Monday, 31 December 2012

Editoral comment to Gomidas Institute 2012-13

...Shnorhavor Nor Dari yev Sourp Dznoont...

Your information has been published to:
This site pertains to all aspects of Armenian life but it is predominently devoted to the persecution of Armenian's before 1915, during the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians, 
long after 1915. A new chapter will be the ultimate reparation and the repatriation of 
Lands long lost to Armenians. 

Of course the main reason for starting the Blog was the brutal and sudden assasination 
of Hrant Dink. Understanding those who carry out assasination is so hard...We cannot rule 
out the involvement of third parties within Turkey! I empathise with the young man's parents 
who passed on his information...Truly they are 'God Loving' and honourable people.

The Jewish communities, Nationally, are much better organised in publishcising their haulocaust...A word taken from, the first Haulocaust of the 20th Century.
[The Armenian Genocide of 1915 by the young Turks of the day!]
Most of all we must commemorate louder, and have 
our voice heard before the centenial commemorations!...After all who will care after the 
last of their genoration have passed? If not to honour those who's bones are still exposed, 
piled high and open to the elements, with out graves in Der Zor...among many, many others. 

It is also as upsetting, distressing, woundful, if not pinful to those who were effected directly! Which Armenian, was not or is not? Even to date! The injouries sustained physical and mental
were emence and still have consequences to this day! 

Those denialist are unkind, cruel nasty mean and maliciously spiteful...Denial is, vindictive and cutting to the bone and no amount of remuranative jestures can turn the poisoned blood in our veines, but for the Humanity and Love that runs within us Armenians!
 WE TOO "MUST NOT FORGET!" Even when we forgive!

Seta Tokatlian

Gomidas Institute 2012-13

26 Dec. 2012
We are pleased to inform you that the Gomidas Institute has successfully wrapped up another productive year. Below is a summary of some of its publications, projects, internships, press coverage and other important news for 2012-2013. If you would like more information on any item, please let us know at
New Publications in 2012:
· Carmen Pascal, The Amiras: Lords of Ottoman Armenia (transl. from French by Marika Blandin).
· Ann Elbrecht, Telling the Story: The Armenian Genocide in the Pages of the New York Times and Missionary Herald, 1914-1918
· Hrachik Simonyan, The Destruction of Armenians in Cilicia, April 1909 (transl. from Armenian by Melissa Brown and Alexander Arzumanian).
· Hagop Hacikyan, My Ethnic Quest.
· Levon Shahoian, On the Banks of the Tigris, (transl. from Armenian with an introduction by Garabet Moumdjian).

In Press:
· Hambartsum Galstyan, Unmailed Letters (transl. from Armenian with an introduction by Agop Hacikyan).
· Aghavni Yeghenian, Red Flag at Ararat (republication, Sterndale Classics).
· Rouben Shougarian, The Politics of Immaculate Misconception.

Academic Projects started in 2012:
· The Demographic Profile of the Late Ottoman Empire: A Critical Perspective. This project is based on Ottoman, Russian, Armenian and Turkish sources and is due for completion over 2013-2014.
· A series of four lectures co-sponsored by the Gomidas Institute, the Calouste Gulebankian Foundation and the Turkish Studies Department at Ludwig Maximilan University in Munich. Lectures in Munich by David Gaunt, Janet Klein, Hans Lukas-Kieser and Seda Altug.
· Translation and publication of Krikor Mkhalian’s Bardizag’n ou Bardizagtsin [Bardizag and Its People], Cairo, 1938. Publication date summer 2013.
· The Genocide of Armenians and Assyrians in 1915-18. Project includes two internships plus a publication in 2013.
· What Happened on 24 April 1915? A Critical Study of History and Denial based on Armenian, Turkish and Ottoman records.

For the third year running, the Gomidas Institute hosted research internships in London. This year two MA students at British universities worked on Armenian and Assyrian issues. Both students are still engaged with projects on 20th century genocides.

Institutional Support and Cooperation:
Gomidas Institute entered into a formal agreement with the Grotowski Institute (Wroclaw, Poland). The two Institutions will cooperate on issues related to the Armenian Genocide. The Grotowski Institute is a renowned centre of performing arts. They are currently working on a new project related to the Armenian Genocide.

Commendation by the Board:
· Ara Sarafian’s work at the Gomidas Institute and in Turkey resulting in “24 Nisanda Ne Oldu?” [What Happened on 24 April?] by Ara Sarafian in Agos (30 May 2012), “97 Yil Sonra Ayaş Yolunda” [On the Road to Ayash 97 Years Later] by Pinar Öğünç in Radikal (24 April 2012), and Interview du chercheur Ara Sarafian” [Interview with Researcher Ara Sarafian” in Nouvelles d’Armenie (July 2012).

Gomidas Institute is an independent academic institution dedicated to modern Armenian studies and research. This report was sent to you by the Gomidas Institute, 42 Blythe Rd., London W14 0HA, UK.
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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Armenian Church E-Newsletter, Issue 54 - Happy New Year!

