National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

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National, International, Armenia, and Community News and Opinion

Atom Egoyantalks abouthis new film,AdorationSee story on page C4 mVaheBerberian’sneed to speakagainSee story on page 10mARF leavesgovernment,citing TurkeypolicySee story on page 16mEastern U.S. EditionNumber 112May 2, 2009the armenianreporterThousands of Armenian-Americans gathered at the Armenian Martyrs’ Monument at Bicknell Park in Montebello, Calif., to commemorate the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Photo: Nora Yacoubian.The Armenian Genocideis remembered worldwideVisit us at reporter.amSee story on page 1 m


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009


Number 112May 2, 2009the armenianreporterArmeniaARF leaves Armenian government, citingdisagreements on Turkey policyThe Armenian Revolutionary Federation(Dashnaktsutiun) on April 27withdrew from Armenia’s governingcoalition, citing “insurmountabledisagreements on matters ofprinciple” regarding Armenia’s foreignpolicy, Vincent Lima reports. AArmeniaCommunityCommunityparty declaration referred specificallyto the timing and substanceof a joint statement of the foreignministries of Armenia and Turkeyon the eve of April 24.See story on page 16mRichard Hovannisian: “I consider a jointhistorians’ commission a dangerous trap”Historian Richard Hovannisian ofUCLA, met with Tatul Hakobyanof the Armenian Reporter on April24 in Yerevan. They discussed thejoint statement issued by Turkeyand Armenia on April 22 and theTwo sons of Musa Ler share a historyIt was hearing the distinctive Armeniandialect of Musa Ler thatmade Manug Aydin turn around in1984. It was the beginning of a longfriendship with Guydzag Boyadjian.The two men grew up in separateSts. Tarkmanchatz School was builtin 1929 under the patronage of PatriarchYeghishe Tourian to satisfythe educational needs of the Armeniancommunity of Jerusalem. Theschool has played a dominant role inthe life of the Armenian communityof Jerusalem. On April 20, the 80thThe AGBU Antranig Dance Ensembleis celebrating its 40th anniversaryin 2009 and, to mark the milestoneyear, the group will present anew program during a special nightCommunityworlds but were both descendantsof the survivors of the resistanceat Musa Ler. Richard Tedesco recountstheir story.See story on page 6mJerusalem Armenian school turns 80, celebratesOnstage at Lincoln Center, AGBU Dance Ensemblewill mark 40 years this NovemberCommunityTurkish proposal to form a bilateralhistorians’ commission. Prof. Hovannisiancalled the proposal a dangeroustrap.See story on page 17manniversary for the establishmentof the Armenian Secondary Schoolof Sts. Tarkmanchatz was celebratedin Jerusalem with the attendance ofmore than 300 alumni, communitymembers, guests, and pilgrims.See story on page 14mof celebration at Lincoln Center forthe Performing Arts on Saturday,November 28.See story on page 7mYoung Professionals prepare for Tour to ArmeniaThe Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR)and the Zohrab Center in New YorkCity organized a reception and presentationabout FAR’s Young Professionals2009 Tour to Armeniaon Thursday, April 23. The eveningserved as a reunion for alumni ofthe program as well as an opportunityto inform prospective participantsabout the tour to Armenia.See story on page 12mIn Times Square, Armeniansremember the Genocideby Taleen BabayanNEW YORK – An unprecedentednumber of Armenian-Americansconverged in Times Square on April26 to commemorate the 94th anniversaryof the Armenian Genocide.Under a bright sky, the enthusiasticaudience listened attentively to anassemblage of prominent speakersurging them to carry on the fightfor Armenian Genocide recognition.The gathering was being heldfor the 24th consecutive year.“We will continue to light thetorch of truth until Turkey recognizesthe Genocide,” proclaimedthe senior Democratic senatorfrom New York, Chuck Schumer.He was one of several elected officialswho protested Turkey’s denialof responsibility for the Armenianmassacres and expressed solidaritywith the Armenian-American community.While Armenia and Turkey jointlyheld out the prospect that Turkeymay one day open the border withArmenia, which it closed 16 yearsago in an act of overt hostility, andagree to establish diplomatic relations,Armenian-Americans gatheredand confirmed their solemncommitment to the memory of theIn Southern California, Armeniansgather to commemorate the GenocideMONTEBELLO, Calif. – On April24, a rally was held at the ArmenianMartyrs Monument in Montebello.A joint celebration of the DivineLiturgy with the participation ofthe Armenian Apostolic, Catholic,and Evangelical Churches was heldin the vicinity of the monument.Thousands of faithful, communityleaders and the consul generalof the Republic of Armenia in LosAngeles were joined by elected officialsfrom various cities in theregion, the state of California, andthe U.S. Congress to commemoratethe 94th anniversary of the ArmenianGenocide. The gathering wasorganized by the Armenian GenocideUnited Commemoration Committee.Archbishop Hovnan Derderian,Primate, delivered the sermon whileArchbishop Moushegh Mardirossiancelebrated the Divine Liturgy,assisted by clergy from ArmenianApostolic, Catholic and EvangelicalChurches.After opening remarks emceeArdashes Kassakhian, whois Glendale’s city clerk, invitedspeakers to offer comments onthe occasion. Los Angeles mayorAntonio Villaraigosa, Los Angelescity controller and Councilmember Wendy Gruel, Rep.Adam Schiff, state Sen. CarolLiu, state Assembly member PaulKrekorian, and Consul GeneralGrigor Hovhannissian wereamong the guests and speakersat the commemorative event inMontebello.Archbishop Derderian began hissermon with the following wordsfrom the American prophet Rev. Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. “I just dovictims of the first genocide of the20th century.Rep. Pallone speaksThis unique event, held in the heartof Manhattan, serves as a publicforum for U.S. elected officials andleaders to call for justice for thevictims of the Genocide, which wascarried out by Ottoman Turkey.An agbu aya scout at his post next to the monument at Bicknell Park.Homenetmen Scouts also assisted in scouting duties for the commemoration.Photo: Nora Yacoubian.God’s will.... I have seen the PromisedLand. I may not get there withyou. But I want you to know tonightthat we as a people will get tothe Promised Land.”“We will continueto light thetorch of truthuntil Turkeyrecognizesthe Genocide,”Senator ChuckSchumer(D.-NY) toldparticipants inthe Times Squarecommemorationof the ArmenianGenocide. Photo:Taleen Babayan.Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D.-N.J.), co-chair of the House ArmenianCaucus, said it was importantfor everyone to be involvedin Genocide recognition and to doeverything to bring the Republicsof Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakhcloser to the United States.Continued on page 15 mThe Primate, characterizing theArmenian Genocide as a new beginningfor Armenians, said, “To-Continued on page 7


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009NationalWashington briefingby Emil SanamyanArmenian FM to visitU.S. after “historic step”with TurkeySecretary of State Hillary Clintontelephoned Armenian foreign ministerEdward Nalbandian to welcomethe April 22 statement by theforeign ministries of Armenia andTurkey as a “historic step,” Armenia’sPublic Radio reported on April28. The statement committed Armeniaand Turkey to an “on-goingprocess” with a goal of normalizingbilateral relations.According to informed sources,Mrs. Clinton also extended an invitationfor Mr. Nalbandian to visitWashington early next week, whichthe foreign minister accepted.Meanwhile, the Armenian Assemblyof America reported thaton April 27 its leader Hirair Hovnanianwas telephoned by VicePresident Joe Biden. Accordingto the Assembly, “they exchangedviews on the history and status ofArmenian-American communityefforts to obtain affirmation by theU.S. government of the ArmenianGenocide.”According to U.S. and Armenianreports, last week Mr. Biden calledArmenian President Serge Sargsiantwice, both before and afterthe April 22 statement was madepublic. During the second call, Mr.Sargsian was praised for his “leadership”on the issue.For its part, the Assembly welcomedthe April 22 statement byArmenia and Turkey, while alsoexpressing disappointment aboutPresident Barack Obama’s April24 statement that did not containthe word genocide.State Dept. reportnotes Armenia’s “activeinterest” in aiding theU.S. in AfghanistanAfter Armenian peacekeepers completedtheir mission in Iraq lastOctober, “the Armenian Ministryof Defense has expressed activeinterest in sending a peacekeepingcontingent to Afghanistan in supportof the International SecurityAssistance Force,” according to theState Department’s annual “Countryreports on terrorism 2008,” releasedon April 30.Discussions of such a deploymentwere already reported in October2007, when the then-primeminister Serge Sargsian visitedthe United States.Overall, the report registered aconsiderable decline in terrorismrelatedfatalities from the high ofMinisterNalbandianlast visitedWashingtonin July 2008,here withthen Secretaryof StateCondoleezza Rice.Photo: ArmenianReporter.22,500 deaths in 2007 to under16,000 in 2008. While there was adecline in terrorist activity in Iraq,an increase was registered in Afghanistanand especially Pakistan.The report also noted that “Armenia’scounterterrorism partnershipwith the United States includedgranting blanket over-flightclearance and ad hoc landing rightsto U.S. military aircraft,” as well ascooperation on nonproliferation issues.(Arminfo reported on April 29that the Armenian Defense Ministryasked the National Assembly toratify a prolongation of the July 24,2000, U.S.-Armenia Agreement onCounterproliferation. The agreement,which became the first ina series of U.S.-Armenia securityagreements, was signed during anearlier visit to the U.S. by Mr. Sargsian,who was minister of defenseat the time.)While referring to “measuredprogress in implementing bordersecurity and anti-trafficking measures,”the U.S. report retainedsome of the concerns expressedabout Armenia last year.The concerns included reported“widespread corruption” that hamperedcounterterrorism efforts aswell “interest in strengthening itsties with Iran,” that was said to leadto Armenia’s reluctance “to participatein international efforts thatcriticized or placed pressure on Iran.”Like last year, the report expressedno such concerns with regardto Azerbaijan or Georgia.“Rival” gas pipelinesdiscussed in Sofia,PragueEuropean countries are continuingto discuss ways to safeguard theirgas supplies from interruptions,resulting in part from their overdependenceon supplies from Russiaand the latter’s recurring pricingdisputes with transit countries likeUkraine.A meeting in the Bulgarian capitalof Sofia on April 24–25 broughttogether senior officials from 28countries and, according to localmedia, focused the so-called SouthStream project that would bringRussian natural gas under theBlack Sea to Turkey and then on toEurope, thus avoiding Ukraine.That summit’s main intrigue wasRussian premier Vladimir Putin’sdecision to pull out at the last moment,sending his energy ministerinstead. According to media speculation,Mr. Putin’s decision came afterBulgaria declined to cede its gasdistribution network to Russia’sGazprom as part of South Stream.For their part, Europeans seekto increase the transparency of gaspurchase and transit agreementsmade by Gazprom with CentralAsian gas suppliers.On May 6–7, the European Unionwill hold its summit in the Czechcapital. On the agenda there is EUMembers of Congress mark April 24 with calls for U.S.recognition of Armenian Genocidesupport for the U.S.-backed Nabuccogas pipeline that aims to bringCentral Asian (and potentially Iranian)gas to Europe bypassing Russiavia Turkey. (Turkey has conditionedits support for Nabucco onprogress of its accession talks withthe union, which are hampered byobjections from Cyprus.)The Prague summit will also bringtogether leaders of four former Sovietrepublics, including Armenia,Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Ukraine,for the formal launch of the “Easternpartnership” proposed by theEU. Leaders of Belarus and Moldovaare expected to stay out overtheir disputes with EU memberstates.Freedom Housecatalogues worldwidemedia struggles“Journalists faced an increasinglygrim working environment in 2008,”the Freedom House reported in itsThen DefenseSecretaryWilliam Cohen(left) signs a nonproliferationdealwith Armenia’sSerge Sargsian inJuly 2000. DoDphoto.annual report released on May 1.The think tank’s research registeredglobal decline for the seventh yearin a row and, for the first time, adecline in every region of the world.The biggest decline of any regionwas again registered in Eastern Europe/ Former Soviet Union, buteven countries like Israel, Italy, andHong Kong were relegated from“free” to “partly free” status.Country reports were not availableas of press time, but the thinktank was expected to again put Armenia’spress environment in the“not free” category, as in severalpreceding reports.fby Emil SanamyanWASHINGTON – As in yearspast, members of the U.S. Congressmarked April 24, ArmenianGenocide Remembrance Day, withspeeches, statements, and pledgesof support for the congressionalresolution on the Genocide.Among those attending theApril 22 congressional commemorationheld annually on the CapitolHill and hosted by co-chairsof the Armenian Caucus Reps.Frank Pallone (D.-N.J.) andMark Kirk (R.-Ill.) were HouseSpeaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.),House Majority leader StenyHoyer (D.-Md.), Sen. Jack Reed(D.-R.I.) and 20 other members ofCongress. (See the Armenian Reporterfor April 25 for some of thecomments and photos from thecommemoration.)Also this week support for H. Res.252, affirming the U.S. record onthe Armenian Genocide, increasedto 116 House members. Statementsby congressional leaders gave noindication of when the resolutionmight be considered by the HouseForeign Affairs Committee.The CongressionalRecordAdditionally, statements for therecord were made by SenatorsReed and Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.), Reps. Pallone, MicheleBachmann (R.-Minn.), HowardBerman (D.-Calif.), MichaelCapuano (D.-Mass.), Jim Costa(D.-Calif.), Jerry Costello(D.-Ill.), Scott Garrett (R.-N.J.),Carolyn Maloney (D.-N.Y.), EdMarkey (D.-Mass.), Gary Peters(R.-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D.-Md.), Tim Walz (D.-Minn.), HenryWaxman (D.-Calif.) and FrankWolf (R.-Va.).Last year, Sen. Boxer was theonly member of the Senate ForeignRelations Committee to voteagainst the Bush administration’snominee for ambassador to Armenia;she took exception to theadministration’s policy on theArmenian Genocide issue. In herApril 24 statement, the senatorexpressed support for recent talksbetween Armenia and Turkey, expressinghope that “this processwill lead the Turkish Governmentto finally acknowledge the irrefutabletruth of the Armenian genocideand also to greater peace andprosperity for the people of Armenia.”Referring to President BarackObama’s pre-election statementson the Genocide, Sen. Boxerstressed, “There is no need for furtherstudy or debate because wemust never legitimize the views ofthose who deny the very worst ofcrimes against humanity.”Sen. Reed in his statement underscoredthe need “for our owncountry to recognize the Armeniangenocide.” He concluded the statementin Armenian “Menk panavchenk mornar – We will never forget.”Rep. Pallone expressed hope that“the U.S. Government can stand behindour statements and our promises”on the Armenian Genocide.“If we are going to live up to thestandards we set for ourselves andcontinue to lead the world in affirminghuman rights everywhere,we need to stand up and recognizethe Armenian Genocide,” Rep. Pallonesaid. “To not do so sends amessage that we are complicit inTurkey’s denial.”In a statement on April 22, Rep.Costa – who represents Fresno andSan Joaquin Valley – recalled, “Yearafter year, we have seen the samestandard letter from the WhiteHouse which offers sympathy andapology for the ‘mass killings,’ yetrefused to label these events asgenocide.”Rep. Costa added, “I am hopefulMadam Speaker, we finally escapefrom being under Turkey’s thumbon this issue. It is vital our Nationhas a foreign policy that accuratelyreflects history.”An April 28 statement by Rep.Wolf – a veteran Republican fromnorthern Virginia – recalled thatRaphael Lemkin’s coinage of theword genocide “was driven largelyby what happened to the Armenians.”Rep. Wolf said stressed, “there ispower in speaking the truth, evenabout atrocities that occurrednearly a century ago so that othermen with evil aims might not beempowered by our silence.”In his turn, Rep. Walz – whorepresents southern Minnesota– said he remained “committed tothe public recognition of the factof the Armenian genocide,” notingthat “it is the only way to make surewe are forever vigilant to preventgenocide in the future.”At the April 22 congressionalcommemoration, Rep. Walz was theonly speaker to express his disappointmentwith President Obama’snonuse of the word genocide duringhis recent trip to Turkey.“We hope the day will soon comewhen it is not just the survivorswho honor the dead but also whenthose whose ancestors perpetratedthe horrors acknowledge their terribleresponsibility and commemorateas well the memory of genocide’svictims,” said Rep. Berman inhis statement.Rep. Berman chairs the HouseForeign Affairs Committee, towhich the House Resolution 252 affirmingthe U.S. record on the ArmenianGenocide has been referredsince its introduction. f


