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The Armenians of Present Day Sebastia: Finding At Least One Armenian in Each Village

August 27, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Film, Turkey No Comments
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11:02, August 27, 2014

When I was in the first grade, my teacher would point to a map of historic Armenia and tell us that the Turks wanted to leave just one Armenian on those lands as a museum artifact.

This was the first notion that entered my brain when I first stepped foot in Sebastia and conversed with residents of Armenian lineage.

One can find at least one Armenian in each borough and village of this region of Turkey that once boasted a large Armenian presence; every Armenian is

I later found out that the author of those words was none other than Prince Grigory Golitsin who served as Governor of Transcaucasia from 1897-1904. According to the Armenian historian and writer Leo, he was the one who penned the “Armenia without Armenians” motto.

Ferguson police ‘detain, beat, threaten’ Anadolu Agency correspondent

August 20, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Film, Turkey No Comments
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Hours after nearly 50 protesters were arrested on the 11th night of racially charged demonstrations over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Turkey’s semi-official Anadolu Agency (AA) has reported that its correspondent was “beaten and detained as he tried to cover the protests.”
Bilgin Şaşmaz was filming a clash between police and protesters in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis in the United States, when the incident took place on Aug. 19. “Şaşmaz was confronted by the harsh intervention of the police,” AA reported, adding that he was forced to lie down after he insisted on filming before he was handcuffed and put in a cell. He was released after five hours.
Şaşmaz told AA that his life was threatened while he was photographing a policeman who was about to fire a rubber bullet gun. “The policeman told me: ‘If you direct your flash toward me once again, I will kill you,’” he recounted.
He also said he went on to film in the middle of the protesters despite these threats, after one of the demonstrators threw a bottle at a police officer. He was then removed from the scene by a police officer although he was shouting, “Press, Press!”
Şaşmaz said he was then forced to kneel down while his camera was damaged, which made his knees bleed.
Kemal ztrk, the CEO of Anadolu Agency, said in a tweet on Aug. 20 that Şaşmaz was “in shock.”“We’re trying to get him out of Ferguson,” ztrk added.
Observers from Amnesty International said Aug. 20 that U.S. law-enforcement officers had used excessive force against demonstrators protesting against the shooting dead of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Amnesty also urged the U.S. “to end police violence” in Ferguson.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation has reported that at least 13 journalists have been arrested in Ferguson since the protests began on Aug. 13.

Hollywood film director James Cameron turns 60

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James Cameron, an Oscar-winning film director, marks his 60th birthday Saturday.The Canada-born filmmaker, screenwriter and producer, Cameron has been living in the United States since 1971. He is best known for his films Titanic and the latest movie Avatar, the movies with the largest box-office of all time, as well as The Terminator, which brought him his first success as filmmaker, and its sequels.Cameron holds an Oscar as best director for Titanic. His films have won him a total of more than 60 various prestigious awards in the United States and abroad.Since Avatar came out five years ago and shook the global filming industry, one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood has been spending time deep-sea diving, and set a record for going down the deepest trench on Earth. On board a submarine, he descended 35,000 feet under water down the Marianna Trench to film “Deepsea Challenge 3D” documentary, which is set for release in Australia on August 21.Cameron has worked with NASA on the project of sending humans deeper into space, helping to install cameras for a manned Mars mission.He also takes passion in the wine business and agriculture.Cameron has been married five times. He married his current wife, actress and producer Suzy Amis, in 2000. The couple has three children. Cameron also has a daughter with his previous wife, actress Linda Hamilton. 

