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Candlelight March in Stepanakert to Mark 40th Day of Yezidi Slaughter in Iraq

September 13, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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10:27, September 12, 2014

Some 80 young people held a candlelight march through the streets of Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh to mark the forty day anniversary of the mass killings of the Yezidi community in Iraq at the hands of the Islamic State (IS). (The 40th day after death is a traditional memorial service in the Armenian Apostolic Church) Carrying placards reading “No to Genocide”, the marchers made their way to the St. Hakob Church in Stepanakert.

Ani Hovhannisyan, one of the march organizers from Berdzor, said that participants were uniting with others holding similar marches in Yerevan and France to mark the 40 day anniversary of the genocidal acts committed against Yerzidis and other minorities in Iraq. “By marching, we condemn all perpetrated genocides and call for such crimes not to be repeated,” Hovhannisyan told Hetq. The march was organized by six local civic organizations.

Basque Parliament’s motion supporting Nagorno-Karabakh’s self-determination evidence of new tendencies – opinions

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The adoption of the motion supporting the self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh by the Basque Parliament in a sense means that Basque Country recognizes the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), Nagorno-Karabakh Presidential Spokesman David Babayan told Tert.am.
“We have repeatedly stated our intention to expand the geography of recognition by establishing bilateral relations. We have common features with the Basques – both psychological and political. And some of them say their forefathers emigrated from the Armenian highland. In any case, this motion adopted by the Basque Parliament is a significant achievement in two aspects: the Artsakh Armenians get recognition and it is a foreign policy success,” he said.
Mr Babayan stressed that different nations have their interests and it is necessary to make their interests converge and developments progress in the interests of Armenians.
Asked about the significance of the motion adopted by the Basque Parliament, Mr Babayan said:
“Of course, it is highly significant, but it is not like ‘general tendency, as we are following it.’ This is the result of our unity – Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian Diaspora – as well as of Artsakh being a normal state. Otherwise, no one would recognize a terrorist state. This is evidence we are following the right course. We will continue our work for other parliaments to recognize [Nagorno-Karabakh] as well. We think this is a promising platform where we have to work.”
Talking to Tert.am member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations Tevan Poghosyan called for realizing the growing appreciation of the principle of nations’ self-determination throughout the world.
“Since people realize their self-determination is more important than any borders, especially artificially drawn borders. And we can see now that all the nations struggling for self-determination are trying to understand one another better and speak of this right,” he said.
“Let us remember the ongoing processes in Europe. A few months ago a referendum was held in Venice, Italy. The Basque Country is aiming at this – they will try to hold a referendum. This process is under way in Catalonia as well, in Scotland. In Kosovo it took place. In the past decade, a number of states were recognized: Timor, Eritrea, the problem of South Sudan. Montenegro’s ‘divorce’ was very easy,” Mr Poghosyan said.
In this context he said that the international community should gradually be made to listen to the idea of the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination.
“Armenia’s foreign policy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are capable of doing this work because both California and the Basque Country have recognized [Nagorno-Karabakh’s self-determination] in the past month. I hope this work will be continued and the recognition process as well,” Mr Poghosyan said.
He is optimistic and hopes that Nagorno-Karabakh will sooner or later be internationally recognized.
With respect to Armenian political scientists’ statements on the world’s double standards as the mediators keep on stating the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict cannot be settled in this “unique” way, Mr Poghosyan said that such statements were made after the events in both Timor and Eritrea.
“One thing is to say something, but life has shown that the realization of the right to self-determination, when people are masters of their own fate, is gaining strength throughout the world. And since 1988, Azerbaijan’s ‘argument’ that Armenians once exercised their right by creating the Republic of Armenia has not been supported by the international community, considering the realization of the fact that the territories were artificially made part of Azerbaijan and have nothing to do with its territorial integrity.”