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009InternationalApril 24 commemorated around the worldArmenians throughout the globecommemorated the 94th anniversary ofthe Armenian Genocide in unprecedentednumbersRequiem service at Aleppo’s National Cemetary. Photos: Venus.Requiem service and wreath layingin AleppoA requiem service was held atAleppo’s National Cemetary, ledby Archbishop Shahan Sargsianof the Berio Diocese, to honorthe 1.5 million Armenians whoperished 94 years ago during theGenocide.In the evening of April 24, at theYesayan center, there was a specialevening dedicated to the martyrsof the Armenian Genocide.Gevor Kharibjanian, representingthe Armenian Embassy,made a speech.On April 25, the Armenian Embassyorganized the official wreathlaying at the Genocide memorialat the National Cemetery.Taking part in this ceremony werePaying homage.ambassadors representing othercountries, leaders of the Armeniancommunity as well as representativesfrom Syria‘s Christiancommunities.fAn April 24 like no other in IstanbulAccording to Nouvelles d’Armenie,about 20 people, mostly employeesof the newspaper Agos, visited theArmenian cemetery in Balik in Turkey’scapital Istanbul on April 24.There, they laid a wreath on thetomb of slain journalist HrantDink and the monument dedicatedto the memory of the martyrsof the Hamidian massacresof 1894–96.Accompanying the Armenianswas Turkish publisher RagipZarakoglu and a Kurdish journalistfrom Van. The editorial staff ofAgos paid tribute to the memoryof Hrant Dink and the victims ofthe 1915 Genocide, including themassacres of Adana in 1909.Visibly moved, the editor of thenewspaper’s Armenian edition,Sarkis Seropyan, spoke, recallingthe historic character of thevisit, which is unprecedented inthe history of the Armenian communityof Constantinople.“We wanted to show that Hrantand all our martyrs are rememberedand that Istanbul Armeniansremember their history.Today we are gathered together incommunion with Hrant, keepingin mind that he was the 1,500,000plus one martyr of the Armeniannation,” said Seropyan.A young employee of Agos reciteda prayer for the repose of thesouls of the martyrs before singingHayr Mer (Our Father).Mr. Zarakoglu photographedby the tomb of the great poetMissak Medzarentz, said, “I donot want to miss this opportunityHrant Dink’s grave in Istanbul.to commemorate the victims, myfriend Hrant, the victims of Adanaand 1915.”More than a regular commemoration,like those which took placethroughout the globe, the intimateceremony was marked bythe memory of the Armenian intelligentsiabeheaded here in thesame city 94 years ago. In an unprecedentedmove, the newspaperAgos, in its Thursday morningedition, published the completelist of Armenian intellectuals whowere rounded up on April 24.Later that afternoon a culturalevent took place at the initiativeof several democratic and leftistTurkish intellectuals, which paidtribute to great figures of the Armeniannation massacred by orderof the Young Turkish governmenton April 24 1915. fGenocide commemoration ceremony held in BelgiumOn April 24, commemoration ceremonieswere marked in Brussels.Sourb Mariam-Madlen ArmenianApostolic Church held a requiemservice for the souls of the martyrsof the Armenain Genocide.Taking part in the requiem wasArmenia’s Ambassador to BelgiumVigen Tchitejyan; Armenia’sambassador to NATO SamvelMgrtchian; representatives ofArmenia’s diplomatic corps, theArmenian Committee of Belgiumand representatives of Belgium’sArmenian community.Following the service, participantswalked toward the GenocideMemorial which is located in oneof the central squares of Brussels,where they placed flowers andwreaths.Michel Mamuryan, presidentof the Brussels’ Armenian Committeeaddressed the participants,The small Armenian communityof Chile held Genocide commemorationceremonies on Sunday,April 19. Over 100 people, includingmany children and teenagerscame to the capital Santiago toattend the ceremony which beganwith a religious service led by FatherJorge Abed, whose mother isArmenian.After the playing of the nationalanthems of Armenia and Chile,Vice-Admiral Hernan Couyoumdjiandelivered a moving speechon the history and meaning ofArmenians in Chile rememberThe Russian-Armenian Associationand the Armenian RevolutionaryFederation’s Hay Tad officein Moscow jointly organizeda rally in the KrasnopresnenskayaZastava square in Moscow withthe slogan, “The Armenian Genocideis a Crime Against Humanity.”Hundreds of Russian-Armeniansparticipated.Taking part in the protest rallywere representatives from othercommunities, including the JewishPan-Russian OrganizationPresident Roman Spector; Memberof the Kurdish National CongressMerab Shamov and vicepresident of Moscow’s Greekcommunity Albert Yanokov. Allthe genocide. He stressed theimportance of being united andactive and the special role of theyouth.Several special guests were inattendance, including former UNrepresentative to Armenia KaticaCekalvic; Elizabeth Markarian,whose husband, Sergio, is the directorof the prestigious footballteam from the University of Chile;dancer and dance instructor AstghikAharonian of the MunicipalTheater in Santiog, accompaniedby her son Pablo.fLeft: YuriNavoyan,director ofARF HayTad, Moscow.Right: Russian-Armenians at arally in Moscow.representatives stated their supportfor the reinstatement of historicaljustice for the Armenianpeople. They stressed that thecondemnation of the ArmenianGenocide is an issue for all of humanity.Armenians representing differentcommunity organizations operatingin Russia made speechesto the assembled participants ofthe rally.The meeting concluded with aspeech by the Deputy Speaker ofthe Russian Duma, president ofthe Liberal Democratic Party ofRussia, Vladimir Zhirinovski whostated that the Genocide perpetratedby the Ottoman Empire isPresident ofthe BelgianSenate ArmandDe Deckerat memorialservices forthe ArmenianGenocide.which included president of theBelgian Senate Arman de Deker;Senator George Dalman who is amember of the Armenian-Belgianparliamentary group; SenatorAlen Desteks; Isabel Duran, vicepresidentof the Ecolo politicalparty; deputy mayor of Brussels;representatives of Belgian’sTutsi and Jewish communitiesand others.Following these ceremonies,the Armenians marched towardthe Turkish Embassy to protestagainst Turkey’s denial of the Genocideand demand justice. fYoung Armenians in Chile remember.Protest rally at Turkish Embassy in the NetherlandsThe Armenian National Committee(ANC) of Netherlands organizeda protest rally in front of theTurkish Embassy in the Netherlandson April 24.On the evening of April 23, morethan 100 young people lit candleseach of which symbolized 10,000victims. After the prayer the participantspaid tribute to the memoryof the victims with one minuteof silence. Afterwards the candleswere arranged on the ground toread 1.5. In front of the TurkishEmbassy in the Hague the demonstratorsplaced posters demandingrecognition of the Genocide.The ANC of the Netherlands saidthat according to tradition, April24 protest rallies are held in frontof the Parliament of the Netherlands.In Almelo’s Armenian ApostolicChurch a requiem servicetook place.During the commemorationceremonies organized in the ArmenianChurch, members of theDutch Parliament, representativesof all the factions of the Almelotown council, the Armenian Consulin Holland, well-known academiciansand cultural figures tookpart.fProtest rally in Moscow condemns the GenocideIn solidarity with the Armenians.one of the blackest pages of mankind’shistory.This was the first time that a rallywas organized in Moscow. In previousyears, Russian Armenians hadonly organized a picket in front ofthe Turkish Embassy. f


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009InternationalThe 94th anniversary of the Armenian GenocideArmenians in Rome commemoratethe Armenian GenocideUnder the auspices of the ArmenianEmbassy in Rome, on April22 at the Casa della Memoria edella Storia (The House of Memoryand Story), the Armeniancommunity of Rome took partin the 94th anniversary commemorationceremony entitled,“Storie senza Storia: Gli Armeni.”(Stories with a story: The Armenians).Speaking at the ceremony wasone of Italy’s best known journalists,Marco Tozadin of La Stampanewspaper, who paid tribute tothe 1.5 million innocent soulswho perished during the ArmenianGenocide of 1915. fThousands gathered in front of the Arch of Triumph in Paris to pay tribute.Armenians commemoratethroughout FranceHundreds of commemorationceremonies took place throughoutFrance marking the 94th anniversaryof the Armenian Genocideof 1915.In Paris, on April 24, six thousandpeople gathered in front ofArch of Triumph on the ChampsElysées to pay tribute to the 1.5million Armenians who perishedin the first genocide of the 20thCentury. Many French politicalpersonalities, including AndreSantini French minister of publicservice, Catherine Vieu-Charier,deputy mayor of Paris, city councilors,mayors from surroundingtowns, state and political leaders,high ranking police officers,Argentinean-Armenianscommemorate April 24leaders and members of the Armeniancommunity took part inthe commemoration and paidhomage to the victims in frontof the Unknown Soldier’s flame.In the morning of April 24, areception was held at Paris’ CityHall with the participation of theMayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoeand other officials including leadersof the Armenian communityof Paris.Also on April 24, a requiemservice was held at Paris’ Hovhaness-MgrtichArmenian ApostolicChurch. At the statue of Komitasfound in Yerevan Park, hundredsof people gathered to rememberand demand justice. fAt Sourb Krikor Lusavoritch ArmenianApostolic Church in BeunosAires, Argentina, a requiemservice was conducted by ArchbishopKisag Muradyan dedicatedto the 94th anniversary of the ArmenianGenocide.Following the service, flowersand wreaths were placed at theGenocide memorial found in thecourtyard of the church.Close to a thousand Armeniansthen began walking alongArmenia Street. Argentina’s EducationMinister and president ofArgentina’s Human Rights Assemblydelivered speeches.The keynote speaker of theevening Ambassador VladimirKarmirshalian of the Armenianembassy.Later in the day, representativesof Armenian youth groupstook part in a torch rally and walkedtoward the Turkish embassy.The film Screamers, directed byCarla Garabedian was premieredat the Malbaya Cultural Center. fIn Romania, Armenians rememberThe Armenian Church of Bucharestheld a requiem service in thememory of the victims of thegenocide. Speeches were madeby Armenia’s ambassador to RomaniaYeghishe Sargsian, and thePrelate of the Armenian ApostolicChurch to Romania Bishop DirayrMardikian. Following the service,flowers and wreaths were placedat the Genocide memorial, composedof two khachkars, by theAmbassador, the Prelate and onbehalf of the Armenian Union ofRomania.Commemoration ceremonieswere conducted in other Romaniancities with Armenian communities.A few days before the commemorationon April 24, statementswere made in the two houses ofthe Romanian parliament. In thesenate, the statement was readby the president of the parliamentarycommittee on finances,industry and services and by thepresident of the Armenian Unionof Romania, Senator VarujanVosganian. In the parliament,vice-president of the ArmenianUnion of Romania and the leaderof the ethnic minorities faction inparliament, Varujan Pambuccianalso read statements in memoryof the victims of the ArmenianGenocide.fArmenian demonstrators subjected to police brutalityin Athens, authorities later apologizeDuring a demonstration organizedby Greece’s Armenian communityon April 24 demandingrecognition and justice for theArmenian Genocide of 1915, theGreek police, attempting to dispersethe protestors resorted toviolent measures.They used teargas against theArmenians, which was later publiclydenounced as anti-democratic.The young people in thecrowd fought back to open a corridortoward the Turkish Embassybut were beaten back by policebatons.After leaders of the Armeniancommunity appealed to the policeforces, they were allowed to advancetoward the embassy to passon a memorandum to the TurkishAmbassador.The protestors had begun theirrally from the Sintakma SquareGreek-Armeniancommunityleadersnegotiatingwith riot police.Photo: Azad OrGreek riotpolice use alevel of forcefor which theauthorities laterapologized.where the ARF Youth Federationhad organized an art exhibitionin memory of the victimsof the 1915 Genocide. Young andold alike, holding tricolor Armenianflags and Greek flags, withlarge banners marched towardthe Turkish Embassy. Whenthey arrived there, they saw thatthe embassy was blocked by armoredvehicles, manned by riotpolice with shields and batons.Following the clashes with thepolice, the Armenian communitysaid that police behavior towardpeaceful protestors, expressingtheir freedom of speech was unacceptable.The following day, Greekauthorities issued an apology tothe Armenian community. fOfficials of Ryde City, Australia mark the Armenian Genocide with members of the Armenian community.Ryde City, Australia, marks 94th anniversary ofArmenian GenocideOn Sunday, April 26, Ryde Cityjoined with Armenian-Australians,in commemorating the 94th anniversaryof the Armenian Genocideof 1915-1922.The commemoration, was held atMeadowbank War Memorial Parkin front of the Armenian GenocideMemorial. This 94th ArmenianGenocide wreath laying ceremonywas organized by the RydeCity Council. This is the fourthyear that the ceremony was heldhere, with the active participationof the Armenian Genocide CommemorativeCommittee, DenistonEast Ararat Scouts, Ryde MulticulturalCenter and the ArmenianCommunity.The Master of Ceremony, CouncilorSarkis Yedelian OAM, DeputyMayor of City of Ryde, first acknowledgedand paid respect tomany clans of the Eora nation onwhose traditional land the memorialhas been erected and theceremony took place. Among themany participants were Clr. VicTagg, Mayor of Ryde, ArchbishopAghan Baliozian Primate of ArmenianApostolic Church of Australiaand New Zealand, Clr. Ivan Petch,Clr. Artin Etmekdjian, Ms. MaxineMckew Federal Member for Bennelong,Mr. Anthony Roberts MP,Member for Lane Cove, Mr. VictorDominello MP member for Ryde,descendants of Genocide survivors,members of the ArmenianNational Committee and representativesof various communityorganizations, as well as DenistonEast Ararat Scouts.For the 90th anniversary, onApril 12, 2005, through the initiativeof Clr. Yedelian, the City ofRyde unanimously passed a resolutioncondemning the ArmenianGenocide. Ryde Council made historyby becoming first City Councilin Australia to do so. f


