And for this we are thankful.... - Armenian Reporter

reporter.am

And for this we are thankful.... - Armenian Reporter

Lunar Swaybreaks themold, reachesnew heightsSee story on page C6m“The DiasporaMinistry is thehome of everyArmenian”See story on page 18mA deacon becomesan Armenianpriest in IndiaSee story on page 12mWestern U.S. EditionNumber 89November 22, 2008the armenianreporterAnd for this we are thankful....Nayre Kamalian, 6, shows off her patriotic face at a festival on Armenian Independence Day, Sept. 21, 2008. Photo: Helena Gregorian.We wish all our readersa happy ThanksgivingVisit us at the new reporter.am


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008Ensuring the Futureof Armenia’s PastProject Discovery! is dedicated to the discovery andpreservation of Armenia's archaeological and cultural legacy.Armenia has a long and continuous past that is both culturally richand historically significant. And yet, our history is largely unknown tothe academic community outside of Armenia primarily due to lack offunds available to Armenian scientists.Project Discovery! was organized tomeet this challenge. We have supportedarchaeological excavations, attendance byArmenian scholars at internationalconferences, publication of books,scientific journals and museum catalogues,websites, libraries and laboratories.We are unique, in that we are the only public charity dedicatedto supporting Armenian archaeology. We are joined in ourmission by an Academic Advisory Board of eminent scholars, bothArmenian and non-Armenian, from prestigious universities andresearch institutions across the US and around the world.At a time when exciting discoveries in Armenia are attractingthe attention of scientists from the international community, itTufts University professor Lucy Der Manueliandescribes Armenia as “an archaeologicalparadise”, containing a wealth of internationallysignificant archaeological material remains whichembody our heritage and testify to ourcontributions to world civilization.has never been more important to develop and support theinfrastructure of archaeology in Armenia.We are proud of the contribution weare making to discover and preservethe archaeological and cultural legacyof Armenia. Your enthusiastic supportover the past several years has enabledus to achieve major accomplishments –such as the establishment of a researchand conservation laboratory at YerevanState University, the publication ofAramazd: Armenian Journal of NearEastern Studies, and Terra Armenica, the first website of Armenianarchaeology and history, among many, many other projects.The past is a heritage we all share. Won't you join us in ourcommitment to preserve one of the world's earliest civilizations?Please send your tax deductible contribution to ensure the future ofArmenia's past.Project Discovery!Ensuring the Future of Armenia’s Past“Detail of Vishap” c 1,500 B.C.340 Lakewood Drive | Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304 | 248.563.0016 | projectdiscovery@comcast.net | www.projectdiscovery.net


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008Nationalby Emil SanamyanObama, Biden intelephone talks withforeign leadersPresident-elect Barack Obamaand Vice President–elect JoeBiden called a number of “worldleaders and expressed thanks andappreciation for their congratulationson the election.”The presidential transition website www.change.gov reports thaton November 6, Mr. Obama tookcalls from leaders of close U.S. alliesAustralia, Great Britain, Canada,France, Germany, Israel, Japan,Mexico, and South Korea. On November7 he spoke with leaders ofItaly, Spain, Poland, Egypt, SaudiArabia, and Pakistan, and on November8 with those of Russia andChina.The president-elect phoned PresidentsAbdullah Gül of Turkey andMikheil Saakashvili of Georgia,as well as the Philippines presidenton November 17; the presidents ofColombia, Nigeria, Senegal, andSouth Africa, and United Nationssecretary general on November 18;Washington briefingObama on phone wth foreign leaderson Nov. 6 in Chicago. Getty images.and the presidents of Argentina,Chile, Kazakhstan, and Palestine,and the Irish Prime Minister, onNovember 19.No details of conversations werereported by the president-elect, butMr. Saakashvili’s office reportedthat “the U.S. President-elect expressedhis unconditional supportto the territorial integrity of Georgiaand focused on the importanceof continuation of the ongoingreforms in Georgia [and] U.S. supportin this regard.”And according to Mr. Gul’s office,Mr. Obama “emphasized theimportance of the special relationsbetween the two allies, Turkey andU.S.” and backed Turkey’s fightagainst Kurdish rebels.Other calls to foreign leaderswere made by Sen. Biden. On November10 he telephoned the Israeliforeign minister, Tzipi Livni, whois likely to be the next prime minister,Defense Minister Ehud Barak,and opposition leader Binyamin(Bibi) Netanyahu; Britain’s PrimeMinister Gordon Brown, as wellas the presidents of Poland andAfghanistan and, on November 11,the king of Jordan.And on November 17, Mr. Bidencalled the European Union’s JavierSolana, as well as the presidents ofColombia and Georgia, the primeminister of Spain, and the foreignminister of Greece.Turkish leader deridesBush, lobbies ObamaTurkey’s Prime Minister RecepTayyib Erdoğan used an invitationfrom President GeorgeW. Bush to an economic summitin Washington to lecture President-electBarack Obama and tolambast the Bush administration’spolicies as “disastrous.”Although Mr. Obama himself declinedto take part in the summit,he asked former Secretary of StateMadeleine Albright, former Rep.Jim Leach (R.-Iowa), and PhilipGordon of the Brookings Institutionto meet with foreign leaderson his behalf.According to Turkish media, inmeetings with Mr. Obama’s representativesand in speeches atBrookings on November 14 and aday earlier at the Columbia University,Mr. Erdoğan touted Turkey’simportance and warned PresidentelectObama about Turkey’s “sensitivities”such as its insistence ondenial of the Armenian Genocideand opposition to a de facto Kurdishstate in Iraq.In his presidential campaign, Mr.Obama repeatedly pledged to dropthe Bush administration’s policyand stop deferring to the Turkishlobby when it came to U.S. policyon the Armenian Genocide.Separately, Mr. Obama pledgedto pull U.S. troops out of Iraq withinsixteen months.Mr. Erdoğan criticized the withdrawalplan as “premature” and therecognition pledge as “immature.”At Brookings, the Turkish leaderclaimed that “U.S. support is essentialfor maintaining the dialogue”between Turkey and Armenia,implying that Ankara would stopseeking normal relations with Yerevanif President Obama, in Mr.Erdoğan’s words at Columbia, acquiescedto Armenian-Americans’“cheap political lobbying” and speakclearly on the genocide in OttomanTurkey.Also at Columbia, Mr. Erdoğanspoke of his desire to follow therecent Russian example and hosta meeting between the Armenianand Azerbaijani presidents.And in Washington, Mr. Erdoğanrepeated his offer to mediate betweenthe United States and Iran,while suggesting that Tehran cannotbe forced to drop its nuclearprogram while other countries(presumably Israel, India, andPakistan in addition to the UnitedStates, Russia, France, Britain, andChina) retain nuclear weapons.Pres. Sahakian at a Armenia Fundproject inauguration in Dec. 2007.Karabakh presidentbegins U.S. visitPresident Bako Sahakian of theNagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR)began a 10-day working visit to theUnited States on November 18. Mr.Sahakian’s delegation includes NKRFinance Minister Spartak Tevosianand other officials.The trip is dedicated to the annualThanksgiving Day telethon insupport of Karabakh and Armeniaorganized by the Armenia Fund inLos Angeles and includes stops inBoston and New York for meetingswith Armenian-American communityleaders.Since its creation in 1992, thefund has supported key transportationinfrastructure in Karabakhwith about $185 million spent onprojects throughout Armenia.Georgia cedes its natural gas network to AzerbaijanNerses Yeritsian.U.S.-Armenia TaskForce meets inWashingtonEconomic Development MinisterNerses Yeritsian led an Armeniangovernment delegation to Washingtonfor talks with U.S. officialsfrom November 19 to 21.The visit was within the regularU.S.-Armenia Task Force (USATF)mechanism and included visits withofficial counterparts at the Departmentsof State and Commerce, theOffice of the U.S. Trade Representative,and the Millennium ChallengeCorporation. The USATF’s Americanco-chair is currently DanielRosenblum, the State Departmentassistance to Eurasia coordinator.USATF was previously co-chairedby Armenia’s Finance and EconomyMinisters Levon Barkhudarian(1999–2000) and VardanKhachatrian (2000–2008), andU.S. State Department Coordinatorsfor U.S. assistance to EurasiaBill Taylor (2000–2003) and TomAdams (2004–2008).Set up in 2000, USATF is an intergovernmentalcommittee thatmeets twice a year to discuss U.S.assistance for Armenia’s reformsand bilateral economic ties.However, the volume of U.S. assistanceto Armenia has declinedfrom an average of $75 million ayear in 2004–2006 to about $50million in 2007. Bilateral trade remainedsteady at an average of $125million a year in 2004–2007, withU.S. exports to Armenia accountingfor most of the turnover. fNews Analysis by EmilSanamyanWASHINGTON – Georgia agreedto hand over the ownership of itsnatural gas network, which includesthe transit gas pipeline fromRussia to Armenia, to the Azerbaijanigovernment, news agenciesreported.Under the November 14 deal,announced by Georgian leaderMikheil Saakashvili the next day,Azerbaijan would satisfy the bulkof Georgia’s natural gas needs in2009–13 at below-market prices.The deal was finalized duringan energy summit in Baku thatbrought together a number of centraland eastern European headsand senior officials of states interestedin Caspian energy.Also at the summit, Kazakhstanagreed to expand its oil shipmentsvia Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkeythrough the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhanpipeline built with U.S. support.“Property for debt”Georgia’s deal with Azerbaijan issimilar to Armenia’s deal with Russia,exchanging formal ownershipof the gas network – that could potentiallyserve as political leverage– for a temporary reprieve in prices.Until this year, like Armenia,Georgia bought most of its naturalgas from Russia. Moscow reportedlycame close to buying theGeorgian gas network, but the offerwas declined by Tbilisi on the U.S.government’s insistence, whichwas concerned with integrity ofnon-Russian gas supplies.Although the Georgian-Russianborder is closed and official relationsare suspended, Russia continuesto supply Georgia, and by extensionArmenia, with natural gas.The biggest gas consumers in Georgia– the Tbilisi electricity networkand a chemical plant – are ownedby Russian companies.While Russian-Georgian talkson South Ossetia and Abkhaziaresume in Geneva this week, nonormalization in relations is anticipatedany time soon.Speaking at the Council on ForeignRelations in Washington on November15, President Dmitry Medvedevsaid that Russia was “ready tobuild relations with Georgia.”“But not with the current [Saakashvili]regime,” Mr. Medvedevsaid. “That is a red line, which wecannot cross.”Armenia impactAzerbaijan has now promised tocover more than 60 percent ofGeorgia’s overall gas needs – estimatedat 1.8 billion cubic metersof gas a year – at below-marketprices. The rest of the supplies toGeorgia would still need to comeat market prices from Azerbaijan,Russia, or Iran.Iran-Armenia gas pipe at Saralenj. Photo: Photolure.Armenia imported more than2 billion cubic meters of gas fromRussia last year. In addition to thenow Azerbaijani-owned Georgiantransit pipeline, Armenia can nowpotentially import natural gasfrom Iran – an important safeguardshould new problems arisein supplies via Georgia. The Iranoption also becomes more attractiveas Russia will begin to raiseprices for its supplies startingnext year.Consequences for Armenia ofthe Georgia deal may become apparentsoon. Azerbaijan and Turkeyhad previously used a promiseof lower gas prices to Georgia asleverage against Armenia in theform of Georgian support for theKars-Akhalkalaki rail bypass andother projects.The Russian-Georgian war alreadydisrupted air and other trafficbetween Russia and Armenia. Mediareports suggested that Georgiawas trying to prevent Russian militarycargo, including those resupplyingits military base in Gyumri,from reaching Armenia.Considering the continued importanceof Georgia transit to Armenia,it is not surprising that bothPresident Serge Sargsian and DefenseMinister Seyran Ohanianhave visited Georgia since the Augustwar, and Prime Minister TigranSarkisian is expected to gosoon.f


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008InternationalLooking for Armenians in Turkish state museumsHacking historyby Ara Sarafian in AnkaraANKARA, Turkey – Armenians havebecome a common topic of discussionin Turkey for some years nowand this trend has picked up sincePrime Minister Recep TayyibErdoğan came to office in March2003. In this new climate of moreopenness, liberal intellectuals haveled a discussion of the ArmenianTaboo of Turkey.Their discussions have led to anew awareness of Armenians anda gradual reinvention of Turkey’sArmenian heritage, which was destroyedin large measure in 1915and its aftermath. The new positivediscussions have touched on suchissues as Armenian history, art,architecture, music, and cuisine indifferent publications, exhibitions,and public discussions.Fethiye Çetin’s book Anne Annem(My Grandmother) has beenreprinted in several editions. OsmanKöker’s exhibitions and publicationshave reached thousands.Orhan Pamuk’s comments aboutthe persecution of Kurds and Armeniansare reported by the worldmedia. All this suggests some tangiblebreaks with Turkey’s moreominous past.However, the more sympathetictreatment of Armenians hascontinued to take place alongsidelongstanding conservative, belligerent,and negative attitudestoward Armenians. These circlescontinue to slight, marginalise,and vilify Armenians as a matterof course.Their attitudes, supported bystock arguments, are the productof decades of Turkish nationalistindoctrination and its underlyingideology. Even in the last week wehave heard Turkey’s Defense MinisterVecdhi Gönül applaud the“departure” of the native Armenianand Greek communities of Turkey,and Minister of Justice MehmetAli Sahin defend the utility of theinfamous Article 301. He explicitlydefended the prosecution of TemelDemirer under Article 301 becausethe latter had called Turkey a statethat murdered its own citizens(with reference to Armenians andKurds).Within the academic domain,the Turkish Historical Associationand the Turkish military continueto prepare and publish overtlyanti-Armenian books and DVDs– invariably denigrating Armeniansand denying the Armenian Genocideof 1915. Various “think tanks,”such as the Ermeni ArastirmalarMerkezi (Armenian Studies Center)in Ankara remain actively anti-Armenian. Many small publishinghouses still print the conventionalTurkish nationalist position regardingArmenians.Attempts to reinvent TurkishArmenians in a more positive lightare still undermined by significantsectors of Turkish society, includinggovernment ministries. Therelative strength of the opposingconservative circles has still notbeen gauged, especially given theirpositions of power and influencein Turkey. While one cannot expectthe Turkish conservative-nationalistposition to change overnight,one does expect it to takesome note of new discussions andrevelations.Two weeks ago I decided to examineseveral museums in Turkey,all but one in historic Western Armenia,with one question in mind:“How are Armenia and Armeniansrepresented in Turkish museumstoday?”Turkish schoolchildren on a day trip to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Photos: Ara Sarafian © 2008Gomidas Institute. Used with permission.The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.The museums I picked were theMuseum of Anatolian Civilizations(Ankara), Erzurum ArchaeologicalMuseum, Van ArchaeologicalMuseum, and Kars ArchaeologicalMuseum. All four are under thecontrol of the Ministry of Tourismand Culture.Had the new debates on Armeniansshaped representations ofArmenians in Turkey? How didthese state institutions acknowledgeand contextualize Armenianhistory in their everyday endeavors,and what can we say about Turkeyand its Armenian heritage basedon these museums.First stop: AnkaraMy first stop was the Museum ofAnatolian Civilizations in Ankara.This museum uses the term Anatoliaas coterminous with the territoryof Turkey-in-Asia. Of course,Turkey is not a single landmass,but formed of several distinct geographicalregions, such as the Aegeanlittoral, the Konya plain, thePontic mountains on the Black Sea,the Taurus Mountains of the Mediterranean,the anti-Taurus furthereast, and of course the Armenianhighlands.This museum is reputed to be oneof the most important museums inTurkey today. It won the EuropeanMuseum of the Year Award in 1997,and many tourists, schoolchildren,and academics visit it every day.The museum exhibition extendsover two floors. It is well constructedand maintained, with excellentlighting and good human resources.Starting from the prehistoricera, the visitor is led through collectionsof Paleolithic, Neolithic,Chalcolithic, Early Bronze Age, Assyrian,Hittite, Phrygian, Urartianand Lydian, Greek, Roman, Seljuk,and Ottoman artifacts.The displays at the museum includestatues, pottery, jewelry, andmetalwork, and various panels discussthe collections in their broaderhistorical contexts, with referencesto other civilizations such as theMedes, Scythians, Egyptians, andPersians.However, there are no artifacts,discussions, or references to Armeniansin the museum.The obvious question is, therefore,why is there no mention ofArmenia as a geographical entityor Armenians as a culture and civilization?After all, there was theempire of Tigran the Great in thefirst century B.C.E., the ArmenianKingdom of Vasbouragan on LakeVan in the 10th–11th centuries, andthe Armenian Kingdom of Ciliciain the Middle Ages. Armenia wasa distinct part of the Roman andByzantine Empires, and Armenianswere one of the important pillars ofthe Ottoman Empire. Armeniansplayed a major role in arts, crafts,and trade throughout the ages, andthey developed their own distinctidentity with their own alphabetfrom the 5th century in this area.Armenian literature, philosophy,art, and architecture are worthyof much comment, yet they do notappear in a museum dedicated toAnatolian civilizations.The only reference to ArmeniansI saw at this museum was a multilingualDVD prepared, interestinglyenough, by the Turkish Ministry ofThe Museum of Ethnography in Ankara.Culture and Tourism called The ArmenianIssue: Allegations and Facts.The other reference was a smallbook on Akdamar (sic, Aghtamar)Island, which made some derisoryremarks about Armenians, but includedmore sensible discussionafterward.By way of explanationAfter my visit to the museum, Iraised what I had seen with twoTurkish colleagues, both membersof the Turkish Historical Society.They proceeded to explain that Armenianswere not mentioned in theMuseum of Anatolian Civilizationsbecause they did not constitute astate. Obviously, there have beenArmenian states in the areas underdiscussion. Their explanation alsoseems to suggest that “states” and“civilizations” are the same thing.I asked one of them why Armenianswere not represented withindiscussions of these states, for examplein the case of the OttomanEmpire. After all, the OttomanEmpire was a multicultural entity,probably with more Christiansthan Muslims at its height. Armenianswere indistinguishable fromTurks, I was told in response, sothere was no need to say anythingabout Armenians.I do not know if they were embarrassedby my questions and didnot know what to say, or they reallythought their explanation hadmerit. I doubt it was the latter, andI hope they will do something aboutthe issue, if only to save Turkey furtherembarrassment.While I was in Ankara, I also visitedthe Museum of Ethnography.One of the figures in the garden of theMuseum of Anatolian Civilizations.DVD cover.Just as the Museum of AnatolianCivilizations did not mention Armenians,the Museum of Ethnographyalso did not see Armeniansas an ethnicity. Indeed, the ethnographymuseum was composed ofmainly 19th-century set scenes inperiod costume, such as marriage,circumcision, workshop, barbershop,and coffeehouse. It includedvarious wares, Korans, and Islamiccarvings from mosques (doors andpulpits), but it had nothing thatwas Christian or had a specific ethnicity(Armenian, Greek, Kurdish,Circassian, Arab, or other). Turkey’srich ethnic mosaic had beenpressed into an insipid mush. Accordingto these two museums, Armenianswere neither a civilizationnor an ethnicity.I was there to observe and listenand I said no more. I hoped thatmy next stop, the ArcheologicalMuseum of Erzurum, would be different.fAra Sarafian’s findings in Erzurum, Van,and Kars will appear in the coming weeks.


