Friday, 4 August 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Focus on KARABAKH

Attached is a presentation by Der Nerses Nersessian to the Manchester
congregation on aspects of the Armenian Church.

Well worth reading to augment your knowledge

USC Institute of Armenian Studies
July 10, 2017

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a highly unusual statement containing harsh criticism of the Azerbaijani government’s treatment of Russian citizens of Armenian descent. “Russian citizens visiting Azerbaijan are discriminated on the basis of ethnicity,” the July 6 statement said. “So far this year 25 Russian citizens were refused entry into Azerbaijan,” before being detained and expelled at their own expense, according to the ministry.

“‘The basis’ for this mistreatment were Armenian last names, names or patronymics of our citizens. There were also cases when individuals with Russian last and first names and patronymics would be interrogated to determine if they might have ‘Armenian ancestry.'” The statement called such treatment “savagery” and a direct violation of Russian-Azerbaijani treaties.

The policy of detaining or expelling all individuals of Armenian descent, independent of their citizenship, has been in place since the start of the Karabakh conflict in 1988, but this is the first time a foreign government has reacted to it so publicly. In addition to detentions and expulsions, over the past year the Azerbaijani government arrested and imprisoned two Russian citizens , one of whom is of Armenian descent.

Some of the known cases of expulsions from Azerbaijan, most upon arrival at the Baku airport, included in recent years:

    • on May 30, 2014, Turkish arm-wrestler Zafer Noyan was refused entry into Azerbaijan over “Armenian”-sounding last name;
    • on August 12, 2013, beauty editor at Conde Nast Russia Anna Saakyan (of Russian descent married to an Armenian) was barred from entry into Azerbaijan over her last name;
    • on November 20, 2012, Kazakhstan-based businessman Bayram Azizov (of Meskhetian Turkish descent) was barred from entry into Azerbaijan over visits to Armenia;
    • on October 31, 2011, Russian businessman Sergey Gurjyan was refused from boarding the Azerbaijani airlines plane in Moscow on his way to a business meeting in Baku;
    • on June 27, 2011, journalist Diana Markosian, a dual U.S. and Russia citizen, was barred from entry into Azerbaijan while on assignment from Bloomberg.

Separately, in September 2010, Georgia’s nominee for ambassador to Baku Irakli Kavtaradze withdrew from consideration over suspicions by Azerbaijani officials that he was of Armenian descent.

According to America’s former ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock (1987-91) nomination of his would-be successor Ed Djerejian was also blocked over objections from Azerbaijan, then still part of the USSR. The U.S. State Department warns in its travel advisory that U.S. citizens “with Armenian surnames” could face detention and expulsion, but the United States is not known to have ever publicly protested these discriminatory measures.

The current expulsion policy is in some ways an improvement over practices during the Karabakh war of the early 1990s when ethnic Armenians from Russia, Georgia and elsewhere would be detained as hostages for potential exchange for Azerbaijani prisoners captured in the war. Azerbaijan continues to arrest all Armenian citizens who end up crossing onto the Azerbaijani side of the frontline and is currently holding two Armenian citizens that it charged with “attempted sabotage.”

Those Armenian citizens or other individuals of Armenian descent who in recent years visited Azerbaijan mostly for international or government-sponsored events did so after receiving high-level permission from Azerbaijani leadership and with mandatory round-the-clock security by the Azerbaijani State Security Service (successor to KGB) while in Azerbaijan.

Russian state TV journalist Vladimir Solovyev said that he addressed the Armenian ban at a meeting with the Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev last April. According to Solovyev, Aliyev explained the ban all ethnic Armenian entries into Azerbaijan in the following way “there is no guarantee that someone with an Armenian name would arrive at a hotel [for registration] and would not be butchered on the spot.” 

Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
July 27, 2017 Thursday
Israeli minister pays homage to Armenian Genocide victims in Yerevan memorial

[anodyne words but no recognition: disgraceful]
YEREVAN, JULY 26, ARMENPRESS. Israel’s minister of regional
cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi, who arrived in Armenia on an official
visit on July 25, visited the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide
Memorial with his delegation in Yerevan.

The Israeli high-level delegation was accompanied by Armenia’s deputy
foreign minister Armen Papikyan, the Honorary Consul of Israel in
Armenia Ashot Shahmuradyan, Israel’s Ambassador to Armenia Eliyahu
Yerushalmi with his spouse, as well as the deputy director of the
Armenian Genocide Institute Museum Suren Manukyan.

The officials laid flowers at the Eternal Flame for the memory of the
Armenian Genocide victims, and toured the Museum-Institute.

The Israeli minister mentioned that he is impressed with the Memorial,
which in his words will touch everybody.

“Israel has always sympathized with the Armenian people, because both
Armenians and Jews have survived this tragedy in their histories. The
issue has been discussed for several times in the Israeli parliament,
it has always been mentioned by the president, and we will always keep
it in our hearts and spirits”, the Israeli minister told reporters.

“Visiting this museum leaves every visitor with two conclusions: Never
again to allow such horrific acts to happen, and never forget the
tragedy , keep it always alive in the human awareness and memory
forever!”, the Israeli minister wrote in the guest-book. 