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009Internationalcommemorated around the worldThe 94th anniversary of Armenian Genocidecommemorated in JavakhkThe youth of Javakhk organize a torch rally.Akhalkalak - The courtyard ofSourp Khach Armenian ApostolicChurch in Akhalkalak was full tocapacity of Armenians commemoratingthe 94th anniversary of theArmenian Genocide and expressingtheir solidarity with the homeland.From early in the morning, theArmenians of Akhalkalak werealready marching toward the ArmenianChurch to light a candlein memory of their martyrs, alongwith high ranking officials includingmembers of the city councils,representatives of the regionaladministration, school principals,police officers, representatives oflocal NGOs and political parties.Khatchik Ayvazyan, presidentof the Akhalkalak municipalitysaid, “94 years ago on April 24,the Turks committed the murderof 1.5 million innocent people.They were deported, killed andtoday the entire Armenian nationconsiders it its duty to rememberits innocent victims. In Javakhk,Akhalkalak, we have all gatheredhere to remember...I call upon theentire world to justly recognizethe Armenian Genocide.”In Mr. Ayvazyan’s opinion, thecommitment to ensuring Genociderecognition has been growing eachyear among Armenians of Javakhk.Every year more and more peoplegather together to commemoratethe innocent martyrs.AKHALTSKHA – On April 24, arequiem service took place atSourb Krikor Lusavoritch ArmenianChurch and at Sourb KhachArmenian Church in the villageof Mets Pamaj, to honor thememory of the 1.5 million Armenianvictims of the Genocideof 1915.Later that day, Armeniansfrom Akhaltskha and surroundingvillages walked from theSourb Krikor Lusavoritch Churchtoward Akhaltskha’s ArmenianYouth Center, from where theymarched with torches throughthe central streets of Akhaltskhatoward the memorial-khachkarfor the martyrs of the ArmenianGenocide. Leading the procession,mostly of young people,were Der Manuk Kahana Zeynalian,and Der Tatev KahanaMarukian. Along the way, manypeople had placed lit candles intheir windows. The protestorsArmenians demonstrate in OttawaDemonstratorsdemandingrecognition ofthe ArmenianGenocide inAkhalkalak.appealed to the Georgian governmentto recognize the ArmenianGenocide.One minute of silence wasobserved at the memorial afterwhich speeches were made, callingfor recognition and condemningTurkey’s policy of denial.NINOTSMINDA – The threeschools of Ninotsminda, includingthe administration and staff,as well as members of the community,marched toward the memorialto the Armenian Genocide of1915 near the Cultural Center. Alsoparticipating in the march werecity and regional officials. Flowersand wreaths were placed at thememorial in honor of the memoryof those who perished in 1915 anda special tribute was paid to the100th anniversary of the massacrein Adana.fCanadian-Armenian children demand that Turkey admits its guilt.Almost 2000 Canadian-Armeniansfrom Montreal, Laval, Toronto,Cambridge, Hamilton andSt. Catherines traveled to thecapital city Ottawa on April 24 toparticipate in the annual marchmarking the Armenian Genocide.Earlier, a reception was organizedin the Canadian parliamentby the Armenian National Committeeof Canada attended by Ministerof State for Science and TechnologyGary Goodyear, who was alsorepresenting the Progressive Conservativeparty; representing theLiberal party was Mrs. RaymondeFolco; representing the New DemocraticParty Mrs. Megan Leslie; Dr.Harold Albrecht, president of theArmenian-Canadian parliamentarygroup; Yasmin Ratansi (Lib.),Randi Kemp (PC), Steven Edward(PC), and Gerard Kennedy (Lib.).Guests who addressed the gatheringreiterated their support andsolidarity with the Canadian-Armeniancommunity and for thejust cause of the Armenian people.President of the ANC Canada, Dr.Jirayr Basmadjian welcomed theguests after which Dr. VagharshEhramdjian, president of the ARFCentral Committee of Canada andMinister Gary Goodyear placed awreath in front of the UnknownSoldier in the country’s capital.The demonstrators walked tothe Turkish Embassy with bannersthat read, “Turkey is guilty,”and “We will never forget.” Anopen letter was passed to theembassy on behalf of the demonstrators.After several speeches by communityleaders, prayers were ledArchbishop Khashak Hakobyan. fGeorgian Armenians in Tblisi mark the 94th anniversary of the Genocide.The 94th anniversary of ArmenianGenocide marked in GeorgiaTbilisi – Several events were organizedin Tbilisi to commemoratethe 94th anniversary of theArmenian Genocide by OttomanTurkey. These events were organizedby the Armenian Embassyin Tbilisi, the Georgian Diocese ofthe Armenian Apostolic Churchand by the P. Atamyan State DramaTheater.In the morning of April 24,special requiem service was heldin the Sourb Gevorg Cathedralled by Archbishop Vazken Mirzakhanyan.Taking part in theOn the evening of April 24, 2009,Lebanon’s Armenian communityheld commemoration ceremoniesat the Emil Lahoud Centerin Beirut. Taking part in the ceremonieswere representatives ofall Armenian churches, presentand past members of Lebanon’sparliament, ministers, the ArmenianAmbassador to Lebanon,representatives of Armenian politicalparties, organizations andfoundations and members of thecommunity. Former ArmenianForeign Affairs Minister VartanOskanian was invited to be thekeynote speaker of the evening.Berj Zeituntsian’s play, “The BigSilence” was performed, followedby a performance by several dancerequiem was Hrach Silvanyan,Armenia’s ambassador to Georgiaand hundreds of Georgian Armenians,including guests fromArmenia.In the afternoon, a photo exhibitionwas opened at the StateDrama Theater representing photosand copies of documents pertainingto the first genocide of the20th century.A special evening of remembrancetook place later on in theday, where hundreds of peoplecame and speeches were made. fYoung Armenians sing at an evening dedicated to the victims of the Genocide.Lebanon’s Armenian Communitycommemorates 94th anniversarygroups representing Nor Serount,AGBU and Hamazkayin culturalorganizations.In his keynote address, VartanOskanian spoke about his yearsas Armenia’s foreign minister, thepresent round of Armenia-Turkeynegotiations, stressing that Armeniamust be vigilant to ensurethat Armenia and the Diasporado not suffer any negative repercussionsas a result of these talksand must ensure that concessionsare not made in the pursuit ofHay Dat.Several choirs, representingdifferent Armenian organizationsthat have for decades been operatingin Lebanon also performed arepertoire of Armenian music. fTell us what you think.Write to letters@reporter.am


6 The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009CommunityMY NAME ISARMENThe last columnby ArmenBaconThere’s a saying that all good thingsmust end. I’m not sure if I’m completelysold on the idea, or if I evenbelieve it to be true, but since thisweek marks my final column forthe Armenian Reporter, I’ll have toagree, just this once. There is simplynothing finer than connectingwith others, especially when thethread of culture, heritage, andfamily create a brilliant and colorfulbackdrop for our shared storiesand life experiences. To that end,I’ve had the time of my life writingthis column.When I began writing for thepaper a few years ago, I worriedincessantly that I might fall shorton words, memories, or the abilityto be a good storyteller. Afterall, it is a bit daunting to have aweekly deadline that requires 1,000well-written words sent from Californiato Armenia and then distributedaround the globe. It certainlybrought me face to face with myinner demons and self-imposed insecurities.Those deadlines wouldstare me straight in the eye, andthen plead with me to come upwith an interesting topic that mightmake for a good read. Some weeksthe stories wrote themselves; othertimes I had to hunt them down.It has been a joy to sit down atmy computer each week to meetthese deadlines. My greatest pleasurehas been the opportunity toget reacquainted with a cast of fascinatingfriends and relatives I haveknown during this lifetime. Theyare responsible for my best and favoritestories. From my own motherto Auntie Rose and Uncle Milton,I have resurrected memories of thepeople I love who have made (andcontinue to make) an indelible imprinton my life. “My Name is Armen”has allowed me to lift themonto the page and celebrate theirprofound impact. Without the column,many of their stories wouldstill be under cover or in hiding.As a result of the column, I havecoaxed them out, set them freeand enjoyed reliving their magical,memorable moments.I have received e-mails frommany of you. You are vigilant in remindingme that we have much incommon. It is satisfying to knowthat at the end of the day, we areall brothers and sisters. You havethanked me for writing about thehuman spirit as well as our resilienceand unwavering passion forlife and love. We are all dismayed atthe demanding pace of this modernSince 2004, Armen D. Bacon’s thoughtsand reflections about life have beenpublished in the “Valley Voices” sectionof the Fresno Bee as well as the ArmenianReporter. She also writes, produces, andhosts a radio series titled “Live, Laugh,Love” on Fresno’s K-jewel 99.3 radio.She can be reached at armendbacon@aol.com.day lifestyle and how it sometimesrobs us of our humanity. We are eagerand desperate to make eye contactwith each another. You havethanked me for small moments inmy column when you have read mywords and said to yourself, “Yes,that happened to me, too.” Or “Yes,I have an auntie just like that.” Ismile when I read your e-mailsand I am reminded that indeed, weare all in this thing called life – together.We mustn’t ever forget that,even when we reside on oppositesides of the world.The single most pleasurable partof this writing journey is that ithas forced me to sit still, discover,and rescue lost treasures: thestories that shape my life story. Afew issues back, Associate EditorMaria Titizian wrote a compellingcommentary on the importanceof sharing these stories. Somany of our grandparents went totheir graves guarding their storiesin sorrow. Our generation must dobetter. Whether they are stories oflove and loss or hope and renewal,we must keep them alive. We mustall become storytellers. And storykeepers.Some of you may wonder whatmy next chapter looks like. Well,it’s busy and full of more deadlines.I am in the middle of writing twobooks – one, a collection of shortstories in the genre of creative nonfiction.The second project is a verypersonal one, an intimate accountthat chronicles my grief journey. Assome of you may know, I lost my 22-year old son Alex in 2004. Navigatingthe grief journey has been bothexcruciating and transformational.Tragedy is a horrible thing to waste.Many squander it by growing sorryfor themselves, by drowning theirgrief in guilt, by torturing themselveswith endless “what ifs,” orby growing bitter and angry. Forthem, the sun never shines again.I remind myself daily that somethinggood must come from myloss. And so, I write, certain thatthe language of loss is also the languageof love.Week after week, as I have sharedcherished stories of family andfriends, I have woven this unthinkablechapter of my life into the fabricof my text. In each of my stories,there is a constant reminder thatlife is precious and fragile and thatrelationships are the only thingsthat truly matter. They feed andnurture our collective soul. Theyhelp us to heal. To that end, I amanxious to do my part, to make mycontribution, and share my storywith others.As Armenians, we are united asone for the rest of time. But onlyif we continue to tell our stories.Some of them will make us laugh;others will make us cry. We are apassionate and courageous people.I hope you will keep reading mystories and in return, I promiseto keep reading yours. We have somany stories yet to tell.My name is Armen. Tell me yourstory.For myself and on behalf of our readers,I thank you for meeting those deadlinesand sharing your stories. We lookforward to letting readers know aboutyour books when they come out. —Ed.Let us know what’s on your mind.Write to us atletters@reporter.amTwo sons of Musa Ler share a historyby Richard TedescoBAYSIDE, N.Y. – It was likehearing the sound of an old poignanttune from a distant world inanother time.Manug Aydin was at a dinner athis church in Bayside, New York, in1984 when he heard a voice at thenext table talking in the distinctiveArmenian dialect he learned as aboy growing up in Vakef, in the regionknown as Musa Ler.“All of a sudden, someone’s talkingour language,” he recalled. “It’slike the whole world was mine. Ithought I was alone all by myself,and suddenly here was someonespeaking my language.”He turned to see who it was, andstruck up a conversation with theother man, Guydzag Boyadjian,and a friendship was born out oftheir common heritage, and a commonlink to an historic, heroic episodeduring the Armenian Genocide.“There was a bond immediately.That’s a fact,” said Mr. Boyadjian.They didn’t have to exchangestories to realize that their familieshad a shared history forged inhardship and armed resistance tothe Turks on the mountain calledMusa Ler, or Musa Dagh, as it’smore commonly known to non-Armenians.Their grandfathers had activelyparticipated in the resistance asteenagers, foraging for food for themore than 4,000 besieged Armenianvillagers who had chosen toclimb the mountain and fight theTurks with a small cache of modernrifles and an array of outdatedflintlocks and horse pistols.The intervening years had takenboth men and their families on disparatejourneys, but Mr. Aydin, 33,and Mr. Boyadjian, 41, at the time,had completed a circle of destinythat brought them together. Mr.Aydin was a member of Holy MartyrsChurch in Bayside, and Mr.Boyadjian belonged to St. SarkisChurch in nearby Douglaston.They recently sat down to discusstheir seemingly chance meeting,and the course of events leading upto it, in the den of Mr. Boyadjian’shome near St. Sarkis, where hemaintains a striking collection ofmodern Armenian artwork.Their family lives first intersecteddecades before, when Mr. Boyadjianmet two of Mr. Aydin’s cousinswhen he grew up in Anjar, Lebanon,after his family emigrated therefrom Bitias, another village nearMusa Ler.Mr. Boyadjian’s grandfather,Samuel, was among the 18 martyrswho died in battle on Musa Ler.Movses Der Kaloustian, the manchosen to lead the resistance, washis godfather. He never spoke withhis godfather about those 53 daysof desperate resistance in 1915.He had learned bits and piecesof the story from his grandmother,his father, who had been sevenyears old at the time, and his mother,who was an infant.His mother told him that hisgrandmother had considered leavingher behind on the arduous trekup the mountain.After several French warships– fortuitously responding to the“Christians in Distress” bannerdraped on Musa Ler – evacuatedthe Armenians there to Port Said,the Mousa Lerians returned totheir native villages in 1919.When the Turks rigged a referendumto let the region’s residentschoose to remain there under Turkishor Syrian rule in 1938, Mr. Boyadjian’sfamily left for Anjar andMr. Aydin’s family remained. Theyadopted that Turkish surnameGuydzak Boyadjian (left) shows Manug Aydin a painting from his collection ofmodern Armenian art works. (Richard Tedesco). Photo: Richard Tedescorather than retaining their originalfamily name of Shemessian to beless conspicuous as one of 40 Armenianfamilies in Vakef.Mr. Aydin’s grandfather, Manuel,never spoke of his experience onMusa Ler. “When we were growingup, that was taboo,” he said. “Talkingabout the Genocide or going toMusa Dagh – they were afraid itwould cause bring trouble.”But when he was 10 years old,Mr. Aydin climbed the mountainwith 40 other Vakef villagers toDamlayik, the site of the 1915 resistors’camp atop Musa Dagh. Itwas during that five-hour trek thathe started to learn the story of thebrave Armenian struggle for survivalthere.“I was proud and confused sincewe didn’t know much about thehistory at that age,” he said.It was a moving feeling, that ourancestors decided to protect themselvesby barricading themselvesthat way in the mountain. It’s afeeling I’m always proud of.”He heard the story of how Armenianrevolutionaries had buriedarms in coffins at the cemetery inthe village of Yoghunoluk, and hadsubsequently taken the decisionto make a stand on the mountain,inspired by the leadership of Rev.Dikran Andreasian.Mr. Boyadjian also exudes adeep pride about his heritage: “Wefought with the very small chancethat we would survive. But wefought them anyway.”The saga of Musa Dagh was a kindof footnote to life in Anjar, where herecalls that survival was the urgentissue in primitive living conditionswhere one-third of the populationsuccumbed to disease. “There wasno sanitary system. There was nowater,” Mr. Boyadjian recounted.“It was another massacre.”And another Armenian purgewas yet to come, when the SovietUnion invited Anjar Armeniansto migrate back to what was leftof their homeland in 1948. Manywere promptly sent to Siberianprison camps upon arriving in Armenia.Mr. Boyadjian completed hisstudies at the American Universityin Beirut and subsequently migratedto the United States to pursuea career in computer programming.He and his wife Seta raised two sons,and he demonstrates his devotionto Armenian culture with his growingArmenian art collection.Mr. Aydin, who completed hiseducation in Istanbul, works in thefinancial service industry. He raisedtwo daughters and a son, with hiswife, Elizabeth, and is a formercommander of the EtchmiadzinLodge of the Knights of Vartan.Their bond is an enduring one,and the lore surrounding the storyof Musa Dagh has given it a prominentplace in the tragic history ofthat era. “It takes on more historicsignificance today,” Mr. Boyadjiannotes. “We brag about our resistance.”


