Thursday, 8 August 2019

Armenian News ... A Topalian ... 10 editorials

Response to article on the meaning of the Armenian "IAN":

It does not mean "son of".
It means "belonging to or related to". It's a suffix attached to nouns and adjectives.
Thus Urfalian means related (born)  to Urfa. Yergatian means related to Yergatakordz (blacksmith) or strong. Torossian means an ancestor of the person was named Toros.
It's roughly a cognate of the English "IAN"  (Canadian, pedestrian, median, mammalian, etc.) whose roots go back to the proto Aryan/Indo-European language.
Jirair, Armenia
Aug 4 2019
Expert on Armenian Genocide Vahakn Dadrian passes away 

Vahakn N. Dadrian, an Armenian-American sociologist and historian, an expert on the Armenian Genocide, has passed away aged 93.

Dadrian was born in 1926 in Turkey, to a family that lost many members during the Armenian Genocide.

Dadrian was the director of Genocide Research at Zoryan Institute.
Among his numerous achievements is Ellis Island Medal of Honor, U.S. Congress Medal of Esteem for Scholarship, President of the Republic Prize Gold Medal of Armenia.

Jersey Evening Post
Aug 2 2019
Jersey-registered mining company in $2bn dispute
By Ian Heath 

A JERSEY-registered mining company is embroiled in a $2 billion dispute with protesters and campaigners in Armenia who claim its operations are threatening their environment and livelihood.

Concerns were first raised about Lydian International’s Amulsar project in the former Soviet republic in 2013, with nvironmentalists claiming that it could contaminate nearby Lake Sevan, damaging the region’s ecosystem and threatening the entire water supply.

A documentary produced by London-based non-governmental organisation Global Justice Now claims that pollution has already affected water supplies, affecting the local economy including its spa facilities, fish farms and agriculture.

Local protesters have been blocking access to the gold mine for the last year, bringing work to a standstill.

A statement on the website of Lydian, a multinational mining company whose registered office is at Bourne House, Francis Street, St Helier, says: ‘Illegal blockades have prevented access to Amulsar since late June 2018.

‘Amulsar will be a large-scale, low-cost operation with production targeted to average approximately 225,000 ounces annually over an initial ten-year mine life. Open pit mining and conventional heap leach processing contribute to excellent scale and economic potential.

‘Lydian is committed to good international industry practices in all aspects of its operations including production, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.’

Nick Dearden, a director of Global Justice Now, said he believed that that Lydian was threatening to use special ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ clauses in British trade agreements with Armenia to sue its government for $2 billion over the matter.

‘The Lydian case is a great example of how companies use corporate courts or ISDS to bully governments and force them to put profits ahead of their democratic obligations to their people,’ he said.

‘Local communities are clear they don’t want this mine, yet Lydian is threatening to sue the Armenian government for a fortune – far more than they ever invested – for responding to those demands of their citizens and halting this project.

‘The grounds used by Lydian are that the Armenian government has “failed” to remove the protesters.’

He added: ‘We know that Lydian, which has its main office in Colorado, has set up a letterbox in London, and we fear that they are essentially “treaty shopping”, using different jurisdictions to give access to international treaties so they can use this awful ISDS system.

We don’t know the nature of their operations in Jersey, but if they are using the Island, with little or no real presence, simply to sue another country, that’s an outrage.

‘We urge the governments of Jersey and Britain to speak out and say their investment agreements should not be used in this way.’
Last year Jersey was granted greater independence to sign international trade deals by the UK. Mr Dearden said at the time that he was concerned that the move could allow large firms to sue governments of developing or third-world countries using Jersey companies, if ISDS clauses were included in the trade deals.

RFE/RL Report
Mayor Vows Yerevan Cleanup ‘With or Without’ Sanitek
August 02, 2019

Yerevan authorities will go ahead with their efforts to try to solve the current garbage crisis in the city “with or without” the current monopolist waste management operator, mayor of the Armenian capital Hayk Marutian told a local online publication late on Friday.

Marutian thus effectively rejected the terms offered by Sanitek, an 
underperforming Lebanese-run waste management company, for a joint quick fix to the problem.

Sanitek has for months been under fire for its poor work in the Armenian capital, with the city authorities fining the company a total of 90 million drams (about $190,000) since the beginning of this year for falling short of required standards in waste management.

The company has blamed its difficulties in organizing proper garbage disposal in Yerevan on poor infrastructure and excessive damage to its equipment. The company has also claimed that the Yerevan municipality is not willing to cooperate with it on acceptable terms.

At a press conference in Yerevan on Friday, speaking via Skype, Sanitek’s director Nicholas El Tawil offered his vision of short-term and long-term solutions to the garbage crisis in Yerevan. In particular, he said that the company is ready to immediately invest $4 million for the purchase of new garbage trucks and containers and keep annually investing in the purchase of 500 containers and upgrading the available fleet of trucks.

