Monday, 30 November 2009

on Friday 27 November 8:30pm in Latsia‏

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Gibrahayer e-magazine's current issue was edited and dispatched from London. We look forward to meeting our subscribers on Saturday's cheese and wine gathering (details included further down)

GIBRAHAYER e-magazine
the event will take place on
Friday 27 November, 8:30pm

Friday 27 November at 8:30 pm (not at 8:00pm) - The Armenian National Committee of Cyprus invite the Armenian community and friends to a gathering where the President of The House of Representatives Marios Garoyian will be declared "Hay Tad Personality of 2009". The event which will take place at the Latsia Municipal Theatre is under the auspices of the Armenian Representative in the House of Representatives, Vartkes Mahdessian. Also honouring with their presence are ARF Dashnaktsoutiun Bureau member Megerdich Megerdichian, Lebanese Member of Parliament Hagop Pakradouni and former Lebanese Minister Alen Tabourian.

Editorial - The Slave Trade (Myth or Reality)

GIBRAHAYER e-magazineLondon November 25, 2009 - Abu Baker al-Ghannoum was absentmindedly playing with the contents of the sackful of brightly coloured glass beads, and contemplating on the commercial transaction of the afternoon. He had done good. Earlier in the day he had done a deal with some Arab people, who were looking to hire workers to work in a far away country. The glass beads were for his efforts in convincing his people to agree to sign the employment agreement. He was satisfied that he had managed to get rid of most of the weak and useless men and women of the tribe. Years of feuding with neighbouring tribes for cattle, produce and young girls had taken their toll from his able-bodied warriors. It was so hard to feed his tribe. The Arabs, in addition to his sack of beads, had given to each of the families of the departing workers gifts, which would buy them food for the coming months until it was time to harvest their meagre crops.
This scene or similar ones were happening all over the coastal areas of Western Africa. The immigrant workers were packed onto often rickety ships, barely seaworthy, to be taken to the new continent, America. Conditions on the ships were appalling. Their quarters were cramped, dirty and damp. The food they were given was rotten and could barely sustain them for the westward trip across the ocean. A great many of them died before reaching America and were unceremoniously thrown overboard. The sailors and the armed gunmen on the ship were cruel and ugly. The immigrant workers were terrified of them. Frequently, they beat the passengers and the women and young boys were occasionally raped. All this took their toll from the immigrants and by the time they crossed the ocean their relief for disembarking from the ship was such that they did not question much about their fates once they stepped onto dry land.
On shore, their prospective employers or their agents would herd them like cattle to the plantations and to the settlements. Once there, the Boss-man, usually the owner of the concerns inspected them quickly and with the help of overseers and foremen they were assigned living quarters. Fellow workers explained to them that they had to work without pay for food and lodgings, until the expenses of their crossover were reimbursed. Conditions there were nearly as dismal as on the ships, especially after the first couple of weeks or so. They were quickly divided into work gangs without regard to kinship. Dissent was not tolerated. New arrivals usually got a taste of discipline during the first few days, just so as to put the fear of god in their souls.
Thus, started the long years of servitude and the never-ending days, working dusk to dawn, in searing heat or freezing cold. There was no let-up. They were always under the supervision of the foremen and supervisors, who did not need much to whip them to a inch of their life.
More and more ships arrived, more and more workers arrived. Soon, despite the horrendous conditions and repression, free workers who had earned wavers from their obligations, or had been fortunate to earn their wavers, started agitating the others. In time, organizations sprung up, early versions of trade unions. These had the covert backing of the industrialised Northern States, who because of the nature of their industries could not profit as much from the cheap but ignorant and, for them, largely useless workforce. The struggle for supremacy between the industrialised North and agricultural South reached its zenith in the middle of the nineteenth century when the exasperated South decided to go its own way and declare independence. The result was war. A war, which lasted five long years and cost the lives of hundreds of thousands. The agricultural South could not resist the industrial might of the North and eventually capitulated. During the years following the war things did not change dramatically for the immigrant workers. Soon however, large sections of them had gained enough knowledge to be able to take employment in the North. It was not long before they found out that not much was different for them in the North.
This state of affairs continued for decades with some improvements in their quality of life. Very few of them could eventually step out of the ghettos and industrial estates and venture into the white man’s world.
Parallel to the war, the North had unleashed a relentless and ferocious campaign of misinformation and propaganda war. The immigrant workers were portrayed as slaves, their work as slave labour and the South as their owners. A few unfortunate and truly shocking incidents of rapes, murders, beatings and inhuman punishments were twisted out of all proportion. Soon all newspapers seeing the increase in the sale of their competitors jumped on the band wagon and started competing with each other in publishing more horrific stories than the other in a race to increase their sales. This well planned and executed strategy was not limited to the continent. The fight was carried over to Europe as well, where the battle of public opinion was eventually gained by the North and the Operation Slavery, as the whole exercise was known.
So the thousands of immigrant workers from the Western shores of Africa eventually became the pawns in the struggle for supremacy…… It's absurd, isn’t it? Only the degenerated few would in my opinion believe such a far-fetched and ridiculous story. Only fools would accept such a mutilation of historical facts.
A story, which disregards all the evidence in the writings of contemporaries to the start and progress of the slave trade.
A story, which disregards the evidence given by the survivors of the slave trade.
A story, which is so absurd and so defies logic that in itself is too extreme and too far-fetched to be believed in.
A story, which blatantly questions the undeniable truths about the slave trade and no one in his senses would believe it and question the factuality of the slave trade.
I totally agree with this assessment. It is all that, as are all the arguments put forward by Turkey and the few who blatantly deny the Armenian Genocide, who incomprehensively chose to disregard a host of eyewitness reports and the memoirs of the survivors of the Genocide, who for petty political or economic considerations have the audacity to question the Armenian Genocide, who for different reasons chose not to listen to the whitened bones and silent cries of those who perished in the deserts of Northern Syria and Mesopotamia.
This kind of absurdity we are asked to be part of by the powers to be and by the present rulers of Armenia and those who have allied themselves with them, for a fistful of Turkish Liras and US Dollars.