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009 7CommunityOnstage at Lincoln Center, agbu Dance Ensemble will mark 40 yearsNEW YORK – The agbu AntranigDance Ensemble is celebratingits 40th anniversary in 2009 and, tomark the milestone year, the groupwill present a new program duringa special night of celebration atLincoln Center for the PerformingArts on Saturday, November 28.Known for its many years offirst-class Armenian dance performances,the agbu Antranig DanceEnsemble has found a way to staytrue to the origins of Armenian folkdance while also exploring variationsof the art form and alwaysupdating its repertoire for contemporaryaudiences.Established in 1969, the AntranigEnsemble was initially underthe direction of Sarkis Paskalianand later Ohan Armoudian, whofor the first time brought traditionalArmenian dance to thestage for Armenian-American audiences.In the 1980s, under theleadership of Randy Sapah-Gulian,the group moved to themedproductions, experimenting withthe art form of folk-ballet in suchshows as The Wedding of Antranigand one of their classics, The EternalFlame.The 1990s and early 2000s havebeen marked by the direct influenceof contemporary dancefrom Armenia through the choreographyand training of GagikKarapetian. A leading Armeniandance artist and choreographer,Mr. Karapetian annually trains theEnsemble and has helped ArtisticDirector Joyce Tamesian-Shenloogiancreate the group’s pastfive stage productions.This year’s new production willbe no different. While keeping elementsof true native Armeniandance from a variety of historicregions, the show promises toinclude many of the high-energy,deeply emotional and intricatelychoreographed pieces Antranig audienceshave come to expect fromthe New Jersey–based Ensemble.The group will make a numberof New York–area appearancesthroughout 2009 and expects to announceits tour plans later this year.ayf members demonstratein New York’s Union SquareFor forty years, the agbu AntranigDance Ensemble has dazzledaudiences around the world withits full-length productions, exemplifyingthe rich Armenian danceculture. Through a variety of folkdances from different regions inArmenia, vibrant costumes andexceptional choreography, the Ensemblecontinues to perpetuatethe Armenian heritage in supportof agbu ’s mission.connect:antranig.orgagbu AntranigDance Ensembleperforms oneof its signaturedances.In Southern California, Armeniansgather to commemorate the GenocideDemonstratorstaped bodyoutlines onthe pavementas a symbol ofArmenian liveslost in 1915. Theafternoon alsosaw an emotionalperformancefrom the YerazArmenian dancegroup, whichattracted a largeaudience.ayf activists and sympathetic bystanders handcuffed themselves together,chanting “Blood is on Turkey’s hands” and “Human rights is why we fight.” Continued from page 1day we celebrate the realizationof the dream of the victims of theGenocide through the accomplishmentsof our lives.” He continued,“The Los Angeles Armenian communitymust strive to be a churchlovingcommunity, deepening intheir hearts the faith of our forefathers,continuing to enrich theirlives with the building of schoolsand community centers, preservingtheir language and culture, butabove all being true, dedicated, lawabiding,and exemplary citizens ofthe United States of America.”Archbishop Derderian concluded,“For our fallen ancestors the PromisedLand was Hayastan. For us thePromised Land is the ArmenianChurch, and the holy traditions ofour nation and forefathers.”The Montebello memorial, thefirst to be built honoring the victimsof the Armenian Genocideon public land, has served as thegathering ground for thousands ofArmenians in the Los Angeles areato commemorate the ArmenianGenocide.At the TurkishConsulateLater, the Armenian Youth Federationconducted its annual humanrights demonstration at theTurkish Consulate. The ArmenianNational Committee reportsthat over 10,000 activists took tothe streets to voice their outrageover the Turkish government’sconstant denial of the ArmenianGenocide. The demonstrators alsoexpressed disappointment in PresidentBarack Obama for not usingFrom left: Abp. Moushegh Mardirossian, joined by California Assembly AssistantMajority Leader Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles City Council President Pro TemporeWendy Greuel, and Rep. Adam Schiff. Photo: Nora Yacoubian.the word genocide in his statementon Armenian Remembrance Day.That evening, a commemorationceremony was held at the Alex Theaterin Glendale featuring performingartists and government leaderswho voiced their support for recognitionof the Armenian Genocideand an end to the denial of thiscrime by the Turkish government.Rep. Schiff and Mr. Krekoriandelivered remarks at the event.Glendale City Council member AraNajarian served as emcee, whileformer Los Angeles Times reporterMark Arax delivered the keynoteaddress. Various dignitaries andpublic officials were also presentduring the ceremony.A week of remembranceOn April 19, a blood drive was heldat St. Mary’s Church in Glendale.On the same day, an event tookplace at the University of Las Vegasand a “Walk to Remember was heldat the St. Mary Church in OrangeCounty.On the 21st, an event was heldat the Pasadena Jewish Temple &Center, and the Los Angeles CountyBoard of Supervisors commemoratedthe Genocide.On April 22, a school assembly atGlendale High School was dedicatedto remembering the ArmenianGenocide.On the 23rd, a general assemblyat John Muir Middle School waslikewise dedicated to rememberingthe Armenian Genocide.On April 24, Los Angeles CityCouncil held a commemoration, andevents were held at Fresno City Hall,UC San Diego, and the ArmenianCommunity Center in San Francisco.Likewise, a commemorative eventtook place at Wesley Bolin Plaza inPhoenix, Arizona, the ArmenianNational Committee reported. 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8 The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009CommunitySarkis Kojoyian, 84,was a MassachusettsbenefactorWESTBORO, Mass. – SarkisKojoyian of Westboro, Mass., diedon Monday March 9, 2009, aftera two-year battle with cancer. Mr.Kojoyian was 84 years old.A lifelong resident of Westboro,Mr. Kojoyan was the son of Vahanand Miriam Kojoyian, who bothpredeceased him in 1967.In his youth Mr. Kojoyian ranhis family’s poultry and vegetablefarm on route 9 in Westboro. Thefarm was honored by the UnitedStates government for providingfood for the war effort in the earlyand mid 1940s. He graduated fromWestboro High School in 1943 andattended the Worcester Art MuseumSchool. He later became thefounder and president of BelmontProperties and was responsible forthe development of major portionsof route 9 in Westboro, which hadbeen the Kojoyian family farm andother properties which he lateracquired. Sears, Levitz Furniture,Somerville Lumber, and automobiledealerships were among histenants.Mr. Kojoyian was a well-knownfigure and very active in his community.He served as chair ofthe Planning Board in Westboro,Mass., for many years. He servedas the chair of many other boardsand committees in Westboro. Hewas honored for his longstandingcontributions to the Westboro FireDepartment and had been a memberof the Siloam Masonic Lodgesince 1948. Mr. Kojoyian was anauthority on, and avid collector of,antique automobiles and was thefounder and first president of theAntique Automobile Club of Massachusetts.Mr. Kojoyian donatedan antique airplane, and otheritems of historical significance, tothe permanent collection of theSmithsonian Institution in Washington.Mr. Kojoyian was a member ofthe Armenian Revolutionary Federation.He was a member of theArmenian Youth Federation andwas sworn into the organizationSarkis Kojoyian.by General Karekin Njdeh, thefounder of the AYF. He also served,for many years, as the chair of theBoard of Trustees for the ArmenianApostolic Holy Trinity Churchin Worcester, Mass. In that capacity,he hosted Catholicos KarekinI Sarkissian, of blessed memory,when His Holiness visited Massachusettsand the Kojoyian familyhome.Mr. Kojoyian was involved inthe creation of Camp Haiastan, inFranklin Mass., an Armenian youthsummer camp, and donated manyof the original cabins that werethere in the early years of the camp’sexistence. He was also a member ofthe Armenian Men’s Club.Mr. Kojoyian is survived by hisbeloved wife of 59 years, Rose GarabedianKojoyian, son GregoryKojoyian, daughter Melanie Kojoyian,brother Avedis Kojoyian ofVirginia, nephews Art and ArmenKojoyian, and grandnephews Zacharyand Michael Kojoyian.Donations in lieu of flowersmay be sent to the Armenian ApostolicHoly Trinity Church, 635Grove Street, Worcester, Mass.,where a memorial service washeld March 16.Prof. Hovannisian to lecture on changinglandscape of Western ArmeniaFRAMINGHAM, Mass. – Thelandscape of Historic Western Armeniais ever changing. The mysticalnames of the villages, towns,and provinces of a now-vanishedgeneration remain deeply imbeddedin the minds and hearts ofmany descendants. But how similarare the imagined homeland andthe existing landscape?After many years of hesitation,Prof. Richard Hovannisian set outon a quest to reconcile the “imagined”with the “real.” His travelstook him through a part of the historicprovinces from Trebizond onthe Black Sea to Baiburt, Erzerum,Kemakh, Agn, Kharpert, Dersim,Palu, Mush, Bitlis, and Van. He willpresent his impressions in an illustratedpresentation in this specialevent for the Greater Boston audience.The aef Professor of Modern ArmeniaHistory at ucla will lectureFriday, May 8, 7:30 p.m., at the ArmenianChurch of the Holy Translators,38 Franklin St., Framingham,cosponsored by the NationalAssn. for Armenian Studies andResearch, Holy Translators, andthe Armenian Assembly. A receptionand booksigning will concludethe program.Dr. Hovannisian is the author ofthe four-volume history The Republicof Armenia, Armenia on the Roadto Independence, 1918, and has editedand contributed to more thantwenty books including The ArmenianImage in History and Literature,The Armenian Genocide in Perspective,The Armenian People From Ancientto Modern Times , Remembrance andDenial: The Case of the ArmenianGenocide, Looking Backward, MovingForward: Confronting the ArmenianGenocide, and numerous volumeson historic Armenian cities andprovinces.Let us know what’s on your mind.Write to us atletters@reporter.am


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009 9PT ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTFOR NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONLooking for bright, mature, multi-lingual (Armenian/French/English)individualwho is well organized and pays attention to detail. Must be computer savvy and have strong planning and problemsolving skills. Potential for advancement to FT Administrative Assistant.Contact the Armenian American Health Professional Organization (AAHPO)at 201-546-6166 or info@aahpo.org.N. Lael Telfeyan, Ph.D., LCSWCounseling and Psychotherapywith Individuals, Families and CouplesAdults and Adolescents140 West 97th St.New York, NY 10025By appointment 917-975-310924 Windsor RoadGreat Neck, NY 11021e-mail: nlael@aol.com


10 The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009CommunityVahe Berberian.Vahe Berberian’s needto speak againFrom the manwho brought youYevaylen, Nayev, andDagaveen, a newmonologue calledSagaynGLENDALE, Calif. – “It’s true,what they say about silence beinggolden, but I have no love forgold, and I’d rather hear the soundof laughter than silence any time.That’s exactly why I decided tospeak again,” says Vahe Berberian,regarding the premier of his latestmonologue Sagayn.The artist, playwright, and comedianwill perform his new monologuein Armenian every Thursdaynight, May 21 through August 13, atthe Brandview Collection in Glendaleat 7:30 p.m.Berberian had performed hisprevious monologues, Yevaylen,Nayev, and Dagaveen, for manymonths to sold-out audiencesin Pasadena. He later took hisone-man show to dozens of citiesthrough the United States,Canada, the Middle East, Europe,Armenia, and Australia.Sagayn’s producer, ChristinaShirinyan, explains that the showhad to be moved to Glendale to accommodateBerberian’s large audiencesand to provide them with amore central venue. “We’re thrilledabout this new show,” says Shirinyan.“Can you believe it’s been fiveyears since Dagaveen?”Berberian explains that theDagaveen tour exhausted him, somuch so, that he needed to takea sabbatical to devote his time topainting and theater. “I can’t resistthe urge to make people laugh andam looking forward to being backin front of an audience,” says Berberian.He promises that Sagaynwill be as engaging as, and evenfunnier than his three previousone-man shows.“For me, the monologue is thebest way of bringing together theactor and the writer in me. Basicallywhat I do is think out loud,” saysBerberian, explaining that Sagaynis the continuation of the previousshows. “I talk about various topics,and then concentrate on Armeniancharacteristics, and finally reflecton the Armenian condition … all ingood humor.”The performances will be held atBrandview Collection, 109 E. HarvardSt. Glendale, Calif. 91205, everyThursday, May 21 – August 13,2009. connect: (818) 941-4800www.vaheberberian.comNeed cash for the summer?Sell your stuff with the Armenian Reporterclassifieds@reporter.am818-955-8407


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009 11CommunityDirectors, actors showcasework at affma eventLOS ANGELES – A young director,whose film garnered the attentionof Michael Moore, alongwith the actors of NBC’s new show“Southlandand the theatrical production,“Big Bad Armo Show” werein attendance to have their workshowcased at a Los Angeles fundraiser,hosted by the Arpa Foundationfor Film Music and Art.Martin Yernazian’s presentationof his film “Art Officially Flavored”was the highlight of the affmamixer on April 9, at the DesertRose Bar & Lounge, in Los Angeles.The documentary about a streetmusician, with a revolutionary approachto his instrument, caughtthe attention of award winning filmmaker Michael Moore along withAerosmith’s Steven Tyler and DefLeopard’s Joe Elliot.“I made this film because of mylove for the arts, music and the opportunityto tell a great story. Itwas a challenge because I’m not adocumentarian. A few months agowe got an e-mail from the directorof the Traverse City Film Festivalmentioning in her message thatMichael Moore learned about thefilm and was interested in showingit at his festival this summer,” Yernazianexplained.The director presented scenesfrom his movie showcasing MichaelMasely, his subject, performingas a street musician andpiecing together his instruments.During the presentation, founderof affma, Sylvia Minassian, saidshe was elated to be presentingAt the affma event.special talents such as Martin Yernazianto the community. “We arehosting this event because Martinis so special to us,” she said SylviaMinassian.Alex Kalognomos, vice-chairpersonof affma, said that withoutartists like Martin Yernazian,or the actors in “Southland,” and“Big Bad Armo Show,” including allthe independent film makers, writers,musicians their organizationwould not exist.The evening came to a close withthe debut of “Southland”on nbcwith the cast members of the showpresent in the mixer.“affma is a non-profit art organization,so we know what it’s like tooperate with little funding. Most ofthe artists who seek affma’s supportare in need of more than justmoney. affma can offer a wholerange of services to support theindependent artist,” said Kalognomos.Visit us at reporter.am