Andy Warhol: Hundreds of unseen films to be made public

August 15, 2014 Culture, Diaspora, Film No Comments
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New York’s Museum of Modern Art is to digitize hundreds of unseen Andy Warhol films and screen them for the public, the BBC reports.
The project covers 500 films Warhol created between 1963 and 1972, and will take several years to complete.
It will see almost 1,000 rolls of 16mm film converted to the high-definition 2K format after being scanned frame by frame.
The footage is rare even to Warhol scholars because the film is so fragile and projectors are scarce.
Organizers hope the project will put the pop artist’s film work on par with his painting and sculpture.
“I think the art world in particular, and hopefully the culture as a whole, will come to feel the way we do,” said Patrick Moore, the Warhol Museum’s deputy director and a curator of the digitization project.
“The films are every bit as significant and revolutionary as Warhol’s paintings.”
Warhol obtained his first motion picture camera, a 16mm Bolex, in 1963 and recorded thousands of reels of film over the next decade,
The works included silent screen tests, portraits of his muses including Edie Sedgwick, and dozens of full-length movies in styles ranging from minimalist avant-garde to commercial “sexploitation”.
Often, as with Empire – eight hours of slow motion footage of the Empire State Building – they pushed the boundaries of what film could be.
However, he withdrew the majority of his movies from circulation in 1970 and it is only since his death in 1987 that art historians have been able to re-evaluate his work in the medium.
The digitization project was announced on Thursday by MoMA, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and visual effects firm MPC, which will convert the films to digital files.
It is thought the unseen films could shed new light on the art world in 1960s New York, which Warhol documented in near-obsessive detail.
The project is not the only recent attempt to recover “lost” Warhol works. A dozen pictures he created on the Commodore Amiga computer were recently reconstructed from 30-year-old floppy disks.
The digital images were discovered and recovered by staff and students who are members of Carnegie Mellon University’s computer club.

Robin Williams: Broadway lights dimmed in actor’s honor

August 14, 2014 Diaspora, Film No Comments
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The marquees of Broadway’s theatres were dimmed on Wednesday in memory of Robin Williams following the actor and comedian’s suicide earlier this week, the BBC reports.Charlotte St Martin of New York’s Broadway League called him “a comedic genius with limitless talent” who had “left this world far too early”.Williams will also be remembered at the Primetime Emmy Awards on 25 August.Plans are under way for a “proper and meaningful remembrance”, said executive producer Don Mischer.Williams made an appearance at last year’s ceremony during an In Memoriam segment to his comic mentor, Jonathan Winters.Actor Simon Pegg has become the latest celebrity to pay tribute to Williams, who will be heard voicing a dog in Pegg’s upcoming comedy Absolutely Anything.Williams, said Pegg at the premiere of his new film Hector and the Search for Happiness, was “an extraordinary man and performer” who had “absolutely” been one of his comedy heroes.”If anything positive can come from such an awful thing, it’s that people will maybe take depression a bit more seriously,” the Shaun of the Dead star added.Williams, who took his own life on Monday, was said to have been “battling severe depression” in the months leading up to his death.Singer Sinead O’Connor also paid tribute to the Dead Poets Society star by dedicating a concert in London to him on Tuesday.The Irish performer went on to say “the choice that Robin made” was “a very bad idea” and urged anyone “contemplating that choice” to reconsider.Williams, a dedicated fan of computer games, is also to be memorialized by Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind the popular World of Warcraft series.”You gave us so much joy in our lives and we hope you enjoyed your time in our world,” its makers tweeted. “We’ll see you in-game.”The cast of Broadway show Aladdin also paid tribute to the star with an impromptu curtain call sing-along of Friend Like Me.
Williams provided the voice of the Genie in the 1992 Disney cartoon, a character recreated on stage by Tony award winner James Monroe Iglehart.Williams’ death at the age of 63 was confirmed as a suicide by hanging on Wednesday by authorities in California.The entertainer was last seen alive by his wife on Sunday evening and was found dead at about noon on Monday.
 

