Saturday, 22 April 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian,,, Beyoncé - Video from Artyom Karapetyan

Beyoncé - Genocide 1915 April 24 Video from Artyom Karapetyan
Turkey’s Armenian community vote “no” in constitutional referendum, according to Agos editor
17 April, 2017 
The Turkish constitutional changes referendum cannot in any way be called reforms, Bagrat Estukyan, editorin-chief of the Armenian language department of Istanbul’s Agos weekly told ARMENPRESS. 

Estukyan added as result of the referendum the President will have autocratic powers. 

“As a result of all this, there will be dictatorship power in Turkey, therefore the constitutional referendum cannot in any way be called reforms”, he said. 

Estukyan said the Armenian community of Turkey was against the constitutional changes, and everyone voted no. 

“But unfortunately “yes” won, which was expected. After all of this the political situation in the country will be more difficult”, he said. 

Asked what was the reason that voters mostly voted against the changes in major cities, Estukyan said because Turkey isn’t a homogeneous country. 

“There are national minorities in Turkey, people of different religion. For instance in Dersim, which is a mainly Alevi populated city, “no” won by 80%. And in general, the Christian population of Turkey mostly voted against the changes. This is how the voting differences in different parts of the country can be explained”, he said. 

Vestnik Kavkaza
April 18 2017
2.3-point earthquake hits Armenia 

Armenia's Survey for Seismic Protection Agency recorded an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.3 in the country at 10:49am local time. 

The epicenter was located 18 km west of the city of Stepanavan at a depth of 10 kilometers, reported. 

The earthquake was felt in the Zorashen and Sarapat villages. There was no immediate report on possible casualties or damage.
EAFA: Armenia aluminum foil exports will exceed 30,000 tons in 2017
15:54, 17.04.2017 

In 2016, the growth of aluminum foil exports from Armenia was above average in Europe, Alcircle magazine reported citing the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA). 

The magazine noted that owing to the sales in the first and third quarters of the year past, the aluminum foil producers of the European Union have increased exports by an average of 1.3 percent, and Armenia has become a respective leader on the European map, with 2 percent exports. 

Also, the EAFA has projected a sharp rise in exports from Armenia in 2017: up to 31,792 tons, and totaling US$108.1 million.
Armenia company starting blue cheese production

Spayka company of Armenia is launching the production of blue cheese. 

Head of the Project Management Division at Spayka, Karen Baghdasaryan, informed about the aforesaid at a press conference on Wednesday. 

“Studying the Russian market, we [Spayka] saw that there is huge potential,” said Baghdasaryan. “At present, contracts already have been signed for exporting more than 1,000 tons of blue cheese per year, from Armenia to Russia.” 

The respective cheese factory will operate in Kotayk Province of Armenia. 

The company plans to invest about $15 million per year for the production of cheese and other dairy products. 

In 2017, Spayka will implement several major projects, and as a result, 390 new jobs will be created and about $70 million will be invested in Armenia. 

In 2016, the company exported more than 100,000 tons of goods from the country. In the current year, it plans to increase exports by 20 percent, and by expanding its export markets and including the countries of the European Union and the Middle East. 

The Sunday Times (London)
April 16 , 2017 Sunday
Two new ilms take opposing views of the Armenian genocide -
coincidence, or propaganda?

At the time of writing, 96,994 people have logged onto the film 
website IMDb to have their say on the sweeping historical epic The 
Promise. Which is odd, considering it isn't out yet. Even stranger is 
that 62.3% of those votes give the film 1 out of 10 while 36.3% go for 
10 out of 10. Numbers in between those extremes barely make a dent, 
but such is the topic of the film. The Promise is about the Armenian 
genocide carried out by the Ottomans from 1915 to 1923, something the 
current Turkish government refuses to acknowledge. 

One reviewer notes: "Awful movie... I fell for the positive reviews 
without realising they are written by Armenians to push their 
political agenda... By the way, history does not agree with them." 
Other notes are far too eusive - "Watch it! See the truth! Education 
will free you" - for what is a decent if hardly classic piece of work. 

Terry George, who directed The Promise, expected controversy. He spoke 
to Atom Egoyan, the Eyptianborn director of Ararat, which touched on 
the genocide in an indie way back in 2002. "He cautioned us that this 
will kick off," George says. "Some variation of threats or bad 
reviews. The Turkish government will spend a lot of money and time on 
denying the Armenian genocide." In the next breath, he mentions a 
skywriting plane in New York that pushes slogans such as "No genocide 
in Armenia". He expects more propaganda as his film is released. 

