Tuesday, 31 March 2009

RAG-i Arjantini Sardarabad Yerglezou Shapataterti 1500-rt Tiv-ue‏


Watch - The Fierce Urgency of Now‏ - ANCA

March 30, 2009

| Watch Video |

Join the "Fierce Urgency of NOW"
Anti-Genocide Campaign

** Watch Video | ** Visit: http://www.anca.org/change

Watch: Senator Menendez Questions State Department Nominee on Armenian Genocide

Foreign Aid 2010: Urge Your Rep. to Support a Strong Armenia and Karabagh Send a Free ANCA WebMail

Read: The New Republic's Michael Crowley Spotlights Turkey's Genocide Denial Lobby


| http://www.anca.org/change |

WASHINGTON, DC - On the eve of the April 1st arrival of Genocide Prevention Month, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today launched a nationwide online and print campaign urging concrete action to end the Darfur genocide and ensure full U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Echoing Martin Luther King's famous remarks at the Lincoln Memorial in August, 1963, the "Fierce Urgency of NOW" campaign urges anti-genocide activists across the U.S. to visit http://www.anca.org/change to learn more about the worsening humanitarian situation in Darfur and how this atrocity fits into the cycle of genocide that started with the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. The website provide simple ways for citizens to call on President Obama to show "unstinting resolve" in the effort to stop the Darfur Genocide, by participating in Save Darfur "add your voice" effort (www.addyourvoice.org). Activists can also call on the Obama Administration and Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide, putting to an end to U.S. complicity in Turkey's international campaign of genocide denial.

On Monday, March 30, 2009, full page ads were placed in The Politico and Roll Call newspapers, primarily targeting Administration and Congressional decision makers in Washington, DC, with a powerful graphic bringing together child survivors of the Armenian Genocide and Darfur Genocide into a stark visualization of the ongoing cycle of genocide. The photos are juxtaposed with President Obama's January, 2008, campaign pledge to the American people stating:

"Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics - displacement, starvation, and mass slaughter - that were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenians back in 1915. I have visited Darfurian refugee camps, pushed for the deployment of a robust multinational force for Darfur, and urged divestment from companies doing business in Sudan. America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President."

To read the complete "Obama file" on Armenian Genocide recognition, visit: http://www.anca.org/change/docs/Obama_Armenian_Genocide.pdf

Individuals can help expand the "Fierce Urgency of NOW" campaign by asking friends, family and coworkers to visit www.anca.org/change and take action. The effort can be publicized through a number of online sharing tools reaching the vast array of social networking sites including Facebook and LinkedIn, among others. To promote the campaign on college campuses or local communities, contact Garo Manjikian at garo@anca.org.

Organizations can join the ANCA campaign as "Fierce Partners" against genocide and genocide denial by contacting elizabeth@anca.org. Read Complete Release. . .

Photo Credit: Left Photo - Armenian Genocide, Armin T. Wegner, Right Photo: El Fashir, North Darfur, Brian Steidle, Hope Photos.

Disclaimer: This message was distributed to the "ANCA News" list. If you received this message in error or would like to be removed from the list, please send an email to anca_list@capwiz.mailmanager.net or click below. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please forward this message only to friends and family, who you know would be interested in this issue. Please note that sending unsolicited e-mail is considered "spam" and is illegal.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Who stole our SONG?

The Turks stole our country and now our song.

> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PPhvwn42yU

Who stole our SONG?

Dear Seta

The Turks stole our country and tried to obliterate the Armenians from the face of the
earth, and now our song.

Ara Nahabedian

> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PPhvwn42yU

Armenian News‏

The Irish Times
Friday, March 27, 2009
Turkey and Armenia poised to normalise ties

In this section elease a road map on a solution on Nagorno-Karabakh, a
region in Azerbaijan that has been under de facto Armenian control
since 1994. The parameters of the deal are very much set, said Hugh
Pope, the Turkey project director for International Crisis Group,
which is currently working on a report about Turkish-Armenian

The only thing holding things back now is nerves.

Analysts in Yerevan said the two governments have tentatively agreed
to reveal the package on April 16th, when Turkeys foreign minister is
expected to fly to Yerevan for talks.

Senior Turkish foreign policy officials refused to confirm the
date. The Armenian foreign ministry was unavailable for comment.

These are highly sensitive negotiations and both sides have gone to
great lengths to keep them secret, said a Turkish foreign ministry

A radical change of direction from Turkey, which closed its border
with Armenia in support of its Azeri ethnic cousins fighting in
Nagorno-Karabakh in 1993, the normalisation deal has been on the cards
since the AK Party took power in 2002. Talks accelerated considerably
after Turkish president Abdullah Gul attended a Turkey- Armenia
football match in Yerevan in September 2008.

Thomas de Waal, author of a highly regarded book on the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, thinks the deal has a lot to do with
changes in Russias south Caucasian policy since it went to war with
Georgia in August 2008.

The war really drove home Armenias reliance on Georgia as a trade
conduit, he said.

Russia saw that blowing up one Georgian bridge was enough to deprive
[its Armenian ally] of imports for a week. Plus the fact is that
Russia now owns Armenias economy. If you own the telecom sector and
railways, opening up the border is in your interest.

Analysts said the strongest objections to the package come from
Azerbaijan, which fears, not unreasonably, that the end to a Turkish
blockade on Armenia would reduce already limited Armenian incentives
to negotiate for a settlement on Nagorno-Karabakh. But there is
another, unforeseen stumbling block on the horizon: US president
Barack Obamas visit to Turkey on April 6th. Mr Obamas visit is
primarily aimed at mending relations with a crucial regional ally.

What makes it sensitive is that it comes barely a fortnight before
Armenians the world over gather to commemorate the Armenian massacres
of 1915. Mr Obama has pledged to recognise 1915 as a genocide.

Turkey staunchly opposes the use of the term.

To be candid, Im not sure this [Armenian issue] was factored in fully
in the initial decision to schedule this trip, said Mark Parris, a
former US ambassador to Turkey.

Like Mr Parris, Turkish officials are confident the visit will pass
without mishap. Washington is well aware of the process and [is]
working to facilitate it, said a senior foreign policy official. With
a motion for the recognition of 1915 due to appear before the US
Congress shortly, however, some think the normalisation package may be
kept waiting in the wings for a while.

If the Turks are smart, they will hold this back for leverage until
after the genocide commemorations on April 24th, said a Yerevan-based
analyst who is following talks closely.

For de Waal, meanwhile, the most important implication of a
Turkish-Armenian deal is that it could spur Armenian-Azeri peace talks
on Nagorno-Karabakh which he describes as being a parody.

Historically the Armenian-Azeri dispute is but a brawl compared to the
Armenian-Turkish dispute, he said.

If the Turks are doing a deal with Armenia, there is no reason
whatsoever for Armenia and Azerbaijan not to be able to . . . talk

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

28.03.2009 13:43

In line with the legislations of the Republic of Armenia, on March
29, 2009 (the last Sunday of March), at 2 a.m. the pointers of the
clock should be drawn an hour forward, marking the start of "summer
time," Information and Public Relations Department of the Ministry
of Economy reported.

RFE/RL Report
Friday 27, March 2009
Armenian Police Report Surge In Corruption Cases
By Tatevik Lazarian

The number of various instances of corruption reported to or
registered by Armenian law-enforcement authorities more than doubled
last year, a high-ranking police official said on Friday.

Colonel Hunan Poghosian, chief of a powerful police directorate
tasked with combating organized crime, said the police and other law-
enforcement bodies recorded 392 `corruption crimes,' up from 171 such
cases reported in 2007.

Speaking at a news conference, Poghosian said the sharp rise reflects
not only increased government corruption but also better crime
registration and greater government attention to the problem. He
claimed that the fight against graft and bribery in particular has
become the main focus of the work of his police unit.