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008InternationalSettling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict:ProposalOutcomeNagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh)Territory andpopulationStatusCitizenshipArmenia–Nagorno-KarabakhpassageAzerbaijan-NakhichevanpassageStatus quo ante (from1921–23 to 1988–91)1[imposed by Stalinand the USSR]Nagorno-Karabakh AutonomousRegion, a self-governing entitywithin the Azerbaijani Soviet SocialistRepublic within the Unionof Soviet Socialist Republics2The Nagorno-KarabakhAutonomous Regionoccupied 4,400 sq kmand had a population ofabout 190,000 in 19893Citizens of SovietAzerbaijan and theUSSRSeparated by Lachin, 7 km at itsnarrowest4Free movement overArmeniaStatus quo (since thecease-fire of May 12,1994)[As a result of war,Karabakh took controlof more than7,000 sq km of additionalterritory.]Republic, declared in 1991, and notrecognized by any country, includingArmenia.Over 11.5 thousandsq km, of which about7,000 sq km are sevendistricts of AzerbaijanNo internationallyrecognized citizenship;carry passportsof the Republic ofArmenia.Free passage over four routes:the Goris-Lachin-Shushi-Stepanakerthighway, Sotk-Kelbajar-Martakert,Goris-Kubatly,Kapan-ZangelanLand passage is carriedout over IranRussian-brokereddocument, June–November 1994Superceded by December5–6, 1994Bucharest summit.7No mention of status“Package option”:“ComprehensiveAgreement on theResolution of theNagorno-KarabakhConflict,” July 1997.Rejected by theArmenian side“Nagorno-Karabakh is a state and 4.4 thousand sq km and “Nagorno-Karabakhterritorial entity within Azerbaijan” the Lachin corridor (underOSCE supervision) Azerbaijani passportscitizens will havewith the special annotation,‘Nagorno-Karabakh.’”“Azerbaijan leases the corridorto the OSCE, which will sign anagreement to provide it for theexclusive use of the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities.”“Stage-by-stage0ption”: “Draft Agreementon Ending theNagorno-KarabakhConflict,” December1997Rejected byNagorno-KarabakhNo mention of status. Deals exclusivelywith consequences.4.4 thousand sq kmand the Lachin district(1,835 sq km)Not covered.“Nagorno-Karabakh forces arebrought inside the 1988 boundariesof the Nagorno-KarabakhAutonomous Region, except inthe Lachin district.”“Common State”: “On Rejected by Azerbaijanthe principles for acomprehensive resolutionof the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,”November 1998.“Nagorno-Karabakh is a state andterritorial entity in the form of arepublic and with Azerbaijan comprisesa ‘Common State’ withinits internationally recognizedborders.”4.4 thousand sq km andthe Lachin corridor“As identificationdocuments, citizensof Nagorno-Karabakhwill have Azerbaijanipassports with thespecial annotation‘Nagorno-Karabakh.”“The question of the use of theLachin corridor by Nagorno-Karabakh to provide for unfetteredpassage between Nagorno-Karabakhand Armenia issubject to a separate agreement.”Paris–Key West “unofficial”proposal,spring 2001Rejected by AzerbaijanNagorno-Karabakh, along with theLachin corridor, becomes a sovereignterritory of Armenia.Citizens of Armenia Sovereign Armenian territory Azerbaijan receives a“sovereign passage” toNakhichevan throughthe south of Armenia.Prague-Madrid principlesCurrently underconsiderationInterim status recognized; finalstatus to be determined by referendumor plebiscitePrepared by Tatul Hakobyan for the Armenian Reporter. November 20, 2008.4.4 thousand sq km andthe Lachin corridor;also Kelbajar until referendum/plebisciteorinterim statusInterim statusNarrow passageMediators play down prospects of early Karabakh settlementn Continued from page format, was rejected by Armeniansthrough Stepanakert.In December of the same year,the mediators presented a “stageby-stage”proposal (addressing securityissues and the consequencesof the conflict immediately andleaving the status of Nagorno-Karabakh’s open to an unspecifiedfuture date). This proposal, whichwas accepted with serious reservationas a basis for negotiations byPresident Levon Ter-Petrossian,led to his resignation.A year later, in November 1998,the OSCE Minsk Group presentedthe “common state” proposal,which was accepted by Yerevan andStepanakert with some reservations;Baku rejected it. Azerbaijanalso rejected the Paris-Key Westproposal in the spring of 2001.With the rejection of successivedraft agreements by one side oranother, the OSCE Minsk Groupco-chairs adopted a new approach.They held series of separate andjoint talks with the foreign ministersof Armenia and Azerbaijan,known as the Prague process. Then,in August 2005, they presentedPresident Robert Kocharianof Armenia and Mr. Aliyev with aone-page statement of principlesaround which they sought to securethe agreement of the Armenianside (Armenia and Nagorno-President Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan, left, with U.S. Secretary of State ColinPowell and President Robert Kocharian of Armenia in 2001. Photo: Photolure.Karabakh) and the Azerbaijaniside. Only after the framework wasagreed to would negotiations overa settlement agreement begin.Moreover, if in the past the mediatorsprepared the proposalsfor the consideration of the parties,now the majority of the workwas done by the foreign ministers.This method was meant to give thesides a greater stake in the resultingdocuments and make it moredifficult for the parties to reject theoutcome out of hand.As in the past, the negotiationsare confidential. However, the announcements,statements of concern,objections, and at times thedeliberate leaking of informationby the parties, the mediators, anddifferent international organizationsgive us the opportunity topresent the principles that arecurrently on the negotiating tableand are being called the MadridPrinciples. Madrid is where, exactlya year ago, the foreign ministersof Russia and France, SergeyLavrov and Bernard Kouchnerand U.S. Deputy Secretary ofState Nicolas Burns presented athree-page document to the foreignministers of Armenia andAzerbaijan.The main difference between the2005 Kazan and 2007 Madrid documentsis that as negotiations havecontinued, issues, concerns, andsticking points have emerged; themediators have set forth proposedsolutions, and a one-page proposalhas morphed into a three-page proposal.However, the four core principlesaround which Yerevan and Bakuare negotiating have been preserved.Let us present the four mainprinciples.First: The status of Nagorno-Karabakh will be decided thougha referendum or a plebiscite at atime to be determined later. Participationin the referendum or plebiscitewill reflect the demographicpicture of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, asit was prior to the beginning of thewar in 1991.It is evident to all parties that thechances that a new referendum willactually be held are very slim. Butit is very important for the Armenianside, specifically Yerevan, forBaku to agree (which it so far refusesto do) that the status of Nagorno-Karabakhis a matter to bedecided by referendum – a matterof self-determination. This pointcontinues to be a sticking point inthe negotiations.Second: Until Nagorno-Karabakh’sfinal status is determined,Baku and the international communitywill recognize that Nagorno-Karabakhhas an “interim status.”The interim status would reinforcetoday’s status quo, except inthe regions of Kubatly, Jebrail, andZangelan, and the parts of Fizuliand Aghdam that are under Armeniancontrol.Third: The return of the territoriesunder Karabakh’s controlwill be carried out by a 5+1+1 (Kubatly,Jerbrail, Zangelan, Fizuli,and Aghdam + Kelbajar + part ofLachin) formula. In other words,the stage-by-stage method is to beused for the return of the territories.The issue of the five regionsis certain. The return of Kelbajarwill be linked to the implementationof the referendum or, alternatively,to the recognition of theinterim status. As for the Lachinregion, some parts of it would bereturned, and a corridor wouldremain within the borders of Nagorno-Karabakhas a land link toArmenia.Fourth: This principle concernssecurity guarantees.The Madrid Principles are inmany ways similar to the stage-bystageproposal of 1997, where thefinal status of Karabakh is left tothe future. However, in contrast tothe 1997 stage-by-stage proposal,this proposal could be called a foreseeablestage-by-foreseeable stageproposal.f


6 The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008CommunityTHIS ARMENIAN LIFEOf military service andcharacterby TamarKevonianAn avid motorcycle rider, Val hasbeen fascinated with motorcyclessince junior high school. He lovesto go on long rides, feeling the powerof the bike and the strength ofthe wind. He has owned motorcyclesfor the past two decades. Fouryears ago, he finally joined a motorcycleclub so he could share his passionwith like-minded people.“I got my first motorcycle in 1988,when I was in the service for twoyears, then I sold it,” he says, matter-of-factlyslipping in the informationabout his military service.“The next one I bought was six orseven years ago.”“What branch of the military?” Iask, surprised by this information.“U.S. Air Force.”“Were you a pilot?”“No, I wasn’t. I was a logisticsmanagementspecialist.” Val’s jobtitle was in keeping with the militarytradition of making everythingsound complicated.“What does that mean?” I ask,wanting to know more about hisjob description. He gives a littlelaugh.“Whatever we needed for thebase went through our squadron,”he explains. “Everything we needed:supplies, packing and shippingstuff, being ready for war, ammunition.Being ready all the time.”“When did you serve?”“I joined when I was 19. I was inthe service for about three years,”he says.Val is of average build, with aclean-shaved head and a very bitingsense of humor, even thoughmost of the time he’s the quietestperson in the group. He joinedthe Air Force on the suggestion ofhis uncle who, having lived in theUnited States for several decades,was familiar with the opportunitiesavailable through military service,particularly the GI Bill and thechance to travel and be away fromhome.“I was working on getting commissionedto become an officerand make a career out of it, but Ichanged my mind and stayed foronly three years,” he says with ahint of regret.Born in Iran, he was 18 when hearrived in the United States. It wasthe first time in many years that hisimmediate family was in the samecity and his desire for normalcyoverrode his youthful desire to flyaway. “My family’s been all over theplace for so long and it took us solong to get back together,” he says.“I just didn’t want to be away thatlong. We went back to being a normalfamily living in the same place.”Val truly enjoyed his time in themilitary, believing it was a goodexperience. It taught him to likeand appreciate the discipline, theclearly-defined duties, but particularlythe feeling of doing somethinggood. He describes it as “payingback to the country that took youin as opposed to sitting there onyour butt and demanding things,demanding your rights.”The lessons he learned in the service,in terms of discipline, management,and dealing with and supervisingpeople, have served him wellin civilian life. “It made me realizethat there’s more to personal lifethan what you’re interested in and[taught me] to be giving as opposedto constantly demanding things. [Ittaught me] to earn things,” he says.“Being in the service made me seethings from a different angle andwhat it takes to have what you have– to have what we have. The sacrificespeople make and the lives peopleput on the line, and that’s somethingthat most civilians don’t see.”Although Val didn’t see combatand stayed stateside – boot campin San Antonio, Texas; training inDenver, Colorado; and stationed inArkansas and California – he wisheshe could have stayed and wonderswhat would have happenedhad he did, especially now that severalfriends from that period of hislife are retiring from their militarycareers.“I normally don’t have regrets inlife,” he says. “I am who I am becauseof what happened in the past.I would’ve liked to have stayed. I’vealways been attracted to the militarylifestyle. Unfortunately I wasplanning to join law enforcementafterwards but that meant I wouldbe away from the family again - becauseof the line of work I was interestedin.”The ex-military man sees amarked difference in character betweenthose who have served theircountry and those who haven’t. Hebelieves those with military servicehave different aspirations and priorities;a different perspective onlife.“For example, I have a close friendwhose daughter served in Iraq,” heexplains. “She did two tours. Shejoined the army when she was 18.When you sit down and talk to her,it’s not like – I don’t know how toput it – an everyday girl you meetin town. She’s not interested inbrand names, shopping, and whatnot. She did what she had to do, gotan honorable discharge, and nowshe’s working towards finishing upher degree and getting on with herlife.” Val is not impressed by mostpeople, especially the young peoplehe sees sitting around him at thetrendy local restaurant dressed inthe latest designer fashions. He believesthey are more interested inmaterial things and what they canget from people as opposed to whatthey can accomplish on their own.“When I joined, people were saying,‘What? You’re going to jointhe military? Why?’ It wasn’t acommon thing.” Nowadays thereare more people who serve, inIraq and elsewhere, and there aremany of them he counts among hisfriends. “I have a friend who’s donefour tours,” he says. “He’s in theMarines. There’s a big difference incharacter, in what they’ve seen andwhat they’ve experienced – a betterappreciation of life because they’veseen the combat and they’ve seenthe death and all the destruction.They are the people in the forefront,protecting what we’re enjoyinghere everyday. And most peopledon’t see that.”Val’s military service has affectedhis worldview and he recommendsit for anybody who does not havea direction in life. “It’s a good wakeupcall to appreciate what you haveright now, because we tend to thinkthat we’re entitled to things as opposedto how we earn the right tohave those things,” he concludes. Let us know what’s on your mind.Write to us at letters@reporter.amStanding, from left, Sandra Hampar, Fr. Shnork Demirjian., Matt Matoesian, Audrey Hampar, Nora Hampar, ArmenHampar; seated, Steven Hampar and members of the Lulejian family.St. Peter Church 50th anniversaryevents culminate in gala banquetVAN NUYS, Calif. – On Saturday,November 8, the 50th AnniversaryCelebration Banquet of the St.Peter Armenian Apostolic Churchof Van Nuys was held at the agbuNazarian Center in Canoga Park,under the auspices of ArchbishopHovnan Derderian.The event marked the culminationof events celebrating the 50-year history of the St. Peter parishand the local Armenian community’ssupport of its church.The black-tie gala began with asocial hour, when guests mingledand enjoyed tray-passed appetizersand a buffet. The guests were thenescorted into the newly-renovatedNazarian Center, where candelabracenterpieces overflowing withMinister of DiasporaAffairs HranushHakobyan visits PrelacyLA CRESCENTA, Calif. – OnThursday, November 20, the Pralcyheld a reception in honor of Ms.Hranush Hakobyan, minister ofthe Republic of Armenia’s Ministerof Diaspora Affairs.Ms. Hakobyan arrived in Los Angeleson an official visit, seeking tobecome familiarized with the localArmenian community and its organizationsand institutions.The reception at the Prelacywas presided over by ArchbishopMoushegh Mardirossian, Prelate,and attended by church councilsand community members. “Year of ChristianEducation” lectureseries to conclude onNovember 25GLENDALE, Calif. – The Prelacy’s“Year of Christian Education”lecture series, held at variousparishes throughout the year, willroses and gold organza overlaysadorned the dining tables.The evening’s program, emceedby Tony and Eileen Keusseyan,commenced with Father ShnorkDemirjian’s invocation, followedby Armen Hampar’s welcome addressand Barkev Hamalian’s remarks.As an international dinnerwas served, the Continental Bandplayed several selections in thebackground.The evening continued with LevonKeshishian’s remarks andArchbishop Derderian’s benediction.Entertainer Hovig Krikoriantook the stage and performed inseveral languages, accompanied bythe Continental Band. The danceCommunity in briefconclude this month, the Prelacyannounced.The last lecture will take placeon Tuesday, November 25, at 7:30p.m., at St. Mary’s Church inGlendale.Titled “St. Nerses the Graceful’sLiterary Bequest to Spiritual Awakeningand Christian Education,”the lecture will be presented by Rev.Fr. Ardak Demirjian.The lecture will be followed byBible study led by Very Rev. Fr.Barthev Gulumian.Crescenta Valleyparish marks thirdanniversaryCRESCENTA VALLEY, Calif.–On Sunday, November 9, ArchbishopMoushegh Mardirossian,Prelate, celebrated the DivineLiturgy and delivered a sermon atthe Armenian Apostolic Church ofCrescenta Valley in honor of thethird anniversary of the local parish.The Prelate was assisted at thealtar by parish pastor Rev. Fr. ArdakDemirjian.Archbishop Mardirossian commendedthe pastor, delegates,floor was soon filled up and theguests danced away to the energeticbeats. The ambiance of the evening,as well as Mr. Hampar’s commentsthat the community nowhas an opportunity to ensure thechurch’s future viability by helpingeliminate its burdensome, 14-year-old reconstruction mortgage(which was necessitated by structuraldamage sustained during the1994 Northridge earthquake), inspiredmany of the guests to makedonations.The gala came to a close in thelate evening hours, with attendeeslingering in the foyer as theyenjoyed each other’s company andcommented on the night’s joyfulcelebration.Board of Trustees, Ladies’ Auxiliary,altar servers, choir members, andall volunteers for their hard workover the past three years and theprogress they have achieved thusfar. The Prelate also expressedhope for the parish to have its ownchurch in the near future.Following the service, a receptionwas held in the adjacent hall. Theevent was organized by the Ladies’Auxiliary.Westside AraratGuild to hold annualChristmas luncheonLOS ANGELES – The WestsideArarat Guild announced that itsannual Christmas luncheon willbe held on December 13 at theBeverly Hills Hotel.The event will begin with a“Cook’s Corner” at 11:00 a.m. andlunch will be served at 12:00 noon.The program will include a silentauction, holiday gifts, raffle prizes,and “a fun surprise,” organizers ofthe luncheon said.For reservations and information,contact Louise Arklin at (818)368-3463.


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008 7CommunityInaugural Homenetmen Massis Walkathon a great successEvent raises fundsfor future gymby Avo John KambourianProgram will featureentertainment,documentaries,and appearancesby communityrepresentativesby Silva SevlianLOS ANGELES – On ThanksgivingDay – Thursday, November27 – the Armenia Fund will give itsworldwide audience the opportunityto help build water pipelines, rebuildschools, and renovate healthcarefacilities in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakhby making donationsduring its 12-hour telethon.This year marks the 11th anniversaryof the telethon, a program thatLOS ANGELES – Rain, rain, goaway, come again another day.Even though it seemed the perfectsituation to utter these wordsduring the first annual HomenetmenMassis Walkathon – knownas the Friends of Massis Run/Walk– it sure didn’t seem that way on themorning of November 1.The walk began at precisely 9:45a.m. as scheduled. With over 180registered participants, the eventwas clearly a great success. WoodleyPark, in Van Nuys, served as thestarting point and finish line.“We would have had an evenbigger turnout were it not for therain, but we were still impressedand very pleased with the turnoutwe got,” says Katia Karageuzian,chairperson of the HomenetmenMassis Chapter Finance Committee.The rain did not seem to affectmuch, other than my photographyskills. All the participants, youngand old, athletes and parents, continuedat their own pace, withoutcomplaint.The runners were just reaching thefinish line when the rain began todie down. First to pass the finish linewas Harout Kahvejian. He wasfollowed by Sevan Terterian, AraHagopian, and Maral Bastilian.Prelate celebrates Divine Liturgy on 20th anniversary of FortyMartyrs ChurchThe Prelate and community leaders around the 20th-anniversary cake.Kahvejian, a former Homenetmenathlete who clearly looks likea professional runner, said he feltvery happy that he was able to bepart of an Armenian benefit eventof this type for the first time.Originally from Jordan, Kahvejianis a veteran of several marathons.Commenting on the execution ofthe Homenetmen Walkathon, hesaid it was one of the most wellplannedmarathon events he hasever participated in.Homenetmen Massis had somehelp from a professional, MartyBaer, whose organizational creditsinclude many past marathonsand the upcoming Las VegasMarathon. She says Homenetmenstands to gain considerablyby organizing or participating inhas encouraged pan-Armenian supportto create change back at home.The slogan of the 2008 telethon,“My Home, Armenia,” remindsArmenians across the globe thatthey have a home outside of theircurrent residence, said Sarkis Kotanjian,executive director of theArmenia Fund.“While we in the United Statesanxiously observe our savings andretirement accounts, people livingin Armenia’s and Karabakh’s remotevillages still lack access to clean water,healthcare, and basic staples oflife,” Maria Mehranian, chairpersonof the Armenia Fund, wrotesupporters in an emailed letter.“This leaves us with a moral obligationto continue donating to theArmenia Fund and delivering hopeto many whose lives lack the basicfundamentals of human dignity,”Mehranian continued.By rallying worldwide Armeniancommunities around infrastructure-buildingand community-revitalizationprojects, the ArmeniaFund also empowers every Armenianinvolved to have a stake in thefuture of Armenia and Karabakh,Kotanjian said.“The most important thing is thatwe are a pan-Armenian organization,”he continued. “Participation iswhat is most important for us. It canbe a dollar, it can be two dollars, itcan be thousands, it can be millions.Everyone participates [in the effortby contributing an] amount that heor she feels comfortable with.”This year, the Armenia Fund islaunching its “Dollar-A-Day” campaign,which encourages donors tomake a contribution of $365 – thatis to say, a dollar for each day of theyear to help with urgently-neededcommunity and infrastructureprojects.“[According to my] modest calculations,I put the number of Armenianfamilies in the United Statesfuture events like the Run/Walk,in terms of fundraising and widerpublic recognition.The walkathon was followed bya diverse cultural program. Theattendees enjoyed performancesby Hamazkayin Pasadena’s LoriDance Group, the Lilia DanceGroup, and Hye Katch Do, a localmixed martial arts dojo for bothadults and kids. Local band Visawas also scheduled to play at theevent, but could not perform dueto the rainy weather. Nevertheless,band members spent time withfans and signed copies of theirnew album, Eros.Several booths representinglocal physicians, medical organizations,and the ArmenianNurses Association, promotedat 270,000 – close to three peopleper family statistically – and if theydonate a dollar a day for a year, itcomes close to $100 million,” Kotanjiansaid.Aside from the support of thediaspora, the recent pledge of$30 million by 120 donors at theArmenia Fund Yerevan Gala set aprecedent of support in Armenia,Kotanjian said.In addition to honoring a numberof major donors, the telethonwill comprise appearances by representativesof numerous Armenianchurches, schools, and organizations.The program’s entertainmentsegments will feature Armenianperformers from Armenia and thediaspora including Arame, RazmikAmyan, Gagik Badalyan, Emmaand Aramo, Harout Hagopian,Helen, Arax Karapetyan, Martik,Gor Mkhitarian, Armen Movsisyan,Harout Pamboukjian,health and fitness while nursesstood ready to aid participants.There was also a food booth,where members of the HomenetmenMassis Social Committeesold fresh boreg, lahmajun, andtahn.Karageuzian said that since allthe expenses of the event were coveredby sponsors, the walkathonexceeded profit expectations.“We feel that we achieved ourgoal of raising awareness of theneeds and projects of our chapter,”says Karageuzian, referringto the gym which Massis planson building in the coming years.With more successes like theRun/ Walk, the chapter hopes tolaunch the project in the foreseeablefuture.SANTA ANA, Calif. – On Sunday,November 16, ArchbishopMoushegh Mardirossian, Prelate,celebrated the Divine Liturgyand delivered a sermon atForty Martyrs Church in OrangeCounty in honor of the 20th anniversaryof the consecration ofthe church.Assisting the Prelate at the altarwere Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumianand parish pastor Rev. Fr.Hrant Yeretzian.In his sermon, the Prelate paidtribute to all community memberswho have contributed to the establishmentof the church 20 years agoand “in doing so inspired cominggenerations,” he said.Archbishop Mardirossian concludedhis sermon by commendingand offering a prayer for the pastor,Board of Trustees, delegates, Ladies’Auxiliary, deacons, altar servers,and choir members.The service concluded with thePrelate’s benediction and the singingof “Giligia.”The 20th anniversary banquetof Forty Martyrs Church tookplace under the auspices of andwith the participation of the Prelateon the evening of Saturday,November 15, at the GugasianHall of the church.The event, which was organizedby the pastor, Board of Trustees,and Ladies’ Auxiliary, included remarks,an artistic program, a videopresentation, and a candle-lightingceremony. The Prelate conveyedhis congratulations and encouragementand wished the church manymore years of service to the community.connect:40manoug.orgArmenia Fund prepares for Thanksgiving Day telethonSako, Hovhannes Shahbazian,and Sonya Varoujian.Sevak Amroyan and HaykuhiBabakhanyan, winners of ShantTV’s 2007 and 2008 National SingerContest, respectively, will also beperforming live.In Southern California, the telethonwill air on ksci Channel 18from 8:00 a.m. till 8:00 p.m. PST.Around the world, the program willbe broadcast on H1-Armenian PublicTelevision.A hundred trained volunteersfrom various organizations willbe answering calls throughout thetelethon. Donations can also bemade online at armeniafund.org.An average of 250,000 peoplefrom across the globe participatein the telethon, Kotanjian said.To date, infrastructure-developmentand community-revitalizationprojects implemented by theArmenia Fund in Armenia andKarabakh total more than $120million, as reported by the organizationon its website.Included in this year’s multitudeof new and ongoing Armenia Fundprojects are the reconstruction ofthe Martuni Regional Hospital,renovation of the Askeran Citywater supply and sewage networks,and construction of the VaghuhasVillage (Martakert) School.The full list of current projects aswell as completed initiatives is postedon the organization’s website. connect:armeniafund.org


8 The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008CommunityHunchakian Party of Los Angeles to mark121st anniversary of party’s foundingVahan Shirkhanyanwill deliver keynoteaddressGLENDALE, Calif. – On Saturday,November 22, at 6:00 p.m.,the Social Democrat HunchakianParty will hold a community celebrationin Glendale to mark the121st anniversary of the party’sfounding. The event will takeplace at the Glendale CommunityChurch (333 W. Colorado Boulevard).The evening’s keynote speakerwill be Vahan Shirkhanyan, representativeof the Hunchakian Party’sCentral Committee in Armenia,who will travel from Yerevanto participate in the event at theinvitation of the party’s ExecutiveCommittee of Western U.S.Mr. Shirkhanyan is a formerdeputy prime minister and deputydefense minister of the Republicof Armenia. In his keynote addressat the anniversary celebration,he will present the views ofthe Hunchakian Party in particularand the Armenian parliamentaryopposition in general with regardto the latest developments ofthe Karabakh issue and Armeniandomestic politics.During last February’s oppositionmovement in Armenia, Mr.Shirkhanyan joined the ranks ofthe Hunchakian Party and was subsequentlyappointed representativeof the Central Committee.The anniversary celebration willinclude an artistic program.The event is open to the public.connect:massisweekly.comVahan Shirkhanyan, Hunchakian PartyCentral Committee representative inArmenia.Hovnanian School plans Christmasboutique and manti dinnerNEW YORK – A transformativedecade in Armenia’s contemporaryart scene is the subject of a Nov.25 lecture by Nazareth Karoyan, Directorof Yerevan’s Summer Schoolfor Curators and President of Armenia’sInternational Art CriticsAssociation, at Fordham University.“From Politics of the Subjectto Market Driven Production ofMeaning,” open to the public, willexamine contemporary artisticArmenian Sisters Academy honors Armenian literary greatsNEW MILFORD, N.J. – Armenian-inspiredgifts, a homemademanti dinner, and live Armenianmusic and entertainment make upthe holiday package at the HovnanianSchool Christmas Boutique,Dec. 5, from noon to 9:00 p.m.Shoppers can browse Christmasornaments, crafts from Armenia,gourmet food, toys, beverages, Armenianbooks, dvds and CDs, jewelry,and more. The manti dinner,which benefits the Class of 2009trip to Armenia, begins at 7:00 p.m.Live Armenian music and entertainmentwill be provided throughoutthe evening.connect:201-967-5940Yerevan critic to lecture onArmenia’s contemporary art sceneand curatorial practices in Armeniasince the late 1990s.Fordham psychologist and traumaspecialist Ani Kalayjian willchair the 7:00 p.m. event, whichwill be moderated by diasporan artcritic/curator and advisor NeeryMelkonian. Art historian MarkoStamenkovic, a cec Artslink VisitingFellow from Serbia, will offeradditional remarks..by Melissa SelverianRADNOR, Pa. – Celebrating the130th birthday of Armenian literarygiant Siamanto and the 100thbirthday of the renowned Armenian-Americanauthor WilliamSaroyan, 8th-grade girls proudlydelivered the writers’ biographiesin Armenian and English at theannual Armenian Cultural Monthperformance at the Armenian SistersAcademy Oct. 28.Showing equal pride in their heritage,the youngest Academy studentsparaded with oversized Armenianletters, the initials of theirnames, and shouted out recitationsin their Armenian tongue.Second-graders dramatized thestory of an Armenian king and exploredthe lessons of his life. SisterLouisa, the principal, reminded thechildren to live within their meansand be satisfied with what theyhave. She also asked them to reflecton the importance of culturein passing down such lessons.Third-graders illustrated Armenianidioms on posters and translatedthem into English for all toenjoy. Students, teachers, parentsand friends delighted at the collection,including “The cat’s got histongue,” “She had a sharp ear,” and“Her big nose caught my eye!”Beautiful Armenian songs wereperformed throughout the day, including“Hayotz Lezoo” (ArmenianLanguage), “Varjaran” (Academy),“Ayp ou Pen” (A, B, Cs), “Dghak OorakhUlank” (Let’s Be Happy), and“Tbrotzagan” (School Days).Sister Louisa extended specialthanks to Music Director MaroushPaneyan-Nigon, Montessori andArmenian teachers Ovsanna andTherese Sadjonian, and Armenianteacher Tamar Panosian for the festivities.Students at the Armenian Sisters Academy.Oh yeah, we can help you sell itClassifieds with the Armenian Reporterclassifieds@reporter.am818-955-8407


