Monday, 31 March 2014


Unfortunately, we have lost access to the e-mail account ( which contributors use to send us material for publication in this Blog. As a result, we have been unable to publish our regular pieces for 3 or 4 weeks.

To rectify this problem, we are asking our contributors to kindly use the following e-mail address instead to submit their material:

Many thanks and we of course apologise for any  inconvenience caused.


Տ.Վահան.Ե պս..Յովհաննէսեան,.Հայրապետական.Պատուիրակ.եւ.Առաջ նորդ The Right Revd Bishop Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate and Pontifical Legate
Issue13,Volume 5
In a letter addressed to HG Bp Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate, HH Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians expressed his concerns about the situation in Kessab (click here) ‘We  condemn the terroristic acts committed by the extremists   and   the   powers   collaborating   with   them’,   stated   Vehapar Der,  adding,  ‘and  we  pray  for  a  peaceful  and  safe  life  for  the  people of  Kessab.’  Meanwhile,   Bishop Vahan ordered a special requiem service be offered for the victims of Kessab in Armenian Churches in the UK and Ireland and contacted the leaders of the UK government including His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Honourable David Cameron, Prime Minister, and HG Justin Welby, urging  them  ‘to intervene in this sad human tragedy and encourage our government and the governments of our friendly countries around the world to take decisive steps to drive out the extremists and militants from Kessab and facilitate and secure the safe return of this peace-loving Christian community back to their ancestral homes. Click  her  to  read  the  Bishop’s  letter.
The Armenian community of London was blessed this week to have among us His Eminence Archbishop Nathan Hovhanessian, Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Canada and previous Primate of the Armenian Church in the UK. By the invitation of HG Bp Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate, Archbishop Nathan was the guest of the Church, Saturday, 20 March to Tuesday, 22 March. During his brief visit the two hierarchs discussed the latest developments in the Armenian Church and especially in the UK, France and Canada. Archbishop Nathan visited the St Yeghiche Church for the Sunday Morning service and stopped by the Gulbenkian Hall for the Sunday afternoon fellowship. He attended the Monday evening Badarak course and met with the members of the Armenian Community Council (ACC). Nathan Srpazan’s  visit  was  a  stop  on  his  way  back  to  Canada  from  Milan  where  he  attended  a  World   Council of Churches meeting
HG Bp Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate, will be the celebrant at Taney Parish Church in Dublin, this Sunday, 30 March 2014. Following the Lenten Services, His Grace will offer a lecture titled, ‘The  Armenian  Church  Spirituality  of  Holy  Week’.  Following  the  lecture  and  lunch,  HG  will   meet with the members of the Mission Parish Council of the Armenian Church in Dublin to discuss, among other things, the feasibility of purchasing a property to be used as a Armenian centre for the Parish and its activities. Meanwhile, Deacon Artur, from the Holy Trinity Church, Manchester, will be  in  Dublin  to  lead  another  session  of  the  newly  launched  Deacons’  Training   Programme in Dublin. For more information about the activities of the Armenian Church in Dublin please contact the chairman of the Council Dr Paul. Click here for more Dublin Church parish news. To support this and other Mission Parish ministries please click here.
As announced in the previous issues of the E-Newsletter, last Wednesday, 26 March, volunteers and people representing various Armenian organisation met with the volunteers and staff of the Primate Office to discuss the various key aspects of preparing the 2014 Armenian Street Festival (ASF),   scheduled   on   Sunday,   3   August,   2014   and   sponsored   by   the   Primate’s   Office   of   the   Armenian Church. Among the various items discussed on the agenda were the entertainment programme, the stalls, security, food menu, the Cigar   Tavern,   and   children’s   programme.   A   special booklet will be printed to include the programme, menu and the list of the stalls as well as the wishes of those supporting the Festival. The Primate announced the appoijntment of a permanent ASF committee to operate  under  the   Primate’s   Office   which   will   be   in   charge   of   preparing for the future Armenian Street Festivals in London. For suggestions or questions concerning  the  ASF  please  contact  the  Primate’s  Office:
Next   Sunday,   6   April,   the   Primate’s   Office   will   organise   the   third   annual   Armenian   Church   Assembly which will be hosted by the Holy Trinity Church in Manchester. It has become a tradition, since HG Bp Vahan assumed the office of the Primate of the Diocese to organize annual   Assemblies   as   forums   to   discuss   the   reports   of   the   activities   of   the   Primate’s   Office, including the Educational Ministry, Mission Parish Outreach, Youth Fellowship and others. The public is encouraged to participate and scrutinize the reports and ask any questions they may have  about  any  aspect  of  the  Church’s  ministry,  including  the  financial report of the Armenian Church  Trust  UK,  a  charity  created  exclusively  to  fund  the  operations  of  the  Primate’s  Office.   All six parishes will participate in the Assembly. The Assembly day will start with the traditional Sunrise Service (Arevakal) 11:00am followed by lunch prepared by the Holy Trinity Church (for a donation of £6 per person) followed by the Assembly. All are welcome. If planning to stay for the lunch, please e-mail Ara:
Last Sunday, 23 March, 2014, the Very Revd Fr Garegin Hambardzumyan launched the first Bible Study session at the Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Manchester. Over 16 people attended the first session during which Fr Garegin offered and introduction to the Holy Bible focusing on the Epistles  of  St   Paul  and   led  those  present  in  reading  and  explaining  St   Paul’s   Letter to the Romans. The questions-and-answer allowed for further clarification of different aspects of the passages read during the session. It is the intent of Fr Garegin and the Wardens of Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Manchester to continue organizing Bible Study session once month on the third Sunday of the month. You do not have to be a theologian or even a Bible - reader to join the group. All are welcome. For more information about the Bible Study group please contact Fr Garegin Hambardzumyan
Please note that Sunday early morning the daylight saving time takes place, when clocks and watches are changed forward one hour. 1:00AM Sunday morning will change to 2:00AM. Please make sure to change your watches and clocks accordingly. Smart phones and computers usually change their electronic locks automatically. So, if you show up to Badarak this Sunday at 11:00AM according to your watch now, you will have missed one hour of the Badarak.
This Sunday, March 30, 2014, 1:00:00 AM clocks were turned forward 1 hour to
Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan
RaffiHovhannisyan with Dublin MPC
ASF 2012 Committee
First Bible Study Session In Manchester
HAPPY   MOTHER’s  DAY:   On  the  occasion  of  Mother’s  Day  in  the   UK  and  IrelandHG Bp Vahan Hovhanessian, wishes to congratulate all mothers, and grandmothers, as well as aunts, sisters and God-mothers who sacrificed their lives to raise and nurture us and make us what we are today. God bless you all.
ARMANIA: In association with the Armenian Institute, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse presents Armania: an evening of Armenian folksong, dance and poetry curated and directed by Seta White and performed on 13 and 14 April. Exploring   Shakespeare’s   influence   on   Armenian   culture, the evening will feature performances from the Dudukner Ensemble with Levon In association with the Armenian Institute, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse presents Armania: an evening of Armenian folksong, dance and poetry curated and directed by Seta White and performed on 13 and 14 April. The evening will feature performances fromthe Dudukner Ensemble with Levon. Click here for the online flyer.
BADARAK COURSE: HG Bp Vahan Hovhanessian continues offering a course on the theology and spirituality of our Divine Liturgy, Badarak, on Monday evenings, in Gulbenkian Hall, at 7:00pm.
FREQUENTL Y AS KED QUES TIONS: The Pri mate’s   Office has prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions (collected from different people and parish council members), which is published in a document accessible by clicking here. Please send your questions or comments to the Primate’s  Office.
BIBLE STUDY: Every Thursday at 7:00PM. Next session, 3 April in the Syrian Orthodox Church, 7-11 Armstrong Road, London W3 7JL
The  Primate’s  Office,  HyeDoon, 25 Cheniston Gardens, Kensington, London W8 6TG – 0208 127 8364 –

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Loussapatz - The Dawn - 33-ՐԴ ՏԱՐԻ, ԹԻՒ 1026 ՇԱԲԱԹ, 29 ՄԱՐՏ 2014 How very sad - Armenian's Flee KESSAB

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Syria’s Armenian-populated city of Kessab and nearby villages were at- tacked by al-Nusra and al-Islam Fronts fighters in the morning of March 21. Sev Aghbyur village was the main target of the attacks which came from three border points in Turkey.
Many of the 3500 Armenians living in Kessab have fled to the nearby moun- tains or were evacuated to port city of Latakia. Kessab had remained the only official border crossing open in northern Syria with Turkey for humanitarian purposes.
The Syrian army tried to push back the offensive forces. At least 11 victims were reported that included mili- tary and civilian casualties whose identities are not known yet.