In his words, more than a third of those crimes related to tax
evasion, while more than 130 others involved bribery, abuse of power
and embezzlement of public funds. About 100 cases were solved by law-
enforcement bodies in 2008, he said. Thirty of them were involved
bribe taking or giving. The Armenian police claimed to have solved
only two instances of bribery in 2007.

Poghosian did not specify the number of government and law-
enforcement officials prosecuted for graft, however. Very few of them
are known to have gone to prison over the past year.

Addressing parliament in October, President Serzh Sarkisian promised
`drastic steps' to address what his prime minister, Tigran Sarkisian
(no relation), has described as the number one problem facing
Armenia. `We will switch to tougher and more uncompromising methods
and a system of international standards,' the president said.

Armenian civic groups dealing with the problem, notably the local
affiliate of the anti-graft watchdog Transparency International, are
skeptical about these pledges. They say the authorities continue to
ignore media reports implicating concrete government officials in
corrupt practices.

Armenia ranked 109th in Transparency International's most recent
Corruption Perceptions Index covering 180 countries.
Sent in by readers:
For those of you who are interested about Armenian History.h
I thought you might like to visit Virtual Museum of Komitas Vardapet.


Saturday, 28 March 2009

Armenian Genocide News‏

March 25 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama ahould should stand up to his promise
and recognize Armenian Genocide, thus liberating Turkey and restoring

One of the promises that the President Obama has made during
his campaign is to call the tragic events of 1915 as Armenian
Genocide. Turkey, while has started a process of reconciliation with
Armenia (details of which are kept secret) has taken active actions
to prevent President Barack Obama from keeping his promise. Turkey's
reconition of the Armenian Genocide will not only create justice, but
will also liberate Turkey from past that has come to haunt the nation.

According to the Armenian Weekly a prominent Turkish genocide scholar
Taner Akcam in his lecture titled "Facing History" and delivered
at the Clark University on March 19 Akcam sent a powerful message
to U.S. President Barack Obama, asking him to liberate Turks and
Armenians by properly recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Akcam continued, "All of the parties involved know very well what the
U.S. administration and Congress think about 1915. But Turkey asks them
to tell a lie only for one day. I have never understood why the Turkish
government extracts so much joy out of making the United States lie
for one day. I also find it completely dishonorable. Not only does this
lie fail to lead to a resolution, it needlessly locks up the debate."

Hence, Akcam argued, the importance of official U.S. recognition of
the Armenian Genocide--"if the United States declares what it believes
to be the truth and stands behind it"--would not only gain it "some
self-respect on the subject, but it will liberate Turks, Armenians,
and itself in the process."

Akcam ended his lecture by asking Obama to stand up for truth. "I
believe that we will enter a new era where morality and real politik
will not be considered mutually exclusive, if President Obama should
put an end to this lingering problem and liberate everybody in the
process by an official acknowledgment of genocide," he said.

Professor Akcam grew up in Turkey, where he was imprisoned
for his participation in and fervent support for free press
publications. Following a dramatic escape, he later received political
asylum in Germany, where he earned a Ph.D. from the University of
Hannover and worked with the Hamburg Institute for Social Research.

In 2007, the Armenian Bar Association presented the Hrant Dink
Freedom Award to Professor Akcam as "a champion of historical truth
about the Armenian Genocide and for his courageous defense of liberty
and free speech." Akcam's life and work have been featured in four
critically acclaimed documentary films, and he is the author of 10
scholarly works, as well as numerous articles. His most recent book,
"A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish
Responsibility," (Metropolitan Books), was released in 2006.
10:57:19 - 27/03/2009

On March 23, the Armenian Council of America (ACA) sent U.S. Secretary
of State Hillary Rodham Clinton a letter. In the letter, the ACA
addressed several issues of concern regarding U.S.- Armenia and
U.S.-Turkey relations.

Recently, Secretary Clinton visited the Republic of Turkey, and
President Barack Obama has an upcoming trip scheduled for April
5th. The letter stated, "President Obama's upcoming visit to Turkey,
especially in the month of April, is a unique opportunity for
the United States to encourage the Republic of Turkey to rectify
its historical past in order to develop a strong Armenian-Turkish
relationship and for the future of Turkish nation itself." Secretary
Clinton spoke on the telephone as well with Armenian President
Serzh Sarkisian regarding current affairs. This April will mark the
commemoration of the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and an
anticipated annual statement is expected from the White House. "The
Armenian Council of America appreciates the administration's
engagement on these issues and looks forward to positive statements
and fulfillment of their pledges reaffirming the American record on
the Armenian Genocide," stated ACA Board Member Peter Darakjian.

The Armenian Council of America is a grassroots organization dedicated
to work with both Democratic and Republican political leaders, offering
Armenian related news, analysis and resources for policymakers,
media, students and activists, advocating issues important to Armenian
Americans. The Armenian Council of America aims to strengthen U.S. -
Armenia and U.S. - Nagorno Karabakh ties, the development of programs
promoting sustainable economic growth and good governance in Armenia,
while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship.

March 27, 2009
Uppsala, Sweden
Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden

To: The President of the United States of America March 26, 2009

"Mr. Minister, The persecutions of the Armenians have reached hair-raising
proportions and all points to the fact that the Young Turks want to seize
the opportunity, since due to different reasons there are no effective
external pressure to be feared, to once and for all put an end to the
Armenian question. The means for this are quite simple and consist of the
extermination [utrotandet] of the Armenian nation." - Per Gustaf August
Cosswa Anckarsvärd, Swedish Ambassador to Turkey, in his report to the
Swedish Foreign Minister Knut Wallenberg, July 6, 1915, Constantinople

Dear President Obama,

The above stated report is merely one of several which were recently found
in the Swedish National and Military Archives, confirming the reality
which has since long been established by the genocide scholars regarding
the events in the Ottoman Turkey during World War I. The world was far
from as hesitating as it is today in condemning the treatment of the
Armenians, demanding justice for the victims and punishment of those
guilty of "crimes against humanity and civilization", the very first
occurrence of the term in international circumstances. However, the soon
growing Kemalist movement put a stop to the demands for justice and the
clever politics of the Republic of Turkey have ever since held the world
conscience as hostage in exchange for economic and political gains.

In nine decades the Armenians and other affected minorities have lived
this reality on daily basis while the rest of the world just recently has
become aware of the "forgotten genocide of the 20th Century". The Armenian
Diaspora, a direct result of the 1915 Genocide, has during the last 90
years of its struggle for recognition, been called liars and
propagandists, smearing the Turkish reputation. But, what is more hurtful,
is the fact that the surrounding world, including USA, has indirectly
joined Turkey in labeling the victims as liars and propagandists, simply
by refusing to recognize what is a historical fact. As the prominent
Turkish Professor Taner Akçam pointed out recently, on April 24, the USA
annually joins Turkey in its lie, "denying for one day what they believe
the other 364 days of the year."

The Turkish denial has developed and evolved, changing shapes and
strategies during the past 94 years, adapting to the prevailing world
situation and argumentation. The most recent morphing has supplied Turkey
with the argumentation that the ongoing reconciliation process between
Armenia and Turkey must be left unharmed and that external interference,
such as an American recognition of the genocide, will jeopardize the
fragile process. By saying this, however, Turkey is rather stating that
history is a matter of negotiations. Taking into account the existing
consensus among the majority of genocide scholars, evident not only in the
massive bulk of research and publications, but also in the very
resolutions of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS),
the Armenian Genocide does not need revisiting or reconsideration. Thus,
neither USA nor any other country in the world should refrain from
recognizing the truth while the reconciliation process between Turkey and
Armenia continues and must go on. That process will not change the already
established fact about the Armenian Genocide. Furthermore, it is my firm
belief that no reconciliation process or any democratization process will
benefit from harboring lies and suppressing the truth.