12 The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009CommunityYoung Professionals prepare for Tour to ArmeniaNEW YORK – The Fund for ArmenianRelief (far) and the ZohrabCenter in New York City organizeda reception and presentation aboutfar’s Young Professionals 2009Tour to Armenia on Thursday, April23. The evening served as a reunionfor alumni of the program as wellas an opportunity to inform prospectiveparticipants about thetour to Armenia.The two-week trip, which is opento young professionals between theages of 23 and 40, will take placefrom June 8 to June 22, 2009. Duringtheir time in Armenia, participantswill visit historic sites such asHoly Etchmiadzin, Noravank monasteryand the Genocide Memorial.They will also meet with religiousand government leaders, includingHis Holiness Catholicos Karekin IIand the new Minister of Diaspora,Hranoush Hakobyan.Young Professional (YP) AlumnaNatalie Gabrelian made a powerpointpresentation about her tripto Armenia with far in 2007. Formerparticipants shared their reflectionsof the trip as well. ArtoVorperian, Projects Director, wasalso on hand to answer any questionsor concerns that prospectiveparticipants had.far Executive Director GarnikNanagoulian thanked everyonefor attending and gave a brief descriptionabout far and the programsit supports in Armenia andNagorno Karabakh. The organization,which was established afterthe 1988 earthquake in Armenia,has contributed to projects andprograms throughout Armenia andKarabakh.“We give hope and opportunityto underprivileged people in far,remote corners of Armenia,” saidNanagoulian. “We’re trying to doour best to help people who are underprivileged,who don’t have thathope or opportunity.”Traveling to Armenia was a lifelongdesire Gabrelian. That dreamwas realized during her far trip in2007 of which she has many memorableexperiences. She provided picturesfrom her trip to the homelandand talked about her experience inArmenia with the Young Professionalstour. Gabrelian spoke about theplaces they visited in detail, includingKhor Virab, Noravank, and NagornoKarabakh, among many otherplaces. She also gave tips to futureparticipants in a light-hearted manner,telling them to bring comfortablewalking shoes. “It was truly hardto say goodbye to good food, goodfun and good friends,” said Gabrielianconcluding her presentation.A Young Professionals alumnusfrom 2001, Rafi Hovsepian alsodescribed his experience, notingthe unique experience he had inthe countryside of Yerevan. “Theyhave a traditional Armenian warmness,kindness and hospitality,” saidHovsepian. “When we visited thevillages in the countryside, peopledid not see us as tourists, but Armeniansfrom other parts of the worldwho came to visit Armenia becausewe did not forget about them.”“This trip is not to show you thebest of Armenia or only what wewant you to see. We each have ourown Armenia. This is an eye-openingtrip that lets you discover or rediscoverArmenia,” said Nanagoulian. 100 Years of Jamanak to be celebrated in New York, May 16-17NEW YORK – Jamanak newspaper,the oldest daily in Istanbul andthe brainchild of three generationsof an Armenian family, celebratesits 100th anniversary this year. Tohonor this significant milestone,the Krikor and Clara Zohrab InformationCenter of the Diocese ofthe Armenian Church of America(Eastern) has organized a two-daycelebration.Diocesan Primate ArchbishopKhajag Barsamian will presideover the gatherings.Several Armenian organizationswill be taking part in the two day observanceof the centennial includingthe Armenian General BenevolentUnion (agbu); Armenian-AmericanSupport and Educational Center,Inc.; Constantinople Armenian ReliefSociety (C.A.R.S.); Essayan-GetronaganAlumni, Inc.; Forest HillsArmenian Cultural Center; Knightsand Daughters of Vartan; TekeyanCultural Association, Inc., and TibrevankAlumni, Inc.Jamanak’s achievement of a centuryof publication has significancenot only for the Armenians of Turkey,but for Armenian communitiesand minority populations across theIstanbul’s Jamanak turned 100.world. So vital is Jamanak’s standingin its country of origin that10 years ago, to mark the paper’s90th anniversary, former Turkishpresident Demirel paid homage toJamanak editor Ara Kocunyan, amove that surprised many Armeniansand Turks at the time.Mr. Kocunyan will be presentfor the centennial celebration inNew York, which will include paneldiscussions as well as a special luncheon.On Saturday, May 16, a symposiumtitled “The Armenian Communityof Istanbul: Perspectives onPast and Present,” will feature academicsand scholars who will discussthe Armenian community inIstanbul and its present situation.The Saturday program – gearedtowards people who may be less familiarwith Jamanak’s history andsignificance – will be divided intotwo sessions, with a complimentarylunch break in between. Partone will take place from 10:30 A.M.to 12:30 p.m.; a second panel discussionwill last from 1:30 P.M. to3:30 P.M.Panelists will include SahanArzruni, musicologist; MarleneBreu, Western Michigan University;Bedross Der Matossian, mit;Lerna Ekmekcioglu, nyu; MelissaBilal, University of Chicago;Ege Edener, nscd; Ayda Erbal,nyu; and Louis Fishman, BrooklynCollege. The program will be inEnglish and is free and open to thepublic. The panel will take place inG-Hall of the Diocesan Complex.“Jamanak represents one of themost important newspapers in theOttoman Empire. It was born in1908 after the Young Turk revolutionand it did play a key role in internalArmenian politics. The levelof the articles, editorials, and thepolitical analysis demonstrate thesophisticated genre of journalismthat existed in Istanbul and whichwas an ultimate reflection of theexisting intellectual echelon of Armeniansociety there,” panelist DerMatossian explained.A celebratory luncheon in honorof Ara Kocunyan will take place onSunday, May 17 at 1:00 P.M. in Haikand Alice Kavookjian Auditorium atthe Diocesan Center. The keynotespeaker of the afternoon will be SimonBalian, with Hagop Vartivarianserving as Master of Ceremonies.The cultural portion of theprogram will include performancesby master pianist Sahan Arzruniand soprano Maro Partamian, aswell as poem recitations.“I am honored to be part of theorganizing committee for thisexciting two-day event and amgrateful for the enthusiastic participationwe have seen from sucha broad spectrum of individualsand organizations. This truly is atestament to the important legacyof a great newspaper,” said RachelGoshgarian, Director of theZohrab Center.The Jamanak 100th anniversaryweekend will take place on Saturdayand Sunday, May 16 and 17,at the Diocese of the ArmenianChurch of America (Eastern), locatedat 630 Second Avenue (corner of34th Street) in New York City. Saturday’spanel will be free and opento the public. Sunday’s celebratoryluncheon is $40. For more information,please contact the Diocese at(212) 686-0710. Richard and Harold Hagopian, Armenian folk music masters,will headline Festival of Nations in St. PaulSAINT PAUL, Minn. – Oud legendRichard Hagopian, accompaniedby his son Harold Hagopian,will be the featured performersat the Festival of Nations, the ArmenianCultural Organization ofMinnesota has announced. Performanceswill take place in the River-Centre in downtown St. Paul, May1 at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., and May 2at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. ACOM willhost a community potluck brunchfor the Hagopian family on May2 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. atSt. Sahag Armenian Church. 203 N.Howell St., St. Paul.Richard Hagopian was born inCalifornia after his parents fled theArmenian Genocide of 1915, settlingnear Fresno, which became the largestArmenian community outsidethe newly formed Soviet ArmenianRepublic. He studied classical artmusic with the renowned musicianKanuni Garbis Bakirgian. For fourdecades, he was among the mostimportant collectors of Armenianmusic. In the 1960s, Mr. Hagopianformed the Kef Time Band withBuddy Sarkissian and Khachig Kazarian.He was honored with a Meetthe Composer Grant from NY, withthe prestigious National HeritageFellowship by the National Endowmentfor the Arts, and has madetwo major recordings of traditionalArmenian music for SmithsonianFolkways; he has also performedin major venues across the USA, aswell as in Armenia and Turkey.Harold Hagopian played the Armeniandrum with his father atage 5, then took up the violin andwon the Cordellia Lee Scholarshipto pursue violin studies at the JuilliardSchool, graduating in 1989.His own record company, TraditionalCrossroads, has issued morethan a hundred releases from allover the world, working with musicallegends such as Djivan Gasparyan,the Shoghaken Ensemble andmany others.Established in 1932 by the InternationalInstitute of Minnesota,the Festival of Nations bringsAmericans of all backgrounds together- native and naturalizedcitizens alike - to share the tieswith the past and take pride inthe richness of diverse cultures inthe Minnesota community. At the2009 Festival of Nations, 90 differentethnic groups from around theworld will share their foods, craftsand traditions that form the mosaicof American culture. The MinnesotaArmenian community is afounding participant of the Festivalof Nations, one of the nation’slargest and longest-running multiculturalevents.connect:festivalofnations.comtraditionalcrossroads.comRichard Hagopian. Oh yeah, we canhelp you sell itClassifieds with theArmenian Reporterclassifieds@reporter.am818-955-8407


14 The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009CommunityJerusalem Armenian school turns 80, celebratesby Bedross DerMatossianJERUSALEM (April 28) – Sts.Tarkmanchatz School was built in1929 under the patronage of PatriarchYeghishe Tourian to satisfythe educational needs of the Armeniancommunity of Jerusalem. Theschool has played a dominant rolein the life of the Armenian communityof Jerusalem.The legacy of BishopKapigianOne of the most important figureswho brought the school intoits current shape was Bishop GureghKapigian (1921–2003), whoin 1952 was named principal ofthe school. He devoted most of histime and thought to developingand strengthening the school.After years of hard work, BishopKapigian succeeded in expandingthe institution to include a secondaryschool by adding a second floorto the building. This led immediatelyto a rise in the number of thestudents. Moreover, the school becamea self-sufficient charitable institution,supported by donations,chiefly from abroad.Thousands of Armenians graduatedfrom this Armenian educationalinstitution to become physicians,scientists, lawyers, politicians, engineers,architects, historians, andeducators. In the last two decadesof Bishop Kapigian’s leadership,the school became renowned in thedistrict of Jerusalem.The growth of the school’s renownowed much to the efforts of Prof.Roberta Ervine, a prominent armenologistwho is currently associateprofessor of Armenian studies atSt. Nersess Seminary. Lifelong educatorssuch as Yeghia Dickranianalso played an important role in developingthe curriculum of the school.With its five mandatory languages(Armenian, Arabic, English, Hebrew,and French) and 15 subjects, rangingfrom classical Armenian to physicsto Arabic literature, the history of Europe,and essential scientific subjects,the school attracted the attentionand admiration of the other schoolsin the district of Jerusalem.A celebrationOn April 20, the 80th anniversaryfor the establishment of the ArmenianSecondary School of Sts.Tarkmanchatz was celebrated inJerusalem with the attendance ofVery Rev. Fr. Norayr Kazazian, dean of Sts. Tarkmanchatz Secondary Schoolin Jerusalem, delivering the keynote speech at the school’s 80th anniversarycelebration. Photo: Vincent Sawalha.more than 300 alumni, communitymembers, guests, and pilgrims. Theevent took place in the courtyard ofthe Gulbenkian Library within theArmenian Cathedral of St. James.Archbishop Aris Shirvanian, Directorof Ecumenical and ForeignRelations of the Armenian Patriarchateof Jerusalem, presided overthe celebration. He was accompaniedby more than 14 clergy membersof the St. James Brotherhood.Tsolag Momjian, honorary consulof the Republic of Armenia, was alsopresent at the event. The mastersof the ceremonies were HaroutBaghamian and Angela Dikbikian,both directors of the cultural activitiesat Sts. Tarkmanchatz School.After singing the Armenian nationalanthem and the anthem ofthe school, Vork Zartaretsin, Mr.Baghamian and Mrs. Dikbikianmade the opening speech, in whichthey highlighted the historicalbackground, aims, and objectivesof establishing the school.After a rich program of musicalperformances and poetry recited bythe students of Sts. Tarkmanchatz,Nora Nakashian, English teacher,took the podium and discussed herexperiences of teaching at the Sts.Tarkmanchatz School.The Husseini giftVery Rev. Father Norayr Kazazian,the Dean of Sts. TarkmanchatzSecondary School, delivered thekeynote speech, in which he emphasizedthe important role thatSts. Tarkmanchatz had played andstill plays in the life of the Armeniancommunity of Jerusalem. Hespoke about the latest renovationsthat were undertaken in the schoolthanks to a generous donation fromthe Faisal Husseini Foundation. Thefoundation has been established inmemory of Faisal Husseini (1940–2001), who was Palestinian AuthorityMinister for Jerusalem Affairs.The foundation, which is run byAbdulqader Husseini (Faisal’sson) aims to serve Jerusalem, itsresidents, and its institutions andThe logo of the 80th anniversary of theSts. Tarkmanchatz Secondary Schoolin Jerusalem.ensure their continued survivaland prosperity. The foundation hasbeen instrumental in renovatingand building a laboratory, computerlab, and other facilities.In his speech Fr. Kazazian alsothanked Mr. Momjian for his kinddonations, which will be dedicatedto renovating the main hall of theschool. He also thanked him for hisannual scholarship given to one ofthe most qualified graduates of theschool to pursue an undergraduatedegree at the Hebrew Universityof Jerusalem. Fr. Kazazianalso thanked the head of Sts. TarkmanchatzAlumni Association, NahabedMelkonian, for initiatingthe idea of the commemoration, althoughfor personal reasons he wasnot able to attend the ceremony.Fundamental changesFr. Kazazian emphasized that theschool was undergoing fundamentalcurricular and structural changesand that it was high time thatcommunity members sent theirArchbiship ArisShirvanian,Armenia’shonorary consulTsolag Momjian,priests, andguests at acelebration of the80th anniversaryof Sts.TarkmanchatzSecondary Schoolin Jerusalem.Photo: VincentSawalha.children to the school. Fr. Kazazianalso thanked his predecessorsfor their dedication to the schoolin the past 80 years. He especiallyemphasized the dominant role thatBishop Kapigian had played.Archbishop Shirvanian madeconcluding remarks. He thankedall the patriarchs of Jerusalem,especially the current patriarch,Torkom Manoogian, for supportingthe school.At the end of the celebration theattendants moved to the Sts. TarkmanchatzSchool, where a khachkar,donated by Shahe Boyadjian, anarchitect and graduate of Tarkmanchatznow living in Los Angeles,was consecrated. In addition, beautifultile work was also revealed atthe site prepared by the famous Jerusalemartist Vicken Lepejian inmemory of his parents.Speaking about the future prospectsof the school, Fr.Kazaziantold the Armenian Reporter he wascautiously optimistic regarding thecurrent situation. He argued thatdespite the renovations, still morework needed to be done in theschool. “Currently our biggest challengeis the financial condition ofthe school. We need to have a goodbudget in order to transform theschool into a better academic institutionboth from the perspective ofbringing modern facilities and appointinga qualified teaching cadre.”Speaking about his vision for theschool, Fr. Kazazian emphasizedthat the school was undergoingfundamental curricular and structuralchanges: “My vision is thatwithin a couple of years, we will beable to raise the educational levelof the school and facilitate our students’entrance to the local institutionsof higher education.” Andrew Goldberg’s documentary on Jerusalem airs on pbs stationsNEW YORK – For over 40 centuries,untold numbers of Jews,Christians, and Muslims have goneto Jerusalem to look for God, whilebillions more have worshiped fromafar. Jerusalem: Center of the World,a two-hour epic event in hi-definitionby Emmy Award-winning producer/directorAndrew Goldberg(who in 2006 produced the documentary,The Armenian Genocide)and Oregon Public Television, presentsitself as the first documentaryof this scope to delve into the historicalfacts and religious beliefsthat have led so many thousandsto live and die for this city.Host Ray Suarez, senior correspondentwith pbs’ The NewsHourwith Jim Lehrer, together with anoutstanding roster of historians andscholars, explores the founding of thecity, and the birth and convergenceof the world’s three major monotheisticreligions. He lends voice to thekey events in the city’s history as describedin the Hebrew and ChristianBibles, the Talmud, the Hagaddah,the Koran, and the Hadith. And hetakes viewers through Jerusalem’sconstantly shifting role in Judaism,Christianity, and Islam.Jerusalem: Center of the World takesviewers far beyond the city’s exteriorsto follow the paths taken byAbraham, David, Jesus, and Mohammed,among countless others. Froma strikingly intimate perspective,Mr. Suarez travels deep into the city.He touches the walls of Hezekiah’sfamed underground water-filled tunnelsbuilt from solid rock over 2,500years ago; he faces the same wallthe biblical King David likely facedwhen conquering the city in the 10thcentury B.C.E. Mr. Suarez also visitsthe recently discovered Siloam poolwhere Jesus, it is said, cured a man’sblindness, and he takes viewers rightinto the Dome of the Rock, fromwhere Mohammed, Muslims believe,ascended to Heaven.With illustrations from over 300pieces of iconic artwork from everygenre and period, Jerusalem: Centerof the World brings one of the oldestcities in the world to life.Highlights include:Mount Moriah, the site ofthe First and Second Temples:At the center and beginning of itall, this 60 x 40 foot piece of rock,is where, according to the Bible,Abraham was instructed by Godto sacrifice his son. The rock waslater enshrined by David’s son,King Solomon, and became thesite of the First Temple. It was destroyedin 586 B.C.E., some fourcenturies after it was built, whenthe Babylonians attacked Jerusalem.A Second Temple was builton the same spot just 70 years afterward.The Church of the Holy Sepulcher:One of the holiest and mostvisually amazing churches in allof Christianity, it was built to enshrinethe collective sites of Jesus’crucifixion, burial, and (accordingto Christian teachings) ascensionto Heaven. The numerous structuresand buildings that make upthe church have been damaged andrebuilt many times, but all still existand operate to this day.The Dome of the Rock: Builtover the rock, this Islamic shrineis among the oldest extant Islamicbuildings in the world, and is consideredby many to be the most stunning.It is from here that Muslimsbelieve the Prophet Mohammedascended to Heaven. Completed inthe late 7th century, C.E., the domeis one of the holiest sites in Islam.The Western Wall: Roughly2,000 years ago, King Herod theGreat, ruler of Jerusalem, built vastretaining walls around Mount Moriah,where the Second Temple stood.Virtually all of it was destroyedwhen the Romans sacked Jerusalemin 70 C.E., but the wall remains, andis considered the holiest site in theworld for the Jewish people.Jerusalem: Center of the Worldcaptures the rich mosaic ofChristian, Jewish and Muslimcommunities that coexist – notalways peacefully – in the citytoday and offers a rare and unparalleledlook into the powerfulrole these communities have inthe lives of hundreds of millionsof people today.Two Cats Productions is theproducer of Anti-Semitism in the21st Century (2007, pbs NationalProgram Service), The ArmenianGenocide (2006, pbs NationalProgram Service), the EmmyAward–winning A Yiddish WorldRemembered (2002, pbs), andProud to Serve: The Men and Womenof the U.S. Army (AmericanPublic Television, 2003). AndrewGoldberg is executive producerand director.The dvd is available for purchasethrough the Two Cats website andamazon.com.connect:twocatstv.com