U.S. ‘Aware’ Of Syrian Armenian Concerns

September 11, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Top News No Comments

John Heffern, the U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, said on Thursday that he has discussed with Armenian officials the plight of ethnic Armenians remaining in Syria in the context of planned U.S. air strikes against Islamic State militants operating there.

President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday a “systematic campaign of air strikes against these terrorists” controlling large parts of Syria as well as neighboring Iraq. The announcement raised fears in Armenia of retaliatory attacks by the radical Islamists against the Syrian Armenian community.


U.S. — President Barack Obama delivers a prime time address from the Cross Hall of the White House on September 10, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Heffern was asked by journalists to comment on those concerns. “I can tell you that I have discussed this question with your government,” he said. “Washington is very, very much aware of the presence and problems of Christian minorities and other minorities in Syria.”

Artsakh President Meets with Head of Armenia’s Athletic Federation

September 11, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Sports No Comments
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12:25, September 11, 2014

Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan today hosted Robert Emmayan, President of Armenia’s Athletic Federation, anda prominent athlete in his own right.

Also present at the meeting, where matters pertaining to sports in Armenia were discussed, was Artsakh National Assembly Vice President Artur Tovmasyan, who also heads the Artsakh Athletic Federation.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Artsakh Tank Unit Marks 20 Years of Service

September 11, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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16:37, September 11, 2014

The Artsakh Defense Army today marked the 20th anniversary of its separate tank detachment under the command of Colonel Zhirayr Poghosyan.

During the celebration awards were handed to an Armenian tank crew that came in second place at the 2014 Tank Biathlon held in Russia.

Photos: Armen Yeramishyan

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Armenian captive Mamikon Khojoyan’s family files suit against Azerbaijan to ECHR

September 11, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan, Europe No Comments
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The family of Mamikon Khojoyan, an Armenian citizen who died soon after being freed from Azerbaijani captivity, has filed a suit to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), with support from the Foundation Against the Violation of Law (FAVL).
“The suit has been sent, and we just have to wait until the ECHR starts considering it. As you know, it is quite a long process,” FAVL Head Larisa Alaverdyan told the Armenpress news agency.
FAVL is also working with the families that found themselves in similar situations, providing legal advice and assisting in dealing with social and health problems.
“This is a striking example of outrageous cruelty against a helpless 77-year-old man,” said Vahe Grigoryan, Legal Consultant European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), who will be representing the family in the case. “We are assisting our local partner FAVL before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, in order to seek justice for the family of Mr. Khojoyan,” he said as quoted by the favl.am website.
Plaintiffs in the case plan to present evidence of Khojoyan’s torture, as well as to demonstrate the systematic pattern of abuse practiced by authorities in Baku against such innocent Armenians.
“Mr. Khojoyan was abused from the very beginning of his captivity, eventually leading to his tragic death,” said FAVL’s Lawyer Kristina Gevorkyan. “We’re turning to the ECHR to hold the government of Azerbaijan accountable for this grave crime and ensure that such treatment is brought to an end,” she said as quoted by the favl.am website.
After the capture of Khojoyan in January, several other Armenian civilians have fallen under Azerbaijani captivity, facing public humiliation and severe abuse. In one of the most recent cases, a villager from Chinari named Karen Petrosyan was captured near the border, paraded on TV as a ‘saboteur’, and killed one day after being taken into custody.
Khojoyan’s family is demanding prosecution of the Azerbaijani government under articles 2, 3, 5, 13, and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibit killing, torture, inhumane treatment, and discrimination. They are also calling for similar cases of civilians abused under Azerbaijani authority, including Arthur Badalyan and Karen Petrosyan, to be heard.
The ECHR will examine the application to establish its admissibility, after which court proceedings may begin and a binding judgment delivered.

The Adamyan‘s of Aknaberd: Raising 8 Children on $132 a Month is a Challenge

September 10, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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21:11, September 10, 2014

As we approach the house of the Adamyan family in the Artsakh village of Aknaberd, Rita Adamyan doesn’t see us.