Sanitek’s director, however, called on the municipality to improve the infrastructure at the landfill near Yerevan, revise the existing contract price and repay the already applied “unlawful deductions.”

“As we say, one hand doesn’t clap. We need two hands to clap,” concluded El Tawil.

Speaking live on 1in TV, Mayor Marutian again criticized Sanitek for its poor performance and insisted that they are not up to the job. He stressed that Yerevan’s municipality has been providing full financing to Sanitek without any delays and spoke against raising the contract price with the company, which would inevitable entail the rise of tariffs for the population.

“Yerevan must be cleaned,” Marutian emphasized. “We will clean up Yerevan with or without Sanitek. We are embarking on this process, following a very concrete and straightforward path.”

Marutian said that efforts in this direction are underway and until the end of September almost the entire required quantity of garbage trucks will be available for Yerevan. According to the mayor, Yerevan’s authorities will be able to deduct waste management expenses from the price of the contract they have with Sanitek if the company continues to underperform.

Sanitek Armenia, which is a branch of the Lebanese-headquartered Sanitek International Group, has a 12-year contract with Yerevan as a monopolistic waste management operator. It began its work in Yerevan in December 2014.

The company has threatened to apply for international arbitration to resolve its dispute with the Yerevan municipality.

In a press release today Sanitek said that on Monday it will start 
“pre-arbitration” contacts with the Armenian government, thus showing that it “does not shut the door for continued negotiations with the municipality in order to find a mutually acceptable and optimal solution that will also be the best for the population.”
2 August, 2019
Yerevan airport introduces self-service check-in kiosks

The Zvartnots International Airport of Yerevan has introduced self-service check-in kiosks for passengers departing from the Armenian capital.

The airport’s administration said the kiosks are currently only available for passengers of Aeroflot who are traveling only with a hand luggage.

The operator didn’t mention when the machines will be available for passengers flying other airlines too.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan
 2 August, 2019
Armenian community of Istanbul opts out from 2019 Pan-Armenian Games

The Armenian community of Istanbul has chosen not to participate in the upcoming 2019 Pan-Armenian Games.

The 7th Pan-Armenian Games will be co-hosted this year by Armenia and Artsakh.

Member of the Pan-Armenian Games regulatory commission for Istanbul Haykaram Karasu revealed at a press briefing that the community has decided to opt out due to the NK conflict-related potential risk of tensions regarding the travel of athletes to the country in terms of the Turkish official stance regarding the matter. 

“Karasu informed that the main reason for not-participating is the fact that the games will be organized in Artsakh, a circumstance that has put the Istanbul-Armenian group of athletes in a difficult situation”, the Istanbul-based Zhamanak newspaper reported.

The Armenian community of Istanbul is comprised of ethnic Armenians who are citizens of Turkey.

Being well-aware of Turkey’s stance regarding regional issues, namely the Artsakh issue, the commission said they didn’t want to cause problems for the athletes. Karasu noted however, that in the past the Istanbul group was taking part in the sports event, however then it was organized solely in Armenia.

The grand opening of the 7th Pan-Armenian Games will take place in Artsakh, while the closing ceremony will be held in Armenia.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

Birmingham Live, UK
Aug 2 2019
Where is Armenia? Everything Wolves fans need to know ahead of Europa League tie with Pyunik
Wolves face off against the Armenian side in the third round of the Europa League qualifiers
By Jamie KembleJosh ChalliesTrainee Sports Wire Writer
‘Where is Armenia?’ That’s the question Wolverhampton Wanderers fans are punching into their search engines.
Victory over Northern Irish club Crusaders in Belfast on Thursday night means Wolves’ second European adventure will be in Armenia next week.
Nuno Espirito Santo and his players will go toe-to-toe with FC Pyunik after they overcame the odds to defeat the Czech Republic’s Jablonec 2-1 over two legs.
So, without wanting to sound flippant, here’s the answer to that question and the lowdown on Wolves’ next Europa League opponents.
Where is Armenia?
 Armenia is located to the south of the picturesque Caucasus mountains, and it’s bordered by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey. Armenia is around a quarter of England’s size and has a population of three million people.
It’s almost in Asia, which makes it a nightmare to get to. It’s certainly not as simple as hopping on a 60-minute flight from Birmingham Airport to Belfast.
Who are FC Pyunik?
FC Pyunik are an Armenian Premier League outfit, based in Yerevan, and are regarded as one of the most popular teams in Armenia.

Pyunik are managed by ultra-experienced Kazakh boss Aleksandr Tarkhanov, who is a former president of CSKA Moscow and Russia national team assistant.