Meanwhile the attackers suffered many dead and injured, who were transported to Turkey under the protection of the Turkish army.
Armenia has expressed its ‘deep concern’ over the situation around Kessab. In a statement made from the Hague, Netherlands, where he is attending a two-day nuclear security summit, President Serzh Sarkisian described the developments around the town of Kessab as “a serious challenge” to modern-day mechanisms of protecting ethnic minorities.
“We all well remember the history of Kessab, which, unfortunately, has been full of hellish events of the de- portation of Armenians during the past century,” President Sarkisian said, citing the first invasion of the place by Turkish armed groups in 1909 and the second wave of deportations and massacres of the Kessab population amid the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
“The third displacement of Kessab Armenians today is a serious challenge to the 21st-century mechanisms of defending ethnic minorities. I think that everyone should realize that these parallels should be sobering for all sides,” the Armenian president underscored.
The Kessab committee of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party (SDHP) has dismissed reports that the Syrian army liberated the Armenian-populated city of Kessab.
“According to confirmed information, the islamist fighters are moving towards Latakia, where the Armenians of Kessab have found refuge,” SDHP Armenia Chairman Narek Galstyan said in a Facebook post.
He said Kessab is being robbed with the stolen property being transported to Turkey. Turkish servicemen are actively supporting the rebels.
Earlier reports had claimed that the Syrian armed forces have driven the rebels from most of the city of Kessab, and are now clearing its suburbs. According to these reports army units have killed 250 rebels on the out- skirts of Kessab, moving from the Turkish border.
In related development, members of the Armenian National Assembly Samvel Farmanyan, Naira Karapetyan, Levon Martirosyan, Arman Sahakyan, Tevan Poghosyan and Edmon Marukyan have left for Syria on March 24 to assess the situation about Kessab on the spot.
The Governor, the Mayor and other high-ranking officials in Latakia have assured the Armenian delegation that the Syrian government is taking all possible measures to ensure the return of Kessab Armenians to their native lands.
Upon their return to Armenia, the lawmakers will present their proposals to the National Assembly and the Government, after which the future steps will be determined and the mechanisms of possible aid will be worked out.
SYRIAN PRESIDENT PROMISES ARMENIAN CATHOLICOS OF CILICIA TO DO EVERYTHING TO RESTORE PEACE IN ARMENIAN TOWN -- Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church is closely following the situation ever since the attack, which had begun in the morning of Friday, March 21 from the Turkish border, on Syria’s predominantly Armenian-populated town of Kessab.
“On Saturday evening, the Syrian ambassador to Lebanon visited His Holiness, and informed that Syrian Pres- ident Bashar al-Assad had commissioned him to assure to His Holiness that the Syrian government and the army will do their best to reestablish peace in the region.
“The ambassador noted that the Syrian army was able to push back, to a great extent, the infiltration of the mil- itants.
“He added that the army temporarily relocated the [Kessab] Armenians to Latakia [city], for security consider- ations.”
DIFFICULT DAYS AHEAD FOR KESSAB ARMENIANS -- The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party (SDHP) joins Armenians around the world that revolt and follow with a deep concern the fate of Syria’s pre- dominantly Armenian-populated town of Kessab and its Armenian population.
“Kessab would not have become an arena of conflict without the participation of the Turkish authorities, forcing our compatriots to expatriate yet again.
“[But] the sole comfort is that they were able to get to safe places without the loss of human lives. Nonetheless, difficult days await our compatriots, and they long for moral and material assistance.
“To that end, we urge our compatriots to redouble their efforts so that our compatriots [in Syria] are able to surmount these severe ordeals,” the SDHP statement specifically reads.
TERRORISTS ATTACKED ON ARMENIAN KESSAB ON TURKEY PM’S ORDER – SYRIAN MILITARY COMMANDER -- Birgun daily of Turkey spoke with Mihraj Ural, a commander of the Syrian government troops that are fighting against the terrorists who have infiltrated into Syria’s predominantly Armenian-populat- ed town of Kessab, and he blamed Turkey PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan for these terrorist attacks.
During a telephone interview, Ural noted that he is in Kessab at the moment, and fighting against the gangs that have intruded from Turkey.
“We are fighting against the Jihadist gangs being fed by Erdogan and the imperialists. The murderers fed by crook Erdogan are attacking on us,” the Syrian com- mander said.
He stressed that the groups which are a part and par- cel of Al-Qaeda attacked on Armenian Kessab, but they are defending Kessab because it is a part of Syria.
Mihraj Ural noted that they were able to repel the Jihadists’ attack, and have forced them to withdraw, and added that the local residents are helping the Syrian government troops.
VIDEO SHOWS HOW TURKS PERMIT TERRORISTS ENTER SYRIA’S ARMENIAN-POPULATED KESSAB -- Haber.sol website of Turkey posted a video which proves that the terrorist groups had entered Syria’s pre- dominantly Armenian-populated town of Kessab from Turkey, and with assistance by the Turkish authorities.
Militants from the Al-Nusra and Islamic Front groups, which entered Syria from Turkey, have made a video recording of how freely they cross the Turkish-Syrian border checkpoint, and no Turkish border officer interferes with their crossing the boundary, Haber.sol reported.
In the early morning on March 21, armed militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra Islamic terrorist group infiltrated into northern Syria’s Latakia Governorate, which is predominantly inhabited by Armenians and Alawites. Two large groups of terrorists had launched the attack from Turkey.
AZERBAIJANI TERRORISTS GOT INTO AN AMBUSH: 13 MILITANTS WERE KILLED -- In the course of fighting in Syria a squad of terrorists from the organization IŞİD got into an ambush. As it is stated by Azerbaijani news agency, the total number of terrorists who got into an ambush equal to twenty-five, 13 out of which were killed.
Most of the killed terrorists were Azerbaijanis as well as two Turkish nationals.
Note that Azerbaijani Salafis or Wahhabis are fighting in the ranks of various terrorist groupings that operate in Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to the Azerbaijani news agency the total number of Azer- baijani terrorists in these countries equals to 300. Whereas according to FaktHeber Azerbaijani portal over the past three years only in Syria almost 200 Azerbaijani terrorists were killed.
The relationship between international terrorist groups and Azerbaijan originated in the early 1990s. That time, the Azerbaijani army, having failed in the aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), retreated with losses. Trying to save the situation, the Azerbaijani leadership, headed by Heydar Aliyev attracted to the war against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh international terrorists and members of radical groups from Afghani- stan (groupings of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar), Turkey ("Grey Wolves", etc.), Chechnya (groupings Basayev and Ra- duyev etc.) and some other regions.
Despite the involvement in of thousands of foreign mercenaries and terrorists in the Azerbaijani army during the war, the Azerbaijani aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh Republic failed, and the Baku authorities were forced to sign an armistice with the NKR and Armenia. However, international terrorists found ties in Azerbaijan, and used them in the future. Recruitment was conducted among Azerbaijanis, who then were sent to Afghanistan and the North Caucasus, where participated in the battles against the forces of the international coalition and Rus- sian organizations. In recent years, the citizens of Azerbaijan are actively involved in terrorist and extremist activi- ties in Russia, Afghanistan and Syria.
YEREVAN/ -- There are volunteers in Armenia who have expressed a wish to set up a volunteer detachment and head to Syria to protect the Armenian-populated areas.
Several dozens of Armenian citizens, who on Wednesday staged a demonstration in front of the UN Office in Armenia, told the aforementioned to reporters.
“We want to form a 20-30 member detachment. We will inform the [Armenian] government about this idea. “[But] for the most part, this detachment can help the Syrian Armenians emotionally, so they sense that their
compatriots stand with them, and they will be with them at the moment of need,” initiative member Arman Mkhitaryan told
In his words, however, the UN’s silence on this matter is strange.
“We want to remind this organization the objectives it is called to serve. We condemn the UN’s silence; this is a crime, a silent acquiescence to Turkey’s actions,” Mkhitaryan added.
Subsequently, the protestors handed a respective letter to the UN Office in Armenia.
YEREVAN/ -- Armenia should have inter- vened in the Syrian conflict much earlier and helped the large local Armenian community, since it had such chances numer- ous times.
Armenia’s opposition Heritage Party Board Secretary Stiopa Safaryan stated the aforementioned at a press confer- ence on Wednesday.
“Armenia could and should have taken [relevant] steps years ago. Of course, I can’t say that Armenia would have made a difference, but it had the chance to help the Armenians there.
“The [Armenian] government, on the other hand, spoke about the Syrian Armenians [solely] one or two times, ren- dered a small assistance [to them], and that’s all,” he said.
Safaryan expressed a conviction that Syria’s predominantly Armenian-populated town of Kessab was devoid of its Armenian population because of Armenia’s silence.