Like the election campaigns of Your predecessors, the issue of the
recognition of the Armenian Genocide and calling it by its true name, was
one of the issues You have addressed at several occasions, correctly
pointing out that "America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about
the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend
to be that President." I hope that You will bring the change You promised
during the election campaign, breaking the tradition of Your predecessors
in failing to honor their campaign vows in this regard, and that You,
unlike the US Presidents before You, will tell the truth about the
Armenian Genocide in each and one of the 365 days of the year.

I wish You the very best in the tremendous challenges that You and Your
Administration are faced with in the current world situation, and I am
confident that You will fulfill our expectations regarding "The Change We
believe in."

Yours truly,

Vahagn Avedian
Historian and Editor in Chief, Armenica.org
Chairman of the Board
Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden
Armenian National Committee of Australia
South Australia Passes Armenian Genocide Motion

ADELAIDE: An Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia)
delegation was present as South Australian Parliament's Legislative
Council passed a motion recognising the Armenian Genocide as "one of
the greatest crimes against humanity".

The motion, introduced by the Hon. David Ridgway MLC (Leader of the
Liberal Opposition in Legislative Council) and seconded by the
Hon. Bernard Finnigan (Member of the Labor Government in Legislative
Council) went through unopposed, and sees the Upper House of South
Australia's parliament join the New South Wales parliament in
condemning "the genocide of the Armenians and all other acts of

However this motion is unique, as it is the first to include
recognition of recently-uncovered material detailing the significant
humanitarian effort by the people of South Australia who aided the
victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide almost a century ago.

South Australians, as part of the global Near East Relief effort,
answered to calls for aid by donating clothing, money and
infrastructure - an orphenage in Lebanon which housed the child
survivors of the attempt by Ottoman Turkey to exterminate its
Christian-Armenian minority.

When introducing the motion a fortnight ago, a proud Mr. Ridgway said:
"I would like to recognise South Australia's role in the first major
international humanitarian relief effort. As was the case for the
genocide itself, that effort was not broadly publicised."

Mr. Ridgway added: "It goes without saying that such acts as the
Armenian genocide epitomise prejudices against race, religion and
culture. For most Australians those attitudes are difficult to
comprehend but, unfortunately, they remain commonplace in many
societies today."

Mr. Finnigan also addressed the house in seconding the motion: "In
light of growing international awareness of the Armenian genocide -
and given the horrific nature of the genocide itself - it is time for
we South Australians to do our part."

ANC Australia Political Relations Officer, Mr. Vache Kahramanian
commended Mr. Ridgway, Mr. Finnigan and their Legislative Council
colleagues for recognising what he described a "proud intertwining of
histories for Armenian-Australians".

He said: "It is fitting that South Australia is the first to honour
this significant moment in Australian history - the first time this
great nation came to the aid of a needy people a whole world away."

Mr. Kahramanian added: "It is important for nations like Australia to
recognise and condemn all acts of genocide, as some - like the
Armenian Genocide - remain unpunished."

Mr. Ridgway commended the Armenian-Australian community and ANC
Australia for their excellent leadership.

"I am grateful to be in an ongoing working relationship with the
Armenian community," he said. "The Armenian National Committee is
dedicated to a campaign which advocates recognition of the genocide,
and today's motion is also a tribute to its tireless efforts on behalf
of the Armenian community."


The chairwoman of Turkey's leading business association, Turkish
Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD), sent a letter
to U.S. President Barack Obama urging him to consider the possible
implications of recognizing Armenian Genocide, Hurriyet Daily News

Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag in the letter sent on March 24 staits,
that "the US and Turkey are determined to move forward for a more
intensified cooperation on several key issues under the vision of the
new American leadership. In an era when a strong US-Turkey alliance
is needed more than ever to address the challenges of the world's
most troubled regions such as the Middle East and the Caucasus,
straining bilateral relations through such initiatives will have
negative consequences beyond Turkey-US relations."

The leader of TUSAID hopes, that Barack Obama will find it useful
in promoting a more reasonable and less politicized way of debating
Armenian Genocide in the US.

Obama, both as a Senator and a presidential candidate, was an outspoken
advocate for proper U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide. He
repeatedly called on former president George W. Bush to recognize the
genocide and expressed reservations over the firing of U.S. Ambassador
to Armenia John Marshall Evans for his remarks recognizing that
crime. In January 2008, Obama issued a campaign statement, noting that
"America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian
Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be
that President."

Last week, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), George Radanovich
(R-Calif.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) were
joined by 70 of their House Colleagues in the introduction of
Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.252) calling on the president
to recognize the Armenian Genocide. That resolution is identical to
the one introduced in the previous Congress, which was adopted by
the House Foreign Affairs Committee by a vote of 27 to 21, and had
over 200 co-sponsors.

Impact of Financial Turmoil on Armenia‏

RFE/RL Armenia Report
Tuesday 24, March 2009
Armenian Recession Deepens In February
By Ruben Meloyan

Armenia's economy appears to be plunging deeper into a recession,
contracting by 3.7 percent in the first two months of this year,
according to official statistics released on Tuesday.

The bulk of the drop, the first since the early 1990s, was registered by
the National Statistical Service (NSS) in February 2009. The country's
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrunk by only 0.7 percent in January.

The latest macroeconomic data is a further indication of the growing
impact of the global economic crisis on the Armenian economy. Its
already modest exports tumbled by as much as 45 percent year on year in
January-February 2009. The recent fall in international prices for base
metals, Armenia's number one export item, was clearly a key factor.

The fall in Armenian imports was more modest: just over 21 percent. The
NSS is expected to report more detailed export-import data next week.

Industry, the most underperforming sector of the economy in recent
years, contracted by about 10 percent year on year during the two-month
period. Industrial output was dragged down, among other factors, by a 20
percent reduction in electricity production. Whether that was caused by
decreased domestic consumption or electricity exports to neighboring
Georgia and Iran is not yet clear.

Construction and services other than trade, sectors that together
accounted for almost 44 percent of GDP in January-February, fared
better. According to the NSS, the construction sector shrunk by 1.5
percent after years of rapid growth driven by strong demand in expensive
housing and office space. The construction boom ended with the onset of
the global downturn late last year.

The NSS also reported 5 percent growth in retail trade turnover,
something which contrasted with strong anecdotal evidence of dwindling
sales in shops and markets across the country. The surprise increase may
have been the result of recent months' introduction of cash registers
aimed at reducing widespread tax evasion in the sector.

Gagik Minasian, chairman of the Armenian parliament's committee on
finance and budgetary affairs, downplayed the worsening economic
situation in the country, saying that it is following a worldwide
pattern. `This is just one of the manifestations of the global economic
crisis,' he told RFE/RL. `I don't think that we should feel disheartened
when comparing our macroeconomic indicators to those of other

But Bagrat Asatrian, a former Central Bank critical of the Armenian
government, was far more concerned about the latest macroeconomic data.
`If things continue like this, we will face an economic decline of 10
percent or even more this year,' said Asatrian. The sharp fall in
Armenian exports is particularly alarming, he added.

According to Minasian, the government is doing its best to shore up the
exports by helping large mining and chemical enterprises hit hard by the
crisis kick-start their operations and providing financial assistance to
smaller export-oriented companies. Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian said
on Friday that the government will invest 25 billion drams ($68 million)
in 18 such companies that have come up with concrete business plans.

Another, more important element of the government's anti-crisis strategy
is the implementation of large-scale road, housing and other
infrastructure projects mainly financed by foreign donors. The
government also plans to use external loans and grants for providing
credit to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Asatrian was skeptical about these measures, calling for a sweeping
revision of economic policies pursued by the Armenian authorities. He
also said government policies will be ineffectual unless they also
address what he called a lack of public trust in the country's

RFE/RL Armenia Report
Thursday 26, March 2009
Government Delays Spending Amid Revenue Shortfall
By Hovannes Shoghikian

Faced with a shortfall in revenues resulting from a deepening
economic crisis, Armenia's government rescheduled on Thursday 131
billion drams ($359 million) in planned expenditures to the fourth
quarter of this year.