Saturday 28 November 3:15pm

The Chief Editor of Gibrahayer e-magazine
Simon Aynedjian and Louise Aynedjian
Assistant to the Editor Sevag Devletian
Columnists Professor Hovhannes Pilikian & Jean Ipdjian

invite our United Kingdom subscribers to
a cheese and wine reception
at The Americana Hotel in London
172 Gloucester Place, Regents Park, London, NW1 6DS - UK
GIBRAHAYER e-magazine



Tamar Kevonian, - 20/11/2009 - “What if an Armenian was Muslim or Bahai, or Hindu?” the question is asked one day during a conversation about ethnic identity and why it was tied into religious identity.
There are those, mostly scholars in Armenia, who vehemently deny the Armenian ethnic identity to anyone who is not of the Christian faith, particularly of the Orthodox persuasion. They claim that being Armenian automatically assumes and implies Christianity.
This logic would be acceptable except for the fact that Armenians, as an ethnic group, existed long before Christianity or their conversion to it in a bloody and violent manner. The switch to the religion that now identifies us was not a peaceful one and St. Gregory the Illuminator himself waged the war.
Armenia, two millennia ago, had a varied population. Strategically located at the crossroads of the region, many cultures passed through the area while some chose to make it their permanent home. As a result, the Armenia of that day was culturally diverse, religiously tolerant and very cosmopolitan.
Legend has it that upon King Drtad’s miraculous cure at the hands of St. Gregory the Illuminator, he immediately converted to the magical new religion and proclaimed Armenia to now be a Christian state. Everyone was to set aside their previous religious beliefs which they’d held for hundreds of years in favour of a new one and live happily ever after in the afterglow of their new found religion. But the story doesn’t end there. Or even begin there.
King Drtad was the infant son of Khosrov II when he was assassinated by Anak, an Armenian operating as an agent for the Persian Empire. St. Gregory was the son of Anak who, as an adult, returned to Armenia and worked for King Drtad without informing him of his true identity.
The legend taught to Armenian children today does not include this fact. Completely ignoring it, it skips directly to St. Gregory’s time spent in the dungeon for being a Christian. In reality, his incarceration came about because of the king’s discovery of the assistant’s true heritage. Which king wouldn’t imprison the son of his father’s assassin?
The story goes on to say that after Drtad is cured of his illness at the hands of Gregory, he becomes a believer of Christianity. As a young king, Drtad fought hard to liberate Armenia and create a quasi independent state. His country’s conversion to the upstart religion was the final break from his Roman and Persian neighbours at a time when religion affiliation was a key tool that set a nation apart.
The process of becoming peace-loving Christians was anything but peaceful or loving. The legend of Drtad omits the key part of the story by ignoring the ‘how’ of the conversion. Although begun peacefully, it soon turned violent when nobles, priests and their followers of the prevailing faiths resisted the efforts of the state. The forced conversion of hundreds of thousands of people had other purposes besides spreading the word of God. Under the guise of religion, Kind Drtad was able to purge his land of political opposition and enemy agents and confiscate the wealth of the existing temples. Everyone was either forced to convert or lose their heads. His right-hand man in this war was none other than St. Gregory, the founder of the Armenian Orthodox Church. His greatest supporter and passionate advocate of the effort was Ashkhen, Drtad’s wife who was not Armenian.
In one brief decade, Armenia went from a culturally diverse nation without an official national language to one that espoused uniformity and conformity where the use of Armenian became a requirement and strictly enforced. Survival is a basic human instinct and many did convert rather than lose their heads. Some of the descendants of those who chose to convert almost two millennia ago were, in the early part of the 20th century, forced to make yet another difficult choice: convert or die, but this time to Islam.
