,and Jewish Institute forNational Security Affairs.The organizations have in thepast supported Turkey’s agendain Washington, including oppositionto congressional resolutionson the Armenian Genocide.But following recent exchanges,Turkish daily Milliyet cited Jewish-Americanleaders as sayingthey are not inclined do so anymore.Global Trends 2025President BarackObama on al-Arabiya.U.S. study: China, India,Russia to dominateheadlines in nextdecadeU.S. global influence will diminishand that of China and Indiawill increase in the next decadeand half, according to a studyprepared by the National IntelligenceCouncil, an in-house thinktank of the U.S. intelligence community.Predictions made in the report,“Global Trends 2025: A TransformedWorld,” released last November, seethe world moving away from post–Cold War dominance by the UnitedStates to what political scientistshave described as a multipolar ornonpolar world.The report also underscores importanceof Russia and Iran as majorexporters of fossil energy, particularlynatural gas, and in case ofRussia also coal.While none of the Caucasusstates was mentioned individually,the Caucasus region was mentionedfour times (three times as asource of conflicts and once as anenergy corridor) and Caspian energywas mentioned twice.Below is a table showing thenumber of times sixteen selectcountries are mentioned in thereport, along with size of theireconomies.CountryNumberof mentions2007 GDP(in bn.USD)1. China 190 32802. India 138 11003. Russia 138 12904. Iran 84 2855. Japan 57 43816. Pakistan 25 1447. Afghanistan22 108. Iraq 20 559. Korea(N. & S.)20 1000+10. Israel 15 16411. Turkey 15 65912.SaudiArabia8 38213. UnitedKingdom 6 280414. Germany 6 332015. France 4 259416. Ukraine 4 142See report at Clintongreets StateDepartment staffon her first dayat work.European Unionpromises funding forRussia gas bypassThe European Commission has proposed$330 million in initial fundingfor what is known as the Nabuccogas pipeline. The proposal unveiledat a European Union (EU) conferenceheld in Hungary on January28 would need member-states’ approvalto go ahead. It comes shortlyafter the Russian-Ukrainian spatover gas supplies that left severalBalkan countries without heatingearlier this month.In theory, the Nabucco pipelinewould bring natural gas fromCentral Asia to Turkey and thenon to Europe, substantially erodingRussia’s current dominancein Europe’s natural gas market.(The pipeline’s unusual name isshort for Nebuchadnezzar, theBabylonian king who accordingto the Old Testament freed theJews and rebuilt their temple;there is also an opera of the samename.)The pipeline, with an estimatedprice tag of more than $10 billion,has been slow to take off since it isstill unclear where the gas wouldcome from.The United States and some of itsEuropean allies legally restrict energycooperation with Iran, whichis the second-largest gas producerafter Russia and is the only real alternative.Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan,which have signed off as the onlysuppliers so far, are unlikely to beable to supply the needed 30 billioncubic meters of gas a year; Iraq andEgypt have also been courted as potentialsuppliers.At the same time, Germany andTurkey and others are supportingthe North and South stream pipelinesthat would bring Russian gasto them via the Baltic and BlackSeas, respectively.Officials seeking to reduceEurope’s reliance on Russia havecalled the twin pipelines a “directthreat to Nabucco project,” accordingto RFE/RL.Obama administrationforeign policyinitiatives begin withMiddle EastPresident Barack Obama said hewould work to retain U.S. leadershipin world affairs to addressglobal challenges and promotepeace. In his inaugural address onJanuary 20, Mr. Obama also offeredthe Muslim world “a new wayforward, based on mutual interestand mutual respect.”On his first full day as presidentthe next day, Mr. Obama metwith senior military commanders,charging them to begin planningfor redeployment of U.S. forcesout of Iraq and into Afghanistan,international news media reported.He also ordered the closure of theGuantánamo Bay detention center,holding terrorism suspects, andspoke with leaders of Israel, Jordan,Egypt, and Palestine aboutthe ways to stabilize their part ofthe world.On January 22, Mr. Obama– together with Vice President JoeBiden and long-time advisor SamanthaPower – was at the StateDepartment for a meeting with itsstaff, including Secretary of StateHillary Clinton, who receivedSenate confirmation the previousday.The President participated in theformal selection of 67-year-old AmbassadorRichard Holbrooke asofficial in charge of Afghanistanand Pakistan policy and 75-year-oldformer Senator George Mitchellas official in charge of Arab-Israelipeace talks.In the Clinton administration Mr.Holbrooke was the envoy to formerYugoslavia, and Mr. Mitchell mediatedin the Northern Ireland conflict.Another former Clinton Administrationenvoy for Middle East,Ambassador Dennis Ross, is beingconsidered as the official in chargeof Iran policy.At the State Department, Mr.Obama stressed, “America is committedto Israel’s security” andpledged to support Israeli effortsto prevent Palestinians from buildingup an arsenal of rockets usedto attack Israeli towns. He alsopromised aid to Gaza to alleviatehumanitarian needs.Just days before Mr. Obama’s inauguration,Israel called an end toits three-week assault on Gaza andbegan pulling out forces. The war– and especially the devastating Israeliaerial bombing raids – left anestimated 1,300 Palestinians and 13Israelis dead. Both the Israeli governmentand Gaza’s Islamist leadersclaimed victory.Continued on page m

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009InternationalArmenia given more time to release prisonersn Continued from page The committee would not recommenda finding that Armenia washolding political prisoners and itwould not recommend sanctionsagainst Armenia. The committeeagreed.Thus, on January 27, the ParliamentaryAssembly of the Council ofEurope voted 141 to three, with fiveabstentions, to adopt an amendedresolution on Armenia.This resolution, numbered 1643,gave Armenia until PACE’s Aprilsession to fulfill the obligations setforth in it as well as Resolutions1609 (April) and 1620 (June).Resolution 1643 does not use theterm “political prisoner.”It “welcomes” the decision of theSpeaker of the National Assemblyof Armenia to take steps to amendArticles 225 and 300 of the CriminalCode “in order to address thelegal shortcomings in these articlesas noted, inter alia, by the Assemblyand the Commissioner for HumanRights of the Council of Europe,and to bring them in line withCouncil of Europe standards.”The resolution also “welcomesthe increasing number of pardons,28 to date, that have been grantedby the president of Armenia.”Opposition dissatisfiedThe opposition Armenian NationalCongress (HAK) was quickto brush aside the Speaker’s moveas a ploy designed to mislead theinternational community. “The decreeis a collection of lies,” the HAKcharged in a statement on Sunday.It claimed that only two of the pardonedmen had been on the list ofsome 60 individuals considered bythe opposition to be “political prisoners.”Arman Grigorian, a representativeof the HAK who was in Strasbourg,told the Armenian daily Aravotthat the adoption of the resolutionwas a disgrace for the Councilof Europe because it was adopted“based upon false evidence.”PACE co-rapporteurs JohnPrescott and George Colombier,in their speeches at the assemblystressed, however, that the Armenianauthorities were truly takingsteps toward fulfilling the assembly’sdemands and recommendations.The “initiative taken by the NationalAssembly, together withthe number of pardons grantedand the steps taken to establishan independent inquiry, demonstrateda readiness on the part ofthe Armenian authorities to acceptthe advice of the Council ofEurope,” said Mr. Colombier. “Thecommittee would recommendtherefore that the Armenian delegationshould not be suspendedfrom the Assembly. However, thecommittee remained concernedfor those people deprived of theirliberty, in particular those imprisonedon police testimony alone,”he added.“We wanted a time limit of onemonth to find the formulation tomake the laws (Articles 225 and 300of the Criminal Code) more applicableto and consistent with the democraticframework in which theyoperate, and another month forthe Armenian [National] Assemblyto pass it. We intend to review thatmatter and discuss it again in thisAssembly in April. We maintain thejudgment about the political willinvolved in such matters, and thatis why our resolution is careful tosay that we welcome the co-operation.However, we must reserve ourjudgment and return to the matterin April. That is our decision, andthat is why we would change therecommendation about sanctionsto the proposals in the resolution,”said Mr. Prescott.“There are no winnersand losers”Following the adoption of Resolution1643, the head of Armenia’sdelegation to PACE, Mr. Harutiunian,told the Armenian press corpsin Strasbourg that there were nowinners or losers. “We are sometimesasked whether we considerthis to be a victory. The questiondoes not please me. The victor isdemocracy and respect for and protectionof human rights,” Mr. Harutiuniantold the daily Azg.“We have not yet reached the endof the tunnel, but our train is goingin the direction of resolving thepost-March crisis. It has been firmlyset on track and has gatheredspeed,” Mr. Harutiunian said onthe floor of PACE. “Armenia’s situationcannot be viewed in simplisticterms. Its democratic foundationsmay have suffered a tremor but thesystem has again proven resilientto the shock. Of course there havebeen mistakes, delays and hesitationsby the authorities . . . but thatshould be seen against the backgroundof the unprecedented magnitudeof the trauma and damageto our political stability.”Following the adoption of theresolution, Armen Rustamian,a member of the Armenian delegationand one of the leaders ofthe ARF, told reporters that Armeniahas to fulfill a very specifictask before April. “The workinggroup that was created has takenon a very serious responsibility:To present in one month’s timerecommendation for changes andanother month to ensure thatthose changes become law. In otherwords, by the next monitoringsession, which is foreseen to beheld in Spain on March 30–31, wemust have something serious topresent,” said Mr. Rustamian.Delegate Avet Adonts of theProsperous Armenia Party told theassembly that Armenia’s fulfillmentof Resolutions 1609 and 1620must be viewed in a wider context,namely European integration.“For us, there is no alternativeto European values. Armenia hashad a long and at times very difficulthistory. We have paid a dearprice for regaining independentstatehood and building a democraticsociety. We are not rich innatural resources, but we haveone resource that we value morethan any other – our great people.To preserve this resource, we areworking to ensure that each andevery person in Armenia enjoystheir fundamental rights ,” saidMr. Adonts.Azerbaijan takesadvantageSince 2001, when both Armeniaand Azerbaijan became members ofthe Council of Europe, Azerbaijanhas taken advantage of every opportunityto discredit Armenia inthe eyes of the international community.This time, when Armeniawas in an unenviable position afterthe tragic events of March 1, wasno exception. A Swedish delegate,Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin,was also very critical and said sheobserved the presidential electionin Armenia in February 2008, andsaw serious fraud during the countingprocess.She acknowledged, however, thatsanctions against Armenia wouldhave undermined the assembly’scredibility. “If the Armenian delegation’svoting rights are takenaway, what should happen to theRussian, or even the Georgian, delegation?”she asked.fThe implementation by Armenia of Assembly Resolutions 1609 (2008) and 1620 (2008)PACE Resolution 16431What follows is the full text of theresolution on Armenia adopted bythe Parliamentary Assembly of theCouncil of Europe on Jan. 27.1. In its Resolution 1620 (2008)on the implementation by Armeniaof Assembly Resolution 1609(2008), adopted on 25 June 2008,the Parliamentary Assembly consideredthat progress had beeninsufficient, despite the politicalwill expressed by the Armenianauthorities to address the requirementsset up in Resolution 1609(2008), adopted on 17 April 2008,following the crisis that ensuedafter the presidential electionof February 2008. The Assemblytherefore addressed a series ofconcrete demands to the Armenianauthorities and resolved toconsider the possibility of suspendingthe voting rights of themembers of the Armenian parliamentarydelegation to the Assemblyat its January 2009 part-session,if the requirements set up inResolutions 1609 and 1620 werenot met by then.2. With regard to the requirementto ensure an independent, impartialand credible investigationinto the events of 1 and 2 March2008, the Assembly welcomes theestablishment by the President ofArmenia, on 23 October 2008, of a“fact-finding group of experts to inquireinto the events of 1-2 March2008”, following a proposal by theCommissioner for Human Rightsof the Council of Europe. It equallywelcomes the decision of the oppositionto fully participate in thework of this group.3. The Assembly stresses, however,that it is the manner in whichthis group will conduct its work,as well as the access it will have toinformation by the relevant stateinstitutions at all levels, that willultimately determine its credibilityin the eyes of the Armenian public.The Assembly therefore:3.1. calls upon all political forcesto refrain from politicising, or interferingin, the work of this factfindinggroup;3.2. calls upon the Armenianauthorities to ensure that the factfindinggroup will be given the fullestpossible co-operation by, andfull access to information from, allstate bodies and officials, withoutexception, including