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Komitas Museum/Institute To Be Built In Yerevan By Year’s End

July 24, 2014 Armenia, Music No Comments
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13:03, July 24, 2014

A museum/research institute dedicated to the life and work of Armenian clergyman, composer and musicologist Komitas (Soghomon Soghomonian), will open in Yerevan by year’s end.

The museum is to be located in Komitas Park with funding from Syrian-Armenian benefactor Kapriel Jamparjian, founder of ther Pyunik Human Resources Development Foundation.

The government has transferred the land to the All Armenian Fund at no cost.

2014 marks the 145thanniversary of Komitas’ birth.

Bottom Photo: Yerevan Municipality

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Tutankhamun: How ‘Tut-mania’ gripped the world

July 24, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Culture, Music No Comments
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It may not boast glittering treasures from ancient Egypt, but a new Tutankhamun exhibition shows how the discovery of the boy king’s tomb in 1922 had a huge impact on popular culture across the globe, the BBC reports.
It was one of the one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century.
Tutankhamun’s tomb had been untouched for some 3,000 years until the British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered it in 1922, after years of fruitless excavations funded by Lord Carnarvon.
“Can you see anything?” asked Carnarvon as Carter opened the tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.
“Yes,” replied Carter. “Wonderful things.”
Those unforgettable words are inscribed on the wall at the beginning of the Discovering Tutankhamun exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
With most of Tutankhamun’s treasures too fragile to travel from Cairo, the only items in the exhibition from the tomb are some watermelon seeds and almonds that were left to feed Tutankhamen for eternity.
“We’ve looked at the gold, but there’s a lot more hidden behind it,” explains the exhibition’s co-curator Dr Paul Collins.
“One of the biggest discoveries we made in putting this together was that only 30% of the objects from the tomb have actually been the subject of detailed scholarly study.”
The Ashmolean show focuses on the story of Carter’s discovery and how it sparked a wave of “Tut-mania” across the globe.
In one of the first examples of a newspaper paying for a scoop, The Times was given exclusive access to the excavation when Lord Carnarvon sold the rights for 5,000.
Rival newspapers weren’t happy and there was fierce competition among reporters to report the story and its many mysteries, such as the famous Pharaoh’s Curse.
The exhibition features giant blow-ups of of Harry Burton’s photographs for The Times, as well as Carter’s original records, drawings and photographs.
Also on show are many items that illustrate how the craze for all things Tutankhamun had an impact on arts and culture in the 1920s.Egyptian motifs appeared on clothes, jewellery, hairstyles, fabrics, furniture and in architecture.
“Tutankhamun, Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter became almost movie stars,” says Dr Collins. “There was an extraordinary outpouring of games and ceramics and costumes and posters. Everybody wanted a little bit of Tut.”
The tomb’s discovery, at the start of the Roaring Twenties, followed the global upheavals of World War One. Mass media was able to bring news of objects being carried out of the tomb to a wider audience, faster than ever before.
America, in particular, became obsessed by “King Tut” – as he became known. Even US President Herbert Hoover used the name for his pet dog.
American stage magician Charles Carter rebranded himself “Carter The Great” on his Egyptian-themed advertisements.
Meanwhile, songwriter Harry Von Tilzer had a 1923 hit with Old King Tut. The lyrics went: “They opened up his tomb the other day and jumped with glee / They learned a lot about ancient history / His tomb instead of tears / Was full of souvenirs.”
The sheet music and an old Bakelite recording of the song appear in the exhibition. The song was also played at the Ashmolean’s launch event this week, accompanied by a group of 1920s-style dancers.
“Old King Tut was one of the great hits of the time, just as the Charleston was becoming the most popular dance,” says Dr Collins. “It was a great combination.”
Even today Tutankhamun remains an icon. “In the recent revolution, in Tahrir Square in Cairo there was graffiti showing Tutankhamun’s mask as a symbol of Egyptian identity.”
Speaking at the Ashmolean Museum this week, Lord Carnarvon’s relative, George Herbert, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, said: “My great grandfather would be delighted that the fascination with his and Howard Carter’s discovery still continues after all these years.”
The outermost coffin of TutankhamunHoward Carter and an assistant inspect Tutankhamun’s inner coffin. (Photo: Harry Burton. 1922)A pharaoh head pendant and leather gloves, 1920sAdvertisement for the Johnston Fruit Company, California, for ‘King Tut’ Brand Lemons, 1920sPoster for the stage magician Carter The Great, 1923 (left) and and The Kiss of the Pharaoh: The Love Story of Tut-Ankh-Amen by Richard Grove, 1923
Cartier diamond brooch, about 1923