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008 9CommunityOne doctor’s call in Armeniaby Tom VartabedianMANHASSET, N.Y. – Dr. LouisM. Najarian is the best friend acountry like Armenia could embrace.For the past 20 years, he’s laid hispsychiatry practice aside, put hisbusy personal life on hold, and paidannual visits to depressed areas,lending trauma relief to childrenand adults.It all started after the earthquakein March 1989 when he joined ateam of mental health professionalsto provide crises intervention ina program sponsored by the ArmenianRelief Society.Since then, he has seen no hiatusin his mission to create a betterlife for victims, returning to Armeniaonce or twice a year to providecontinual medical education andsupervision of clinical work.“In 1988, the psychological treatmentwas based on Russian methods,”Najarian said. “It includedmedication for adults but very littleattention to children.”So Najarian went to work, lookingto give something back to hisproud Armenian heritage with new,updated methods.Often, it meant living out of atrailer or anywhere he could securehousing and living with the bareessentials. His mission became alabor of love, marked by incrediblesacrifice and commitment.The program consisted of teachingchild development, childhooddisorders and psychotherapy bytranslating into Armenian hiswork from medical school andconducting seminars in Gumriand Spitak.He trained a group of brightyoung professionals interested inlearning new psychotherapeutictechniques who, in turn, continueto provide treatment in their respectivecommunities.The research done by Najarianon Post Traumatic Stress Disorderwas recognized by the world psychiatriccommunity and others likePresident Levon Ter Petrossian andAmerican Psychiatric Association.Not too bad for a young lad whocame up through the ranks of theArmenian Youth Federation inProvidence, R.I., and set new standardsas a pole-vaulter, despite hisdiminutive size.Today, he remains prominentin the Armenian community as atouring musician with “Hello EllisIsland,” a theatrical group of 25Armenians who tell the genocidestory through song, dance and dialogue.A son, Berj, wears three SuperBowl rings as a personal assistantto New England Patriots footballcoach Bill Belichick. Another sonAram works on Wall Street whilea third son Haig is an attorney inConnecticut.He and wife Elenne, whom hemet at Camp Hayastan, are blessedwith four grandchildren.“Being on Armenian soil whenthe country was declared a freeand independent republic was adream come true for my grandparentsand all other Armeniansworldwide,” Najarian said. “Thatsame year, we opened a formalclinic and the Health Ministryorganized a commission toexamine a staff we had put together.”Being presented with an Armenianpassport as a citizen of the republiclong before it became easilyaccessible was another bonus forthe 65-year-old Najarian. Thoughnot all in his life became Utopiawhen he thinks about the hardshipsendured along the way,“I remember my first visit homefor Christmas in 1991,” he tracedback. “I missed my family andasked myself what I was doing inthis godforsaken place living insidea trailer, often with no water, electricityor heat in the dead of winter.Construction delays for the clinicand older clinicians resisting newmethods only compounded the difficulty.”The answer became easy for Najarianwhen he saw the good thatcame out of it, the nation being rebornand people being cured. Withhis clarinet before him, MountArarat would be dancing in the distance.“Armenia today is on the movewith economic activity and constructioneverywhere,” he notes.“Yerevan is still the showcase withits beautiful old structures andmany new high-rise apartments.The real deficit is aid to the villages.”Dr. Louis M.Najarian andhis mother inArmenia.Najarian sees inroads being madeon the outskirts of Armenia withthe Children of Armenia Fund andother charities providing a boost.One such area is Armavir.The many trips he’s continued totake are not without a recreationalmoment or two. He’s sailed LakeSevan on a 36-foot cruiser andskied Dzaghnadzor where the Russianski team makes its Olympicruns.He’s attended first-rate operasand concerts by the National ArmenianPhilharmonic Orchestraand attended two dramatic playsthis past spring.Najarian usually travels alone. Hiswife visited once and a son (Haig)twice, once with an AYF internshipto build homes for Karabagh refugeesand again with his wife.Of all the trips, year in and yearout since 1989, the most personaltook place this year – to HistoricArmenia – with his mom Starre Asdghig.It turned out to be a memorable85th birthday gift for her.They visited the birthplace of herparents in Govdoon, Sepastia; thechurch where they were married,and the environment where theywere raised. He was stunned to seeanimals living on the ground floorand the families upstairs. Roadswere unpaved and life is rural agriculturalwith little change the pastcentury.“My grandfather left Govdoonin 1911 with others and settled inProvidence,” said Najarian. “Themoney he earned in the textile industrybrought his wife and threeof her sisters here. Three childrendied during the deportation.”The immigrants recreated theirown lifestyle in America and establishedthe Govdoon Youth ofAmerica which still meets annuallyto celebrate Armenian Christmas.An offshoot of that is the MouradMarching Band named after theirnative hero Mourad of Sepastia.Najarian was 6 years old whenhis grandmother purchased a Govdoonsticlarinet for $10, hopingthat someday, her grandson wouldplay the instrument. It is this sameclarinet that the doctor plays in hishouse with the theatre group in“Hello Ellis Island.”And it’s the very same clarinetthat Najarian took with him toGovdoon and played in front ofthe church where his grandparentswed – the same clarinet his childrenlearned to play and hopefullythe grandchildren to follow.“A very mysterious core of ourArmenian heritage remains in thatvillage of Govdoon that my grandparentsbrought with them andpassed down to subsequent generations,”he says. “It need not staywith the land. A simple marchingband in 1939, a few instruments,hard work, patience and persistence.That is where I received theinspiration to give my professionalexpertise back to our people.”Had he to do over again, Najarianwouldn’t change a thing. Factis, he’s gotten more in return thanwhat he’s disseminated. Seeingone healthy child in Armenia isgratitude enough for this psychiatristfrom New York. So why stopnow?“I see my work in Armenia asan opportunity and privilegeto contribute in my own smallway to the rebirth of our belovednation,” he confirms. Need extra space at home?Sell your stuff with the Armenian Reporterclassifieds@reporter.am818-955-8407Visit us atreporter.amYou share the samecommunity. Discover whathappens when you sharethe same experience.For more information aboutRelay For Life or to join anevent near you, visitwww.cancer.org/RelayNYNJor call 1.800.ACS.2345.What, When, Where?Event Listings with the Armenian Reporterclassifieds@reporter.am818-955-8407Paint the Town Purple incelebration of Relay For Life onMay 1, May Day For Relay.1.800.ACS.2345www.cancer.org/relayNYNJ


10 The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008CommunityLiz Chater about Sir Paul ChaterIn her own wordsKOLKATA – Sir Paul Chater, one ofthe many prominent businesspeoplewho contributed to the preservationof Armenian churches andthe Armenian College in India, isknown as the father of Hong Kong.The Armenian Reporter’s PaulChaderjian spoke to Liz Chater,one of the organizers of the 300thanniversary celebrations, about SirPaul and his legacy.Liz Chater: Sir Paul Chater builtHong Kong. He created the centralinfrastructure, the central financialarea that is Hong Kong today. Everymajor company in Hong Konghe either started or was on theboard of directors.Paul Chaderjian: Tell me aboutPaul Chater’s childhood.LC: Sir Paul was born in Calcuttain 1846. He went to school at LaMartiniere as a foundationer [onscholarship], because he was orphanedat seven. His eldest sisterwas already in Hong Kong withher husband, who was also part ofanother large Armenian dynastyfrom Madras, the Jordan family. Sothe Chaters and the Jordans hadjoined, and she was his older sister.Because there were 13 in the family,although she was his sister, shewas old enough to be his mother.So, she became like a mother figureto him. When he went out on hisown as an 18-year-old, he left Calcuttaand sailed on a steamer calledthe Lightening out of Calcutta intoHong Kong via Singapore.PC: What was in Hong Kong atthe time?LC: Not a great deal. His sisterobviously. I suspect her husbandprobably got him or was influentialin him obtaining his first jobas a clerk in the Bank of Hindustanin Hong Kong. He basicallywas very studious. He worked very,very hard. He was very methodical.And his client base, as we wouldcall it today, liked him. The clientsthat liked him the most were theSassouns, and the Sassouns werevery big out in Hong Kong. I thinkthey were Jews and were fairly wellestablished, and they were fromBombay. There was that connectionthere. They had come from India,they were a minority group, andthey clearly liked what they saw inPaul Chater. They saw something inthat young man, that young manChater, standing in front of them,writing the passbooks and beingvery methodical and logical.PC: How did he go from bankclerk to being the father of the newHong Kong?LC: When Paul Chater wanted tobranch out on his own, he askedthe Sassouns for a loan to start uphis own brokering business. Theysaw something in him and theyagreed. And in his first month, hemade something like 500 dollars,which was a huge amount of moneyat the time. Then he just wentfrom strength to strength. He hada natural ability in the commercialworld. He was able to see thingslong before anyone else could eventhink about a project’s embryonicstage. He started buying up landin Kawloon, long, long, long beforeKawloon would ever develop. Everyonewould always say, “Why areyou doing this? What a waste.”PC: Kowloon?LC: Kawloon is the mainland inChina. Hong Kong is the island. Hesaw Kowloon as a real opportunity.It had a natural basin, and a coastline. He saw that it had the abilityto become something. He builthis weekend cottage there, and hisweekend cottage was huge. It wasa huge palatial bungalow. Well, hewas a major funder and backer ofwhat is Hong Kong Land [propertyinvestment, management anddevelopment group]. Basically, ifthere was a company starting, peoplewould look at him and ask if hewanted to be part of the company.And if he said yes, they gave it somethought and knew it was going tobe a success.PC: What kind of companies?LC: He was very influential inthe Hong Kong Shanghai Bank.Hong Kong Land. Hong KongWharf Company, which is very,very huge. The Star Ferry – he wasa part of that. The Dairy Farm InternationalHoldings, he was partof the process that was influentialto bring better health conditionsto the people of Hong Kong onthe island. He was friends withthe governor and the administrationof the island. He was an advisor;he was a personal friend andcounselor. You’ve got to bear inmind that colonial Britain at thetime in Hong Kong was very, verysmall. So you did everything together.You went to the races. Youwent to the cricket. You attendedballs, functions, dances. They wentto theater shows. And it was thesame people all over again, so theybuilt up tremendous amounts ofcontact. And they all became very,very good friends.PC: Talk about Paul Chater, theArmenian.LC: His family, from what I canunderstand, came from Isfahan,Iran. I haven’t been able to findout too much going back about hisfamily. All of the records are overthere, and I can’t get to them. Butalthough, he never went to themotherland where his ancestorscame from, he was a generous donorto Armenian causes – particularlyin the 1920s, after the Genocide.He did what he did best – helistened, he sympathized, and hegave money.PC: How are you related to SirPaul?LC: The way I can trace it isthat Sir Paul’s grandfather and myfour-times great grandfather werebrothers in Isfahan, and they cameto India. And my four-times greatgrandfather broke away, went toDakka, became a merchant, andgot into trading. Whereas the PaulChater family stayed in Calcutta,stayed within the administrationof the East India Company, clearlybecame very trusted members ofstaff, and were given very importantjobs – judges, writers, etc.PC: You have written about thisin your book about Paul Chater.When did you start your research?LC: Eight years ago, but thebook is far from complete. I’ve got500-something-odd pages at themoment. What I’ve been doing isgoing through records, throughnewspaper articles. I’m very fortunatein researching him, becausehe was very popular and very famousin Hong Kong in his time.The nice thing is that the HongKong Library has digitized almostall their old newspapers, and I canaccess them for free. So in wintertime,when I haven’t got much todo, when it’s dark, cold, and miserable,I sit on the computer and justread very old newspapers for hours,hours, and hours. They have a basicsearch engine, but it’s very sort ofhit-and-miss. So I pick a month Iwant to research and go throughevery newspaper from that month.PC: Every single article? Whatdo you search for?LC: I’ll look for something, andI’ll look for a reference. Quite oftenhe’ll pop out. Like one particulartime, I was looking for somethingcompletely different, and I foundout that he had fallen out of hisrickshaw on his way to work oneday. This was towards his later life,1919–1920s, and it was big news. ItLeft: Paul Chatermemorial stoneat the ArmenianHoly Churchof Nazareth inKolkata, India.Photo: SebouhBaghdoyan.Far left, top:Pilgrimageorganizer andrelation of SirPaul Chater, LizChater from theU.K. Far left,bottom: Sir PaulChater. Below:Sir Paul Chaterat the openingof the HongKong Universitybuilding in 1919.was huge. Paul Chater has fallenout of his rickshaw.PC: How much time do youspend researching Paul Chater?LC: Every week, up until recently,I’ve spent every spare momentof my time in between my familycommitments. I’ll stay up lateor if I don’t sleep, I get up in themiddle of the night, and I find thatmy very best research is done sortof between one and four o’clock inthe morning when I’m really tired. Ispent nine months looking throughnewspapers for a particular date.PC: What date?LC: For instance, Sir Paul’syounger brother Joseph was alsoin Hong Kong with him. In 1886Joseph died relatively young, in his30s. Clearly, Sir Paul was very upsetand distraught. I knew that Sir Paulhad left Hong Kong after the deathof his brother to come back to Calcuttaand see the family, but I didn’tknow exactly when. The brotherdied in October of 1886, so I kindof figured that Sir Paul would haveleft between November of 1886and January of 1887. So, I searchedevery single newspaper betweenthose months and couldn’t findanything. So, I then systematicallysearched the rest of the newspapersfor the rest of the year, and I foundout he actually left Hong Kong inOctober of 1887, a year after hisbrother died. To find four lines sayingSir Paul is taking a long-awaitedholiday back home to India, it tookme eight months going through everynewspaper for every day. Andit wasn’t just one newspaper. I’d gothrough the Hong Kong Telegraph,the Daily News, the China Mail,the weeklies that were producedas well. I’d go through four differentsets of newspapers looking forsnippets, and it took me 8 monthsto find just that. So, I’m kind of eithermad or determined to pull thefacts together.PC: What’s another exampleof what you search for in newspapers?LC: He was very, very muchinto horseracing. He was a bighorserace owner. He had his ownstable, which later on in life heran with his business partner, SirH.N. Mody. And Chater never,ever, ever missed a horse race inHong Kong for 60 years. When Iwas in Hong Kong last year, theCEO of Hong Kong Land, NickSalnow-Smith, actually saidto me, “How can you be so certainthat he really never misseda horse race in 60 years in HongKong?” I said, “Because I wentthrough 60 years of newspapers,so that I could make sure that Icould record every single race hishorses went to, and he was there,mentioned in every single newspaperfor 60 years.” So I can quitecategorically say that he was thereat every single race.PC: When can we expect thisbook to be published?LC: Unfortunately never, becauseI’ve run out of money, gotno funding, and have self-fundedit up until now. I’ve approachedmajor corporations in Hong Kong.Although they’ve been interested,for their internal reasons, no doubt,they just can’t find the funds to doit. I don’t want a small publication.I think he’s worthy of a nice, huge,big hardback, detailed time-linedbook. That’s what I’d like to see, andI don’t want to compromise. So, Iwill continue to hold on to this.PC: Can people read about SirPaul on your website?LC: Some of it. I’m not puttingit all on. It’s too much to put on, tostart. I’ve got a lot of family memorabiliaand family anecdotes.PC: How and why did you startyour research eight years ago?LC: It started as a hobby. Byaccident I found out that I hadArmenian ancestry. My mum isWelsh, and my father was bornhere in Kolkata. His line is the Armenianroot. My father was bornin the Andaman Islands, and hisfather was born in Dakka. Suddenly,I began to find that I hadArmenian blood, and I wanted tofind out more.PC: How did you discover yourancestry by accident?LC: My father died in 1982. Hewas for many years a seamanworking on merchant ships, cruiseships in the 50s and 60s whencruising was very popular. And hesailed on the old Queen Mary, andthe old Queen Leezie. He died, andI hadn’t realized he was from Calcutta.When I was going throughhis possessions, I came across hisrecord book from when he was atsea. It said, Civil Alexander Chater,born in Calcutta, and I was a bitperplexed, because my mum hadnever said my dad was born there.My dad certainly never spoke aboutit. That’s when I found out my fatherwas from Calcutta and didn’tdo anything about it until I hadmy first child in 2000. I suddenlystarted to think that I needed toknow where I come from, so I cantell him when he gets older. I didn’tknow anything about my father’sfamily. So, I started painstakinglyto try to find information – very,very hard to do. But inquiries tookme into London and the BritishLibrary, where the India Recordsare held. Within five minutes ofwalking in and telling one of theassistants behind the counter thatI’m trying to find my grandfatherHerbert Chater, he pointed me inthe direction of several hundredrows of index cards and said, “Lookunder C or Chater.” So I flippedContinued on page 11


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008 11CommunityIn Kolkata, 300th anniversary of an Armenian church is celebrated Continued from page 1Ordination serviceAt an altar under a mural-size paintingof the Last Supper, the prayersbeing said and the theatrical stagingof the service were themselvesworthy of being captured in a workof art.Having crawled up to the altaron his knees, Deacon Harutyunknelt in front of the altar, arms up,palms facing congregants, and eyesshut. This was how he renouncedhis secular life.Behind him stood Karekin II,Supreme Patriarch and Catholicosof All Armenians, surrounded byarchbishops, bishops, priests, anddeacons.With prayers and hymns, thepontiff ordained Deacon Harutyunby anointing him with HolyMuron on his forehead, on hisright hand, and on his left hand.The Catholicos called Deacon Harutyunby his new name, Der Avedis,three times.From the altar, the Catholicos latertold congregants he had chosenthe name Avedis after taking intoconsideration the many factors thatconverged and made the ordinationof a new priest in India possible.He cited “the reinvigoration ofthe Armenian College of Kolkata,the influx of new students comingfrom Armenia, and from Iran andfrom Iraq.”Karekin added, “The fact there’sArmenian independence and newstatehood for the Republic of Armeniahas enabled Armenia andEtchmiadzin now to become agreater force in the work of reachingout to the diaspora.”The Catholicos said a stronger diasporameant a stronger homeland.The strength of both, he said, naturallytranslates to a stronger MotherSee of Holy Etchmiadzin, whichthen is empowered to strengthenthe sons and daughters of the ArmenianChurch.“The fact that a large number ofpilgrims have come from aroundthe world, including former studentsof the Armenian College, isvery heartening and causes muchjoy,” said the Catholicos, and hethanked God for protecting thesons and daughters of the ArmenianChurch from the illuminatedaltar of St. Nazareth.The Catholicos said the Armeniancommunity in India was experiencinga rebirth. He prayed that Godprovide guidance to Father Avedis,to his yeretzgin, or wife, and to hisfamily.The pontiff also expressed hisappreciation and commendationsto Fr. Avedis and his wife for havingcome here two years ago andserving this community. He alsoexpressed his appreciation to Very.Rev. Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian, managerof the school and pastor of theArmenians of India, and the ArmenianCommunity Council Kolkata.Karekin II also vowed to the localArmenian community that the ArmenianChurch would never closeits doors or abandon the historicchapels and cemeteries its peoplehad built here since the 1600s.Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth in Kolkata. Photo: Sebouh Baghdoyan.Students of the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy line the red carpetas they wait for Catholicos Karekin II to officiate at the celebration of the 300thanniversary of the church. Photo: Sebouh Baghdoyan.Armenian graves at the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth in Kolkata. Photo:Tamar Kevonian.Liz Chater about Sir Paul ChaterThe altar of the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth in Kolkata.“These churches are indeed living,breathing houses of worship,” saidKarekin II at the Taj Bengal Hotel,where the weeklong celebrationsand pilgrimage came to a close Saturdaynight.“They are not just simply stones,”he said. “They are prayers, livingprayers, because they are our history,and they are part of our identity.To allow them to disappear isto become reconciled with the endof our national identity and being.A nation is made up of the sum ofits part. To care for these separateparts is to make them meaningfulwithin our lives.”connect:http://armenianchurch.in/ Continued from page 10and flipped and flipped, and thereI found my grandfather. And onthat card, it was just a typewrittenindex card of his baptism details;also it gave me his parents’ names,which were Abraham and Annie.So then I was able to go throughall the Chater index cards and lookfor any child that had parents thatwere Abraham and Annie, and suddenlyI had a family. I was euphoric.I was floating on cloud nine thatday. This was in 2000. I took it oneplace further and found out certainmembers had married, andthat my grandfather had brothersand sisters. So I started buildingup my own family tree.PC: What other sources of informationdid you have in your research?LC: I learned about Mesrob Seth’sbook Armenians in India, and got ahard copy of the book, which was outof print. Then I realized that therewas deep heritage and history here,and I wanted to investigate it. Thepresent way of communicating is theInternet and websites, and I thoughtthat if I could put a little bit of my researchon the Internet, other peoplemight pick up and it would take off.Little did I realize eight years agothat my minor interest, mild fascination,had turned into such a tremendousthing for me. Right now, Iget lots and lots of family inquiriesfrom around the world, on a dailybasis. In one day, last Friday, I had250 e-mails. That’s common for myinbox. Some of it is spam, but mostare family history inquiries. They say,“I’ve just found your web site, and canyou help me? Can you tell me aboutthe Armenians in India?” connect:www.chater-genealogy.com