those officialsthat have left office or have beenreplaced since the events on 1 and2 March 2008; the fact-findinggroup should be allowed to obtainany clarification needed with regardto the arrest, prosecution andconviction of persons related to theevents on 1 and 2 March 2008.4. The Assembly regrets that, untilthe last moment, only limitedprogress was made by the Armenianauthorities with regard to itsearlier demands, as expressed inResolutions 1609 (2008) and 1620(2008), concerning the release ofpersons deprived of their libertyin relation to the events of 1 and2 March 2008. It notes in particularthat, contrary to Assembly demands:4.1. a significant number of prosecutioncases and convictions wasbased solely on police testimony,without substantial corroboratingevidence;4.2. a very limited number ofcharges under Articles 225 and 300of the Criminal Code of Armeniahas been dropped.5. The Assembly notes thatdoubts have been voiced regardingthe nature of the charges broughtunder Articles 225 and 300 of theCriminal Code, as well as withregard to the legal proceedingsagainst those convicted in relationto the events of 1 and 2 March2008, including by the Council ofEurope Commissioner for HumanRights. The Assembly thereforeconsiders that, under such conditions,the charges against a significantnumber of persons, especiallythose charged under Articles 225-3and 300 of the Criminal Code andthose based solely on police evidence,could have been politicallymotivated. The Assembly is seriouslyconcerned about the implicationsof this situation if left unaddressed.6. The Assembly welcomes thedecision of the Speaker of the NationalAssembly of Armenia, of 22January 2009, to establish a WorkingGroup within the National Assembly,within a one-month period,to draft, in co-operation with therelevant bodies of the Council ofEurope (notably the Venice Commissionand the Commissioner forHuman Rights) amendments toArticles 225 and 300 of the CriminalCode of Armenia, in order toaddress the legal shortcomings inthese articles as noted, inter alia, bythe Assembly and the Commissionerfor Human Rights of the Councilof Europe, and to bring them in linewith Council of Europe standards.The Assembly also notes the assurancesgiven by the Speaker ofthe National Assembly that theseamendments will be adopted andsent to the President for promulgationwithin approximately onemonth after the Working Grouphas finalised its work. The Assemblynotes that, under the Constitutionof Armenia, any positive changes tothe law would be retroactive with respectto the charges brought againstthe persons deprived of their libertyin relation to the events on 1 and 2March 2008.7. The Assembly considers thatthis initiative of the Speaker of theNational Assembly of Armenia, althoughbelated, is a signal indicatingthe readiness of the Armenianauthorities to begin to address theconcerns of the Assembly in relationto the situation of the personsdeprived of their liberty in relationto the events of 1 and 2 March 2008.8. The Assembly welcomes theincreasing number of pardons, 28to date, that have been granted bythe President of Armenia and notesthat more are under consideration.The Assembly expresses its expectationthat this process will continueunabated. It regrets howeverthat the authorities have not sofar availed themselves of the possibilityto use all other legal meansavailable to them, such as amnesty,pardons or the dropping of charges,to release those who were deprivedof their liberty in relation to theevents of 1 and 2 March 2008 anddid not personally commit acts ofviolence or intentionally order, abetor assist the committing of suchacts. It therefore urges the authoritiesto consider favourably furtheropportunities to this end.9. In these circumstances, theAssembly will continue assessingthe political will of the Armenianauthorities to resolve the issue ofpersons detained in relation tothe events on 1 and 2 March 2008,in line with earlier Assembly demands.10. The Assembly expresses itssatisfaction with respect to theefforts made by the Armenian authoritiesto initiate reforms in severalother areas, as demanded bythe Assembly, in particular in thefields of media, electoral legislationand the judiciary, and calls uponthe authorities to pursue the co-operationdeveloped with the relevantCouncil of Europe bodies in thesefields. With respect in particular tomedia pluralism and freedom, theAssembly:10.1. welcomes the proposalsmade with a view to ensuring theindependence of the media regulatorybodies in Armenia and callsupon the authorities to fully implementthe forthcoming recommendationsof the Council of Europeexperts in this regard;10.2. takes note of the adoption ofamendments to the Law on Televisionand Radio that cancels all tendersfor broadcasting frequenciesuntil 2010, when the introductionof digital broadcasting in Armeniawill have been completed. Withoutpre-empting the merits of this decision,the Assembly underlines thatthe technical requirements for theintroduction of digital broadcastingshould not be used by the authoritiesto unduly delay the holdingof an open, fair and transparenttender for broadcasting licences, asdemanded by the Assembly.11.Notwithstanding the recentpositive development in this area,the Assembly remains dissatisfiedwith, and seriously concerned by,the situation of persons deprivedof their liberty in relation to theevents of 1 and 2 March 2008 andwho may have been charged andimprisoned for political motivations.Nevertheless, it considersthat the recent initiative of the NationalAssembly to revise articles225 and 300 of the Criminal Code inaccordance with Council of Europestandards, the number of pardonsgranted, as well as the positivesteps taken towards the establishmentof an independent, transparentand credible inquiry, should beseen as an indication of the readinessof the Armenian authorities toaddress the demands of the Assemblycontained in Resolutions 1609(2008) and 1620 (2008). Therefore,the Assembly decides, at this stage,not to suspend the voting rights ofthe members of the Armenian parliamentarydelegation to the Assembly,under Rule 9, paragraphs3 and 4.c, of the Rules of Procedure.It decides to remain seized of thematter and invites its MonitoringCommittee, at its next meeting, beforethe April 2009 part-session, toexamine the progress achieved bythe Armenian authorities with regardto the implementation of thisand the previous Resolutions andto propose any further action to betaken by the Assembly as requiredby the situation.f1 See Doc. 11786, report of the Committeeon the Honouring of Obligations andCommitments by Member States of theCouncil of Europe (Monitoring Committee),co-rapporteurs: Mr Colombier andMr Prescott, and Doc. 11799, opinion ofthe Committee on Rules of Procedure andImmunities, rapporteur: Mr Greenway).

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009InternationalGeorgian-Armenians charge “intimidation”After arrests,calls for restraint,Armenia’sinvolvementby Emil SanamyanWASHINGTON – Two Armeniancommunity leaders from Georgia’sSamtskhe-Javakheti province havebeen arrested on espionage, weapons,and conspiracy charges, thecountry’s Interior Ministry said ina brief statement on January 23, and others reported.The arrests come amid Georgia’scontinued standoff with Russiaand the opposition’s increasinglyvocal calls on Mikheil Saakashvilito resign.The arrested Armenians, GrigorMinasian and Sarkis Hakobjanian,are a youth club director and alocal representative of Aznavour pourl’Arménie, respectively, in the townof Akhaltsikhe. Both men are membersof the Armenian RevolutionaryFederation (Dashnaktsutiun).There has been no public reactionto the arrests from the ARF, whichis a member of Armenia’s governingcoalition, or from Armeniangovernment officials.Sergei Minasian of the YerevanbasedCaucasus Institute, an experton Georgia, called the arrests “unprecedented.”“This is the first time that Georgiaarrests ARF members and accusesthem of espionage,” Mr. Minasiantold the Armenian Reporter. In effect“Georgia is raising the stakes,once again trying to dominate inrelations with Armenia.”Latest in simmeringtensionsSurb Nshan (also known as Surb Vardanants) Church in Akhaltsikhe. Photo froma book by Samvel Karapetian.After being arrested the two menwere brought to Tbilisi, where acourt granted prosecutors’ petitionfor two months’ pretrial detention.It was not immediately clear fromthe charges which country the twoare accused of spying for.Spokesperson for the InteriorMinistry Shota Khizanishvilitold on January 23 that“further statements on the matterwill be made later.” Accordingto Armenian Public Radio, thosestatements were expected on January26. No statements were madeas of press time.Interethnic relations in Georgia,particularly in Armenian-populatedSamtskhe-Javakheti and Azerbaijani-populatedKvemo Kartli,have frequently been tense.Following the separation of Abkhaziaand South Ossetia, manyGeorgians have suspected the country’sother ethnic minorities – currentlycomprising about 15 percentof the population and living outsidethe Georgian mainstream – of harboringseparatist intentions. Ethnicminority groups, in turn, chargeTbilisi with discrimination and seekingto encourage their emigration.According to official statistics,there are about 100,000 ethnic Armeniansin Samtskhe-Javakheti,over half its total population, withArmenians making up large majoritiesin the Akhalkalaki and Ninotsmindaareas. Another 100,000 ormore Armenians live in Tbilisi andelsewhere in Georgia.Armenia, which relies on Georgia’stransportation infrastructure,has long worked to smooth overtensions in the Armenian-populatedSamtskhe-Javakheti province.Warnings ofconsequencesSergey Hakobjanyan.In the absence of any Armenian governmentreaction, there have beenvocal protests by individual parliamentmembers and by nongovernmentalorganizations, all of whichprotested the arrests as “baseless”and “politically motivated.”Shirak Torosian is a parliamentmember from the governingRepublican Party and leader of theJavakhk Compatriotic Union. Hevisited Akhhaltsikhe this week. OnJanuary 27 he argued the arrestswere intended to “intimidate” thelocal population, Regnum newsagency and others reported.Mr. Torosian, who is known asproponent of Georgian-Armeniancooperation, warned that “Javakhkwould not become another Nakhichevan,”referring to the Azerbaijani-controlledregion from whichall ethnic Armenians were expelledin the 19th century, reported.He instead identified two alternatives:either Javakheti’s issuesare addressed through Armenian-Georgiancooperation, or thecurrent tensions could lead to anoutright war. Mr. Torosian urgedimmediate involvement of the Armeniangovernment.Another parliament member,Larisa Alaverdian of the oppositionHeritage Party, said the arrestswere a reflection of democratic reversalsin Georgia. “This is a radical step,a scare tactic against activists,” Ms.Alaverdian said on January 23. “Andit undermines Georgian statehood.”The arrests were intended to“cement” Tbilisi’s control in Armenian-populatedterritories in theaftermath of Georgian reversalsin South Ossetia and Abkhazia lastAugust, Vahe Sargsian of the Yerevan-basedMitq analytical center( suggested on January26.Mr. Sargsian also linked the arreststo the recent flare-up in thelong-running Armenian-Georgiandispute over the building of SurbNshan church in Akhaltsikhe. Similarchurch disputes have been underwayin Tbilisi (see stories in theArmenian Reporter for December 20).Support for arrestedand calls for restraintGrigor Minasyan.Vahagn Chakhalian.According to Mr. Sargsian ofMitq, the Akhaltsikhe youth clubwas founded in 2006, with fundingfrom ARF-affiliated ArmenianRelief Society (ARS), whe CharlesAznavour Charitable Union wasfounded in 1990. The organizationis named after the French-Armeniansinger Charles Aznavour,whose parents are originally fromAkhaltsikhe.The ARF-affiliated Council ofArmenian Public Organizationsof Samtskhe-Javakheti issued astatement urging local Armeniansto “remain calm and not to react toprovocations.”And Yerkir Union,, which works to promote repatriationand strengthening Armeniancommunities in border areas,also called for restraint.Speaking in Yerevan on January26, Sevak Artsruni and RobertTatoyan of Yerkir Union counseledagainst “extremist politicalstatements,” in the wake of arrests,while also calling on Armenian organizationsworldwide to work toencourage Georgia to respect its internationalobligations with respectto due process and minority rights.The union also criticized the trialof Vahagn Chakhalian, leader ofthe Akhalkalaki-based United JavakhkAlliance, as politically motivated.Last July, Mr. Chakhalian,together with his father and brother,was imprisoned on weaponsand conspiracy charges after his associateGurgen Shirinian evadedarrest in an altercation that left apolice officer dead. Mr. Shirinian’sfather and aunt were also arrested.Reporting from Javakhetilast summer connectedChakhalian’s arrest to his conflictwith Akhalkalaki police chief SamvelPetrosian, which began at thetime of local elections in 2006.This week Mr. Chakhalian issueda statement carried by Regnumnews agency on January 28, inwhich he called the fresh arrests a“new provocation by the Georgiangovernment.”fWashington briefing n Continued from page In another part of the world,Russia and Ukraine agreed to theirown “cease-fire,” allowing for resumptionof natural-gas suppliesto Ukraine and from there on toEurope, also on eve of PresidentObama’s inauguration. And thisweek, Georgia resumed transit ofRussian natural gas to South Ossetia,which it halted after the warlast August.World optimistic aboutObama presidencyA majority of more than 17,000 respondentsqueried in 17 countriesaround the world believe that theirnations will enjoy better ties withthe United States under PresidentBarack Obama, according to aBBC World Service study releasedon January 20.Fifty-one percent of Turks and 47percent of Russians – groups thathave in recent years been especiallysuspicious of U.S. intentions – wereoptimistic about positive changeunder President Obama.Respondents were also askedabout what they thought shouldbe the top priority of the new U.S.administration, with most identifying“dealing with global financialcrisis.” See expands GeorgiasanctionsThe Russian government could slapsanctions on countries and companiessupplying the Georgian military,according to President DmitryMedvedev’s executive orderissued on January 19.The order “On measures banningsupplies of military and dual usetechnology to Georgia” threatenscurtailment of military cooperationbetween Russia and countriesproviding Georgia with militarysupport and would be in effectthrough the end of 2011.Prior to the war in South Ossetialast August, Ukraine, Israel, Turkey,and the United States were the largestsuppliers of weapons systemsto Georgia. Israel reportedly haltedmilitary cooperation with Georgiashortly before the war. f