“When the whole world was talking about the hired killers, Armenia was silent. When the whole world was talking about terrors, Armenia didn’t get involved yet again. And now, when entire Kessab became devoid of its Armenians, Armenia began talking just now,” Heritage’s member stated.
YEREVAN/ -- Several members of the Armenian National Assembly (NA) issued a statement on the recent events unrolling in Syria’s predominantly Armenian-populated town of Kessab and surrounding areas.
“Considering what happened as a massive violation of human rights, we, the Armenian National Assembly deputies, strongly condemn the actions of the Turkish Armed Forces.
“We call upon the Syrian and Turkish authorities to conduct an impartial investigation into the event that oc- curred, and demand from the international community to give an unambiguous assessment on these heinous human rights violation cases by sending UN observers to the Armenian populated areas of Kessab.
“We call upon the Government of Armenia to take the necessary measures, and the Armenians around the world to unite efforts to support the protection of the rights of Syrian Armenians,” the statement specifically reads.
As reported earlier, in the early morning on March 21, armed militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group infiltrated into northern Syria’s Latakia Governorate, which is predominantly inhabited by Armenians and Alawites. At present, there is a fierce fight between the Syrian government army and the militants. Numerous dis- placed Kessab Armenians are currently sheltered in Latakia, Syria. On Sunday, Turkey provided direct assistance to the terrorists by downing a Syrian military plane. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promised Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church to do everything possible to protect the Armenians in Kessab.
March 25, 2014 - Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, today issued the following statement:
“Canada is deeply concerned by the recent attacks by al Qaeda affiliated armed groups on the ancient Armeni- an town of Kessab in the Latakia district of northern Syria during which Armenian churches were reportedly dese- crated and Armenians driven from their homes.
“The continued attacks against Christians, including Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Christians and Armenian Catholics, in Syria are unacceptable.
“We stand determined that the perpetrators be brought to justice for such acts and to stem the rising tide of sec- tarian violence.
“Canada remains deeply concerned by the suffering of the Syrian people from all communities and by wide- spread reports of violations of human rights, including reports of churches and mosques being destroyed or used for military purposes.
“Canada stands by the Syrian people and will continue to push for pluralistic, democratic development that protects the rights of all Syrians, regardless of faith, allowing them to live in peace.”
March 24, 2014
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Prime Minister: I am writing to bring to your attention the urgent matter concerning the Syrian Armenian community of
Kassab. The Armenian-populated region of Kassab has been the location of a recent attack in Syrian territory from Turkey by Al Qaeda linked fighters.
The region of Kassab is an ancient Armenian area of Cilicia. The area has been populated by Armenian popu- lation for over one thousand years. Although the region has been under disputes by various countries, the inhabit- ants have been persecuted through different regimes. The people of the area have lived there until this week’s evac- uation. The Armenian Christian had to completely flee the region.
Al Qaeda has taken control of Kassab and the surrounding Christian and Alawite villages. They are threaten- ing to kill all Christians and Alawites found in those communities.
Canada must take all possible measures in its power and act to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.
Canada must ask all sides to immediately respect the inhabitants of the region and allow them to return to their homes.
There are reports that the perpetrators entered from the Turkish border into the region. Canada should ask Tur- key to secure its border and prevent any incursions into the area. Depriving al Qaeda of its safe havens and remov- ing the element of religious extremism and ethnic hatred from the conflict, this will allow the people of region to choose their destiny without fear that a change in government would lead to genocide of its Christian and Alawite population.
Canada should take a principal stand and assist the evacuated population of Kassab which is now living in dif- ficult circumstances.
Canada must act now to prevent further complications in the region.
Yours sincerely, Hon. Jim Karygiannis M.P Scarborough-Agincourt
On Mother's Day, March 21-2014, our beautiful town was brutally attacked by Al Qaeda extremists And Al Nusra front that is linked to Al Qaeda, with the blessings and full military and logistical support of the Turkish gov- ernment.
Before sunrise, we woke up to the horror of a shower of missiles and rockets falling on our town. Thousands of extremists crossed the borders towards our town. Missiles were fired from Turkey, to destroy beautiful Kessab and to celebrate the approach of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Kesabtsi heroes defended the town with their simple hunting weapons until more forces from the Syrian government came to fight back the hor- rific attack on our town. If Kessabtsis were not informed to leave their houses by those heroes, the world would have silently witnessed yet another genocide and stood by while the media gave them yet another version of lies.
Kessab has always been home to thousands of Armenians for centuries. The first agonizing tragedy in Kesab
happened in April 1909, when a rabble of thousands of Turkish men attacked Kessab, robbing and burning houses.
161 Armenians were killed in this brutal attack. In 1915, during the Armenian genocide, Turkish troops came into
Kessab and started deporting Armenians and killed almost 5000 Armenian people from Kessab. The Armenian
genocide at the hands of the Turks in 1915 took the lives of one and a half million Armenians. More Armenians are
getting killed and will get killed in Syria if nothing is done. The Arabs in Syria took us in then, took care of us,
helped us back on our feet and helped us survive through that horrible memory of death and destruction and we will
be eternally grateful to them. Since then we lived in peace and harmony with other sects, like a huge family in a
home called Syria.
Today, we need help once again, because sadly the Turkish government dared to attack Armenians one more
time ignoring the Armenian case. With this act Turkey has refused, yet again, to recognize the Armenian genocide
at the hands of the Turks and is assisting in the murder of more Armenians in Syria. We have nothing against the
Turkish people. We have lived as neighbors with them and want to continue to live as neighbors with them. It is the
Turkish government, supporting and facilitating the murder of Kessabtsis by terrorists, that we plea against. We just
want our town back, or what's remained of it. Because there are a lot of videos on YouTube that shows how those
extremists are destroying and burning our beautiful town. All Syria knows wherever those extremists get in, only
death and destruction is left behind.
Our homes have been taken from us, centuries of our heritage has been destroyed.
This is a call to all Armenians. This is a call to humanity. The world needs to hear the truth. Erdogan and his
government are war criminals. We need your help. We need you to take action. Our lives hang in the chance that
you will do something to make sure we too don't die. We were forced out of our homes and our town with nothing
but the clothes we wear. If we stayed to gather even the bare necessities, we would have definitely died. Most of us
cannot even escape because we don't have our passports or documents of identification. Please, invoke the interven-
tion of your governments, of the UN, of any other authority that you believe can help us. All we want to do is live.
If you ignore this, we all will die a horrible death at the hands of these terrorists, by being butchered in cold blood
like many other Armenians in Aleppo, Yacoubiyeh, Ghenemiyeh, and around Syria.
Those who you call rebels are extremists who came to Syria for jihad with many nationalities in it like Af-
ghans, Chechen, Saudis, etc. Kessabtsis and all of Syria, saw them and were attacked and killed by them. The me-
dia can't hide the truth forever. You can't manipulate the lives of people forever. Those who you call rebels were
targeting and attacking civilians. Wake up, please.
Don't you think enough innocent blood has been split? Don't you think enough destruction has been done? We
all lived peacefully and happily just three years ago. This is not a revolution, this is war. And the Syrian army is
now in Kessab fighting to make sure Armenians will go back to their homes safely.
P.S.: This letter has been written by Kessabtsis being given refuge by the Armenian Church in Lattakia.
YEREVAN/ -- President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia is in the Netherlands on a working visit.
On Sunday evening, Sargsyan met with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-Chairs James Warlick (USA), Igor Popov (Russia) and Jac- ques Faure (France), and Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, informed the Press Service of the Office of the President.
The Co-Chairs and the President conferred on the current status of, and the future steps in, the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
On the same day, President Sargsyan also met with Dutch PM Mark Rutte. The President thanked Rutte for the invitation to the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, and noted that this invitation is also a god opportunity to discuss Armenian-Dutch relations. Sargsyan stressed that Armenia un- derscores the development of friendly ties with the Netherlands.
The interlocutors noted that the trade and economic ties occupy a special place in the Armenian-Dutch cooper- ation, and Holland continues to be one of Armenia’s leading trade partners among the EU member countries. Ac- cording to both men, there are prospects for the development of cooperation in several domains.
The Armenian President and the Dutch PM also reflected on Armenia-EU relations. In this context, Serzh Sargsyan highlighted the need for the deepening of the level of Armenia-EU cooperation. To this end, as per the President, Armenia expects assistance also from the Netherlands, as an EU founding country.
In addition, the parties exchanged views on regional matters and challenges. In this framework, President Serzh Sargsyan briefed Dutch PM Mark Rutte on the current state in the Karabakh peace process.