Whatever happens next, though, won't be as startling as The Ottoman 
Lieutenant, a film that George believes was made with the sole aim of 
countering the story depicted in The Promise (and released in the US 
ahead of it). Both take place in the same period of history, in the 
same region, and revolve around a love triangle. Only one acknowledges 
the genocide. The history of cinema is full of similar films coming 
out at the same time. But when, for instance, Pixar released A Bug's 
Life a month after Antz, it wasn't because it fundamentally disagreed 
with how the earlier film depicted insects. 

George suspects The Ottoman Lieutenant was only commissioned when word 
of The Promise and its A-list cast - Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac - 
spread. "It just was too convenient, the release, to be coincidence. 
You're putting out this big feature film and then, suddenly, lo and 
behold, one of a quite similar structure and ambition appears with 
completely the opposite point of view." 

The largely Turkish-funded film stars Ben Kingsley and Josh Hartnett, 
but, well, a job's a job. (I contacted their reps for comment, but 
heard nothing.) In a damning review, Dennis Harvey of Variety wrote 
that "the historical, political, ethnic and other intricacies - not to 
mention that perpetual elephant in the room, the Armenian genocide - 
are glossed over in favour of a generalised 'Whattaya gonna do... war 
is bad' aura". 

The American film-makers behind The Ottoman Lieutenant have defended 
their effort, calling it "a classic love story, set at a time and 
place that we really haven't seen in cinema" and alluding to a scene 
of Turkish cruelty to Armenians as proof they haven't ignored the 
slaughter of 1.5m people. The scene in question takes place in the 
town of Van, where, in April 1915 , Armenians took up arms and fought 
the Ottomans in an uprising. 

George gives this short shrift. "Well, the basic argument is that 
there was an insurrection that the Turks were attempting to put down," 
he says, "rather than a systematic attempt to eliminate the Armenian 
population. In fact, that's the current Turkish government's argument. 

"So, Van... If you applied that to the Second World War, you could say 
the Nazis said, 'Well, there was an uprising in the Warsaw ghetto, and 
we just had to move the Jews somewhere else.' It's a spurious 
argument, and for a film to present that is, in fact, denialism." 

George claims he has discovered links between The Ottoman Lieutenant 
and the family of President Erdogan. "The evidence I have of the 
involvement of Erdogan supporters or family," he says, "is a 
production company in Turkey called Eastern Sunrise." George claims 
that one of the founders, Yusuf Esenkal, is "involved with" Bilal 
Erdogan, the president's son. "I can send you the story I dug out." 

George emails over the documents. There is material on Filinta, a 
Turkish television series that Eastern Sunrise produces. There is a 
photograph of President Erdogan visiting the Filinta set. The second 
item supplied appears to be a 2015 court document, found on a partisan 
political site, alleging irregularities over the budget of the show. 
The Esenkal and Erdogan families, claims the document, share business 

George then talks incredulously about the next project for Eastern 
Sunrise: a show called Payithat, about Sultan Abdul Hamid, who 
perpetrated pogroms against the Armenians in the 1890s, prior to the 
genocide. He killed up to 300,000. "And they're making a series that 
basically lauds this," George accuses. 

The brief he was given for his own film by its Armenian financiers was 
a love story set against genocide, in the style of Dr Zhivago and 
Ryan's Daughter. The Promise is as old fashioned as that sounds, but 
knowingly so. Pretty actors in big sets pulled apart by emotions and 

The director has previous when it comes to tricky topics, with In the 
Name of the Father and Hotel Rwanda on his CV, but never has his work 
resonated so much. In The Promise, Armenian refugees head to Aleppo, 
where, until very recently, many of their number remained. Now they 
have fled back to their ancestral homeland, for obvious reasons. 

One early review of The Promise ran: "Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale and 
Charlotte Le Bon provide extraordinary performances in the upcoming 
film The Promise." The critic's name was Leonardo DiCaprio. Alongside 
Cher and Andre Agassi - both of Armenian stock - the actor is one of 
many celebrities to get behind the film. It is that sort of project, 
art that becomes a cause, and one worry is that viewers will find the 
film less interesting than the story around it. 

George welcomes the debate and is looking forward to raising awareness 
for a people who feel marginalised by history. He worries that viewers 
will see The Ottoman Lieutenant by mistake. "There is a lot of fake 
news out there," he says. "Ultimately, the only way you can contend 
with that is to present the facts as you've found them and fight that 
corner. It's a new era for sure." 

The Promise opens on April 21 

Gomidas Institute

Armenian Genocide Map WebI have seen The Promise and here are some thoughts regarding the historical depiction of the Armenian Genocide in the film. I list them here in anticipation that deniers of the Armenian Genocide will claim that the film took license in its depiction of what happened to Armenians in 1915. So, how does the Armenian Genocide figure in this film? Did the film take license in its depiction of the Armenian Genocide? 

