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Gyumri Electricity Rate Hike Protesters Seek Other Options, Even Civil Disobedience

June 29, 2015 Armenia, Music No Comments
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19:00, June 29, 2015

Residents of Gyumri protesting the recent electricity rate hike, while not large in numbers are searching for other ways to express their opposition other than the traditional sit-in.

A public forum was announced for June 27 to discuss their options. Yesterday they gathered at Theater Square, listened to music and danced, and waited to see what developed in Yerevan, the focal point of the movement.

Karen Petrosyan, one Gyumri activist, announced that if force was used to disperse the demonstration in Yerevan they would resort to civil disobedience.

U.S.-Armenian Celebrity Hails Yerevan Protests

June 23, 2015 Armenia, Music, Top News No Comments
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Serj Tankian, a prominent Armenian-American rock musician, welcomed on Tuesday the dramatic street protests in Yerevan against an increase in electricity prices as a further sign of a “burgeoning” civil society in Armenia.

“Armenia’s civic society is burgeoning,” he said in a Facebook post on thousands of Armenians who again took to the streets on Monday to protest against the measure.

“Previous successful campaigns at peaceful civic disobedience against unjust programs like the rate hike in public transportation have borne fruit,” wrote the outspoken lead singer of the U.S. rock band System Of A Down (SOAD).

He also said that Armenia’s Russian-owned power distribution network, the driving force behind the price hike, “should be made a state asset and strictly regulated and audited by an independent panel.”

Iva Miletic Awarded 1st Prize at the 11th Aram Khachaturian International Competition

June 16, 2015 Armenia, Culture, Music No Comments
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16:52, June 15, 2015

On June 14, the 11th Aram Khachaturian International Competition crossed the finish line.

This year, the jury awarded 1st prize to Serbian violinist Iva Miletic.

According to the jury decision David Arduhanyan (Russia) and Andrea Obiso (Italy) shared the second prize, and the third – Pierre Frapier (France) and Mariam Vardanyan (Armenia).

As a part of the contest the participants were awarded with special prizes.

President partakes in Midem Opening Night in Cannes

June 7, 2015 Armenia, Culture, Music No Comments
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13:57, June 7, 2015

With the support of the State Commission on Coordination of the Events for the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the RA Ministry of Culture, and under the sponsorship of Tashir Group, from June 5 to 8, Armenia is participating in the Midem international music industry festival in the status of Country of Honor. The program is featured by ProArt.

Armenia is presenting itself to this prestigious festival through the Concept of Elements of Armenian Music. Pomegranate has been selected and developed as a symbol of Midem 2015. It is portrayed in four different colors and symbolizes the four main Armenian elements of inspiration – soil, air, water and fire.

Armenian Prez Flys to Cannes for Music Festival

June 5, 2015 Armenia, Music No Comments
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[unable to retrieve full-text content]Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan will be leaving for Cannes today to take part in the musical Midem
Festival.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

“Affliction of the Patriarch”: Aret Gıcır Explores Existentialist Dilemmas of Armenians in Turkey

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10:35, June 5, 2015

Istanbul-Armenian artist Aret Gıcır has completed his twenty canvas Affliction of the Patriarch project that will be exhibited this fall at the Biennale in Istanbul.

The 36 year-old artist started the project six years ago when, after returning from Armenia, he found out that Constantinople Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan II was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

“The Patriarch’s physical frailty underscores the symbolic end of a century of deterioration, during which the patriarchate had its significance stripped as a social institution and was wrested from the historical heritage and people that it represented, says Aret. “In the series of paintings the patriarch, who is neither dead nor alive, has become the poignant symbol of the deepest existentialist dilemmas of the Armenians remaining in Turkey and, in general, of the reality of the post-Ottoman era.

Artsakh’s Shoushi: Trying to Regain its Prominence as a Center of Learning

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00:28, June 2, 2015

The Artsakh town of Shoushi is gearing up to accept students from Armenia’s National Agrarian University to its new branch that up till now has been located in Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh.

The new branch consists of four buildings that will accommodate 1,700 students and employees. A student dormitory will soon open its doors as well.

To spur the development of agriculture in the country, the long-term plan is to build a learning/experimental unit of the Agrarian University in the southern region of Hadrout in the Arax River valley.

Seven Kids in Vardenis: Dreams of Playing the Duduk and Dhol

June 1, 2015 Armenia, Music No Comments
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00:03, June 1, 2015

As I approach the Avetisyan family’s two story house on the outskirts of Vardenis, a village in Armenia’s Aragatzotn Province, I get the feeling that I was given wrong directions.

I was looking for a house that belonged, I believed, to needy family with many children.

Nevertheless, I was once again reassured by the village residents accompanying me that this was the house in question. It was just, they explained, that another brother lived in this, the better section of the house.

Then I remembered that Vardenis Mayor Kamo Petrosyan had just mentioned that there’s a dearth of houses in the village leading to a drop-off in marriages. When brothers marry, they each get a section of the family house.

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. 

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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.