On Sunday evening, Serzh Sargsyan also got together with representatives from the Dutch-Armenian commu- nity. During the conversation, the President spoke on numerous matters, and also responded to a variety of ques- tions of interest to the participants at the event.
On Monday and Tuesday, the President of Armenia will participate in the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.
On Monday evening, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands will hold a reception in honor of the leaders of the delegations taking part in the aforesaid summit.
KIEV (RFE/RL) -- Ukraine recalled its ambassador to Armenia on Friday after warning of serious damage to bilateral ties and demanding an official Armenian explanation regarding President Serzh Sarkisian’s acceptance of a disputed referendum in Crimea that led to its annexation by Russia.
A spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Ambassador Ivan Kukhta was ordered to return home for consultations.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danilo Lubkivsky announced earlier in the day that the Armenian ambassador in Ki- ev, Andranik Manukian, has been twice summoned to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister and handed an official note.
“We appealed to Armenia to officially and publicly state that it does not recognize the annexation of Crimea,” Ukrainian news agencies quoted him as saying. “We expect such a response.”
“In case of statements or actions that we could interpret as unfriendly, there will be negative consequences for our bilateral relations,” Lubkivsky warned, according to the RBK-Ukraine news agency. He did not specify those consequences, saying only that the Ukrainian side will consider taking “a broad range of measures” against Yere- van.
Asked by RFE/RL’s Armenian service ( to comment on the development, Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan said, “As soon as we receive the Ukrainian side’s note, we will formulate our response and decide whether or not we will publicize that response.”
The Ukrainian protest stems from President Serzh Sarkisian’s remarks made during Wednesday’s phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Sarkisian was cited by his press office as saying that the weekend ref- erendum on Crimea’s secession from Ukraine, condemned as illegal by the international community, was “yet an- other example of the realization of peoples’ right to self-determination through a free expression of will.”
The United States on Thursday criticized Sarkisian’s remarks on Crimea, with John Heffern, the U.S. Ambas- sador in Yerevan, calling them “very unfortunate.” There has been no reaction yet from the European Union. Both the U.S. and the EU have imposed sanctions on top Russian officials and members of Putin’s inner circle in retalia- tion for the Black Sea region’s annexation.
ARMENIA-UKRAINE FLIGHTS NOT EXPECTED TO BE SUSPENDED -- The Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) does not plan on halting flights between Armenia and Ukraine.
Armenia’s and Ukraine’s political positions on Crimea have not impacted the air communication between the countries, an UIA source told Armenian
According to the source, the schedule of the Kyiv-Yerevan-Kyiv flights is drawn up until, and including, 31 May.
“Due to lack of passengers, the number of the Kyiv-Yerevan flights was recently reduced to one. At present, UIA conducts one flight [between Armenia and Ukraine] per week,” the source added.
Official Kyiv is dissatisfied with official Yerevan in connection with Crimea.
As reported earlier, the Armenian and Russian Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Vladimir Putin had a telephonic conversation on Wednesday. They touched upon the situation created after the referendum in Crimea, and noted this as another example of the exercising of the people’s right to self-determination through free expression of will.
YEREVAN/ -- US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern refrained from giving a comment on the possible US sanc- tions against Russian enterprises.
The ambassador preferred not to comment on Armenian’s query on whether he believes sanctions would be imposed upon the Russian companies that have subsidiaries in Armenia.
More than 1,000 enterprises with Russian capital conduct ac- tivities in Armenia.
At the last meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kerry had stated that the US sanctions against Russia may be broadened, and that this is based on the decree which the US President signed last week.
MOSCOW/ -- The Government of the Russian Federation submitted to President Vladimir Putin’s approval the agreement on the devel- opment of military-technical cooperation with Armenia.
The respective document is posted on the legal information official por- tal, reported RIA Novosti news agency of Russia.
The agreement is with respect to the extension of the terms for the use of military equipment and arms, and their utilization, modernization, repair, op- eration, manufacture, and development.
The document was signed on June 25, 2013, in Armenia’s capital city Y erevan.
YEREVAN -- Several thousand people gathered in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on Saturday to hear leading activists of the civil group called (I’m Against) voicing their strong opposition to the unpopular new pension reform law and urging the Constitutional Court to ensure justice when it starts hearing the case on March 28. The civil group believes the disputed provisions of the law must be recognized as unconstitutional.
Representatives of all four non- governing parties which had filed a joint lawsuit against the pension law addressed the rally. All of them, while trying to emphasize that they were in the square as citizens to speak against the pension reform, also leveled harsh criticism at the government over failed policies in different spheres.
Gevorg Gorgisian, a leading member of, spoke about the possibility of confronting the government with civil disobedience. “Unpredictability has been our trump card throughout this struggle, and it will continue to be one,” the young activist said. “It is quite possible that as forms of civil disobedience we will use refusal to coop- erate with the authorities, we can also pay utility bills with delay or refuse to pay them at all... There is another op- tion. On one day all of us can cash our money kept in all banks. We have plenty of such options in our arsenal.”
The provisions of the pension law, in particular, stipulate that all working citizens in Armenia born after 1973 pay five to ten percent of their salaries to private pension funds in addition to other social security payments made by their employers on the understanding that they will be able to use their accumulated contributions when they reach the retirement age, which is set at 63 for both men and women in Armenia. Many young people, including those in high-paying jobs, are skeptical about the reform as they do not trust either the government or the private funds to manage their savings for such a long period of time. Besides, many regard the compulsory nature of the law as a major violation of the Constitution.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian offered a dialogue to members of the civil movement, ac- knowledging that there could be some shortcomings in the pension law., however, reacted very cautiously to the offer. A statement issued by the group insisted on the complete abolition of the reform provision requiring some 270,000 Armenians to make additional contributions to private pension funds.
The rally ended in a march staged by movement activists and supporters in central streets of Yerevan.
YEREVAN -- Armenia’s top lawmaker has acknowledged “shortcomings” in the controversial law on the na- tional pension system, promising that changes will be made in it.
Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamian, however, stressed on Monday that the authorities were not acting un- der pressure because of continuing public protests and that they expected debate on the matter.
“We find that the law does have some shortcomings and there will be a legislative change. But it won’t be un- der pressure, but as part of debate. If we see some omissions in the law, we will address them by all means. It has nothing to do with pressure,” said Abrahamian, a senior member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).
The remarks came just two days after thousands of members and supporters of an Armenian civil group cam- paigning against the unpopular pension reform held another public rally in Yerevan, threatening to resort to civil disobedience as a means of struggle unless their demand for scrapping the controversial law was met by the gov- ernment.
Representatives of several opposition and non-governing parties also took part in the rally, leveling harsh criti- cism at the government over what they described as a disgraceful piece of legislation.
Many young Armenians, including those in high-paying jobs, are skeptical about the reform as they do not trust either the government or the private funds to manage their savings for such a long period of time.
YEREVAN -- Six men have been convicted of beating to death military doctor Vahe Avetian and sentenced to lengthy prison terms as the high-profile murder trial concluded in Yerevan on Monday.
The men, who were officially listed as security guards and other employees of the Harsnakar restau- rant, stood accused of attacking doctor Avetian, and several of his friends and colleagues in a violent dis- pute on June 17, 2012. Avetian died of severe head injuries in hospital about two weeks later. Two other army medics were also seriously injured and hospital- ized.
The death of Avetian, a 35-year-old father of three, shocked the nation. The incident caused a public uproar in Armenia as hundreds of civic activists and other citizens held demonstrations at the restaurant as well as the house of its de-facto owner Ruben Hayrapetian, an affluent businessman and lawmaker affiliated with the ruling Republi- can party. People, in particular, protested against what they saw as impunity enjoyed by government-linked “oli- garchs” and their bodyguards.
The outcry forced Hayrapetian to resign as member of the Armenian parliament and apologize to Avetian’s family. However, the controversial tycoon strongly denied any involvement in the brutal beating.
Under the court verdict published today, each of the defendants will spend 12 years in prison, a year less than demanded by the prosecutor attorney. In addition, each man will have to pay a fine of about $250.
Families of the defendants met the verdict with angry curses. They said the sentences were too harsh and the counsel for the defense is likely to appeal them at a higher court.
Human rights activists who attended the trial acknowledged that they had expected milder sentences, but stopped short of calling them unjustified.
“The court was guided by the logic of the charges, giving equal sentences to each defendant. Of course, these are quite severe sentences. Perhaps it was a little unexpected in this sense and the angry reaction [of the defendants and family members] was probably connected with the severity of the sentences. They had other expectations,” said Zhanna Aleksanian, a leading human rights activist.
“This behavior of the defendants’ relatives also proves that they do not admit their guilt in an incident in which a man was killed,” she added.
YEREVAN -- The Armenian National Archive will compile the list of the names of Armenian Genocide victims and their places of residence.
