Sunday, 22 May 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Inspiration from Der Kuregh Dalian

See the attachment for a scene from the
Anointing of the Holy Martyrs Icon
St Sarkis Church, Kensington 

on 22 May 2016
in the presence of Lord Darzi, who donated the icon.
There was also a blessing of a new wood bench in
memory of Barkev Kassarjian.


Isobel and Paul Manook came to know Der Kuregh 2001 during
their first visit to Armenia. They came to love and respect him
as a pastor, human being and a friend. He is a highly educated
but a humble, inspirational and dedicated priest in the Armenian
Church in Jervish. He left everything to follow Christ and serve
the people through the church.

They want to share with you this wonderful and encouraging talk
by Der Kuregh and hope all will enjoy his talk as much as they did, i
rrespective of whether you believe or not: 

Independent Catholic News
May 20 2016
Armenian church leaders from Syria visit UK
May 20, 2016  

Two Armenian Christian leaders from Syria have been in the UK to speak
about the realities facing their country where half the population are
either refugees or have been internally displaced. Bishop Armash
Nalbandian, the Armenian Orthodox Bishop of Damascus, and Reverend
Harout Selimian, a pastor of the Armenian Armenian Evangelical Church
in Aleppo met with Church leaders in England, Scotland and Wales -
including the Chair of the International Affairs department Bishop
Declan Lang.

They discussed the challenges they are facing both from the
established political institutions on the one hand and terrorist
organisations on the other. They asked that the Christian communities
in the UK hold the people of Syria in their prayers and actions.

Dr Harry Hagopian, consultant to the Catholic Bishops' of England and
Wales on the Middle East North Africa region, joined the two men and
Bishop Declan Lang at Bishop's House in Clifton, Bristol for a frank
and candid conversation on the situation in Syria. He said: "The
impression I got was one of pain, one of grief and one of frustration.
When I explained the geo-politics of how we view this conflict, with
the regime on one side and Daesh on the other, I then asked what they
want us to do over here. Bishop Armash told me just before he went to
the airport 'One thing only... please help to stop the war.'"
Discussion on Armenian Genocide at European Parliament

A discussion on the Armenian Genocide will be held at the European
Parliament on May 31.

The discussion titled “Armenian Genocide, Recognition & Restoration of
Cultural Heritage, Legal and Political Aspects” will be hosted by
member of the European Parliament Charles Tannock, European Armenian
Federation for Justice & Democracy reported.

The panelists are human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson, Professor
of International Relations Ove Bring, Turkish human rights lawyer Cem
Safuoglu and journalist Guillaume Perrier.
Azerbaijan keeps Armenian border under sporadic fire

The situation along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border remained 
unchanged overnight, with Azerbaijan’s armed troops continuing 
to release sporadic fire against Armenian border guards in the 
country’s north-east.

In a press release, the Ministry of Defense says that the adversary
shoot billets from firearms of different calibers to incite tension.

The Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia keep the situation 
along the border under control, confidently continuing their military 
Average life expectancy for Armenia is 74.8 years, according 
to World Health Statistics: Monitoring Health for the SDGs
by Naira Badalyan
May 21, 16:46

The average life expectancy in Armenia is 74.8 years, according to
the World Health Organization.

The World Health Statistics 2016: Monitoring health for the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) says that that dramatic gains in
life expectancy have been made globally since 2000, but major
inequalities persist within and among countries.

Life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the
fastest increase since the 1960s. Those gains reverse declines during
the 1990s, when life expectancy fell in Africa because of the AIDS
epidemic and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet
Union. The increase was greatest in the African Region of WHO where
life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years, driven mainly by
improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control and
expanded access to antiretrovirals for treatment of HIV.

Global life expectancy for children born in 2015 was 71.4 years (73.8
years for females and 69.1 years for males), but an individual child's
outlook depends on where he or she is born. The report shows that
newborns in 29 countries - all of them high-income -- have an average
life expectancy of 80 years or more, while newborns in 22 others - all
of them in sub-Saharan Africa -- have life expectancy of less than 60

With an average lifespan of 86.8 years, women in Japan can expect to
live the longest. Switzerland enjoys the longest average survival for
men, at 81.3 years.  People in Sierra Leone have the world's lowest
life-expectancy for both sexes: 50.8 years for women and 49.3 years
for men.  Healthy life expectancy, a measure of the number of years of
good health that a newborn in 2015 can expect, stands at 63.1 years
globally (64.6 years for females and 61.5 years for males).

In the European region, the lowest indicator is for Turkmenistan -
66.3 years. The indices for Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine are 72.7,
72.3, 71.3, respectively.