12 The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008CommunityA deacon becomes a priest in an historicHoly Armeniantreasure in Saidabadwas once abandonedby Paul ChaderjianSAIDABAD, India – The Service ofCalling ceremony for Deacon HarutyunHambardzumyan, who wasordained by Catholicos Karekin IIas Father Avedis on Saturday, November15, took place a day beforeat the Holy Virgin Mary Church inSaidabad.The Saidabad church sits on 12acres of land in a remote suburbof the city of Hyderabad, where noArmenian lives. It was once abandonedand a former chairperson ofthe Armenian Community Councilof India wanted to give it away untilthe community and the ArmenianChurch intervened.“The Saidabad church is hoursand hours away from Kolkata,” saidpastor of the Armenian Church inIndia, Very Rev. Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian.“But after you come here,you receive a spiritual fulfillment.”Fr. Gulgulian then quoted poetVahan Tekeyan’s, “the ArmenianChurch is the birthplace of my soul,”to explain the spiritual renewal pilgrimsexperience when they reachthe Holy Virgin Mary Church, itspristine grounds, chapel, and twolakes.Karekin II, who officiated at theservice, bishops and archbishopswith a 26-member choir in tow,and more pilgrims from aroundthe world journeyed to Saidabadon Friday, November 14, to participatein the Service of Callingceremony.“When you see an Armenianchurch, Armenian graves, you feela sense of spirituality, a sense ofbelonging as an Armenian. You feelso proud,” said Fr. Gulgulian.The pastor also said that whereverArmenians go, they build a churchand a school, and even though thereare no Armenians in Saidabad, theArmenian church still stands.“When you look at the dates,1780, 1760, you realize that our ancestorscame all the way to Indiaand settled in Mushidabad,” said Fr.Gulgulian. “They built a church thatstill stands. This tells you who weare as a nation, as a people.”Saidabad is some 150 milesnorth of Kolkata. Reaching itentails a seven-hour bus ridethrough a two-lane street. Thecongested, narrow roads are fullof potholes and patches of dirtbreaking up the asphalt. Randomtrucks are parked at randompoints in the middle of route.Cows and bullock carts share theroad with stray dogs, bicycle rickshaws,and pedestrians.“As the pastor of the ArmenianChurch in India, I try to do my bestto come here once or twice a year tocelebrate the Divine Liturgy and tohave a service, requiem, and mass,”said Fr. Gulgulian. “I love cominghere. Deacon Harutyun and I come,and we spend time here, and sometimeshear our forefathers talkingto us. We hear their voices, becausethey are also happy that we haven’tabandoned them, and that we arepraying for them, and are proud ofthem.”The Mogul emperor gave Armeniansa parcel of land here in 1665,and a successful Armenian merchantbuilt the Holy Virgin MaryChurch when Armenians lived inthe area when it was near the capitalof Bengal (see Armenian Reporter,November 15).Holy Virgin Mary Church in Saidabad.The Aivazian family, Lucy, Andre, Michael (back) and Michael, Dante, Helena Cray,Lucy and Peter Aivazian in Saidabad. Photos: Tamar Kevonian.Service of Calling“Vehapar chose Saidabad for thisservice in commemoration of the300th anniversary of the establishmentof the Holy NazarethChurch of Kolkata,” said Rev. Fr.Ktrij Devejian, official interpreterfor the Catholicos andforeign press secretary at Etchmiadzin.“It was also chosen inrecognition of the fact that DeaconHarutyun served here so selflesslyand with such great energyand vigor.”Fr. Devejian said an ordination ofan Armenian priest may not havetaken place in India for more thana century, and the ordination servicesin Saidabad are now part ofthe continuation of the making ofhistory for the Indian-Armeniancommunity.“His Holiness wanted to make ita special event in the life of the Indian-Armeniancommunity as wellas a special event in the life of DeaconHarutyun and his family,” saidFr. Devejian. “So, the decision wasMichael Aivazian of Southern California, great grandson of the caretaker of theHoly Virgin Mary Church in Saidabad, places earth from his great grandfather’sgrave in Tangra on the grave of his great grandmother, Mary Carapetian at thechurch.made to select an Armenian churchthat was created on the land of Indiacenturies ago to show that thecontinuity remained, that there isstill life for Armenians in India andan ordination in this church.”As the Service of Calling ceremonytook place inside the Holy VirginMary Church, the pontiff asked thebishops around him who was sponsoringDeacon Harutyun into thepriesthood.The Catholicos then askedwhether the Deacon was joiningthe priesthood under duress or underobligation, and whether anyonehad forced him to come.Having determined that DeaconHarutyun was at the service out ofhis own free will, Karekin II askedthe bishops and archbishops presentwhether the deacon had truefaith.The Catholicos asked Deacon Harutyun’ssponsors whether the deaconhad acquired the knowledgeneeded by a priest, knew the testaments,the writings of the ChurchFathers, patristics – the study ofearly Christian writers – and theology.“When the answers are in the affirmative,”said Fr. Devejian, “thenthe question is asked, ‘Does he havethe moral standing, does he havethe moral character to be a priest?’”Knowledge is important, Fr. Devejiantold the Armenian Reporter,“but he also has to have the moralfortitude to withstand the rigorsof service. The answer was againgiven in the affirmative.”Since Deacon Harutyun is married,the Catholicos asked his wifewhether she was willing that he becomea priest.After hearing the affirmative answer,and after all in the church hadattested to the deacon’s abilities, hisknowledge, and his moral standing,the Catholicos asked the deacon directlywhether he had faith.Once all the answers were givenin the affirmative, Deacon Harutyunrecited the Nicene Creed,the summarized doctrine of thechurch.“He had to attest to the fact thathe is the follower of our Church Fathers,”said Fr. Devejian, who wentContinued on page 13


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008 13Communityevent for Indian-Armenian community Continued from page 12through this very same ceremonyat Etchmiadzin and became thefirst U.S.-native to be ordained atthe Mother See.“He had to renounce the hereticsthat the church had renouncedfrom the first century on forward,”said Fr. Devejian, “and in the end,the Vehapar laid his right hand onhim as part of the apostolic successionthat took the deacon down theroad to priesthood.”Reaction“The ceremony was a special event,”said Deacon Harutyun after the servicein Saidabad. “I prepared for itover the course of a long time. It’shard for me to describe the emotionsand thoughts, and perhaps it won’tbe that easy to explain, because youare offering your life to the churchand to God to serve wholly.”Deacon Harutyun – now Fr.Avedis – told the Armenian Reporterthat the path to priesthoodrequired a lot of preparation, andthat he had made his decision tobecome a priest far in advance ofcoming to serve as administrator ofthe Armenian College and PhilanthropicAcademy in India.“I come from a family of believers,”he said. “From a young age, I knewthat I wanted to study at the ArmenianCollege and serve the Church.Since then, these dreams have formulated,and after graduating andbecoming a deacon, I was convincedthat this was the path to take.”Deacon Harutyun said it was anhonor and that he was grateful toGod that the Catholicos himselfofficiated at the Service of Callingceremony and at the ordination.Among those attending theService of Calling ceremony wereHelena Cray and her family, theAivazians. Ms. Cray’s grandparentsMatevous and Mary Carapetianwere the caretakers of the Holy VirginMary Church for decades.“Hearing the choir in the churchwas like the angels were singingfor my grandparents” said Ms.Cray. “It was bringing up a lot ofmemories. Growing up here, I donot recall service being held here.It was only after my grandparentspassed away that they had an actualservice here, and we came andwe attended.”Ms. Cray said the Friday pilgrimagewill forever be added to theother memories that linger in thewalls of Saidabad.“It is nice to know where mygrandparents rest in peace, thechurch bells rings once again,” saidMs. Cray. “The echoes of peopletalking here today, and just knowingthat we are remembering thosewho rest in peace here is what I willremember always.”Ms. Cray’s mother, Lucy Aivazian,was born and raised at thegrounds of the church in Saidabad.When she had come to visit in1991, the Holy Virgin Mary Churchwas in absolute ruins. When shereturned in 2006, it had been renovatedand she was very surprised.“The first time when I came in2006, I didn’t know whether to cry,to laugh or to be happy or to be sad,”said Mrs. Aivazian. “I felt that I’vecome home.”Mrs. Aivazian said when she visitedin 2006 after the church andgrounds were renovated, she wasextremely overjoyed and surprisedat the sights.“The bishop from Australia camewith us two years ago,” said Mrs.Aivazian. “He saw the place, and hesaid this was a jewel in the jungle.He said he never, ever expected thisand that he was going to go backInside the Holy Virgin Mary Church in Saidabad.and tell everybody that they haveto visit this place and see what ajewel it is.”Mrs. Aivazian said she was veryhappy, because witnessing thechurch services in her birthplacewith her were her son, who had notseen the church grounds since 1991.Mrs. Aivasian had also brought herdaughter-in-law, also named Lucy,and her grandsons Dante and Michaelto Saidabad for the first time.“It was a great reunion, and I feellike I’m with my parents,” Mrs.Aivazian said. “My mom is buriedhere. What my husband Peter didwas he brought some earth frommy father’s grave in Tangra andput it on my mother’s grave, andhe said, ‘Now I have joined themtogether.’”In addition to earth from Mrs.Avazian’s father’s grave, PeterAivazian brought to India handmadecrosses and lecterns that hepersonally made.The former ironworker from Kolkatareceived special recognitionfrom Karekin II at the Saturdayevening banquet at the Taj BengalHotel, where community membersgathered for the culmination dinnerof the weeklong 300th anniversarycelebrations.Liz Chater from the UnitedKingdom, who helped organizedthe pilgrimages with Ms. Cray, saidat the banquet that she was verymoved by the events this week thatincluded pilgrimages to churches,chapels, and cemeteries in Saidabad,Chennai, Chinsura, Tangra,and Kolkata.“It was thought provoking,” saidMs. Chater, whose vocation and avocationare researching the Indiansof Armenia. “It was just everything,more than I could possible haveimagined. I’m very, very touchedand privileged beyond belief thatI’m actually here to share this300th anniversary. It’s really a very,very special occasion.”Saidabad – nearlyabandonedArmenian Community Councilwarden Susan Reuben said thatshe first was told about the churchin Saidabad when she was elected awarden in 1997.“When I went on to my secondyear, that was when the chairpersonof that time said that it was abeautiful place,” said Ms. Reuben.“But the chairperson told us thatsince Saidabad is so far, since therewas nobody out there to look afterthe place, and since it was just inruins, she had planned to give theproperty away.”The decision to abandon the Armenianhistory and legacy in Saidabadby Sonia John, the formerchairperson of the Armenian CommunityCouncil of India, didn’t sitwell with other members.“We were not very happy aboutit,” said Mrs. Reuben. “We didn’twant to give away our properties.So Queeny Sobpr and I decided tomake a trip up here to see what theplace looked like.”Ms. Reuben said the journey wasvery sentimental for Mrs. Sobpr,since her family, the Aivazians, hadbeen part of the history of Saidabad.“Even I felt the place really hadsomething really special,” said Ms.Reuben about her first visit. “It gotinto me, and we decided that no,somehow we have got to hold on tothis place.”Ms. Reuben said that upon theirreturn to Kolkata, the committeevoted to save this treasure of theArmenian Church.“Mrs. John didn’t like it, becausewe stood up against her,” she explained.“Then we made two orthree trips. We spoke a lot aboutthe place, but really nothing happenedbecause Queeny expired.Her son Sunil then came on thescene, and he took over where sheleft off. We started making tripsout here and getting people to seethe place, making estimates to seehow we could do it up. We finallygot to work, and it took us sometime but then you can see the resultsfor yourself.”Ms. Reuben said when she cameto Saidabad for the first time in1997, the property was encroachedupon; the land and lake were beingused by villagers. She said that thechurch was in ruins, had no roof,and there were snakes in the wallsof the structure.“When the villagers saw us comingout here, they didn’t knowwho we were, and they thoughtwe’ve come to take over theirplace,” she said. “So they werevery agitated, and they tried toattack us. But we had our peoplewith us also. There were talks,and there were fights. But eventually,we managed to get ourplace back. We managed to get alot, but there’s still a lot of landwe cannot get back.”Asked by the Armenian Reporterto elaborate on the “fights,” Ms.Reuben said there were physicalfights with armed villagers, whohad weapons and bombs.“You know villagers, how theyfight, and screaming and shoutingand creating chaos all over theplace, and trying to collect crowdsto push us away,” she said. “But wewere not afraid of anything, becausewe were doing somethinggood. So we kept on with it, andGod was with us.”“We were actually taken aback,”said committee member SunilSobpr. “We never expected anythingof the sort. It took a while tosort these things out.”Mr. Sobpr said he conducted asearch in the records of the Republicof India to determine how muchof the property around the HolyVirgin Mary Church belonged tothe Armenian community.“We salvaged most of the land,but there’s still a lot more,” said Mr.Sobpr. “We demolished some temporaryhuts and walls, but we cannotmake these people homeless.We got back the land which theyweren’t using. We at least managedto get that back, and let’s see whatwe can do in the future.”Catholicos’ commentsAt the banquet at the Taj Bengal onSaturday night, Catholicos KarekinII told those gathered that someonehad asked him why so much effortwas being exerted at such great expenseto preserve these Armenianproperties in India when the Indian-Armenian community was so smalland its churches were silent.“These churches are indeed living,”said the Catholicos. “They arebreathing houses of worship. Theyare not just simply stones. Theyare prayers, living prayers, becausethey are our history, and they arepart of our identity.”The Catholicos said that to allowthe Armenian treasures in Indiato disappear would be reconcilingwith the end of Armenia andArmenians’ national identity andbeing.“A nation is made up of the sumof its part,” said the Catholicos. “Tocare for these separate parts is tomake them meaningful within ourlives. These sacred relics are thesource and inspiration for our identity.The renovation, the reorientationof the Armenian College andour churches shall continue. Weshall continue to build and makethem stronger and make the Armeniancommunity in India stronger.”The pastor of the Indian-Armeniancommunity, Fr. Gulgulian quotedpoet Bedros Tourian’s poem “MyDeath” when asked about Saidabad.“Tourian wrote, ‘Whenever youremember me, at that time, I’malive. The minute that you forgetabout me, then I will die,’” said Fr.Gulgulian. “As long as we rememberour ancestors, our forefathers,they will be living with us. They willbe alive in us, even though they aresix feet under. They are living withus, because we are rememberingthem.”Fr. Gulgulian said that when thepilgrims come to Saidabad, thesouls of those buried there rejoice.The biggest challenge of the ArmenianChurch faces in India accordingto Fr. Gulgulian is the lack ofArmenians and the lack of peoplecoming to visit these holy shrines.“Very few Armenians are left, andwe have, with our exaggerated numbers,about 200 all over India, plusthe students at the Armenian College,”said Fr. Gulgulian. “Our hopeis that every decade, two or three ofthe students will stay and live hereand start a new life in India, wherewe can live to a new birth to theArmenian community, sort of newbeginnings that will be.”Fr. Gulgulian said that the communityhas the resources, and hopesthat Armenians from the embattledregions of Iraq will move to India,even if only for a few years.“If they don’t want to live the restof their life here, if they stay, let’ssay for five years, that will also begood,” said Fr. Gulgulian. “Becausethat will attract as much as possible,and will give longevity to the life ofthe community.”The pastor said the Church haslots of space and can take care ofthose who come to India.“We have facilities to build morehomes for our people, for themto come and live and work. We’llsponsor, and we’ll assist them inevery way,” he said.Abandoning Armenian churchesis the continuation of the genocide,said Fr. Gulgulian.“As long as we go and we take careof these places, we’ll rejuvenate,”he said. “Three years ago, this wasa devastated zone, and today, it’sa jewel. It’s up to us, everywherearound the world to do the same,to keep our education centers, ourcultural homes, our churches open,to teach our children.” connect:http://armenianchurch.in/Trustee contributions to the agmmFinancial contributions by former and current members of the Board ofTrustees of Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial (agmm) for thebenefit of the agmm as of September 2006.


14 The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008CommunityThe former chairperson of the Armenian Community Council of IndiaIn his own words:Haik H. Sookias, Jr.TANGRA, India – The once-vibrantArmenian community of Indiaboasted some 30,000 members.Now the community is said to havebetween 80-100 Armenians. Only20–22 are members of the ArmenianChurch.While the community here maynot be large, the community’s resourcesare reportedly vast, thanksto a number of endowments to theArmenian Church.The Armenian Reporter’s PaulChaderjian spoke to one of theimmediate former chairperson ofthe Armenian Community Councilof India, Haik H. Sookias, Jr.,whose resignation was acceptedtwo weeks ago by CatholicosKarekin II. The new chairperson isMichael Dutt, who shares the fiscalresponsibilities of the communitywith two other wardens, SusanMargaret Reuben and SunilSurin Sobpr.Armenian Reporter: Tell usabout Paul Chater and his endowment.Haik H. Sookias, Jr.: Sir PaulChater was a founding member ofa merchant’s bank, way back beforeit was HSBC. He gave the ArmenianChurch 525 pounds of his shares 80years ago. You multiply that by theyears, and you can understand howmuch money he actually gave. Atthe time, nobody knew that thisfledgling bank was ever going to beanything.AR: How much money are wetalking about?HSS: Well, 525 pounds of sharesin the late 1920s, 80 or 90 years ago,and I think that was 1/11th of thebank. Today it is 1.4 or 1.5 percentof the actual bank’s shares. The dividendof that is the money that weuse for the Church. Unfortunately,because of Indian law and whatthey call the Charities Act, we can’tactually sell the shares. It’s not likewe can go and say let’s take 10, 20million bucks, and let’s do somethingbetter with that. We can’t.We can’t sell the shares. In fact, wedon’t even specifically hold them.Under Indian law, they’re ours, butwe don’t hold them. They’re actuallyheld by the official trustee ofWest Bengal.AR: I’ve heard a lot of talk thatthe income from these endowmentsis between one million tofive million dollars a year. Can yougive me specific numbers?HSS: I’m not able to do that, becausethere are amounts in dollarsand amounts in shares; and literally,the main asset value is the shares.You really can’t put into numbersthe value of this property [HolyTrinity in Tangra] or the value ofother properties that we have. Weonly have access to the interest income.The basic money is tied up.So it can’t be touched. But obviously,they’re more than significant, inthe millions of dollars annually.ClassifiedsReal Estate Glendale. 2 Bdrm., 1 ½ bathApt., lower unit, wall A/C, newhardwood floors & paint. 1 prkg.419 Thompson #3. $1295. 818-590-1295 MONTROSE OFFICES. 2,500sq. ft., 2500 Honolulu Ave., prkg.& 1,750 sq. ft., 2490 HonoluluAve., prkg, Great Location! Call310-550-1012 x.109AR: That amount is only the annualinterest income?HSS: It’s actually earnings income.The amount completely dependson the economic conditions.With the financial crisis, it mightbe one million [U.S. dollars]. In areally, really good year, it might befive million. But after saying that,when the money comes in, we haveto look after the properties. Wehave decided to put money intorenovating the properties. So thefirst priority with the money is thework we need to do in our community.We make sure the old peopleare looked after. Other things wedo is make smaller contributions tohospitals, so that when Armeniansget ill, they go to those hospitalsand receive care. It’s sort of like adeal you make with the hospital.“Look, I’ll give you $10,000 now, butif the guy comes in later on, yougive him free treatment. So thatstuff is constant also. And we paystipends to 250 people. We feedthem. We look out for the churchesand take care of the staff, and allthe schools.AR: You have used Churchfunds to create the first traumahospital, the Armenian ChurchTrauma Hospital for all residentsof Kolkata and the first HIV/AIDSArmenian Church hospital for allchildren in India and an orphanagefor kids left homeless in theIndian Ocean Tsunami . How doyou decide what non-Armenianprojects to fund?HSS: Essentially, what happensis that we look around a lot. Peopleget to know that the ArmenianChurch wants to work with charitiesand we want to be involved, sothey apply. For every one of thecharities that we have done andthat we have mentioned, I’d say20 others we have rejected. Ourrule of thumb is that we have togo and see the place. We have gotto know that it’s a genuine charity.The other rule of thumb is thatwe have to make sure is that anadministrative cost is not comingChildcare/Day Care DOLLY CHILD DAY CARELoving care and safe area, hotmeals, and C.P.R. Pre-schoolprogram. Music, art, dance. Lic#197415571 Located in ValleyVillage. (8180 763-0313 or (323)788-1024out of the charity. In other words,somebody else isn’t living off thecharity. So, you go to all these bigcharity organizations, and theyhave administrative costs at 50-70percent, you give them a hundreddollars, and the actual money thatgoes to a poor person is 20 dollarsor 10 dollars. We want to makesure, in our case, and we knowthere is a certain amount of costto do the charity, but we make sureat least 80 percent is going to thepoor kids.“If the studentsof the ArmenianCollege start seeingpeople coming all thetime and realizingthis is not someforgotten outpost ofArmenians,they maystart to think thatwe’re not in such a badplace.”Automotive 2002 Honda Civic EX automatic,original owner, moonroof,70k miles, $9850/OBO 818-249-4390 Ford 2004 250 Super DutyLariat mdl. Truck in very finecond. 6 liter diesel, 4WD, crewcab, Maroon ext. lthr int. W/Cab-Hi Snug Top shell w/folddown slider window. AllstarAR: Are there any laws in the Republicof India that tell you whereand how to spend the money?HSS: It was actually decidedby Sir Paul Chater and his descendentsthat we be set up as acharitable trust. Under charitabletrust laws in India, you actuallyhave to give away 85 percent ofwhatever income you might earnin the Church to retain your charityand nontaxable status. So wegot into a situation where we hadto do charity, where we either hadto spend it on our churches or wehad to do the charity. I mean, welook after Armenians from thecradle to the grave. From the momentthey are born, if they needheart operations, if they needanything, we give them monthlystipends, we give them bonusesfor Christmas, we run the oldfolks’ home here called the PaulChater Home.AR: So, any Armenian can applyand move in to the Paul ChaterHome?HSS: You can apply, but you haveto get past me, and I have to approve.But I’m a bit of a bulldog I’mafraid.AR: How about the ArmenianCollege. Do you accept any Armenianstudent who applies?HSS: There is a not a very majorselection process, but I think peoplewho could generally send theirchildren to really good schoolsdon’t particularly want to sendthem here at the moment. We stillhave a bit of a way to go to get theschool up to international standards,academics-wise and facilities-wise.I think there’re a lot ofreasons that we have been behindthe ball for some years, and weneed to do a lot more. But it’s notonly us. The cooperation has tocome from Etchmiadzin, becausethey are the people who select thekids who come here. Since Etchmiadzinis actually in control of themanagement of the school, it isthey who decide which kids comeand which kids don’t. We wouldlike to change that, and we’ve beentalking for some time about howthis can be changed, how to improvethe school and make it moreopen access. There are things thatare there for the future. We havea lot more to do, and that’s oneof the goals. A lot of it dependson the committee and the peoplehere, and it’s very much a committeeby democracy. Everyone has asay, and a lot of it has to do withEtchmiadzin and what role theywant to play in terms of the developmentof the school. That’s verymuch up to them.AR: How many students can theArmenian College enroll?bedliner, chrmfoot rails. Yakimaroof rails. $3000 Banks Stingerw/OttoMind 6 diesel tunerand power PDA. 109950 miles.13-15 mpg city; 18-21 mpg hwy.$15,000/OBO 818-790-2123Employment(Left to right)The wardens ofthe ArmenianCommunityCouncil of Indiainclude MichaelDutt, chairman,Susan Reubenand Sunil Sobpr.Photo: TamarKevonian. CAN seeking position forcaregiver. Exp/ref. Live-in. Anytime818-921-5000 IrmaHSS: I think we could take upto maybe 200 or 250 kids. I think[the school] needs more infrastructure[development]. It also needsa lot of, I guess, cooperation withthe people who want to send theirchildren. At the moment, the onlychildren who come are underprivilegedchildren from Armenia andIran, and last year we had maybeseven from Iraq.AR: You are reaching out to Armeniansthroughout the diasporato tell them about your communityand its treasures. What doyou want them to know about yourcommunity?HSS: We want them to realize weare here, first, and then come moreoften. Come and enjoy the churches.You’ve seen St. Mary’s Churchin Chennai and you’ve seen HolyTrinity in Tangra. You have yet tosee the big St. Nazareth Churchand the St. Gregory Chapel. You’regoing to get mind-blown when yougo to Saidabad. If you think thisHoly Trinity is something, holdon to your hats. You really haven’tseen anything yet.We built this [Holy TrinityChurch in Tangra]. We redevelopedthis, and people really have to startcoming. People have got to starttaking interest. Only when youstart generating the interest, pointone percent of the people will say,“Hey, it’s not such a bad place. Indiais still a booming economy, 7.5percent growth a year, and the ArmenianChurch is going to give ussomewhere to stay and help us getjobs.” They’ll think about it for awhile.If the students of the ArmenianCollege start seeing people comingall the time and realizing thisis not some forgotten outpost ofArmenians, if they think, “Hey,people are actually coming hereto see us; Americans are coming;Australians are coming; foreignersare coming,” they may start tothink that we’re not in such a badplace. And if they start thinkingthis is not such a bad place, thenthey make take the offers we havemade to them to pay for their educationin Indian universities, andthe offer they’ll be made once theydo that to give them free homes.I want to build some single-familyhomes here, and then maybethe kids will begin to see this isnot such a bad place. The Churchis looking after them, and theChurch is giving them somewhereto stay. The Church is giving theman education.Hopefuly, even if 10 percent,five percent or two percent ofthe kids stay, and become successful,then the next generationwill stay. It’s not bad. That’s howyou start, and a lot of it dependson people coming. You peoplestart coming. Other foreignersstart coming. You coming is actuallygiving the kids the messagethat maybe it’s somewhereto come and make a life. connect:armenianchurch.inClassified listingsnow availablePlease call818-955-8407or email us atclassifieds@reporter.amto place your ad