They play at the Armenia national team stadium - a 14,403-capacity venue named Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium.
How did they reach this stage?

It all began when Pyunik finished second in the Armenian Premier League last season, missing out on the title by just one point.
They started their Europa League campaign against Macedonan club Shkupi in the first qualifying round, winning 5-4 on aggregate.

They defeated Jablonec 2-1 in the first leg of their second round qualifier thanks to a brace from Artur Miranyan before seeing out a goalless draw in the Czech Republic to advance.

Who is their star man?
Erik Vardanyan is Pyunik’s star man, scoring eight goals in 14 games from midfield last season.

His ability from the penalty spot helps, though, and he scored a spot-kick in the first round of qualifying.

How about getting there?
From Birmingham, you can get a flight with a long stop-over for just under £800 (total flight time of around 13 hours), while London offers the best route with a short stop-over (total flight time ranging from six-to-eight hours) at almost half the price, around £400-450 return at the cheapest, depending on booking time and date.

How costly is Yerevan?
Armenia is a very cheap place for Brits.
Pints of local beer are around £1 and imported bottled beer is around £1.50.
An average meal comes in at under £5.

The Irish Times
August 2, 2019 Friday
A family divided: ‘We didn’t say a proper goodbye that morning’
A Galway-based woman whose husband was deported wants him to be allowed to return
Marese McDonagh

Vahram Harutyunyan missed his daughter’s fourth birthday party in Galway on Thursday because they have been separated for almost a year.

On August 15th last year the Armenian-born barber, who has lived in Irelandfor almost 13 years, was deported, leaving his wife, Viktoria Gagkaeva, and their Irish-born daughter, Alina, behind .
He had gone to Dublin for a regular appointment at the offices of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service but shortly after arrival was arrested and within 24 hours was on a flight to Armenia.

Gagkaeva says apart from a five-minute phone call when he was surrounded by gardaĆ­, he never got a chance to say goodbye to his family. After being detained, his phone was taken from him, he was put in prison and then put on a flight in the early hours of the following morning, she says. “I got a voicemail at 4am saying he was on the flight. There were four gardaĆ­ with him, sitting alongside him in the back of the plane. He said he felt like a murderer.”

She breaks down when she recalls how she tried to make sense of that five-minute call when her world fell apart as her husband apologised for having to leave her alone with their child.

“We didn’t say a proper goodbye that morning as he was late and ran out the door, saying ‘My God I will miss the bus’ ”, she recalls. 

Her husband had for three years regularly signed on at the immigration service office on Burgh Quay in Dublin, having sought legal advice about how to regularise his situation.

Vahram had spent a short while in direct provision after arriving in Ireland in 2006, but hated it because he wanted to work and help his family, so he just left. “He always worked. He never applied for social welfare here. He was shamed by it.”

Deportation order
Gagkaeva acknowledges a deportation order was issued against her husband before she met him. After they became a family he wanted to sort out his situation and so made contact with the authorities, she says.

“He was hoping that the Government would understand we are a family. We have done nothing bad for this country. We always worked,” she says. The couple got married in Salthill in 2015.
Gagkaeva was born in Russia and spent eight years in direct provision here, from the age of 14. She and her family have been granted leave to remain and will be eligible to apply for Irish citizenship next year. Her parents live in Cork, and she says since her husband’s deportation she feels alone.

Alina spent weeks waiting every evening at the door of their apartment in Renmore, thinking her father would return , according to her mother. “I said, ‘He is not coming’. It was so tough. Nobody knows how much she misses him. I think she sees him in her dreams and when she wakes and he is not there, she cries and says ‘Why is he not here?’ ” Gagkaeva says Alina was so traumatised she was forced to give up work.

Gagkaeva worked as a beautician in Galway city and Harutyunyan usually picked their daughter up at the creche. “Her eyes used to light up when she saw him ,” recalls Tracy Lee, who looked after Alina there. “She was obviously Daddy’s girl and she was very bright and bubbly, but when he left she seemed sad and lost". Remzi Ozdiner, who employed Harutyunyan for more than five years at his Turks Barbers in Renmore, says he was “a good guy who always worked hard”.

Birthday wishes
Gagkaeva and Alina went to visit Harutyunyan some weeks ago but she says Ireland is their home and she is pleading for her husband to be allowed return. “He is sleeping on a couch in his parents’ kitchen. When we got back I was very sad but I was also relieved because I was always worried Alina got sick in Armenia.”

Yesterday on Facebook, Harutyunyan sent birthday greetings to “my sweet princess Alina”, and the mother and daughter made a birthday cake and wished for him to come home.