Published every year since 2005, WHO's "World Health Statistics" is
the definitive source of information on the health of the world's
people. It contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality,
disease and health system indicators, including life expectancy,
illness and death from key diseases, health services and treatments,
financial investment in health, and risk factors and behaviours that
affect health.  WHO's Global Health Observatory updates health
statistics year round of more than 1000 health indicators. Members of
the public can use it to find the latest health statistics on global,
regional and country levels.

RFE/RL Report
Villagers Continue To Protest Controversial Irrigation Project
Ruzanna Gishian

Hundreds of residents of a big village in central Armenia again
blocked a highway on Friday in continuing angry protests against
government plans to divert water from a river serving as their main
source of irrigation.

The government wants to build a canal there as part of a broader
irrigation project that will be mainly financed by a $30 million loan
allocated by the World Bank three years ago. It envisages a switch
from pump-based to gravity irrigation in four agricultural regions of

Announcing the release of the loan in May 2013, the World Bank said
the project will allow the country to save both irrigation water and
electricity used for pumping it to farming communities. "This will
potentially bring about 2,400 hectares of formerly irrigated
agricultural fields back to irrigation, leading to increased
agricultural production," it said in a statement.

Under the project, water from the Azat river flowing by Garni, a
village 30 kilometers east of Yerevan, is to be delivered to 12
villages in the southern Ararat province through a gravity irrigation

Many Garni farmers have opposed that from the outset, saying that the
river is already barely able to meet their needs for irrigation and
drinking water and that the government would wreak havoc on local
agriculture by diverting it. Armenian environment protection groups
have backed their demands.

The critics also claim that it is Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian,
rather than the Ararat farmers, who would be the main beneficiary of
the project. Abrahamian reportedly owns large swathes of agricultural
land in that fruit-growing area south of Yerevan. Government officials
have denied these allegations.

The protests in Garni, which has a population of more than 5,000
residents, intensified last month as authorities deployed heavy
machinery in preparation for the construction work. The local farmers
have since repeatedly blocked a highway that passes through the
village and leads to two of Armenia's most famous tourist
attractions. One of them is the pagan Garni temple built in the 1st
century A.D.

The angry protesters again kept the road closed for several hours on
Friday. They refused to unblock it despite an appeal from the police
chief of the Kotayk province encompassing Garni. The protesters gave
the government until Sunday to scrap the controversial project.
Energizing the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Argument
Editorial, 10 May 2016 

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”- -F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The above doublethink by the author of “The Great Gatsby” is his most popular quote although its cognitive dissonance is jarring. How much of the tortuous and tortured thinking was a result of his alcoholism and mental illness should make an interesting topic for a Ph.D. thesis. Meanwhile, sagacious diplomats around the world seem to live by the American novelist’s tendentious pensee. To wit: they simultaneously believe in the concept of a state’s territorial rights while claiming to honor the contradictory principle of respect for a people’s right to self-determination.

That brings us to the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict.

Which concept should the world respect when deciding the fate of the unrecognized Armenian republic? So far, the world has generally given precedence to Azerbaijan’s “territorial rights” argument.

Global diplomatic ethics being what they are, it’s no surprise that consistency and integrity take back seat to self-interest in the tension between the two concepts. Thus when it was in the interest of the Western powers to dismantle Yugoslavia, they were for self-determination for the various nations which comprised that republic. Russia, which opposed self-determination for the Yugoslav nations recently advocated self-determination in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile Moscow opposes self-determination movements in Northern Caucasus. Similar inconsistencies abound in global diplomacy (Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, the separation of southern Sudan from Khartoum, East Timor, etc.).

States give short shrift to self-determination mostly because many of them have separatist, secessionist, autonomist movements. From Albania (the Northern Epirus minority) to the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) to France (Corsica), states feel threatened by minority groups which demand some sort of self-determination. When Canada faces separatism in Quebec, Ottawa will not support separatists in Spain, France, or in the Caucasus.

Since the Armenian espousal of self-determination for Artsakh has failed to get traction, Yerevan/Stepanagert need a new game plan which will advance a more persuasive rationale for self-determination.

But first Armenians should put aside the argument that they have been in Artsakh for millennia. Recent history (Persian, Russian, and Soviet Azeri rule of Artsakh) has more weight at the UN than our 1,500-year-old churches. As ineffective is the argument that Stalin illegally granted Armenian lands (Artsakh/Nakhichevan) to Azerbaijan. Historian Rouben Galichian’s sensible argument (“The Invention of History, Clash of Histories in the South Caucasus”) that the decision of one of the world’s cruellest dictators should not become the basis of international negotiations has fallen on deaf ears. Let’s also not waste time pushing the argument that Azerbaijan is a recent fabrication. Many states are…from Israel to Jordan to the Gulf States and practically all the African states. There are no buyers of that argument.