16 The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009ArmeniaARF leaves Armenian government, citingdisagreements on Turkey policyby Vincent LimaYEREVAN – The Armenian RevolutionaryFederation (Dashnaktsutiun)on April 27 withdrew from Armenia’sgoverning coalition, citing“insurmountable disagreementson matters of principle” regardingArmenia’s foreign policy. A partydeclaration referred specifically tothe timing and substance of a jointstatement of the foreign ministriesof Armenia and Turkey on the eveof April 24.The withdrawal of the party,which controls 16 seats in the 131-seat parliament, will not cause thecollapse of the four-party coalition,but has significantly expanded theparliamentary opposition, whichuntil now included only the HeritageParty, with seven seats, andone or two unaffiliated members ofparliament.“The ARF can acquiesce in manythings, but not when it comes toissues and ideas it holds sacred,”Armen Rustamian, representativeof the ARF’s Supreme Body ofArmenia, told reporters on April 27.Mr. Rustamian, a member of theNational Assembly, has resigned aschairperson of the parliamentaryStanding Committee on ForeignRelations.Also resigning from portfoliosallocated to the party through thecoalition agreement are Ministerof Education Spartak Seyranian,Minister of Agriculture AramaisGrigorian, and Minister of Laborand Social Affairs Arsen Hambartsumian.Deputy speaker of parliamentHrair Karapetian and thechairperson of the parliamentaryStanding Committee on Defense,National Security, and InternalAffairs Artur Agabekiansubmitted their resignations onMonday.[Under a parliamentary rule adoptedsome months ago with ARFsupport, members of oppositionparties are to chair some parliamentarycommittees. The rule wasmeant to come into effect with thenext parliament, but the Speakerinvoked it on behalf of the coalition,“urging the Armenian RevolutionaryFederation faction to withdraw,while being in opposition, ArmenRustamian’s and Artur Agabekian’sresignations.” The ARF agreed andthe two men will retain their posts.]Turkey policyThe ARF has repeatedly expressedmisgivings about Armenia-Turkeytalks initiated by Armenia’s PresidentSerge Sargsian. It organizedstreet demonstrations to protestthe visit of Turkey’s PresidentAbdullah Gül to Armenia on September6, 2008.As the talks continued, Armenianobservers, including the ARF,expressed concern that Turkeywas sticking to its preconditionsfor the normalization of relations.These preconditions have includedArmenian concessions in Nagorno-Karabakh and the removal of theinternational recognition of theArmenian Genocide from Armenia’sforeign-policy agenda.Mr. Sargsian on April 20 told theWall Street Journal that his governmentand “the Turkish side in thenegotiations supported the ideathat we are negotiating withoutany preconditions.” But, he added,“I think already now the motivationof Turkey has decreased, because. . . Prime Minister Erdoganis now offering preconditions.”Indeed, on April 19 Mr. Erdoganhad announced, “If the Armenianoccupation of Azeri territory continues,Turkey will not open itsborder gate.”Nonetheless, two days later, Armenia’sForeign Ministry and itsTurkish counterpart issued a jointdeclaration claiming the “two partieshave achieved tangible progressand mutual understanding” inthe process of normalizing theirbilateral relations.The statement, coming on theeve of April 24, the day Armeniansworldwide commemorate the ArmenianGenocide, was widely seen asintended to serve a single purpose:to allow President Barack Obamato cite progress in Armenia-Turkeydialogue as a reason to hold off onrecognizing the Armenian Genocide.During his election campaign,Mr. Obama had pledged to recognizethe Genocide as president.“We find unacceptable and condemnthe issuing of a joint declarationof the Ministries of ForeignAffairs of Armenia and Turkey onthe eve of April 24,” the ARF declarationread. It emphasized thatthe joint declaration came at a timewhen “the leaders of Turkey aremaking anti-Armenian announcementsand restating preconditionsfor the normalization of relations.”Armenians have succeeded overthe years in “internationalizing”the recognition of the ArmenianGenocide, Mr. Rustamian said, referringto the recognition of therace-extermination campaign of1915–17 as genocide by the EuropeanParliament and numerousgovernments and parliaments. TheTurkish government seeks to makethe Armenian Genocide a bilateralissue between itself and the Armeniangovernment and that is unacceptable,he added.Whereas the joint statementof the Turkish and Armenian foreignministries did not refer to theGenocide, its timing, according toMr. Rustamian, was a major blowto Armenian interests.Asked about the timing, ForeignMinister Edward Nalbandian onMonday told Armenpress that hehoped Turkey’s leaders would oneday join Armenia’s leaders in layingflowers at the Armenian Genocidememorial monument in Tzitzernakaberd,and he speculated thatthey might do so in the month ofApril. “There can be, I think, a symbolismin that. And in making thatstatement on the 22nd too, perhaps,there is that symbolism,” theforeign minister said.Healing the politicallandscapeThe ARF was in opposition duringthe presidency of Levon Ter-Petrossian (1991–97), who bannedthe party and arrested several of itsleaders. As soon as Robert Kochariantook over as Armenia’ssecond president, the party’s activitiesresumed and its leaders werereleased from prison.The ARF was in the governingcoalition that emerged from parliamentaryelections in 2003. After theArmenRustamian at thepress conferencein Yerevan.Photo: MelikBaghdasaryan/Photolure.2007 elections, it was a partner ingovernment but not formally partof the governing coalition. In theFebruary 2008 presidential election,it fielded its own candidate.After the post-election violence ofMarch 1, the party agreed to enterthe coalition, announcing that itwas participating in a governmentof national unity to overcome thecrisis, which, it said, threatened theindependence and security of Armeniaand Karabakh.Party leaders have repeatedly saidthey felt they could be more effectiveadvocating their views withingovernment than they could be asan opposition party in Armenia’spolitical culture. Now the partyproposes to “become a full-fledgedalternative to the authorities.” Itpromises to reinvent the role of anArmenian opposition party, actingin a way that will “heal and crystallizethe political landscape,” so as“to form civilized relations betweenthe authorities and the opposition.”In his April 27 press conference,Mr. Rustamian spoke of the presidentwith respect, saying that hebelieved the president had good intentionsbut was taking steps thatwere ill-advised.fBy reratifying the Treaty of Kars Armenia would be giving uppotential claims to Western Armenia and NakhichevanIt would be adiplomatic victorynot only for Turkeybut also for its allyAzerbaijanCommentaryby Tatul HakobyanYEREVAN – Between 1918 and 1922,when Armenia was an independentrepublic, three treaties were signedbetween Armenia and Turkey: onJune 4, 1918, in Batumi; on December3, 1920, in Gyumri (at that timeAlexandropol); and on October 13,1921, in Kars. Before studying thesetreaties, it is important to note thatbetween December 1920 and December30, 1922, independent Armeniawas Soviet, and its independencewas formal and symbolic. It is alsoimportant to stress that in Kars thetreaty was signed not only by Turkeyand Armenia, but also by Georgia,Azerbaijan, and Russia, and alsothat the Treaty of Kars was derivedfrom another treaty signed in thesame year by Russia and Turkey, theTreaty of Moscow.The current Armenian-Turkishborder was established by the Treatyof Kars. It is approximately 325kilometers long. Recognizing theindependence of its new neighborin 1991, and as of December 16 ofthe same year, Turkey has alwaysstrived to have Armenia once againrecognize and reaffirm the Treatyof Kars. In other words, it has askedArmenia to recognize the presentdayborders of Turkey. Armenia, forvarious reasons, has not done so.Open bordersFor its part, while talking about theTreaty of Kars, Turkey for the past16 years has been violating thatvery treaty by subjecting Armeniato a land blockade. The 17th articleof the treaty states: “In order to ensurethe continuance of relationsbetween their countries, the ContractingParties agree to take, in acommon agreement, all the measuresnecessary to maintain anddevelop as quickly as possible railway,telegraphic, and other communications,as well as to assurefree transit of persons and commoditieswithout any hindrance.”However, since April 1993, by subjectingArmenia to a land and airblockade (in the spring of 1995, Turkeyopened the H-50 air corridor),Turkey not only violated the Treatyof Kars, but also many internationalconventions. In this way, if Turkeyputs an end to its 16-year policy ofhostility, it will not have showed kindnessor expressed goodwill toward itseastern neighbor, but rather it willhave returned to the 1993 status quo.Current talksIt is still not clear what points Armenianand Turkish diplomatshave been negotiating around forthe past year. It is, however, veryprobable that Turkey has sought,as in the past, a reratification of theTreaty of Kars.Because the last treaty signedbetween Armenia and Turkey wasthe 1921 Treaty of Kars – which onSeptember 11, 1922, Yerevan wasforced to ratify – then it can be saidto follow that this treaty is still inforce today. As much as the Treatyof Kars may be painful for Armenians,today it is the de facto Armenian-Turkishtreaty in force.Aside from this, by becoming amember of the United Nations onMarch 2, 1992, and also by signingthe OSCE Helsinki Final Act, Armeniahas recognized today’s internationallyrecognized bordersof Turkey. It is important to notethat Turkey was doing everythingto obstruct Armenia’s membershipin the OSCE back in 1992.No Armenian government hasthe right to reratify and rerecognizethis treaty. Of course, in its talkswith Turkey, Armenia cannot avoidmutual concessions – but not atthe price of once again recognizingor reratifying the Kars treaty.As much as the reality is painful,and as much as we acknowledgethat the provinces of Kars and Igdir(Surmalu) of Eastern Armenia, andall of Western Armenia, are todaypart of NATO-member Turkey’s territory,it is unacceptable that Yerevanaccede to Turkey’s demands.If Turkey really wants to establishrelations with Armenia, thenthey can do that by establishingdiplomatic relations. Georgia,which is one of the signatories ofthe Treaty of Kars, had territorialclaims, at the very least regardingthe province of Ardahan in Turkey;however Turkey never oncesaid that in 1992 Georgia shouldrecognize the Treaty of Kars andthe modern borders of Turkey.Establishing Armenian-Turkishdiplomatic relations is one thing;recognizing the Kars treaty is somethingtotally different, althoughboth steps would mean that Yerevande jure recognizes Turkey’s internationalborders.Aside from that, when two countriesestablish diplomatic relations,they don’t reratify treaties signeddecades earlier. Yes, a recognizedmember of the international communityas a sovereign country canchoose whether to recognize anewly independent state, but it isunheard of for a newly independentcountry to recognize the independenceof longstanding members ofthe international community.All three presidents of Armeniahave stated or referred to the factthat today’s Armenia has no territorialdemands or cannot havethose demands from modern Turkey.NakhichevanBy re-ratifying the Treaty of Kars,Yerevan would not only give Turkeya very serious diplomatic card,but would also have given one toAzerbaijan, which has kept Armeniaunder a blockade for almost20 years. It was with the Karstreaty that one of Armenia’s regions,Nakhichevan, was given toAzerbaijan. The 5th article of thetreaty reads: “The Turkish Governmentand the Soviet Governmentsof Armenia and Azerbaijan areagreed that the region of Nakhichevan,within the limits specifiedby Annex III to the present Treaty,constitutes an autonomous territoryunder the protection of Azerbaijan.”Certainly, we cannot rule outthat the day will come when Armeniaand Turkey will have diplomaticrelations, and perhaps evensign a new treaty. Turkey wantsArmenia to re-ratify the Treaty ofKars for two reasons: so that Armeniawill today in writing resignfrom its historical rights, and alsofrom Nakhichevan. Aside fromthat, almost nine decades earlier,when the Treaty of Kars was beingsigned, the international situationwas completly different than todayas was Armenia’s condition, possibilities,and challenges. f


