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New Book Chronicles the Legacy of Bourj Hammoud

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10:02, March 31, 2015

Neighborhood Became Home to Thousands of Genocide Survivors

On the occasion of the Armenian Genocide Centennial and the 40th anniversary ofthe start of the Lebanese Civil War, filmmaker and documentarian Ara Madzounian is releasing a bookof original photographs that chronicles Bourj Hammoud, the Beirut suburb which became home for Armenian Genocide survivors.

Madzounian, who was born in Bourj Hammoud to parents who survived the Armenian Genocide, hasbeen at the helm of scores of Armenian and non-Armenian multimedia projects around the world.His resume includes directing films, documentaries, producing popular music and telethons and performingtheatrical productions.

Worldwide Release April 17: Film “1915” To Shed Light on Forgotten Armenian Genocide

March 19, 2015 Armenia, Film, Music, Turkey No Comments
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10:56, March 19, 2015

To Premiere in Yerevan on April 25

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the forgotten genocide that ravaged the Armenian population of Ottoman Turkey, Bloodvine Media, in conjunction with Strongman and mTuckman Media, plans to release “1915” in theaters on April 17 and on demand April 22, 2015. 

The psychological thriller is directed by Armenians Garin Hovannisian (author of Family of Shadows) and Alec Mouhibian, and features a who’s who of Armenian cast and crew, including executive producer Raffi K. Hovannisian (Armenia’s first foreign minister), Grammy Award winning composer Serj Tankian (from the band System of a Down, soon to go on a tour dedicated to the Genocide), and actors Simon Abkarian (Casino Royale) and Angela Sarafyan (Twilight).

Russians Moving to Latvia: Dream or Nightmare?

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17:29, March 12, 2015


Vitaly Mansky, a Russian documentary director,  knows exactly when he decided to establish a sanctuary outside of the Russian Federation. It was the spring of 2014, and Mansky was in Spain for a film festival, watching the news in his hotel room.

An anchor at one of the Kremlin-controlled news stations reported that Russia’s parliament had allowed President Vladimir Putin to use the army to protect his compatriots in other countries . In other words, they had legalized the annexation of Crimea and allowed Putin to provide support for pro-Russian combatants in Eastern Ukraine.

International Figures Unite to Announce New Humanitarian Prize as part of 100 LIVES Initiative

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10:54, March 11, 2015

George Clooney and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel to Co-Chair Global Human Rights Award

An interview with George Clooney is available for download here

NEW YORK, March 10, 2015– The 100 LIVES initiative is launching today expressing gratitude to the individuals and institutions whose heroic actions saved Armenian lives during the Genocide 100 years ago.

The purpose of the 100 LIVES initiative is to address the issues of genocide, human rights violations and the power of positive action through three key elements:

Learning from the past by issuing a global call to unearth the untold stories of survivors and saviors from the Armenian Genocide that will be brought to life on 100LIVES.com;

NYT: Armenian Diaspora Leaders Establish Rights Award to Commemorate Genocide Centenary


Leaders in the Armenian Diaspora, preparing to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, have collaborated with Hollywood celebrities and human rights advocates to create a prize to be awarded annually to those who put themselves at risk to ensure that others survive, The New York Times writes.

Actor George Clooney will award the inaugural prize at a ceremony to be held in Yerevan next year, it emerged on Tuesday.

George Clooney to Award First Ever $1 Million Genocide Award in Yerevan on April 24, 2016

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19:49, March 10, 2015

On the eve to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Hollywood celebrities and prominent human rights activists have teamed up with Armenian diaspora leaders to create a annual prize that will go to those who put themselves at risk to ensure that others survive, this according to the New York Times.

The humanitarian prize, to be announced on Tuesday in New York, is part of an expansive effort by prominent Armenians to ensure that the history of the genocide by Turkish Ottoman troops, which is still disputed by Turkey’s government, is documented and archived through the stories of survivors and their saviors, in ways similar to the chronicling of the Jews’ suffering in the Holocaust.

The Emeksiz Sisters of Istanbul: “The Armenians call us Turks, and the Turks call us Armenians”

March 5, 2015 Armenia, Film No Comments
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19:13, March 4, 2015

The Emeksiz sisters of Istanbul are on a mission to tell people in Armenia about the fate of their Armenian grandfather Khachik and others who shared the same fate due to the 1915 Genocide.

The two sisters, both Emeksiz, are named after their Armenian grandfather Khachik Emeksizian.

Born in the Uzunmahmud village in the Ottoman Kaza of Ordu on the Black Sea, Khachik Emeksizian was seven years old in 1915.  The boy survived the Genocide because he was taken to a nearby village and given to a Turkish family who raised him as a Muslim. The law at the time was that children seven and younger would not be sent on the road to exile but would be distributed to local Turkish families.

Komitas Conservatory Instructor: Young Composers are Basically Forced to Leave Armenia

February 14, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Film, Music No Comments
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14:21, February 14, 2015

Hetq talks to Artur Avanesov, a pianist and instructor at Yerevan’s Komitas State Conservatory, regarding teh challenges faced by young composers in Armenia.

We have young composers who mainly perform overseas rather than here in Armenia. Is this a result of the general tendency to leave the country or are there other reasons?

I fully agree that we have very good composers. Of course, most live abroad. The question is whether or not we call them ‘our’ composers?

Yes, the link is maintained and their music is periodically performed here. Let’s specify what expectations we have from such composers. For me, it’s enough that they are professionals and that their music is interesting.

Armenian MPs To Investigate Karabakh Crackdown


Armenia’s parliament has decided to send a fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh that will investigate local authorities’ violent response to members of an Armenian opposition group attempting to rally supporters in Karabakh.

The delegation formed by speaker Galust Sahakian on Wednesday comprises lawmakers affiliated with all but one factions of the National Assembly. The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) refused to name a representative to the delegation on the grounds that the Karabakh leadership is primarily responsible for what Levon Zurabian, a senior HAK figure, called an “atrocity.”

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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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Capitalism Run Amok Is Just Plain Capitalism

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16:37, January 17, 2015

By Markar Melkonian

The source of Armenia’s misery and humiliation, we often hear, is not capitalism per se, but rather “gangster capitalism,” “a broken system,” “capitalism run amok.”

The goal for the future, then, is to “fix the system,” to reform capitalism, to make it more like regular, pure, genuine Free Enterprise, the kind of capitalism that works. But what if Armenia’s actually existing capitalism already is genuine capitalism?

An economist once observed that the only existential meaning of “enterprise” in the term free enterprise is “whatever capitalists happen to be doing at the time”–and “free” is the accompanying demand that they be allowed to do it.

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

Yerevan Calling: A Weekly Roundup of Random Musings from Armenia

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13:05, October 3, 2014

Here it is dear readers, the debut of a weekly column I hope to maintain on a regular basis.

It’s sort of a catch-all of news snippets, irreverent commentary, and personal observations on what’s happened during the week here in Yerevan, and throughout Armenia.. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting, if not slightly diverting.

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Regards – Hrant

Oct. 2 – Protests Throughout Armenia: A Game of Numbers & Solidarity

Three separate protest rallies took place in Armenia today.

As Hetq reported earlier, business owners in the town of Sevan kept their stores and factories shut to protest changes to the so-called volume (sales) tax. Local residents flocked to the bread factory to wait on line for a loaf or two.

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.