The figure is equivalent to almost 14 percent of total government
spending envisaged by the Armenian state budget for 2009. The
government was supposed to meet this record-high spending target by
ensuring a 21 percent rise in its tax and other revenues. However,
those revenues fell by about 11 percent in January as the country's
Gross Domestic Product shrunk for the first time since the early 1990s.

`Given the current difficulties with the collection of taxes, the
government shifted expenditures scheduled for the first, second and
third quarters to the fourth quarter,' Deputy Finance Pavel Safarian
told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting held in the Aghveran
holiday resort in central Armenia. `This allows us to spend as much
money as we have at our disposal and to avoid accumulating
liabilities,' he said.

The measure, which was proposed by the Finance Ministry, needs to be
endorsed by parliament. It is widely seen as a prelude to budgetary
cuts expected later this year.

Safarian did not rule out such possibility. `We wouldn't be able to
make the envisaged expenditures with fewer revenues,' he said. He
added that the government will likely use some of the hundreds of
dollars in emergency loans promised by foreign governments and
lending institutions to partly make up for the revenue shortfall.

Safarian also made clear that the government will not cut pensions,
public sector salaries and other social spending. He said the delayed
expenditures were mainly earmarked for procurements for various state

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian said earlier this month that those
agencies must operate in a `regime of strict economy' until Armenia
overcomes the effects of the global economic slump.

March 24, 2009

YEREVAN, March 24. /ARKA/. Armenian State Revenue Committee's tax
agency says tax receipts of the stat budget shrank 18.7% in January
and February 2009, compared with the same months of the previous year,
to AMD 49207.8 million.

Tax inflow for February totaled AMD 27258 million and for January
AMD 21949.8 million.

VAT receipts amounted to AMD 10850 million in January and February

This result is 32.9% worse than that that of the same months a year

Profit tax inflow amounted to AMD 8841.1 million, 21.4% less than a
year earlier.

Excise tax receipts reduced 67.9% to AMD 657 million. Other tax
receipts reduced 17.1% to AMD 8488 million.

Instead, income tax receipts grew 15.8% to AMD 7590.1 million.

Arrears grew 2.1% in February reaching AMD 90622.5 million. Aharon
Chilingaryan, deputy chairman of the State Revenue Committee, said
that the reduction was due to the global financial crisis.

"It is clear that our economy is impacted by outside factors, and
import reduction resulted in reduction in tax collection", he said.

But it absolutely doesn't mean that tax agencies work defectively,
Chilingaryan said adding that tax agencies do their job properly. ($1 =
AMD 370.61).
By Karine Ohanian
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
March 26 3009

As unrecognised republic prepares for downturn, government promises
measures to ease credit and increase national self-sufficiency.

Father-of-two Ashot Babaian is out of work and facing a grim
future. "I lost my job two months ago and barely eke out a living,"
the 29-year-old said.

"My wife doesn't work either, we have two children and now we have
to depend on my father's earnings."

Babaian used to work at Perfect Setting, a firm specialising in the
production of parts for Swiss watches.

He was laid off when the company, partner to a major European watch
manufacturer, cut staffing levels in response to the world financial
crisis, which has reduced demand.

The company management refused to tell IWPR how many, or what
percentage of, staff they had shed.

They were "sorry for this unfortunate situation and for the necessity
of depriving their labour force of high salaries", the firm said.

The first wave of the crisis in Nagorny Karabakh has mainly affected
companies financed from abroad, or which have partnership arrangements
with foreign corporations.

But it has also hit the pockets of ordinary people who now find
salaries can't keep up with sudden price rises.

The self-proclaimed republic has remained unrecognised by the wider
world for more than 15 years.

Formerly an autonomous region of Azerbaijan, it declared independence
after the collapse of the Soviet Union, becoming a conflict zone
between Armenians and Azeris.

But since a ceasefire entered into force on May 1994, Karabakh has
experienced economic recovery.

The economy of the region, which has a population of about 138,000
and where monthly salaries average about 220 US dollars - a little les
than Armenia - revolves around agriculture and small and medium-sized

Much of the budget depends on Armenian subsidies, however. Yerevan
supplies most of the 55 billion drams (about 146 million dollars)
set aside for this year.

Karabakh shares a common economic space with Armenia. For this reason,
product prices and economic trends in Armenia impact directly on
prices and employment levels in Karabakh.

After the recent sharp devaluation of the dram on March 3, the panic
felt in Armenia spread to Karabakh.

Owners closed many stores while in some others, the prices of goods
doubled instantly. Panicked consumers swept staples such as vegetable
oil, sugar and flour off the shelves.

"I went to the shop to buy some sugar and rice but to my surprise,
all the shops were closed," Liana Sargsian, a housewife in the capital,
Stepanakert, said.

"My neighbours said only one supermarket was still open in the centre
but long lines had already formed at the doors. I had nothing to do,
but go there."

Fear of a second wave of price hikes prompted shoppers to rush out
and buy household appliances such as washing machines and cell phones.

Although the prices of these goods had already gone up, many people
reasoned that in a few days they would cost even more.

"The prices for some goods soared by up to 20 or 25 per cent in only
hours," Fatima Grigorian, a housewife, told IWPR.

"On March 3, vegetable oil went up to 1,000 dram from 550 dram,
but only two days later the price went down to 700 dram.

"In one day, I spent almost half of my [monthly] salary stocking up
on essential goods!"

The entity's premier, Ara Harutyunyan, called a press conference on
March 4 to calm fears about the sudden rises.

"We share the same economic space with Armenia and everything that
happens there impacts on our economy," he said. "If there are price
increases in Armenia, we will have to react the same way."

Karabakh has already experienced economic jitters recently. In November
2008, the largest taxpaying business, Base Metals, which develops
gold and copper mines, cut production after suffering severe losses.

The move sparked worries as the company cut wages by between 7 and
15 per cent, blaming the decline in world copper prices. As a result,
the company also paid less tax, depriving the budget of 2 billion dram,
equivalent to 5.3 million dollars.

The government's 2009 budget envisages cuts in the administration
of 10 to 15 per cent and setting aside a reserve fund of up to 150
million dram.

Commercial banks are to be drawn into state programmes to ease access
to mortgages and credit for small and medium-sized businesses.

"The country is provided with enough fuel and essential goods,"
Harutiunian assured at the press conference.

He insisted that prices of basic goods would now remain stable. "Bread
prices haven't changed so far and are unlikely to go up now," he
said, "bearing in mind that we not only supply our internal needs
but export grain.

"Of course, people's incomes are not always satisfying, and we have
to find ways of increasing earnings."

But pensions had gone up at the beginning of the year, he noted,
compensating for much of the rise in prices. No cuts to welfare
were envisaged.

However, outrage over the consequences of the crisis, especially the
currency devaluation, is still common among many people.

"We bought a car after borrowing 9,000 dollars but then the dram fell
from 300 to a dollar to 375," Fatima Grigorian complained. "Imagine
how much money we lost because of devaluation!"

The government's anti-crisis measures have included moves to increase
self-sufficiency in food production and power.

Earlier in March, the authorities unveiled a novel investment project
to encourage consumers to buy shares in new, small hydro-electric
power stations.

The joint-stock company, ArtsakhGES (Artsakh hydro-electric power
station), is inviting potential investors to buy shares, priced at
1,000 dram (three dollars) each.

At the presentation ceremony, the manager, Vahram Beglarian, urged
people and companies to join the project. "Participation gives you the
opportunity to become joint-owners of the company and earn a profit,"
he said.