29 DECEMBER 2012
We are only a few days from the end of the year 2012. Soon the world will welcome the New Year, a divine gift of new beginnings, opportunities and horizons. The end of a year is an opportunity to thank God for all the achievements and blessings we enjoyed, and to make new resolutions to correct old habits and avoid repeating the mistakes of last year. For us here, in the Primate’s Office, 2012 was
a year filed with celebrations, achievements and new milestones. We joined the rest of the Britons in celebrating the Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen, 60 years of truly extraordinary leadership; and hosting the 2012 Olympics in London, where the Armenia team participated. We successfully organized the second Annual Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and the second annual Armenian Street Festival, welcoming His Excellency the President of Armenia and the Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea. For the first time in many decades the Holy Trinity Armenian Church witnessed the ordination of four altar servers to the order of Acolytes (Tubir). Our Armenian Church Youth Fellowship (ACYF), achieved a new milestone in orgnising the first annual Service Project, where its members travelled to the Armenian Monastery in Venice to help in the reorganization of the Library there. For the first time in the history of the Armenian Church in Great Britain, the St. Sarkis Trust reached an agreement with the Primate in allowing the faithful to organize themselves into a Parish and to elect their own Parish Council to supervise and organize church activities according to the canons of the Armenian Church. Several of our ongoing programmes entered their third year such as the Bible Study group, AREV Children’s Play Group, and the Deacons’ Training Programme. Thank God, for the third year in a row, our newly established three Mission Parishes continued growing and improving their ministries and programmes in Birmingham, Cardiff and Dublin. However, we cannot reflect on the year 2012, without remembering Mrs. Karine Kazinian, the late Ambassador of Armenia to the UK. She will be missed immensely. May the Lord rest her soul in peace and comfort her family members.
HG Bp Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate, has prepared a year-end message which can be viewed by clicking here. Happy and healthy New Year to you and your loved ones!
The Primate’s Office
c/o Hye Doon 25 Cheniston Gardens Kensington London, W8 6TG
Church Website
0208 127 8364
THE PRIMATES OFFICE Armenian Church of Great Britain and Ireland c/o Hye Doon, 25 Cheniston Gardens, London W8 6TG29 December 2012
Issue 54 Volume 3
DUBLIN MPC’S YEAR-END HANTES On Sunday 23rd December 2012 the Armenian Parish and School in Dublin, Ireland got together to celebrate Christmas. There were over 100 people present and 35 school children. Our school teachers (Lusine, Armine and Anahid) prepared an excellent presentation. The younger children took part in the Nativity (the birth of Jesus Christ) story and the older ones performed the tale of "Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Anderson. Emma Mikaelyan recited a poem about the coming of Christ by Gemma Lalayan. Santa came to distribute presents to each pupil after the school performance. Subsequently the Church Community Choir sang three Christmas Carols, Lur Gisher, Away in Manger and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Our Chairperson Ayda Sarafian- Lundon welcomed everyone who came to the Christmas celebration and thanked the teachers and the children for the excellent productions. This was the first Community Christmas Carol service, combined with the school that had been held jointly, and all the families had a wonderful time. Lovely Armenian food was served at the end, as each family had provided a contribution and then each child received a further present from the church community.
St. Yeghiche Church, London:
Saturday, 5 January 2013, 5:30pm – Celebrant: Revd Fr Shnork Bagdasarian Sunday, 6 January 2013, 11:00am – Celebrant HG Bp. Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate
St. Sarkis Church, London:
Saturday, 5 January 2013, 5:30pm – Celebrant: HG Bp. Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate Sunday, 6 January 2013, 11:00am – Celebrant Revd Fr Shnork Bagdasarian, Pastor
Holy Trinity Church, Manchester:
Sunday, 6 January 2013, 11:00am – Celebrant: Revd Fr Garegin Hambardzumyan
As part of the mission of our Parish to encourage the faithful to participate in the beautiful rituals and spiritual life of the Church, and
to increase our Parish membership, the Parish Council is in the process of preparing a Parish brochure. The brochure will explain the
various sacraments of the Church and ways in which the faithful can practice their faith in the Church. These include: baptism,
marriage, Holy Communion in the Divine Liturgy, ministry to the sick, the choir, the deaconate, the priesthood and joining the Parish
itself. In order to showcase our Parish life and the Church building of which we are so proud of, the Parish Council would like to
invite all parishioners to send us photographs of your favourite Parish memories. We hope to select from these photos a few to use in
the brochure in order to provide it with a 'family' touch. We would be grateful if you could send the photographs in .jpg format to the
Parish email address: Please also indicate in the email that you consent to the photographs
being published in the Parish brochure, which is a legal requirement for us.
Wishing you the best in the Advent season.
- St Sarkis Parish Council
Click here to watch the video clip (English) prepared by the Information Centre of the Primate’s Office
29 December 2012
Issue 54, Volume 3
As we approach the end of the year, His Grace Bishop Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate, published an appeal to the Armenian community in Great Britain and Ireland seeking their support of the Primate’s Office and its various programmes. During the past two years and a half, the Primate’s Office has developed many new programmes and promoted several ongoing others, with the objective of strengthening the sacred mission of the Armenian Church and the bonds of the Armenian community in United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Among these programmes we mention the annual pilgrimages, Armenian Street Festivals, the Armenian Church Youth Fellowship (ACYF), the Mission Parish Outreach (MPO), the Deacons’ Training Programme, the Continuing Education Ministry (CEM), the weekly online E-Newsletter, Sunday Bulletin, website and others. Two years after the programmes mentioned above were launched, and some of which have already entered their third year of operation, it has become a serious financial burden for the Primate’s Office to maintain them, without a budget for a hired office assistant. No Armenian church trust or council, in the UK contributes to the above-mentioned programmes. You can read the full text of the Appeal on the official website of the Armenian Church, by clicking here. You can donate online by clicking here, or send your donation payable to “Armenian Church Trust UK” to the mailing address of the Primate’s Office, c/o Hye Doon, 25 Cheniston Gardens, London W8 6TG. During this blessed and beautiful season of Advent, please remember the Armenian Church and pray for her. Our Primate and thousands of Armenian children, teenagers, young adults, and seniors who have benefitted from our Church programmes will be grateful to you.
The AGBU would like to welcome you to join us for a New Year's Eve Dinner Dance and Live Entertainment at the Holiday Inn, Brentford Lock. With an exclusive live performance by Eurovision star Hayko and guest appearance from comedian Grigor Aghakhanyan. Tickets cost £80 including drink reception and three course meal with wine. To reserve and purchase tickets please contact Noushig on 01494538319 or Armen on 07932024631. Click here to see flyer with full details.
On behalf of the Armenian Relief Society, Homenetmen, and Hamazkayin, we would like to welcome you to join us for an evening of dinner and music by Yorgantz and DJ Alex to welcome in the New Year! Information about booking tickets can be found on the flyer. Further inquiries can be sent to Janet Mardirossian. Click here to download the flyer.
Have you recently visited the video page of the Information Centre of the Primate’s Office of the Armenian Church of Great Britain and Ireland? If not, please click here.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Did You Know?  "Apart from the military contribution to Byzantium, Armenians also controlled trade. Byzantine-Armenian merchants could be found all over in Italy.  In Ravenna there were so many Armenians that a section of the city was called Armenia." Read more...


  • Visit the new Poll. What have you done for Armenia?
  • First time visitors please click on Mission on the horizontal bar at the top.
  • To remove your address from the mailing list please click , fill and submit the form. If you have more than one email address, tell us which addresses you would like to see removed.
Thank you 