Why is identity tied to faith? What about Armenians that are Orthodox but don’t speak a word of the language or know any of the history? What of the Armenian of mixed heritage with the overwhelming love and enthusiasm for the Armenian culture who practices another religion? Do they qualify?
At a recent photo exhibit, Harry, a well known photographer, gave a contextual explanation of one of his photos that looked like nothing more than Muslim village women escaping a flood while holding their children to their breast. The real story is that they were Kurdish women, who after the death of their children and the hardships they endured, were allowed by Turkey to emigrate to Germany. “But the best part,” said Harry, “is that when going through customs and registering their names in their new home country, each one of them gave an Armenian name.” They reclaimed their original identity. “Now, they even have a nice little community with a church.”
Today, in the remote corners of what was once a part of greater Armenia and is now Turkey, there exists a substantial group of Armenians who have almost all converted to Islam. Although they maintain their Armenian identity and their distinctive Armenian dialect, they do not practice the espoused religion of Christianity. Do we consider them to be Armenian?
It is estimated that there are several million “hidden” Armenians in Turkey and the surrounding areas. A little-thought of side effect of the Armenian-Turkish protocols and the resulting improved relations between the two countries may be just the encouragement and motivation these Armenians need to stand up and reclaim their roots and fortify our numbers. Can we deny them their Armenian identity? Can we afford not to?


FAMAGUSTA GAZETTE 23.NOV.09 - President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has underlined that efforts to reunify Cyprus and its people will continue with persistence and good will.
In an address at a mass at the Armenian Church in Nicosia, read out by Deputy Minister to the President Titos Christofides, President Christofias stressed “we remain committed to our goals for the creation of a peaceful, united and prosperous homeland for all its citizens, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins”.
He reiterated that “efforts to reunify Cyprus and its people will continue with persistence and good will, asserting our rights based on principles. We pursue a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with a single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality as well as unified economic institutions”.
Referring to the Armenian people living in Cyprus, he said that “tight bonds of friendship and common struggles describe the historic paths of Greek Cypriots and Armenians in our country”.
“Cyprus and its people have always been present to the important historic times of the Armenian people”, he said.
The Cypriot President recalled that Cyprus was the first European state, which adopted a resolution recognising the Armenian Genocide.
The religious groups in Cyprus, he said, are an important part of Cyprus and enrich its multicultural society.
President Christofias reassured that the government does its utmost to contribute to maintaining he religious groups` identities.


Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra - Nicosia - The Armenian cathedral of Sourp Asdvadzadzin in Nicosia celebrated its name day on Sunday, 22 November. On this joyous occasion the Church invited a number of officials and heads of other denominations. Present at the celebrations was Undersecretary to the President, Dr. Titos Christophides - representing the President - the Speaker of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian, the Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian and his wife Maggie, the Ambassadors of Germany, Greece and Iran, the Mayoress of Nicosia - Eleni Mavrou - and representatives of DI.SY. and EVRO.KO. Representing the Archbishop of Cyprus was Chorepiscopus of Mesaoria, Gregorius. Also present were the Archbishop of the Maronites, Youssef Soueif, and the Anglican Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, Michael Lewis. The Badarak was celebrated by Apegha Torkom Donoyian.