Economist Svetlana Danielian said the project was an excellent idea.

"The project to build and exploit mini hydro-electric power stations
will fulfill all Karabakh's own power needs and enable it to export
power and so earn revenue in a tough economic climate," she said.

Meanwhile, the wave of panic in Armenia has also hit savers in
Karabakh, some of whom have started to exchange dram for dollars and
euro while others try to get rid of foreign currency.

As worries have rippled through the business and banking sector,
the inflow of foreign currency has fallen, hitting banks' assets and
undermining their willingness and ability to lend money for mortgages.

"From the start of the crisis in autumn, some banks tightened credit
conditions, raising service fees and insisting on steep terms for
credit," Danielan said.

"Since the currency devaluation, they have further reduced mortgage
activity and business loans."

The world crisis has also hit the pockets of Karabakh residents who
rely on remittances sent from relatives in Russia.

"My father had three stalls in a market where he used to sell menswear
but since the beginning of the crisis, trade has been bad, so he had to
join the three stalls into one," said Gayane Egiazarian whose father,
working in St Petersburg, used to send her regular funds.

"Now there's no work at all, the market is at risk - and so is my
father's business."

Ani Azatian, a shop assistant, said her fiancé, Vazgen, used to make
a living by working seasonally in the construction business in Russia.

When he came home last October, he was hoping to go back to Russia
and earn money for their wedding. But today he is jobless.

"Now he has to look for work here, but it's very hard to find
employment here," Azatian said.

Unemployment, however, has yet to rise significantly. Last December,
3,724 Karabakh residents were registered as unemployed. By March 1,
the number had crept up to 3,769.

One other element of the government's anti-crisis package is tightening
up the tax collection rate.

Karabakh's tax revenues were already 25 per cent higher in 2008 than
in 2007 as a result of existing improvements in this sphere.

The government also intends to boost local agriculture, with a view
to cutting imports.

"We still import most agricultural goods, though the conditions to
develop our own agricultural sector are good," Bako Sahakian, the
president of Karabakh, told a meeting of students in Stepanakert on
February 26.

"Karabakh has every chance to serve not only the [food] needs of the
domestic market but to provide the market abroad with competitive
organic products."

Sahakian's opponent in the last elections, in 2007, Masis Mailian, told
IWPR that the authorities were right to concentrate on agriculture.

"The emphasis on the agricultural sector is just what will help us
survive the global financial crisis with minimal losses," he said.

Thursday, 26 March 2009





By Dr Ronald G Suny
Professor Emeritus of Political Science and History, University of Chicago

Monday, 30 March 2009, at 7:30 pm
Nevart Gulbenkian Hall, Iverna Gardens, London W8
(Tube: High Street Kensington)

The Republics of the South Caucasus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, long
considered on the periphery of world affairs, suddenly became the centre of
international attention in August 2008 when Russia and Georgia went to war.
That conflict and its effects must be understood in both regional and global
terms. Professor Suny will explore the question of Russia's interests, the
new East/West conflict and the consequences for South Caucasia.

Ronald Grigor Suny is the Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Social and
Political History at the University of Michigan and Professor Emeritus of
Political Science and History at the University of Chicago. He is the
author of Looking Toward Ararat: Armenia in Modern History (Indiana, 1993)
and the editor of The Cambridge History of Russia, Vol. III: The Twentieth
Century (Cambridge, 2006).

The Armenian Institute is a London-based registered charity dedicated to
making Armenian culture and history a living experience, through innovative
programmes, educational resources, workshops, exhibits and performances. Its
work is supported by friends, patrons and voluntary donations. For more
information about the Armenian Institute or to find out about supporting the
important work of the Institute, please visit our website at
www.armenianinstitute.org.uk ,
contact us at info@armenianinstitute.org. or call 020 7978 9104. If you
would like your email address to be removed from the list, please send an
email with "remove" in the subject heading to info@armenianinstitute.org.uk

Andarperoutiamp... Yev Masamp Norin Lrchoren Gue Vuedankuevin Azkayin Kerakouyn Mer Shaher-ue‏



Forthcoming events in Hayashen - April-May 2009


£10 per person

Centre for Armenian Information & Advice (CAIA)
105a Mill Hill Road
Acton, London W3 8JF
Tel: 020 8992 4621
Fax: 020 8993 8953
E-mail: info@caia.org.uk
website: www.caia.org.uk

Registered Charity No.1088534
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office as above.



£10 per person

Centre for Armenian Information & Advice (CAIA)
105a Mill Hill Road
Acton, London W3 8JF
Tel: 020 8992 4621
Fax: 020 8993 8953
E-mail: info@caia.org.uk
website: www.caia.org.uk

Registered Charity No.1088534
Limited Company by Guarantee. Registered in England No.4195084. Registered
office as above.


Gibrahayer e-magazine www.gibrahayer.com
The largest circulation Armenian e-magazine on the Internet
Circulates every Wednesday - Established in 1999


Gibrahayer Nicosia 25 March-Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra katoomba@cytanet.com.cy -Members of the Armenian community of Cyprus, joined Archbishop GIBRAHAYER e-magazineVaroujan Hergelian accompanied by clergies and deacons of the Armenian Church, in a solemn ceremony for the reburial of the remains of 9 identified and 32 unidentified Armenians previously exhumed. They were laid to rest, in accordance to the rites of the Armenian Apostolic Church, last Sunday, 22 March 2009.
Cypress trees were also planted on the grounds of the cemetery, with many, kindly participating in the throwing of soil with shovels.
Before and after the ceremony, we wandered through the cemetery grounds, located between the Law Courts and the Wolseley Barracks, right next to the UN Buffer Zone. For me it was a journey through time, as we were able to see the historical tombstones, most of which dated to the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. The majority of the graves belonged to deghatsi families; indeed, some of the inscribed surnames are apparently uncommon today. Others were hard to read, because of the decay of the marble.
My company were puzzled why Latin writing was found on some tombs located to the north part of the cemetery, but then I reminded them that it is customary to bury Armenian Catholics to the right part of a cemetery, Armenian Protestants to the left, and the Apostolics in the centre. With works expected to complete in about a month, an obelisk (houshagotogh) will be bearing the names of the 463 buried there since 1877, including the ones whose graves are still intact.
The old Armenian cemetery appears to have been in use as a burial ground since the 15th century, but according to records of the Armenian Prelature it was officially registered as a cemetery in 1877. The wall and the gate were erected in 1888, and the Sourp Boghos chapel was built in 1892, in memory of the cemetery’s benefactor, Boghos Odadjian, a Bolsetsi. Due to the increase of burials - a direct result of the Armenian Genocide and the large number of refugees who fled to Cyprus - a new plot was purchased to the west of Ayios Dhometios. The last burial, carried out in 1931, was the 9-months old Bedros Aynedjian.

In 1963, because of the widening of Shakespeare street, about 100 graves had to be demolished and their remains were trans-located to the Ayios Dhometios cemetery. After the inter-communal troubles in 1963-1964, the historical cemetery was abandoned due to its proximity to the buffer zone. Ironically, in 1974 the Ayios Dhometios cemetery fell within the buffer zone; for burials, a special permission was required 24 hours in advance, with a limited number of mourners attending. After the efforts of MP Vartkes Mahdessian, visits there are allowed every Sunday. In 1998 the new cemetery was built, to the north of Lakatamia-Ayii Trimithias road.
The Sourp Boghos chapel has been restored, its roof has been renovated, and the commemorative plaque in front of the door replaced, however it still needs painting on the inside. As of this year, a small service will be held there on the Sunday following Easter. We look forward to the completion of the restoration works for the cemetery, hoping it will become a gem for the region and the community.