Friday, 28 December 2012

LOUSSAPATZ_ The Dawn...2012-965-12-29

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Տարի մը եւս կ'անցնի պատմութեան գիրկը...: Տարին՝ եթէ լոկ ակնթարթ մըն է մարդկային քաղաքակրթութեան հազարամեակներու պատմութեան մէջ, ժամանակահատուած մըն է միաժամանակ, որուն աւարտին՝ ընդհանուր հանրագումարը ընելու ենք ազգային-հաւաքական մեր կեանքին, զայն արժեւորելու ենք կարելի անաչառութեամբ, հարցադրելու ենք ի մասնաւորի, թէ ո՞ւր ենք այսօր, որպէս Սփիւռք ու Հայաստանի Հանրապետութիւն ու Արցախ եւ ո՞ւր կ'երթանք...: Ինքնաճանաչման հրաւէր մը՝
այս, առանց որուն, հաւաքականութիւններ թէ անհատներ կրնան դիւրաւ խարխափել եւ մոլորիլ՝ ազգ, մշակոյթ, ինքնութիւն ու պատմութիւն ջնջող, կործանարար յորձանքներու եւ բաւիղներու մէջ...: Դեռ հի՛ն-հի՛ն դարերէն ԾԱՆԻՐ ԶՔԵԶ-ի հրամայականը ի զօրու է նաեւ այսօր՝ անհատական եւ հաւաքական մակարդակներու վրայ ալ:
Ինքնաճանաչման այս հրամայականը էական է յատկապէս մեզի՝ Սփիւռք եւ Հայաստան, երբ ճգնաժամային իրավիճակներու մէջ յայտնուած են հայրենամերձ մեր հայագաղութները, ի մասնաւորի Սուրիահայութիւնը, որ տարագիր արեւմտահայութեան հայապահպանման եւ Հայ Դատի հետապնդման Պայքարի յառաջամարտիկ Մայր Գաղութն է ի սկզբանէ՝ իր աշխարհաքաղաքական դիրքով, պատմութեամբ եւ հայեցի անաղարտ դիմագիծով..., երբ նոր-օսմանականութիւնը կը զարթնու իր ծաւալողապաշտ քաղաքականութեամբ..., երբ Սփիւռքի ձուլման ընթացքը կ'ահագնանայ օրէ ցօր..., երբ Հայաստանի հայաթափումը տակաւ կը սպառնայ Ազգային մեր Անվտանգութեան եւ Լինելութեան...:
Դասական Սփիւռքը, այսինքն հայրենահանուած արեւմտահայութեան ժառանգորդ՝ տարագիր հատուածը մեր ժողովուրդին, շուտով կը թեւակոխէ Հայոց Ցեղասպանութեան 100- ամեայ տարելիցի հանգրուանը: Ցարդ չէ կրցած ան, սակայն, ստեղծել ընտրական հիմունքներով գոյացած Համասփիւռքեան Ներկայացուցչական Խորհուրդ մը, որ այնքան էական է արդիւնաւէտութեամբ կարենալ կազմակերպելու եւ համակարգելու համար մեր ազգային-հաւաքական կեանքի աշխատանքները, յստակացնելու մեր ազգային առաջնահերթութիւնները, գերագոյն նպատակները, ըստ այնմ մշակելու ազգային ռազմավարութիւն ու ծրագիր եւ այդ ուղղութեամբ հաւաքագրելու մեր տարտղնեալ ոյժերն ու լծակները ...: Այլ խօսքով՝ խտացեալ, հաւաքական ոյժ կարենալ դառնալու համար:
Տխուր է հաստատել, որ տեղայնական ազգասիրութիւնը, կեթթոյական մտածելակերպն ու գործելակերպը դեռեւս այնքան բնորոշ են սփիւռքի հայագաղութներուն: Այսինքն, իւրաքանչիւր հատուած ինքնագոհ ու ինքնաբաւարարուած կը զգայ՝ իր շարքայիններով թէ համակիրներով, կ'ապրի իր ակումբով ու կազմակերպութեամբ սահմանափակուած կեանք մը, առանց մտածելու էապէս Համազգային Տեսլականի ու Գաղափարի մասին..., Համընդհանուր շահերու ու նպատակներու մասին:
Արդիւնքը կ'ըլլայ ա՛յն, որ նեղ-հատուածական հաւատարմութիւնը համազօր կը նկատուի համազգային տեսլականին..., ակումբային մտածողութիւնը՝ համայնական շահերու մտածողութեան...: Արագասոյր ժամանակը, յարաշարժ ու յարափոփոխ պայմանները, սակայն, այլ բան կը պահանջեն, եւ մեզ կը դնեն նոր մարտահրաւէրներու դէմ յանդիման, որոնց դիմաց պիտի յամառի՞նք կառչած մնալ մեր ա՛լ քարացած ու կաղապարեալ գաւառամիտ մտածելակերպին: Պարզ օրինակ մըն է սուրիահայ տագնապի պարագան: Համասփիւռքեան Ներկայացուցչական Մարմնի մը առկայութիւնը որքա՛ն պիտի դիւրացնէր,
կազմակերպէր ու համակարգէր օգնութեան թէ այլ աշխատանքները, ուղեցոյց ու տէր պիտի ըլլար աղէտեալ գաղութին եւ ռազմավարական ծրագիր պիտի մշակէր ու ի գործ դնէր յանուն անոր առաւելագոյն անվտանգութեան ու վերականգնումին: Դեռ չենք խօսիր Հայ Դատի Պահանջատիրութեան մասին, ուր մեր ցիրուցան ճիգերը՝ փոխանակ համակարգուելու եւ հունաւորուելու, շատ յաճախ կը վատնուին յումպէտս, առանց հասնելու իրենց բուն նպատակակէտին....եւ ուր դեռեւս կը տիրէ խառնաշփոթ վիճակ մը: Ո՞վ է Պահանջատէրը եւ ի՞նչ է Պահանջուածը...:
Հայ Սփիւռքը ներկայիս շատ աւելի բան ունի կատարելիք իր ներքին ճակատի կազմակերպումին ու բարեկարգումին ուղղութեամբ, իր ներքին ճակատի հզօրացման գծով, քան՝ արտաքին ճակատի: Ներքին ճակատի
վերակազմակերպումէն առաջ, արդարեւ, անարդիւնաւէտ պիտի չըլլա՞ր ամէն ճիգ, որ կը տարուի արտաքին ճակատի վրայ...:
Իսկ անողոք ժամանակը վստահաբար կը գործէ մեզի հակառակ: Օրէ օր կը հալի ու կը մաշի մեր հայկական ինքնութիւնը: Օտար ու խորթ բարքերու այլասերող պայմաններու
քովն ի վեր, ձուլումի թափը առաւել կ'ահագնանայ, երբ իրերայաջորդ սերունդներ կը մեծնան իրերամերժ հայկական շրջանակներու մէջ, տակաւ կորսնցնելով Համահայկական
Հաւաքականութեան մը պատկանելու զգացումը...Հաւաքականութիւն՝ որ աւելի լայն է քան ընտանիքը, դպրոցը, ակումբն ու միութիւնը թէ կուսակցութիւնը...:
Շարունակաբար խօսելով ՄԻԱՍՆԱԿԱՆՈՒԹԵԱՆ մասին, ունի՞նք արդեօք հաւաքականօրէն, միասնաբար աշխատելու ընդունակութիւնը, նախանձախնդրութիւնն ու քաղաքական կամքը...: Պիտի շարունակե՞նք կառչած մնալ մեր հատուածական, մենատիրական, ոչ-համահայկական շահերուն ու նկատառումներուն...: Պիտի շարունակե՞նք, օրինակ, պաշտօն, դիրք ու պատիւ ընծայել խտրականօրէն այն մարդկանց միայն, որոնք հլու-հնազանդ կամակատարն ու հաճոյակատարն են այս կամ այն աշխարհիկ թէ հոգեւոր իշխանութեանց, այս կամ այն միութեան թէ կուսակցութեան վարչական կառոյցին՝....«խնամի, ծանօթ, բարեկամ»...տխուր հասկացութեան մօտեցումով, զլանալով արժանին ընծայել իրա՛ւ արժանիքներ կրողին, ինչ-որ արժէքներու ահաւոր անկումի միայն կրնայ առաջնորդել մեր ազգային-հաւաքական կեանքը...: Նման խտրական, կողմնակալ եւ ոչ-համահայկական մտածելակերպի եւ գործելակերպի օրինակներու շարքը կարելի է երկարե՛լ ու երկարե՛լ...:
Զուգահեռաբար, այս հարցադրումները կարելի է արծարծել Հայաստանի Հանրապետութեան իշխանութիւններուն նկատմամբ եւս: Ունի՞ն անոնք համայնական շահերուն ի նպաստ մտածելու եւ գործելու ոգի ու կամք: Ունի՞ն անոնք համահայկական ոգիով ու տեսլականով առաջնորդուելու տրամադրութիւն թէ ընդունակութիւն...: Թէ՞՝ օլիկարխիկ մտահոգութիւն եւ գործելակերպ միայն ի ծառայութիւն սեփական նեղ- անձնական, քլանային եւ խմբակային շահերու, ինչ-որ Մեր Հանրապետութիւնը կը վերածէ խումբ մը մենաշնորհեալ մարդկանց սեփականութեան...եւ ճակատագրականօրէն կը վտանգէ ազգային պետականութեան կայացումը...:
Մեր ըմբռնումով, ազգային պետականութիւնը էապէս հիմնուած պարտի ըլլալ ազգային- մշակութային-բարոյական արժեհամակարգի վրայ, հաղորդ ու համահունչ՝ քաղաքացիական հասարակութեան եւ մեր ժողովուրդի իղձերուն ու տագնապներուն, մտահոգութիւններուն ու երազներուն....ԱԶԳԱՅԻՆ ՏԵՍԼԱԿԱՆԻՆ...,
ՀԱՄԱՀԱՅԿԱԿԱՆ ՇԱՀԵՐՈՒՆ: Այլապէս՝ ան կը դառնայ վարչախումբի մը շահերուն միայն ծառայող վարչակարգ եւ կ'օտարուի հասարակութենէն: Ահա թէ ինչու տակաւ կը խորանայ իշխանութեան եւ հասարակութեան միջեւ առկայ խրամատն ու վիհը, եւ լայն ծաւալ կը ստանայ Հայաստանէն արտագաղթը, սպառնալով ազգային մեր անվտանգութեան:
Սթափումի հրամայականը կ'ենթադրէ որ Հայաստանի Հանրապետութենէն ներս, թէ Սփիւռքի տարածքին՝ ԵՍ-ի կամ խմբակային ու հատուածական գաւառամտութենէն ու շահախնդրութենէն անցնելու ենք ՄԵՆՔ-ի լայնահորիզոն ու համահայկական մտածողութեան.... համազգային շահերու բնորոշումին ու հետապնդումին, հաւաքական ու պետական մտածողութեամբ գործելու նախանձախնդրութեան ու յանձնառութեան: Այդ պարագային միայն մենք կրնանք դառնալ ՄԻԱՍՆԱԿԱՆ ՀԱՒԱՔԱԿԱՆ ՈՅԺ, զոր այնքա՛ն չարաչար կը հոլովենք, առանց դրսեւորելու ՔԱՂԱՔԱԿԱՆ ԿԱՄՔՆ ՈՒ ՎՃՌԱԿԱՆՈՒԹԻՒՆԸ, զայն կարենալ իրագործելու համար:
Մեր արդար Դատի Պահանջատիրութեան, հայապահպանման, ազգային անկախ պետականութեան կայացման ու հզօրացման յաջողութիւնը, վստահաբար, արդիւնքը պիտի ըլլայ մե՛ր համընդհանուր կամքին...մեր ՄԻԱՍՆԱԿԱՆ ՈՅԺԻՆ: Եթէ մենք չկարենանք անհրաժեշտ գիտակցութեամբ, միասնական կամքով տարազել ու պահանջել մեր իրաւունքները, բանաձեւել մեր գերագոյն շահերը եւ համախմբուիլ այդ շահերուն պարտադրած պայքարին, ոգորումին ու մաքառումին շուրջ, ինչպէ՞ս կրնանք ակնկալել որ այլ ոյժեր սատարեն մեր պայքարին...:
Մեր պատմութեան օրհասական, ճգնաժամային պահերուն, միշտ ալ կրցեր ենք դրսեւորել ՀԱՒԱՔԱԿԱՆ ԿԱՄՔ ՈՒ ՄԻԱՍՆԱԿԱՆՈՒԹԻՒՆ....վկայ՝ Աւարայրը,
Սարդարապատը, Արցախեան յաղթանակը...: Ներկայիս, նոյն ճգնաժամային ժամանակներ են՝ գուցէ աներեւոյթ, կամ քօղարկուած, բայց նոյնքան օրհասական ու ճակատագրական...: Պիտի կարենա՞նք ոյժ գտնել մեր մէջ՝ դրսեւորելու միեւնոյն ՄԻԱՍՆԱԿԱՆ ՀԱՄԱՀԱՅԿԱԿԱՆ ԿԱՄՔՆ ՈՒ ՈԳԻՆ...
Levon Ter-Petrosian Bows Out of Presidential Race
Raffi Hovannisian and Hrant Bagratian
Announce Their Candidacy
YEREVAN -- Ending months of speculation about his political future, Levon Ter-Petrosian, Armenia’s first president, announced on Tuesday that he will not make another bid to return to power in next February’s presidential election.
In an interview with the “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” daily, Ter-Petrosian did not voice support for any other presidential candidate. Nor did his Armenian National Congress (ANC) alliance immediately make any statements on its election-related plans.
