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Yerevan preparing for Literary Ark festival

September 9, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Diaspora, Karabakh, Music No Comments
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Armenia’s capital will turn into a unique international literature platform later this month, hosting foreign writers from across the globe as part of the Literary Ark festival.
Fifteen writers from 13 different countries will be invited to Yerevan to participate in the annual international literary event from September 18 to 28. The guests will take part in different international debates and meet with students of Armenian universities; they will also share their experience and knowledge with contemporary Armenian writers.
This year they are also scheduled to visit Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) to have meetings and debates with the local literary circles.
On September 27, which marks the birthday of Komitas, the forefather of the Armenian classical and ethnographic music, the guests will visit the Yerevan pantheon named after the great musician to join the initiative 100,000 Poets for Change.
Literary Ark has also prepared a surprise for the Armenian book lovers. This year’s guests of the event are the renowned Polish writer Yanush Leon Vyshnevsky and the US-based British writer Meg Rosoff.
The screened version of Rosoff’s Novel, How I Live Now, will be screened in Yerevan’s Cascade complex in the frameworks of the festival. 

Market Promotes Honey as Alternative to Mining

September 8, 2014 Armenia, Music No Comments
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17:52, September 8, 2014

People from far and wide yesterday travelled to the village of Shnogh, in Armenia’s northern Lori Province, to take part in the “Hank or Gyank?” (Mines or Life?) honey and jam market.

Organizers billed the festival as a grassroots effort to spur alternative economic development in opposition to mining.

Visitors were entertained by live music and the chance to see how honey is made.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

NKR Foreign Minister Receives French Parliament Delegation

September 8, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan, Karabakh No Comments
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17:35, September 8, 2014

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Karen Mirzoyan today received the delegation of the Parliament of France.

Karen Mirzoyan welcomed the members of the delegation, stressing the importance of such visits for the consistent development and strengthening of bilateral relations. 

In this context, the NKR Foreign Minister touched upon issues related to the activities of the France-Artsakh Friendship Circle established in 2013. He appreciated the works carried out by the Circle for strengthening   relations between Artsakh and France and disseminating truthful information about Artsakh.

During the meeting, the possibilities and prospects of widening cooperation between Artsakh and France in various spheres were discussed.

Armenian Genocide through art: Impact of performance on recognition

September 7, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Film, Music No Comments
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Any piece of art or performance by a Diaspora-Armenian artist can raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide and the Armenian Cause, but given the targets and audiences, they are not absolutely likely to replace state functions, says Violet Grigoryan, an Armenian writer and publicist. “A piece by an independent artist – be it a painting, performance or whatever – is of more help to the audience and people who might be politically less aware of the Armenian Genocide, interstate relations and the Armenian history. It works better, raising more people’s awareness. But its effect is for the given moment only, with no guarantees or responsibilities for future,” she told Tert.am, commenting on US-Armenian rock musician Serj Tankian’s initiative to co-author the symphonic composition 100 Years ahead of the Armenian Genocide centennial.
The musician had earlier unveiled a plan for presenting the project on September 20 in Pasadena. Lark Musical Society has been chosen to premier the new composition.
Actress Lala Mnatsaknyan is of the opinion that it is very important to focus more coordinated efforts on the art or performance aspect while seeking an international recognition and condemnation of Genocide. Speaking to Tert.am, the actress said she expects more concrete results from Diaspora-Armenian artists but expressed regret that the events were not arranged much earlier.
“It is impossible to organize a concert in May and invite a couple of people here to sing, recite poetry and then leave. This should have been already done, but I do not see anything as yet. Perhaps they are planning to arrange it later. But why do it late? Didn’t we know about 2015 five years ago? This should have been done long ago so that we would be in that process now,” she said.
The actress proposed producing films and staging performances, noting in the meantime that they do not absolutely have to feature crying scenes or other sad episodes.
“It is important to organize globally interesting events, and not only on artists’ level. The more we have people speaking about Genocide, the better the international community will be aware of it. We, the individuals, do what were are supposed to, but we need a higher level of state assistance and a higher level of reaction. It is necessary to speak about this, because we are losing the moment,” Mnatsakanyan added.