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009 5CommunityApo Torosyan spreads an abiding message of hopeby Kay MouradianBURBANK, Calif. - On January25, Apo Torosyan’s documentaryThe Morgenthau Story was screenedat the Western Diocese in Burbank.The extensively researched film,which premiered in Athens lastyear, tells the story of U.S. ambassadorHenry Morgenthau. Whileserving as U.S. envoy in Constantinople(Istanbul) in 1913–16, Morgenthauissued thousands of documentschronicling the ArmenianGenocide, and worked tirelessly toassist Armenian and Greek victimsof ethnic cleansing.Torosyan, who lives in Boston,is a passionate advocate of humanrights and conflict resolution. Hewas born the son of an Armenianfather and a Greek mother (bothgenocide survivors) in Istanbulin 1942, and moved to the UnitedStates in 1968. A multimedia artist,filmmaker, and lecturer, Torosyanhas several documentary movies tohis credit, and his artworks, someof which are in permanent collectionssuch as the Florida HolocaustMuseum, have been exhibitedthroughout the world.While a number of Torosyan’sfilms (Witnesses, Voices, DiscoveringMy Father’s Village: Edincik) explorethe plight of Armenian and Greeksurvivors of genocide, two of hisshort movies – The Gates and Water– are poetic meditations on art andnature.I caught up with Torosyan at theArmenian Reporter office in Burbank.Kay Mouradian: Why did youdecide to become a filmmaker?Apo Torosyan: It started in 2003,when the Forum on Tolerance atthe North Shore Community College[Boston] asked me to makea presentation on the ArmenianGenocide. I was honored and traveledto Turkey to make a documentaryexploring my roots. The resultwas the film My Father’s Village: Edincik,which I completed in October2003 and presented it for the firsttime at the Forum on Tolerance, inNovember of the same year.Kay Mouradian is author of A Gift in theSunlight: An Armenian Story.Henry Morgenthau with refugee orphans, at Zapion, Athens, 1923KM: How did the idea of makinga film on Ambassador Morgenthaucome about?AT: A Greek professor from Athens,Nikolaos Ouzounoglu, saw MyFather’s Village: Edincik in Yerevan.His parents were refugees transferredfrom Turkey after the burningof Smyrna in 1922. Ouzounogluemailed me and asked if I would doa film on Morgenthau [with supportfrom a number of Greek organizations].Once we agreed on thelength of the documentary [aboutone hour], it took more than a yearto tape the interviews and producethe film.KM: How did you manage to getthe Morgenthau descendants toagree to the interviews?AT: It wasn’t easy. It startedwith Pam Steiner, a great granddaughterof Henry Sr. She wasn’tanxious to meet me, but finallyagreed to after Marc Mamigonianof the National Association forArmenian Studies and Researchinformed her of my credentials.She asked me to submit 40 questions,which meant I needed toread and research more aboutApo Torosyan and Henry Morgenthau III.Ambassador Morgenthau. Interestingly,this also forced her tostart studying about her greatgrandfather.Next I needed to find a way toconnect to Robert Morgenthau,the district attorney of New YorkPrelate celebrates Feast of St. John andname day of St. Garabed ChurchPrelate celebrating Divine LiturgyHOLLYWOOD, Calif. - OnSunday, January 18, ArchbishopMoushegh Mardirossian, Prelate,celebrated the Divine Liturgyat St. Garabed Church in Hollywoodin honor of the name day ofthe church as well the Feast of St.John the Forerunner. Assisting atthe altar were Christian EducationCo-director Very Rev. Fr. BarthevGulumian and parish pastor ArchpriestFr. Vicken Vassilian.At the start of his sermon, ArchbishopMardirossian expressedpraise in memory of all thosewho have established St. GarabedChurch and served towards theprogress of the parish. The Prelatealso commended the present servantsof the church, including thepastor, delegates, Board of Trustees,Ladies’ Auxiliary, Choir, sponsors,and parishioners, “all of whom continueto labor for the advancementof the church,” he said.In his sermon, the Prelate reflectedon the life of St. John the Forerunner,emphasizing that, throughouthis life, St. John remained unfalteringin his faith and steadfastin his teachings of the path to virtue.“Though he was arrested andtortured, he never ceased to speakthe truth,” the Prelate said.Archbishop Mardirossian concludedhis sermon by calling onthe faithful to asses their lives toensure that they are applying theteachings of St. John to their everydaylives, to be resolute in theirfaith, live and act justly, and loveone another.At the conclusion of the DivineLiturgy, the Prelate blessed themadagh, which was then distributedto the faithful. A reception followedat the Garabedian Hall. and grandson of Ambassador Morgenthau.The Armenian grapevineled me to an Armenian New Yorkdeputy district attorney, who, afterreading my proposal, arrangedfor me a meeting with RobertMorgenthau.After that successful interviewand knowing that Robert’s 90-year-old brother, Henry MorgenthauIII, was not in good health,I asked Steiner about the possibilityof interviewing him aswell. Steiner arranged the meeting,and, after this final interview,the hard job of creating astory board, splicing, and editingbegan. Currently there is a possibilityof distributing the filmin Europe, with Greek financing.The Greeks also funded this filmbecause of their remembranceand appreciation of AmbassadorMorgenthau, who helped organizeand fund the relocation of1.6 million refugees from Turkeyto Greece in 1923.The most exciting and gratifyingpart was when I went toAthens for the premiere of MyFather’s Village: Edincik. After itwas screened and I gave a speech,people came up to me speakingin five different languages: Greek,Armenian, Turkish, French, andEnglish. I’ve never had a challengelike that in my life.The film was also shown in Nikaia,a town just outside of Athens,whose population comprisesArmenians and Greeks alike.While there, I was taken to aschool that was built and fundedby Ambassador Morgenthau. Itis still functioning today. And inAthens there is a street named afterMorgenthau.KM: What’s next on your agenda?AT: The International Associationof Genocide Scholars will beshowing two of my films, Voices[2007] and Witnesses [2005], at itsconference in June in Arlington,Virginia.KM: What do you hope to accomplishthrough screenings ofyour documentaries?AT: My goal is to reach studentsto talk about human rights andgenocide. My view of history is thatwe keep making the same mistakesover and over. My own solution isone of hope, not hate. We need thatmessage because we are living ina repetitious and vicious circle. connect:aramaifilms.comLooking for the best and the brightest?Help Wanted with the Armenian 818-955-8407J.P. ALLEN EXTENDED STAYSLOCATED NEXT TODAYS INNGLENDALE, CALIF.MONTH$1090Maid Service, TV, Free Utilities, GuestLaundry, No Lease, Free Ice, Voice MailSome Restrictions ApplyCALL SALES DEPT.600 N. PACIFIC (818) 956-0202COMPLETE FIRE SPRINKLERS

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009 7CommunityThe Fuller Center builds hope, one house at a timeCentral Coastvolunteer to leadpoverty housingproject in Mayby Anna MargaryanMONTEREY, Calif. - “The FullerCenter is changing people’s livesin a big way,” says Patricia Zerounian,a Fuller Center and Habitatfor Humanity volunteer and teamleader who has already made twofact-finding trips to Armenia, in2006 and 2007.Millard and Linda Fuller, thefounders of Habitat for Humanity,started the nonprofit Fuller Centerfor Housing, based in Americus,Georgia, in 2005. The coupledecided to expand their missionof building homes internationallywith no-interest loans after Habitatfor Humanity changed its homeloanpolicy from no-interest loansto low-interest ones. The change inHabitat’s structure was designed togenerate revenues that would thenbe used to fuel further housing developmentthroughout the world.Leading the chargeThe Fuller Center was establishedupon Millard Fuller’s motto that“the world has the resources to giveeverybody a decent, safe, affordableplace to live. We just need thewill to do it,” says James Favre,who, along with his wife, MargaretFavre, coordinates the FullerCenter’s activities in Georgia.The Fuller Center’s model isgrounded upon its mission to provideindividuals with no-interestloans. Homeowners applying forloans qualify based on “sweat equity,”which means they must be willingto construct or renovate theirhomes through their own hardwork and ingenuity.The homeowners and theirfriends and neighbors work yearroundunder the watchful eye ofthe site supervisor, putting off onlythe biggest projects until the arrivalof the Fuller Center teams.The system enables even thepoorest families to provide a homefor themselves by making monthlypayments at no interest over an extendedperiod. The repayments entera revolving fund, which contributesto further building projects.Daunting statisticsIn Armenia, Yerevan may beemerging on the world scene asa first-class city, but Zerounian isquick to point out that the ruralareas surrounding the burgeoningmetropolis and even within walkingdistance of the trendy shopsand tony restaurants there arehomes and apartment buildingsin an appalling state of disrepair.The contrast is stark. The need istremendous. Many of the ruralhomes are uninhabitable, giventheir poor insulation, deterioratedfoundations, asbestos-riddenwalls, leaky roofs, and lack of sanitationor heating systems. Oftenmultiple generations of a singlefamily are huddled in half-finishedhomes or dank basements, and insome regions families temporarilylive in school buildings or hospitals.“The reality [of the needs] is overwhelming,”says Mr. Favre of histrip to the Lori Region. “I’d neverseen so many houses started andstopped… and the people don’thave the resources to completethem. It still blows me away thatthere are still some people waitingto finish their homes after 20 years.A team helps the Madoyan family build their home.When the Fuller Center comes in,it’s like a miracle.”“People are still living in domiks,”Zerounian says, voice cracking withemotion as she goes on to describethe community of a dozen domiksthat she visited during her first tripto Armenia. She recalls the residentswere crowding around thevolunteers, each pleading their case,asking for assistance after years ofbeing placed on government waitinglists. “On my first trip to Armenia,I went to the house blessing ofa family of five that had been livingin their domik for ten years,” shecontinues. “They had children whohad lived in this metal containertheir entire lives. It was the size ofmy bathroom and it was blazing hotin the summer and freezing cold inthe winter. We moved this familyto a beautiful, beautiful home.”A passion for rebuildingcommunitiesZerounian’s involvement in buildingprojects in Armenia began in2006, when she joined Habitatfor Humanity, wishing to makeher vacation time productive. Herfirst-ever visit to Armenia came onthe eve of the celebration of thenation’s 16th year of independenceand forever bonded her to herhomeland.“I now feel as though Armenia isa part of my soul,” she says. “I’veseen my grandmother’s eyes in thefaces of women in the rural areas.I’ve never walked down a streetanywhere and felt like I totally belongedthere until now.”This year, in her role as team leader,she will be taking a group of volunteersinto the Lori Region fromMay 25 to June 8, when they willbe working to build and renovatehomes before heading to Yerevanfor some rest and sightseeing.As team leader, Zerounian’s focusis to organize a group of passionateindividuals. “I look for people whowill work well with others, peoplewho are flexible,” she explains. “It’snot so much a need to have someonewith a background in construction.It’s a matter of who is goingto be flexible enough and understandingof other cultures.” Thenshe adds: “I look for people who arepretty adventurous.”Those adventurous souls thatembark on these trips represent abroad demographic, from collegestudents to working professionals,Building with the Madoyan family.retirees, and globe trekkers. Themajority of those who make thejourney are not of Armenian descent.While Zerounian has the optionof traveling to numerous locales inher work with Habitat for Humanityand the Fuller Center, the call ofthe homeland has brought her toArmenia at every opportunity.