The ANC leader, who will turn 68 on January 9, cited his age as the main reason for his decision not to run in the election. “As far as I know, so far nobody has raised the question of whether a person respecting their own people can aspire to the
post of president at the age of 68,” he said. “Such a thing usually does not happen in developed democratic countries.”
“Whatever you say, a 68-year-old person cannot be as energetic and prolific as those aged between 40 and 60, which is probably the optimal age for politicians aspiring to the post of president. Therefore, individuals younger than me should
enter the arena,” he told the pro-HAK paper. Ter-Petrosian said there is also another “insignificant and purely technical reason” for his decision. “But I don’t
want to disclose it because very few will believe in it in our cynical reality,” he said.
Levon Ter-Petrosian will not run for president again
Ter-Petrosian added that his withdrawal from the presidential race, anticipated by observers, will upset many of his supporters. “But I am sure that some time later my supporters will realize that my decision was honest and right,” he said.
Speaking to “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun,” Ter-Petrosian branded Armenia’s political leadership “a bunch of criminals who seized power” and promised to comment on “all important issues preoccupying the society” after the presidential election. It was not clear, however, whether he will resign as ANC leader and leave the political arena altogether.
On Saturday, Raffi K. Hovannisian formally announced his candidacy for the Armenian presidency. In advance of the elections, scheduled for February 2013, he publicized his decision during a Citizens' Assembly convened at the Armenia Marriott Hotel.
"All of us must become more citizen than civil, more nation than nationalistic, more liberty than liberal, more spirit than spiritual, and more Republic than republican. Because Armenia is free, independent, and united through us, our will power, and our common path. Armenia: the one and only. On February 18, 2013, our people finally must take action-- one time and together," he said.
Upon conclusion of Raffi Hovan-nisian's keynote remarks, the previous day's decision of the Heritage Party's executive board was presented to the assembled citizens for affirmation. The civic assembly and the Heritage Party delegates, as one, raised their hands in unanimous approval.
On Monday, former Prime Minister of Armenia Hrant Bagratian also announced his candidacy for President during the Azatutyun (Freedom) political party convention. Bagratian, who served as prime minister from 1993-1996, indicated that he will accept the nomination.
Bagratian said late last week that he would like to run for president if Ter-Petrosian decides not to enter the fray. He was less categorical on that score on Monday.
“I have an excellent rapport with President Ter-Petrosian, and I don’t think we will ever have problems by standing in each other’s way. I have no such intention,” he told Azatutyun delegates. “But life is moving on and there are new realities.”
The ex-premier added that his main goal is to consolidate “liberal” opposition groups and present them as a credible alternative to the Sarkisian administration.
Armenian Military Reports Major
S-300 air-defense systems
Arms Acquisitions in 2012
YEREVAN -- The Armenian military on Monday reported “significant” arms acquisitions in 2012 and said it will continue to modernize its forces with precision weaponry in the coming years.
“At the beginning of this year we declared that we have acquired new rocket systems capable of neutralizing active [armor] protection of enemy tanks,” said Artsrun Hovannisian, the spokesman for Armenia’s Defense Ministry. “This is just one example new-generation precision-guided weapons.”
“Naturally, we do not declare some things immediately. But those acquisitions are significant and they will be unveiled little by little,” Hovannisian told a news conference.
“The focus remains on extremely precise means of firepower that have serious preemptive functions,” he said of the army’s plans for 2013. “It’s an ongoing process. You will have a chance to
see all that later on.” The mostly secret acquisitions stem from a five-year plan to modernize Armenia’s armed forces
with long-range weapons and other hardware that was approved President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration two years ago. Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian said early this year that the plan is being successfully put into action. Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian likewise spoke of an on ongoing military buildup shortly afterwards.
Some of the long-range weapons possessed by Armenia were demonstrated for the first time during a military parade in Yerevan in September. 2011 Those included Russian-made Scud-B and Tochka-U missiles capable of hitting strategic targets deep inside Azerbaijani territory.
The Armenian military said in October this year that it has simulated missile strikes on military targets as well as oil and gas installations in Azerbaijan during major exercises held in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh throughout that month. It implied that those facilities will be struck in the event of a new Armenian-Azerbaijani war.
The Armenian army also appears to have been reinforced with more advanced versions of Russian-made S-300 air-defense systems. IMINT and Analysis, a U.S. defense newsletter using open- source satellite imagery, reported in October that such systems have been deployed in the last two years in Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province adjacent to Karabakh. The online publication said their sophisticated surface-to-air missiles not only cover the entire Karabakh airspace but can also thwart air travel between Azerbaijan and its Nakhichevan exclave.
Armenia is able to stay in an intensifying arms race with oil-rich Azerbaijan mainly because of close military ties with Russia that entitle it to receiving Russian weapons at discount prices or even free of charge. A new Russian-Armenian defense agreement signed in August 2010 commits Moscow to helping Yerevan obtain “modern and compatible weaponry and special military hardware.” Over the past decade, Baku has spent billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues on a military buildup.
“Taraf” Columnist Accuses Turkey in Blacking Out Information on Armenian Genocide
YEREVAN -- Lately Turkish columnists are frequently referring to the position of former and current Turkish governments over Armenian Genocide. This time the issue was highlighted my “Taraf” columnist Serdar Gaya.
As reports Armenpress referring to “Marmara” daily, published in Istanbul, in his article Gaya has reminded that in 1915 Young Turks deported or massacred the majority of Armenians living in Anatolia eliminating thousands of Armenians living in this area for years.
“Even though year after year Anatolia’s Muslims lived with Armenians they very easily forgot Armenians. Armenians, as well as their villages and churches very quickly vanished from their memory,” writes columnist. He highlights only after 1973 numerous
demands on recognizing Armenian Genocide made Turkey “remember” its past with Armenians. “For Turkish Armenian identity is nothing else but a political meaning formed with sense of hostility,” Gayan
writes. Columnist refers to UN Declaration on Genocide signed by Turkey in 1950, underlining that
Turkish side signed the document without acknowledging the meaning of word “genocide”. For such a situation he accused Turkish state which “blocked all sources of information”.
“That is why Turkish citizens are surprised and then angry when hearing about events of 1915,” Gayan writes, adding that reaction of Turkish residents is not surprising when facing the issue of Kurdish Genocide committed on physical or cultural territories.
Armenian Expert Predicts ConflictsAfter Presidential Polls
YEREVAN -- The Armenian authorities are likely to come up with an internal conflict after the presidential election, according to Richard Giragosian, the president of the Regional Studeis Center.