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009 17Armenia“A joint historians’ commission is a dangerous trap”Richard Hovannisianwould refuse to takepart in an Armenian-Turkey commissionHistorian Richard Hovannisian ofthe University of California, Los Angeles,met with Tatul Hakobyan ofthe Armenian Reporter on April 24in Yerevan at the Armenian Centerfor National and International Studies(ACNIS), a think tank establishedby Armenia’s first foreign minister,Raffi Hovannisian.Tatul Hakobyan: Professor, inthe early morning hours of April23, Armenia and Turkey, throughSwiss mediation, issued an optimisticjoint statement announcingthat they had charted a roadmaptoward normalized relations, andeven though we don’t know thecontent of the roadmap, it hascaused serious criticism, especiallyin the diaspora. The reality is thatit was signed on the eve of April 24.How would you assess this?Richard Hovannisian: It wouldhave been good if the Armenianside had found a way to wait untilSunday, April 26. Issuing the jointstatement on April 22, can clearlybe tied with U.S. President BarackObama’s address on April 24. It occursto me that the sides, especiallythe Armenian side, were under extremepressure to give their consentto that document, the road map. Idon’t know how the Armenian sidewas forced or gave itself the rightto sign, knowing full well that thatwould have a negative impact onPresident Obama’s statement.Now, I can no longer hope thatPresident Obama will clearly usethe word genocide. [This interviewtook place on April 24, butbefore the president’s statementwas released.] President Obamacould possibly get close to theGenocide word, but it will be justBako Sahakianproposes a meetingbetween leaders ofNagorno-Karabakhand Azerbaijan to cochairsby Tatul HakobyanYEREVAN – Georgi Petrossian,the foreign minister of Nagorno-Karabakhsaid in the NKRparliament that President BakoSahakian had requested organizinga meeting between the leadersof Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijanto the OSCE Minsk Groupco-chairs. Mr. Petrossian expressedthe opinion that the co-chairs, duringtheir last visit to the region, didnot travel to Stepanakert becausethey had to have an answer regardingthat meeting.The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairsduring a one week period (April 21–27) were in Yerevan twice and oncein Baku; however as the French cochairBernard Fassier said, “Wedidn’t go to Stepanakert because ofbad weather.” In its place, all threeco-chairs individually spoke withPresident Sahakian on the phone.After meeting with the leaders ofboth Armenia and Azerbaijan, theco-chairs left the region with “hopesas important for him to say howmany victims there were, that theArmenians and Turks must find adialogue, at the same time praisethe Armenian people, American-Armenians. A few days beforeApril 24, Turkey’s prime ministeronce again stated that Armenian-Turkish relations could not be successfulas long as the Karabakh issuehas not been resolved. I mustadmit, that Erdogan’s statementsdid not affect me adversely. I believethat this can be a good incentiveso that President Obama willno longer have an excuse not touse the Genocide word.We don’t know the inside story;we don’t know what role and influencethe United States and Russiahad on the signing of the April22 document. I can only assumethat there was pressure both onArmenia and Turkey – if you don’tcome to an agreement, then weare going to recognize the ArmenianGenocide. Otherwise I cannotunderstand why Foreign MinisterNalbandian and President Sargsianagreed to sign such a document onthe evening of April 22.TH: Can we say that Armeniaknew that the date of issue was indeedApril 22, on the eve of April 24,and they went ahead and agreed tothe document?RH: Certainly. He wasn’t naïve,he knew. The question now is thefollowing - what will Armenia getin return? We don’t know. If youare really going to concede, thenyou better get something in return.I do not know what Armeniawill receive. We know that Turkishdiplomacy has always beenflexible and shrewd; today theymight come to an agreement butthen find an excuse by saying thatthe Armenians are not willing toadopt a policy where they agree toconcessions, we are not guilty, theArmenians are guilty. The Turksare so flexible, that while theirprime minister will sign an agreement,their parliament will notof a reasonable progress,” toward theresolution of the Karabakh conflict.At a press conference at the FrenchEmbassy in Yerevan, the co-chairsstressed that progress hinges upon,first and foremost the two presidents,Serge Sargsian and IlhamAliyev.Mr. Fassier said that PresidentsSargsian and Aliyev had agreed tomeet in Prague on May 7. This willbe the fourth meeting between thetwo leaders. Previous meetingstook place in June 2008 in St. Petersburg,November, 2008 in Moscow,and January 2009 in Zurich.The U.S. co-chair MatthewBryza said that in the comingmonths a resolution of the Karabakhconflict could be forthcoming.The Russian co-chair YuriMerzlyakov was also optimistic,but more somber and moderate,as always.“The Madrid Principles continueto be on the negotiating table. Wecontinue to discuss them alongSargsian and Aliev to meet in PragueOSCE MinskGroup co-chairs,from left: YuriMerzlyakov,Bernard Fassier,and MatthewBryza. Photo:Hayk Badalyan/Photolure.with the presidents. Naturally, severalpoints [of the Madrid Principles]will be part of the discussionduring the Prague meeting,” Mr.Fassier said.Mr. Petrossian on April 29, said,“Karabakh has very clear disagreementsregarding several fundamentalpoints within the MadridPrinciples,” adding that Karabakhcould become more rigid in its position.Over the last years, Yerevan andBaku, without Stepanakert’s directparticipation, have been negotiatingon the basis of a document thatis called the Madrid Principles andwhich was passed to Armenia andAzerbaijan in November, 2007 inSpain’s capital city. The principalthrust is the following: with thepromise of holding a referendum atsome unknown time in the future,Armenian forces would retreat fromthose regions which Armeniansdeem liberated territories or a securityzone.fratify it, and in this way prolongthe issue.TH: When the April 22 documentwas issued, many analystsexpressed the opinion that Armenian-Turkishdialogue had entereda stalemate. What do you think?RH: Israel and Palestine, in thepast, have signed such documents.But where are they now? Today,their relations are in much worseshape than before. Signing any kindof document doesn’t mean that youhave reached a certain level or thatthe borders will be opened tomorrow.Perhaps the opening of theborders will bring more benefitsto Turkey than Armenia. Of course,open borders will also be beneficialfor Armenia, because we need accessto the sea, toward the Westernworld; we will then have an alternativeto the Georgian routes. Openborders is also good for Turkey,because its eastern regions will develop.It is also good for the Turksbecause they will have access to expandto the east; this pull will becomeeasier. The Turks have alwayshad their eye on the east. In 1991,Turkey’s politically and economicallymotivated expansion intoCentral Asia, believing that theycould be the “godfather” in thosecountries, wasn’t so easy. Realizingthat Turkey pulled out.TH: In June 2008, PresidentSerge Sargsian announced in Moscowthat if Turkey opens the borderwith Turkey, then the Armenianside would not be opposed to thecreation of a historians’ commission,which Turkey’s prime ministerhad proposed to PresidentKocharian in 2005. Is this proposalacceptable to you?RH: It is acceptable only undercertain conditions. First of all, theGenocide must be accepted as afact, then we can study as to whythe Genocide happened, what werethe factors, etc. The Turks are relyingupon the 1948 UN Conventionon Genocide, where it statesthat genocides must be premeditated.The Turks will stress that,yes, there were Armenian victims– 200 thousand, 300 thousand, butyou cannot prove that this was premeditated.Second of all, in their archivesand at that time it was alreadyplanned, to send telegrams fromthe villayets, where supposedly Armenianrevolts and desertion fromthe Ottoman army were recorded.Turkish historians can come withthese arguments and try, at leastin part, to place the blame on theArmenians. The Turkish side willnever accept that what happenedwas genocide. The creation of sucha commission is very dangerous.TH: If they asked you to be onthat commission, would you refuse?RH: Yes, I would refuse, I wouldn’tbe part of that commission. Whatis the Turkish side saying? It is sayinglet’s form a commission, let’ssee if the Genocide happened ornot. We know that what happenedwas genocide; the world acceptsProfessorRichardHovannisian.Photo: Photolure.that it happened; the InternationalAssociation of Genocide Scholarsaccepts that it happened. In otherwords, if we agree to the creationof a commission, then that willbe a step backward and will createdoubt. I consider the commissionto be a dangerous trap, which I willnot be a part of. For example whenthey created Turkish ArmenianReconciliation Commission, I wasopposed to it.TH: But that committee had unexpectedresults.RH: Yes, unexpected mixedachievements happened. The InternationalCenter for TransitionalJustice, to which TARC had applied,passed a decision that what happenedat the beginning of the centurywas a genocide, but that the1948 Convention on Genocide wasnot retroactive. After that TARC fellapart. The historians representingthe Turkish side were putting forwarda denialist approach withinTARC. The same will happen withthis commission.fNATO Secretary General in ArmeniaAmbassador Claudio Bisogniero.Mkhitar Khachatryan/Photolure.Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero,NATO’s Secretary General, was inArmenia on April 28 and met withthe country’s leadership.During his meeting with PresidentSerge Sargsian, AmbassadorBisogniero said his visit illustratesthe importance NATO gives to itsrelations with Armenia. PresidentSargsian stated that Armenia’s cooperationwith NATO within theframework of the Individual PartnershipAction Plan program is animportant component of the country’snational security policy. Theinterlocutors agreed that IPAP providedthe opportunity for movingbilateral cooperation forward. Thecurrent phase of Armenia-Turkeytalks was also discussed.The NATO ambassador also metwith the country’s Foreign MinisterEdward Nalbandian. fArmenia’s health ministry preparesitself for Swine FluOn April 29, Armenia’s Health MinisterHaroutyun Kushkian saidthat the ministry is getting readyfor a possible attack of the swineflue, Arminfo reported.Armenian authorities have alreadybegun implementing measureswhich comply with WHOstandards including preventivemeasures at the country’s airports.The minister made assurances thatthe situation in Armenia is undercontrol and there have been no reportedcases of the swine flu here.On April 30, Armenia imposeda temporary ban on the import ofpork from those countries whichhave been affected by the flu. AramaisGrigoryan, Armenia’s agricultureminister told the governmentthat even though there havebeen no reported cases in Armenia,the risk of infection remains high.The minister said that they are consideringplacing restrictions on theimport of fowl as well. f