A new blueprint for advancing the self-determination principle is eloquently supplied by Dr. Armen Mazmanyan, director of the Apella Institute and its Centre for Constitutional Studies. Dr. Mazmanyan argues that Azerbaijan is interested in territorial integrity but without the people who inhabit it. Azerbaijan’s April attack demonstrated that Baku is intent at eliminating Artsakh Armenians. The Azeri army’s use of weapons of mass destruction , the shelling of settlements, the threat to shell Stepanagert, the slaying of elderly civilians in their homes, and the ISIS-style killing of soldiers are evidence that Baku is intent at ethnic cleansing in Artsakh—a repeat of the genocide Azerbaijan’s older brother committed a century ago.

Azerbaijan’s state policy of anti-Armenian racism is another reason why Armenians can’t trust Azeri rule over Armenian lands and people. All day long, on Azeri media and in schools, Baku spouts anti-Armenian propaganda. Meanwhile Azeri columnists spread calumny about Armenians.

The case of Lieut. Ramil Safarov, the Azeri axe-man who killed an Armenian officer in Hungary during a NATO military gathering, is another reason not to trust Baku. When the killer of Lieut. Gurgen Margaryan, was prematurely released by the Hungary (the release was lubricated by Azeri purchase of Hungarian government bonds) in 2012, the murderer was welcomed in Baku as a hero. No less than Azerbaijan’s president welcomed the coward. The axe murderer was granted the title of National Hero, promoted from to major, given a house, a car…Why Baku has been tardy in making a movie about Safarov is a mystery. Perhaps Azeri officials are negotiating with Ben “Batman” Affleck who now shills for the Turkish Airlines.

Upon his “triumphal” return to Azerbaijan, the murderer, who had killed the Armenian officer while the latter was asleep, said: “My job is to kill Armenians. As long as they live, they will suffer...If there were more Armenians I would have killed them all. However, this was the first and I didn’t have time to prepare more punctually to commit this action.”

As if the rewarding Safarov wasn’t sufficient barbarity, a few weeks ago Aliyev personally gave an award to the Azeri soldier who, during the early April Azeri attack, had decapitated Kyaram Sloyan, the Yezidi soldier in the Armenian army.

Despite Safarov’s crime and his obscene crowing, the international community hardly condemned Azerbaijan for its scandalous celebration of Safarov’s brutality. The world also didn’t condemn Aliyev for honouring the Azeri soldier who beheaded Sloyan. So how can Armenians trust the goodwill of states which are now telling Armenians that everything will be fine if Armenians allow Azeris to rule over them?

When Armenians of Artsakh say they can’t trust Azeri rule, they have a lucid exhibit next door in Nakhichevan. That Armenian region was heavily inhabited by Armenians when Stalin handed it to Baku. Seventy years later—supposedly under the even-handed umbrella of Big Brother Moscow—there were no Armenians left in Nakhichevan: they had been pushed out by the Comrade Azeris. This is further proof of the maniacal Azeri hatred of Armenians. Although there are no Armenians left in Nakhichevan, several years ago Baku authorities went on a paroxysm of destruction and shattered thousands of Armenian graves, some from the Middle Ages. How can any reasonable person maintain that ethnic harmony can prevail in Artsakh if Baku is handed the stamp-sized Armenian republic?

The same argument applies to the Azeri territories occupied by the Armenians. An independent Artsakh would be at the mercy of Azeri guns if the seven areas are handed to Baku. Suicide is not an acceptable national policy. Israel, which has occupied the Golan Heights since 1967, advances the same argument for holding on to the heights. Tel Aviv cites UN Security Council Resolution (Nov. 22, 1967) which calls for “secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force” for every state.

Armenian diplomats, political scientists, and international lawyers have their job cut out for them. They should use these and other relevant arguments to buttress the thesis that Artsakh self-determination is the only viable solution to the conflict. Raffi K. Hovannissian, the first foreign minister of present-day Armenia and a former presidential candidate writes, "Azerbaijan’s belligerent conduct, a hell-bent design developed over the years to wipe out not only Karabakh but Armenia in toto, renders a negotiated settlement no longer possible, and it is imperatively time for the international community to take a stance in equivalent application of international law and, yes, in pursuit of guaranteeing strategic security interests" ( Foreign Policy Journal, May 6, 2016 ).

Finally, error-prone, dim-witted Baby Aliyev unintentionally betrayed secret Turbeijan intentions when he said that not only Artsakh and Zankezur belong to Azerbaijan but also all of Armenia because “Armenia was part of ‘ancient’ Azerbaijan”. In other words, the grey wolf will not be content with Artsakh. Next on the vulpine menu is Yerevan. Aliyev’s statement is the clincher. It’s the nail in the coffin in the concept of the so-called Azeri territorial integrity in Artsakh.
A beautiful song by Majida Al-Roumi... A dedication to all L
ebanese Armenians to thank them for their contribution and loyalty to Lebanon. 
(in Arabic & Armenian with folkloric dances)

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