At a news conference on Wednesday, the expert said he predicts a very profound conflict, which he thinks will be the logical continuation of the Prosperous Armenia leader’s decision to pull out of the presidential race.
Giragosian thinks the conflict will persist, with the Prosperous Armenia party losing its strength. The expert has no doubt about the incumbent president’s re-election potentials, but said he doesn't think the possible non-competitiveness will necessarily prevent the conduct of free and fair polls.
Summing up the 2012 domestic policy developments at, Giragosian said that the oligarch’s role in the economy is likely to decrease. Giragosian thinks the authorities have realized that the oligarchic system is the country’s number one enemy, with the public growing to think more negatively of their anti-social conduct.
Giragosian evaluated 2012 as a positive year in terms of domestic economic developments. He particularly highlighted the importance of the Armenia-EU negotiations over visa facilitation and the free trade agreement. In the meantime, he pointed out to the shortage of economic opportunities, and jobs, with the economy being largely dependent on foreign transfers.
Speaking of the May parliamentary election, the analyst characterized htem as positive but not satisfactory. He said that the despite the oligarchs return to the legislature, the polls also saw a clever and strong opposition win seats.
Karabakh Reports Sharp Drop in Combat Deaths
STEPANAKERT -- The number of Armenian soldiers killed in skirmishes with Azerbaijani forces around Nagorno-Karabakh has drastically fallen this year despite increased ceasefire violations along the “line of contact,” a top military official in Stepanakert said on Wednesday.
Lieutenant-General Movses Hakobian, the commander of Karabakh’s Armenia-backed Defense Army, said only two of soldiers were shot dead by Azerbaijani snipers in the course of 2012, compared with 11 such cases reported in 2011.
“The measures which we have taken to ensure that our soldiers perform their service on the frontline safely have borne fruit,” Hakobian told a news conference. “Today soldiers can confidently carry out observations on all Defense Army positions and they face no dangers if they don’t violate safety rules.”
Hakobian added that “large-scale work to reinforce frontline positions” has also helped the Karabakh Armenian military substantially reduce the number of incursions by Azerbaijani commando units. “This year there were seven attempts by enemy sabotage groups to penetrate our positions but only one of them partly succeeded in inflicting damage on Defense Army servicemen,” he said. “In the six other cases, those groups were detected and pushed back to their starting positions after suffering casualties.”
Armenian military fortifications along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan have also reportedly been beefed up this year. Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian personally inspected in August what his press office described as “exemplary defense structures and posts” constructed at various border sections.
The most volatile, western section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontier saw an upsurge in deadly fighting in June, which left more than a dozen Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers dead. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed serious concern over those incidents when she visited the South Caucasus later in June.
Armenian Varujan Vosganian Appointed Romania's Minister of
SOFIA -- Romanian Parliament has endorsed new Cabinet of Victor Ponta on December 21, in which Armenian Varujan Vosganian was appointed as the Minister of Economy of the country.
“We think that he is one of the great individuals of Diaspora who has a lot of achievements and represents as real Armenian,” said the leader of one of Armneian community organizatuins. According to him Varujan continues the tradition of Armenians who have been ministers, parliamentarians and politicians in Romania. “I am a 100 % Armenian and 1000% Romanian,” he has once jokingly noted.
Born in Craiova to a family of Armenian ethnicity, Vosganian studied at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza High School in Focsani. He then studied Commerce at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies (graduated 1982) and Mathematics at the University of Bucharest (graduated 1991), gaining a Ph.D. in economics in 1998.
In 1990, he became president of the Armenians' Union of Romania and he was twice (1990-1992 and 1992-1996) elected a member of the Chamber of Deputies, and twice a Senator (1996-2000 and 2004-2008), on the lists of the National Liberal Party.
Between 1996 and 2003, he was the leader of Uniunea Fortelor de Dreapta, a small right wing liberal party, which was eventually merged into the National Liberal Party.
Vosganian has written several books, especially on economics and politics, but also fiction and poetry. He is a member of the Romanian Writers' Union, and since 2005, he has served as its vice president. Vosganian is also a leading member of the Romanian Humorists' Association.
In December 2006, he was named Minister of Economy and commerce. Vosganian's political views can be characterised as right-wing conservative. Vosganian has written several books, especially on economics and politics, but also fiction and
poetry. He is a member of the Romanian Writers' Union, and since 2005, he has served as its vice president. Vosganian is also a leading member of the Romanian Humorists' Association.
One of his achievements is his book titled “The book of whispers” about Armenian Genocide. Varujan Vosganian noted that it was a victory for him to speak Armenia. According to him culture is the most important tool to fight injustice, because the book is more powerful than thousands of political speeches, talks and diplomatic efforts. In the author’s words his book is about the Armenian identity.
ACNIS Releases the Third issue of Public Policy Journal: “The Changing World: Viewpoints from Yerevan”
YEREV AN -- The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) has released the third issue of ACNIS quarterly public policy publication, entitled “The Changing World: Viewpoints from Yerevan,” during a special presentation- seminar held at the Center’s office. The meeting brought together the quarterly’ s contributors, other leading analysts, policy specialists, and members of the press.
ACNIS director of research Manvel Sargsyan welcomed the audience with opening remarks and conveyed hope that the volume will serve the needs of political experts, policy commentators and the public
at large by offering a broad overview on a comprehensive set of critical issues, challenges and opportunities ̄ both domestic and foreign ̄ entwined with Armenia’ s policy imperatives, options and interests. It was also hoped that the publication would assist the decision-makers in Armenia and help define Armenia’s foreign and domestic policy issues in a broad and farsighted way.
The ceremony featured brief presentations from the volume authors Saro Saroyan, Vardan Jaloyan, Armine Ghazaryan, Edgar Vardanyan, and Arman Yeghiazaryan who provided brief summaries of key points underlying their works and flashed out the major avenues for further research and inquiry in other aspects of Armenia’s socio-political milieu. The addresses were followed by a series of questions and answers, and featured a lively exchange with the audience.
The presentation was concluded by the closing remarks of Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first minister of foreign affairs and ACNIS founder, who emphasized the important tradition of nonpartisan research that ACNIS has constantly demonstrated through its progressive performance by serving as a useful venue and a professional forum for building knowledge, where ideas can be openly generated, shaped and shared. The progressive activity of the Center and the wealth of knowledge it has contributed to the research community of Armenia and beyond reveal that the activity of the Center is respected and required, he concluded.
Ancient Armenian Coins Discovered in Turkey