“The register will include 200,000-300,000 names. The number of the vic- tims exceeds one million, but it does not matter. A long time has passed and if we started this work earlier like the Jews, we would have more names now. Cur- rently, we can only collect those names which are mentioned in documents and books,” stated National Archives director Amatuni Virabyan.
The National Archive is also preparing to publish a book in Russian titled “The participation of Armenians in the First World War,” which will most prob- ably be released in Moscow.
Virabyan informed that the three-volume publication “The Armenian Gen- ocide in the Ottoman Empire” has already been published, the first volume has been translated into English, as well.
According to Amatuni Virabyan, the Armenian nation lost the motherland as a result of the Genocide, lost a huge cultural heritage and property. Between 1918 and 1919 a commission set up in Tbilisi by Hovhannes Tumanyan was calculating the material loss Armenians suffered during the First World
War. The results were to be submitted at the Paris Conference to get reimbursement, but this never happened. Director of the National Archive regrets that Armenians use to remember some things only from anniversary
to anniversary, while he is confident the work should be permanent.
YEREVAN/ -- A smaller number of Iranians are in Armenia this year, to celebrate Nowruz (New Year) in Armenia, than in the previous years, Haykakan Zhamanak daily reported.
“This refers to the negative dynamics that is recorded each year.
“The [Armenian] tour operators’, hotels’ guide-translators, who have an experience in serving Iranian tourists, already have recorded that far fewer [Iranian] tourists have visited [capital city] Yerevan this year.
“We spoke with the [Iranian] tourists themselves about the rea- sons. They say Yerevan is an expensive city, and [Georgian capital city] Tbilisi is preferable from purely the financial perspective.
“The Iranians are complaining also about the lack of public toilets in Yerevan, [and] the taxi drivers, who ex- tort a lot of money for driving a few kilometers,” Haykakan Zhamanak wrote.
BAKU -- Armenia is a “fascist state” created on “historic Azerbaijani lands” that will eventually be won back by Azerbaijan, according to Ilham Aliyev.
“Not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also a substantial part of modern Armenia is ancient Azerbaijani territory,” Aliyev declared on Wednesday during celebrations of Nowruz, the Persian New Year.
“Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said, according to the APA news agency. “We, Azerbaijanis, will return to Nagorno-Karabakh, other occupied lands and all historic lands of Azerbaijan. I don’t doubt it,” he added, pointing to his country’s “growing economic and military might.”
“Armenia is a fascist state,” continued Aliyev. “Their national ideology is fascism, discrimination and nation- alism.”
"I am absolutely convinced that the growing power of Azerbaijan, our potential and forethought foreign policy will allow us to restore our territorial integrity. No other way. The course of history, our demographic development, economic potential allow us to say that the day when the national flag of Azerbaijan will flutter in Shusha, Khankendi is not far away. We need to become even stronger to do this. In the international arena, there are double standards. We are also victims of double standards. In the settlement of international relations the power factor is coming to the foreground. We must become and are becoming even stronger, "- stated Aliyev.
The bellicose remarks came amid international mediators’ efforts to arrange another meeting between Aliyev and President Serzh Sarkisian which they hope will push forward the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. Artur Baghdasarian, the secretary of Armenia’s National Security Council, said on Thursday that Aliyev and Sarkisian could meet as early as next week.
Both presidents are expected to attend the global Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague scheduled for March 23-25.
Aliyev already vowed to reconquer “historic Azerbaijani lands” in Armenia during a January 21 visit to Azer- baijan’s second largest city of Gyanja. He spoke there less than two days after a deadly firefight in northeastern Karabakh which the Armenian military said was the result of a failed Azerbaijani commando attack on its frontline positions.
The armed incident led to a sharp escalation of tensions on “the line of contact” around Karabakh and the Ar- menian-Azerbaijani border. It also appears to have delayed the next Aliyev-Sarkisian meeting which the U.S., Rus- sian and French mediators hoped to organize in February.
AZERBAIJAN REQUIRES JAMES WARLICK’S DISMISSAL FROM MINSK GROUP -- The statement of U.S. Co-Chairman James Warlick in Twitter that Karabakh conflict is a conflict “between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan”, not between Armenia and Azerbaijan has caused a real hysteria in Azerbaijan.
Former government adviser on foreign affairs of Azerbaijan, political scientist Vafa Guladze in an interview with Azerbaijani news portal said that it is necessary to “kick out” James Warlick from the OSCE Minsk Group. Azerbaijan is not pleased with the fact that the Ameri- can side got convinced that for the resolution of Nagorno Karabakh conflict the participation of official Stepanakert is necessary.
In an interview with Azerbaijani portal Guladze referred to Warlick’s statement as “a message of not a very professional diplomat”. The portal called U.S. Co-Chairman frivolous and silly and expressed its dissat- isfaction with the fact that Washington has appointed such a “frivolous person who writes on social network every- thing that crosses his mind” as a Co-Chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group.
STEPANAKERT/ -- Another soldier of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Defense Army has been shot by Azerbaijani sniper on Monday, Armenian reports.
According to preliminary information, 22-year-old soldier of Artsakh Army Garnic Torosyan became a victim of Azeri sniper on Monday at around 9:50 am local time. Torosyan has been shot at the base station of a military unit on the east line of contact with Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the course of a combat mission. The gunshot was fatal and wounded Garnik Torosian died immediately.
The Defense Ministry of Nagorno Karabakh Republic expresses condo- lences to the family, relatives, and colleagues of killed soldier. A criminal case has been initiated in order to clarify the circumstances of the incident.
On March 15th, the Argentinean-Armenian baritone Hrair Boudjikanian per- formed for the Toronto Armenians at the Armenian Evangelical Church. This event was organized by the Armenian Missionary Association of Canada and the Syrian Armenians Fundraising Committee of Toronto. Their goal was to raise money for the Armenians living through the war in Syria, to help keep their chil- dren in school, to bring food for their families, and to fill many other needs.
Before the event started, the seats were completely occupied by many peo- ple eager to hear Boudjikanian's barione voice. At around 8:00 pm, Mr. Mihran Jizmedjian, who was the Master of Ceremonies of this event, welcomed the audi- ence to the recital. The event began with the Lord's Prayer. After the welcoming remarks and a brief introduction, Boudjikanian performed his songs with Ms. Tina Garabedian playing the piano.
Boudjikanian, with his unique baritone sound, performed a variety of tradi- tional and revolutionary Armenian songs, such as Pari Arakil, Kedashen, and most notably, Hay Herosneri Yerke. In addition, he performed a selection of fa- mous Spanish Opera songs, like Eri Tu, and Toreador, which are featured in the play Carmen. The entire audience was enchanted with his unique and operatic performance. Near the end, when he decided to perform revolutionary songs, he encouraged the audience to sing with him.
Mr. Jizmedjian closed the event and thanked Boudjikanian and Garabedian for their inspiring performances, and on behalf of the organizing committee, he presented them with gifts of appreciation.
After the event concluded, the audience was welcomed to the gym for tea, coffee and cookies.
Overall, the event was a resounding success. Boudjikanian's performance was well-received by the audience and the committee raised close to $6,000 to help the Syrian Armenians.
NICOSIA -- On March 17, 2014, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, John M. Koenig, hosted an event to celebrate the restoration of the Armenian Surp Asdvadzadzin (St. Mary’s) Church and Mon astery complex locat- ed in the Turkish sector of Nicosia, one of Cyprus’ most significant cul- tural heritage sites, KP Daily News reported.
Through its partnership with the United Nations Development Pro- gram (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development funded the multi-year, multi-million-dollar renovation, which brought Armenian Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots together with international experts. Between 2006 and 2013, architects, engineers, planners and crafts people restored the site to international standards, en- suring that it is preserved for future generations.
“Fundamentally, there is no greater reflection of respect than assist- ing others to preserve their heritage. That respect is manifest in the work that was done here,” noted Ambassador Koenig in his remarks at the event, which included all of the representatives of all of the island’s reli- gious communities. “The United States is a longstanding supporter of initiatives like this that demonstrate in the most tangible way how con- servation and heritage can build bridges between fractured communities. Sharing the responsibility for preserving such incredible places builds trust and, through projects like this, Cypriots are building a better, more peaceful, future.”
According to UNDP Program Manager Christopher Louise, the site with an architectural record of over 700 years is “evidence of the island’s rich and multicultural past. As important, it is now a restored symbol of Cyprus’ future where religion, culture and education can contribute to reconciliation.”