In a statement the Department of Justice said for reasons of confidentiality neither the Minister nor his officials in the immigration service could comment on individual cases.
It said decisions to repatriate were not taken lightly and were open to judicial review. Enforced repatriation was only carried out as a last resort, it added, and it was open to anyone with a deportation order to make a request to have that revoked. “A request for revocation needs to be based on new information or changed circumstances, which were not part of the original application when the order was made,” the statement said.

The Guardian(London), UK
August 2, 2019
'A window to the past': how old photos brought my parents' empty house back to life

For Aram Balakjian, clearing the family home after his father's death led to a ghostly photographic project
by Paula Cocozza
After his father died, Aram Balakjian began the long job of clearing the family home. The house was large, with seven bedrooms and a cellar, and had belonged to the Balakjians for 27 years. The scale of the task overwhelmed him; both parents were artists and printmakers, with busy studios full of objects he had never been allowed to touch. His mother's death from cancer four years earlier had already triggered a career change: in the year that followed, Aram wound down his web design business to develop his passion for writing and photography, and now, as he started clearing it, he began to take pictures of the house.
"I thought, 'I'll never really see this again,'" he says. "I wanted to capture how the house was. I wanted to get those things in my head." He knew that the process of dismantling nearly three decades of family life would be laborious and painful. He was six when the family moved into the house in north London, and the photographs were a way of securing the memories for him, his sister Tamar and any future children.
But it was hard to know where to start. The house was awash with loss. His father, Marc Balakjian, had died in the living room, the same room in which his mother, Dorothea Wight, had passed away four years earlier. Together, his parents had built up the business of Studio Prints, printers to Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and Paula Rego among others, and it took Balakjian a week, "intermittently breaking down", just to sort through the papers in the room they called "the computer room". He thought, "How can we ever let go of this house? How can this ever not be our house?"

Daily he was floored by "emotional grenades": a diary his father kept after his mother died, his grief-stricken poems, the sheer volume of stuff, or as Balakjian puts it, "all these things that meant so much to someone who meant so much to you". Each one required an emotional valuation. "You're dismantling their lives. It's the end of their story. You really have this sense of what's left after we die. Just a bunch of things, really." And, of course, hundreds of family snapshots.
When Balakjian had finished, he reached for his camera again, this time to photograph the empty rooms. "It wasn't the house I was struggling to let go of. It was the memory of our parents, that whole life, growing up, our youthful innocence."
He had the idea of juxtaposing or conflating these empty images with the ones he had taken of the house immediately after his father's death when it was still full of his parents' things, "to show this weird contrast of what I experienced as I was clearing the house... this slow hacking away of emotions, and separation of them from the physical space". He held up a printed photograph of a room full of family paraphernalia, and reshot it in exactly the same place, now empty. The image, showing both the before and after in a single frame, excited him. He tried the same with one of the hundreds of family snapshots he had unearthed. "That's interesting," he thought. "I can make the two images line up. It feels like looking through a window of the past."
Here was the warmth of a family moment - each one raising the spectre of a lifetime of similar moments - suspended within a bright, empty room. Sometimes the inset pictures overlap with their host image; others butt up against them starkly. Still others show family moments appearing to hover in thin air. It is hard to tell which image feels more ghostly, the occupied or the unoccupied room. They haunt each other.
Making the two photographs line up seamlessly, as Balakjian first intended, proved impossible. As a result, the viewer sees both the continuities and discontinuities between the spaces the two cameras captured, the parquet kinks and the wood panelling warps where the past and present meet.
Bookshelves burst with books then terminate in emptiness. Flames flicker in one half of a fireplace while the neighbouring coals lie cold. The leaves of a copper beech glow burgundy, then abruptly wither. Random and bizarre episodes from years of family life are held to the light: a child (Balakjian himself) larks around the kitchen holding an orange, with a silly hairdo; his father carries a packet of flour; teenage girls, one of them Balakjian's sister, rock face masks in a stupendously carpeted bathroom. All families know their lived space by heart, but every image here ends with the same heart-wrenching dispossession.

Yet for Balakjian, the process felt constructive. "The only way I could do the project was to detach myself from what I was looking at," he says. "Most of the time, I didn't look at the snapshot I was holding. I wouldn't allow myself to 'go there' and to be in that room. I was thinking from a very technical point of view."
Over two months, he took nearly 3,000 photos. Each time, he had to place himself in the footprints of the person who had taken the original image - usually his father. Marc, the son of Armenian genocide survivors, was "not emotionally open at all", says his son. Presumably, trying to see long-forgotten family moments from his perspective must have created its own challenges.
"By the end, it wasn't emotional," Balakjian says. The process of clearing, sharpened by the practise of photography, led to a sort of disinvestment. "I was actually really happy to hand the house over to a new family," he says. "I felt we'd borrowed this space for 30 years. We built these amazing things, and now it was time for someone else to come in."
Go to to see more images from Aram's project

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