US actor Robin Williams found dead at home

August 12, 2014 Diaspora, Film No Comments
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US actor Robin Williams has been found dead, aged 63, in an apparent suicide, the BBc reports, quoting California police as saying.
Marin County Police said he was pronounced dead at his home shortly after officials responded to an emergency call around noon local time.
Williams was famous for films such as Good Morning Vietnam and Dead Poets Society and won an Oscar for his role in Good Will Hunting.
His publicist said he had been “battling severe depression”.
In the past he had talked, and even joked, about his struggles with alcohol and drugs.
Williams had recently returned to a rehabilitation centre to “fine-tune” his sobriety, the Los Angeles Times reported in July.
“At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made,” police said in a statement.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ trailer places Tom Hardy & Charlize Theron in The Beserk

July 28, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Film No Comments
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The trailer for “Mad Max: Fury Road” had all of Comic-Con buzzing, and now the three-minute clip has the Internet buzzing. It does not disappoint the hype, The Huffington Post reports.
Switching Tom Hardy in place of Mel Gibson, director George Miller brings a “new interpretation” to his own franchise reboot. “Fury Road” picks up after the initial series opener, and is described by Miller as “almost a continuous chase.”
“Of course it’s based on the same character that they’ll play, the lone warrior in the wasteland disengaged from the rest of the world,” Miller said in a press conference. “But naturally Tom brings his Tom Hardy-ness to it, and the story is different to some degree. Thecharacter is different to some degree.”
Charlize Theron stars with Hardy in the film, along with Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nathan Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Sandra Bullock: America’s sweetheart at 50

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If there were ever a contest for “America’s sweetheart,” Sandra Bullock would be tough to beat, according to the CNN.
The daughter of an Army employee and a German vocal coach, Bullock has continually struck a chord with fans over her nearly 30-year career. At turns charming and relatable, she comes across as extremely genuine in a field that makes its magic through pretending.
As the actress celebrates her 50th birthday on July 26, her stock as the long-standing favorite is as solid as ever.
Examine the evidence: She is firmly in the top 10 list of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses, and her films tend to make money. Her 2013 sci-fi thriller “Gravity,” which starred Bullock as an astronaut lost in space, earned $716 million worldwide.
And in her personal life, Bullock has managed to remain pretty scandal-proof. At the height of a devastating marital breakup from Jesse James in 2010, when lurid tabloid headlines appeared about his alleged affairs, Bullock shocked the world with news that she had secretly adopted an African-American son from New Orleans.
Not only was it surprising that the Oscar-winning actress had such a tight circle that she was able to conceal a monumental personal moment, but unlike some other celebs who had been criticized in the black community for transracial adoptions, Bullock and her decision were mostly embraced.
Even other celebrities adore her. “Avengers” star Chris Evans has been quoted as saying Bullock was his first celebrity crush.”I saw ‘Speed’ when I was in seventh grade, and I was like, that’s my lady,” Evans said. “I literally had a big poster (of her).”
It’s easy to see why a preteen Evans fell for Bullock. In interviews Bullock can be funny, self-deprecating and just downright cool.
During an appearance on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” to promote her 2013 buddy cop comedy, “The Heat,” she and the host good-naturedly took verbal swipes at each other. When Ferguson mentioned the film “Dumb and Dumber” (in an apparent reference to the way their interview was going), Bullock volleyed back about that movie.
“Poop humor is fun,” she said jokingly. “If you do the toilet scenes well and commit to them they can be really, really powerful.”
Not many Academy Award winners would tackle such a subject, but it’s not surprising from Bullock, who proudly told Us Weekly that her now-3-year-old son, Louis, is fully potty-trained. While the actress has almost always been tagged as more girl next door than vixen, motherhood has clearly helped settle her even more.
She’s been very outspoken about the fact that she would give it all up, the career and the fame, if it wasn’t good for her son in any way.”I don’t want him to have pressures brought on by what I do. I will quit. I will leave,” she told Vogue last year. “If I see whatever I’m doing affecting him negatively, I will pack up and move to Alaska.”
That probably helps explain why the self-professed homebody would much rather be spending time with her kid than working the press. Eschewing the Hollywood scene, the “Blind Side” star has made paparazzi literally chase her outside the usual city limits, choosing to build her life in cities like Austin, Texas, and New Orleans.
Being on the red carpet, she told CNN at a 2013 premiere of “Gravity,” is extreme enough for her.
“Being in front of a camera, in a nice dress, getting all dressed up is extreme,” Bullock said. “There’s a lot of other extreme situations, you know, just getting out of bed sometimes is extreme — but I do it. Just got to do it, just got to get up. Put your sweatpants on, brush off the dog hair and just get out of the house!”
Part of what Bullock does when she gets “out of the house” is give back to the city of New Orleans. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Bullock “adopted” Warren Easton Charter High School, and has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the institution.
In May 2014, she surprised the graduating class with a commencement speech.
“They’re infections, they inspire me,” Bullock said of the students. “They make me get off my butt and try to do better. … I’ve been taking and taking from (the city of New Orleans), and when everything happened with Katrina, that’s when you realize you have to put back.”