“I have a personal interest in Armenia,”she tells The Armenian Reporterin a phone interview. “Otherpeople like to be all over the world.I like to see the changes that takeplace in Armenia.”She cites that her interest in Armeniaand her desire to be of servicewas instilled in her by her father,who always encouraged her to shareher blessings by helping others.Today, the Aptos, California,resident enlivens our conversationwith anecdote after anecdote abouther many colorful experiences inArmenia, animatedly telling meabout everything from her firsttaste of pear brandy warm fromthe still to the moving experienceof working side by side with FullerCenter beneficiaries.Life-changingexperiencesZerounian reminisces about thefirst housing project she worked onand the family’s two mischievousyoung boys, who never ceased tobrighten her day with their childishantics. “It’s fabulous to work witha family,” she says. “They’re handingyou stuff. You’re handing themstuff. You get to meet all the familiesand play with the kids.”Recipients of Fuller Center assistancehave their unique way ofshowing gratitude: old-fashionedArmenian hospitality. “They [familymembers] get together and theymake wonderful food for us,” Zerouniansays. “They hug us, kiss us,and joke with us. They let us be apart of their family for a little bit.”But Zerounian is quick to add:“I don’t want them to be eternallygrateful to me. That’s not what it’sabout. I thank them for the opportunitythat we get by going overthere.”She has seen first-hand the gravecircumstances of the poor in Armenia.She has heard the desperatevoices of the destitute raisedin complaint against the injusticeof their suffering. For some, eventhe idea of possessing a domik isakin to dreaming. Zerounian tellsme about an impoverished familyher team came across in Armeniathree years ago. A shack is the onlyway she can describe their dwelling,which was ill-equipped toweather the storms of rapidly approachingwinter. It took little deliberationfor the team to decide toundertake a house-building effortof their own. They pooled theirfunds and were able to purchasean empty domik from someonewho had just received a home fromthe Fuller Center.“The family was so grateful,” Zerounianrecalls. “I always say it’snot a culture shock going to Armenia,but it sure is a culture shockcoming back home [to the UnitedStates]. You come back home andyou see everything we have, all theopportunities.”It takes so littleIt may not have been the dire needthat startled Zerounian as much asthe fact that it could take so little toalleviate the desperate situation inArmenia. The realization that approximately$10,000 is all it takesfor a family to have a safe, healthy,and comfortable home to call theirown is enough to shock one out ofhis state of complacency.“You can take people from direpoverty to a place where they canhold their heap up, have dignity,and feel like a human being . . . andfor us it’s such a small amount,” Zerounianadds.This year nine open teams ofeight to 12 dedicated members eachand three closed teams comprisedof church groups will venture intoYerevan, Vanadzor, and Yeghnazador,where they will spend theirdays working on anywhere fromone to five homes. The teams willland in Yerevan in strategic order,with each team arriving at the tailend of the last team’s stay, in orderto maintain the momentum of construction.Though team members give theirmost valuable commodity, theirtime, many of them also descendupon Armenia with suitcases heavywith much-needed supplies. Duringher last two trips, Zerounianhas taken over everything from cellphones to prescription eye glasses,a laptop, and work boots, whileother team members have donatedmedical supplies and two concretemixers, which have come in quitehandy at job sites.“It’s been a blessing for us manytimes over because we have met somany good people, so many peoplewho have a passion for helpingother people. It was the trip of alifetime,” says Mrs. Favre, who, aftermaking her first trip to Armeniawith the Fuller Center, can thinkof no better way to experience thecountry than as a volunteer.“You’re interacting with peopleat a get-your-hands-dirty level,”she continues. “There’s no way wecould have gone on a tour of Armeniaand had the same experienceas building homes alongsidethe people who are going to live inthem. I would choose this over beinga tourist any day.”The immediate objective of thevolunteers is to assist with thebuilding projects, but it’s not allwork. The Fuller Center providesthe teams with a local host, whotours with the groups, allowingthem to take in the sights andsounds of the host country. Volunteersspend two days working andhave one day in between to relaxand soak in some vibrant local color.“We go to see the sights, the museums,the art galleries,” Zerouniansays, her animated voice hintingat the amazing places she has seenand fond memories she has comeaway with. “We go to restaurantsand eat fabulous food and the nextday we get in our grubbies and weget back to painting, sanding, makingconcrete.”“If it weren’t for organizationslike the Fuller Center and Habitatfor Humanity, we wouldn’t havethe access to do this,” she emphasizes.“It means getting your handsaround some hard work, but workis the best medicine. You can wringyour hands or you can put them towork. You come away with so muchmore than you could give. I don’tcare if the families remember me ornot, but I know that every day theywill wake up in a warm house.” Thatknowledge is all the thanks thatshe

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009 11CommunityGuests enjoying cocktails.Debbie Hovsepian and Kim Kardashian.Etchmiadzin Children’s Fund Chairperson Gayane Arakelian-Tatoulian. Continued from page 10Ms. Tatoulian, who had formeda friendship with Ms. De Silva, invitedher as a guest speaker to talkabout her experiences of helpingorphans in her native Malawi. Ms.De Silva responded to Ms. Tatoulian’srequest by saying, “the worldneeds to know that Armenia has somany children in need.”As a nanny working in the UnitedStates, Ms. De Silva remaineddevoted to her Malawian roots andworked compassionately for thebenefit of orphans. Her work garneredher the cnn accollades.Ms. De Silva’s love of childrenand desire to help her people inspiredher to develop a programto rescue the orphans and raiseawareness of their plight. Her ownfamily had been devastated by theaids epidemic ravaging Malawi.“Every child, no matter wherethey come from, needs love, careattention, food and education,”said Ms. De Silva. “If we take careof our children, we are giving thema future.”As the guest of honor of the ecfGrand Gala Night, Ms. De Silva receiveda framed commendation letter,a traditional Armenian paintingof a cross by artist SeeroonYeretzian (Arts & Culture, July12, 2008) from the Primate of theWestern Diocese. The archbishopalso gifted her with a cross that heblessed at the banquet before sheput it around her neck.Ricki Lake also spoke at the Gala,applauding the efforts of the efcand Ms. De Silva.“It is truly inspirational to takeout time to be here today,” shesaid. “Maria is as much as a saintas anyone I know. You inspire me.You make me a better mother. I amlucky to have you by my side.”Ricki Lake was also presentedwith an original Yeretzian paintingof a pomegranate from ArchbishopDerderian.During the archbishop’s address,he spoke about common God ofhelping the needy children of theworld.“Our love is not only for our dearchildren in Armenia, but for allchildren without exception,” saidthe archbishop. “Every child is agift of God, and the pain of everychild is the pain of all of us.”The evening culminated with performancesby Elvis impersonatorHarry Shahoian (Art & Culture,May 10, 2008) and Dean Martin impersonatorMark Varabian. Alsoappearing was Cher impersonatorLisa Iron, who sang “I’ve got youbabe” with audience members.

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009 13CommunityCalendar of EventsMARCH 15 - CRD BENEFIT CON-CERT. Location: California Palace ofthe Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave,San Francisco, CA. 2:00 pm. Admission:TBD. For more informationcontact Support Committee for Armenia’sCosmic Ray Division, (650)926-4444; 17 - SONOMA STATEUNIVERSITY ARMENIAN GENO-CIDE MEMORIAL LECTURE. Location:Sonoma State University/Warren Auditorium in Ives Hall,1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park,CA. 4:00pm -5:40pm Admission:Parking fee only. For more informationcontact Christyne Davidian,707-762-2995; 29 - SONOMA STATEUNIVERSITY HOLOCAUST ANDGENOCIDE MEMORIAL GROVEOPENING CEREMONY. Location:SSU, 1801 E Cotati Avenue, RohnertPark, CA. TBD - Afternoonadmission: free. For more informationcontact Christyne Davidian,707-762- 2995; 30 - TREX FRATERNITY3RD ANNUAL CHARITY GOLF IN-VITATIONAL. Location: RoundhillCountry Club, 3169 Round Hill Rd.,Alamo, CA. 12:30 PM. Admission:$225.00. For more informationcontact Triple X Fraternity, (925)837-8414; 19 - AVETIS BERBERIANCONCERT. Location: Bayside PerformingArt Center, 2025 KehoeAve., San Mateo, CA. 5:00 pm. Admission:TBD. For more informationcontact AGBU Silicon Valleyand Hamazkayin “Nigol Aghpalian”Chapter, 415-706-7251; 25 - CACC ANNUAL BAN-QUET. Location: Calvary ArmenianCongregational Church, 725 BrotherhoodWay, San Francisco, CA.7:00 PM Admission: $75. For moreinformation contact CACC, 415-586-2000; CaliforniaFEBRUARY 7 - 6TH ANNUALCHARLIE KEYAN ARMENIANCOMMUNITY SCHOOL CRABFEED. Location: Holy Trinity ArmenianApostolic Church, 2226Ventura Avenue, Fresno, CA. 6:00pm Admission: $60; $50 in advance.For more information contactCharlie Keyan Armenian CommunitySchool, 559-323-1599; CKACS.ORG.FEBRUARY 16 - COMMUNITYBRIEFING, FEATURING CON-GRESSMAN RADANOVICH. Location:Pilgrim Armenian CongregationalChurch, 3673 N. 1st Street,Fresno, CA. 6:00pm - 9:00pm Admission:Free. For more informationcontact Yeghig L. Keshishian, (626)577-0025; 20 - TEXAS HOLD ‘EMPOKER TOURNAMENT. Location:Club One Casino, 1033 Van NessAve, Fresno, CA. 5:30pm Admission:$100. For more informationcontact Selma Chapter of the TripleX Fraternity Charitable Trust,559-284-9290; 27 - 29 ARMENIAN EVAN-GELICAL CAREER FELLOWSHIPRETREAT Location: Bass Lake,54432 Road 432, Bass Lake, CA.Friday Night - Sunday AfternoonAdmission: $175pp/$320percouple.For more information contactAECF 559-281-3411; 7 - CAL POLY SLO M. E.MUSIC/DANCE ENS. Location: CalPoly San Luis Obispo, Spanos Theatre,San Luis Obispo, CA. 7 pm, formore information contact Cal PolySLO at 562-941-0845; CaliforniaJANUARY 31 - DR. BELEDIAN TOLECTURE AT LIBRARY. Location:Glendale Public Library, 222 E. HarvardSt, Glendale, CA. 6:00 pm to8:00 pm Admission: Free. For moreinformation contact Glendale PublicLibrary & Hamazgayin CulturalSociety, (818) 548-3288; 31 - MASS MEDIA INTHE ARMENIAN COMMUNITY.Location: Woodbury University,Hensel Hall Conference Room,7500 Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA.1:30 pm - 3:30 pm Admission: Free.For more information contact ANC-Professional Network; WoodburyASA, 818-500-1918; 1 - SUPERBOWLPARTY. Location: Burbank ArmenianCenter, 361 E Magnolia Blvd,Burbank, CA. 1:30 P.M Admission:$20.00. For more information contactBurbank ARF or Burbank AYF,310-466-0252; 1 - ARMENIANYOUNG PROFESSIONALS SUPERBOWL XLIII PARTY. Location: JTSchmid’s Restaurant and Brewery,2415 Park Ave, Tustin, CA. 2-7pm(kick off is at 3pm) Admission:$15. For more information contactAGBU Armenian Young Professionalsof Orange County, 818-355-4209; 5 - ARMENIAN WRIT-ERS ASSOCIATION, LITERARYEVENING. Location: AuditoriumGlendale Public Library, 222 EastHarvard St, Glendale, CA. 7-9 PMAdmission: Free. For more informationcontact ARMENIAN WRIT-ERS ASSOCIATION, 818-500-1532; 3 - MONTHLY LUN-CHEON. Location: Ararat HomeDeukmejian Hall, 15099 MissionHills Rd., Mission Hills, CA. 11:30am to 1 pm Admission: $10. Formore information contact AraratHome, 562-941-0845; 7 - HIKE TO THEOBSERVATORY. Location: GriffithPark, Corner Fern Dell & Los FelizBlvd., Hollywood, CA. 1 PM Admission:free. For more informationcontact Ed at 7 - HAIRUS OV EH?(WHO’S MY FATHER?) ARME-NIAN COMEDY PLAY. Location:AGBU Manoogian Center, 2495 E.Mountain Street, Pasadena, CA.8:00 P.M. Admission: $20.00. Formore information contact AGBUHomenetmen Ardavazt TheatreCompany, (626) 794-7942.FEBRUARY 7, 8, 14, 15 - OUT OFTHE CAGE - DIRECTED BY VAHEBERBERIAN. Location: Walter &Laurel Karabian Hall, 1200 N CahuengaBlvd, Los Angeles, CA. 7:00PM Admission: $50 with Mezze. Formore information contact Christina,(818) 249-1428; 8 - GLENDALE CITYCOUNCIL ELECTIONS FORUM.Location: Glendale Central PublicLibrary, 222 E. Harvard St, Glendale,CA. 4:30 p.m. Admission: Free. Formore Information: Unified YoungArmenians, 818- 971-5065; 8 - AN EVENINGWITH TIGRAN HAMSYAN ANDARENI. Location: Tigran HamasyanGroup, 1310 11th Street, SantaMonica, CA. 7:00 p.m. Admission:$25 per person. For more informationcontact APS, 818-266-7601; 12 - BOZIGIAN ARM/GRK DANCE. Location: GlendaleCivic Auditorium, 1401 N VerdugoRd., Glendale, CA. 7 p.m. Admission:$20. For more informationcontact Tom Bozigian, 562-941-0845; 14 – VALENTINE’SPARTY W/ SUPERSTAR ROBERTCHILINGIRIAN. Location: MontroseCollection, 2833 Honolulu Ave,Glendale, CA. 9:00 p.m. Admission:$45:00. For more information: RogariEntertainment, 818-437-4008; 15 - THE LADIESAUXILIARY OF THE WESTERNDIOCESE 38TH ANNUAL DEBU-TANTE BALL. Location: The BeverlyWilshire Hotel, 9500 WilshireBoulevard, Beverly Hills. Reception5 p.m., presentation 6p.m., dinner 7p.m., Tickets $200 adult, $135 students.For reservations please callRose Ketchoyan (818) 788-5138FEBRUARY 19 - POLITICAL AC-TION FORUM: U.S. - ARMENIANRELATIONS, 2009. Location: UCIStudent Center, Doheny Room A,Intersection of Pereira Drive & W.Peltason Drive, Irvine, CA. 6:00-9:00pm Admission: Free. For moreinformation contact Yeghig L. Keshishian,(626) 577-0025; 21 - R-MEAN “THERISIN SON” CD RELEASE CON-CERT. Location: Beyond The StartTheater, 417 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale,CA. 7 PM Admission: $25. Formore information contact Pentagon,(818) 919-6665; on 21 - VARTANANTZ.Location: Armenian Identity Harvest,3700 Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena,CA. 5pm Admission: Free. Formore information contact KhatchikChahinian, 626- 399-1799; 23 - BATTLES OFAVARAYR AND ARARAT. Location:Glendale Central Library Auditorium,222 E. Harvard, Glendale,CA. 7:00 P.M. Admission: Free. Formore information contact DefenseCouncil of Western Armenia, 818-601-4049; westernarmenia@gmail.comFEBRUARY 27 - AGBU GENERA-TION NEXT - 10TH ANNIVERSA-RY GALA. Location: The CastawayStarlight