The police at Turkey’s Kastamonu Province found numerous objects of historical value.
Based on a call that was received, the law enforcement officers stopped a vehicle that was entering Kastamonu city. Upon searching the vehicle, the police discovered 424 pieces of historically significant objects, jewelry, and coins plus two illegal guns, Haberler news agency of Turkey reports.
Also, there were three pieces of ancient Armenian coins among the objects that were discovered.
“In actual fact, at least the criminals do not deny that Armenians have lived in these lands,” Istanbul Armenian journalist Aris Nalci wrote in his Twitter
account in this connection.
Foreign Policy Journal Preventing the Coming U.S. Disaster in the Caucasus
By David Boyajian
The United States is risking a disastrous renewal of war in the Caucasus between Armenians and Azeris over the breakaway Armenian-populated Republic of Mountainous Karabagh (RMK, or Artsakh in ancient Armenian).
A new war between Azerbaijan and RMK (with its ally, Armenia) would undoubtedly destroy much of Azerbaijan’s energy industry. This includes key Azeri oil and gas pipelines that lie just a few miles north of RMK and snake through Georgia and Turkey.
Azerbaijan’s economy and corrupt government are massively dependent on oil and gas revenue and would be in deep trouble. The already conflict-ridden Caucasus—recall the Abkhazia stalemate and 2008’s Russian-Georgian war over South Ossetia—would be hopelessly destabilized. U.S. policy, in particular, would lie in tatters.
Not surprisingly, Western energy giants such as BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Total (France) own huge stakes in Azerbaijan’s energy infrastructure.
As expected, the conflict’s mediators—the U.S., Europe, and Russia—have an insatiable greed for Azerbaijan’s substantial oil and gas deposits. Yet had they, especially the U.S., formally recognized RMK’s independence from Azerbaijan, the conflict would have been resolved years ago. Such recognition remains the only practical and just solution.
Azerbaijan would be unhappy, yes, but would continue to sell most of its oil and gas to the West. Azeris will never sell only to Russia. That would bind them too tightly to their former overlord.
Azeri Violence
The conflict in Mountainous Karabagh broke out in the late 1980’s just after its Armenian majority, long abused by Azerbaijan, peacefully declared its desire for union with Armenia.
Azerbaijan replied with murderous attacks against Karabagh civilians. Mobs hunted down and killed Armenians in the Azeri cities of Sumgait and Ganja. After the USSR dissolved in 1991, RMK held a referendum boycotted by Azeris. It voted for independence. Azerbaijan’s response was full- scale war.
Even with help from Turkish military officers and paramilitaries, and Afghan Mujahedin, Azerbaijan lost the war. A ceasefire was declared in 1994. Yet almost daily Azerbaijan threatens a new war and snipes across the contact line.
Pumped up with billions in oil and gas revenue, Azerbaijan’s $3 billion military budget dwarfs Armenia’s entire national budget. But Armenian troops are universally acknowledged to be better trained and to possess much greater esprit de corps because they are defending their ancient lands.
But the U.S., Europe, and Russia might be coming to their senses. A few years ago, they proposed that RMK’s 100,000 mostly Armenian citizens decide its formal status in a referendum. In return, Armenians would hand over vast tracts of territory to Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan rejected this compromise. It insisted, unreasonably, that its entire population of nearly 10,000,000 must participate in such a referendum so as to outvote RMK’s 100,000 people.
How solid is RMK’ s case for independence? V ery.
RMK’ s Best Case
On every measure—history, demographics, and sheer decency—RMK has as good a case as other nations, such as South Sudan, East Timor, and the republics and regions of the former Yugoslavia, that have recently been freed from their overlords.
During pre-Soviet, Soviet, and post-Soviet times, Azeris have persecuted and murdered Mountainous Karabagh’ s Christian Armenians.
Since 1994, RMK has been a functioning, democratic, de facto independent state.
Ancient Greek and Roman historians—Strabo, Pliny the Elder, and others—testify that Artsakh/Mountainous Karabagh was part of Armenia since before the time of Christ, and has always had an Armenian majority.
Only a thousand years later did Turkic-speaking nomadic tribes from Central Asia begin dribbling into the Caucasus. At no time, however, did they or Muslims constitute more than a fraction in Mountainous Karabagh itself. An 1823 Russian survey reported it to be 97% Armenian.
From 1918-20, Azeris—in a pan-Turkic alliance with Turkey—attacked and massacred thousands of Armenians in and around Karabagh. Shortly thereafter, Russian Bolsheviks—allied with Kemalist Turkey at that time—Sovietized the Caucasus.
Lt. Col. John C. Plowden, a British military representative in the Caucasus, reported in 1919 that Mountainous Karabagh is “the cradle of their [Armenians’] race ... Armenian in every particular and the strongest part of Armenia, both financially, militarily and socially.”
But in 1921, Stalin, the Soviet Commissar for Nationalities, gifted Mountainous Karabagh to Azerbaijan, probably to curry favor with Turkey. Karabagh was thereby artificially and physically severed from Armenia, mere miles to the west.
Azerbaijan deliberately neglected not only Karabagh’s economy and roads, but also its communication and transport links with Armenia. Law enforcement positions were filled with Azeris, even though they were a minority. Armenians protested to Moscow in vain.
An Azeri policy of depopulation caused 30% of Karabagh’s Armenian villages to disappear between 1926 and 1980.
Azeris were also brought in to shift the demographics. Moutainous Karabagh’s Armenian population dropped to 94% in 1921, 89% in 1926, 80% in 1970, and 76% in 1989.
Were RMK to fall under Azeri control again, it would inevitably suffer the same fate as Nakhichevan, another Armenian province that Stalin gifted to Azeris.
Nakhichevan Emptied
Under Azeri rule over the past decades, Nakhichevan has been totally emptied of its Armenians.
One Azeri official has actually declared that “Armenians have never lived in Nakhichevan.” Since the existence of Armenian buildings, churches, and monuments disprove such absurd claims, Azeris have undertaken to deface or level them in Nakhichevan and elsewhere.
In 2005, for example, Azerbaijani servicemen used sledgehammers and machinery to completely destroy thousands of ancient Armenian Khachkars (intricately carved stone crosses) in a cemetery in the city of Julfa. The Azeris were caught in the act from across the border. The astonishing video is on the Web.
The destruction has been compared to the Taliban’s dynamiting of ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. Azerbaijan has banned foreign observers and ambassadors from the site.
Due to their falsifying others’ history and culture, we are compelled, sadly, to examine Azeris’ own roots.
The Invention of Azerbaijan
Most people are unaware that “Azerbaijan” was created as a country—out of thin air—in 1918, just after Russia’ s Bolshevik Revolution.
The region’s Muslims had never been known as “Azeri,” an ethnicity that had never existed. Rather, they called themselves Turks, Tartars, or simply Muslims. Large numbers of Armenians, Georgians, and others also inhabited that same territory.
Prior to 1918, “Azarbayjan” referred merely to two provinces—not a country—in northwestern Persia (Iran). These were always located strictly to the south, below the Arax River, of the artificially-created Azerbaijan of 1918.
The so-called Azeris speak a Turkic language. But the word Azerbaijan is actually Persian, not Turkic. It is derived from the name Atropates, a Persian governor appointed by Alexander the Great around 327 BC.
The Soviets probably chose the name “Azerbaijan” in 1918 to further their designs on Iran. Indeed, during and after WW 2, the Soviets tried unsuccessfully to carve out a “People’s Republic of Azarbayjan” in Iran’s northwest.