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008 15CommunityCalendar of EventsNorthern CaliforniaNOVEMBER 22 - FROM CON-STANTINOPLE TO TBILISI: ANARMENIAN LEGACY. Location: St.John Armenian Apostolic Church,275 Olympia Blvd, San Francisco,CA. 7:30pm Admission: $35 / $28 /$15. For more information contactBay Area Classical Harmonies, (510)868-0695; Info@BayAreaBACH.org.NOVEMBER 22 - A TOUCH OFYEREVAN IN SILICON VALLEY.Location: Private Residence inMountain View, We will providethe full address once we receive thepayments, San Jose, CA. 7:00pm-Midnight Admission: $25. For moreinformation contact Layla Sabourian,415.438.0111; laylasabourian@gmail.com.NOVEMBER 22 - ARMENIANS OFTHE NORTH BAY 2008 EVENINGFOOD, DANCE, MUSIC EVENT. Location:Congregation Ner Shalom,85 La Plaza, Cotati, CA. 6:00PM– 11PM Admission: Adults $25 8-13$10. For more information contactChristyne Davidian, 707- 762-2995;christyne@callatg.com.NOVEMBER 22 - DINNER &SHOW - PRESENTED BY AGBUYP AND BAY AREA CLASSICALHARMONIES (BACH). Location:Chouchou Restaurant and St.John’s Church, 275 Olympia Blvd,San Francisco, CA. 5:30-10:00 Admission:$35 /$25/$15. For moreinformation contact AGBU YP,5108680695; emtorce@aol.com.NOVEMBER 23 - FROM CON-STANTINOPLE TO TBILISI: ANARMENIAN LEGACY. Location:St. Andrew Armenian ApostolicChurch, 11370 S. Stelling Road, Cupertino,CA. 5:00pm Admission:$35 / $28 / $15. For more informationcontact Bay Area ClassicalHarmonies, (510) 868-0695; Info@BayAreaBACH.org.NOVEMBER 23 - THANKSGIV-ING LUNCHEON & HOLIDAYBOUTIQUE. Location: SaroyanHall, Khatchatourian ArmenianCommunity Center, 825 BrotherhoodWay, San Francisco, CA. 2:00P.M. Admission: $20.00 for lunch.For more information contact ArmenianRelief Society, 650-652-4630; judy@jingirian.com.NOVEMBER 30 - ARMENIANGENOCIDE BRICKS FOR SSUHOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDEMEMORIAL GROVE. Location:Sonoma State University/Schoolof Social Sciences/Center for theStudy of the Holocaust and Genocide,1801 E. Cotati Ave., StevensonHall Rm 2078, Rohnert Park, CA.N/A Admission: $100 4”x8” $2508”x8. For more information contactChristyne Davidian, 707-762-2995;christyne@callatg.com.DECEMBER 31 - SF NEW YEAR’SEVE. Location: New Year’s Eve, 825Brotherhood Way, San Francisco,CA. Details to Follow Admission:Details to Follow. For more informationcontact Kef Night Commitee,415-751-9140; st.gregory1@sbcglobal.net.DECEMBER 31 - NEW YEARSEVE CELEBRATION. Location:Saratoga Community Center, 19655Allendale Avenue, Saratoga, CA.8:00pm Admission: $60 Adults, $35Kids. For more information contactSt. Andrew Armenian Church& Homenetmen Ani Chapter,Homenetmenani@gmail.com.JANUARY 18 - CAL PERFOR-MANCES: SERGEY KHACHATRY-AN VIOLIN WITH LUSINE KHA-CHATRYAN, PIANO. Location:Hertz Hall, University of California,Berkeley, CA. 3p.m. Admission: $46.For more information contact CalPerformances, 510.642.9988; tickets@calperfs.berkeley.edu.JANUARY 31 - ANNUAL BAN-QUET. Location: Saroyan Hall, 825Brotherhood Way, San F r a n -cisco, CA. 7:30 PM Admission:TBD. For more information contactCouncil of Armenian American Organizations,; Shaheani@aol.com.MARCH 7 - HYE TAD EVENING.Location: Saroyan Hall, 825 BrotherhoodWay, San Francisco, CA.6:30 PM Admission: TBD. For moreinformation contact ANC SF, (415)387-3433; mail@ancsf.org.MARCH 15 - CRD BENEFIT CON-CERT. Location: California Palace ofthe Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave,San Francisco, CA. 2:00 pm Admission:TBD. For more informationcontact Support Committee for Armenia’sCosmic Ray Division, (650)926-4444; anahid1@sonic.net.MARCH 30 - TREX FRATERNITY3RD ANNUAL CHARITY GOLF IN-VITATIONAL. Location: RoundhillCountry Club, 3169 Round Hill Rd,Alamo, CA. 12:30 PM Admission:$225.00. For more information contactTriple X Fraternity, (925) 837-8414; v.hovsepian@comcast.net.Central CaliforniaNOVEMBER 22 - ANNUAL TUR-KEY BINGO. Location: A.A.C.L.Hall, California Armenian Home,6720 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno,CA. 6:15 pm Admission: $20. Formore information contact SelmaChapter Triple X Charitable Trust,559-226-5796; cjtrex@selmatrex.org.DECEMBER 31 - NEW YEARS EVEPARTY. Location: Fresno California,3757 N First St, Fresno, CA. 8:00 pmto 1:00am Admission: $50, under 12$25. For more information contactHosted by the Knights and Daughtersof Vartan and the Fresno, 431-5259 or 439-7910; rex@sti.net.Southern CaliforniaOCTOBER 30 - FEBRUARY12 - GLOBAL TRAVELERTOM BOZIGIAN INTRODUC-ES HIS NEW FALL/WINTERARMENIAN/ GREEK DANCESERIES: Location: GlendaleCivi Auditorium, 1401 N. VerdugoRoad at Mountain Ave.,Glendale. The class is heldweekly until the party Feb.12, 2009. Late registrationthrough Nov. 6. Adults are$120 and Students to 23 years$105. Call 562-941-0845. Visitwww.bozigian.com. Bozigianalso presents his Middle EasternTrio for your dancingpleasure.NOVEMBER 22 - ABRINK: FESTI-VAL OF ARMENIAN LITERATUREAND CULTURE. Location: GlendaleCentral Library Auditorium,222 E. Harvard St., Glendale, CA.All Weekend Admission: free. Formore information contact AbrilBookstore, (818) 243-4112; arno@abrilbooks.com.NOVEMBER 22 - SILENT & LIVEAUCTIONS , PLUS BAZAAR, DIN-NER & ENTERTAINMENT. Location:Homenetmen Glendale “Ararat”Chapter, 3347 N. San FernandoRd, Los Angeles, CA. 5:30 pm StartAdmission: $30.00, Dinner & Ent.For more information contactHomenetmen Glendale “Ararat”Chapter, 1-323-256-2564; info@ararat.org.NOVEMBER 23 - MAGGIE: CHIL-DREN’S CONCERT. Location: LantermanAuditorium, 4491 CornishonAve, La Canada, CA. 5:00 P.M.Admission: $25, $20, $15, $10. Formore information contact MaggieTune Production, (818) 426 4956;maggietune@yahoo.com. Ticketson www.itsmyseat.com.NOVEMBER 23 - ARMENIAFUND ANNUAL GALA. Location:Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel,2025 Avenue of the Stars, LosAngeles, CA, 90067, 7:00pm . Formore information, please call 818-243-6222.NOVEMBER 24 - DR. HAKO-BYAN AND INSIGHT LIVE INGLENDALE. Location: GlendalePublic Library, 222 E Harvard St,Glendale, CA. 7:00 p.m. Admission:$40. For more information contactLNH Insight, Inc., (818) 230-2789;joeseifert@att.net. Tickets on www.itsmyseat.com.NOVEMBER 28 - THANKSGIV-ING DINNER DANCE WITH PAUL.Location: Pasadena Armenian Center,740 E Washington Blvd, Pasadena,CA. 08:30PM Admission:$51.00. For more information contactAGBU High School Pasadena,(818) 247-1717; Paul@Verginieproductions.Com.NOVEMBER 28 - AGBU YOUNGPROFESSIONALS’ THANKSGIV-ING MIXER. Location: The Vault,2675 East Colorado Blvd, Pasadena,CA. 8 p.m. Admission: $20. Formore information contact AGBUYPLA, ; Tatebejan@yahoo.com.NOVEMBER 27 - A.R.S. THANKS-GIVING DINNER DANCE. Location:Pasadena Armenian Center,740 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena,CA. 6pm Admission: $20, age 10+$35. For more information contactA.R.S., 626-398-2052 Hasmig); AR-Sthanksgivingdinner@yahoo.com.NOVEMBER 27 - 11TH INTERNA-TIONAL TELETHON. Location: ArmeniaFund, Inc, 111 N Jackson St,Glendale, CA. All Day Admission:Donations. For more informationcontact Armenia Fund, 8182436222;info@armeniafund.org.NOVEMBER 28 - AGBU YOUNGPROFESSIONALS’ THANKSGIV-ING MIXER. Location: The Vault,2675 East Colorado Blvd, Pasadena,CA. 8 p.m. Admission: $20. Formore information contact AGBUYPLA, ; Tatebejan@yahoo.com.NOVEMBER 29 - ARA PROJECTART SHOW AND SILENT AUC-TION. Location: Vill del Sol d’Oro,200 N. Michillinda Ave., Pasadena,CA. 12 pm-6 pm Admission: FreeAdmission. For more informationcontact ARA Project, 626 792-4479;ckaloo@sbcglobal.net.DECEMBER 4 - LECTURE: LOOK-ING FOR ALTRUISM?. Location:Ferrahian Holy Martyrs School“Dickranian” Hall, 5300 White OakAve., Encino, CA. 8:00 Admission:Free Admission.. For more informationcontact Hamazkayin SanFernando Valley “Baruyr Sevag”Chapter, info@hamazkayin.net.DECEMBER 4 - KAREN JEPPEIN THE RESCUE OF THE ARME-IAN WOMAN & CHILDREN EN-SLAVED IN SYRIA DURING THEGENOCIDE. Location: Holy MartyrsArmenian Ferrahian School,5300 White Oak Avenue, Encino,CA. 8:00pm Admission: Free. Formore information contact Hamazkayin“Baruyr Sevag” Chapter, 818-599-9926; Seta.frounjian@wamu.net.DECEMBER 5 - USC AAA FIRSTANNUAL GALA. Location: AnoushBanquette Hall, 1320 W GlenoaksBlvd, Glendale, CA. 6 PM Admission:$75 - $125. For more informationcontact UCC AAA, (818) 448-8404; info@uscaaa.org. Tickets onwww.itsmyseat.com.DECEMBER 5 - OUT OF THERUINS: 20TH MEMORIAL ANNI-VERSARY OF THE 1988 ARME-NIAN EARTHQUAKE. Location:University Student Union Theater,18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge,CA. 8:00 PM Admission: RSVP. Formore information contact Aid ArmeniaInternational, Email For Detail;AidArmenia1@Gmail.com.DECEMBER 6 –7 MEDIA CITYBALLET PRESENTS THE NUT-CRACKER. Location: The Alex Theater,216 North Brand Blvd., Glendale,CA . 2:00pm & 7:00pm TicketSubscription Couponthe armenianreporterannual ratesU.S.A.: First Class Mail, $125; Periodicals Mail, $75Canada: $125 (u.s.); Overseas: $250 (u.s.)namestreetcity/state/zipprices vary, to purchase tickets call818-243-2539 or www.alextheatre.org, for more information call MediaCity Ballet at 818-972-9692DECEMBER 6 - WINE ANDCHEESE MIXER. Location: PrivateResidence of Mr. and Mrs. Amirian,1530 Basso Terrace, Glendale, CA.4:00pm to 7:00pm Admission: NoAdmission Price. For more informationcontact Focus on ChildrenNow, 818.554.8832; info@fcnorg.com.DECEMBER 6 - GREG PAPAZIANROCK PHOTOS. Location: Eddie’sShoe and Handbag Repair, 13716Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA.6pm Admission: free. For more informationcontact Greg Papazian,bob.pool@latimes.com.DECEMBER 7 - OUT OF THE RU-INS: 20TH MEMORIAL ANNIVER-SARY OF THE 1988 ARMENIANEARTHQUAKE. Location: UniversityStudent Union Theater, Cal-State University, Northridge, 18111Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA.8:00 - 10:00 PM Admission: Free.For more information contact AidArmenia International, (818)-599-5993; raidiniantz@gmail.com.DECEMBER 8 - DIONICESS III- BEER & CHEESE PAIRING. Location:55 Degree Wine, 3111 GlendaleBlvd, Atwater Village, CA. 7:30 PMAdmission: $39.00. For more informationcontact Gev Kazanchyan,8182491428; dionicessgigs@gmail.com. Tickets on www.itsmyseat.com.DECEMBER 10 - IN CONCERT-- ELEMENT, GORE, MARIA AR-MOUDIAN AND MORE. Location:Side Bar, 1114 N. Pacific Ave., Glendale,CA. 7 PM Admission: $25.00.For more information contactMaria Armoudian, 818 832 1127;armoudian@aol.com. Tickets onwww.itsmyseat.com.DECEMBER 14 - CHRISTMASCHILDRENS CONCERT: Location:Glendale Public Library, 222 E. HarvardSt., Glendale, CA. 1:00 PM Admission:$15. For more informationcontact Hermine, 818-248-9010;herminesworld@sbcglobal.net.Tickets on www.itsmyseat.com.DECEMBER 16 - TALINE,FRIENDS & SANTA. Location:CSUN Plaza Del Sol PerformanceHall, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge,CA. 4:30PM Admission:$22.50. For more information contactTalineMusic.com, (818)726-8748; taline@talinemusic.com.DECEMBER 18 - IN HIS SHOESPRESENTS GOR MKHITARIAN“THE SPIRIT” CD RELEASE CON-CERT. Location: Zipper ConcertHall at the Colburn School, 200 S.Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA.8:00PM Admission: $25/$40. Formore information contact SuzieShatarevyan, (626)275-2636; suzie@inhisshoes.org. Tickets on www.itsmyseat.com.DECEMBER 24 - CHRISTMAS EVEPARTY WITH ROBERT CHILIN-GIRIAN & JOSEPH KRIKORIAN.Location: Ararat Home’s DeukmejianBanquet Hall, Mission Hills, CA,Mission Hills, CA. 8:00 p.m. Admission:$65.00. For more informationcontact Gorun Kazanjian, 818 4374008; girian1@aol.com.JANUARY 4 - TALINE, FRIENDS& SANTA - ARMENIAN CHRIST-MAS SHOW. Location: Alex Theatre,216 N Brand Blvd, Glendale,CA. 5:30PM Admission: $20 - $30.For more information contact Talinemusic.comInc, (818)726-8748;taline@talinemusic.com.JANUARY 10 - THE WAGES OFSIN. Location: Glendale High SchoolAuditorium, 2000 W. BROADWAY,Glendale, CA. 7:30 PM Admission:$15. For more information contactAlbert Akopyan, (818)642- 0628;ararattvm@gmail.com. Tickets onwww.itsmyseat.com.JANUARY 30 - USC-AGSA 7THANNUAL DINNER GALA. Location:Ararat Home’s “DeukmejianHall”, 15099 Mission Hills Rd., MissionHills, CA. 7 pm Admission:$70. For more information contactUSC-AGSA, (818) 674-8597; info@uscagsa.com. Tickets on www.itsmyseat.com.FEBRUARY 28 - ANAHID FUNDANNUAL BANQUET. Location:Taglyan Cultural Center, 1201 VineSt, Los Angeles, CA. 6:30 P.M. Admission:$75.00. For more informationcontact Anahid Fund, 818-409-0655; Anahid_Fund@Yahool.Com.APRIL 19 - MIKHAIL SIMONYAN,VIOLIN. Location: Raitt RecitalHall: Pepperdine University, 24255Pacific Coast HWY, Malibu, CA.2:00 PM Admission: $25. For moreinformation contact Center ForThe Arts, (212) 994-3540; tdorn@imgartists.com.Visit us at new reporter.amCheck Enclosed OR Charge My:Mastercard Visa Amex DiscoverExp.mail coupon to: armenian reporterp.o. box 129, paramus, nj 07652orfax coupon to (201) 226-1660(credit card orders only)