Armenian consulate opens in Lyon

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An Armenian consulate general opened in Lyon, France on Monday, bringing together different high-ranking officials, public, political and cultural figures.
According to a press release by the Foreign Ministry, the ceremony was conducted by Armenian FM Edward Nalbandian, Rhône-Alpes Prefect Jean-François Carenco, Lyon Mayor Gérard Collomb and the head of the region’s General Council.
Legendary French-Armenian singer and musician Charles Aznavour (who is also Armenia’s ambassador to Switzerland) also attended the event.
FM Nalbandian highly stressed the importance of the initiative in his speech, noting that both Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region have a unique significance in the development of Armenian-French relations.
“The first records on the Armenians’ presence in Lyon date back from the Middle Ages. Merchants and later silk-manufacturing Armenians settled and worked in the region,” he said.
“Having taken a narrow flight from the Genocide, thousands of Armenians, who found themselves in Marseilles, went up the river bed of Rhone to find a second homeland in Lyon, Valence, Grenoble, Vienne and elsewhere. They were integrated into the French society to contribute to the development of Rhône-Alpes and its cities and towns. And that contribution continues today.
“With its Armenian churches, monuments, schools, cultural and sports center, Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region demonstrate the high level of the Armenians’ integration and at the same time the connections with Armenia,” he said.
The minister thanked the local authorities, Armenian organizations and the Armenian community members for the continuous strengthening of the bilateral friendship.
The event was widely covered by the media. 

Alaverdi Residents Celebrate Their “Day”

July 21, 2014 Armenia, Music No Comments
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12:09, July 21, 2014

It seemed like all the residents of Alaverdi, a town of 15,000 in Armenia’s northeast Lori Province, turned out yesterday to celebrate “Alaverdi Day”. 

At 7 in the evening, a parade of community and municipal groups kicked off in the town’s Metalurg Stadium. 

As Mayor Artavazd Varosyan was telling me about the six new artificial grass playgrounds that will be completed by summer’s end, children from a local kindergarten made their way into the stadium carrying balloons and accompanied by a musical group playing traditional Armenian instruments. 

Alaverdi is a mining town, so it wasn’t a surprise for Vallex Group Executive Director Velery Mejlumyan to show up and hand out awards to a number of top miners working at the local copper molybdenum plant. 

Turkish state found responsible for Sivas massacre

July 16, 2014 Armenia, Music No Comments
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A top official audit board report into the 1993 Sivas Massacre has declared that the Turkish state is responsible for the arson attack on the Madımak Hotel, in which 35 people were burnt alive and two assailants died, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
The State Audit Board (DDK) of the presidency, which started inspecting the attack upon an order by President Abdullah Gl in 2012, stated in its report issued July 15 that the Governor’s Office in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas showed “serious negligence and failures” in preventing the massacre.
The report accused the state of remaining a “spectator” of the attack, which eventually resulted in the killing of renowned Alevi intellectuals such as the poets Metin Altıok and Behet Aysan, writer Asım Bezirci, and popular musician Muhlis Akarsu.
Noting that the torching of the Madımak Hotel on July 2, 1993 was the result of a gradual escalation of tension following the organization of a conference by an Alevi association that started a day earlier, the report said officials could have taken more safety measures to prevent the massacre.

Harry Potter’s Leavesden Warner Bros studios expanding its site

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The Hertfordshire film studios where the Harry Potter films were made is expanding its site, the BBC reports.Warner Bros has started building three new sound stages at the site at Leavesden, near Watford.The studios are currently home to the new Tarzan film, starring Margot Robbie and Samuel L Jackson, which started production work this week.They were used for filming Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and are also home to the Harry Potter Studio Tour.Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros, said: “Warner Bros has produced some of our most popular and successful films in the UK, working with British talent.”The expansion of Warner Bros Studios Leavesden will allow us to further tap into the world-class creativity and innovation available here to continue this tradition of filmmaking excellence.”Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “For years the UK has been at the cutting edge of the creative industries – and we want that to be the case for decades to come. This comes back to two things – and the two things that I see being as the most important in my job.”One: Promoting our culture. Music, film and television help inspire young kids and bring our country together – so I will always back those industries. And two: Our long-term economic plan.”Warner Bros president Josh Berger said the announcement confirmed its “commitment to the UK creative industries”. 