Ballroom, 1250 E HarvardRd, Burbank, CA. 7:30pm Admission:$125/pp or $1000/Tbl. Formore information contact AGBUGeneration Next, 626-794-7942; Tickets 27 - LORY TATOU-LIAN & VISA RENDEZ-VOUS INMADRID. Location: Madrid Theater,21622 Sherman Way, CanogaPark, CA. 8:00pm Admission: $40,$30 & $20. For more informationcontact HMEM Finance Committee,818-439-8981; Tickets on 27 - AGBU GENERA-TION NEXT 10TH ANNIVERSARYGALA. Location: Castaways StarlightBallroom, 1250 E. Harvard Rd,Burbank, CA. 7:30 pm. Admission:$125/pp or $1000/Tbl. For moreinformation contact AGBU GenerationNext, (626) 794-7942; Tickets on 28 - ANAHID FUNDANNUAL BANQUET. Location:Taglyan Cultural Center, 1201Vine St., Los Angeles, CA. 6:30P.M. Admission: $75.00. For moreinformation contact Anahid Fund,818-409-0655; Anahid_Fund@Yahool.Com.FEBRUARY 28 - USC FRIENDSOF ARMENIAN MUSIC 30TH AN-NIVERSARY CELEBRATION ANDLUNCHEON HONORING AU-DREY BABAKHANIAN GREGOR,Location: The Beverly Hills Hotel,Rodeo Room, 9641 Sunset Boulevard,Beverly Hills, CA. Reception:11:30 a.m. Luncheon and Program:12:30 p.m. Tickets: $85.00. For Reservations:Rose Ketchoyan, (818)788-5138; Hilda Fidanian, (818)249-3330.FEBRUARY 28 - 2ND ANNUALDINNER/DANCE ARMENIAN AP-OSTOLIC CHURCH OF VENTURACOUNTY. Location: St. Patrick’sEpiscopal Church, One ChurchRoad, Thousand Oaks, CA. 6:00pAdmission: $40 Adults. For moreinformation contact David Essayan,805- 813-3883; 5 - ARMENIAN/GREEKDANCE COURSE. Location: GlendaleCivic Auditorium, 1401 N VerdugoRd, Glendale, CA. 7 p.m. Admission:$120 Adult; $105 student.For more information contact TomBozigian, 562-941-0845; 8 - GALA CONCERT ANDRECEPTION - MOZART’S RE-QUIEUM MASS IN D MINOR. FeaturingThe Santa Barbara ChoralSociety and Orchestra, conductedby Jo Anne Gondjian Wasserman.Under the auspices of His EminenceArchbishop Hovnan Derderian, Location:St. Peter Armenian ApostolicChurch, 17231 Sherman Way, VanNuys, CA. 4:00 p.m. Admission:$55, Students under 18 $35.00. Formore information contact House ofHope – Mer Hooys, Inc., 818-340-2509; Seatingis limited. RSVP: Susan Kardashian(818) 340-2509.MARCH 8 - ARS JAVAKHK FUNDCOMMITTEE, GALA DINNERRECEPTION AND FUNDRAIS-ER--ABOARD YACHT CRYSTAL.Location: Yacht Crystal, 3439 ViaOporto, Newport Beach, CA. 4:00PM to 9 PM Admission: Donation:$150 pp. For more informationcontact ARS Javakhk Fund Committee,562-439-0551; 8 - MOSAIC III. Location:Alex Theatre, 216 North Brand Boulevard,Glendale, CA. 6 PM Admission:TBA. For more informationcontact Hamazkayin, (818) 935-Visit us at the new reporter.amSubscription Couponthe armenianreporterannual ratesU.S.A.: First Class Mail, $125; Periodicals Mail, $75Canada: $125 (u.s.); Overseas: $250 (u.s.)namestreetcity/state/zip3555; Ticketson 22 - AFFMA’S 1ST AN-NUAL REEL COMEDY SHOW ATTHE WORLD FAMOUS IMPROV.Location: The World Famous Improv-Hollywood8162 Melrose Ave,Hollywood, CA. 7pm Admission:$25-$100. For more informationcontact AFFMA, 323-663-1882; Tickets on 26 - HOMENETMENYOUTH ACTIVITIES RAFFLE!Location: Homenetmen WesternUSA, 2324 Colorado Blvd, LosAngeles, CA. 8 PM Admission:$100. For more information contactHomenetmen, (323)344-4300; Tickets 5 - 2ND ANNUAL ARME-NIAN CULTURAL FESTIVAL. Location:Woodbury University, 7500Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, CA. 11:00am Admission: FREE. For more informationcontact ALL ArmenianStudent Association, 818-624-2427; 19 - MIKHAIL SIMONYAN,VIOLIN. Location: Raitt RecitalHall: Pepperdine University, 24255Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu, CA.2:00 PM. Admission: $25. For moreinformation contact Center ForThe Arts, (212) 994-3540; 17 - DAVIDIAN-MARIAMIAN2ND ANNUAL TELETHON. Location:DMEF, 658 W Hawthorne StUnit B, Glendale, CA. 6:00 pm toMidnight Admission: Donation.For more information contactMariette Keshishian, 909-373-7876; 6 - ARMENIAN FOOD FAIR& FEST. Location: Holy Cross CathedralGrounds, 900 W LincolnAvenue, Montebello, CA. Noon- 10pm Admission: Free Admission.For more information contact HolyCross Cathedral, 323-727-1113; 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 | January 31, 2009CommunityDr. Lucy Der Manuelian to present “Armenia: Mountains,Monuments, Manuscripts and Miracles”WATERTOWN – On Sunday,February 22, Dr. Lucy Der Manuelianwill present a slide lecture atthe Armenian Library and Museumof America (ALMA) in connectionwith the museum’s current exhibit“Who Are the Armenians?” The presentation,titled “Armenia: Mountains,Monuments, Manuscripts,and Miracles,” will take place from2 to 3 p.m. The event is free andopen to the public.Ms. Der Manuelian, Arthur H.Dadian and Ara Oztemel ProfessorEmerita of Armenian Art andArchitectural History in the Departmentof Art and Art History atTufts University, will show slidesthat she shot during her many expeditionsto Armenia doing fieldworkand research for months ata time during the Cold War andafterward. Some were shot fromthe helicopter she managed to obtainfrom the Soviets for filmingher television documentary onArmenian history and art, whichhas been broadcast on 58 PBStelevision stations in major citiesthroughout the United States.Ms. Der Manuelian will discussArmenian fortresses andchurches perched at the topsof mountains, carved images ofkings, princes, and saints, andbrilliantly colored illuminatedmanuscripts created in Armeniaduring the Middle Ages. Someare among the most impressivemonuments in the history ofart, and an important source ofinformation for Early Christian,Romanesque, and Gothic Art inthe West.Armenia’s history is an internationaltale, and Armenians playeda significant role in the power politicsof the Middle Ages, includingthe Holy Roman Empire, the ByzantineEmpire (of which 30 emperorswere of Armenian descent),Western Europe, the Silk Road,and especially the Crusades. Thefirst country in the world to makeChristianity its state religion, Armeniabattled to survive and tomaintain its own identity, faith,and culture. These are expressedthrough the unique church architecturein Armenia, the kinds ofsculptural compositions carvedon its walls, and the unusual detailsadded to traditional religiousmanuscript paintings.Prof. Lucy Der Manuelian photographing at Vanevan, Armenia .The lecturer received her from Radcliffe College andHarvard, was awarded a BuntingInstitute Fellowship at Radcliffe,and received the M.A. and Ph.D.degrees in art history from BostonUniversity. Hers was the first doctoraldissertation on Armenian artwritten in the United States. Lowell arfto present“UnseenArmenia”LOWELL – “Unseen Armenia,”sites seldom observed in Hayastan,will be the basis of a narrated slidepresentation by Joe Dagdigian.The event will take place Saturday,Feb. 28, and will highlight the 113thanniversary of the ARF Lowell“Aharonian” Gomideh, along withthe anniversary of the February 18,1921, revolt against Armenia’s Bolshevikrulers.Cocktails will be served at 6 p.m.,followed by dinner.The event was previously scheduledfor December and postponedby inclement weather.Mr. Dagdigian will take viewerson a tour of remote but interestingparts of Armenia, includingstops at Ughtasar Mountain, KingDikran’s fortress in Artsakh, LoriPert and the fortress at Talin, theancient observatory at Karahunj,beautiful artwork at the monasteriesof Akhtala, Kobayr, and Talin,along with the gravesite of GeneralKarekin Nejdeh and images ofscholars repairing rare Armenianmanuscripts inside the Madenataran.Mr. Dagdigian has made severalvisits to Armenia, where he continuesto maintain a home in thecapital city of Yerevan. A numberof his slides were shown in otherpresentations throughout NewEngland.connect:Tom Vartabedian 1-978-373-1654Steve Dulgarian 1-978-256-0220Aram Jeknavorian 1-603-635-7451Lara Kopoyan lapovian33@hotmail.comVisit us

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009 15ArmeniaA well-preserved ancient site discovered in ArmeniaArchaeologistsdiscover 6000–7000-year-old brainby Armen HakobyanYEREVAN – “Such a site, preservedin this way, is granted to man byGod once in a lifetime. That is,imagine what sort of informationthis site could provide us with, consideringthe climate, surroundingregions, economy, and crafts ofthat given time era,” said BorisGasparyan, a researcher at theInstitute of Archaeology and Ethnographyof Armenia’s NationalAcademy of Sciences. He is alsothe Armenian co-head of the of theArmenian-American-Irish researchgroup investigating the caves locatedaround the Arpa River.The archaeological research expeditiondiscovered a site from theBronze Age during excavations in acave near the famous Noravank monasticcomplex in the Vayots Dzorregion. The archaeologists also discoveredthree skulls that were buriedin a distinctive fashion. One ofthese skulls contains a small brainpiece. According to the researchers,it is in fantastic shape. “Accordingto our radiocarbon dating studies,the layer where these skulls werefound should date to 5000–4000B.C.E., around 6000–7000 yearsago,” Mr. Gasparyan said.“During one of our visits there,we realized that they intend to turnthe site into a restaurant. A portionof the site was already damaged.When we procured the fundsand had all means, we started ourresearch in order to save the site.Book ReviewA book of life and deathIn 2007, along with our Irish andEnglish partners, we decided to dosome preliminary excavation andwe did two archaelogical digs. Itwas then that we realized the cavehad had a long stage of inhabitationand there were many, manygeological layers. We were not ableto reach the lower layers becausewe discovered the Eneolothic Ageor Bronze Age layer dating backto 5000–4000 B.C.E. Therefore, researchturned into excavation, andit was clear that we should workvery inclusively,” the scientist noted.“A site of this caliber should notbe investigated by one institute,since it is an invaluable discoverythat belongs to humankind and theworld. That is why we worked toinclude other institutes with theirprofessional possibilities and laboratoryfacilities. As a result, ProfessorGrigor Areshyan, from theCosten Institute of Archaeology atUCLA joined us. He’s the co-head ofour research group. Basically, theinvestigation process of this siteis now being carried out by threepartners: Armenia’s Institute ofArchaeology and Ethnography ofthe National Academy of Sciences,Ireland’s University College Cork(UCC), and the Costen Institute ofArchaeology.”Mr. Gasparyan mentioned thatthe Institute of Archaeology withits facilities, the American GfoellerFund, Cork University with its facilities,and National Geographicare all participating in this program.According to the scientist, manyindividuals are providing financialassistance and many laboratoriesare providing their services free ofcharge.Mr. Gasparyan, referring to thefindings of the excavation inside thecave noted, “From the very beginningof the excavations we realizedthat organic material such as wood,clothes, etc., were preserved amazinglywell. I think that this happenedfor two reasons: first the geologicalstructure of the cave, and secondlythe microclimate of the cave, sincethe temperature inside the cave almostnever changes. We have discoveredround structures out of clay,and wine-presses. The interior ofthe cave was used for storage.”The team has not yet emptiedthe contents of the pitchers discoveredin the cave, since that requiresspecific expertise; howeverthey have also discovered materialthere including grape vines, grapeseeds, reeds, well-preserved walnuts,cornel (cherry), apricot, andpeach seeds.Now about the skulls. As Mr.Gasparyan explained, behind theexcavated clay containers, they discoveredskulls with their lower jawsmissing, placed in clay jugs, includinga limb of an older person not belongingto any of the skulls. Alongwith human bones, remains of coalashes were found in these containers.“The burial of these skulls is definitelya secondary ceremony. Thatis, the skull of the deceased personwas cleaned completely. Thenpeople carried it for a long timeLeft: Portion ofa brain foundduring theexcavations.Right: A 6,000-year-old skullwhich containedthe brain.Bottom: The cavewhere the BronzeAge site wasdiscovered.and finally, brought it and buried ithere. It is also interesting that isotopicanalysis of the teeth revealedthat the individuals were fed on aparticular diet. They had eaten onlyfish. The skulls belong to 11- to 15-or 16-year-old girls,” he said.He assumes that the girls whoseskulls have been discovered werevictims of a ceremonial sacrifice. Astrike by a club or another blunttool to their skulls was the cause ofdeath. According to him, such sacrificeswere not so uncommon inthe Bronze Age.Who were the ancient inhabitantsof the cave? Did the cave serveas storage or did it have ceremonialimportance, as Mr. Gasparyan’s colleague,Professor Grigor Areshyanbelieves? What did these ancienthumans do in that cave that wasstored with such a huge amountof food and material? These arethe questions that the researchersmust answer. The one thing that isclear is that the discovery of thisancient civilization is extremelyinvaluable and requires thoroughinvestigation and research by scientists.According to Mr. Gasparyan,there is enough material toconduct research for many, manyyears to come.fby Arsen KharatianGreen and Black: Artsakh Diary is acomprehensive collection of facts,analysis, and documents on theKarabakh conflict, starting fromthe late 1980s until today. The lastchapters of the book describe thebackground of the conflict, takingus back to the beginning of the20th century.The book discusses the connectionsof various global and regionalevents, people, and processes to thesubject of the conflict. It analysesinternal and external political factorsaffecting Armenia and Azerbaijan,as well as the impact of theparties involved in the conflict asinterested parties in a peaceful settlement(Russia, Turkey, Iran, Europeanstates, and the United States).The author, Tatul Hakobyan, approachedthe topic as an investigativejournalist. The effort