16 The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008CommunityPeter Khanbegian, 87,working on third bookamaa holds “Children Helping Children”benefit for Armeniaby Tom VartabedianWINDHAM, N.H. – At an agewhen most people are saddled byinertia, Pete Khanbegian is writingbooks, flying planes, and feeling inthe prime of life.So much for an 87-year-old whodoesn’t know the meaning of retirement.In fact, he’s enamored by it.Twenty years ago, Khanbegianmade his debut as a successful authorwith Garoong, a fictional workbased upon stories and charactershe encountered as a youth born inLawrence, MA and raised in NewYork City.A decade later came the sequel,Flames of Artsakh, which followsthe careers of his previous charactersthrough the devastating earthquakeand ongoing saga of Turkishoppression.So why stop now?A third book, Onnig, is in process.Khanbegian will say only that it’sabout a family friend with a remarkablelife story that should be told.“Since it’s still a work in progress, Idon’t wish to speak too much aboutit right now,” he confirms. “You’llhave to wait for the book.”If it’s anything like the first two,look for brisk sales and a delightfulread. The books found themselvesin many Armenian homes andbookstores with buoyant reviews.Mention his age and it draws instantdebate.“It’s only a matter of numbers,”he admits with a debonair look. “Imay be older chronologically, butnot old.”So what keeps him going? Theliterary scene, for one, still writingbooks for publication.Flying, for another. Khanbegianis a licensed pilot who finds a sensationof being in control above theclouds that’s difficult to match.Then there’s the call of the volunteergroup of pilots in Angel Flightswho transport sick people to hospitalsthat cannot otherwise affordthe cost. Many children with cancerwere flown to Boston from NorthernMaine with Khanbegian in control.And finally, there’s his job as aquality control manager for a precisionmachine company in Salem.Khanbegian writes procedures,handles inspections and interfaceswith vendors to make certain thefinished product meets militaryspecifications.A regular and disciplined exerciseroutine, nourishing food, his spiritualbelief and creative view of lifeare all prerequisites for a long andrewarding life.“I’ve always enjoyed working withyounger people,” he says. “Theykeep me sharp and on top of myjob. I happen to be a one-man operationfor my company.”When Khanbegian decided towrite Garoong 20 years ago, at theripe age of 67, he wanted to tell theArmenian story in such a way thatwould also appeal to outsiders.Based on fact, the book spoke tomany first-generation children of immigrantsand their struggle to assimilatein such a way that it read effortlessly.The novel follows three generationsthrough their life cycles, muchlike Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth.“So often, readers have confessedto me they found a relationship withthe characters and the challengesthey faced,” Khanbegian broughtout. “Non-Armenians expresseddisbelief and shock when they readof the genocide and how our racewas dismantled and thrown to thefar corners of the world.”The sequel turned into a naturalprogression for Khanbegian in hisPeter Khanbegian.attempt to portray a family’s welfarein what has become society’s“melting pot.” There is pathos, understanding,joy and sadness woveninto the plot.Khanbegian and three siblingswere born in Lawrence, Mass., athriving Armenian community surroundedby churches and organizations.Both his parents hailed fromthe Armenian village of Chemishgezekjust before the genocide.“My mother decided to hide allthe family valuables, believing alwaysin her eventual return to Armenia,”said Khanbegian.Aurora Mardiganian, a first cousinto Khanbegian’s father, remainedbehind and suffered through theatrocities. Through certain Christiancharities, she managed to escapeher captors and eventually arrivedin America.With the help of a couple whobecame her guardians, she wrote abook about her experiences titledAuction of Souls, which was publishedin 1918. The work was convertedinto a film the followingyear which created quite a furorthroughout the Western world.Ravished Armenia, the story ofAurora Mardiganian, is available onthe Internet.The Khanbegians moved to NewYork City when Peter was 4 andsettled in Brooklyn where the fatheroperated a dry cleaning and tailorshop. After graduating from BrooklynTechnical High School, he servedwith the Navy in World War 2 wherehe rose from an ordinary seaman toMachinist’s Mate First Class.His wife Jean is a professionalartist who ran her own gallery inBar Harbor, Maine, for 20 years. Thetwo decided to go out on a limb andpurchased a small hotel and restaurantin Bar Harbor which theyturned into a successful venture.“Although she’s an ‘odar’, Jeanhas adapted well to Armenian culture,especially from a culinarystandpoint,” he says. “She learnedmany of the special recipes frommy mother.”A correspondence with Californiaauthor Laura Kalpakian has led tomutual respect and lasting impressionsof one another’s literary talents.Kalpakian has authored severalworks, including Cosette, a sequelto Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.Khanbegian finds Armenia on avery crucial threshold today, withRussia trying its best to re-establishits influence throughout theEastern Bloc countries like Ukraine,Estonia and Poland.He would like nothing betterthan to see Armenia become aneconomic free trade republic.“With the blockade by Turkeyand Azerbaijan, Armenia’s onlyhope is to have good relations withGeorgia in terms of exports andimports, even though they werenever sympathetic to our problems,”he feels. “Georgia is a Christiancountry and one would expectthat it be on friendly terms with itsneighbors.”.BELMONT, Mass. – The amaaOrphan/Child Care Committee’s13th annual luncheon, held October16 at the Belmont Country Club,gathered area supporters to benefitneedy children in Armenia. Thisyear’s event featured an live auctionhosted by wcvb-TV Channel5 Meteorologist Mike Wankumtogether with wbz Newsradio HostJordan Rich.Supporters arrived early tobrowse the auction and sale items,including sports, theater, and concerttickets, as well as gift packages.This year’s book event showcasedArmenian-American novelist NancyKricorian.Michele Simourian, the cofounderof the amaa Orphan/ChildCare Committee, thanked the committeemembers and welcomed theguests, including amaa’s Field Director,Dikran Youmshakian, andthe Rev. Samvel Kirakossian, thepastor of the Evangelical Churchin Vanatzor, Armenia. A children’sfashion show by Elite Bebe of Belmontrounded out the program.This luncheon was one of manysimilar functions organized byWATERTOWN, Mass. – “Undercertain circumstances, thereare few hours in life more agreeablethan the hour dedicated to theceremony known as afternoon tea,”begins The Portrait of a Lady, the1908 novel by American-born AnglophileHenry James. Whether ornot one partakes of the beverage,he added, “the situation is itself delightful.”On a Saturday afternoon onecentury later, over 300 Armenianladies found themselves in justsuch a delightful situation at theThird “Hye Tea” of St. James ArmenianChurch in Watertown, not farfrom the novelist’s old haunts inBoston and Cambridge.Passing through the flower-filledlobby of St. James Cultural Center,the guests entered Keljik Hall,where more than 30 tables presentedsuch themes as an elegant Britishtea, a garden party, India, Jerusalem,a beehive, a spa, and “green”environmental protection. Givenhis sympathy for the Armeniansduring the 1890s, James mighthave appreciated the Armenian delicaciesserved alongside the moreSt. James hosts screening of WilliamSaroyan: The Man, The WriterWATERTOWN, Mass. – “Try asmuch as possible to be wholly alive,with all your might,” William Saroyanonce wrote. The documentaryfilm William Saroyan: The Man, TheWriter, a study of Saroyan’s family,accomplishments, personality, andArmenian heritage, illuminated aman who took his own advice.William Saroyan was screened atSt. James Armenian Church on Oct.3, followed by a discussion with producerSusie Kalinian and her father,writer-director Paul Kalinian. Duringthe Q&A, the more than 200guests learned more about the Kalinians’personal relationship withSaroyan, the evolution of the film,and Saroyan himself.Children helping children.the amaa Orphan/ Child CareCommittee to raise funds andprovide aid to needy children inArmenia. The growing annualevent draws contributors andattendees from all Boston areachurches.“Thanks to the efforts of thecommittee, children today have abetter chance to survive the hardshipsin our homeland,” organizerstraditional cucumber sandwiches,salmon sandwiches, and scones.The music of the Erebuni women’schorus and remarks fromMary Richardson of New England’sChronicle newsmagazine roundedMr. Kalinian, whose photographof his good friend William Saroyanappeared on a joint us-ussr commemorativepostage stamp in 1991,was inspired to create the documentaryafter Saroyan’s death in1981. Ten years in the making, WilliamSaroyan: The Man, The Writerreceived six awards from severalInternational Film Festivals, includingthe Gold Award for BestDocumentary Film. Since 1991, thefilm has been viewed by more than4 million people in 72 cities and 26countries.In addition to producing thefilm, Susie Kalinian, a parishionerat St. James, was responsible forscript research, costume design,say. “They are provided with food,clothing, medical care, educationand most of all reason to know thatGod loves them all.” Each year thousandsof children attend summercamps, receive gifts on Christmasand experience the joy of Easter,amaa reports.connect:www.amaa.org“Hye Tea” ceremony takes place at St.James Armenian ChurchMary Goudsouzian and Carol Yeghiayan with Mary Richardson.out the Nov. 1 event, which wasorganized by event chairs MaryGoudsouzian and Carol Yeghiayanand their able team of hostesses,with assistance from Faith Cass ofCass the Florist.make-up, casting, and public relations.Dr. Kalinian continues totour and promote the documentary,while practicing dentistry inCambridge, Massachusetts. connect:www.kalinian-saroyan.comEditor’s NoteIn our Nov. 8 edition, on pageC6, we published the iconicphotograph of William Saroyanby Paul Kalinian withpermission but without givingcredit. We regret the error.


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008 17CommunityGuroian speaks on being American in the Armenian churchby Ovsanna MooradianWATERVLIET, N.Y. – Manyestablished Armenian churches inAmerica are losing strength eventhough new churches are beingbuilt, observed University of VirginiaOrthodox theologian VigenGuroian in a Nov. 9 lecture co-hostedby St. Peter Armenian Church ofWatervliet and Holy Cross ArmenianChurch of Troy.Although one can preserveheritage, preservation cannot beguaranteed, said Prof. Guroian, aformer director of St. Nersess ArmenianSeminary. Eventually, he added,all the ethnic churches will integrate.In his lecture, “Being Americanin the Armenian Church: Mission& Renewal,” Prof. Guroian notedthat Will Herberg, who wrote“Protestant – Catholic – Jew,” andArchbishop Tiran Nersoyan, tracedthe changes that took place in thechurch among immigrants andtheir descendants. The immigrantchurch cannot continue just fromthe arrival of new immigrants, hesaid. Intermarriage is taking place,and local leaders must be raised up.To Armenians who live in an areathat lacks an Armenian church,Prof. Guroian recommended attendingsister churches, such as theCoptic church. He also suggestedthat Armenians become involvedin the religious life of America andmeet with other Christian clergy.A discussion and booksigningfollowed the lecture in the St. PeterChurch Gdanian Auditorium. Prof.Guroian is the author of Ethicsafter Christendom, Life’s Living TowardDying, Inheriting Paradise, andFaith, Church, Mission, among otherworks. Luncheon was providedby the St. Peter Women’s Guild andthe Holy Cross Ladies Guild. Prof. Vigen Guroian.agbu Toronto exhibit of art by Alexander Saroukhan, HagopHagopian, and Armenian-Canadian artistsTORONTO – From October 31to November 2, 2008, agbu Torontoorganized an art exhibitionat the agbu Alex Manoogian CulturalCentre in honor of Egyptian-Armenianartist AlexanderSaroukhan, who is widely consideredthe leading caricaturist of20th-century Armenian life. Alsoincluded in the exhibition wereart works by Hagop Hagopian ofArmenia and local Armenian Canadianartists.On this occasion, Edmond Azadianwas invited from Southfield,Michigan to speak about the lifeand work of Saroukhan. He alsospoke about the work of Hagopianas one of the leading contemporaryArmenian painters. Azadianintroduced both artists to thecrowd and shared his personal experienceswith them while he wasthe editor of “Arev” (Sun) dailynewspaper in Cairo, Egypt. BothSaroukhan and Hagopian originallyhail from Egypt, while Hagopianrepatriated to Armenia during theSoviet period.Other participating artists wereNatalie Avanessian, Oleg Danilyants,Shushanik Danilyants, SilvaDjarahyan, Nina Dmitrieva, SeyranGasbarian, Marine Hakopyan, TamaraHarutyunyan, Hari Ketenjian,Jack Koca, Harout Mardirossian,Tatiyana Menjolian Newyniak andAlina Sahakian.Spiritual music festival took place in ProvidenceEdmond Azadianspeaks about thelife and workof AlexanderSaroukhanduring a specialevent thathonored theartist at agbuToronto.PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The recentlyrenovated sanctuary ofSts. Sahag and Mesrob ArmenianChurch was filled to capacity aschoirs and faithful of Rhode Island’sOriental and Eastern OrthodoxChurches congregated foran exceptionally uplifting spiritualmusical experience on the eveningof Sunday, October 26.The concert was co-sponsored bythe Rhode Island Orthodox ClergyFellowship and the Cultural Committeeof Sts. Sahag and MesrobArmenian Church. The parish’sWomen’s Guild provided a generoustable of hospitality for themany guests gathered in the EgavianCultural Hall after the program.Each of the church choirs wasinvited to present selections fromtheir unique liturgical music traditions.Besides Armenian, thosepresent had the opportunity tohear hymns sung in Greek, English,Coptic as well as Aramaic, theancient tongue spoken by the LordJesus.Choirs from eight parishes participated:Annunciation Greek Orthodox(Cranston), St. EphraimSyrian Orthodox (Central Falls),Assumption of the Virgin MaryGreek Orthodox (Pawtucket), HolyDormition Orthodox (Cumberland),St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox(Pawtucket), Sts. VartanantzArmenian Apostolic (Providence),Sts. Mary and Mena Coptic (Cranston),and Sts. Sahag and MesrobArmenian Apostolic - Jr. and Sr.choirs - (Providence).The vice-president of the RI OrthodoxClergy Fellowship, Fr. Dr.George Economou warmly welcomedthe choirs and guests tothe concert. Each choir and itsrepertoire were introduced eitherby their priest or choir director.The wide spectrum of genres includedchants of Holy Week, theDivine Liturgy, Exaltation of theHoly Cross, Feast of St. Demetrios,Holy Mother of God, Annunciation,Communion Hymn and music ofTheophany. The faithful audiencewas treated to an impressive varietyof sacred music styles rangingfrom recitative Slavonic to melismaticSyriac melodies.Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church’spastor, Father Simeon Odabashian,offered a few closing remarks andthe benediction. Just prior to thebenediction, the choirs of Sts. Sahagand Mesrob Church and Sts.Vartanantz Church joined togetherin a most inspiring rendering of M.University of Michigan unveils archive of Hunchakian leaderEkmalian’s “Hayr Mer,” a setting ofthe Lord’s Prayer, directed by ArchdeaconSouren Mouradjian.The evening’s event was mostably coordinated by Maestro KonstantinPetrossian, parish culturaland music director, and earnedthe unanimous admiration of theapproximately 300 in attendance.Two years ago Sts. Sahag and MesrobArmenian Church had theprivilege of hosting a similar event.Based on the positive spirit evidentat this last concert, the parish eagerlylooks forward to again welcomebrothers and sisters of theEastern Christian churches.. ANN ARBOR, Mich. – At aspecial event October 31, the ArmenianStudies Program and SpecialCollections of the Universityof Michigan unveiled the archiveof Hamparzoum Arzoumanian, aleader of the Hnchakian Party from1891 to 1909.The Arzoumanian Archive, consistingof some 1200 pages of partyrelated and personal correspondence,Hnchakian Center circularsand related materials, mostly inArmenian, had been donated tothe University of Michigan by thegranddaughter of the Hnchakianleader, Mrs. Marguerite Harms,and the Arzoumanian family,some time ago. The archive wasorganized and documents classifiedrecently.Hamparzoum Arzoumanianwas born in historic Gantzak; hestarted his political activities inTabriz, Iran, as a field worker forthe party and continued as organizer,propagandist and ideologuein Russia, Europe, and the UnitedStates until his death in New Yorkin 1909, where his life ended at age43 as a factory worker. His archivespreads light on a variety of issues,including the battles withinthe Hnchakian Party, the organizationof chapters in places like Baku,Novorossisk and cities in the U.S.Throughout his life he remaineda staunch believer in socialismand its relevance to the Armenianstruggle for liberation. Throughouthis career Arzoumanian had thefull support of his wife Sona.More than 60 faculty members,students, administrators andmembers of the family participatedin the presentation of the archives.Fifteen grandchildren and their offspringhad traveled to Ann Arborfrom California, Pennsylvania andother states to attend the eventand learn about the Arzoumanians.Ms. Margaret McKinley, Directorof Development of the UniversityLibraries opened the eveningwith remarks on the value of specialcollections and archives. Ms.Peggy Daub, Director of SpecialCollections discussed the placeof the Arzoumanian Archive inthe Special Collections. HistorianDr. Nora Nercessian, specialconsultant for the project andorganizer of the ArzoumanianArchive, presented the life of theArzoumanians and the contentsof the archive, while Prof. GerardLibaridian, Director of the ArmenianStudies Program, assessedthe value of the archive for Armenianand regional history.The Arzoumanian Archive is currentlybeing digitized and placed onthe website of the University SpecialCollections gradually. Informationregarding the Arzoumanian papersand the documents themselvescan be accessed on the web (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/f/findaid/Let us know what’s on your mind.Write to us atletters@reporter.amfindaid-idx?c=sclead&idno=umichscl-arzoumanian)or through theUniversity Special Collections (History)and Armenian Studies Programwebsites; the archive is alsoopen to researchers who wish to accessthem at the Special Collections.“One reason we wanted to organizethis event and present theArzoumanian Archive is to encourageothers to preserve familypapers and prod organizations toopen their archives to researchers,”stated Prof. Libaridian. “The ArmenianStudies Program and theSpecial Collections at the Universityof Michigan are ready to assistin achieving these goals, includingreceiving papers, organizingthem and making them availableto researchers in a safe and professionalenvironment.” connect:(734) 763-0622gcaudill@umich.eduLooking for the best and the brightest?Help Wanted with the Armenian Reporterclassifieds@reporter.am 818-955-8407Need cash before the holidays?Sell your stuff with the Armenian Reporterclassifieds@reporter.am818-955-8407


18 The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008ArmeniaHranush Hakobyan: “The Diaspora Ministry is thehome of every Armenian”An interview withthe new ministerby Vincent LimaYEREVAN – When I made myfirst trip to Armenia 16 years ago,I stayed at the Erebuni Hotel offRepublic Square for three weeks.It was a well-worn facility, and atthe time it accommodated guestson the fourth and fifth floors only.The other floors were occupied byrefugees from Azerbaijan.On October 21, accompanied bymy colleague Maria Titizian, I returnedto the hotel, now all freshand shiny after a major renovationjob, right back to the fifth floor. Wehad an appointment with HranushHakobyan, the head of thenewly formed Diaspora Ministry ofArmenia. Her large office was filledwith floral arrangements – tokensof affection from her friends on theoccasion of her appointment.As we sat there, sipping bitterArmenian coffee, I thought aboutthe refugees who had lived in thatbuilding. Some of them had becomeintegrated into the local society.Many of them had movedabroad. Even as Maria and I had,each of us, moved to Armenia withour families, hundreds of thousandsof Armenians had movedaway from Armenia. Not only hadArmenia changed over the last twodecades; so too had the diaspora,much expanded by this huge influx.Or perhaps there were multiple Armeniandiasporas, and Armenianemigrants from Armenia and Azerbaijanwere the newest diaspora.Was the Diaspora Ministry an effortto reach out to that new, notyet-organizeddiaspora?“For our ministry, there is no olddiaspora, new diaspora, small diaspora,or big diaspora,” Ms. Hakobyananswered our first question.“For us the guiding principle is theArmenian person living outside ofhis or her homeland – by homelandI mean either Armenia orNagorno-Karabakh. We are readyto work with, discuss, cooperatewith, and make decisions with everysingle Armenian living outsideof the homeland, whether they areindividuals or organizations. Aftermaking decisions, we must worktogether to realize them. This is mygreatest desire.”Ms. Hakobyan acknowledgedthat President Serge Sargsianhad intended to send a powerfulmessage with the creation of theDiaspora Ministry. “He understoodthat he had to deal with issues andmake decisions that impact Armeniansall over the world. And thatwas the reason that in his plansthere were three important principles:“(1) Preservation of Armenianidentity (hayabahbanum) in all itsforms. By preservation of Armenianidentity we mean the Armenianfamily, Armenian culture,faith, and our mother tongue. Ifthese four great pillars remainsteadfast and strong, then we willbe able to resolve the many issuesof our preservation.“(2) Discovering and tappinginto the potential of the diasporato help empower the homelandand bring about progress. Thismeans that in different countriesthroughout the world where wehave powerful, resourceful, establishedspecialists, scientists, businesspeople,and cultural figures,all their energy and focus must beHranush Hakobyan. Photo: Photolure.directed to the empowerment ofthe homeland.“(3) Repatriation. By repatriationwe don’t only mean physical return.We mean the return of the mindand heart, which will then bringthe physical return with it. In repatriation(hayrenatardzutiun) wemust see a return to Armenianness(hayatardzutiun). The more peoplethere are who want to return totheir roots, the more it will help tostrengthen the homeland.”Where the DiasporaMinistry fits inIn the absence of a dedicated ministryover the past 17 years, muchhas been done to draw diasporaArmenians to Armenia and to enhanceand coordinate their contributionsto Armenia’s development.At the very start of Armenia’s independence,President Levon Ter-Petrossian set up the ArmeniaFund, which coordinates charitablework. President Robert Kocharianinitiated the Armenia-Diasporaconferences, of which there havebeen three so far, the Pan-ArmenianGames, a set of Pan-Armeniancultural festivals under the rubric,“One Nation, One Culture,” andother Armenia-diaspora initiatives.There is no shortage of informationfrom Armenia. Armeniansaround the world have access toArmenia’s public television andArmenia TV; there’s the ArmenianReporter out of New Jersey, Yerevan,Los Angeles, and Washington;there’s Yerevan magazine outof Moscow and Yerevan; there arenews agencies, websites, and blogs.And there’s a constant stream ofvisitors in and out of Armenia.Even philanthropic work hasbecome more sophisticated, withinitiatives like the Children ofArmenia Fund – and the Armenian-AmericanWellness Center, aproject led jointly by Rita Balianin Virginia and Ms. Hakobyan inYerevan.Where does the Diaspora Ministryfit into this complex of existingstructures?“After 17 years of independence,ties and partnerships have beenformed, yes. The traditional partiesreturned to the homeland. Manyorganizations set up affiliates. Governingbodies within ministrieshave established ties with diasporacommunities. I think that the creationof this ministry has been 17years late in coming,” Ms. Hakobyansaid.Although the ministry was officiallylaunched on October 1, Ms.Hakobyan had been assemblingher team and setting up for somemonths earlier. “After only severalmonths of working,” she said, “wehave found that there is the needfor coordination. Everything thathas been done, has been done haphazardly,has been done independentof each other, without coordinationor direction. The greatestmission of this ministry is the coordinationall state governing bodiesin their cooperation with diasporastructures and to cooperate withall private and nongovernmentalorganizations that work with thediaspora.”Even though the ministry willtake the lead role in the Armeniangovernment’s relations with thediaspora, it is “not prepared to becomethe ‘government’ of the diaspora,”Ms. Hakobyan was at painsto emphasize.The ministry and theArmenia FundMs. Hakobyan was preparing tomeet with the governors of Armenia’sregions to ask them what theywant from the diaspora in the wayof aid and investments. “At the endof the day I will have on my table50–100 proposals from their particularregions for any diaspora organizationor individual that wouldlike to participate. These proposalswill then have priority.”We wondered: Isn’t this what theArmenia Fund does? To set prioritiesfor charitable funding, it has aboard of trustees, which is headedby the president of Armenia andincludes the president of Karabakh,the prime ministers and other ministersof the two Armenian republics,the catholicoi, and prominentfigures from the diaspora.Ms. Hakobyan replied, “But letus not forget that for the last 15years, the Armenia Fund’s mainemphasis or area of work has beenon the revitalization of Karabakh’sinfrastructure: road work, waterpipes, building schools. But whatare the real needs of Armenia? Idon’t think the Armenia Fund hasworked in this area.”What about the Rural DevelopmentProgram? This is a programto provide for the comprehensivedevelopment of border villages inArmenia and Karabakh.“During the last Armenia-DiasporaConference, this program wasadopted, yes, and it was specificallyfor border towns – and that is onlyone portion of the problem,” Ms.Hakobyan responded.Isn’t the role of the ArmeniaFund to look at the whole rangeof challenges and to select theones that are most important? Ifthe focus for many years was onKarabakh’s infrastructure, was thatnot because the trustees determinedthat programs like the Goris-Lachin-Stepanakert Highway werethe most important program interms of Armenia’s security, defense,and development? Now themost important priority, accordingto the trustees, is the revitalizationof border villages. Beyond that firstpriority, the fund has additionalhigh-priority programs. So isn’tthe Diaspora Ministry repeatingsomething that already exists?“When we say that there is a strategicimportance to revitalizing bordertowns, then yes, let’s do it,” Ms.Hakobyan responded. “When wesay we want to present programson a regional level, that means wehave a more scientific, economic,organized way of presenting proposals.That doesn’t have to opposethe work of the Armenia Fund. Weare not implementing someone’semotional request, but a concreteissue will be resolved.”She added that the border villagestargeted by the Armenia Fundare each in a particular region. “Sittingin Yerevan, I shouldn’t decidewhich village is a priority,” she said.“I need to depend on the reports Iget from the governors. This doesn’tcontradict the work of the ArmeniaFund. The programs of the ArmeniaFund are approved by the board.What I’m saying is that outside ofthe activities of the Armenia Fund,if there is an Armenian organization,individual, a non-Armenianwho wants to carry out projects inArmenia that are not on the agendaof the Armenia Fund, then we haveto assist them.”Repatriation and IraqiArmeniansDoes the ministry plan to implementan organized repatriation effort?Ms. Hakobyan said Armeniamust learn lessons from its pastexperience with repatriation. “Iwould never want repatriationto be like the repatriation of the1940s, when people came withhopes and dreams and ended upstarving. That is why our ministryis initiating a conference on the lessonsof the 1946–48 repatriation inDecember.”For Armenians to want to cometo Armenia and stay in Armenia,the country needs to be able to“boast a true democracy, protecthuman rights, and protect freedomsin general,” the minister said.It also needs to continue its rapideconomic development.Any program, she said, wouldhave to guarantee basic living conditionsfor Armenians who chose toresettle in Armenia and help themovercome obstacles of languageand integration into society.“We have two levels of repatriationissues,” Ms. Hakobyan said.The United Nations DevelopmentProgram in Armenia launchesits first project enhancing knowhowexchange among Armeniansworldwide. Through the “Transferof Knowledge through ExpatriateNationals (TOKTEN)” Program,highly skilled Armenian in the diasporawill have the chance to providetechnical expertise, policy advice,and research services to centraland local government, privateand public sector enterprises, universities,and research centers inThe first level is helping Armeniansliving in Iraq and other zones ofadversity. Armenia must “provideproper shelter to those Armenianswho need it, assist them to come toArmenia, but not to stay here fora few months and then leave foranother country; rather, to createconditions where they would wantto stay here.”The second level is to draw Armenianswho live in “well-developedcountries, who are used to all theconveniences of the places wherethey live, have a higher education,and good jobs. We have to be ableto give them even better conditionshere in Armenia for them tomove here,” she said.The troubleshooter rolePart of Ms. Hakobyan’s role isthat of ombudsperson. As one ofa handful of ministers appointeddirectly by the president, she hasevery expectation that governmentofficials on all levels will be very responsiveto her prodding. As herconstituents – Armenians who liveoutside Armenia or are from outsideArmenia – draw her attentionto problems, she is empowered totake action.Ms. Hakobyan is among the bestknownpeople in Armenia. A dynamicspeaker and administrator,she had a high profile among youthin the last years of the Soviet era.She served as a nonpartisan memberof parliament for many years,until her appointment as minister.She has traveled widely and beeninvolved in many projects. And shehas not slowed down.Her no-nonsense, no-procrastinationattitude was on displayduring our interview. When wewere speaking of repatriation, shelearned that Maria has researchedand written a historical novel onthe repatriation drive of the late1940s. Next thing we knew, thehead of the relevant departmenthad been summoned to the minister’soffice and had been instructedto invite Maria to speak at the Decemberconference on the lessonsof that repatriation drive. We mentionedthat our reporting showedthat officials at the passport andvisa office were routinely rude toArmenians applying for Armeniancitizenship. The minister had herassistant schedule a meeting withthe head of the passport and visaoffice, and his boss, the chief of police.A constant complaint of Armenianswho receive residency permitsin Armenia is the rendering oftheir names in Armenian. “I havewritten to the prime minister abouthow Armenian names are beingdistorted due to mechanical transliterationfrom English or otherContinued on page 19 mThe ministry is recruiting expertsthrough the UNDPfields like environment, education,sciences, health, public administration,enterprises management,and information technology.Several positions are available,including one titled “Expert onAmerican Armenian Communities.”Each is a six-month postingat the Diaspora Ministry. Theextended application deadline isNovember 30.fconnect:http://www.undp.am/?page=Jobs


