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Suffolk University: Partner in Armenian Genocide Denial?

April 17, 2014 Armenia, Film, Turkey No Comments
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10:40, April 17, 2014

By Heidi Boghosian

(The following article, dated April 15, 2014, appeared on the National Lawyers Guild blog)

Students at Suffolk University Law School have launched anonline petitionurging the school’s president to withdraw its invitation to Armenian genocide denier Abraham Foxman to speak at their commencement and receive an honorary degree.

Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League director, drew harsh public criticism in 2007 for opposing a congressional resolution acknowledging the 1915 extermination of approximately 1.5 million Armenians. Since the 15th century, Armenians had been treated as second-class citizens under Ottoman rule. In honoring Foxman, Suffolk University sends a message that politics are more important than acknowledging crimes against humanity.

Convict Diet: “What happened to the three dominos I swallowed?”

April 17, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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14:47, April 17, 2014

Hovsep Hovsepyan, a surgeon who works at the Prisoners’ Hospital in Yerevan showed us a unique collection of nails and utensil bits that he and other physicians have removed from the bodies of convicts over the years.

Hovsepyan said that he hasn’t performed such surgeries in the past three or four years, concluding that the number of self-inflicted injuries amongst the convict population has decreased.

“In the entire world there is the instinct of self-preservation, even in the animal world. In fact, it is only humans that are able to overcome that instinct and inflict damage to themselves when they don’t have the capacity to solve their problems,” the surgeon argued.

Armenia’s parliamentary opposition undecided about accepting new partner

April 17, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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The parliamentary minority are not making haste to accept the Rule of Law members into their ranks, but they cautiously make hints that the party’s statement about not joining the governing coalition has been taken into consideration.
Meantime, the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) expresses regret that that it has lost a coalition partner.
Speaking to Tert.am, the secretary of the opposition Prosperous Armenia faction in parliament, Naira Zohrabyan, said she finds the Rule of Law’s breakaway from the coalition the party’s own political decision. “We take that decision of Rule of Law into account,” she said.
Asked whether they see any prospects of cooperation, Zohrabyan replied, “We are not aware what political agenda Rule of Law is introducing. When it unveils the agenda, we will be clear about the party’s vision.”
Armen Martirosyan, the opposition Heritage party’s deputy leader who also attends the parliamentary opposition’s meetings, said he is not yet sure about future plans. “The Rule of Law has to first of all submit a bid to the [opposition] quartet, and the quartet is then to consider the issue before giving an answer,” he told our correspondent.
Asked whether the Rule of Law’s move signals a political crisis, the politician answered positively. “All this is within the logic of that crisis, because political forces never quit a strong [partner]. Besides, this period saw a prime minister resign and a successor nominated in two rounds. So the Rule of Law’s breakaway now demonstrates that not everything is all right in the government and that there is too much trust in the [Republican] Party,” he noted.
Lyudimila Sargsyan, a lawmaker of the opposition Armenian National Congress, said she doesn’t hasten to make any remark on behalf of the opposition quartet (of which their political force is a part) but added that such a decision cannot be unilateral. “I cannot express my opinion about the quartet; it is for the quartet to decide,” she told Tert.am.
Sargsyan said she doesn’t think the opposition has any chances to ever consider Rule of Law an honest party. “If their problems have to do with ministerial [appointments] and re-appointments, those are their personal problems. They have nothing to do with the processes in the country,” she noted.
Hovhannes Sahakyan of the ruling Republican faction in parliament said he doesn’t find it right to consider whether or not the Rule of Law’s decision was a surprise move. “We respect all our colleagues, so they decide what role they will have on the political arena or what positions they will back,” he explained.
The Republican MP warned against jumping to conclusions about the future government’s format.
“I am far from the idea that a coalition has been already formed, and you are arriving at the conclusion that the RPA is forming the cabinet on an individual basis. Besides, we have introduced our approaches and ideas of the kind of government we are going to form. Hence, our approaches and ideas haven’t changed; but the government has not been formed either,” Sahakyan added.

Dashnaktsutyun says will remain opposition

April 17, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, Dashnaktsutyun) will not become part of a ruling coalition and will stay on the opposition side of the political fence, the party said on Thursday.

The statement by the ARF Executive Council of Armenia comes after days of speculation that Dashnaktsutyun is going to cut a power-sharing deal with the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and take some posts in the new government.

The speculation was fueled by Orinats Yerkir’s announcement on Wednesday about its quitting the RPA-dominated government, arguably leaving the majority party with a need to look for another “satellite” partner.

Twitter’s Vice President visits Armenia, makes selfy with Prez Sargsyan

April 17, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Twitter Vice President Raffi Krikorian, visiting Armenia at the invitation of the Tumo Center, of which he is board member, was received by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on Thursday.

According to the presidential press service, during the meeting Sargsyan stressed the importance of Krikorian’s visit aimed at getting acquainted with Tumo’s educational program and assisting the center, and also at participating in discussions with Armenian IT sector specialists.

Stressing that IT sector development is one of the priorities of Armenia’s economy, the head of state said that he was glad about successes of compatriots in this sphere and that such successes serve as good examples for the younger generation.