The mother of eight is sweeping the ground around the tonir – the traditional Armenian clay oven.

Rita then puts the broom aside, sweeps the sweat from her brow, and waves hello.

She then asks if we’ve lost something in this deserted place. We smile back.

She laughs but quickly shuts her mouth. Rita is toothless, even at the young age of 38.

“I have seven boys and one girl,” Rita says, stroking the golden hair of Nairya, the youngest.

The gate opens and one of her sons is bringing back a donkey laden with wood.

EU Countries To Begin Counting Drugs, Prostitution In Economic Growth Calculations

September 9, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Europe No Comments
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13:37, September 9, 2014

A European Union (EU) policy mandating that member states take untaxed “shadow economies” into account when calculating economic output comes into effect this month.

The European System of Accounts 2010 states that, “Illegal economic actions shall be considered as transactions when all units involved enter the actions by mutual agreement,” meaning that black market dealings including prostitution, drug sales, and other smuggled goods should be calculated into a country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The policy would also include untaxed transactions in the gray economy, which includes off-the-books employment and restaurants that operate without receipts.

Yerevan preparing for Literary Ark festival

September 9, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Diaspora, Karabakh, Music No Comments
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Armenia’s capital will turn into a unique international literature platform later this month, hosting foreign writers from across the globe as part of the Literary Ark festival.
Fifteen writers from 13 different countries will be invited to Yerevan to participate in the annual international literary event from September 18 to 28. The guests will take part in different international debates and meet with students of Armenian universities; they will also share their experience and knowledge with contemporary Armenian writers.
This year they are also scheduled to visit Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) to have meetings and debates with the local literary circles.
On September 27, which marks the birthday of Komitas, the forefather of the Armenian classical and ethnographic music, the guests will visit the Yerevan pantheon named after the great musician to join the initiative 100,000 Poets for Change.
Literary Ark has also prepared a surprise for the Armenian book lovers. This year’s guests of the event are the renowned Polish writer Yanush Leon Vyshnevsky and the US-based British writer Meg Rosoff.
The screened version of Rosoff’s Novel, How I Live Now, will be screened in Yerevan’s Cascade complex in the frameworks of the festival. 

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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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China: President Takes Action Against High Ranking Corrupt Officials

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21:31, July 30, 2014

Zhou Yongkang, one of China’s most powerful former leaders, is under investigation in the highest-level corruption inquiry since the Communist Party came into power in 1949.

Under current president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Zhou for “serious disciplinary violations,” as the officialXinhua news agency reports. Media has not yet, however, specified the allegations against him.

The probe is an attempt to show the length to which Xi and the party will go in order to combat abuse of power reportsThe Wall Street Journal. 

A commentary published in the officialPeoples Daily makes the point that regardless of  an official’s rank or supporters, punishment will result for violating laws or the party’s discipline. 

Armenian Gangs: Caught between an Archetype and a Cliché

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19:15, July 12, 2014

By Marineh Khachadour

“The whole thing started with a scene straight out of a mobster movie. It was around 6 p.m. when more than a dozen men from two organized crime groups opened fire on each other in a North Hollywood parking lot. Witnesses say nearly everyone was armed, and the shootout quickly went mobile. The men took off in cars, exchanging fire as they weaved through the Whitsett Avenue traffic.”

Stories such as this are not unique to Armenians in the American press, but this investigative report recently published in the LA Weekly is about Armenian Power, the Los Angeles based Armenian gang that operates in the heavily Armenian populated communities of Glendale, Burbank, and North Hollywood.

Want to Write for Hetq?

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10:24, March 14, 2014

I’m looking for freelancers who can broaden the scope of Hetq’s English edition

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Politics, Civil Society, Interviews…

Anything interesting happening in your local community you’d like to share?

Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

Hrant at hg.hetq@gmail.com

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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


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.