The DEPOP Research Group, in partnership with AGBU and the Kololian Foundation, has just concluded a worldwide tour to present its report “The Depopulation Crisis in Armenia.” The group’s stop in California, which followed events in Beirut, Paris, Toronto, New York, was organized by the AGBU Western District and drew over 250 guests to the Glendale Central Library. There, guests weighed in on a new dia- logue about emigration, demographic and socio- economic challenges in Armenia today and pos- sibilities for building a stronger future for the republic.
The report, which was first introduced at a United Nations Population Fund conference in Yerevan in October 2013, is based on extensive fieldwork conducted across Armenia. For more than a year, four independent research teams, selected by the International Center for Human Development in Yerevan on behalf of the Kololian Founda- tion, gathered data on the ground.
The researchers include Dr. Khatchik Der Ghougassian of the Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation; Veronica Aghajanyan, Ani Avetisyan, Tatevik Hovhannisyan, Elena Kozhemyakina, Elena Muradyan, and Elina Sahakyan of the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University; Kristine Antonyan, Karlen Khachatryan, and Haik Sargsyan of Yere- van State University; and independent researchers Arshak Balayan, Armen Gakavian, and Avetik Mejlumyan.
The DEPOP teams’ focus groups, interviews, media monitoring and surveys revealed startling statistics: a near 20% drop in Armenia’s population over the past two decades. Their research shows that although those numbers were initially tied to a lack of economic opportunities, in recent years, families with higher earnings are even more likely to leave the country.
In light of these findings, the DEPOP group proposed recommendations, which they shared with the Glendale audience. Vahan Kololian, co-founder of the Toronto-based think tank the Mosaic Institute and the sponsor of the DEPOP project, pointed to the need for the Armenian diaspora to help reverse these demographic trends. Using Israel and its repatriation efforts as a case study, he called on diasporans to join together in their efforts to help Ar- menia.
In his address to guests at the AGBU Central Office in New York, Kololian remarked that “the Armenian peo- ple have a history of uniting in the face of crisis. The country’s readily declining population is yet another crisis that we must resolve together, whether it is by investing in local businesses and micro-lending or by engaging with the Ministry of Diaspora to support civic projects that lead to greater citizen involvement.”
The first step to bringing about meaningful change, he continued, is to strengthen civic institutions across Ar- menia and to organize public discussions, which they were able to initiate with the AGBU Western District as a partner. The presentation prompted the audience members who filled the Glendale Central Library to ask questions, offer comments and share anecdotes. Krekor Karaguezian, the AGBU Western District chair, noted that “this event was the first of its kind to raise awareness within our local community in the Los Angeles area about what is now unfolding in Armenia. Our members left with new insights into the current situation, inspired to do what they can to strengthen the democratic process and create a prosperous future for our country and our people. We are thankful for the support of the Kololian Foundation and the young researchers who helped to create this important platform.”
With its first international tour complete, the DEPOP Research Group is now seeking to partner with local civ- ic groups to encourage transparency and participatory decision-making and to empower Armenian youth country- wide.
To learn more about the DEPOP group, and to download a copy of the report “The Depopulation Crisis in Ar- menia,” please visit
GLENDALE, CA — The American Armenian Rose Float Association, inc. (AARFA) is proud to announce that it has been accepted into the 126th Tournament of Roses Parade January 1, 2015. Though a tremendous challenge, this project is a great vote of confidence for AARFA. With skilled and talented members and sup- porters, the float is sure to be a success!
The Beginnings of the Tournament of Roses
The Tournament of Roses began as a promotional effort by the distinguished Valley Hunt Club of Pasadena. In the winter of 1890, the club members invited their former East Coast neighbors to warmer California for a mid-winter holiday, where they would watch games like jousting, chariot races, polo, foot races and tug-of-war. Thanks to the warmer California weather and the abundance of fresh flowers, even in winter, the club decided to add another event to these festivities: a parade of carriages decorated with hundreds of blooms. This was the start of the world-famous Tournament of Roses Parade.
Inspiring Stories The Theme for 2015
On January 1, 2015, around 45 floats will be showcasing “Inspiring Stories” down Colorado Blvd. along with high-stepping equestrian units and spirited marching bands. AARFA has many inspiring stories to share from the American Armenian community that has contributed much to this Nation. It is an honor to share these stories with the world during the 2015 Rose Parade.
Help AARFA Tell Your Story
This float belongs to every Armenian in the United States and around the world. One hundred years ago, the Tournament of Roses chose Mr. Pashgian, an American Armenian, as the Grand Marshall, and now, the American Armenian community will finally be represented on a float.
It is the AARFA’s hope that the World Armenian communities support this float and help share the inspiring stories of the American Armenian community. AARFA is looking for corporate, media and individual sponsors who wish to support this project. Keep up with the latest information by visiting
FRESNO -- The Armenian Studies Pro- gram at Fresno State announces the publica- tion of a new book, “Inside Constantinople: A Diplomat’s Diary During the Dardanelles Ex- pedition, April-September, 1915” by Lewis Einstein, published by the Gomidas Institute (London), in cooperation with the ASP.
To mark the launch of the book, Ara Sarafian (Gomidas Institute, London) will present a lecture “Saving Armenians: The United States and the Armenian Genocide Thesis, 1915” at 7:30PM on Tuesday, April 1, in the University Business Center, Alice Pe- ters Auditorium, Room 191.
The lecture is co-sponsored by the Ar- menian Students Organization and the Leon S. Peters Foundation.
This talk presents new insights into the role of the United States in documenting the Armenian Genocide and publicizing the plight of Armenians in 1915. It stresses that the United States had access to vital information about the plight of Armenians, and that the United States embassy in Constantinople was staffed by extraordinary indi- viduals who took a high moral stand and chose not to ignore the plight of Armenians. These embassy staff were headed by Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, but also included Special Agent of the State Department, Lewis Ein- stein, who made his own incredible contribution to our understanding of the Armenian Genocide.
Ara Sarafian is an archival historian specializing on late Ottoman history. He is the director of the Gomidas In- stitute, which is a leading research and publication center related to modern Armenian history.
The lecture is free and open to the public. Parking available at Fresno State Lots P5 and P6 with a free parking pass using code number 273411.
For more information on the exhibit please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669.
FRESNO -- The Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State in cooperation with the Gomidas Institute (London), and the Leon S. Peters Foundation present “Remembering the Armenians of Bitlis” an exhibit to be open from March 30 to April 30, 2014, on the se- cond floor of the Henry Madden Library.
A special opening reception to highlight the exhibit of rare pho- tos, documents, and maps from the Bitlis area will be held from 3:00-4:00PM on Sunday, March 30, on the second floor of the Mad- den Library. The hors d’oeuvres reception is free and open to the public.
Immediately following the reception Ara Sarafian of the Gomidas Institute will present a talk, “Down and About Bitlis: An Exhibition on Bitlis Armenians on the Shores of Lake Van (March 1- 2, 2014)” at 4:00PM, in Room 2206 of the Madden Library, next to the exhibit area.
On March 1-2, 2014, the Gomidas Institute with the support of the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State, held an extraordinary exhibition in Tatvan, on the shores of Lake Van, entitled “Bitlis Ermenileri” (The Armenians of Bitlis). This event was part of the Gomidas Institute’s “bridge-building initiative” which was started in June 2013 to build contacts between Armenians, Turks, and Kurds.
The Bitlis Armenians exhibition was based on key ethnographic maps and photographs depicting the Armeni- an presence in the Ottoman province of Bitlis before 1915. These were the result of extensive academic research at the ABCFM Archives (Houghton Library, Harvard University), Mt. Holyoke College Archives (Mass.), AGBU Nubarian archives (Paris), and the Ottoman Prime Ministry Archives (Istanbul). The exhibition was shown at the Tatvan Cultural Center with the support of the local mayor’s office as well as several other organizations in Bitlis and surrounding areas.
This exhibition was the first such event in eastern Turkey and was attended by a whole spectrum of people from students and workers to local politicians and members of the Turkish Parliament. The Turkish Human Right’s Association (especially its committee against racism and discrimination) supported the event and sent three of its members to attend the opening.
Ara Sarafian is an archival historian specializing on late Ottoman history. He is the director of the Gomidas In- stitute, which is a leading research and publication center related to modern Armenian history.
The reception and lecture are free and open to the public. Parking is free at Fresno State on Sundays-Lots P30 and P31, entering at Shaw and Barton Aves.
For more information on the exhibit please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669.
The performance based on Edgar Hilsenrath’s novel “The Story of the Last Thought” premiered in the sold out Drama Theatre of the German city of Konstanz. The piece tells about the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, the Russian Service of Deutsche Welle reports.
The theatre received a number demands to cancel the per- formance before the premiere set for March 21. The Turkish Consulate General in Kalsruhe asked the theatre to present different interpretations of the events to the spectators.