GIBRAHAYER e-magazine

After the Badarak and the madaghorhnek were concluded, Deacon Dr. Antranik Ashdjian took the floor to welcome the honoured guests to the celebrating church, after which, Archbishop Varoujan spoke of the history of the Armenian Church in Cyprus, the cordial relations between Greek-Cypriots and Armenian-Cypriots, and wished for peace in our island. The Undersecretary to the President stressed the role of Cyprus in welcoming the refugees of the Armenian Genocide, and re-affirmed the government’s solidarity to the Armenian-Cypriot community. The Speaker of the House - Marios Garoyian - stressed the importance of the Armenian Church and our moral obligation for the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the justice both Armenians and Cypriots deserve, criticising Turkey for its denialist policy and aggression.
The final message came from Mesaoria Chorepiscopus after which a reception followed at the Armenian Prelature.

Watch Marios Garoyian's speech here

by Samvel Sahakyan, PhD Head of Research ARMENBROK Investment Company

Armenian equities market showed some activity in the last two weeks after a month break.
Corporate bonds market experienced liquidity decline in the first two weeks of November 2009.
The trading volume in local FX market increased two-fold in these two weeks of November 2009.
-Gross agriculture production in Armenia in September grew by 29.2% over 2009.
-The first tranche USD 60 mln of Asian Development Bank for road construction to be received by Armenia in 2010.
-Russian gas import tariff for Armenia to rise by 16.8% starting April 2010.
- Worley Parsons to present feasibility study of construction of new nuclear power unit to Armenian government in late Q1 2010.
- Gazprom to take part in construction of Iran-Armenia oil product pipeline.
- Armenia may receive credit to USD 70 mln from JICA in 2010.
- International Energy Corporation, Armenia-based subsidiary of RAO UES of Russia, to invest nearly USD 38 million in Armenia in 2010-2016.
- U.S. Government Provides Additional 15 Million Dollars to Armenia to Rehabilitate Main Canals.
- Shevket Shaydullin: It is of strategic importance for South Caucasus Railway to get the status of the national company.
- In Jan-Sept 2009 Armenia budget revenues totalled AMD 475.3 bln or 89.1% of the revised plan.
- Non-residents in Armenia to be liable for dividend taxes starting 2010.
GIBRAHAYER e-magazineNEW SERVICE - With Cyprus Tickets, you can purchase your ticket online. It’s simple - choose the event you wish. Click on the relevant theatre. Click on your chosen seats. You will then register – this is a one time procedure. Pay & print your ticket.


watch Hovig in week 4

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News in Brief by Sevag Devletian
  • Armenia represented by Luara Hayrapetyan with the song "Barcelona" came in 2nd at the 7th Junior Eurovision Song Contest held in Ukraine. With a lively performance from Luara and her dancers the song is about Barcelona football club and Luara and her dancers were dressed in the Barcelona football shirts with a Junior Eurovision logo on the dancers' shirts.
  • A painting by seascape master Ivan Aivazovsky sold for USD 1.35 million last Wednesday at Sotheby's spring sale of Russian Art in New York. "Aivazovsky's stunning portrayal of Columbus' departure from Palos, Spain, on August 2, 1492, is among the finest of such compositions to ever appear at auction," Sotheby's said in a press release.
  • Mustafa Dogan, a 13-year-old Turk, was expelled from a school in Nancy, France after insisting that there was no Armenian Genocide. Dogan's history teacher asked a question about the events of 1915 and the Armenian Genocide in a written exam. Having previously argued with the teacher over the matter, the Turkish schoolboy got angry and wrote, `Even if it did happen, they deserved it.'
  • Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has threatened to use military force to return control over Nagorno-Karabakh. Aliyev warned that if they do not reach results at the meeting Azerbaijan is ready to use its armed forces. He noted Baku wants a peaceful resolution of the conflict but it would not wait forever.
  • The Armenia-Turkey protocols were submitted by President Serzh Sargsyan's Office to Armenia's Constitutional Court. A full-court session must be convened within 20 days to determine a hearing date for the protocols. If within the 20-day time frame a consensus is not reached, the decision to convene a hearing is extended by 10 additional days. If a month passes from the time of submission and a decision is not reached, the protocols must be returned to the President's Office or the court must decide on further discussions.

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