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008 19ArmeniaIMF approves a three-year $13.6 million creditarrangement for ArmeniaGives Armenia’seconomicmanagement goodmarksThe Executive Board of the InternationalMonetary Fund (IMF) hasapproved a three-year $13.6 millionarrangement under the PovertyReduction and Growth Facility(PRGF) for the Republic of Armeniato support the government’s economicprogram through 2011. Thedecision will enable the Republic ofArmenia to draw an amount equivalentto about $1.9 million from theIMF immediately.Following the Executive Board’sdiscussion, Murilo Portugal, deputymanaging director and actingchair, stated:“After the successful conclusionof its third PRGF-supported programin May 2008, Armenia’s economicperformance has remainedvery strong. High growth has beenmaintained and has contributedsignificantly to the marked reductionin poverty. Inflation has increasedin the wake of rising internationalfood and fuel prices andgrowing domestic demand pressures,although it remains lowerthan in other CIS countries. Adherenceto prudent macroeconomicpolicies and the progress made instructural reforms has helped toachieve these results.“The worsened global macroeconomicoutlook has increased uncertainty,but Armenia is in a strong positionto withstand the impact of theglobal economic downturn. A gradualdeceleration of growth in Armeniamay help dampen inflationary pressures.It may also contribute to reducingthe external current accountdeficit, which has increased on theback of rising imports and sluggishexports, despite strong remittanceinflows. Medium-term prospects,although highly uncertain, remainbenign in view of favorable investmentopportunities.“Continued sound fiscal and monetarypolicies remain key to maintainingmacroeconomic stability.Prudent policies are necessary toreduce the current macroeconomicimbalances. Current challengeshighlight the need to strengthenpolicy frameworks. The floatingexchange rate regime continuesto be the best option for Armenia,and the authorities are encouragedto complete the transition tofull-fledged inflation targeting. Atthe same time, building capacityfor fiscal policy analysis will helpstrengthen the budgetary processand enhance fiscal policy credibility,increasing its effectiveness as ademand management tool. In addition,the authorities must be preparedto adjust swiftly to a rapidlychanging economic environment.A weakening external environmentmight also increase Armenia’s financingneeds and possibly call foran early review of the situation.“Improving external competitivenessrequires a renewed push forstructural reforms. Focus should beon enhancing productivity, improvingthe business environment, andNew website aims at facilitating repatriationSerge Sargsianmeeting withthe IMF’s deputymanagingdirector MuriloPortugal. Photo:Photolure.boosting domestic competition. Inthis regard, the completion of theunfinished tax policy and administrationreform agenda is particularlyimportant. These reformswould significantly reduce the costof doing business, particularly inthe export sector, and contribute toleveling the playing field, ultimatelypromoting private sector development,”Mr. Portugal said. fby Nyree AbrahamianYEREVAN – Ten years ago, if someonetold you he or she was movingto Armenia, you’d be shocked,curious, and probably a little worried.Today, repatriation is a growingphenomenon among diasporaArmenians. A generation ago, ourparents dreamed of one day returningto a free Armenia. Well, Armeniais free now – has been for thepast 17 years – so why not actuallylive the dream of returning to ourhomeland?Recently, the Armenian governmenthas been making significantefforts to encourage and facilitaterepatriation. The possibility of applyingfor Armenian citizenshiphas recently been opened up to allpeople of Armenian descent, so repatriatesnow have the option ofobtaining dual citizenship, withall the rights (including voting)and obligations (including mandatorymilitary service for men) of atypical Armenian citizen. Anothermajor development is the newDiaspora Ministry. In addition tostrengthening ties between Armeniaand the diaspora, one of theministry’s main functions is to encouragerepatriation.The latest among these recent initiativesis a website designed by theMigration Agency of the Republicof Armenia called “Back to Armenia!”(www.backtoarmenia.am).The site, available in Armenian,English, and Russian, is meant towww.backtoarmenia.amhelp those who are already consideringrepatriating to Armenia byaddressing questions about citizenship,healthcare, education, militaryservice, and pensions in Armenia.It is meant to be an interactiveresource, with discussion forumson articles, a “Create a web ticket”function, where you can voice yourcomments and concerns, and evena live chat option, where memberscan talk directly to an operator.The site has its shortcomings. A lotof the articles are only available inRussian, and its scope is a little narrow,addressing mostly Armenianswho were born in Armenia and wholeft the country after independence,and not the broader diaspora Armeniancommunity. But then again,that’s the main focus of the MigrationAgency. In any case, when itcomes to bridging the gap betweenArmenia and its huge, varied, andwidely dispersed diaspora, a websiteaimed at facilitating repatriation isa big step in the right direction. fHranush Hakobyan: “The DiasporaMinistry is the home of everyArmenian”n Continued from page 18languages,” she said. “I understandthat for the bureaucrats, they haveto base their transliterations on theoriginal identification papers, butmorally and psychologically it isunacceptable to render someone’sArmenian name in Armenian incorrectly.Now a person’s name willappear in the Armenian as the personwrites it.”We prepared to take our leave.“I want to say three things foryour readers to know,” Ms. Hakobyansaid. “The Diaspora Ministryis the home of every Armenian.They can come here and they canbe assured to receive any assistancethat they might need.“Secondly, I want them to knowand understand that the ministrydoes not govern; it cooperates withthem, consults with all the structuresand organizations in the diaspora,and adopts decisions whichare acceptable to the diaspora.“Thirdly, we have to have staff atthe ministry who are diaspora Armenian.Therefore we are waitingfor the best specialists from thediaspora to come and work withus. There is a UN program – I havesigned an agreement with the UNoffice, for them to finance thosediaspora Armenians who wishto come at work at the ministryfor up to six months. [See http://www.undp.am/?page=Jobs for details.]“I want to stress for all of us Armenians,our mind, conscience, soul,work, potential, financial resources,professional power must be directedtoward the empowermentof the homeland. When Armeniais strong, then every Armenianman and woman decides to remainArmenian. People politely listen tothose who weep and cry, and thenthey walk away. They sit down andtalk to the strong. I want all of usto remember that we are no longerthe Armenians of the 20th century,beaten, starving, weak. We arethe Armenians of the 21st century,strong, energetic, with a view tothe future.”f


20 The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008ArmeniaDecember 7, 198820 years on“The buildings we constructed did notmeet the seismic standards of Armenia”Vladimir Movsisianrecalls the tragicdays of theearthquakeIn December 1988, when the devastatingearthquake shook Armenia,Vladimir Movsisian was the deputyprime minister. As a high-ranking officialhe personally participated in effortsto manage the wreckage left bythe earthquake. Mr. Movsisian’s parentalhome in the village of Shenavanwas located just a few kilometersaway from the village of Shirakamut,which was the epicenter of the earthquake.Mr. Movsisian’s brother anddozens of his relatives died during thedisaster.A few days ago Mr. Movsisianturned 75. After serving as deputyprime minister, he was, from April1990, first secretary of the CentralCommittee of the Communist Party ofArmenia, which was the highest postin Soviet Armenia. For a short time hewas the deputy agriculture ministerof the Soviet Union. After the collapseof the Soviet Union, he remained inpolitics and became head of the departmentthat handled refugee issuesin independent Armenia, governor ofthe Gegharkunik province, and, forthree years, minister of agriculture.The Armenian Reporter’s Tatul Hakobyanspoke to Mr. Movsisian thisweek.Armenian Reporter: Mr. Movisisian,prior to talking to youI once again went though yourmemoir. A section in the bookis about the December 1988earthquake. I have read numerousbooks and articles about theearthquake and heard the tragicstories of hundreds of people,but I was profoundly moved bythis sentence from your memoir:“Even today I cannot forget thatduring my brother’s funeral, atruck was transporting about fiveto six children’s coffins, and thetruck was followed by five to sixpeople.” Today, 20 years after thetragedy, what do you recall whenyou talk about the earthquake?Comprehensive insurancecoverage for investorsProperty and CasualtyCargoAutoVladimir Movsisian: Twentyyears ago our nation went thoughyet another tragedy in its history.The devastating earthquake tookthe lives of 26,000 of our compatriots.Thousands of people becamehomeless. Thousands of familiesbecame orphans, suffocated, orwere disabled.Your risk is our businessA personal tragedyFor me December 7, 1988, is justlike yesterday, as that disaster hasbeen strongly imprinted in mybrain. Maybe this is because I livedthe tragedy twice. I consider myselfa patriot, and I lived the disasterwith my nation. I also had a personaltragedy. My relatives, mybrother, my paternal uncle, andmy maternal aunt’s sons: 57 peopledied in just a few seconds. I do notsay this so that people feel sorryfor me. No, I do not like pity, asevery person has his own destiny,his grief, his burden, and shouldbear his own cross. Recently myson passed away. [Vahagn Movsisianwas Armenia’s ambassador toChina when he died.] Every personshould be able to bear and confrontthe blows of destiny. If you fail tobear them, destiny will throw youdown and crush you. That is my nature,which comes from the characterof our nation.Overcoming disasters is in ournation’s genes, which we have inheritedfrom generation to generation.During the earthquake, ournation bore the disaster.Let me bring the example of PaylakKarapetian, one of the eldersin our family. He lived in our village,Shenavan (in the Spitak districtof Lori province). During theearthquake he lost his wife, son,daughter, and 13 grandchildren.When some time had passed afterthe earthquake, I asked him howhe had survived. (He was removedfrom under the ruins.) He answeredthat the Gospels had savedhim. In 1915, during the ArmenianGenocide, he had brought the Gospelsprinted in Venice, which is intheir house to this day, from Kars,hidden against his chest.I asked him, “How are you goingto bear this pain?” And he answeredthat he still had 12 years tolive until he turned 100. He saidthat he had to live, no matter what.And he lived 44 days less than 100years. Surviving is in our nation’sgenes.Secondly, our nation has aunique character. When MikhailGorbachev came to Gyumri a fewdays after the earthquake, peopleasked him about Karabakh. He gotangry and told them that he hadgone to Gyumri to ask them howhe could help. But people had putaside their grief and were askinghim when he was going to solvethe Karabakh issue. Our people’spersonal lives come after nationalissues. I am proud of our nation’stenacity for life.AR: When did you find out aboutthe earthquake?VM: The Bureau of Armenia’sCentral Committee was in sessionthat day. The deputy prime ministerof the USSR was in Yerevan. I wasto present a report on the resultsof resettling the refugees [who hadfled Azerbaijan during the courseof 1988.] At 11:45 a.m., the CentralCommittee building also shook.The Bureau session was terminated.A little later we found out that avery strong earthquake had takenplace in the north of Armenia.The prioritiesAR: How did the Soviet Union respond?Was Moscow prepared toconfront such a disaster?VM: Right after the earthquakea headquarters was set up, led byNikolai Ryzhkov, the premier ofthe USSR. They were working onthe main issues.The first was saving lives works,clearing the rubble, and providingmedical help to the injured.The second was finding shelterfor those who had suffered, sincethousands of people were lefthomeless. In order to provide shelterfor people, Armenia’s hotels,sanatoria and schools were used.We organized the transportationof temporary housing (domiks) toArmenia from all over the SovietUnion. Apart from that, thousandsof people found shelter in differentparts of the USSR.Short term coveragefor visitorsTravelIn Country MedicalAutoRenter’s InsuranceVladimir Movsisian. Photo: Photolure.The third main issue was startingthe renovation efforts in the disasterzone. A lot of work was carriedout, headed by Nikolai Ryzhkov.He lived through the tragedy of theearthquake with us. Apart fromhelping Armenia economically, materially,and financially, Ryzhkovalso shared the grief and lived thetragedy. He was shocked and dideverything to restore the economyas soon as possible.SubstandardconstructionAR: Why did the earthquake causedamage on that scale? Today muchis being written and said about howmore could have been done to reducethe numbers of dead.VM: It was a very strong earthquake.It is not a secret that thequality of the construction did notmeet the standards set for a seismiczone. There were two reasonsfor that.First of all there was a SovietUnion–wide norm for apartmentconstruction: the price of a squaremeter should not exceed 180 rubles.You could not exceed that sum. Inother words, from the very beginning,the norm of constructing lowqualityand seismically unsoundbuildings had been set.Second, the quality of the constructiondid not correspond tothe already low norm. There wasno free market selling constructionmaterials to the private sector, andso they obtained [stole] materialsfrom state projects. The quality ofthe buildings we constructed didnot meet the seismic standards ofArmenia. We were unprepared forthe earthquake both from the organizationaland operative pointsof view. We did not have a strongseismology agency with complexstructures for rescue and first aid.This was also a reason for that numberof deaths.AR: Mr. Movsisian, what lessonsshould we learn from the 1988 devastatingearthquake?VM: From the point of view oflearning lessons, we, the Armenians,are lazy and forget everythingvery early.First, the entire norms and demandsfor construction shouldbe reviewed and they must correspondto Armenia’s level of seismicactivity. Nothing should beconstructed unless it is seismicallysound for up to 9 points on theRichter scale. Even a fence shouldnot be constructed, as it is costlyand when it is ruined you have toconstruct it again.Second, the construction qualityshould be monitored by the state,as the state is responsible for itscitizens. If the quality does notcomply, the building should not beput into use.Third, people should be removedfrom today’s damaged buildingsand schools, as no one can be surehow strong tomorrow’s earthquakemay be.One of the reasons many peopledied during the earthquake wasthe lack of rescue services. TheMinistry of State of Emergencyshould solve some issues: forecasting,disseminating information,and it should be on the alert. TheRussians have a good saying, “Theyfeed the dogs only when they wantto go hunting.” We shouldn’t be inthat position.AR: Thank you.fReach over 100,000 Armenianswith your messageAdvertise in the Armenian Reporter, on the newUSArmenia Television, and on Armenia TV onthe Dish Network. For more information, from theWestern U.S. call 818.800.3311 or from the EasternU.S. call 201.226.1995.


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008 21CommentaryDecember 7, 198820 years onI rememberby Rubina PeroomianLOS ANGELES – The Spitak or Leninakanearthquake is not listed among “The LargestEarthquakes in the World since 1900.” Theearthquake in Armenia measured 6.9 on theRichter scale, nowhere near the magnitude8.5 and above earthquakes that make thatlist. It wasn’t the largest, but for us Armeniansit was the greatest calamity since theGenocide of 1915.There have been earthquakes of similarmagnitude with different ranges of destruction,with different numbers of fatalities bothbefore and after the earthquake in Armenia.They are all forgotten and are only namesand numbers in statistical studies today. Butwe remember. Every year on the seventh dayof December we look back and think of whathappened. We grieve over our losses just likewe do on the 24th day of every April.One can callously attribute this phenomenonto romanticism, too much sentimentality;that’s how Armenians are. But, have youthought deeply as to why the past 20 yearswere not enough to consign it to the pagesof history? We have not yet recovered fromits devastating effects just as we have notrecovered from and still carry in our heartsand soul the effects of the Genocide.The traces of the cataclysm are still evidentin Gyumri (Leninakan), Spitak, and the surroundingvillages. A number of the 500,000homeless still continue to live in boxes anddiscarded shells of oil tankers, ironically referredto as “domiks” (Russian for houseswith the Armenian diminutive ending).These makeshift houses, next to the still-notcleared-awayrubble since the earthquake,crowd the back streets and are hidden fromthe sight of ordinary tourists. There are stillsurvivors waiting for prostheses to replacetheir amputated limbs.We have not forgotten, but helping toachieve full recovery from this disaster andassisting its survivors have sunken to thebottom of our priority list as a nation.December 7, 198820 years onThe UAF takes shapeby Beth Rustigian BroussalianSAN DIEGO – I haven’t thought about thespecific details of The Earthquake in many,many years. When I read that the ArmenianReporter was looking for people to share theirstories, my brain began to churn with thedormant memories of that day as well as thedays and years that followed. To say that Iwas at the epicenter of the earthquake wouldnot be geographically correct, but I was definitelyat a point of convergence.The morning of December 7, I was in theoffice of Albert Boime, chair of the ModernArt Department at UCLA. I was a graduatestudent in art history, taking a seminarcourse from him. I was speaking to himabout the final exam that I was scheduledto take the following week. This is where Ifirst learned of the earthquake. Dr. Boimesounded alarmed by the news, and genuinelyconcerned because he knew that I was Armenian.I left his office and called my employerfrom a pay phone (remember those?); myemployer was the Armenian National Committee(ANC).Crammed into a single office on the secondfloor of the old brick building at 419West Colorado in Glendale, California, wasthe office of the ANC Western Region. I beganworking there on a part-time basis inearly 1987 while attending graduate school.Berdj Karapetian, the executive director ofthe ANC at the time, taught me all there isto know about public and media relations,grassroots advocacy, and political action. ByBeth Rustigian Broussalian lives in San Diego withher husband, Jim, and their two teenage children.Peter Jennings reportsI remember. I clearly remember that day– that night, I should say, because we werealerted minutes after it happened: it was aftermidnight here in Los Angeles. The nextday, the earthquake and its devastation madethe national news.The event had taken on a special importance,not because a small nation in a remoteSoviet republic was suffering a natural catastrophe,but because Mikhail Gorbachev, theSoviet president, the guest, for the first timeever, of the U.S. government, had to cut shorthis visit in order to make a stop at the site ofthe earthquake, to personally oversee the reliefefforts. I remember Peter Jennings’ comprehensivereport on ABC News that evening.We watched and recorded it and watched itagain and again with tears, and with angerand frustration. Why did these Soviet-builthouses crumble like cardboard? Who werethe accomplices stealing the cement and thereinforcing steel, making these buildings – alreadyunderdesigned and unfit for an earthquakezone – weaker and so vulnerable?I remember the 40 days of mourning andhow fast the community was mobilizedaround various organizations to send help,human resources, physicians and psychiatrists,warm clothes, blankets, cans of food,and medicine. The Armenian Relief Societywas one of the organizers of relief work andat the forefront of rebuilding efforts. Myhusband Neshan was in charge of the reconstructionproject and traveled four times toArmenia during the next year to oversee therebuilding of five villages. He always returnedsaddened and burdened with sights of despairand misery still lingering, and frustratedwith the inefficiency of the governmentalagencies getting in the way instead of facilitatingthe efforts of reconstruction.Remembering December 7, 1988The central square in Leninakan (Gyumri) inDecember 1988. Photo: Photolure.A momentous yearThe year 1988 was a year of both dread andexcitement for Armenians all over the world.For the first time the diaspora Armenian waslearning about the ecological disaster rampantin Armenia affecting the nature, thewater, the air, the soil, and leaving its deadlymarks on the health of the population.The year began with the Sumgait massacres,and the ghastly sights of the torturedsurvivors fleeing from Azerbaijan and theirhorrible stories filled the Armenian media.The Karabakh issue had erupted, andperhaps for the first time the diasporan Armenianwas learning about the extent andseverity of 70 years of suffering, discrimination,and persecution of Karabakh Armeniansunder the Azerbaijani yoke.And now the earthquake. God had indeedforgotten the Armenian people. The Sovietleaders thought that this disaster wouldmake Armenians forget about the Karabakhand environmental issues, at leastfor a while, and they were flabbergasted tohear an old man, an earthquake survivor,December 1988, I was handling much of thepublic and media relations for the ANC.Feeling a sense of urgency after my meetingwith Dr. Boime and the phone call, I leftcampus and drove straight to the ANC office.What I found there was our normally quietcave teeming with people in frenetic motion,like a troupe of whirling dervishes dancingout of sync. I was sure that the chaos in theoffice was rivaled only by the chaos in Armeniaitself. At first, the leaders of the ArmenianRevolutionary Federation (ARF) and ANC assumedexclusive responsibility for earthquakeresponse in that office. During those initialhours, there was little place in that process for26-year-old, part-time (female) employee, butI remained vigilant.Then the local and national media descendedon us. We were unprepared forcrisis management of this magnitude, butlooking back, I feel we did an excellent job.Our greatest asset was the quality andadaptability of our ad hoc team. The dayafter the temblor was more chaotic than thefirst, and the pace became more feverishwith each passing day. (Side note: BecauseI was at the ANC around the clock, I neverhad time to study for my modern art final. Iwent to Dr. Boime’s office a week later andrequested he waive the final, which he verykindly did.) During the initial two weeksafter the quake, we ate little and slept less.I recall Apo Boghigian, the editor of Asbarez,remarking that I was looking thin.What I would give to hear that now!In the early days of our earthquake response,I recorded every phone conversationand every meeting discussion on the pagesof a large notepad. While I was still on thefringes of decision-making, I remember thatat one point Dr. Rubina Peroomian cameto me and asked a question. She realized thatin this madness I had been collecting a databankof information and, in my own quietway, was the primary contact with the officeof the governor of California, George Deukmejian.After that, I remember collaboratingclosely with Rubina (who could utilize myinformation in the larger scheme of things),and my notepad never left my side.It’s important to remember that, at thetime of the earthquake, Armenia was stillpart of the Soviet Union. Its isolation fromthe outside world made communicationto and from Armenia nearly impossible. Amajor aspect of the massive attention giventhe event in the American and internationalmedia was Armenia’s geopolitical status. Youmay recall that Tom Brokaw, an anchor forNBC News, reported from Armenia aroundthe end of the first week. He was one ofthe first Western reporters to be allowed tobroadcast live from a Soviet republic. WhenMr. Brokaw showed that it was possible topenetrate the Iron Curtain, the global mediawent wild. The earthquake maintainedits position as the headline story in the localand national news through Christmas, andit became a metaphor for a crumbling SovietUnion.About two months later, the Armenian ReliefSociety, Western USA, formed a spin-offorganization, called Earthquake Relief forArmenia (ERFA). I transitioned from the ANCto ERFA and continued to handle public andmedia relations for quake relief. In November1989, I transitioned again. I helped establishthe United Armenian Fund (UAF) as its firstassistant director, working under MichaelMahdesian, the first executive director ofthe UAF. Getting the UAF on its feet as a neworganization was tremendously challenging,but watching the first cargo plane lift off thetarmac in December 1989 was an emotionaland proud moment that I am honored tohave been a part of.in the crowd surrounding Mr. Gorbachev inLeninakan: “And what are you doing aboutthe Karabakh issue?” No! Armenians couldnot forget. And indeed calls pressing forinternational awareness intertwined withthe calls for help to revive the disasterstrickenpeople in that forgotten corner ofthe world.The issues were relatedThe Genocide, the Karabakh issue, and theearthquake, three events totally unrelatedand incomparable to the simple eye, began toappear in full magnitude together in analyticarticles, in artistic literature, in calls to alertthe nation, in political rallies demanding therights of the Armenian people.I remember my own words as a commentatoron the Glendale-based Armenian HorizonTV. For weeks in a row, I talked about the parallelsof the Azerbaijani treatment of Armenianswith that in the Ottoman Empire, aboutthe ongoing struggle to reunite Karabakhwith Armenia, and about the fact that theearthquake had drawn the diaspora closer toArmenia as an ally in its political aspirationsand as an unreserved and unyielding partnerin grief and in healing and rebuilding.I remember protesting against the delaysand the indifference of government officialsin charge of the relief work and reconstruction.I could not believe the inefficacy. Icould not believe the decision to dispatchhundreds of orphans to other Soviet republics.I praised Armenian mothers rallyingagainst this decision in Yerevan. We hadlost so many young orphans to the Turkificationpolicy after the Genocide. We couldnot afford to sacrifice our children’s identityand our future to the comfortable life theRussian, Ukrainian, Tajik, or Kirkiz homeswould promise.Today, 20 years later, we look back anddread the thought of such an earthquakehappening again. We have not recoveredfrom the first one. Are we ready for another?Armenia is perched on a seismic area,and earthquakes are inevitable. Half of thebuildings in Yerevan are not earthquake-reinforced.An earthquake with an epicentercloser to densely populated Yerevan willcause unimaginable damage. What is thegovernment doing about this?fI can’t say that nothing good came out ofthe earthquake. Without sounding insensitive,it put Armenia and the Armenians onthe map. Since then, the diaspora has devotedbillions of dollars and countless person-hoursto the homeland. I believe thatthe earthquake gave shape and definition tothe role that diasporan Armenians play intoday’s Armenia. Going back to the UAF, weshould remember that it was established inresponse to Armenia’s ongoing need for aidin the months following the temblor. TheUAF was a breakthrough in relations for theArmenian-American community. Composedof six member organizations, the UAF was anuncharacteristic show of unity that helped usall see that mutual respect and cooperationbetween different factions could be possible.In some sense, the earthquake was not anend, but a beginning.Fast forward to Northridge, California, inthe dark hours of the morning of January17, 1994. A new mother is hurled out of bedinto darkness. The house is shaking violently,like a washing machine agitating verticallyand horizontally. She bolts down the hall,stepping on broken glass and slamming intotoppled furniture to grab her seven-montholddaughter out of her crib. She assumes aduck-and-cover position, shielding the babyin the doorway of the baby’s bedroom. I wasthat new mother, and this time I was at theepicenter. For many years, my husband andI would reference things that happened “beforethe [Northridge] quake” and “after the[Northridge] quake,” that is until 9/11, whenour world was rocked to its core.Another memory about December 7, 1988:On that day, close friends of mine welcomedtheir first child, Meline, in Basil, Switzerland.Meline is now a student at the Universityof Geneva, studying anthropology and living– where else? – in Armenia. f