Activists Protest On Anniversary Of Armenian U-Turn

September 3, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments

Several dozen opposition and civic activists rallied in Yerevan on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of the official announcement of President Serzh Sarkisian’s unexpected decision to make Armenia part of a Russian-led union of ex-Soviet states.

Sarkisian announced the foreign policy U-turn after talks held with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin near Moscow on September 3, 2013. The move, widely attributed to Russian pressure, came less than two months after his government completed negotiations with the European Union on a far-reaching Association Agreement.

The EU responded by cancelling the planned signing of the agreement, saying that its dominant free-trade component is “not compatible” with Armenia’s membership in Russia’s Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. It rejected Yerevan’s proposal to sign a significantly watered-down version of the accord.

Russian, Armenian Troops Start Joint Drills


More than 1,500 Armenian and Russian soldiers began annual joint military exercises in central Armenia on Wednesday, highlighting close military ties between their countries.

The five-day “tactical exercises” involve troops from the Armenian army and the Russian military base headquartered in Gyumri that are part of a Russian-Armenian “united grouping.” Its Armenian commander, General Mikael Grigorian, is presiding over the drills along with the Russian base chief, Colonel Andrey Ruzinsky.

A statement by Russia’s Southern Military District said that the participating troops will simulate defensive and counteroffensive operations against an “imaginary adversary” at a shooting ground in the Aragatsotn province. It said they are backed up by around 300 artillery systems, tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles as well as recently modernized Russian MiG-29 fighter jets.

Hundreds of treasure hunters hit English beach after artist claims to have buried gold bars in sand

September 3, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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Late last month, German artist Michael Sailstorfer made a surprising announcement – he said that he had buried 24-carat gold bars on the Outer Harbor beach in the town of Folkestone, in South East England, and that it was ‘finders-keepers’.In the wake of this unusual news, hundreds of people have been thronging the beach, hoping to uncover at least a small portion of the hidden fortune, reports Oddity Central.The eccentric artist said that the project was his contribution to the town’s art festival, The Folkestone Triennial, which began last Saturday. He named the installation ‘Folkestone Digs’, and described it as a unique project to get people involved in art. The event was funded by Bristol-based designers ‘Situations’.As a part of the installation, Sailstorfer hid 30 gold bars of varying sizes – 10g and 20g – in the sands of Outer Harbor. It might not sound like much, but each bar could be worth hundreds of dollars, and people get to keep everything they find. Sailstorfer encouraged people to start their search a couple of days before the festival actually started. As expected, hundreds of diggers turned up at the beach with buckets and spades, hoping to strike gold.Since the beach is only accessible at low tide, treasure-hunters have a narrow, five-hour window (from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm) each day to find their fortune. Witnesses say that within half-an-hour of the tide dropping on the first day, around 150 eager diggers had crowded the small beach, hoping to get lucky. At least a thousand more arrived over the next few days.Apart from the fun of digging for gold, organisers of the festival believe that the mass digging of the beach actually creates a piece of land-art that’s washed away when the tide comes back in. The process starts all over again the next day.
Read more on the Oddity Central website. 

Uncertain Future: Border Village School Has Only Three Pupils; All from the Same Family

September 3, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Turkey No Comments
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15:03, September 2, 2014

Standing outside this nondescript whitewashed one story building in the middle of the village in Arevis, one would be hard pressed to make out that it’s the school if it were not for the plaque and welcome sign attached to the wall.

Our arrival on September 1, the start of the new school year, elicited a number of curious stares from residents milling outside the school. It would appear that unfamiliar cars and visitors are seldom seen in Arevis.

To be honest, we didn’t see any other cars along the road leading to the Arevis, a tiny hamlet in Armenia’s southern Syunik Province. It’s the last stop on the 21 kilometer road that branches away from Sisian. Further afield are the Monastery of Tanahat and then, the border with Nakhijevan.

One Caucasus Festival Uses Music to Bring Youth Closer

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17:49, September 2, 2014

From August 28 to 31, the One Caucasus festival took place in the Tseravki District of Georgia bordering both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The site was strategically chosen by the organizers of the initiative that seeks to create an inspirational and safe space for young people of the Caucasus to meet.

Musicians from several European and African countries, including the UK, Senegal and Ukraine, performed to an audience that was mostly made up of residents from the nearby Armenian village of Shahoumyan.

The region hasn’t seen an event of such scope since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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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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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


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.