The Sordid U.S. State Department
The U.S. State Department’s policies toward Azerbaijan have a particularly sordid aspect involving personal gain and undue influence.
In 2010, for example, President Obama appointed Matt Bryza as interim American ambassador to Azerbaijan, despite Bryza’s questionable ties to Azeri officials.
Not surprisingly, after a year in Baku, Bryza joined the Istanbul-based Turcas Petrol Corporation, a partner of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR).
The United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) has always been crammed with former U.S. officials such as Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretaries of State James A. Baker and Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Perle, and Brent Scowcroft. They rub elbows with USACC fat cats from corporations that invest in Azerbaijan’s energy industry.
Israel, known for its influence on U.S. policy, and some Jewish American organizations, have allied themselves with Azerbaijan. 30% of Israel’s oil imports come from Azerbaijan. Israel is selling $1.6 billion dollars’ worth of advanced weapons, including drones, to Azerbaijan, which is threatening to use them against RMK.
The RMK conflict is not unsolvable. The facts are clear. Azerbaijan has no valid claim to RMK. Yet U.S. support of Azerbaijan may drag it into war.
America must take the lead and formally recognize RMK’s independence. Europe and Russia will follow. The alternative may be another U.S. war whose cost in blood and money we Americans cannot afford.
The author is a frreelance journalist. Many of his recent articles are archived at
AVC Professional Corps:
“If You Can Dream it, You Can Do it!”
YEREVAN -- Thirty years in corporate publishing was enough. But what wasn’t enough for Suzanne Daghlian, 53, of New Jersey was the two weeks she spent volunteering in Armenia each summer. She’d been travelling to Armenia every summer since 2006 and building houses with the Fuller Center for Housing. As a team leader, her time in Armenia was full attending to the volunteers she’d recruited, organizing their days working on construction sites, their evenings out on the town, and their touring days visiting the great sights of Armenia. She felt the time always flew by and she was never able to really enjoy the pace of Armenia, to learn the language, to really relax into it. So when she lost her job along with many other veterans
of the old guard of New York publishing, she knew it was time to realize a dream she’d always had to live somewhere outside of the US for a little while and do something good for others.
Suzanne has lived in New Jersey her whole life, commuting to Manhattan for work. Her parents were founding members of the Armenian Church in Tenafly, New Jersey and Suzanne has always been active in her church. Her travels have taken her from the Andes and the Amazon to Kenya and Tanzania, from Scandinavia to Hawaii, as well as all over the continental United States for her work. For the past seven years, however, Suzanne’s heart has been in Armenia.
“I always dreamed of taking off and moving to a different place with a different point of view. And then I fell in love with Armenia. I found the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) website years ago and would leave it open on my computer at work and fantasize about being a long-term volunteer in Armenia. But I didn’t think I would ever have the guts to leave my life behind and go. When I lost my job, the stars aligned for me and I just knew I had to do it.”
Suzanne made all the arrangements—she produced a budget, arranged to pay her bills online, found a house sitter to take care of things at home, and applied to AVC. Once accepted, she began to tell people about her plan to go to Armenia to volunteer for four months.
Her family and friends were ecstatic for her. Many of them knew of her desire to live abroad for a time, all of them knew of her love for Armenia, and some of them admitted that they dream of this kind of adventure themselves. “It’s amazing how many of my friends and cohorts say they want to do something like this, but they feel they can’t get away from their responsibilities. But I haven’t left my responsibilities—I am paying my bills and keeping in touch with all I need to, and I’m living here in Armenia for four months. In this day and age, with all the technology we have access to, it’s really easy to be in two places at once.”
The Armenian Volunteer Corps has coordinated her volunteer placements while she is here. Suzanne is volunteering at the American University of Armenia in their Extension Program. She’s helping them promote a new branch of the program in Karabagh. She’s also working at the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia, where she knows the mission and the need and is able to help them with editing, writing, and marketing.
“Not only has AVC provided me with job placements that are in alignment with my experience, but they provide me with an amazing community of friends made up of the other volunteers in-country. We have language classes together, go on weekend excursions out of the city, and attend cultural events. In addition, the AVC office is a home away from home—a place where we are always welcome and will always find a friend.”
“Armenia got inside me and called me back, over and over again. I love it here—the pace, the people, the scenery, the very soul of it has me in its sway and won’t let go. Having the opportunity to come here and work for Armenia is a gift I gave myself. I’m learning so much, but the most important lesson is that if you can dream it, you can do it!”
Founded in 2000, the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) is Armenia’s premiere volunteer placement organization.
European Cows Can’t Stand Poor Living Conditions in Azerbaijan
By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier
In keeping with the holiday spirit, my last column of the year is devoted to a light-hearted topic! In a story titled: "Imported Cattle no Bovine Boon for Azerbaijan," Seadet Akifqizi of the Azerbaijani Service
of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported that the government of Azerbaijan spent $23 million to import "4,500 pedigree cows from Germany and Austria in an effort to improve livestock quality and boost milk production." Each European cow was expected to produce 40 liters (10.5 gallons) of milk a day compared to the domestic Azeri cow that yielded only 9 liters (2.4 gallons), Akifqizi wrote.
Unfortunately, the project was a failure and the invested funds were wasted. Many of the high-class European cows could not survive the miserable living conditions in Azerbaijan!
Baku officials blame farmers for "not caring properly for the imported cows, which apparently require a certain degree of pampering." Azeri agricultural analyst Vahid Maharramov explains that the cattle brought from overseas "require high-quality feed and special hygiene."
Farmers, on the other hand, complain that they cannot afford to extend such lavish care and attention to the foreign cows, because "it is not cost effective and would lead to a steep increase in the price of milk."
Farmer Tarbiya Yusifova is unhappy that her major investment in imported cows did not pay off: "The price of the milk we produce is expensive for most customers because the hay we buy for the cattle is very expensive."
This is how the government’s ‘lease a cow’ program works: Farmers pay half the price of the cows when leasing them from the state-controlled firm Agrolizinq. The balance is to be paid in three years. Farmers must "have their own sowing area and adhere to strict guidelines for their barns," Akifqizi explained. "The humidity and lighting needs to be just right, and their diets and hygienic conditions should remind the European cattle of home."
However, conditions in Azerbaijan are far from ideal for the imported cows. When the RFE/RL reporter visited Firudin Hasanov’s farm in the Qushchu village, she learned that the farmer had to send most of his 30 pedigree cows to relatives in the Baku area because he was unable to provide the proper living conditions for them.