Click here to view images


Gibrahayer - Nicosia Wednesday 25 March - Armenian National Committee's Tuesday night's fund-raiser featuring Tata was a community record-breaker, with more than 550 Armenian Cypriots packing The Pavilion in Nicosia.
The evening also featured Eurovision Cyprus 2009 finalist Gore Melian and Maria Moskofian.
The audience were reminded of the reason why the event was taking when a 10-minute film was shown on the giant screens, on the global political activities of Armenian National Committee's.
The event was under the patronage of Parliament President Marios Garoyian, who was greeted warmly by his compatriots.
"We will continue our noble struggle so that we give our homelands both Cyprus and Armenia the place in history that they deserve" Garoyian concluded his speech that was constantly interrupted by rhythmic applauses of his compatriots.


The screening of Screamers is organised by The Armenian National Committee of Cyprus
Film Director of Screamers Carla Garabedian will also be present at the event


GIBRAHAYER e-magazine“[Talaat stated that]… they had already disposed of three quarters of them [Armenians], that there were none left in Bitlis, Van, Erzeroum, and that the hatred was so intense now that they have to finish it. . . . He said they would take care of the Armenians at Zor and elsewhere but they did not want them in Anatolia. I told him three times that they were making a serious mistake and would regret it. He said, ‘We know we have made mistakes, but we never regret.’”
—8 August 1915 diary entry of conversations between Talaat Pasha and U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, United States Diplomacy on the Bosphorus: The Diaries of Ambassador Morgenthau, 1913–1916, comp., ed., and intro. Ara Sarafian (Princeton and London: Gomidas Institute, 2004)

by Ara Sarafian - LONDON – A handwritten black book that belonged to Mehmet Talaat Pasha, the Ottoman minister of interior in 1915, was published in facsimile form in the end of 2008. It is probably the single most important document ever uncovered describing the destruction of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915–17. The Black Book draws on Ottoman sources no longer available to answer many questions about what those sources showed.
Looking through the Sifre Kalemi or cipher telegram collection at the Prime Ministry Archives in Istanbul some years ago, I was struck by the number of telegrams in 1915 from Talaat Pasha ordering the deportation of individual communities, inquiring about the state of convoys, and giving instructions for further deportations. What emerged was a picture of a ruler obsessed with the progress of his signature program. Much of the responses to Talaat's inquiries were not available. What the Black Book does is to summarise the data he collected.

Ottoman archives
Turkish state intellectuals in recent years have insisted that the 1915 deportations of Ottoman Armenians were not part of a genocidal exercise, but an orderly population transfer and resettlement. They have insisted that Ottoman archives in Turkey today support their contention. Yet, between them, they have only managed to cite an amalgam of official deportation and resettlement regulations, certain reports related to deportations, and no substantial account of what actually happened to deportees.
Indeed, no historian working in Turkish archives has managed to present a coherent picture of the deportation and resettlement of Armenians from any region in the Ottoman Empire based on Ottoman records. This is because Ottoman records do not support the official Turkish thesis on the Armenian Genocide.
While there is broad agreement between Turkish archives and other sources that thousands of Armenians were removed from their homes in 1915, there is no solid account of what happened to these deportees in Ottoman records. However, foreign archives, such as the consular records of the United States, give a better qualitative assessment of actual developments than the available Ottoman documentation.
This absence of Ottoman records could seem perplexing, because according to Ottoman regulations, Ottoman officials had to keep detailed records of the deportation of Armenians, as well as an inventory of their properties, as well as details of the final settlement of the people concerned. The total absence of such registers in Turkish archives today is therefore remarkable.

A handwritten book
The recent facsimile publication of Talaat Pasha’s Black Book may well answer many of questions with the authority of Ottoman records. At 77 pages, the book includes a substantial section on the deportation of Armenians in 1915–17. The book and its content were never disclosed in Talaat’s lifetime, including in his posthumous memoirs published in 1921. After his assassination in 1921, the book was kept by his widow and given to the Turkish historian Murat Bardakçi in 1982. Mr. Bardakçı made parts of the booklet public in Hürriyet newspaper in 2005. The full account was not published until the end of 2008.
The significance of the Black Book lies in the authority of the owner, the fact that its content was drawn from Ottoman administrative records no longer available to historians in Turkey, and the actual data that it gives about the deportation of Armenians. Neither the book nor the data it yields bear clear dates, though Mr. Bardakçı thinks that the figures refer to 1915–1916 – though I think that could be the end of 1916 or even the beginning of 1917.

The state perspective
The data presented in this book can be considered to be a view of the Armenian Genocide from the perspective of the state. This state perspective still needs to be evaluated critically, which I am doing in a separate study. The purpose of this article is to introduce the core data that informed Talaat Pasha about the actual state of Armenians.
The statistics regarding the destruction of Armenians in the Black Book are enumerated in four categories covering for 29 regions (vilayets and sanjaks) of the Ottoman Empire.
These statistics are supposed to reflect:
- The Armenian population in each region in 1914
- Armenians who were not deported (presumably 1915–16)
- Armenians who were deported and living elsewhere (1917)
- Armenians who were originally from outside the province they were living in (1917)
From these statistics, we can also have an idea of the number of Armenians who were deported but not accounted for in 1917. Some of these missing Armenians undoubtedly fled the Ottoman Empire, such as those in the province of Van (where there was fierce resistance) or parts of Erzurum (which fell under Russian occupation after the Ottoman offensive collapsed in the east). However, very few Armenians were able to flee in such a manner, and for our discussion today, we will assume that the vast majority of the “missing Armenians” in 1917 were killed or died during deportations.
Questions answered
The figures from Talaat Pasha’s Black Book are invaluable because they answer some fundamental questions about the Armenian Genocide.


Ara Sarafian is an archival historian specializing in late Ottoman and modern Armenian history. He is the director of the Gomidas Institute, London. This article is a summary of a broader project on “Talaat Pasha’s Black Book and the Armenian Genocide.”



Click here to read


Interfax, Russia - Baku - March 20 2009 - Azerbaijan will never put up with the occupation of its territory and will liberate it, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said.
"Independence will never be granted to Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan will never come to terms with the occupation of its territory," he said at the celebration of Novruz in Baku on Friday.
Aliyev said he intends to use all possible ways to achieve this goal, and Azerbaijan has been strengthening its economic and defence potential to this end.
"The military parade held in Baku last year demonstrated our potential to the whole of the world," he said.
"We want to peacefully resolve the conflict, but this solution should be fair and based on international law," he said.


MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - The second regimentο equipped with advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems has been put into combat service in Russia, the Defence Minister said on Tuesday.
In 2007, Russia successfully conducted live firing tests of the S-400 air Defence complex at the Kapustin Yar firing range in south Russia's Astrakhan Region, and deployed the first missile regiment equipped with the new system to protect the airspace surrounding Moscow and
industrial zones in the center of Russia's European territory.
The S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) air Defence system is expected to form the new cornerstone of Russia's theatre air and missile defences up to 2020 or even 2025.
The S-400 is designed to intercept and destroy airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles), twice the range of the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot, and 2.5 times that of the S-300PMU-2.
The system is also believed to be able to destroy stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles, with an effective range of up to 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) and a speed of up to 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) per second.
A regular S-400 battalion comprises at least eight launchers with 32 missiles and a mobile command post, according to various sources. The new state arms procurement program until 2015 stipulates the purchase of enough S-400 air Defence systems to arm 18 battalions during this period.

FATHER FRANK’S RANTS - Bearing the Cross

Rant Number 345 25 March 2009

They compelled a certain man, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out from the country and passing by, to bear His cross. St Mark’s Gospel 15:21

In a speech to AIDS workers and patients in Cameron, Pope Benedict spoke of Simon, the Cyrenian. As Simon helped Jesus on his way to the crucifixion, so must the Church reach out and minister to all kinds of sufferers today.