Twenty Years of Suffering: “Ceasefire” Not a Guarantee Against Grief

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“My husband was a fidayi (‘freedom fighter’), our three children and I would wait days and nights for him to return: My son would ask if dad would ever come back, and dad did come back, but he didn’t…, remembers Varditer Mirzoyan, the mother of 19-year old Eduard Mirzoyan shot by an Azerbaijani sniper on June 12, 2007. “My husband came back with shining eyes, hugged us and said that war was over, but it wasn’t… we hadn’t known yet that the most cruel war was still going to continue keeping our eyes wet and craving for peace.”


Sirush Mirzoyan, Alvina Petrosyan, the widow and daughter of Levon Petrosyan, who was killed on June 18, 2008

Dashnaks To Stay Out Of New Government, For Now

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The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) said on Thursday that it will not join a new governing coalition which President Serzh Sarkisian is trying to form following the recent resignation of his current cabinet.

A leader of the opposition party, Armen Rustamian, made clear, however, that it may still become part of the government later on if Sarkisian accepts a set of mainly political conditions set by Dashnaktsutyun.

Date Set For Armenia’s Accession Treaty With Russian-Led Union

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With less than two weeks to go before the signing of an accession treaty with the Customs Union, Armenia has not yet secured vital trade preferences for its membership in the Russian-led bloc, Economy Minister Vahram Avanesian admitted on Thursday.

The 100 Years, 100 Facts Project Launches April 24

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11:08, April 17, 2014

On the threshold of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, The 100 Years, 100 Facts Project will commemorate the genocide by publishing facts about Armenians twice a week, starting April 24, 2014 and culminating on April 24, 2015. These facts will be published on 100years100facts.com – linked through its social media accounts on Facebook,Twitter,Instagram, andGoogle+.

“The idea of using social media and the internet as a means to commemorate the Armenian Genocide and connect a population scattered around the world was inspirational to me,” said Lena Adishian, project lead, based in Los Angeles. “While curating one hundred facts about Armenia and Armenians is no easy task, we hope that audiences find the content educational and engaging.”

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Featured Books

Book Reviews

John Balian’s “Novel Approach” Brings the Armenian Saga to the Masses – An interview with John Balian by Lucine Kasbarian

Gray Wolves and White Doves cover art

Armenians often wish for a tale about the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath that would make a blockbuster film and draw attention to their cause. John Balian’s new book, Gray Wolves and White Doves (CreateSpace/Amazon.com), may be that tale.

 Largely autobiographical, this atmospheric novel is presented through the eyes of an innocent young boy trying to make sense of the world as he grows up amid repressive conditions in Western Armenia/Eastern Turkey during the 1960s and 70s.

 This fast-paced, multi-layered narrative takes readers from Hanna Ibelin’s (a.k.a. Jonah Ibelinian’s) close-knit family life in the perilous Asia Minor region of Palu to terror and tragedy while en route to Syria’s Kamishli, to a bleak existence on the mean streets of Istanbul.

New Children’s Picture Book From Armenian Folklore

Teaneck, N.J. and Belmont, Mass. –  An Armenian folktale retold by Armenian-American writer Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Moscow-based artist Maria Zaikina debuts with Marshall Cavendish Children’s Publishers in April 2011.

The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale is from the ancient Armenian oral tradition and culture, which was nearly obliterated during the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in 1915. The author learned the tale from her father, editor and columnist C.K. Garabed, who would recite it to her at bedtime. He had learned it from his own grandmother, a celebrated storyteller from the Old Country.  The tale was first put to paper by Armenian poet Hovhannes Toumanian at the turn of the 20th century.

“We Need To Lift The Armenian Taboo”

Turkish writer and publicist Ahmet Insel labels the initiative of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party to pray namaz on the ruins of Ani as provocation.

In an interview with “A1+,” the publicist said the initiative was supported only by a small percentage of Turks.

“They offered namaz in Ani in protest against Christian rites carried out in Trabzon and Akhtamar. The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli said if Christians are allowed to pray inside museums, similarly he can pray namaz in Armenian churches,” said Ahmet Insel.

The Turkish writer arrived in Armenia to participate in a book festival. Presentation of Armenian version of Dialogue sur le tabou arménien (Dialogue about the Armenian Tabou) co-authored by Ahmet Insel and Michel Marian was held during the festival.

US Media Discusses The Armenian Genocide

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA –  KFI 640, a popular news/talk radio station hosted by Bill Handel on September 23 aired a live interview with Michael Bobelian, the writer of a new book titled  Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice

The book chronicles the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and recounts a people’s struggle for justice in the face of a century of silence and denial.

During the interview, which was aired during the prime morning time slot, Bill Handel addressed both the efforts within the United States to ensure that the US government appropriately acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s ongoing denial.

Handel, a well known and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, has discussed the Armenian Genocide during past shows.

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For Better or For Worse: Nature Protection Ministry Proposes Amendments to Water Use Laws

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16:44, February 14, 2014

With the goal of providing a systematic solution to issues of effective use of water resources in Ararat valley, the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia (RA) is proposing amendments and additions to the RA Water Code, and the RA laws on the Republic of Armenia’s National Water Program, on Licensing, and on State Tax.

The proposed legislative package has been sent to the relevant state agencies for their input.

Head of the Ministry of Nature Protection’s Water Resources Management Agency Volodya Narimanyan told Hetq, said that with this amendment package his ministry is attempting to clarify the ideas and the ambiguous commentary, as well as introduce new requirements. For example, one of the main points of the proposed amendments is if water use permit conditions are not met, the water use permit might be annulled.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests

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The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments

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2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.

Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction

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Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.