18 The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009CommentaryObama wants Turkey to acknowledge the GenocideEditorialNotebookby Vincent LimaYEREVAN – By 9:10 p.m. Yerevan time, I wasimpatient. “Will he go ahead and break hispromise already? It’s noon on April 24 inWashington, and we have a paper to put out,”I wrote on Facebook.When, almost two hours later, PresidentBarack Obama’s statement on “ArmenianRemembrance Day” arrived, I clicked Ctrl-Fand searched for “geno.” Not found. No needfor a new front page, with extra-bold, extrablackletters (all caps and italics, perhaps).We could put a few finishing touches on thenewspaper and go to press.There was no question that as Armenian-Americans we were deeply disappointed inour president. The comments I saw in theminutes, hours, and days that followed reflectedheartbreak and a deep sense of havingbeen betrayed by a friend.Betrayal was the word first used by theANCA to describe the president’s refusal to usethe word genocide in his statement. USAPACtreated it as a “missed opportunity,” meaningArmenian-Americans were disappointed, butMr. Obama still had time to fulfill his campaignpledge. The Armenian Assembly characterizedthe pledge as an “empty promise.”Mr. Obama’s leap forwardOver the weekend, I had a chance to read thepresidential statement again. The followingpassage strikes me as especially significant:I have consistently stated my own viewof what occurred in 1915, and my view ofthat history has not changed. My interestremains the achievement of a full, frankand just acknowledgment of the facts.For many years now, we have sought apresidential statement that calls the Aghedor Meds Yeghern a genocide. And that is thestatement Mr. Obama promised us. But let’stake a step back and recall why we seek sucha statement.We seek the presidential statement as away of achieving universal recognition of theArmenian Genocide, and especially recognitionby Turkey.The Armenian Revolutionary Federation,for example, whose political arm in theUnited States is the ANCA, announced as lateas Monday, “the universal recognition andcondemnation, especially by Turkey, of theArmenian Genocide” is an essential elementof Armenia’s national security.So if we seek recognition “especially by Turkey,”we may have an ally in the president ofthe United States. In his pre-election statementhe had noted, “I have stood with theArmenian American community in calling forTurkey’s acknowledgement of the ArmenianGenocide.” And now, as president, he is statingan interest in “the achievement of a full,frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.”And his interest in this matter as presidentis not limited to a statement on April24, 2009. Let us not forget or underestimatewhat he did on April 6, 2009. The presidentwent to Turkey, stood before the Grand NationalAssembly, and urged Turkey to addressthe “terrible events of 1915” in a way that is“honest, open, and constructive.”As betrayed as we may feel by his failureto use the words “Armenian Genocide,” wemust acknowledge that his statement beforethe Turkish parliament was a historic step.Not a bilateral issueWhile Mr. Obama’s stated intention is onethat we should fully support, his stated meansare problematic. In his statement of April 24,he wrote, “The best way to advance that goalright now is for the Armenian and Turkishpeople to address the facts of the past as apart of their efforts to move forward.”The president is suggesting that Turkey ismost likely to acknowledge the Genocide inthe context of developing normal bilateralrelations with Armenia. And, he said in Turkey,he wants to avoid undermining that processby using the word genocide himself.The approach is problematic for variousreasons that have been discussed in the press(see, for example, the Armenian Reporter’s editorialfor April 25). The key reasons are:First, the Turkish government is not exhibitinggoodwill about confronting the past.At the very news conference in Turkey whereMr. Obama was careful to avoid underminingthe process, the president of Turkey, AbdullahGül, engaged in a full-throated denial ofthe Genocide. If he wanted to show good will,he could have expressed openness to reviewingthe sins of an earlier era.Second, genocide is a crime against humanity,not a bilateral issue between Armeniaand Turkey. It cannot rightly be a matterfor negotiations between Turkey and Armenia.I have yet to see a persuasive argumentthat reducing international pressure on Turkeywill encourage it to come to terms withits past.Armenia’s roleThe Armenian government has helped theTurkish government make its case for forbearanceon Mr. Obama’s part. The optimisticand ill-timed joint statement of the foreignministries of Armenia and Turkey on April22 oddly came only two days after PresidentSerge Sargsian explicitly acknowledgedthat the talks were not going so well.Mr. Sargsian had told the Wall Street Journalon April 20 that his government and “theTurkish side in the negotiations supportedthe idea that we are negotiating without anypreconditions.” But, he said, “I think alreadynow the motivation of Turkey has decreased,because . . . Prime Minister Erdogan is nowoffering preconditions.” Indeed, on April 19Mr. Erdogan had announced, “If the Armenianoccupation of Azeri territory continues,Turkey will not open its border gate.”At the same time, Mr. Sargsian set fortha deadline: October 14, 2009. That is thedate of the Armenia-Turkey soccer match inKayseri. Mr. Sargsian had invited Mr. Gül towatch the World Cup qualifying match in Yerevanon September 6, 2008. Mr. Gül wentand then invited Mr. Sargsian to watch thereturn match in Kayseri. Mr. Sargsian toldthe Wall Street Journal, “Obviously settingpreconditions at a point where the perimetersare already set and we are very close toa breakthrough is absolutely not acceptablefor us. Of course, if the border is open or ison the eve of opening, I will visit Turkey toattend the return match.” And if it is not, hewill not attend, he said.The next 200 daysSo what are the next steps?First, the president and foreign minister ofArmenia insist that the normalization of Armenia-Turkeyrelations should proceed withno preconditions and without further delay.(Indeed, if there are no preconditions, whydelay opening the border and establishingdiplomatic relations?) The U.S. State Departmenthas likewise announced, “Normalizationshould take place without preconditionsand within a reasonable timeframe.”Through the administration and Congress,we must insist that any preconditions imposedby Turkey are unacceptable, and October14 should be considered a firm deadline.Second, on the fairly safe assumption thatefforts toward the normalization of relationsbetween Armenia and Turkey do not lead to“a full, frank and just acknowledgment of thefacts” by Turkey, we should ask Mr. Obama toreconsider “the best way to advance that goal.”The preferred means would be a forceful presidentialstatement acknowledging the Genocideand calling on Turkey to do likewise.In short, as we go forward, we should notconsider Mr. Obama’s campaign pledge a lostcause. On the contrary, we should take theadditional commitment he made on April 24– the commitment to achieving “a full, frankand just acknowledgment of the facts” byTurkey – together with his campaign pledgeas a starting point to pursue the larger goal ofhaving Turkey acknowledge the Genocide. fCommentsThe article above was posted on Facebook onWednesday. Here are some of the commentsposted in response, printed with permission.Emil Sanamyan at 7:24 p.m. April 29What annoyed me the most about thestatement was the use of “Mets Yeghern”borrowed from Bush’s 2005 statement andbefore that from Pope John Paul II. For me,that made Obama’s commitment so muchmore artificial.As Harut Sassounian pointed out in hiscommentary, Obama’s reference to his preelectionstatement is also not new and wasemployed by Bush, Sr.From the point of view of community interest,it seems we are too fixated on the Gword in this one statement, almost at the expenseof any other expression of respect thatour government could pay our community.For example, had Obama showed up atan Armenian church service somewhere lastWith Turkey’sPrimeMinisterErdogan(rear right)present,PresidentObama urgedTurkey toaddressthe “terribleevents of1915” in away thatis “honest,open, andconstructive.”Ankara, April6, 2009.AP Photo/CharlesDharapak.weekend, or engaged in some other form oflive interaction with Armenians – with mediacoverage – that could send a real messagethat he cares, and be more effective in gettingthat message out than simply issuing astatement even with the G word.Emil Sanamyan at 7:29 p.m. April 29Had it not been for Turkish opposition tothe statement, the president’s April 24 statementwould be in the same sort of categoryof obscurity as most other utterances releasedby a president on any given day.Emil Sanamyan at 7:41 p.m. April 29And the same goes for the nonbindingresolution.Nareg Seferian at 7:58 p.m. April 29Could we somehow also express that theborder opening shouldn’t really be a bargainingchip of any sort? It’s not like Turkey willdo Armenia a favor by opening the border;the border ought to be open anyway.Harout Topsacalian at 10:21 p.m. April 29Sure it would have been nice for Obama tosay it, but he still has three years to keep hispromise. Also, as all eyes are on Turkey to fulfillits obligations and “deal with its history inan open way,” the U.S. will continue to havethe “stick” of this declaration available.Garabet Moumdjian at 9:29 a.m. April 30Well, did he not say it because it’s not anelection year? And he might do so when midtermelections come around and Democratswould need to maintain a majority in bothhouses?Come on guys. It’s a game and they areplaying with our nerves. I think the manpowerand money we are spending on thisissue will be much better spent on anotherworthwhile cause.Katy Pearce at 11:34 a.m. April 30Great piece Vincent!Patricia Constantinian-Voskeridjian at7:00 p.m. April 29I have had a number of thoughts regardingrecent developments surrounding Turkey,Armenia, Armenians, and Obama. I haven’treally been following things too intensively,given how full my plate currently is withwork and kids, so I apologize if my impressionscome across somewhat fragmented, incomplete,and not fully formulated. But herethey are for what it’s worth.My first thought goes to something saidContinued on page 19 mArmenian Reporter (ISSN 0004-2358), an independent newspaper,is published weekly by Armenian Reporter llc.Copyright © 2009 by ArmenianReporter llc. All Rights ReservedGerard L. Cafesjian, President and ceoPeriodicals 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 LimaAssociate editor Maria TitizianWashington editor Emil SanamyanEastern U.S. editor Lou Ann MatossianAssistant to the Editor Seda StepanyanCopy editor Ishkhan JinbashianArt director Grigor HakobyanThe Armenian Reporter is your newspaper. We urge you to send us your news and yourviews.News. Please send your news to .Letters. Please send your letters to Letters should be no morethan 250 words long and may be edited for clarity. Please include your mailing addressand daytime telephone number.Commentary. Please send your essays to Essays and articlesnormally should be no longer than 900 words.Photos and artwork. We require high-resolution originals. 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The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009 19CommentaryLiving inArmeniaThe power of the peopleby Maria TitizianLettersWhenever there’s imbalance in the world,events, either natural or artificial, occur thatplace things in their proper order.Political developments in Armenia canchange rapidly as can people’s perceptions ofthe world in which they live and it can dictatetheir every move.For the past ten months, Armenia-Turkeyrapprochement has been on the forefront ofArmenia’s domestic and foreign policy agenda.Football diplomacy became the diplomaticcatchphrase everyone from the UnitedStates to Russia was referring to.Relations with a neighbor with whom wehave deep historical grievances and demandswas further compounded when Turkeyslammed the border shut in solidarity withAzerbaijan over the Nagorno Karabakh conflict16 years ago. While an air corridor betweenour two countries exists, land and railcrossings have not been realized since 1993.On the morning of April 23, 2009 we wokeup to a different world. Armenia’s foreign affairsministry at approximately 1:30 in themorning, Yerevan time had released a statementthat Armenia and Turkey, throughSwiss mediation had agreed to some elusiveroad map, one which we have yet to fullyunderstand. While Turkish media is on afree-for-all, disseminating misinformation,the Armenian media is still scrambling to getanswers from its leadership. That same day,Yerkir Media, a local TV station posed a questionto the foreign affairs ministry, askingwhat the road map was. The answer that theministry later circulated to all media outletsin the country was that in diplomatic lingo,road map means a plan of action, a term oftenused in diplomatic negotiations. No kidding.The Middle East has had a road map forthe past twenty years...All of this one day before the 94th anniversaryof the greatest tragedy in our collectivehistory. The Armenian Genocide is anintrinsic component of our national identity.It’s the one issue that unites us among a divergenceof opinions regarding every aspectof our nationhood.I have walked to Tsitsernagaberd, theGenocide memorial in Yerevan for the pastnine years with my compatriots. Every year Ihave witnessed the solemn journey that Armeniansin the homeland embark upon topay their respect to their slain forefathers.Every year I am moved. This year somethingelse took place.While admittedly, only a small percentageof Armenians globally are truly engagedin issues impacting statehood, and an evensmaller percentage of Armenians in Armeniaare engaged and while I don’t believe thatpeople had the time or the capacity in a 24hour period to analyze the events that wereunfolding before us, there was a collectiveunderstanding that something was askew inour national life.Hence the remarkable numbers of peoplemaking the annual journey to Tsitsernagaberdthis year.Even in 2005, when for the 90th anniversaryof the Armenia Genocide, a plethora ofevents were organized in Armenia, not asmany people made the journey to the Genocidememorial.By 6:00 P.M. this year, the flowers werealready about two meters high and thenumbers of people coming to pay their respectsby the eternal flame were increasingby the hour. At approximately 9:45 P.M.Tzitzernakaberd, April 24, 2009. Photo: MkhitarKhachatryan/Photolure.Armenia’s state run television announcedthat already 800,000 people had been tothe monument, and the numbers keptgrowing. Watching the swelling crowdsat the memorial on television, caused ourhearts to swell with a mixture of pride andtrepidation.What did this mean? Why was there suchan overwhelming need, this year, to go to themonument?The Armenian people understood thatthey had to come out, they had to show theworld that regardless of what kind of roadmap their authorities had agreed to with theTurkish side, they would never forget andnever stop demanding justice. It was a nationalobligation. It was a personal obligationto our grandparents who had witnessed akind of hatred that leaves its scent on generationsand generations to come.But the Armenians in Yerevan were notthe only ones who felt that something thatmight change the course of our lives, or ourcountry was developing. Most instinctivelyfelt the tug of history, of what shadowy relationswith our much stronger neighbor to thewest was capable of. From Stepanakert, thecapital of Nagorno Karabakh to Akhaltskha,Akhalkalak, and Ninotsminda in Javakhk,to Gyumri under a freak snow storm, Armenianspaid tribute, they remembered, theydemanded recognition and justice.Right across the globe, Armenians dispersedto the winds because of the Genocide,marched, demonstrated, held candlelightvigils, organized exhibitions, had book readings,and film screenings, clashed with riotpolice, handed over memorandums to Turkishmissions in all the major and some not-somajorcapitals around the world.Watching Armenians in different countriescommemorating the 94th anniversaryof the Armenian Genocide, I realized we areso unbelievably strong when we are united. Asmall nation, so small that people can forgetwe exist, yet our voices can be so strong as tobring global attention to the one thing thatwiped away even our personal histories, theArmenian Genocide.While the future is somewhat blurry andboth the homeland and the Diaspora arestruggling; while Armenians and Turks aretalking and the Azeris are sulking and theRussians and the Americans are maneuveringand who knows what Iran is thinking, Iam so proud to be an Armenian. fObama’s statement was“astonishing”Sir:It was astonishing to read that PresidentObama did not use the word genocide to describethe slaughter of nearly 2 million Armeniansin 1915–23, knowing that the word wascoined by jurist Raphael Lemkin specificallyto describe the barbarity that befell the Armeniansat the hands of the Turkish state.Dr. Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish descentand Holocaust survivor, used the wordgenocide in 1943 to describe the genocide ofthe Armenians and then the Holocaust. Dr.Lemkin played an important role in compellingthe United Nations to adopt the Conventionon the Prevention and Punishment ofthe Crime of Genocide in 1948.In a 1949 CBS News interview, Dr. Lemkintalked about the UN Convention andthe Armenian Genocide. Showing footage ofTurkish soldiers brutally chasing and killingArmenians, Dr. Lemkin explained that theTurkish state acted with the intent to annihilatenearly 2 million Armenians, who weredriven from their homes to perish in the desertor die before they got there.Before the word genocide existed, Britishprime minister Winston Churchill andworld leaders described the events as the“Armenian holocaust.” President Obama,who does not speak Armenian, used theArmenian phrase “Mets Yeghern” (GreatCatastrophe), thus shielding Turkey fromany accountability for its crime of genocideunder the UN convention and internationallaw.Imagine if back in the days of West Germany,the U.S. president refrained from usingthe word Holocaust, not wanting to offendor sour relations with a strategic NATO ally,only describing the destruction of EuropeanJewry during World War II as “Ha Shoah.”Very truly yours,Berge JololianCambridge, Mass.Just say it alreadySir:Armenians, stop fooling yourselves aboutthe U.S. government and “Genocide”!Nobody welcomed the election of PresidentObama more than I. But on April 24, Mr.Obama thought he would appease Turkey bysubstituting the phrase “Mets Yeghern” forthe exact word that he had used throughouthis presidential campaign, “Genocide.”His attempt at cleverness failed miserably.He fell into a trap when Turkey’s President Gülnot only praised him for dropping genocide, butalso shot back that Mr. Obama should havealso referred to the “hundreds of thousands ofTurks” who were killed in the world war.Worst of all, just as Mr. Gül expected, theAmerican media dutifully published the disingenuousTurkish response, word for word.In Mr. Obama’s April 24 statement, heclaimed that his “interest remains theachievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgmentof the facts,” which he knows fullwell is totally impossible because the Turkshave thoroughly established that despite theenormous weight of irrefutable documentationby qualified historians and eyewitnessesto the contrary, only their version of eventsis to be tolerated. Ever.Better that he should endorse an internationalconference to determine whether pie ala mode can ever be served without ice cream.That, at least, might be amusing.Meanwhile, Mr. President, please be “perfectlyclear” when you contend that yourviews of the slaughter of Armenians had notchanged. It is not difficult. Instead of leavingit to your readers or listeners to look up whatyou had said, “Say it!”Very truly yours,George AvakianNew YorkA timeline, pleaseSir:When and why did Europe cease using theterm holocaust for the Armenian Genocide,and when and why did Turkey begin to denythe Genocide?Armenia and Armenians all over theworld are marking the 94th anniversary ofthe Armenian Genocide. During the past 94years, Armenians have put all their energyand effort trying to prove to the world andto Turkey that the events of 1896–1923 weredeliberate and calculated genocide, not verydissimilar from the acts of Nazi Germanyagainst the Jews.The wartime prime minister of Great BritainDavid Lloyd George, in his Memoirs of aPeace Conference (1939) wrote, “The actionof the British government led inevitably tothe terrible massacres of 1895–97, 1909, andmost of all the holocaust of 1915.”Arnold Toynbee, in his book Murder of aNation used the words “Armenian Holocaust”to describe the unfolding genocide againstArmenians. Before Raphael Lemkin’s coiningof the word genocide, the term holocaustwas used in the English language to indicatewholesale and organized destruction of a civilianpopulation. The exclusivity of the wordholocaust only for the murder of the Jewsappears much later.Soon after the events many books werepublished in Turkey, probably with the approvalof the Turkish censor, indicating thatthe then-rulers of Turkey had acknowledgedthe events and were not shying away fromlearning about them.My question to Armenian Genocide expertsis this: When and why did Europe ceaseusing the word holocaust for the Armenians?Similarly when and why did Turkey begin todeny the Genocide?Very truly yours,Dr. Vrej NersessianLondonObama wants Turkey to acknowledge the Genociden Continued from page 18by Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, somethingto the effect that Armenians’ relationship tothe past is one of remembering, while forthe Turks it’s one of forgetting. When Gülgets the final word (as in the joint press conference)and says that the “happenings” of1915 are a historical matter to be decided byhistorians from both sides, he is speakingvery much as a Turk who believes the pastis there to be forgotten. For Turks, historybegins with Atatürk.I then think about what “history” actually is,and why Gül would think it beneficial to framethe Genocide as something for historians fromboth sides to study and resolve. History is adiscipline, a social science, and as such, historiansseek to elucidate doubt as well as fact.Historians develop hypotheses and formulatetheories, not truth. As long as it’s decided byhistorians, it’s not necessarily “truth,” and itcan be excluded from a political process.Obama, however, seems to be framing theGenocide issue as an integral part of a politicalprocess, and as long as that continuesit’s probably a positive thing for Armenians.When framed as part of a political process,it is possible to include notions of reparationand justice that have legal implications.The historicity of it almost becomes secondary.Yes, it’s disappointing that he didn’t gothe full distance, but can he do so as headof a government that hasn’t yet passed aGenocide bill? He’s always been a masterof “both/and” rather than “either/or”. Incalling it “Mets Yeghern” in Armenian, heactually switches codes. He both says it anddoesn’t say it.Framing it as part of a political process,however, implies that both sides are goingto have to make some concessions. For manyArmenians, the thought of any concessionson the matter of the Genocide is unbearableand unthinkable. This may be due, partly, to adeeply held notion that there can be no healingwithout acknowledgement. I personallydon’t believe this. Many survivors of traumacan and do actually transcend their traumaand in some ways, this facilitates eventualacknowledgement.Regards,PatriciaDo you have a comment? Write letters@reporter.amf


20 The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009


The Armenian Reporter | May 2, 2009

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