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How to Stay Connected Without the Internet

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18:07, May 18, 2015

Often, we read about how internet access is restricted in some country or other, especially during times of civil unrest.

When the Green Movement took off in Iran after the 2009 presidential election, and the government launched similar restrictions, Armine Saidi and David Esteves thought of ways to bypass such restrictions and make communication independent of the internet and cellular links.

Years later, the WiCastr company (now operating in Armenia as well), is offering equipment that contains large amounts of information – documents, videos, games, etc. Such material is accessible in a fifty meter radius by using equipment linked to its network that is capable of connecting to the WiFi; for example, smart phones. 

How the Genocide Shaped My History

May 18, 2015 Armenia, Music, Turkey No Comments
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17:44, May 18, 2015

By Yeva Sargsyan

I was around three years old, quite a conscious age to remember how I arrived to this question:

-Mother, let’s imagine there is a wonderful fairy tale, a very good one famous all over the world. But it is Turkish; the Turks have written it and tell to their children. Will it be translated into Armenian?

I don’t really remember what my mother answered and how I reacted in this heavily delicate political situation. But I remember what triggered the interest of my inquiry: to understand how deep the hatred between people can go and to understand whether it can stop at the threshold of a children’s innocent world. Surely this is my retrospective interpretation of the mute and intuitive judgements of the three year old me. But I remember well these questions hovering silently in my brain over thirty years ago. Actually, I have been carrying these questions inside ever since that moment.

Syrian-Armenian Singer Lena Shamamian: “The identity of my voice is Anatolian”

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09:50, May 18, 2015

“I want to return to those lands and sing in Armenian…”

Lena Shamamian, a Syrian-Armenian singer renowned throughout the Arab world is a little known commodity to music lovers in Armenia. She describes herself as probably the best known Armenian female singer in the Middle East.

Recently, Shamamian gave a sold-out concert at the 3,700 capacity Harbiye Hall in Istanbul’s Congress Center. The audience was mostly comprised of Syrians who had fled the war back home and longed to hear echoes of a more peaceful time.

While she greeted the audience in Arabic and Turkish, Lena sang in English. There were a few Armenian songs in her repertoire as well, and at the end of the concert Shamamian said a few words in Armenian to thank those who attended.

Yerevan to Host 2016 General Assembly of the World Federation of International Music Competitions

May 11, 2015 Armenia, Culture, Music No Comments
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12:12, May 11, 2015

On May 8, 2015 the General Assembly of the World Federation of International Music Competitions was held in Italy.

The event, the most important event of the organization which counts 115 members on 6 continents, will be held in Yerevan next year.

This year’s competition was significant regarding the Aram Khachaturian International Competition in two ways.

Firstly, according to the unanimous decision of all the members of the meeting, in 2016 the specialties of the Aram Khachaturian International Competition will be added by a new one, the “conducting” (until now the contest was held on the piano, violin, cello

Russia: Navalny Reveals How Government Spends Millions on Patriotic Biker Gang

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21:15, May 6, 2015

A biker gang favored by President Vladimir Putin has received 56 million rubles (US$ 1.1 million) in taxpayer funds in the past 18 months, according to documents released by opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

The Night Wolves, headed by Alexander Zaldostanov, have reportedly received generous taxpayer support through presidential grants and donations from the Russian Ministry of Culture, in return for putting on patriotic shows.

The 56 million total in Navalny’s report includes a 2014 government grant that appears to have funnelled seven million rubles to the group (about US$ 182,000 in 2014) specifically for “the synthesis of tradition and innovation” and “identification of places of motorcyclists in the spiritual life of Russian society.”

Rallies Held In Yerevan On May Day

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Scores of people took to the streets of Yerevan on Friday in separate May Day demonstrations organized by the Armenian Communists, pro-government trade unions, unpaid workers of a troubled chemical plant and angry taxi drivers.

As always, the rally organized by the Armenian Communist Party (HKK) was the most high-profile event dedicated to the public holiday officially called Labor Day. Hundreds of mostly elderly HKK members and supporters holding red flags and banners marched through the city center behind a brand brass band playing Soviet music.

The band performed the tune of the Soviet and currently Russian national anthem when the procession reached the Russian Embassy in Yerevan. HKK leaders gave speeches there, praising Russian President Vladimir Putin for cobbling together the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) of ex-Soviet states, including Armenia.

U.S.-Armenian Rock Band Marks Genocide Centennial In Yerevan

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The Armenian-American hard rock band System of a Down (SOAD) marked the centennial of the Armenian genocide late on Thursday with a first-ever concert in Yerevan that attracted tens of thousands of people.

The free concert in the city’s central Republic Square closed SOAD’s latest “Wake Up the Souls” tour dedicated to the memory of some 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Turks during the First World War.

Despite nonstop rain, the world-famous California band led by Serj Tankian kept the mostly young crowd electrified for almost two and a half hours with its hits popular in Armenia. Tankian and the three other SOAD musicians are Americans of Armenian descent who have used their worldwide fame to raise international awareness of the 1915 genocide.

Five Minutes with Serj Tankian

April 20, 2015 Armenia, Film, Music, Turkey, Video No Comments
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22:19, April 20, 2015

By Jason Sohigian, An exclusive for Hetq Online 

This virtual interview was conducted with artist/activist Serj Tankian just as he was about to hit the stage with System of a Down in Moscow. The band has been on the road as part of the Wake Up The Souls tour to raise global awareness of the Armenian Genocide. Tankian and his bandmates have been featured in numerous interviews about the tour including Reddit, Rolling Stone and NPR. 

System of a Down arrives in Yerevan on Thursday for their long-anticipated first-ever performance in Armenia. The free outdoor concert in Republic Square will be streamed on the worldwide web on April 23rd, making it their most widely viewed performance of all time. The band has a huge global following with 20 million fans on Facebook alone, so this is expected to be a huge multimedia event raising awareness of the Genocide. 

New Street Photography Book Chronicles the Legacy of Bourj Hammoud

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12:41, April 16, 2015

Beirut Neighborhood Became Home to Thousands of Armenian Genocide Survivors

On the occasion of the Armenian Genocide Centennial and the 40th anniversary of the start of the Lebanese Civil War, filmmaker and documentarian Ara Madzounian is releasing a book of 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, has been 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 performing theatrical productions.

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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.

Commentary

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.