he madeto gather facts through scores of interviewsis innovative for Armenianlanguagenonfiction writing. (Mr.Hakobyan is a senior correspondentwith the Armenian Reporter. )Stories in the book connect thereader and figures involved in thewar and peace process. Targetedto Armenian audiences, the bookseeks to confront stereotypes aboutpublic figures and events.Interviews with state and publicofficials from Armenia and Azerbaijanand information drawn fromtheir previously unpublished personaldiaries present the book’s “heroes”in new, more personal light.Arsen Kharatian is a graduate student inMiddle East Studies at the Yerevan StateUniversity.From Green and Black, an image fromKarabakh. Photo: Ruslan Sarkisyan.The discussion of Boris Kevorkov– the ethnic Armenian SovietAzerbaijani official who wasin charge of Karabakh before beingdismissed in 1988 – is one suchexample. While Mr. Kevorkov diedin Moscow in 1998, interviews withhis wife (an ethnic Azerbaijani) andinformation from his unpublishedmemoirs offer unprecedented insightinto Mr. Kevorkov’s attitudetoward the conflict.Another widow interviewed byMr. Hakobyan is Rima Demirchian,the wife of Karen Demirchian,who was the Soviet Armenianleader (also dismissed in 1988) andin 1999 became Speaker of Armenia’sNational Assembly. He wasassassinated in 1999. Mrs. Demirchianoffers her reflection on theevents of late 1980s, also not discussedanywhere before.The book juxtaposes diaries andinterviews of well-known intellectualsand Karabakh movement figureslike Silva Kaputikian, ZoriBalayan, and Igor Muradian, tothose of Soviet leaders, particularlyMikhail Gorbachev.Mr. Hakobyan also notes theevolving attitudes of the individualsinvolved.In one such example, Mr. Hakobyanrefers to Ms. Kaputikian’s diary,where she wrote: “Back in 1988when we met with Gorbachev, heasked whether the Armenian leaderat the time Demirchian was capableof controlling the internal politicalsituation in the country. My answerwas negative. If I was given a chanceagain I would definitely have a differentanswer.” The latter commentreflected Ms. Kaputikian’s supportfor Mr. Demirchian’s political comebackin the late 1990s.Looking at the conflict throughthe prism of individual lives, experiences,and the destinies of averagepeople from both sides bringsan important emotional mood tothe text. And while discussion ofwar is about losses – human, material,and sometimes moral – thebook also refers to a number of entertainingepisodes from the warperiod.One such episode is about informaltalks conducted by HeydarAliyev, then the leader of Nakhichevan(and later president of allAzerbaijan) and officials in Yerevanin May 1992 as the war ragedin Karabakh. Mr. Aliyev calledthe Armenian president’s chiefnational security adviser AshotManucharian, in an effort to secureArmenia’s noninterferencewith air traffic bound to and fromNakhichevan.(Tom De Waal previously describedthese conversations in his2003 book Black Garden: Armeniaand Azerbaijan through Peace andWar.” –Ed.)On one occasion Mr. Aliyev calledMr. Manucharian at home andheard his mother pick up the phone.She offered to relay a message to herson as “he is not at home at the moment.”The message was as follows: “AuntieLena could you please tell your sonthat Heydar Aliyev called and askedfor permission for an airplane to flythrough the Armenian air space.” Towhich Mr. Manucharian’s motheranswered: “You can safely fly, I willinform my son about the matter.”Another story was related bySuren Zolian, who at the time in1993 was a member of the Armenianparliament and participatedin negotiations with Azerbaijan.The Armenian and Azerbaijanidelegations arrived in Rome beforethe Karabakh delegation did.At the airport the delegates fromKarabakh were met by Armeniandelegation members.Next morning before talks formallybegan, Mr. Zolian asked hisAzerbaijani counterparts: “If youclaim that Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh are your citizens, whythen were you not meeting them atthe airport?”In a return demarche, the Azerbaijaninegotiating team called formoving the Karabakh delegatesfrom the hotel where Armenianswere staying to the one with theAzerbaijanis.Such stories can only do so muchto lighten up the heavy mood of awar filled with acts of brutality, humandeaths, and displacements.In Green and Black, standing forthe green of military uniformsand the black worn by mourningmothers, Mr. Hakobyan seeksto highlight feelings common topeople on both sides of the conflict,such as sadness that mothersshare together when waitingfor their sons taken prisoner ormissing.The book is a major collection ofcomplex historical facts and documents,including agreements andresolutions relating to the Karabakhconflict, which will be of greatinterest for political and media organizationsand interested partiesaround the world.Although targeted to the localArmenian audiences, Green andBlack should be translated for non-Armenian readers as well, especiallythose in Azerbaijan.To improve the ease of reading,locating footnotes on each page orat the end of each chapter couldbe helpful. And while some chronologicaldisorder in the text mayseem to make the reading morecomplicated, in the end the storiestie up as one whole.Most importantly, Green andBlack seeks to establish the facts ofArmenia’s modern history ratherthan expound on political propagandaso common to writingsabout conflicts.Although this book does not seekto offer solutions to the conflict,mindful of the human losses andbroken families generated by thewar, Mr. Hakobyan – probably likemost of his readers – wishes the conflictto have a peaceful outcome. fUnder reviewTatul Hakobyan, Kanach u Sev: ArtsakhianOragir [Green and Black: Artsakh Diary].584 pp. in Armenian. 2008.

16 The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009ArmeniaSerge Sargsian and Ilham Aliyev meet in ZurichBoth presidentshave a clearerunderstanding ofeach other’s position,foreign ministers sayby Tatul HakobyanYEREVAN – Armenia’s PresidentSerge Sargsian met his Azerbaijanicounterpart Ilham Aliyev onJanuary 28 at the Radisson Hotelin Zurich. The presidents were inSwitzerland to take part in the annualDavos World Economic Forum.This is the third meeting of the twopresidents in the process of negotiationsfor the peaceful settlementof the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.Previously they held talks in St. Petersburgin June 2008 and in Moscowin November 2008, where theysigned a joint declaration alongwith the Russian president.The Sargsyan-Aliyev meetingbegan with the participation ofthe foreign ministers of the twocountries, Edward Nalbandianand Elmar Mamedyarov, aswell as the co-chairs of the OSCEMinsk Group Yuri Merzlyakov,Matthew Bryza, and BernardFassier, and the Personal Representativeof the OSCE Chairmanin-OfficeAndrzej Kasprzyk, theArmenia’s president’s press officereported.Later, Mr. Sargsian and Mr. Aliyevcontinued their talks in a face-tofaceformat. After the private meetingof the presidents, the talks werecontinued in an extended format.“The Armenian side assessed theoutcome of the meeting in Zurichas positive and constructive. Duringthe meeting, the two sides presentedtheir positions on the currentstage of the peace talks. Thepresidents of the two states directedtheir foreign ministers to continuethe negotiations in cooperationwith the co-chairs of the OSCEMinsk Group. Serge Sargsian andIlham Aliyev expressed satisfactionwith the fact that the co-chairs areworking toward the synchronizationof the parties’ positions. Duringthe meeting, the parties agreedalso on the upcoming visit of theco-chairs to the region,” the pressoffice reported.Official reports from Azerbaijanare saying even less about thedetails of the negotiations. “Themeeting was continued with theparticipation of OSCE Minsk Groupco-chairs. Current state and prospectsof Armenia- Azerbaijan conflictover Nagorno Karabakh werediscussed,” official AzerTAc newsagency said.Army Day celebrated throughout the countryPresident SergeSargsian meetinghis AzerbaijanicounterpartIlham Aliyev inDavos. Photo:Press office ofthe President ofArmenia.The Armenian and Azerbaijaniforeign ministers noted that theSargsian-Aliyev meeting was “usefuland constructive” and the “toneand the atmosphere of the meetingwere positive,” Mediamax reported.Mr. Nalbandian noted that “thepresidents stated that their meetingsare regular and that fact attachescertain dynamism to theprocess.“There is a certain progress, whichis expressed in the fact that frommeeting to meeting the presidentsbetter understand each other’sstances, the difficulties and the obstacles,which are there on the roadto the settlement,” the Armenianforeign minister stated, addingthat the presidents discussed variousissues that would bring theirpositions on the Madrid Principlescloser together.Armenia’s foreign ministerstressed that the matter now is coordinationof the settlement principles.“Only after there is agreementon the principles, the sideswill start working on the basicdocument.”Mr. Mamedyarov agreed with thewords of his Armenian counterpartthat the sides have started to understandeach other better. “Thereis dynamics, there is movementand my Armenian counterpart andI should continue talks with theparticipation of the mediators,” henoted.The U.S. and French mediatorsMr. Bryza and Mr. Fassier alsostated that both presidents describedtheir meeting as “positiveand constructive” and noted thepresence of dynamism in the settlementprocess.“The meeting was positive andconstructive. The presidentsmade progress in solidifying mutualunderstanding on several keyelements of the basic principles,and in narrowing differenceson some other issues,” said Mr.Bryza to the Azeri Trend NewsAgency.The co-chairs plan to visit the regionwithin the next month to helpsustain this positive momentum,he said.fYEREVAN – January 28, Army Day,is a national holiday in Armenia.This year is the 17th anniversary ofthe creation of Armenia’s ArmedForces and several events were organizedto celebrate this achievementthroughout the republic.On January 26, Armenian DefenseMinister Seyran Ohanianvisited Yerevan State University(YSU), where he met with the administrationand students. Duringhis meetings at YSU the defenseminister said that there wereboth successes and flaws withinthe ministry, which he said mustbe resolved in 2009. Already variousreforms have been carriedout which he was confident wouldbring about qualitative changes.According to Armenpress, Mr.Ohanian stressed the importanceof military and patriotic educationin schools all across the country.Therefore his ministry is collaboratingwith the ministry of educationand science to this end. Aregiment will be attached to all theschools of the country where studentswill have the opportunity toget acquainted with all the detailsof military service.He assured future soldiers thatalthough there has been cases ofceasefire violation at contact lineswith Azerbaijan, Armenia’s army“could neutralize all the threats ofthe enemy.”In speaking with the students,the defense minister also addressedthe recommended changesto the law on military service. Thechanges, if adopted by the NationalAssembly, would call for servicein the army to begin at 18 years ofage, as opposed to the present lawwhich allows young men to completetheir university educationbefore being drafted.“The basis of the changes is thateveryone serves the country equallyand does not avoid it. We thinkit will be more correct if a personserves in the army and then continueshis education and finds ajob immediately after graduatingfrom the university. Those whoserve will be afforded a number ofprivileges during their education,”the minister said.The rector of YSU Aram Simonianhanded the minister a fileof written suggestions, which theminister promised to discuss withmembers of his ministry.President Serge Sargsian issueda message on the occasion ofArmy Day. He stated: “Today, weare celebrating one of the greatestachievements of our independence– the Day of the ArmenianArmy. Seventeen years ago, whenour independence was in peril, theestablishment of the army becamethe imperative of the day.” In hismessage, the Armenian presidentstated that while for us, the armyis a source of national pride, it isa powerful means of deterrenceand caution for our enemies andserves as a way to maintain thefragile peace. “We realize that weowe that peace to our troops, whoserve every day, who stay in theirpositions and in the trenches everyday, to our officers and generals,to our brave sons,” the statementreads.Also on this occasion HovikAbrahamian, Speaker of the Armenianparliament, awarded medalsFar left: DefenseMinister SeyranOhanian duringArmy Daycelebrations. Topleft: Universitystudents releaseballoons atVictory Bridge.Left: Govermentofficials payingtheir respectsat Yerablurcemetary.Photos:Photolure.and diplomas of gratitude to severalhigh-ranking officers of theArmenian army. “The army is theguarantor of the achievementsof the Armenian people and thedefender of peace and stability inArmenia. On this day we are payingtribute to the memory of thosewho gave their lives for the liberationof Nagorno-Karabakh andprotection of Armenia’s borders,”Mr. Abrahamian said.Catholicos of All ArmeniansKarekin II also issued a messageon Army Day: “We give thanks toGod for the Armenian Army ispowerful today, the soldiers’ spiritis victorious and their heartsare full of love for the Motherland.Due to reliable protection,the Armenian Army assures securityof our borders so that ourpeople can build a free new lifein peace.”High-ranking members ofArmenia’s government went toYerablur, a military cemeterylocated on a hillside in Yerevanto pay their respects to all thosesoldiers who perished during theKarabakh conflict. University studentsfrom several faculties fromYerevan State University wentto Victory Bridge where they releasedthousands of red, blue andorange balloons on the occasionof Army Day.f—M.T.