22 The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008EditorialAmenia’s new Diaspora Ministry:Looking to build even closer tiesOn October 1 of this year, the government of the Republic of Armenia launched the DiasporaMinistry.Armenia’s prime minister, Tigran Sarkisian, has spoken repeatedly about the significance,in the global marketplace, of firms that transcend national boundaries. He argues that theexistence of thriving global networks of Armenians gives “the Armenian World” a competitiveadvantage that it should exploit. This is one reason the Armenian government seeks tostrengthen the Armenian diaspora and its relations with Armenia.It is certainly not the only one.The reputation Armenians around the world build for themselves through their talent andhard work enhances Armenia’s prestige.The organized diaspora gives Armenia political support in Washington, Moscow, and Europeancapitals. It provides financial support to Armenia through charitable giving as well as investmentsthat might not have been made in Armenia were it not for the investors’ Armenianconnections. Ethnic Armenians constitute an important part of Armenia’s tourist industry.The diaspora also includes hundreds of thousands of people born in Armenia who sendmoney home, come back to visit relatives and friends, and in some cases return to Armeniawith capital to start businesses.The government realizes that Armenia, in turn, can help Armenians around the worldas they try to build and nourish identities and communities that are connected to eachother and to Armenia. Indeed, one of the main ways Armenia can and does help is to bringtogether, in Armenia, schoolteachers or athletes or filmmakers or writers or young peopleor dentists or any other group of people, facilitating networking. This is a service to the diasporaand, at the same time, enhances tourism to Armenia.The networking, visiting, investing, charitable work, and, yes, marrying happen for themost part on the initiative of individuals and organizations.December 7, 198820 years onCommentaryBut the Armenian government, too, over the last two decades, has taken a variety of initiativesto enhance the Armenia-diaspora relationship. Some of these initiatives are institutional,such as the establishment of the Armenia Fund and the Pan-Armenian Games. Some are legal:ethnic Armenians can get a special residency status that entitles them to live and work in Armeniawithout a work permit, and allows them to own land, a privilege otherwise reserved forcitizens. And they can become citizens while maintaining their existing citizenship.By establishing the Diaspora Ministry, President Serge Sargsian is raising the profile ofthe Armenia-diaspora relationship within the Armenian government and thus acknowledgingthe value and importance of that relationship. The ministry offers an additional way forArmenian-Americans and Armenians elsewhere to connect to the homeland.At the helm of the new Diaspora Ministry is an experienced, dynamic, and capable leader,Hranush Hakobyan.In an interview with the Armenian Reporter (see page 18), Ms. Hakobyan says she is lookingfor capable Armenians from the diaspora to be part of the ministry staff. (In fact theUnited Nations Development Programme is recruiting people for six-month stints withthe ministry.)She urges Armenians from around the world to go to the ministry, where “they can be assuredto receive any assistance that they might need.”Meanwhile the ministry has come to the United States. Ms. Hakobyan is visiting one ofthe largest diaspora communities, that of Southern California until the end of the month.We urge readers in the area to take this opportunity to reach out to the minister, hear herout, and share with her their thoughts and concerns.fconnect:armeniadiaspora.amthe armenianreporterThe ground under the Soviet system was shakingby Sylvie TertzakianLOS ANGELES – I will never forget Christmas1988. One morning in mid-December of thatyear, I asked my then-eight-year-old daughterTaleen what she wanted Santa Claus to bringher for Christmas. She answered, “My Daddy.”A few days earlier, my husband Garo hadleft on the U.S. State Department’s rescueplane, for an earthquake relief mission toa traumatized Armenia. He was one of twoArmenian doctors invited by the U.S. StateDepartment to join its rescue team for theirmedical expertise as well as knowledge of thecountry and the system. Six weeks prior tothe devastating earthquake of December 7,1988, Garo and I had taken our young kids,Taleen and Aram, with us to Armenia, on hissecond medical mission.History was being made that October, asSoviet tanks circled Yerevan’s Lenin Squarewhile thousands of people demonstratedin front of the Opera House for Karabakh’sfreedom. Demonstrators included groups ofenvironmentalists who wanted the governmentto shut down the Nairit rubber plant,Christians with Bibles in their laps, andmany others with various anti-Soviet agendas.Some of these impassioned demonstratorscamped out for weeks and partook in ahunger strike in a desperate yet successfulattempt to have their voices heard and to gettheir messages across.While viewing the demonstrations in frontof the Opera House juxtaposed with the endlessline of Soviet tanks, I remember thinkingthat the ground under the Soviet system wasshaking. And then, sadly and ironically, lessthan two months later, a massive earthquakeshook the ground of Spitak, in northern Armenia.The collapse and destruction of thebuildings, caused by the earthquake, was followedby the collapse of the Soviet systemitself in 1991. The Armenia earthquake, whichfollowed the disaster of Chernobyl two yearsearlier, helped expose the weakening coreof the Soviet system. The Soviet state couldnot respond to the earthquake on its ownand needed to reach out to other countries,specifically the West, for support. Garo, alongwith the U.S. rescue team, landed in Yerevanon December 11, 1988 to lend a helping hand.Amid the shock and trauma, Garo wouldcall from Armenia at odd hours of the dayand night, essentially whenever a line wouldbe available. He would report total chaos, explainingthat the system was not at all preparedfor an earthquake. Even transportingrescue teams was a problem. With the help ofa friend, Garo had been able to organize a busto take the doctors to an earthquake site.However, despite such transport and otherlogistical problems, Garo would exclaim appreciationfor how the international communityshowed organization and willingness tocome to the rescue and exclaimed, “a Libyanplane, an Israeli El Al, the State Departmentplane, they were all parked on the tarmac,side by side. It was quite a sight!” And then,the phone lines would go dead, and I wouldwait anxiously for his next phone call.On the next call, he would describe theearthquake zone as a scene from Dante’s Inferno.On the next call, he would request dialysismachines and Bovie cautery machinesfor surgery. He would ask me to reach out tothe local hospitals in Orange County, California,for donations.During his absence, people would call ourhome in search of “fresh” news. Pharmaceuticalcompanies, such as Baxter, would call at3:00 a.m. to find out what was needed. Ourhome had become an emergency center fornews and requests.In the meantime, the death toll in Armeniakept rising. With each of Garo’s calls, thenumber would rise. It reached an estimated25,000.In the afternoon of December 18, as hisflight touched ground at Los Angeles InternationalAirport, an anxious reporter fromthe Los Angeles Times was waiting for him toexit the plane. Equipped with a recorder, thereporter nudged Garo with questions duringthe ride from the airport to a hall in Glendale,where hundreds of Armenians had gatheredto hear an eyewitness report from the earthquakezone. “I saw people carrying on theirbacks and on trucks any belongings theycould salvage from their destroyed homes. Itreminded me of pictures from the Genocide,except for the fact that the perpetrator wasnot Turkey, but the force of nature.”Later that evening, in the privacy of ourhome, Garo wondered if the Soviet systemwould survive the Armenia earthquake.For Taleen, Santa Claus had listened to herrequest. Her daddy had come back home forChristmas.fRemember December 7, 1988?A devastating earthquake struck the ArmenianSoviet Socialist Republic 20 yearsago on December 7. Do you rememberthat day? What were your reactions?What did you do in the hours, days, andweeks that followed? What did your familyand your community do? Were youamong the hundreds of thousands whogave what you could and prayed? Wereyou among the thousands who reachedout, collected donations, and sent themforward? Were you among the hundredswho flew to the earthquake zone to volunteer?Share your stories with us! And perhapsyou have an album or box of photographsfrom those days, gathering dust somewhere.Share your pictures with us! We will poststories and photographs on our website,www.reporter.am, and include a selectionin the newspaper.You don’t have to be a great writer, andthe photos need not be masterpieces. fThe email address to use is quake@reporter.amIf you have many pictures, you might postthem to flickr and use the keyword “armenian-reporter”The exact time that the earthquake struck.Photo: Photolure.Armenian Reporter (ISSN 0004-2358), an independent newspaper,is published weekly by Armenian Reporter llc.Gerard L. Cafesjian, President and ceoPublisher Sylva A. BoghossianOffice manager Lisa KopooshianCopyright © 2008 by ArmenianReporter llc. All Rights ReservedPeriodicals postage paid at Paramus, N.J., andadditional mailing offices.POSTMASTER: Send address changes to PO Box129, Paramus, NJ 07652-0129.The views expressed, except in the editorial, arenot necessarily those of the publishers.Editor Vincent LimaWestern U.S. Bureau Chief andArts & Culture editor Paul ChaderjianWashington editor Emil SanamyanAssociate editor Maria TitizianAssistant to the Editor Seda StepanyanCopy editor Ishkhan JinbashianArt director Grigor HakobyanLayout assistant Nareh BalianThe Armenian Reporter is your newspaper. We urge you to send us your news and yourviews.News. Please send your news to .Letters. Please send your letters to Letters should be no morethan 250 words long and may be edited for clarity. Please include your mailing addressand daytime telephone number.Commentary. Please send your essays to Essays and articlesnormally should be no longer than 900 words.Photos and artwork. We require high-resolution originals. All photos and artworkmust include a credit to the photographer and a signed statement granting us permissionto publish.Advertising and subscriptions. Please direct questions to orcall us.Our officesPO Box 129Paramus NJ 076521-201-226-1995 phone1-201-226-1660 fax2727 West Alameda BlvdBurbank CA 915051-818-955-9933 phone1-818-955-8799 fax1 Yeghvard Hwy Fl 5Yerevan 0054 Armenia374-10-367-195 phone374-10-367-194 fax


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008 23CommentaryLiving inArmeniaWomen of the worldby Maria TitizianNUEVO VALLARTA, Mexico – We live in extraordinarytimes, to be sure.I have contemplated the women in my life,the women in Armenia, and the women ofthe world with pride, with anger, with love,with anticipation, and loss and rage and expectation.They have given me the opportunityto feel moved, profoundly. They haveinspired me with their strength and courage.I have been blessed to meet women whohave shown me that it is possible to havechange and progress and above all else, hope.Their experiences in this very male-dominatedhome of all men and women have inspiredme. And sometimes it has crippled me. Theirvoice has been so strong and articulate that ithas made mine sound like a whisper.This is a poem written for the women ofMexico, but its message resonates with everyfemale soul in the world. It begins like this…Mothers, daughters, sisters, Native Americans,half breeds, white, black. Multiracial. Multicolored.Polyphonic.Several…bravely…departed many or a fewyears ago to carry out revolutions, their deathclearing the way for us; others, some years ago,raised their voices, their eyes, their body andsprinting like a gazelle or a panther, left theirmark along the way.We still have a lot to do.Not mince our words.Not be afraid.Eradicate opportunism and compromises.Be tolerant, ever tolerant.And demand, always, at every moment,in ever greater numbers,with a whisper,with a word,with a song,with a slogan,with a poem,with a prayer,with a shout,with a howl,Freedom.bookreviewFreedom.To be.To decide.To act.To fight.To continue with the ceaseless, recurrent, neverending struggle to be able to live.As women,as individuals,as citizens.This excerpt was written by a rural woman,who silently yet courageously rose toprominence in a country rife with poverty,injustice, inequality, crime, and desolation.Beatriz Paredes rose to the highest officein politics in her country. She leads millionsof supporters. She is the leader of the PRIparty of Mexico, yet she has never forgottenher sisters dying in the fields that feed herpeople. She has never forgotten the womenwho are abused and ignored and marginalized.She is not afraid to raise her voice to beheard so that she can help the women whocame before her and those who will come afterher. She is not afraid to speak of women’srights.And Armenia?Where are the women leaders of Armenia?Some women are members of parliament,some work in the executive branch of thegovernment, but most of these women haveforgotten where they came from. They haveforgotten the stories of their mothers. Theyhave forgotten that their daughters will haveto struggle for something that they shouldhave resolved in their lifetime.And what about Armenian women?From access to healthcare, to poverty, toignorance, to abuse, to silent systematic barriersto their advancement in society, Armenianwomen have lost their voice. Yes, thereare organizations in the diaspora that claimto speak about women’s issues, but I wonderwhat they have done for the women in Armenia.Yes, there are nongovernmental agenciesin Armenia who work in the field of women’srights but they are few and unable to create areal movement.Show me don’t tell meBeatriz Paredes. Photo: Wikipedia.Reports are published from time to timeabout the status of women in Armenia. AmnestyInternational, on November 12, releasedthe following report: “National surveys suggestthat more than a quarter of women inArmenia have faced physical violence at thehands of husbands or other family members.Many of these women have little choice butto remain in abusive situations as reportingviolence is strongly stigmatized in Armeniansociety. Violence in the family takes manyforms, ranging from isolation and the withholdingof economic necessities, to physicaland sexual violence, and even murder, yetwomen have few options to escape situationsin which they are at risk.”Armenia’s penal code does not even mentiondomestic violence. Shelters for abusedwomen are not encouraged. People see themas an infringement on family life. Domesticviolence, sexual abuse after all is a familymatter, is it not? We are afraid to say loudlyand publicly that which is taking place in thehomeland. It is a national shame. It makesme sick. It enrages me. And yet, here I am, awoman, not doing much other than writingabout it.And where are you? Where is that Armenianwoman I thought existed? The one whowasn’t afraid to shout from the rooftopsagainst the aggressions forced on her people.Why is she not shouting for her own rights?Why are we so afraid to look into the face ofabuse and say, “No more”?Why are we not talking about the reproductivehealth of women in this country?Why are we not talking about the thousandsof women in Armenia using abortion as ameans of fertility regulation? Why are womendying when they can be living, raisingtheir children, helping to create a better society?Why is it that women in other societiesand countries are not afraid to engage theirpublic about the issues affecting women?These are questions I pose for whoeverwants to listen. These are problems I lay atour feet.I am not a poet. But I want to write a poemfor the women of Armenia.I want to tell them that they are therulers of their lives. I want them to knowthat they must find the inner strength, thefortitude to face down all those who wishto oppress them. I want them to live andlaugh and cry and rejoice. I want them tobe empowered. I want them to love and beloved, genuinely, unconditionally, faithfully.I want them to raise their sons anddaughters equally. I want them to fear nomore. I want them to be able to forge a futurefor our people, for this tiny homelandnestled amongst mountains, to walk sideby side with the men who claim to havethe answers to all our misfortunes. I wantthem to look in the mirror and feel prideand confidence. I want them to know thatthe world awaits them. That their peopleneeds them. That their children deservethem.fby Salpi H. Ghazarian“Show me, don’t tell me” is pretty good advicefor parents and others very passionate abouttheir beliefs and anxious to raise kids in theirown image.This is not what we experienced growingup – those of us who heard sermon afteradmonition about being a good Armenian,growing up a good Armenian, marrying agood Armenian, learning to speak good Armenian,and just generally being told to lovea country and a people for the sake of theparents we loved.For some, the consequence of this kind ofparent-child relationship has been a kind ofstandoff between two generations whosememories began and ended with storiesabout growing up deprived, poor, and inseemingly hopeless conditions.In other words, childhood memories consistedof parents we loved telling us storiesabout a country we were told to love, and apast we were told to respect.No one showed us; they just told us. That’snot likely to work with this generation, andthankfully, there are books on the marketthat try to tell the difficult stories in a waythat young people can understand and absorb.The Canadians, who pride themselves ontheir multiculturalism, have, through theCanada Council for the Arts and the OntarioArts Council, supported a publishing programcalled New Beginnings. Aram’s Choice isone of the titles in this series and it’s a storyof an Armenian boy, exiled to Greece, on hisway to Canada as one of the original GeorgetownBoys. This group of Armenian orphanswas brought to Georgetown, Ontario, in theearly 1920s to live in yet another orphanage.Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch tells a fictionalizedversion of a real story that begins inSalpi H. Ghazarian, formerly editor and publisherof Armenian International Magazine, is director of theYerevan-based Civilitas Foundation.The cover of Aram’s Choice.Corfu, Greece, and ends up in “paradise.” Agroup of young boys, orphans, joined togetheron the deportation route, find themselves ina missionary-run orphanage in Greece. At 12,Aram is among the oldest, and both his grandmother– his only living relative – and the directorof the orphanage fear for his safety.So when a group of 50 boys is selected tobe moved to Canada, Aram is among them,against his wishes. Once he is persuaded byhis grandmother that there is no alternative,the adventure begins – by ship to Marseille,by rail to Cherbourg, by ship again to thePort of Quebec, to a country where there wasgold on the trees. Actually, it was gold leaveson maple trees, but they didn’t find that outuntil they arrived.On the way, the challenges are many.Learning to eat soup with a spoon, and withoutslurping. Trying to collect enough moneyto bring along their teacher, too old to bean orphan, but too Armenian to return toa country where his safety was threatened.In Canada, there were even more challenges.The white cold drink they were given wasn’tthe familiar cold yogurt tan, but a non-sourfresh milk. The boots they wore were forsnow, not war.The quintessential picture of Armenianorphans after the Genocide was AntranigZaroukian’s Men without Childhood. Writtenin Armenian, translated into English by JackAntreassian, what a different sort of storythat was. Then, about a decade ago, therewas David Kherdian’s award-winning TheRoad from Home. The stories of many mothersand grandmothers wrapped into one, itwas a story about the human spirit. ThoseLettersPrayers no moreanswered not utteredby SaroyanSir:At the time I addressed the Knights andDaughters of Vartan on October 20 (seeArmenian Reporter, November 15), I had notbeen successful in tracing the origin of theSaroyan poster. I was therefore gratified toread Mr. Zaven Khanjian’s account of itsprovenance. (Armenian Reporter, November1).Mr. Khanjian points out correctly a significantdifference between the wording ofthe text of the poster and the wording ofthe text in the original story written in 1935.are for older readers, in their teens and up,ready to deal with pain and suffering.Aram’s Choice, in 80 short, easy pages, withcolor illustrations by Muriel Wood, is a storyUnder reviewMarsha Forchuk Skrypuch, Aram’s Choice(New Beginnings), ill. Muriel Wood(Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry and Whiteside,2006).However, Mr. Khanjian neglects to address asignificantly more egregious departure fromthe original text, and that has to do with thewords, “and prayers are no more answered”as it appears in the poster and the words,“whose prayers are no longer uttered” as itappears in the original.In my attempts to uncover the source ofthe deception, I had the opportunity to communicatewith Mr. Paul Kalinian, who hadmade a documentary film about Saroyan.He, too, had no idea who had produced theposter, but confirmed the use of the originalwords referenced above, “no longer uttered,”as they were recorded by Saroyan in his ownvoice.Very truly yours,C.K. GarabedTeaneck, N.J.Tell us what you think.Write to letters@reporter.amor call 1-201-226-1995 (N.J.), 1-818-955-9933 (Calif.),374-10-367-195 (Armenia)


24 The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008


The Armenian Reporter | November 22, 2008

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines