Friday, 7 December 2012

LOUSSAPATZ_The Dawn - 2012-962-12-8.


ԹԻՒ 962 ՇԱԲԱԹ, 8 ԴԵԿՏԵՄԲԵՐ 2012
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VARDAN AIGEKTSI (XII-XIII)
Dates of birth and death unknown. Armenian preacher and fabulist of the late 12th and early 13th centuries
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ՊԱՂԵՍՏԻՆԻ ԱՐԴԱՐ ԻՐԱՒՈՒՆՔԸ ՄԵԹՐ Պարգեւ Դաւիթեան Վերջապէս, Պաղեստինցին ստացաւ աշխարհի ժողովուրդներուն հետ հաւասար նկատուելու
միջազգային կնիքն ու պաշտօնական իրաւունքը։ Միացեալ Ազգաց Կազմակերպութեան (ՄԱԿ) Ընդհանուր Ժողովը, իր 193 թիւ հաշուող պետութիւններու կազմին մէջ ընդունեց Պաղեստինը, որպէս Դիտորդ Պետութիւն, այնպիսի բացարձակ մեծամասնութեամբ մը (138 պետութեանց քուէներով), որ ամօթի պատին գամեց դէմ քուէարկողներու փոքր թիւ մը (9) բաղկացեալ Իսրայէլի հետ կուրօրէն ընթացող Ամերիկայէն եւ Հարբըրեան Գանատայէն, եւ իրենց հետ քանի մը անկշիռ, անճանաչելի եւ անծանօթ պետութիւններէ։ Աշխարհ իր մեծերով, Չինաստանով, Հնդկաստանով, Ճաբոնով, Ռուսիայով, Պրազիլով, Ֆրանսայով, Իտալիայով, (եւ Հայաստան աշխարհով.....), ինչպէս նաեւ ամբողջ հինգ ցամաքամասերը լաւապէս ներկայացնող երկիրներով, ԱՅՈ ըսաւ Պաղեստինին, որ անոր չարչարեալ եւ գրաւեալ ներկան, ունենայ իր տեղը միջազգային մարմիններու մէջ եւ արդար ձայնը ՝միջազգային ատեաններու մօտ։ Քուէարկութենէն անմիջապէս ետք, Ամերիկայի ՄԱԿ-ի մօտ դեսպան Սիւզըն Ռայս, առարկեց ըսելով թէ Ամերիկան դէմ քուէարկեց որովհետեւ ան կը հաւատայ որ միայն Իսրայէլ-Պաղեստին ուղղակի բանակցութիւններով կարելի է ճշդել կամ լուծել Պաղեստինի կարգավիճակը։ Ի՜նչ հեգնանք։ Այսպիսի առարկութիւն, որ Իսրայէլի կողմէ առաջ կը քշուի, պարզապէս ժամավատնում եւ ժամավաճառում է։ Այնքան ատեն որ Իսրայէլ, հակառակ Ամերիկայի եւ մնացեալ աշխարհի ընդդիմութեան, կը շարունակէ Պաղեստինեան հողի վրայ նոր գաղթավայրեր (Settlements) ստեղծելու կամ ամրապնդելու իր անընդունելի քաղաքականութիւնը, եւ այնքան ատեն որ ան չընդունիր Երուսաղէմ քաղաքէն փոքր մաս մը զիջիլ որպէս մայրաքաղաք նորաստեղծ Պաղեստինի պետութեան, ան կը նկատուի արգելք եւ խոչըընդոտ՝ որեւէ տեսակի խաղաղութիւն կամ համաձայնութիւն կնքելու յաջողութեան խնդրին մէջ։ Յետոյ, անհաւասար կողմերու միջեւ եղող ուղղակի բանակցութիւն մը անկարելի է որ արդար լուծում տայ տկար կողմին, այս պարագային, Պաղեստինին։ Ամերիկան որ յաճախ հաշտարար դեր կ՚ուզէ խաղալ, միակողմանի չկրնար ըլլալ կամ անտարբեր մնալ Իսրայէլի անօրէն գրաւումին նկատմամբ։ Եւրոպան շատոնց հասկցած ըլլալ կը թուի անարդարութեան կիրարկումը Պաղեստինեան ժողովուրդի դատին դէմ, ճիշդ այնպէս ինչպէս ան հասկցած ըլլալ կը թուի արդար պահանջքը հայութեան իրեն դէմ կատարուած ցեղասպանութեան ճանաչումի հարցին մէջ։ Թուրքիոյ եւ Իսրայէլի կողքին միշտ կանգնող Ամերիկայի պետութիւնը պարտի սխալ դիրքորոշումներով մարդկութեան մեծամասնութեան դէմ չկանգնիլ, եւ ներկայացնել իր ժողովուրդի մշակութապէս եւ մարդկայնապէս յառաջացած մեծամասնութիւնը, եւ չենթարկուիլ դրամատէր մեծ ընկերութիւններու շահախնդիր ցուցմունքներուն։ Իսկ ինչ կը վերաբերի Հարբըրեան Գանատայի կողմնակալ քուէին, ան գոնէ կրնար իրեն եղբայր նկատուող Անգլիոյ եւ Աւստրալիոյ պէս ոչ թեր ոչ ալ դէմ քուէարկելով չէզոք դիրք բռնել։ Կար ժամանակ, երբ Գանատան, Լէսթըր Փիրսընի եւ Փիէր Էլեըթ Թրուտոյի անկողմնակալ, չէզոք եւ խաղաղապահ դիրքով, կը վայելէր յարգանքն ու վստահութիւնը մարդկութեան, եւ ունէր իւրայատուկ անկախ քաղաքականութիւն։ Ի՞նչ պէտք ունէր Գանատան մտահոգուելու այնքա՜ն, որ իր արտաքին գործոց նախարար Ճան Պէրտ-ը պարտադրուէր խորհրդակցութեան կանչելու Միջին Արեւելքի մէջ ծառայող իր դեսպանները .....։ Ինչու՞ պէտք էր վտանգել Գանատացիներու ապահովութիւնը այսքան ալեկոծ աշխարհի մը մէջ, կողմնակալ կեցուածքով մը որ խոտոր կը հանդիսանայ Գանատայի չէզոք եւ արդար անցեալին եւ անոր ժողովուրդի մեծամասնութեան փափաքին։
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Sarkisian Promises EU President Elections Will Meeting International Standards
YEREVAN -- President Serzh Sarkisian reassured the European Union over the weekend that Armenia’s forthcoming presidential election, in which he will be seeking a second five-year term, will be free and fair.
Speaking after talks in Yerevan with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Sarkisian also said his government expects to complete by the end of next year ongoing negotiations with the EU on a far-reaching “association agreement.”
“I assured Mr. Barroso that we are committed to holding in February 2013 presidential elections meeting the highest international standards,” he told a joint news conference.
“We agreed that it is critically important that the next presidential elections are impeccable,” Barroso, who runs the EU’s Brussels-based executive body, said for his part.
EU officials have stressed in recent months that a further deepening of Armenia’s ties with the 27-nation bloc, sought by the Sarkisian administration, is contingent on the proper conduct of the presidential election. They have implied that a clean vote is also essential for the holding of an unprecedented conference of Armenia’s foreign donors planned by the EU.
Armenian leaders and Sarkisian in particular have repeatedly pledged to live up to these expectations. They point to their handling of last May’s parliamentary elections, which was cautiously praised by the EU.
Barroso reaffirmed that praise but, like other EU officials, called for further improvements in election administration.
Armenia’s main opposition groups dismiss the government pledges and say Sarkisian will seek to win reelection at any cost. They also claim that the May elections were rigged in favor of his ruling Republican Party of Armenia.
Barroso arrived in Yerevan on Friday to attend a summit of the leaders of Armenia, Georgia and Moldova that was organized by the European People’s Party. The one-day meeting was devoted to the efforts by the three former Soviet republics to integrate more closely with the EU within the framework of the Eastern Partnership program. Association agreements currently negotiated by each of them stem from that program.
The European Commission chief held separate talks with Sarkisian on Saturday. The Armenian president said he “reaffirmed our determination to develop and deepen Armenia-EU cooperation.” He also stated that Yerevan hopes to wrap up its complex association talks with the EU by November 2013.
A key component of the EU’s future association agreement with Armenia is the creation of a “deep and comprehensive free trade area.” The Eastern Partnership also makes the country eligible for a facilitation of the EU’s strict visa requirements for Armenian citizens.
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Brussels and Yerevan finalized a visa facilitation agreement in mid-October. Barroso and Sarkisian announced that it will be signed in December.
Armenian Killed in Hassake, Syria
His Son Wounded
According to unofficial information armed rebels killed an Armenian in al Hassake city of Syria, near the Turkish border. His son is wounded. As stated in facebook pages of the Armenians from Aleppo. They state that the accident happened at the time, when the rebels tried to kidnap the Armenian young man. In accordance with the information the deceased Armenian is Abd al Ahad Pachora. Although, this news has not been officially approved yet.
On December 5 Press Secretary of the Armenian National Prelacy of Aleppo Jirayr Reisian stated that situation in Aleppo is rather calm, one cannot hear shooting and explosions as frequently as before. In addition he said that electricity is still being interrupted and telephone connection has not finally been fixed yet.
Our compatriot from Kessab also informed us that telephone connection has now been restored and the intense situation of the last week changed to relatively peaceful one. Road to Latakia is open now. Notwithstanding from time to time one can hear shootings.
As to the situation in Damascus our compatriot informed us that the situation in the capital is calm, but the situation in Armenian-populated Jaramana region is still intense, as the road to the airport is rather close to this region.
Clashes in Syrian lasting more than 20 months caused the death of about 40 thousand people.
Five Armenian Crew Members Killed in Congo Plane Crash
BRAZZAVILLE -- A cargo plane owned by a private company crashed last Friday near the airport in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, killing at least 25 people including seven crew members, officials said.
The Soviet-made Ilyushin-76 belonged to Trans Air Congo and appeared to be transporting merchandise, not people. The plane was coming from Congo's second-largest city, Pointe Noire, and tried to land during heavy rain, he said.
Five of the crew members were identified as Armenian citizens. They are Varazdat Balasanian, the captain of the aircraft, born October 10, 1949, Ara Tovmasian, Tadevos
Hovhannisian, Andranik Gevorgian and Edgar A vetian. “All five pilots worked in Congo on a contractual basis,” Nelly Cherchinian, a spokeswoman for
Armenia’s civil aviation authority, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. Other sources said the pilots worked for an Armenian aviation company. Its name was not
immediately known. News reports said the plane skidded off the runway and crashed into houses and a bar in the
Congolese capital after it landed in a violent storm. Most of the victims were said to be local residents.
Rep. Adam Schiff Calls on Congress to Cut All Security Funding to Azerbaijan
WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent a letter to Senators Patrick Leahy and Lindsey Graham, and Representatives Kay Granger and Nita Lowey – the Chairmen and
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Ranking Members of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittees in the House and Senate – calling on them to cut all security assistance to Azerbaijan, including Azerbaijan’s International Military Education and Training Account (IMET) funding. This latest request comes after the egregious repatriation and release of Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani army captain who had confessed to the savage 2004 axe murder of Armenian army lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan during a NA TO Partnership for Peace Program.
“Azerbaijan has committed the most terrible subversion of justice – making a hero of a cold- blooded killer,” said Rep. Schiff. “Plainly the investment we have made in training Azeri forces has been worse than wasted. The United States must not tolerate any acts of aggression against Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh, and this hateful action by President Aliyev undermines all international efforts to bring about a peaceful solution in the region.”
The full letter Schiff sent to the Chairmen and Ranking Members is below: Dear Chairmen Leahy and Granger and Ranking Members Graham and Lowey: As you continue work on the 2013 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
appropriations bill, I urge you to cut all security assistance to Azerbaijan, including Azerbaijan’s IMET funding, in response to the egregious repatriation and release of Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani army captain who had confessed to the savage 2004 axe murder of Armenian army lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan, while the latter slept. At the time, the two were participating in a NATO Partnership for Peace exercise in Budapest, Hungary. After the murder, Safarov was sentenced to life in prison by a Hungarian court and imprisoned in Hungary.
On August 31, Safarov was sent home to Azerbaijan, purportedly to serve out the remainder of his sentence. Instead of prison, he was greeted as a hero by the Azeri government and promenaded through the streets of Baku carrying a bouquet of roses. President Ilham Aliyev immediately pardoned Safarov and he was promoted to the rank of major and given a new apartment and eight years of back pay.
The Aliyev government’s rapturous welcome for Safarov in Baku exposes a fundamental contempt for the rule of law that is the underpinning of any state that aspires to greater integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. It also further poisons relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the ethnic Armenian territory of Nagorno- Karabakh. The OSCE’s Minsk Group (United States, Russia and France) has been trying to work with the parties to fashion a settlement to a crisis that threatens to plunge the Caucasus into war. That effort, already difficult because of years of repeated sniping incidents by Azeri forces, as well as a stream of bellicose statements from Baku, is now even more challenging.
Azerbaijan must pay a high price for its actions. Baku treasures the security assistance that it receives from Washington, not because it needs the money (it does not), but because it signifies a certain closeness in the bilateral relationship. By cutting off military aid to Azerbaijan, the United States would signal its disgust with the Safarov affair, while also reminding Aliyev that the United States will not tolerate any acts of aggression against Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh.
Furthermore, the United States should immediately suspend all IMET activities with Azerbaijan. According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees IMET, the program has two aims:
• To further the goal of regional stability through effective, mutually beneficial military-to-military relations which culminate in increased understanding and defense cooperation between the United States and foreign countries; and
• To increase the ability of foreign national military and civilian personnel to absorb and maintain basic democratic values and protect internationally recognized human rights.
Azerbaijan’s actions in pardoning, parading and promoting an axe-murderer like Safarov clearly indicate that our investment there in IMET has been an abject failure. The funding, training and support has plainly not fostered either regional stability or the absorption of democratic values and a respect for human rights.
I would be happy to discuss this issue further with you or your staff, but we cannot continue to embrace a government and a military that operates at cross-purposes to our own interests and in violation of the most basic norms of international behavior.
Sincerely, Adam Schiff
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Armenian National Archive Publishes Testimonies of Genocide Survivors
Director of the Armenian National Archive Amatuni Virabyan
YEREV AN -- The National Archives of Armenia have published a three-volume collection of Armenian Genocide memories recorded since 1916.
The book includes accounts of Armenian genocide survivors as well as those of Persians, Turks, Assyrians and Greeks, archive director Amatuni Virabyan said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The books contain copies of archives of the countries whose ambassadors were in the Ottoman Empire at the time of the genocide. Over 400 documents will have been published for the first time.
“The fact that the testimonies of the witnesses were collected just one year following the massacres ensures the authenticity and validity of the information, therefore strengthening their importance in the process of comprehensive study of the
Armenian Genocide,” editor-in-chief of the publication, Director of the Armenian National Archive Amatuni Virabyan told reporters today.
“We plan to publish additional two volumes: one of them dedicated to Armenians of Cilicia exterminated and deported in 1918-22, the second – to Armenians living outside Western Armenia, in Constantinople and central regions of Turkey,” Virabyan said, according to News.am.
The archive also plans to publish 20 volumes of documents telling about Armenians’ property confiscated by the Ottoman government.
The book published with the support of Van NGO will be translated into English and Turkish during the year.
Armenian Officers Again Inspect Turkish Troops
An Armenian officer inspecting a Turkish military base near Kars
A team of Armenian army officers has visited Turkish military bases deployed along Turkey’ s border with Armenia to verify Ankara’s compliance with a key international arms control treaty.
The Armenian Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday that its representatives travelled to Turkey on November 26 and spent a week counting tanks, artillery systems and other military hardware at an army brigade and a regiment headquartered in the border towns of Kars and Igdir respectively. Both units are part of the Turkish Third Army deployed in the country’s northeast.
A Defense Ministry statement said the Armenian officers also held a “briefing” with Turkish military commanders on the ground on “combat issues, trainings and general issues.”
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The statement added that the weeklong inspection detected no violations of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty by Ankara.
Signed in 1990 and revised in 1999, the CFE places specific limits on the deployment of troops and heavy weapons from the Atlantic coast to Russia's Ural mountains. Armenia as well as neighboring Georgia and Azerbaijan signed up to the treaty after gaining independence.
Signatories to the treaty are allowed to inspect each other’s compliance with the arms ceilings through random visits to practically any military facility. Military delegations from Turkey and other NATO member states have regularly traveled to Armenia for this purpose since the mid- 1990s. The Armenian military first sent a group of CFE inspectors to eastern Turkey in March 2010.
The mutual inspections by the Armenian and Turkish armed forces have taken place despite the absence of diplomatic relations between the two neighboring states. Neither side has accused the other of violating the CFE.
By contrast, Armenia and Azerbaijan have long been accusing one another of exceeding their equal arms quotas set by the Cold War-era treaty. Azerbaijan says that Armenia keeps a large part of its weaponry in Nagorno-Karabakh to imitate its compliance with the pact. Armenian officials, for their part, say that Baku is obstructing international inspections of its military facilities.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani militaries have never sent CFE inspectors to each other’s units in line with a gentlemen’s agreement dating back to the 1990s.
“House of Hungary” to be Established in Azerbaijan
BAKU -- A delegation led by member of National Assembly of Hungary and co-chair of the Azerbaijani-Hungarian intergovernmental economic commission Péter Szijjártó will pay an official visit to Baku, reports Panarmenia.net, citing Trend news agency.
According to the news account, the Hungarian delegation will comprise representatives from various economic sectors, including banking, tourism and Wizz Air airlines, with meeting with Azerbaijani Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev on the agenda.
The delegation will also attend the opening ceremony of the 'House of Hungary' in Baku.
According to Azeri media outlets, relations between Baku and Budapest intensified following the transfer of Ramil Safarov to Baku, with Azerbaijan and Hungary expressing mutual readiness to “expand economic ties” and deepen cooperation in the field of education.
Ramil Safarov, the Azerbaijani army officer who was serving a life sentence in Hungary for axing to death Armenian Lt. Gurgen Margaryan, was extradited to Azerbaijan and pardoned by President Ilham Aliyev.
Official Yerevan reacted by suspending diplomatic ties with Hungary.
Hungary, however, states that it had sent Safarov back to Azerbaijan after receiving assurances from the Azerbaijani Justice Ministry that Safarov's sentence, which included the possibility of parole after 25 years, would be enforced.
According to some reports, Safarov was extradited to Azerbaijan in exchange for Azeri purchase of Hungarian securities worth Euro 2-3 billion, information official Budapest denies.
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Corruption Survey Finds Little Improvement in Armenia
YEREVAN -- Despite its government’s stated efforts to combat corruption, Armenia again ranked lowly in an annual global survey released by Transparency International on Wednesday.
Armenia and seven other countries, including Mexico and the Philippines, share 105th place in the Berlin-based watchdog’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) covering 176 states and territories.
The South Caucasus state ranked 129th in the previous CPI released a year go. That survey rated 183 nations.
V aruzhan Hoktanian, director of Transparency International’s Armenian branch, the Anti-Corruption Center, downplayed Armenia’s improved position in the latest rankings topped by Denmark, Finland and New Zealand. He said its CPI score has actually
slightly worsened over the past year. The 2012 survey assigned Armenia a score of 34 measured on a 100-point scale, with
zero indicating an extremely high degree of corruption as perceived by entrepreneurs and experts. Transparency International rated countries with 10-point scales in its previous surveys.
“The overall picture is quite sad,” Hoktanian told a news conference. “In the last few years corruption has continued to grow on the global scale and this indicator testifies to that.”
Hoktanian insisted that the scale of bribery and other corrupt practices in Armenia has not decreased in the last several years despite government pledges to step up its efforts to tackle the problem. He said separate surveys conducted by the Anti-Corruption Center show that the law-enforcement and judicial systems are regarded by Armenians as the most corrupt public institutions.
President Serzh Sarkisian has pledged to crack down on graft throughout his rule. His prime minister, Tigran Sarkisian, said last month that the president has instructed the Armenian government to take “resolute” anti-graft measures “so that we can effect changes that are tangible and visible.”
The announcement followed a series of corruption inquiries ordered by the Armenian authorities after a September 15 government meeting during which President Sarkisian denounced widespread corruption in the administration of state procurements. Several senior government officials were sacked in the following weeks amid criminal proceedings launched by the police.
Opposition leaders and other government critics have dismissed this crackdown as a publicity stunt aimed at boosting Sarkisian’s reelection chances in a presidential ballot due in February.
Transparency International Armenian branch director Varuzhan Hoktanian
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Danish Royal Library Under Fire for Armenian Genocide Exhibition
By Christian Wenande
The Royal Library has attracted heavy criticism after agreeing to let Turkey co- arrange an alternative exhibition about the Armenian Genocide.
The library has complied with the wishes of the Turkish ambassador to Denmark to be involved with the exhibition, ‘The Armenian Genocide and the Scandinavian response’, which is currently on display at the University of Copenhagen.
The Turkish Embassy has been granted the opportunity to stage a Turkish version of the historical events in a move that has generated criticism from a number of circles, including politicians, historians, and the Armenian
Embassy in Copenhagen. “This is giving in to Turkish pressure and it won’t do. Without comparing the two events, it’s like
asking neo-Nazis to arrange a Holocaust exhibition,” Søren Espersen, a spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti (DF), told Berlingske newspaper.
Turkey refuses to to use the 'genocide' to describe the deaths of over an estimated one million Armenians who died during the mass extermination carried out by the Ottoman Empire between the years of 1915-1923. Turkey counters that the deaths were a by-product of the First World War and that the issue should be left to historians.
But Matthias Bjørnlund, a historian and leading Danish expert on the Armenian Genocide, is perplexed over the Royal Library’s decision in the case.
“If you believe that all versions of history are equal, then you’ve undermined your role as a research institution,” Bjørnlund told Berlingske. “It was genocide and not all interpretations of this history are correct.”
The Armenian ambassador to Denmark, Hrachya Aghajanyan, who is a co-host of the original exhibition, is disappointed by the move.
“I hope that the Royal Library will reconsider their decision and not give in to the possible Turkish pressure,” Aghajanyan told Berlingske.
But Erland Kolding Nielsen, the director of the Royal Library, denied that the institution buckled under pressure from Turkey.
“One can’t pressure us, and we have not spoken about removing the Armenian exhibition. We have simply given them the opportunity to show their alternative exhibition,” Nielsen told Berlingske.
Currently, 24 nations - including France, Germany and Russia - officially consider the killings as genocide, but Denmark has yet to make that assertion.
Earlier this year, Turkey condemned the French senate's adoption of a law criminalising those who refuse to recognise the killing of Armenians in 1915 as genocide in France. The Turkish government froze political and military ties with France after the law passed in late January 2012, which would impose a fine of 335,000 kroner and a one-year jail sentence on those found guilty of denying that the deaths amounting to genocide.
It is not yet know when the Turkish exhibition version will debut, but the Turkish embassy said that preparations were underway.
The Copenhagen Post
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Armenia is An Open-Air Archeological Museum
YEREVAN -- Research assistant at the Institute of Archaeology & Ethnography of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences Hayk Melik Adamyan suggests creating a Red Book of Armenian Natural Monuments.
Hayk Melik Adamyan has been asked on many occasions whether Armenia has anything but churches. This speaks for the fact that Armenian is not properly presented in tourism guides.
It’s only the historic monuments presented in the guides, while there is no reference to the country from the archeological point of view, the researcher told reporters today.
According to the archeologist, Armenia is also an archeological museum in the open air, but it is not well advertised. Meanwhile, Armenia could compete with
Ukraine with the variety and multiplicity of natural monuments, although the latter occupies a territory of 600,000 sq km, while Armenia’s territory is just 45,000 sq km together with Artsakh.
Hayk Melik-Adamyan recalls Garni’s “Stone symphony,” which is not the only one in Armenia. There are similar basalt pillars in Tavush and Lori marzes aged 100-150 mln years.
The famous “Pnjrik” tree in Artsakh’s Skhtorashen village is 2,000-years-old. It is included in the ten lonely standing trees in the world, but is never spoken about, Melik Adamyan said.
To solve the issue the archeologist suggests creating a Red Book of Armenian Natural Monuments.
David of Sassoun Epos Recognized by UNESCO as Universal Cultural Value
YEREVAN -- Armenian David of Sassoun (Sasuntsi Davit) epos was included in the list of Intangible cultural heritage
(ICH). The epos was recognized as universal cultural value. The issue was envisaged in UNESCO Commission's Intergovernmental Committee dealing with Intangible cultural heritage protection issues on December 4 session. The inclusion of epos is of great importance regarding political and cultural point of view.
Earlier deputy minister stated UNESCO Intangible cultural heritage convention has already paved away for a political platform. The possible inclusion of epos is of great importance regarding political and cultural point of view.
“The traditional Armenia epic Daredevils of Sassoun recounts the story of David of Sassoun, a defiant youth who defended his homeland in an unequal duel against the evil. This heroic epic is recounted and sung in sections in a lyrical voice with rhythmic enunciation. It is performed, usually sitting, to the musical accompaniment of a duduk during weddings, birthdays, christenings and major national cultural events. There are 160 variants and performances may last up to two hours,” UNESCO
writes. Over 60 applications are included in Commission's Intergovernmental Committee's session dealing with
Intangible cultural heritage protection issues.
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VARDAN AIGEKTSI
(XII-XIII)
Vardan Aigektsi, contemporary with Mkhitar Gosh, was a significant fable writer and preacher. He was born in the Village Marouta of the Province Tlouk in Cilicia. Educated in the Monastery of Arkakaghin, he received the degree of vardapet and devoted himself to preaching. In 1198, he took part in the coronation ceremony of the Levon II, King of Cilicia. Since 1210, he lived in the Monastery of Aigek. Vardan Aigektsi wrote a number of discourses, letters, homilies and fables. During the early period of preaching he composed the collection “Armat Havato” (The Origin of Faith) consisted of extracts selected from the Armenian doctrinal-rhetorical literature. Chronologically this is the earliest extant piece of his works. His homilies condemn adultery and sorcery, pride and burglary and other human vices in praise of charity and in defence of human rights dreaming to see a peaceful and harmonious society of masters and their subjects. His discourses are accompanied with fables and parables that make them plainer, more beautiful and impressive. In this way Aigektsi founded the fable-discourse in the Armenian literature. He composed a separate collection of fables called “The Fables of Vardan Vardapet”. A favourite book, it was copied even in later centuries, combined with new set of fables. In 1668, an extensive collection of Aigektsi’s fables titled “Aghvesagirk” (Fox-Book) was published in Amsterdam. The naming of the collection was based on the fact that the key character of most fables was the fox. Through fauna the author allegorically reflects the human society and relations. “Aghvesagirk” of Vardan Aigektsi reproduces pictorially the manuscript of the medieval master. In his parenesis the author had used Ezopos’ and other written fables, as well as Armenian popular fables and stories. With strong sarcasm are seasoned his fables ridiculing venal judges and iniquitous clergymen (The Stealing Clergyman and the Widow). In scoff he condemns calumny and deception, folly and treason, cowardice and many other vices. Some of his fables highly appreciate the diligent and tireless labour (The Ox and the Horse). With his fables and stories Aigektsi aims at strengthening the fighting spirit of his nation. He teaches that one must enter the battlefield definite to win (The Wise Soldier). In their entirety Aigektsi’s parables touch upon the variety of issues revealing the medieval life.
Karabagh War Comes to Hollywood, Courtesy of Azerbaijan
By Harut Sassounian Publisher,
The California Courier The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Karabagh (Artsakh) should not give free license to
anyone to make racist and insulting statements about people on the other side of the border. Even under war conditions, there are civilized norms of behavior.
Since these two neighboring countries are in the midst of delicate negotiations to resolve their thorny conflict, it is highly irresponsible to pour oil on the fire by inciting inter-ethnic and inter-religious hatred, and inflaming pent up emotions! While some Armenians may engage in periodic emotional outbursts, Azerbaijan’s leaders have elevated the making of racist statements and anti-Armenian threats into state policy!
Such despicable behavior has caused the Artsakh conflict to spill over into Hungary (by using an axe), Mexico (by offering a $5 million bounty for Aliyev’s statue with an anti-Armenian plaque in a park), and many other countries around the world, thousands of miles away from the actual theater of conflict!
The Azeris have now decided to fight the Artsakh war in Hollywood, after Armenia officially submitted for an Oscar an innocuous film titled “If Only Everyone,” for the category of Best Foreign Film. The movie’s American premiere was held last Saturday at the ARPA International Film Festival in Hollywood.
The Armenian movie depicts the story of a young Russian girl whose father was killed during the Artsakh war. Twenty years later, she comes to Armenia hoping that the Commander of her father’s military unit would help locate his unmarked grave. After a lengthy search, the young girl discovers that her father’s
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grave lies on the other side of the border, inside Azerbaijan. She and the Armenian Commander cross the frontline surreptitiously in the cover of darkness, and while planting a birch tree by her father’s grave, are confronted by an armed Azeri shepherd who threatens to shoot them. Upon learning that the girl’s father is buried there, the Azeri lets them go safely after telling them with a heavy heart, that his 10-year-old son had also died during the war after stepping on a landmine. The Azeri shepherd tells that he is unable to visit his son’s grave because it is located inside Artsakh. The movie ends on a high note with a wonderful gesture, when the Russian girl and her Armenian companions plant another tree, this time next to the young Azeri boy’s grave.
Even though the movie neither contains anti-Azeri rhetoric nor depicts any scenes of the Karabagh war, Azerbaijani journalists have harshly attacked it without having seen a single clip. Apparently, the fact that it was an Armenian film was enough reason for them to try and undermine its submission for the Academy Awards! The Azeri media falsely labeled the movie as a “propaganda film” and an example of “the information war unleashed by Armenia against Azerbaijan.”
To make matters worse, Ali Hajizade, an Azeri journalist, attacked Teni Melidonian, the publicist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for simply being of Armenian heritage! As part of her official duties, she had issued a press release that named all 71 foreign countries that had submitted movies for the Foreign Language Film category, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey!
It is important for Azeris to understand that such racist remarks have no place in civilized society. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan needs to be resolved through peaceful negotiations, not by hurling xenophobic insults. Someday, when peace returns to the region, Armenians and Azeris will have to live side by side, not as enemies, but as neighbors and friends. Azeris who are engaged in sowing seeds of hatred and racism are not only besmirching their own reputation, but unnecessarily aggravating and prolonging the antagonism between the two peoples.
Fortunately, Armenians have refrained from retaliating against the film submitted by Azerbaijan to the Oscars. Political feuds should not be converted into cultural wars or personal vendettas. May the best movie win regardless of whether it is produced by an Armenian, an Azeri or a Turk! The Academy will announce the short list of nine films in the Foreign Language Film category on December 20, 2012, the five finalists on January 10, 2012, and the Oscar winner on February 24, 2013.
“If Only Everyone” is co-produced by Tereza Varzhapetyan and award winning actor and director Michael Poghosyan, who plays the role of the retired Armenian Commander. Natalia Belyauskene is the director and Ekaterina Shitova plays the role of the young Russian girl. The movie was screened in Yerevan, Moscow, Paris, Bucharest, and Hollywood, and has won several awards at international film festivals.
Syrian-Armenian Exit Strategy Ted Tourian LLM, Sacramento, 25 November 2012
Armenians in Syria need an exit strategy. The Armenians need to leave Syria before the situation further deteriorates, which could result in the largest genocidal policy towards Armenians since the 1980's, where Azerbaijani authorities carried out pogroms against the Armenian populations in Sumgait and Baku. The implementation of an exit strategy does not end by helping Armenians flee Syria, but also on the ability to sustain Armenian refugees afterwards. Consideration must be given to the following criteria: convincing Armenians in Syria to flee Syria; where Armenians fleeing Syria can get refugee status; where Armenians fleeing Syria can get employment in order to sustain themselves; and where Armenians fleeing Syria can go to protect their own unique culture. I Necessity for an Exit Strategy for Syrian-Armenians
Currently, there are at least 60,000 ethnic Armenians living in Syria. For the most part, Armenians have stayed neutral to the sectarian violence engulfing Syria. The ability of the Armenians to defend themselves in Syria is not feasible. Currently, the only real fighting force defending Armenians are Armenians themselves; merchants, who have been given munitions by a retreating Syrian Army.
Contrasting the civilian Armenian population defending themselves is the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA). The FSA is largely composed of foreign fighters, coming from places like Afghanistan, Chechnya,
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Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. These fighters are trained in Turkey. These countries have continually engaged in some form of anti-Armenianism, and it would be naïve to think that if given the chance, soldiers from these countries would abstain from a policy of exterminating Armenians.
In recent weeks, the FSA has directed its ire towards Armenians. For instance, the FSA targeted and destroyed St. Gevorg church in Aleppo's Armenian-populated district of Nor Kyugh. Armenians are targeted by the FSA for their historical allegiance to the Assad regime:
Nine Christian men, including seven ethnic Armenians, were ordered off the bus while the gunmen checked IDs, according to Mark, who was mistaken as the driver's assistant and spared interrogation. "Get off. You're with Bashar too," they told a Kurdish man who tried to intervene, referring to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. (Emphasis added.)
The former Armenian ambassador to Lebanon, Arman Navasardyan, has already warned that if Bashar al-Assad's regime falls, Armenians in Syria face a “St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre” if they are not evacuated. These recent events bring Navasardyan's prediction much closer to fruition. II Implementation of an Exit Strategy
The implementation of an exit strategy is complicated. The following section discusses the necessary steps that must be considered in order to implement a successful exit strategy for Armenians in Syria: a) convincing Armenians in and out of Syria that leaving Syria is necessary; b) procedural considerations concerning potential new destinations for Armenian refugees; c) sustaining Armenian refugees outside Syria; and d) protecting the unique culture of Syrian Armenians. Ultimately, executing a successful exit strategy is more art than science.
a. Convincing Armenians In and Out of Syria that Leaving Syria is Necessary:
A successful exit strategy is as much dependant on the will of those fleeing. It is absolutely necessary to get Armenians in Syria to recognize the importance of leaving Syria, even if it means leaving behind homes, businesses, or a life that cannot be replicated anywhere else. Convincing any potential refugee to flee requires the upmost sensitivity especially when that potential refugee may be blinded by the aforementioned attachments.
This is the current dilemma facing Armenians in Syria today: would we rather die in Syria, or move somewhere else? Convincing a person to leave a home, a business that their grandparents started after the genocide is not easy, but necessary in order to avoid a worse fate that waits for any minority if Bashar al- Assad’s government is toppled.
Equally difficult is convincing outside Armenian institutions that the time has come for Armenians in Syria to leave. For instance, would the Republic of Armenia welcome mass migration of one of the strongest Armenian Diaspora’s? Mass migration of the Armenian Syrian Diaspora weakens the Republic of Armenia’s potential relations with Syria both during and at the conclusion of the war. Are traditional organizations like the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) or the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) in favor of evacuating Armenians in Syria when such organizations have substantial properties in Syria? Who better to be caretakers of its properties than Armenians armed with a slingshot, refusing to leave Syria, while an FSA-like Goliath trained by professional Turkish forces bears down?
Decisions to let go of the material are difficult. Individuals leaving everything behind, and the institutions tasked with serving the Armenian nation, must ask what Ruskin asks "[n]ow, as he was sinking, had he [sunk] the gold? Or had the gold [sunk] him?"
b. Procedural Considerations Concerning Potential New Destinations for Armenian Refugees:
Discussion has already been made of where potential Armenian refugees should move: Akhalkalaki; Armenia; Cyprus; Lebanon; the Republic of Nagarno-Karbagh; and the west. Each destination offers its own positives and negatives.
In order for a successful exit strategy to take place, procedural considerations need to be adhered to. This includes securing visa and passport requirements. Recently, the Republic of Armenia has eased visa and passport requirements for Armenians fleeing sectarian violence in Syria, and neighboring countries.
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However, entry requirements with respect to other countries have not been simplified. For instance, an Armenian refugee leaving for Cyprus does not need a passport provided they have the necessary documents issued to stateless persons and recognized refugees. How does a Syrian-Armenian refugee become recognized as a refugee in Cyprus? These procedural obstacles can be a nightmare, especially for Syrian-Armenians facing sectarian violence, or Armenian Diaspora organizations ill-equiped to deal with legalese, and are looking to help evacuate Syrian-Armenians.
Fortunately, potential Armenian refugees and Armenian Diaspora organizations trying to mobilize can rely on the Armenian Bar Association (ABA). The ABA recently wrote a letter to United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, advocating the plight of Armenians in Syria. In describing itself as “the largest organized group of Armenian Diasporan attorneys, judges and law students in the world,” and showing continued concern for the plight of Armenians in Syria, Armenian organizations should not hesitate to contact the ABA and request pro bono assistance with respect to any potential legal barriers that exist in evacuating Armenians facing sectarian strife.
c. Sustaining Armenian Refugees Outside Syria:
The next question is sustaining Armenian refugees outside Syria. The Armenian government has already taken several positive steps forward. For instance, the Armenian government has recently exempted taxation of Armenians fleeing Syria, and offered to provide Armenians fleeing Syria with apartments and jobs. This is in stark contrast to help Armenia was initially providing, where Armenians fleeing Syria “coincidentally” saw a 20 percent increase in housing prices when seeking refuge in Armenia.
However, labor mobility will become the biggest difficulty. For instance, some reports state that there are 10,000 Armenian jewelers potentially leaving Syria. Armenia, already a country known for jewelers, recently saw a 60 percent drop of sales in diamond polishing. Realistically speaking, Armenia cannot afford more jewelers flooding its already declining market.
If Armenians fleeing Syria repatriate to Akhalkalaki, Armenia, or the Republic of Nagarno-Karabagh, questions needing to be addressed are what skill sets do these refugees possess that can make them useful members of their new society? Can their skills be transferred to their potential new homes? Are there options to train refugee Armenians with a new skill-set to make them valuable to their potential new homes?
Most Armenian Diaspora organizations have allocated resources on the presumption that Armenians in Syria must remain in Syria. A quick search of aid efforts reveals that all help received by Syrian- Armenians is designed to ensure that the Armenian population in Syria remains in Syria: the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) has focused its charitable donations to cover the tuitions of students in order to alleviate the financial burden to be faced by parents and, at the same time, to fund schools; AGBU has provided relief with food, medicine, shelter, water and energy to thousands of Armenian families in various cities, with local youth from our Chapters mobilizing as volunteers; the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund's assistance will be used for food, medicine, temporary shelter, emergency medical and other critical humanitarian expenses by the united committees established by the Syrian-Armenian communities in accordance with local needs.
All aid is important concerning the plight of Syrian-Armenians. It cannot be stressed enough that this article is not intended to slight in any way, any group helping Syrian-Armenians. What this article hopefully tries to do is state that allocating resources to ensure Armenians stay in Syria is not efficient. As discussed above, if Bashar al-Assad’s regime falls, there is a very strong possibility ethnic Armenians will be subject to the worst pogroms since Sumgait. The result will be that aid initially assigned for the purposes of ensuring the Armenian population remains in Syria will have gone to waste. Only the Armenian government will have tried to hedge its bets by trying to accommodate Syrian-Armenian refugees.
d. Protection of the Unique Culture of Syrian Armenians:
Syrian-Armenian culture is steeped in history and tradition. Kesab has been an Armenian center, shielding Armenians from Ottoman Turk persecutions. Aleppo has been a historic Armenian Diaspora
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city, with many middle class Armenians. The Syrian-Armenian community “has been a crucible that has forged many great leaders for the diaspora.” Any potential recommended migrations must take into account the uniqueness of the Armenians living in Syria. The following section provides examples of locations and considerations that need to be taken into account
Akhalkalaki and the Republic of Nagarno-Karbagh are suitable for Armenians in Syria who come from villages like Yacoubiyah or Kesab. Armenians from larger cities like Damascus or Aleppo could be absorbed in Yerevan. However, relying only on Yerevan would be detrimental. With respect to Syrian Armenians en masse fleeing to Armenia, ARF Bureau representative Hrant Markarian said it best that Armenia may not be able to fully absorb all Syrian Armenian migrants: “Let’s be fair and recognize that unfortunately our country is not the sort of country that can handle a large number of refugees.”
Relocation is also possible to other near-east countries such as Cyprus. Cyprus already has some infrastructure ready to help absorb fleeing Armenians, such as the currently unused Melkonian Educational Institute. However, full absorption of Armenian refugees to Cyprus may not be feasible due to the relatively higher value of the Euro as compared to the Syrian pound, which might further erode the living standards of Syrian-Armenian refugees. Furthermore, migration of Syrian-Armenians to western countries comes with the risk of “white genocide.”
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