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009 17ArmeniaFrom Armenia, in briefClashes at NKR-Azerbaijan contact lineOn the evening of January 27, anArmenian civilian, clearly inebriatedand, according to some sources,mentally unstable, attempted tocross over to the Azerbaijani positionsat the contact line in Karabakh,near Aghdam. ArmenianArmed Forces, according to LieutenantColonel Senor Hasratyan,the press secretary of the KarabakhDefense Minister, attemptedto stop the man, 25-year-old BadTadevosyan, from crossing thecontact line but were unsuccessful.According to Arminfo, Azerbaijanisoldiers opened fire on Nagorno-Karabakhpositions and, as aresult, soldier Arkady Hakobyan,25, was killed along with the civilian,Mr. Tadevosyan. Mr. Tadevosyan’sbody is on Azerbaijani territory.An investigation has been initiated.Istanbul hosts secondCaucasus PlatformmeetingOn January 26, a meeting on theCaucasian Stability and CooperationPlatform took place in Istanbulon the level of the deputy foreignministers of five states – Turkey,Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, andGeorgia. The Armenian delegationwas headed by Secretary Generalof the Armenian Foreign Ministry,Shahen Avagyan, and Headof the Arms and International SecurityIssues Department, ArmenEdigaryan.Immediately following the fivedayGeorgian-Russian war in August,Prime Minister Recep TayyipErdogan of Turkey suggestedthe creation of a new undertakingcalled the Caucasus Stability andCooperation Platform.This is the second meeting on theplatform; the first meeting on thelevel of experts took place on December4–5 within the frameworkof the OSCE Ministerial Council inHelsinki.Araz Azimov, Azerbaijan’sdeputy foreign minister, said thatunless the Nagorno- Karabakh conflictis resolved, implementation ofany platform paving the way for cooperationwith Armenia is not possible.According to AzerTaj newsArmeniansoldiers guardingthe frontline., Mr. Azimov noted thatgenerally his country supports theplatform, and the fact that the fiveparticipating countries are interestedin establishing security in theregion is very important. However,calling for cooperation is impossibleunless conflicts are settled.Armenian labormarket feeling thecrunch of the worldfinancial crisisSona Harutyunian, who headsthe Armenian State EmploymentService Agency within the Ministryof Labor and Social Issues, toldreporters at a news conference onJanuary 26 that there is a sharpgrowth of unemployment in therepublic.According to Ms. Harutyunian,about 2,000 people had lost theirjobs by the end of 2008, with morejob losses looming in the near future.Lycos Armenia, for example,has announced that it will slash 213positions by April, 2009, while theArmenian Copper Program laid off84 employees, ArmenTel 82 employees,and the Information Centerfor Science and Technology ofArmenia laid off 180 employees.The highest level of unemploymentwas registered in the regionsof Lori and Syunik, due to the slowdownof the mining industry.However, a spokesperson forSonaHarutyunian.ArmenTel, Anush Begloyan, saidthat the job cuts were not due tothe financial crisis: “The companyhas been carrying out restructuringfor over half a year to improvethe level of service in sales and serviceoffices, as well as to modernizetechnical systems.”Highest taxpayersin Armenia for 2008announcedAccording to Mediamax, VivaCell-MTS was the first among the top300 taxpayers in Armenia in 2008.The company paid 30.7 billion AMD(approximately $100 million) intaxes last year.The second and third top taxpayersin Armenia were ArmRus-Gazprom, paying 17.8 billion AMD(approximately $59 million) andArmenTel at 15.1 billion AMD (approximately$49 million).Included in the top ten taxpayerswere Zangezur Copper-MolybdenumPlant ($47 million), Alex-Grig($41 million), GorPetrolService($37.4 million), Flash Petrol ($34.2million), Armenian Railroad ($17.3million), Electric Network of Armenia($17 million), and Grand Tobacco($14.8 million).The company that employs thehighest number of people is theElectric Network of Armenia (7,767employees); ArmRusGazprom(5,606 employees) and ArmenTel(4,134 employees). VivaCell is the11th highest employer in the republicwith 1,635 employees.Credit program ofGerman KfW Bank tocontinue in ShirakThe construction of new water andsewage pipelines in Shirak is tocontinue within the framework ofa credit program provided by theGerman KfW Bank, according toArmenpress. The three-staged programto construct these pipelinesbegan in 2002 and the first roundwas completed in 2008.The second round of the programenvisages the completion of watersupply networks to Gyumri, Armenia’ssecond largest city, and 53communities in Shirak province.The final round of the programwill be completed by 2022. StepanPetrosian of ShirakwatersewageCompany told Armenpress thattheir goal is to ensure 24-hour watersupply to the residents of theprovince.Gnishikadzor Valleyto be nominated forsubmission in UNESCOWorld Heritage ListArtyom Grigorian who headsthe Agency on the Protection ofHistorical and Culture Monumentsof Armenia’s Ministry ofCulture, announced the nominationof the Gnishikadzor Valley tothe UNESCO World Heritage List.Mr. Grigorian said that this nominationdiffers from others because“nature is actively involved here;that is to say creation by natureand people are harmoniously juxtaposed.”According to Mr. Grigorian,UNESCO is now including landscapesand environments alongwith historical and cultural monumentson its World Heritage List.“There are natural landscapeshere, for example the wheat fields,gardens of grapes, water carryingsystem, that are also liable toprotection,” he said. According toArmenpress, nearly 120 historicaland cultural monuments are registeredin the cultural landscape ofGnishikadzor Valley including theNoravank monastic complex, AreniChurch, and the Mizrov caves,among others.Armenia already has several culturalmonuments on the UNESCOWorld Heritage List, including themonastic complexes of Sanahinand Haghbat, Geghardavank, theMother See of Etchmiadzin, thechurches of Hripsime, Gayane,and Shoghakat, and the ZvartnotsTemple.fThe Noravank monastic complex nestled in the Gnishikadzor Valley.World Bank more than doublesfinancial assistance to ArmeniaComprehensive insurancecoverage for investorsProperty and CasualtyCargoAutoYour risk is our businessShort term coveragefor visitorsTravelIn Country MedicalAutoRenter’s Insurancen Continued from page to overcome it made the WorldBank decide to double the amountof financial support for the country.He also mentioned that organizationstaking part in the World Bankdelegation are also offering opportunitiesother than the ones grantedby World Bank. “IFC and MIGA,a fund for multilateral investmentinsurance, constitute a branch ofthe World Bank that will supportthe private sector. MIGA will insureand guarantee the investments,” hefurther explained.Mr. Katsu said the support couldgrow to $800 million in the nextfour years. “Besides this support,we are also negotiating five otherprograms,” he said.According to the report of theWorld Bank Yerevan office, thissupport constitutes additional financingfor the rural roads program,amounting to $25 million; the thirdprogram of the social investmentfund, amounting to $8 million; theprogram for improvement of ruralbusinesses, amounting to $2 million,and the program for conductinginvestigations on geothermalenergy, amounting to $1.5 million.Asad Alam, the new regionalpresident of the World Bank, wasalso present at the press conference.“Besides the global economic crisis,which affects all states aroundthe world, Armenia is now livinga very important and also decisivemoment considering its economicprogress. Armenia belongs to theso-called average income countries.The World Bank values the achievementsof this country and considersthem rewarding and satisfactory,and therefore, IBRD’s first loanis granted for supporting small andmedium businesses. However, thissupport also reflects our hope andbelief that Armenia will continueimproving and progressing notonly to overcome the current economiccrisis, but also to secure abright future for the country,” saidAsad Alam.Mr. Katsu made the same assertion:“Armenia and the World Bankhave developed an active and closecooperation. We expect this cooperationto be ongoing and permanent.”f

18 The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009EditorialCommentarythe armenianreporterReinforcing civil liberties in ArmeniaThis week, Armenia’s National Assembly, working with the Monitoring Committee of theParliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to address the consequences of the eventsof March 1, 2008, found a creative way to turn a lose-lose situation into a win-win situationfor all parties involved – for Armenia, its government officials, its opposition members, itsdemocratic order, and for Europe.A shared commitmentArmenia joined the Council of Europe in 2001, firm in its determination to continue buildinga political culture based on the values its people share with the peoples of the rest of Europe.In joining, Armenia committed itself to continuing to build a participatory democracy andto enhance the protection of civil liberties. The Council of Europe, in turn, made a commitmentto help Armenia do so.As the traumatic events of March 1 unfolded – protesters and rioters clashed with lawenforcement personnel, the president declared a 20-day state of emergency, suspendingcertain civil liberties, and ten people received mortal wounds before calm was restored – theCouncil of Europe appropriately got involved. Its concern was to help Armenia reinstateliberties while maintaining public safety and the constitutional order.The Council of Europe has played a positive role overall.Primary responsibility for maintaining order as well as freedom lies with the government,the opposition, the civil society, the media, and the people of Armenia. But Europehas helped keep Armenian institutions focused on the shared commitment to democracybuilding.This week, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – which brings togetherparliamentary delegations from all its member-states every three months – debated thestate of democracy in Armenia for the third time since March 1, and adopted a third resolution.The first debate, in April 2008, had led to a resolution making specific demands on Armeniaand setting a three-month deadline for the implementation of those demands. Armeniawas asked to amend its law on public rallies to eliminate changes made during the state ofemergency; it was asked to begin an independent, transparent, and credible inquiry intothe events of March 1 and the circumstances that led to them; and it was asked to releaseall persons detained on “persons detained on seemingly artificial and politically motivatedcharges or who did not personally commit any violent acts or serious offences in connectionwith them.”In addition, the resolution called on all political forces in Armenia to begin an open andserious dialogue on further democratic reforms.The second PACE debate, in June, led to a resolution acknowledging the progress Armeniahad made in meeting the demands and also recognizing that more time was needed toimplement them in full.Crimes against the stateBy December, European monitors were focused on one issue above all: were criminal chargesagainst some people detained in connection with the post-election unrest politically motivated?On December 17, the PACE Monitoring Committee concluded that they were. Thecommittee then proposed a resolution that, if enacted, would declare that Armenia is holdingpolitical prisoners and would deprive the Armenian delegation of its vote in PACE. Theresolution was to be presented to the full assembly this week.The monitors were particularly concerned about criminal convictions gained on the basisof police testimony alone.Noting that many detainees were being charged with “attempting to seize state powerin violation of the Constitution,” the PACE monitors argued that the March 1 events werenot “aimed at the usurpation of state power.” The charges were thus unwarranted, theyconcluded.This matter is, of course, one for Armenia’s courts and the independent inquiry called forby PACE to decide. The PACE monitors are not called upon to determine guilt or innocencein criminal cases.Nonetheless, the conclusion that many detainees should be released was a sound one. Ifand where there is strong evidence of an intention to take arms against the state, Armeniamust be firm in prosecuting and punishing insurrectionists. And those directly responsiblefor each of the 10 deaths should be identified and prosecuted.But in other cases, even the perception that some charges may be politically motivated underminespublic confidence in the state. Thus, in cases where no violence is alleged, criminalprosecution is best avoided.A difficult impasseThe December 17 decision of the PACE Monitoring Committee created a difficult impasse.Officials at the Council of Europe clearly did not want to impose sanctions against Armenia– which is enormously more tolerant of dissent than several other member-states, suchas Russia and Azerbaijan. The officials just wanted to see tangible progress in implementingthe April resolution.The president of Armenia, Serge Sargsian, was willing to pardon anyone prosecuted in connectionwith the events of March 1 who applied for a pardon. Overall, 28 people applied forand were granted pardons. But a pardon application involves an admission of guilt, whichmade it an unacceptable option for many activists who believed themselves innocent.The president had the power to declare an amnesty, but he was unwilling to do so, arguing– quite reasonably – that to preempt the main court case just as it began would be to underminethe judicial process.The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hovik Abrahamian, is credited with finding a constructiveway out of this impasse. He undertook to form a special working group to rewrite– within one month – the articles of the Criminal Code under which the prisoners in questionare charged. The working group, chaired by Davit Harutiunian, head of Armenia’s PACEdelegation and chairperson of the Armenian parliament’s Standing Committee on State andLegal Issues, is to do its job in cooperation with the European Commission for Democracythrough Law (the Venice Commission) and the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for HumanRights.The speaker further undertook to get the revisions to the law adopted by the parliamentand signed by the president within one additional month. Under Article 22 of Armenia’sconstitution, laws eliminating an offense or mitigating the punishment for an offense areretroactive.Thus, it is expected that within the next three months, detainees who have not beencharged with violent crimes will be released. On this basis, the Monitoring Committeechanged its recommendation. In its third resolution, the assembly decided to review Armenia’scase again in April.The inquiryIn this way, the Council of Europe, working with Armenia’s National Assembly, is helpingArmenia not only deal with the immediate issue at hand, but