Akifqizi describes Hasanov’s farm as "a squalid barn that looks like it hasn't been cleaned for months. It is littered with manure, spiders climb the walls, and flies buzz around the feed containers." Hasanov explained that he "couldn't afford to upgrade his barns because in the countryside he can't sell his milk" at a price that would cover his costs.
To make matters worse, farmers have to pay Agrolizinq the full amount of the lease, even if the cows die prematurely. RFE/RL reports that "at least 260 of the imported cows have died since 2009, equal to around $1.3 million in losses." It is not known how many of these cows committed suicide because they could not stand living in such unbearable conditions!
The story takes a more serious turn when the RFE/RL reporter raises serious questions about the price of the European cows and the identity of the companies that imported them.
Agricultural analyst Maharramov notes that "the prices Azerbaijani farmers are being asked to pay for the pedigree cows is significantly higher than in other countries." RFE/RL revealed that "pedigree cattle imported from Austria cost $5,000 per head, as opposed to around $3,000 in Turkey."
According to Agrolizinq, three little-known companies had won the tenders to import European cows to Azerbaijan: Rista Alliance, Ninox Alliance, and Swisspoint Merchants Limited, which was registered in New Zealand from 2009 until 2011. "The website of the New Zealand commercial registry says the firm was directed by a Latvian citizen named Inta Bilder," RFE/RL discovered. A search of the registry identified "Bilder as the director or shareholder of hundreds of companies. Earlier this year, the Ukrainian newspaper ‘Dzerkalo Tyzhnia’ reported that one of those companies, Falcona Systems, was linked to an alleged fraud worth more than $150 million involving state-owned companies."
Maharramov is suspicious. He told RFE/RL: "Considering that the government directs budget resources [to buy cattle from abroad] hastily and without any preparation, you can suspect that there were some other intentions in this."
Maharramov should be very cautious when talking about imported animals. In 2009, Azeri blogger Emin Milli was jailed for reporting that the government of Azerbaijan had paid exorbitant prices for imported donkeys!
THE MYTH THE PERSON Most people know that our Santa Claus today originated from St. Nicholas, but the derivation of the Santa Claus story comes from many sources. In fact, since the Catholic church in 1969 demoted St. Nicholas from his official saintly status as there were no records of his having been canonized the original legend of this third century Turkish bishop is not very widely recognized as part of our Christmas
celebration. Nicholas was born into a wealthy family living in Patera, in the south of Turkey. Legend claims that
on the church's fast days, Wednesdays and Fridays, the infant Nicholas nursed only after sundown.
Just one of many stories demonstrating his holy reputation is about an angel who appeared to the cardinal appointing a new bishop for the Turkish town of Mira, with a face bright like the sun, who told the cardinal to ordain the 30-year old Nicholas.
Through his priesthood in the early Christian faith, even while alive he came to be recognized for his generosity to all those in trouble. In his good- doing role as priest, one story tells of Nicholas, who took pity on a girl in his parish whose family had no dowry. Had Nicholas not intervened, this would have prevented her from marrying. He made a parcel of money from his family's coffers and donated it anonymously to the young woman and her future by throwing it in through the open window, where it is said to have landed in her stocking. This type of event
occurred more than once, and Nicholas became known for late night gifts, and the granting of wishes. A miracle of his legacy is the story of three young students who were robbed and dismembered on their way home from school, and stuffed in a pickle barrel. Nicholas is said to have appeared out of
nowhere, and the boys arose at his command, intact. In 314 A.D., at the Council of Nicea, the Emperor Constantine brought up the
question of whether Christ was divine. During the arguments on the subject, Nicholas is reported to have slapped a doubting priest.
Once the story of his deeds spread, he became widely known for helping those in trouble: lawyers and their clients, pawnbrokers, and sailors, as he was invoked to calm turbulent seas. And he became the patron saint of children. From his tomb, a viscous myrrh-like material oozed and was used by pilgrims as an ointment, to heal sickness. By 1082, his body was removed from where it was initially interred in Turkey, and moved to Bari, Italy by grave robbing sailors, and a cathedral was built there in his name. For centuries there were more churches in the middle ages named after him than all the apostles, and next to Christ and the Virgin Mary, St. Nicholas was the next most popular figure in Christianity.
In a French village during the 12th century, local nuns honored their patron on December 6, which became St. Nicholas Day. The nuns delivered candy to all the children who'd been good, leaving it for them in their shoes, and leaving switches in those of the naughtier children. Because they seemed to cover so much territory, some began to say it was St. Nicholas himself who delivered the gifts.
By medieval times Nicholas had become the most beloved patron saint of Europe, and through the middle ages, the story of Christmas in Europe developed to combine religious and pagan myths.
German culture told of the ancient god Voden, the mystical sky rider who would pass judgment over villages to determine who did well, and who did not. In the 16th century reformation, Martin Luther's strong Protestant church banned St. Nicholas, denouncing his popularity as a saint because it rivaled the worship of Jesus.
When Luther created the Protestant church, he realized it would be necessary to wean German children off of St. Nick, so he created Krist Kindle, the winged Christ cherub, who also flew and brought gifts to good children ~ but which instead focused the celebration around Christ. He came on Christmas
Eve at Christ's birthday, which more closely coincides with the Winter Solstice, around which pagan religion celebrated the return of the Sun's light.
In England the myth developed around Father Christmas, and in France, Pere Noël. Italy's old hag Bafana, out looking for the Christ child, left gifts in her wake for other kids. The gnome Tompten was Sweden's figure, and in the U.S., Martin Luther's Krist Kindle became Kris Kringle.
It was Dutch sailors who came to the New World and would not give up St. Nicholas as their patron; when they settled, particularly around the New York area, their nickname Santer Klause became the name we know as Santa Claus.
In early colonial times around the American Revolution, the new American culture embraced most all that was not British, and so took on the Dutch Christmas celebration honoring their beloved St. Nick. Washington Irving gave the Dutch culture prominence in his "Knickerbocker Tales," which he wrote for the New York newspaper press. He mentions St. Nicholas over two dozen times in his chronicle, and it is from these writings that the original story "A Visit from St. Nicholas," better known as "The Night Before Christmas," was conceived. The poem came to Clement Clark one night before Christmas when he was riding in a horse and carriage through the snowy streets of New York City, and so went home and wrote it for his children.
St. Nick came to be depicted as a jolly man in the more familiar red suit and white beard, and Harper's Weekly publisher Thomas Nast printed drawings that brought these images to the public. By this time, St. Nicholas' bishop's staff had become the more pagan candy cane. Other popular writers in the 1800s also published variations of the Santa Claus story, and by the 1890s, the first department store santas had emerged. By the 20th century, Santa Claus was here to stay!
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