Aravot, Armenia
July 28 2017
Number of marriages rises in Artsakh 

368 marriages were registered in the Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Republic in the first semester of 2017. It grew by 30 percent compared with the indicated period of the previous year (283 registered marriages).

As the Civil Acts Registration Agency of the Artsakh Ministry of Justice reports, most marriages were registered in capital city Stepanakert (142 against 86 of the previous year) and Martakert region (52 against 40 of the previous year)

MediaMax, Armenia
July 28 2017
Armenia hosts rescuers training with US and UK 

The Ministry informed that the training covered the situation “Chemical and radiation monitoring, firefighting, and rescue after collision of chlorine gas carrier and two passenger trains”.

U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, UK Ambassador Judith Margaret Farnworth, and U.S. Adjutant General of Kansas Lee Tafanelli followed the training and shared their appreciation of close cooperation between their respective countries and Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

“People in our countries demand high standards of emergency response from us and I believe that results of this training laid foundation for reaching that milestone together,” said Armenian Minister of Emergency Situations Davit Tonoyan.

The Minister handed certificates of gratitude to 18 members of Kansas National Guard and the British Army 6th Battalion. The fire and rescue brigade of Lusakert received the course certificate from their retraining team.

MediaMax, Armenia
July 29 2017
Wrestling and celebration: Traditional Armenian kokh 

Ancient nations have their own unique sports, and Armenians are no exception to the rule. Kokh is traditional Armenian wrestling, once practiced across Armenian highlands and now struggling to gain wide popularity. What we know about kokh today is what was preserved in literature, dance, and various sagas.

Mediamax Sport attempts to shed light on kokh’s curious sides, its development in Armenia, and possibilities of making it a widespread sport.

Ancient sport born anew

National Federation of Kokh began operating in Armenia in 2001. Greco-Roman style wrestler, World champion Vaghinak Galustyan has been the head of the federation since 2015.

The organization carried out tangible work in 2017: they’re preparing a manual, they held several tournaments in marzes and picked the official kit. In mid-July, they organized an open tournament in Garni, which attracted 88 participants.

“It helped us to see our capabilities and focus on the next steps. We have 28 coaches who hold trainings 2-3 times a week in the hall where wrestling, judo, and unarmed self-defense martial art (‘sambo’) teams come to train. In October, we’ll hold the national championship in Vanadzor.”

Modern kokh strives to maintain all traditional features of the sport: Armenian music, dance, and kit, which is to get the final look soon.

“We have a special program to develop kokh. I met with President of the Federation of Zurkhaneh Sports and Koshti Pahlavani of Iran recently and we made a number of suggestions for joint projects. We want to develop national sports in our countries.”

The federation cooperates with Armenian Ministry of Culture to give a second life to kokh in accurate form.

“Kokh is not just a sport. It contains a cultural component and interesting ceremonies as well. They should be revived too.”

What is kokh? 

Kokh is national Armenian single combat that combines elements of wrestling and physical culture. It used to be an integral part of festivities, pilgrimages, weddings, and other celebrations.

The match begins with a round of dancing to traditional music. The athletes complete the dance, raise their hands, clap each other on both hands (a double high-five, you could say), and get to wrestling.

It lasts 8 minutes. Win by fall goes to the wrestler who pins the opponent to the mat. If the winner is unclear by the end of the match, the athlete with most points is declared the winner. The most popular types of this sport are Lori kokh and Shirak kokh.

An Armenian doesn’t get thrown 
Head of Armenia unarmed self-defense team and President of Kokh Coaches Council Hovhannes Khajoyan recalls that kokh matches were frequently organized in Armenia until 1990s.

“We have support from the government now so we’re trying to develop our national sport and make kokh attractive again. This year we got the kit, which was great news for the kids.”

Khajoyan noted that in ancient times, Armenians would wrestle at various celebrations after dancing traditional dances. That is how they turned wrestling itself into celebration and did everything to entertain the viewers.

“The wrestlers tried to avoid getting thrown in any way they could. An Armenian doesn’t get thrown, it ill becomes a man, and that is what kokh has been about since the ancient times.”

Kokh lovers

Boys at the sport school of unarmed self-defense and judo decided to train in kokh as well and take part in the open tournament in Garni.

Three of them – Gagik Geghamyan, Aram Ghazaryan, and Aram Aghajanyan – won in the tournament. All three practice unarmed self-defense and want to have professional achievements in sport. Kokh is a recent occupation for them.

Gagik Geghamyan:

“I know that kokh is an old Armenian sport. I competed in 2 tournaments by now, quite successfully. There are actually just a few differences between unarmed self-defense and kokj, that’s why it’s easy for me and I enjoy kokh training. We do kokh along with our main training sessions.”

Aram Ghazaryan:

“I like kokh a lot. It’s a pagan sport, rivals dance and greet each other with a smile. That’s very impressive and beautiful.”

Aram Aghajanyan:

“It’s curious, but I won in my very first kokh tournament. Kokh is an Armenian sport, close to our hearts. Some athletes have a difficulty with the dancing part, but they will learn in time. Kokh is only beginning to develop.”

We used materials from website for this article.


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