My short answer is no. I believe that the film director, Terry George, made good use of his factual information to reflect on the Armenian Genocide. His sense of history is well balanced and creditworthy. If anything, he has not dwelled on the horror of the Genocide, which is only hinted in the film. 

I should also add that I have been surprised that the tragic “love triangle” and the dilemmas of the people concerned – a central theme of the film – has not merited more comment yet. Perhaps that will came later. In the meantime, here are some of my specific thoughts on the film. 

1. The Ottoman drift into World War I and German connivance. This is depicted at the social gathering early in the film with the passage of two warships in the Bosporus. These were the German warships Goeben and Breslau, which were supposedly given to the Ottoman Turks and allowed passage through the Dardanelles. They retained their German crew and were instrumental in Ottoman Turkey’s entry into World War I with a premeditated attack on Russian positions in the Black Sea. So, the image of the warships and German officers on land was a good depiction of the Ottoman Empire’s entry into the war on Germany’s side. 

2. The persecution of Armenians in Constantinople. This persecution is represented by street riots, arrest of intellectuals, and the abuse of prisoners before their exile into the interior. The riots scene was probably based on the anti-Greek/Christian riots fanned by the Young Turks in 1914. I do not know of such riots against Armenians in 1915, though there have been such riots during the Hamidian Era. The film also depicts the general nature of the arrests by showing Gomidas Vartabed among the detainees, which is historically correct. The violence depicted in prison, with brutal beatings, is not entirely historically correct. The prisoners were humiliated and terrorised, but not physically beaten. However, such beatings were common elsewhere and the violence and execution of the Constantinople prisoners came later. 

3. The author’s conscription into the army, the abuse and murder of Armenian soldiers and his escape. Armenian conscripts were killed in the army and such scenes is plausible. This is a major theme defining the Armenian Genocide. It only appears in passing here. 

4. Ottoman railways carrying Armenian deportees. This is historically correct though not typical. Some deportees in the west were sent into exile in railway cattle trucks. The scene presents a powerful image. 

5. Armenian prisoners working on railway mines. This is historically warranted as such labour was used to construct railway tunnels and lay tracks in the Amanus mountains. (Many Armenians were also deliberately employed in offices by the German companies involved in the construction of these lines to save prominent Armenians.) 

6. Deportation and massacre scenes. The film captures, correctly, the manner in which the very idea of deportation and massacre first appeared as rumours in Armenian communities. People often disbelieved what was happening until it was too late. 

Regarding actual violence, these scenes appear on a plain. Christian Bale’s character witnesses deportees force-marched in a convoy where one straggler is shot. He also travels to an Armenian village in smoldering ruins with a few corpses strewn about. The main violence is depicted later in the village of Siroun (which includes the only truly shocking scene in the film). The Promise otherwise does not dwell on graphic representation of killings, though such violence is always in the background, starting early in the film. 

Note: The outright massacre of Armenians was a common mode of destruction in the eastern provinces – east of Yozgat and Kayseri provinces. The Armenians in the Adana region, where Siroun was located, would have been deported and the deportees would probably have died through privations or massacres along the way — in the so-called “resettlement zone” in the desert of eastern Syria. 

7. Mousa Dagh. This was one of those well-documented cases where Armenians simply resisted deportations by all means and were fortunate to have been evacuated by the French navy. 

8. Turkish or Muslim saviours. This is also a key element in the film. There were cases of rescue, including by ordinary Muslims, though they were liable for severe punishment if caught. One of the main characters in the film, an amazing actor, is a reluctant but persistent righteous Turk who is eventually shot for his deeds. Give the man an Oscar. 

US Ambassador Morgenthau in Constantinople was a key conduit reporting the Armenian Genocide to outside world. 

9. Americans. The film depicts Americans trying to save Armenians. This is historically true, starting with individuals, to groups of missionaries, to consuls and embassy staff. One powerful scene depicts Talaat Pasha asking for the names of Armenians who held American insurance policies (as the policy owners were dead and payments reverted to the Turkish state). This scene comes out of Ambassador Morgenthau’s memoirs. 

There is obviously more to say about the film, but the above outline could serve as the basis of a sensible discussion. I suggest that protagonists who want an informed discussion around The Promise start reading up on these issues and prepare for what comes next. Virtual denial over online movie ratings is only the beginning. 

* Ara Sarafian is an archival historian specilising on late Ottoman and modern Armenian history. He is also the executive director of the Gomidas Institute in London. 