also to amend its laws to reducethe chances of politically motivated prosecutions in the future. We welcome this development.It would be a mistake, however, to focus exclusively on the matter of detainees.An expert fact-finding group is inquiring into the events of March 1. The group, formedby presidential decree, includes two members appointed by opposition parties (one by theHeritage Party and another by the Armenian National Congress headed by former presidentLevon Ter-Petrossian), two members appointed by the governing coalition, and one memberappointed by Armenia’s Human Rights Defender. The fact-finding group has the right todemand and obtain information from any governmental body or official.The events of March 1 deeply wounded Armenian society. For the wound to begin healing,the facts and available evidence regarding those events must get a full airing. The burden puton the shoulders of the fact-finding group is a heavy one. We trust it will work diligently tofulfill its mandate. It will require the full cooperation of officials and witnesses – includingthe president, both former presidents, government officials, law-enforcement personnel,opposition activists, and witnesses. We call on all to rise to the occasion.Building and maintaining a democracy is, of course, a never-ending process. But it is reasonableto expect that by April 2009, all of the issues raised in the April 2008 PACE resolutionwill have been fully addressed. What should remain is a continuing dialogue among all politicalforces in Armenia on further democratic reforms.fThe court rises instead of the defendantsby Armen HakobyanYEREVAN – After a series of delays, thelatest court date of the Case of Seven wasset for January 30. On trial are formerforeign minister Alexander Arzoomanian,members of parliament Hakob Hakobyan,Miasnik Malkhasian, SassunMikaelian, and three others on chargesof organizing mass disorders in whichmurders occurred, and planning to usurpstate power.The trial initially began on December 19,2008. To date, Judge Mnatsakan Martirosianhas postponed it five times. Thereason for each postponement is that thedefendants refuse to rise when the clerkof the court intones the Armenian versionof “All rise.” Considering their refusal torise contempt of court – and indeed, thatis how the defendants describe it too – thejudge has had the defendants removedfrom the court and postponed the trialeach time.Prosecutor Koruyn Piloyan said thatthe defendants are attempting to delay thetrial each time to avoid prosecution. Moreover,saying that the European Conventionallows it, he declared that if the defendantscontinue their contempt, he shall ask for thetrial to continue in their absence. ArmenHarutyunyan, Armenia’s Human RightsDefender, has stated that proceeding in theabsence of the defendants would be unlawfulunder Armenian law.Indeed, Article 302 of Armenia’s PenalCode (see sidebar) seems to be very clear onthat point.But the well-known defense attorney RubenRshtuni thinks the trial can continuein the defendants’ absence if they are disruptive.“As I see it, the possible solution tothis case is that the defendants are dismissedfrom the court and the trial proceeds in theirabsence,” Mr. Rshtuni said. “I think the judgecan do this. We cannot suggest this as a generalsolution. However, if their attitude is offensiveor it hinders the process of the trial,this solution might be justified. I might haveContinued on page 19 mArmenian 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 © 2009 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 ChaderjianEastern U.S. editor Lou Ann MatossianWashington 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. 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The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009 19CommentaryArmenia: A winter wonderland, of sortsby Nyree AbrahamianYEREVAN – I love Yerevan in the winter.“Are you crazy?” asks David, my local fruitvendor. “The snow, the ice, the cold…. Whoneeds it?” But there’s a special somethingabout this city in the winter, something thatdoesn’t necessarily disappear, but that getslost in the shuffle of the loud, sticky, sizzling,crowded days of summer.Now let’s be clear: winter here is by nomeans glamorous. It’s a pain for pedestrians,who have to slip and slide their way throughthe skating rink that is the sidewalk. And ofcourse, as winters generally tend to be, it’scold. Without central heating in most buildings,it’s not uncommon to find five people ina room huddled around a single space heaterfor warmth.But all the inconveniences of winter aside,the colder it gets outside, the more peopletend to gather together for warmth. Andthat’s a good thing. Winter in Armenia is acozy time. A family time. A time for reflectionand a time for adventure.The main thing I like about winter here isthat the cold weather forces me to be morecreative. If I were to just sit around inside forthree months, I would go absolutely crazy, soI have to find things to do that will keep mymind stimulated and my boredom at bay. Ispend a lot more time in museums and galleriesin the winter than I do in the summer,and Yerevan truly has a wealth of them tooffer. And regardless of the cold outside, thelive music scene is still as vibrant as ever.Another one of my favorite winter pastimesis getting together with friends andcooking. While cooking can be a year-roundactivity, what makes it fun and challengingin the winter is that the variety of fresh ingredientsbecomes extremely limited, so wereally have to be creative both in our questfor good ingredients and in finding inventiveways to put those ingredients to use.One of my recent favorites is spinach.While spinach, a seasonal legume, is usuallyonly available in the spring, a few of thevendors at Pak Shuka, the indoor market onMashtots Avenue, carry greenhouse-grownspinach year-round. I learned this a coupleof months ago and it made me very happy.Countless variations of spinach soup, spinachsalad, and spinach beoreg later, I still getexcited every time I come across a nice bunchof spinach.Of course there are the traditions thatmake winter special in Armenia, like twoweek-longNew Year celebrations, and everybody’sfavorite – well, some people’s favorite– khash (a fatty soup made with cow’s feet,meant to be eaten early in the morning, accompaniedby tons of garlic and a whole lotof vodka). While I get queasy just thinkingabout this delicacy, I do appreciate the ceremonialaspect of it. Khash is never eatenalone. It’s a communal experience. A combinationof the soup, the vodka, and especiallythe company, make for a truly unique, Armenianwinter experience.Wondering if I am the only nut who enjoysthe Armenian winter, I ask around to see whatother locals and repats like about the season.Maro, a California native currently living inYerevan, embraces the Armenian winter, despiteits challenges. “To me, Armenia in thewinter is the real Armenia,” she says. “Thereare hardly any tourists, which is nice comparedto the summer when the country andespecially Yerevan are inundated by them.There’s snow and skiing and of course theicy side walks which make things more interestingand cause you to actually think whenyou walk. I love the devilish little kids whoattack you with snowballs and the cute littlekids who instead spend their time sleddingdown flights of concrete stairs.... Yerevan islike a small amusement park in the summerand the cafe culture almost consumes theentire city. I think the winter is simply moreinteresting because of the people you meetand the things you end up doing, becauseyou can’t just sit at a cafe and sip coffee in theshade all day long.”Winter in Armenia is a cozytime. A family time. A timefor reflection and a time foradventure.The skating rink at Swan Lake in Yerevan. Photo: Nyree Abrahamian.The court rises instead of the defendantsAnd while you may not be able to lounge inthe shade all day long, there is no shortage ofoutdoor activities to keep your blood flowingin the winter. Karapi Lich (Swan Lake),the little manmade lake next to the Opera,converts into a skating rink in the winter,complete with skate rentals and lockers. It’s11-year-old Beatrice’s favorite hangout. “If Icould go skating every day of my life, I would,”she says with a grin.While Yerevan offers plenty to do in thewinter, including WinterFest, a festival completewith concerts, a parade, games, andcontests, for some, the essence of the Armenianwinter is found in the villages. Winterhits the villages a lot harder than it hits Yerevan.But when your livelihood depends onthe land, you tend to develop a much greaterrespect for and appreciation of nature.“The villages in the cold of winter go into astate of hibernation,” says Areg, a repatriatewho has spent the last two winters in Armenia.“I love driving through the countrysideand watching the smoke slowly billow outof each home. It reminds me of what it musthave been like a hundred years ago whenman was more intimate with nature. It’s refreshingto see that remnants of our not sodistant agrarian past are still visible.”Tsaghkadzor, about an hour north of Yerevan,is becoming an increasingly popularwinter ski resort, and for the truly adventurous,the entire country is covered withmountains perfect for hiking, freeride skiing,and snowboarding. (Of course, thesehigh-adrenaline winter sports must be neverbe attempted without an experienced guidewho knows the terrain.)Stepan, a 20-something local and lover ofadventure sports, knows all the hidden secretsof Armenia in the winter. “It’s reallybeautiful to hike Mount Ara on a sunny winterday,” he says. “You get an amazing viewof Ararat and Aragats. And it’s a lot of fun toslide down from the top of the mountain ona plastic bag! Mount Ara and Mount Hatisare also good for freeride skiing. And there isan area near Gyumri that is perfect for crosscountryskiing.”Stepan is a big fan of Armenia’s hot springs,especially in the winter. “Have you ever beento Tatev Monastery and its surroundingsin the winter? It’s really beautiful. The hotwater near Satan’s Bridge becomes an amazinglight blue-green color, and there’s hardlyanybody there.” He continues, “After skiingat Tsaghkadzor, I recommend going to Hanqavanhot springs. It feels like you’re rightunder the sky. It’s really nice being in the hotwater and feeling snowflakes on your head atthe same time, or at night, you can enjoy thenight sky with thousands of stars.”The Armenian winter is not for the faintof heart, but it really is an underappreciatedseason. Whether you want to spend the daysipping tea in the warmth of a teahouse, eatinguntil you’re ready to explode at a familyNew Year celebration, or scouting the ruggedslopes, winter in Armenia truly offers somethingfor everyone.fn Continued from page 18done the same from the very beginning.”Mr. Rshtuni said it was a matter of simplecivility. “I have had the chance to participatein politically motivated trials in the mid-90s– where charges were brought against severalmembers of the Armenian RevolutionaryFederation. Back then, the defendants adopteda respectful attitude toward the court,although they saw the accusations as beinguntrue and political.”Pargev Ohanian, head of PresumptionJudicial Center, is a former judge. He wasdeposed soon after rendering a rare notguiltyverdict in a case brought on behalf ofArmenia’s Customs Service. He joined theopposition and headed one of Levon Ter-Petrossian’s campaign offices in Yerevan inthe 2008 presidential elections.“Judge Martirosian found the defendants’attitude of not rising before the court offensiveand dismissed them from the hearings,”Mr. Ohanian said. “By doing this, he administereda sanction set by law. According to thelaw, such a step is permitted; but, the courthearing is thereby also postponed. The law isthat a court hearing cannot take place withoutthe presence of the defendant.”The former judge added, “When a case ispostponed in this way and the defendantsremain in custody, they do not get credit fortime served.”Mr. Ohanian noted that other sanctions,such as fines, are also available to the court.“If the defendant causes disorder, disturbsthe session, is really offensive, and has animpolite attitude, the judge may assert thatit is impossible to continue with the hearingunder these circumstances. In that case,dismissing the defendant would be right andproper. But, in the present case, dismissal isnot fair,” he said.When asked what he would have done if heSupportersof thedefendants inthe Caseof Sevenprotestingoutside thecourthouse.Photo:Photolure.were in Judge Martirosian’s position, orwhether a similar case happened where thedefendant refused to rise, the former judgereplied, “There were a couple of cases wherethe defendants refused to rise. But I did notpay attention to them. In this case, I wouldhave proceeded with the hearing. The attitudeof the court in this case, in particularthe attitude of Judge Martirosian, reflectsExcerpts from Armenia’sPenal CodeArticle 302: Participation of the defendantin the trialThe trial proceeds in the presence of thedefendant, whose presence at the courtis obligatory.Article 314: Procedure of court hearing1. At the moment of the entrance of the judgesinto court, the clerk announces, “Standup, the court is coming!” All those presentat the court hearing rise to their feet.2. All participants in the court hearingaddress the court as “Honorable court,”after that make all the necessary statements,appeals, and challenges standing.Deviation from the form of addressis allowed by permission of the chair.3. The chair’s instructions are mandatoryfor each person participating in thecourt hearing or present at the unhealthy egoism.”It should be noted, however, that at leastone defendant was heard shouting profanitiesfrom the dock, and the judge may considerit best to nip in the bud any manifestationsof contempt.The hearing on January 30, 2009 was postponed,yet again, because the defendants refusedto rise.f

20 The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009Hamazkayin Music Committee presentsComplete Piano Works of the three Titans of Armenian MusicSAYAT NOVA, KOMITAS, KHACHATURIANPerformed by renowned pianist Armen Babakhanianavailable on compact discsSAYAT NOVASolo Piano WorksPiano Armen Babakhanian$15KOMITASPiano WorksPiano Armen Babakhanian(2CD set)$20KHACHATURIANSolo Piano WorksPiano Armen Babakhanian(4CD set)$35The Hamazkayin Music Committee is proud to have accomplished its project of publishing the pianocompositions and arrangements for piano of three titans of Armenian music, Sayat Nova, Komitas, and AramKhachaturian, performed by the internationally renowned pianist Armen Babakhanian. The first two releaseswere titled Sayat Nova: Piano Arrangements and Komitas: Piano Works. The present production, AramKhachaturian: Solo Piano Works, is the third and last of the series and features Aram Khachaturian's collectivesolo piano compositions on 4 CDs.Available at these fine outlets:Abril Bookstore, Berj Bookstore, Sardarabad Bookstore, St. Vartan Bookstore,,, Amazon.comFor wholesale inquiries please contact

The Armenian Reporter | January 31, 2009

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