Mystery of Turkish siblings who move on all fours leaves scientists baffled

July 23, 2014 Asia, Diaspora, Film No Comments
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Walking on all fours might be fun for some, but for the members of one Turkish family, it’s the only way to move around, reports the Oddity Central.Five siblings of the 19-member Ulas family, from Hatay Province, suffer from a rare disability – they lack the balance and stability required to stand up straight, forcing them to move on all four limbs. The family was discovered in 2005 – 14 of them appeared to be completely normal, while five suffered a quadrupedal gait. Scientists have been baffled by the condition ever since.The Ulas siblings were featured in a BBC documentary film, The Family That Walks On All Fours, in 2006. The film revealed that of the five siblings, two sisters and a brother have only walked on all fours since birth. Another brother and sister sometimes manage to walk upright. “It’s amazing as an example of a strange, strange aberration of human development,” said Professor Nicholas Humphrey, who visited the family twice during the documentary. “But their interest is how they can live in the modern world.”According to the film, a popular explanation for their unusual walk – similar to the movement of primates – was ‘reverse evolution’. Many scientists believed that the siblings were living proof that it is possible for humans to devolve. “I do not think they were destined to be quadrupeds by their genes, but their unique genetic make-up allowed them to be.” said Professor Humphrey.“It has produced an extraordinary window on our past. It is physically possible, which no one would have guessed from the modern human skeleton. However they arrived at this point, we have adult human beings walking like ancestors several million years ago.” Recent studies, however, have disproved this theory. American scientists have now concluded that the walk is only an adaptation to a rare disorder.A report published in the scientific journal PLOS One suggested that the siblings move laterally, unlike primates who walk in a diagonal sequence by repeatedly placing a hand on one side and a foot on the other. The siblings’ walk, on the other hand, is lateral and involves putting weight on the wrists instead of the knuckles. This is a clear sign of adaptation to cope with a loss of balance.So scientists now believe that the gait could be a byproduct of a hereditary condition that causes cerebellar hypoplasia, which disturbs their sense of balance. The siblings may have developed quadrupedalism in order to adapt to the rare condition known as Uner Tan syndrome, named after the Turkish evolutionary biologist who first studied them.“I was determined to set the record straight, because these erroneous claims about the nature and cause of quadrupedalism have been published over and over again, without any actual analysis of the biomechanics of their gait, and by researchers who are not experts in primate locomotion,” said lead researcher Liza Shapiro, from the University of Texas. “We have shown that the quadrupedalism resembles that of healthy human adults asked to walk quadrupedally in an experimental setting.”Previously, biologist Uner Tan had suggested that people affected by this syndrome walk with a quadrupedal locomotion, and are also affected by primitive speech and severe mental retardation. During his first study, when he asked the siblings what year it was, each of them had five different responses: “80,” “90,” “animals,” “July,” and “house.” This, according to Tan, indicated reverse evolution. 

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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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Commentary

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

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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.