A beautiful image. Carrying the cross. A painful, intolerable, crushing burden. Not just your own cross – there is hardly a choice or merit there – but someone else’s. Yet French politician Alain Juppe’, angry like other sundry politicos about Benedict’s refusal to commend abortion and contraceptives to Africans, has accused the Pope of becoming ‘autistic’. Of turning into ‘a real problem’. Funny. Did he expect the Roman Pontiff to scatter condoms to the cheering faithful from the popemobile, like confetti at a wedding? Chacun a son gout. Guess Catholics like Juppe’ are one of the many crosses this Pope has to bear.

Mind you, as a poor Protestant I don’t need to suck up to the Bishop of Rome. He is as likely to offer me a Cardinal’s hat as Ayatollah Khameini is to appoint me Chief Imam of Great Britain. Oh, well, the Holy Father can look after himself. I am grateful to him, though. For reminding me that I was once a Cyrenian. I mean, I briefly belonged to a Simon community. A small group of Christians working among outcasts. In our case the ‘cross’ we bore was minimal. Only occasionally being spat at by drunks. I once just dodged a biggish stone. A gentleman of the road, I recall, threw a cup of scalding tea into the face of a girl colleague. Mishaps that went with the job.

Simon of Cyrene, yes, a very inspiring figure. About whom we know so little. For me he has the handsome face of young Sidney Poitier. The black actor who played him in The Greatest Story Ever Told. A movie from way, way back, when Hollywood had not yet gone actively anti-Christian. Was Simon an African? Perhaps. More likely a Diaspora Jew. Cyrene boasted a large Jewish colony. Probably Simon had come to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. St Mark knew him well enough to mention his sons, Alexander and Rufus. The Gospels use a Persian word, angheria, meaning being pressed into service. Thus the soldiers forced Simon to carry Jesus’ cross. Bet he was hardly pleased at first. I see him huffing and puffing, even cursing his fate, while struggling up the hill under the hefty crossbar on his back – the upright being already fixed in its place on Golgotha. They reach the top. Then Jesus looks into his eyes. Wham! An upheaval. The man from Cyrene feels as if the prisoner had probed into his very soul. Shortly, he numbly stares at the horror of the crucifixion. Then he runs away, revolted by the spectacle’s inhumanity. Later Simon embraces the faith of the Crucified. Christians point him in awe out as ‘he who bore the Saviour’s cross.’ His children too become members of the Church…and so on.

Odd how Simon’s destiny has been to carry another, posthumous cross. Some heretics, dupes followers of a Gnostic fellow called Basilides,

claimed that the Cyrenean not only bore Christ’s cross but was crucified in his place. A senseless idea, for several reasons. First, it is unthinkable that the Roman soldiers would have colluded with such a deceit – they well knew the penalty was death. Second, the Jewish authorities who were present at the crucifixion, many of whom (though not all) were bitter enemies of Jesus, were not blind. They would certainly have detected the fraud. Third, even if they hadn’t there and then, it is impossible the truth would not leak out later. (Basilides obviously thought he knew it.) What an excellent rebuttal would that have been to the resurrection! ‘Your alleged Messiah did not rise, because he was never crucified in the first place’, the Jewish leaders would have triumphantly told the disciples. But they never did. Hence the whole idea is rubbish. QED.

In Brothers Karamazov Dostoevsky conjures up the by now all too famous fantasy of Christ’s return to earth. In medieval Spain he is recognised, arrested and burnt by the Inquisition. A haunting tale. And very unfair to Catholicism, I think. Groan… these Roussky writers do go over the top in sentimentality. I propose an alternative vision. Imagine this. Christ walks the streets of London today. Carrying his cross. Leaving behind a trail of blood from his tortured, scourged flesh. Up Oxford Street, Charing Cross Road, New Bond Street, take your pick. Among the busy shoppers. People stare. Some giggle. Some just look away. ‘Who’s that? Some nutter. Must be a stunt. Another Mel Gibson movie? What else?’ And so the Messiah walks on, staggering under his load. However, our people simply ignore him. A nation whose ancestors were Christians cannot even recognise Christ. They choose to go on jabbering into their mobiles, groping their partners, looking at the shop windows, munching their hamburgers…the awkward figure carrying the cross they don’t want to know.

Actually, many times I did see a man carrying a big cross up and down the fashionable Kensington High Street. No, don’t mean mystical visions. He was real. A tall black man, dressed in black, wearing white gloves. Slightly shabby. His cross was huge enough. He would rest it against a wall before going into Marks & Sparks. People of course studiously gave him a wide berth but I decided I had to speak to him. I tackled him on the way out: ‘Excuse me, why do you carry that?’ ‘It is a symbol of Christ’ he replied, in a pleasant musical voice. ‘Yes, I know, but why do you do it?’

His answer was a mere whisper. I could not really understand it. He then picked up the cross and was off.

That was the last time I saw him. Only later I realised one thing: I had not offered him to carry his cross.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


Armenian News

Agence France Presse
March 21, 2009 Saturday 10:48 AM GMT
Turkey to launch Armenian-language radio station: report
ANKARA, March 21 2009

Turkey's state broadcaster plans to launch an Armenian-language radio
station this year, Turkish newspapers reported Saturday, amid efforts
by Turkey and neighbouring Armenia to end decades of animosity.

Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) is hoping to have the station on
air in "two to three" months, the Sabah and Vatan dailies said,
without giving further details.

Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic ties and their border has been
closed for more than a decade as their relationship remains hostage to
deep differences over the World War I massacres of Armenians under the
Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of Turkey.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people were systematically
killed by Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1917 as their empire fell
apart -- a claim supported by several other countries but
categorically rejected by Turkey.

The massacres led to the once-vibrant Armenian minority to dwindle to
an estimated 80,000 people.

Nonetheless, the two countries have been involved in a tentative
dialogue process to resolve their problems.

Turkey's planned radio station comes as US lawmakers were pushing
President Barack Obama to recognize the killings as genocide even
though such a step would anger Turkey.

Obama, who is expected to visit Turkey on April 6-7, repeatedly
pledged during his 2008 White House run that he would recognize the
massacres as genocide.

Turkey has warned that such a move by the United States would only
impede reconciliation efforts between Ankara and Yerevan.

Turkish children drawn into Armenia row
By Sarah Rainsford
BBC News, Istanbul

Serdar Kaya is 43 and has never been to court before; now he's suing
the Turkish ministry of education.

The father of an 11-year old girl, Mr Kaya is angry that she was forced
to watch what he calls a "very bloody propaganda film" at school.

Sari Gelin, or "Blonde Bride", was commissioned by the Turkish General
Staff and distributed in recent months by the education ministry.

It is an attempt to counter what Turkey calls "baseless" claims that Ottoman
Turks committed genocide against the Armenians in 1915.

The DVD was sent to all elementary schools with a note instructing teachers
to show it to pupils and report back.

At the school of Mr Kaya's daughter, children as young as six had to watch.

"This film is not fit for adults, let alone children," he says.

"They're promoting discrimination, branding certain people as 'others' and
teaching children to do the same. My daughter will not be part of this enmity."
Mr Kaya has applied to the courts to sue Education Minister Huseyin Celik,
arguing the film incites ethnic hatred against Armenians.

There are around 50,000 Turkish-Armenians left in Turkey, mostly in Istanbul.

In a statement last month, the ministry said it had stopped distributing the
film and claimed it was never intended for children.

But teachers are still receiving official reminders to screen it.

'Very dangerous'

Sari Gelin presents the Turkish state's case that the Armenians betrayed
the benevolent Ottoman Empire during World War I, siding with invading
foreign forces and massacring thousands of Turks.

The film says the Armenians were "relocated" as a result of their actions.

There is no mention of the hundreds of thousands who perished or were
killed on the long march through the desert.

Instead, elderly men relate how Armenians cooked Turkish babies alive
and used civilians as firewood.