Dpa agency reported on March 23, quoting the Konstanz Police that a rally, featuring about 100 people, was organized in front of the theatre on the day of the premiere. The protest- ers were raged over the poster of the performance, picturing a man lying on the ground covered with white cloth, with a Turkish flag waving above him. Besides, it presents a quote by Turkish Prime Minister saying “There has been no genocide in our history.”
The Armenian community of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg expressed its dismay regarding the act of protest. “Turkey’s ongoing denial of the fact of the Armenian Genocide speaks about its ignorance. Its demand to distort the history even in Germany is madness. Here in Konstanz we witness an absurd struggle against the his- toric truth and the freedom of art.”
The mission of art is to touch the pain points of the society, Peter Friedrich, member of the government of Ba- den-Württemberg, said. According to him, the reaction shows that art has hit the target.
“The Story of the Last Thought” tells about the events taking place during the First World War. This is a story of an Armenian in the Ottoman Empire, a witness of the Armenian Genocide.
International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
A Division of the Zoryan Institute
Guatemalan Genocide added to the Genocide and Human Rights University Program
Genocide Studies is a large and expanding field. How to teach it presents new challenges every year. Just last April, former dictator of Guatemala Rios Montt was sentenced to 80 years in jail for genocide against Mayan peo- ple, and in May the sentence was overturned.
The trial of Rios Montt marks the first time a former head of state was tried for genocide by his own nation. It is a complicated case internationally for many reasons, not least of which is the United States’ support of the Guatemalan Government as part of its policies during the 1980s throughout Latin America, even while the genocide was under way.
The Genocide and Human Rights University Program was developed to utilize challenges like these as opportunities to learn.
This year, the Guatemalan genocide has been added to the syllabus of GHRUP. The unit will be taught by Victoria Sanford, founding director of the Centre for Human Rights and Peace Studies at Lehman College (City University of New York), where she is a professor of anthropology. She is the author of Buried Se- crets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala (2003), as well as many Spanish- language books on the Guatemalan genocide, and she is the co-author of the Gua- temalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation's report to the Commission for Histori-
cal Clarification (the Guatemalan truth commission). In August of 2012, she was invited as an expert witness in the Spanish National Court’s international genocide case against the Guatemalan generals, including Rios Montt.
August 2014 marks the thirteenth year of the popular GHRUP, run in partnership by the University of Toronto History Department and the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (A Division of the Zoryan Institute). This unique, two-week, graduate-level course provides a comprehensive, comparative study of the phenomenon of genocide, examining several case studies from the interdisciplinary perspectives of history, pol- itics, sociology, psychology, and international law. One reason the GHRUP is so unique is the caliber of the ten faculty members who come from the US, the UK, and Canada to teach the various subject units. They represent a wide spectrum of field experience, research specialty, and teaching expertise.
Dr. Maureen Hiebert, a professor at University of Calgary specializing in comparative politics, human rights, international law, and political violence and genocide is teaching both Theories of Genocide and the case study of the Cambodian genocide. Leading the full day unit on the Holocaust is the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Profes- sor of Holocaust Studies, and a Professor at University of Toronto, Dr. Doris Bergen. Last year Dr. Chris Powell introduced the genocide of Indigenous peoples to the GHRUP, and he will be teaching that subject again this sum- mer. Dr. Powell, an assistant professor of sociology at Ryerson, brings a unique take on human rights studies to the course, as he is currently investigating social movements oriented to non-hierarchical decision-making, including ‘Occupy!’ and ‘Idle No More.’ York psychology Professor Emerita Shake Toukmanian will lead the unit on the psychological trauma of genocide, a difficult yet necessary topic that she teaches with empathy and expertise; and Major Brent Beardsley, former Personal Staff Officer to the Force Commander of the UNAM for Rwanda and an eyewitness will discuss the Rwandan Genocide.
Dr. Richard Hovannisian, who serves on the board of directors of nine scholarly and civic organizations and recently won the UCLA Alumni Association’s “Most Inspiring Teacher” award, will lead the discussion on the Armenian Genocide. Dr. Herbert Hirsch, a Professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University and an editor of Genocide Studies International, will teach the unit on Genocide Prevention. And from the UK, William Schabas, Professor at Middlesex University in London and renowned expert in international criminal law, will teach International Law and Genocide.
Professor Roger W. Smith, Program Director of GHRUP, and a distinguished expert on genocide denial will teach that subject. Dr. Smith taught political philosophy and the comparative study of genocide for twenty years at the College of William and Mary, and has been the program’s director since 2003.
Professor Joyce Apsel, Course Director since 2012, introduces the subjects of Human Rights and Genocide and acts as a catalyst for the entirety of the course. She sits with the students, drawing links and making compari- sons in the course material, helping each student get the most out of the seminar setting. Dr. Apsel is a Master Teacher of Humanities in the Liberal Studies Program of the College of Arts & Sciences at New York University, where she has taught on Genocide and Human Rights over the last decade, and her expertise is an invaluable asset to the classroom experience.
The GHRUP will run from August 4 to 15, 2014 at the University of Toronto in Canada. For more information about how to apply for the GHRUP, please visit
Announcing New Journal: Genocide Studies International
Toronto—The Zoryan Institute and its division, the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, are introducing Genocide Studies International, the continuation of publishing efforts by the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (A Division of the Zoryan Institute) (“IIGHRS”) and the Univer- sity of Toronto Press since 2006.
This peer-reviewed journal, edited by the team of Maureen Hiebert, Herbert Hirsch, Roger W. Smith, and Henry Theriault, is interdisciplinary and comparative in nature. It welcomes submissions on individual case studies, thematic approaches, and policy analyses that relate to the history, causes, impact, aftermath, and all other aspects of genocide.
Armenians around the world recognize the first-hand impacts of genocide, and from that vantage point under- stand better than most the incredible need for genocide prevention to be encouraged, developed, and legislated. The first issue of GSI will be concerned with "The Failure of Prevention," focusing on Sudan—Darfur, the Nuba Moun- tains crisis —and on the politics of prevention or the lack thereof. The March 2015 issue will focus on the 100th anniversary of the Ottoman Genocide of Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks.
In an interview with editor Henry Theriault, we take a closer look at what GSI represents and how the editors chose the topic of their first issue.
Q. What do you hope to achieve with this new journal?
“I hope that we can accomplish two things that go beyond the typical aca- demic fare. First, I hope that the work published will have a policy dimension and value that can have an effect on actual genocide prevention. Second, I hope that we can identify and publish truly innovative work that is not just mere aca- demic filler, but that presents genuinely new ideas about genocide and provides new frameworks that will change, in a positive way, how we approach the prob- lem.”
Q. Why does a journal like this emphasize comparison in Genocide Studies?
“It is not just comparison, which is more of a 1990s concept in Genocide Studies – looking at how cases of genocide are alike and different: we have moved to a more sophisticated level, where the attempt to theorize genocide as human social practice, history, and political process requires engaging many different cases of genocide. Earlier theorizing of genocide sometimes was quite limited by focus on just the Holocaust or at most the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide. As important as these cases are, one simply cannot understand genocide through examination of them alone. Case studies are very important not just to historians, political scientists and sociologists, etc., but also to philosophers, anthropologists, etc., who attempt to theorize the issue more generally. Too often in fields such as philosophy it is possible to go through a whole article on “genocide” that does not discuss a single actual genocide even for illustration purposes,
and thus engages abstractions without any real meaning or value.”
Q. Why did the editors decide on genocide prevention as the subject matter for the first issue?
“Ultimately, this is the goal [of GSI]. While it is important to understand what has happened in the past in the fullest way possible and to engage issues of justice and rehabilitation for past cases, the editorial team and IIGHRS are very concerned about doing something meaningful to try to stop or mitigate genocide. What is more, we have all long been frustrated at the lack of success in this regard, a failure that runs across academia, journalism, public policy, and beyond. We wanted to start by getting attention to just how little we’ve done in that regard, despite an incredible, even exponential growth in the field of Genocide Studies. It might even be that the growth of the field as an academic area has been inversely proportional to the impact of work in the field on the problem of genocide.”
Q. How do you think policy makers will be affected by the content of GSI?
“This is very difficult to predict, but first and foremost I hope that they will pay attention to its content when trying to engage an issue that is either related to something in GSI or that we have an article directly on. The field has a good deal to offer policy makers if they are (1) simply willing to do some reading that goes beyond policy briefs (usually the same old stuff that analysts have been turning out for years) and press releases, and (2) interested in genuinely addressing the problem of genocide, rather than just appearing for public relations purposes to do so. Too often policy decisions are based on simplistic or inaccurate understandings of the forces in play, the histories of violence, etc. GSI can help policy makers get accurate information and, even more importantly, reliable interpreta- tions for the tough challenges they face.”