Washington Post
April 19 2017
Wisdom of the crowd? IMDb users gang up on Christian Bale’s new movie before it even opens.
By Travis M. Andrews By Travis M. Andrews 

Set in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, this film stars Christian Bale, Charlotte Le Bon and Oscar Isaac. Set in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, this film stars Christian Bale, Charlotte Le Bon and Oscar Isaac. (Open Road Films) 

“The Promise” doesn’t officially open in theaters until Friday. But on IMDb, a website where people can rate movies, the film has received more than 120,000 ratings — nearly 62,000 of them the lowest: one-star. 

The ratings have nothing to do with the quality of the film, as it’s almost certain that most people haven’t seen the movie yet. Instead, a group of Internet trolls gathering on a Turkish message board decided to try sinking “The Promise” with bad reviews. 

The film — starring Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, and directed by Terry George of “Hotel Rwanda” fame — focuses on a fictional love-triangle between the main characters. Two of the characters play Armenians, while the other plays an American photojournalist. 

That sounds like standard silver screen fare, but it’s set against the backdrop of the mass killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, beginning in 1915. Worldwide, at least 26 countries recognize the deaths as genocide, a term coined in the 1940s by Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin , who investigated the massacre, to describe the deliberate attempt to exterminate groups. 

To Armenians, Americans of Armenian heritage and Turks, the facts and especially the nomenclature are deeply emotional issues. Turkey has long argued that the deaths were not genocide, the death toll has been inflated and that the casualties were victims of civil war and unrest. It’s a crime in Turkey, called “insulting Turkishness,” to “even raise the issue of what happened to the Armenians,” according to the New York Times . 

To keep its NATO ally Turkey happy, the United States has referred to the deaths as “atrocities,” but stopped short of calling them a genocide. President Obama had promised to change that before being elected president, saying in 2008 that “the Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.” 

He didn’t keep that promise. 

The inevitable controversy over the film surfaced when word of its upcoming release spread to a Turkish message board similar to America’s mischief-making 4chan or its more mainstream cousin Reddit. 

There, users decided to flood IMDb’s rating system with one-star reviews, hoping to tank the movie before it came out. (IMDb is owned by Amazon. Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.) 

One user’s comment, roughly translated by the Hollywood Reporter, read , “Guys, Hollywood is filming a big movie about the so-called Armenian genocide and the trailer has already been watched 700k times. We need to do something urgently.” 

As final credits rolled during the movie’s September premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, it was already among the worst rated movies on IMDb. 

Christian Bale and Charlotte Le Bon in “The Promise.” (Jose Haro/Open Road Films) 

“All I know is that we were in about a 900-seat house with a real ovation at the end, and then you see almost 100,000 people who claim the movie isn’t any good,” producer Mike Medavoy told the Hollywood Reporter. 

At one point, the film had a 1.8 star rating on IMDb, placing it in the company of the 10 lowest-rated films on the entire website. The lowest rated film on IMDb with 1.4 stars is “Code Name: K.O.Z.,” a fictional account of the 2013 Turkish government corruption scandal 

Some of these raters left short reviews. “The movie based on a lie so you know what to expect,” read one . “I fell for the positive reviews without realising they are written by armenians to push their political agenda on unsuspecting movie goers,” read another . 

This is far from the first time Internet trolls with a political point-of-view have mobilized to offer a low star rating to a piece of entertainment. Both Amy Schumer’s book and latest stand-up special were targeted by members of r/the_donald, a subreddit purportedly composed of President Trump supporters. 

Men, meanwhile, gave overwhelmingly low reviews to the female-led “Ghostbusters” reboot last summer, throwing the averages “completely out of whack,” as The Washington Post reported. 

It’s difficult to ascertain if the ratings have any actual effect on the eventual sales. They ostensibly exist to help consumers sort through their many options, though some bloggers have claimed there isn’t a correlation between reviews and box office sales. 

In Schumer’s case, the uninformed reviews led to negative publicity — such as the piece “Amy Schumer’s Netflix Special Slammed By Users: ‘She’s Lost Herself’” on Yahoo and “Amy Schumer’s ‘Leather Special’ Is Getting Overwhelmingly Negative Reviews From Netflix Subscribers” on Decider — both of which announced the special’s low ratings without the context of where many of them originated. 

But there’s no doubt that user-generated, starred reviews are proving to be increasingly useless. 

Friday’s release of “The Promise” falls just before the annual Armenian remembrance day of the mass killings, which is Monday. 

“The Armenians were killed by their own government, not by the enemy, and they were killed in this systematic way that became the legal definition of the word,” said George, the film’s director.

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