"The word Armenian is used very many times and always negatively,"
says Ayse Gul Altinay, a board member of the Hrant Dink Foundation.

She has good reason for concern.

Two years ago, Hrant Dink - a prominent Turkish-Armenian writer - was
shot and killed by a teenager, who saw him as an enemy of the state.

So, the foundation created in his memory has also applied to the courts
to get Sari Gelin withdrawn from schools.

"Showing young people a film with graphic scenes of violence, that
repeats over and again that the Armenians stabbed the Turks in the
back, and killed innocent women and babies and civilians is very
dangerous," Ms Altinay says.

"We worry it will create more hatred."

Clear message

Outside the school attended by Mr Kaya's daughter, parents' opinions
were divided.

"I don't think it's right to show children such a film, not at their age,"
another father said.

"But in Turkey, when there's an order from above, the officials have to

However, one of the teachers disagreed: "We teach children who our
enemies are and which countries tried to divide up our territory, but we
don't teach them about the Armenians.

"So I thought this film was good, and objective."

Turkey is coming under increasing international pressure to
acknowledge the 1915 deportation and mass killing of Ottoman
Armenians as genocide.

The US House of Representatives has just introduced a resolution
on the issue and when Barack Obama was campaigning for the
presidency, he pledged to recognise the Armenian genocide as
a "widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of
historical evidence".

Ankara is lobbying hard against such a move, arguing it would
jeopardise its recent efforts at reconciliation with Armenia.

Official ties with Yerevan were cut in the 1990s, and the countries'
common border was closed.

But while Turkey is open to renewing trade and diplomatic ties with
its neighbour, the distribution of this film suggests it is more closed
than ever to any discussion of its history.

The education ministry's statement calls Sari Gelin a balanced,
historical account, but the clear message it gives Turkish school-children
is that Armenians are traitors and their enemies.

Bench Talk: Prices of medicine on minds of retirees facing dram drop

By Karine Ionesyan
Special to ArmeniaNow
20 March, 2009
A park bench near Yerevan’s Cascade complex has become debate central
for a group of retirees who gather as weather permits to discuss and debate
current events.

Since March 3 the hottest topic has been the economic crisis, compounded in
Armenia by that day’s severe depreciation of the dram, which slowly continues
to sink.

A recent visit found the old men comparing notes on prices of medications
– a common and crucial concern for them all. The men, like all consumers here,
face the unpleasant reality of a currencly devaluation in tandem with an increase
in the cost of goods, that equates in some cases to a 25-30 percent increase
at the cash register.

Analgin, аskofen, aspirin and other such frequently used drugs have become
20-30 dram (0.06-01 cents) more expensive, the prices of well-known drugs
that bring the temperature down, such as Coldrex, Theraflu have increased by
50 dram (0.16 cents), the prices of pain relievers: Solpadeine and Nurofen have
gone up by 400 dram (1.33 dollars). In the case of more expensive drugs the
increase in the prices is more evident. If in the past one pack of blood pressure
medicine cost 2000-4500 dram ($6.66-15), today it costs 2600-5700 dram

“I used to get a 40,000-dram pension ($133 at a 300 dram exchange rate)
and spend it all on drugs – one was eye medicine, the other – for blood pressure,
and the other one was an eye medicine as well,” says 81 year old Sos Babayan.
(For example, the price of one pack of Preductal MR for blood pressure has gone
up from 4700 dram to 5700 dram. (From $15-$19 at a 300 dram exchange rate)

“There are so many of them that I cannot remember what they’re called. Yesterday
I went to a drug-store and saw that the prices had gone up.

Babayan lives alone, his son is working in Russia and helping his father to buy
food and pay the utilities. Babayan will now have to pay 48000-52000 dram for
medicine each month.

“And I mainly buy bread and potatoes to be able to live,” the old man says.

Another old man, 77-year old Hamazasp Poghosyan also used to get a
40,000-dram pension (133$ at the rate of 300 dram per dollar) and spent
30,000 dram (100$ at the rate of 300 dram per dollar) monthly to buy drugs.
“I have two sons who are chemists in Philadelphia. If it were not for them, my wife
and I would be lost,” says Poghosyan, who used to be a trader. Now he will have
to pay 36000-39000 dram for medicine each month.

“All prices have been raised, because the importing companies have raised their
prices,” said one pharmacy shop keeper. “Naturally, our drug-store cannot sell at
lower prices.”

The companies importing drugs, such as AlphaPharm, ArgoPharm, Arnika,
Deghabaza Yerevan, NataliePharm and others also refuse to give any information
to reporters. On the whole, according to the latest surveys conducted by the RA
state committee on economic competition protection, 67 companies in Armenia
import drugs for commercial sales.

In its March 6 session the same committee instituted proceedings at four markets
on the suspicion of unjustified increase of the prices, creating artificial defict, and
making anti-competitive agreements using the return of the ‘floating exchange rate’
policy as a pretext to raise the prices of vegetable oil, butter, household appliances,
and drugs.

“We cannot name specific drug-stores, or specific people, because the case is
still in the phase of ivestigation, and we don’t publicize such data,”says Armine
Udumyan, the press-secretary for the the RA state committee on economic competition
protection, “We can only say that those guilty will definitely be punished by having to
pay a penalty equalling 2 percent of the previous year’s profit.”

Armenian economists think that this committee is not working correctly – it begins to
register only when the prices already go up, without taking preventive measures. They
say that the public must be informed about who has pocketed their money to avoid
forming a negative opinion.

“I consider today’s increases in the prices at the drugs market unacceptable. By raising
the prices in the sphere of drugs, as well as in the other spheres, a number of monopolists
became 30 percent richer in just a few days,” thinks Artsvik Minasyan, economist and
Armenian Revolutionary Federation member.

Minasyan suggests encouraging local production in the sphere of drugs.

This week the National Assembly was supposed to discuss the 15-percent increase
of the customs’ duty, which was naturally going to affect the prices of imported goods,
including drugs. Now the RA government has cancelled the decision and has temporarily
postponed the discussion of the issue.

March 23, 2009

YEREVAN, March 23. /ARKA/. Total volume of transactions on USD was
$15.8mln on NASDAQ OMX Armenia on March 16-20, the Press Service of
the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) reported.

According to the report, dollar/dram average weighted rate was 373.38
Drams for $1 in the transactions.

On the country's intrabank market, banks purchased foreign exchange
for a total of $40.3mln at 370.33Drams for $1 average weighted exchange
rate and sold foreign currency for $70.4mln at 375.02Drams for $1.

On the interbank market, volume of transactions on foreign exchange
purchase/sale was $33mln at 370.37Drams for $1 average weighted
exchange rate in the period.

In the period from March 9 to March 15, the volume of loans extended
by Armenian banks in Drams was 7.1bln Drams, in dollars - $12.7mln.

On January 27 2009 Armenian Stock Exchange open joint stock company
was officially renamed as NASDAQ OMX Armenia open joint stock company.

It was founded a self-regulating organization registered in Armenia
on February 13 2001 embracing 21 dealer organizations. On November 9
Armex was reorganized to an open joint stock company. OMX has been the
100% owner of Armex and the Central Depository since January 7 2008.

The license for auctions on currency supply/sale was issued to NASDAQ
OMX Armenia on November 7 2005.

By February 20, twenty-three securit ies underwent listing on NASDAQ
OMX Armenia stock exchange with the capitalization reaching 53.3bln
Drams. ($1=372.02Drams).
In a survey on software piracy published in the Financial Times on 15 March,
Armenia tops the list with the highest piracy rates with 93% of programs used
illegally, representing a loss of $8 million to the companies involved.
Second come Bangladesh and Azerbaijan at 92% each but with higher values of
$92 million and $50 million respectively.
The lowest percentage is in the USA at 20% but the loss value is highest at
more than $1 billion.