Q. How do you foresee this journal affecting the field of Genocide Studies?
“The field is at a crucial point. It is expanding in a way similar to other fields developed in the past 50 years initially through political and ethical concerns and challenges to academia and to the socio-political order. It is now beginning to follow such fields down the road of institutionalization. Now graduate students are typically choosing topics of research not out of a genuine intellectual and ethical concern, but in order to catch the next trend so that they can get good academic jobs. Factions in the field have developed that are focused on territorial power and pro- tection in academia, not dealing with genocide. Genocide Studies is often now much more about the individual scholars than the object of study, just as traditional disciplines long ago became. By publishing a different kind of scholarship that puts the object back at the focus and looking for new, innovative work that is typically on the mar- gins of a field and not in its establishment, institutionalized center, GSI might help reverse this trend somewhat – or at least carve out enough space for those special junior (and not so junior) scholars who work at the margins to pro- duce really innovative work, despite the institutionalization of the field.”
“One of the things that makes GSI so special and unique is the leadership role the Zoryan Institute, and its di- vision the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, has played in the creation of the journal and will play in establishing it as one of the premiere journals in human rights studies. Zoryan’s work has long been at the cutting-edge of important developments in both the study of and, importantly, prevention of genocide
and other mass human rights abuses. With its special tie to Armenians in North America and around the world, it provides globally-minded Armenians an opportunity to support innovative scholarship and policy initiatives on the Armenian Genocide and many other human rights issues affecting groups across the world. GSI offers the next step in translating the heartfelt support from Armenians into important scholarship and real, positive change, toward the ultimate goal of finally making good on the pledge of “Never again.” GSI is now available online at and will be available in print in April 2014.
For more information please contact the IIGHRS at or call 416-250-9807.
3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA 91504
(LOS ANGELES) - The Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance (ADAA) is proud to announce that the William Sa- royan Prize for Playwriting will launch a Human Rights/Social Justice focus, beginning with the 2014 cycle of the competition. The prize will be awarded for themes which engage an audience with social and political issues and/or promotes peace, social justice and human rights.
In continuing with the work of previous years to support Armenian stories and artists, a special Commenda- tion for Armenian Excellence will be additionally awarded to a play on an Armenian theme.
Deadline for full-length stage plays is June 15, 2014. A professional jury will select three finalists from the submissions, and an honorary jury will determine the grand prizewinner.
The prize will be awarded Human Rights Day, Wednesday, December 10, 2014, at ADAA's annual awards event in Los Angeles.
The 2014 Saroyan Prize Committee includes the following theater professionals: Erik Ehn, Dean of Play- writing, Brown University, US; David Lan, Young Vic Theatre, UK; Jose Luis Valenzuela, Los Angeles Theater Center, US; Catherine Filloux, Playwright, US; Michael Peretzian, Director, US; Lisa Kirazian, Playwright, US; Bianca Bagatourian, Playwright, US.
Advisory Theaters for the 2014 Saroyan Prize are:
The Pasadena Playhouse, US; The Young Vic, UK; The Bush Theatre, UK; The Los Angeles Theater Center, US; Golden Thread Theater, US; The Fountain Theatre, US. and more.
The late William Saroyan believed that the performing arts were a powerful tool for facilitating civic engage- ment and advancing social change. ADAA, with the advice of its theater and funding partners around the world, decided to expand the scope of the competition to promote intercultural understanding and be inclusive of more playwrights exploring the transformative power of theater to address issues of global significance. This is certainly in keeping with the spirit of William Saroyan - a longtime advocate of human rights. It will also further the aim of the Armenian arts community as a whole, in its quest for justice and acceptance.
Scripts can tackle topics as diverse as homelessness, genocide, human exploitation, whether the conflicts are international, among groups and individuals, or through political participation. Scripts can also seek to create un- derstanding of how conflicts can be resolved nonviolently instead of violently. Other themes can include minority issues that focus on racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination both in the United States and abroad, with writers making real and relevant the impact of human rights issues on our everyday lives. ADAA hopes this widened scope of the competition will help shed new light on religious, spiritual, and cultural differences and issues and build re- spect for cultural expression and identity in a world that is experiencing rapid globalization.
Playwrights must submit a half-page synopsis of their play for the committee to confirm that it is a play deal- ing with human rights/social justice, whether Armenian or non-Armenian themed. Writers will then be invited to submit their full-length script for consideration.
The Saroyan Playwriting Prize is supported with grants from the William Saroyan Foundation, which inaugu- rated the prize at ADAA in 2007, and by Gagosian Galleries, and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
For submission guidelines, please visit ADAA's newly redesigned website, Submissions for the prize are electronic only and must be sent by June 15, 2014 to
By David Boyajian*
After two fair and lengthy hearings, the eight elected members of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council, in a 4-4 tie vote on March 5, refused to confirm attorney Joseph Berman to be a Superior Court judge. It was a defeat for Governor Deval Patrick, who had nominated Mr. Berman. But the Council took its responsibilities seriously and rendered a well-considered judgment.
Councilors voiced many concerns about the nominee. Foremost was a lack of truthfulness.
Berman, under oath, was asked three times whether he had requested anyone to lobby the Council to advance his nomination. Each time, he replied no.
Later, after some stumbling, he admitted to another Councilor that he had phoned State Senator – now Con- gresswoman – Katherine Clark to lobby Councilors.
Mr. Berman’s meager criminal trial experience also troubled Councilors. Another concern was Berman’s scant knowledge of drug abuse. And some worried that Berman, politically active and a national leader in the heavily political Anti-Defamation League (ADL), would promote those viewpoints as a judge.
Several Councilors questioned Berman’s $100,000 in campaign contributions, including to Governor Patrick, since being turned down for a judgeship in 2004. They saw this as a possible attempt to advance his judicial ambi- tions.
At his second hearing, Mr. Berman tried to deflect these criticisms. He claimed, for example, to have misun- derstood the Councilors’ questions about lobbying them. He also said he had been studying up on drug addiction and criminal law.
Berman’s being a 19-year member, and since 2006 a National Commissioner, of the ADL also caught the at- tention of some Councilors and media.
Recall the ADL scandal that broke out in mid-2007. It exposed that organization’s decades-old hypocrisy in denying the Armenian genocide and colluding directly with Turkey, a major human rights violator, to defeat U.S. Congressional resolutions on that genocide.
Shocked at the ADL’s stance, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which represents every city and town, then dropped its sponsorship of the ADL’s so-called “No Place for Hate” anti-bias program. So did Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Lexington, Medford, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Northampton, Peabody, Somerville, Watertown, and Westwood. The ADL scandal quickly became national and international news.
Naturally, the Governor’s Council quizzed Berman about his ADL leadership role. He claimed that after the scandal erupted in 2007 he and some New England ADL members tried to convince the National ADL to change its position on the Armenian genocide. But there is no hard proof of that. And surely Berman knew long before 2007 of the ADL’s anti-Armenian stance. Yet he never spoke out publicly or resigned. Even after 2007, Mr. Berman remained publicly silent about the ADL’s indefensible assault on Armenian Americans.
Alongside the Council’s other concerns, Berman’s ADL record raised doubts about his worthiness to be a judge.
On August 21, 2007, the National ADL tried to squirm out of the scandal with a press release that used decep- tive and legalistic wording about the Armenian genocide. It implied that the Armenian genocide was a mere “con- sequence” of wartime events, which meant it wouldn’t qualify as genocide under the United Nation’s official defi- nition. The dishonest ADL declaration was widely rejected.
Nearly 20 countries, such as Canada, France, and Argentina, the European Union Parliament, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and the Polish Jewish lawyer who coined the word “genocide” in the 1940s, Raphael Lemkin, have recognized the Armenian genocide of 1915 -23 committed by Turkey.
Many American human rights, ethnic, and church organizations have supported the Armenian genocide resolu- tion. These include the American Jewish World Service and the Jewish War Veterans of the USA.
But not the ADL nor, reports the Jewish media, the American Jewish Committee, AIPAC, and B’nai B’rith. They adhere to a long-standing arrangement among themselves, Turkey, and Israel to deny the Armenian genocide. See “History of Lobbying” at
The ADL professes to defend the human rights of all ethnic groups, not just Jews. It insists that the American
people acknowledge and pass legislation on the Holocaust. Yet the ADL tries to prevent recognition of a Christian genocide. The hypocrisy is astonishing.
Meanwhile, a significant precedent has been created: Members of the ADL, or similar organizations, who as- pire to a higher post, particularly in government, may now be asked what they knew of their organization’s geno- cide hypocrisy, when they knew it, and what they did about it. Such are the bitter fruits of deceit.
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