Stars pay tribute to ‘soul legend’ Bobby Womack

June 29, 2014 Diaspora, Music No Comments
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Some of the biggest names in music have paid tribute to singer and songwriter Bobby Womack, who died on Friday, the BBC reports.Peter Gabriel said the musician was a “soul legend” while Ronnie Wood said his friend would be “greatly missed”.Womack, whose hits included Across 110th Street, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.The cause of death was not announced, but he had suffered from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease and battled with drug addiction.He had been due to perform at the Womad music festival in Wiltshire, UK, in July.In a statement on Saturday, Womad’s founder Peter Gabriel said Womack’s “songs and his voice have been so much a part of the fabric of so many musical lives”. 

Patrick Malakian: “Calling Him Henri Instead of Dad Was My First Difficulty”

May 30, 2014 Armenia, Film, Music No Comments
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13:15, May 30, 2014

Responding to Hetq’s questions is filmmaker Patrick Malakian.

Mr. Malakian, is it hard to be [French-Armenian filmmaker] Henri Verneuil’s son?

It depends. In the Armenian community it isn’t. I know people are looking at me as his son but the way they are looking at me is so friendly, so like I’m part of their family, that it is very nice.

In the movie industry, it is more difficult as people are necesserily comparing. It is easy to compare… even if what I do is completely different. But it is in the nature of mankind today to go on the easy side.

Anyway, I feel good in my mind and it doesn’t bother me.

Iran ‘releases’ dancers from Pharrell Happy tribute video

May 21, 2014 Armenia, Film, Music, Video No Comments
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A group of Iranians who were arrested for filming a video tribute to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy have been released on bail, the BBC reports, citing reports from Tehran.One of the fans, fashion photographer Reihane Taravati, posted a photo on Instagram, saying: “Hi, I’m back.”She and her colleagues were arrested on Tuesday. Police said their “vulgar clip” had “hurt public chastity”.The video showed three men and three unveiled women dancing on the streets and rooftops of Tehran.Williams, whose song was nominated for an Oscar earlier this year, had protested at the arrests.”It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness,” the singer wrote on Facebook.Many Twitter users had used the hashtag #freehappyiranians to put pressure on the Iranian authorities to release the dancers.Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani also appeared to criticize the arrest – retweeting a comment he first made last year, saying: “#Happiness is our people’s right. We shouldn’t be too hard on behaviors caused by joy.”Announcing her release, Taravati wrote: “Hi I’m back. Thank you @pharrell and everyone who cared about us love you all so much and missed you so much.”The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) reported that the other dancers seen in the video had also been released.”All people who made the Happy video released today, except the director of video, a source close to the families said,” the organization tweeted.The “Happy we are from Tehran” video, originally posted in March, has now been seen more than 40,000 times.At the end of the clip, the credits read: “Happy was an excuse to be happy. We enjoyed every second of making it. Hope it puts a smile on your face.”According to some reports, a total of 13 people were arrested in connection with the video, but official sources have not confirmed the exact number of detainees.Iran’s state-run TV broadcast a program on Tuesday, which apparently showed the men and women confessing on camera.A subtitled edition of the TV clip, posted on YouTube, identified the detainees as “actors” who claimed they were tricked into making the Happy video for an audition.”They told me they are making a feature film and they had a permit for it,” said one man in the video. “They said those things and they fooled me.”Another young woman added: “They had promised us not to publish the video.”Under Iran’s interpretation of Islamic law, women must cover their hair and wear loose-fitting clothing meant to preserve their modesty.Patrols of so-called “morality police” regularly enforce standards of Islamic dress on Iran’s streets. However, the rules are widely flouted.The internet is also heavily filtered in Iran, with the authorities blocking access to popular social networking sites.But Arash Sobhani, lead singer of the Iranian underground rock group Kiosk, told the BBC’s Persian service that attempts to suppress music and freedom of expression were not working.”They banned our music, broke our guitars, attacked our parties and stopped our concerts,” he said. “But did we stop? No!” 

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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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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.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments


2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.