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Twenty Years of Suffering: “Ceasefire” Not a Guarantee Against Grief

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“My husband was a fidayi (‘freedom fighter’), our three children and I would wait days and nights for him to return: My son would ask if dad would ever come back, and dad did come back, but he didn’t…, remembers Varditer Mirzoyan, the mother of 19-year old Eduard Mirzoyan shot by an Azerbaijani sniper on June 12, 2007. “My husband came back with shining eyes, hugged us and said that war was over, but it wasn’t… we hadn’t known yet that the most cruel war was still going to continue keeping our eyes wet and craving for peace.”


Sirush Mirzoyan, Alvina Petrosyan, the widow and daughter of Levon Petrosyan, who was killed on June 18, 2008

In the Tavoush Village of Achadjour Owning Land Has Lost its “Shine”

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16:16, April 16, 2014

Residents of Achadjour describe their village as prosperous, pointing to the high prices that houses go for and the low numbers of those leaving for greener shores.

The village lies in Armenia’s northeastern province of Tavoush, and is situated a few kilometers from the Azerbaijani border.

Nevertheless, their main source of revenue remains money transfers from friends and relatives abroad.

Every year, some 1,200 souls leave for seasonal work outside Armenia and return at the start of winter. They say the local water and earth is what draws them back from Russia.

Kamo Ghaltakhchyan, the present mayor of Achadjour, has returned after residing in Russia for many years. He’s been at the job since December and the garbage issue was his main priority.

Senior U.S. Congressman to visit Genocide Memorial in Yerevan on April 24

April 16, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan No Comments
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House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce, Republican from Orange County, will attend the 99th Armenian Genocide commemorations ceremonies at Tsitsernakaberd in Yerevan, Asbarez.com reported, quoting the Orange County Register.

Royce, who has long championed US recognition of the Genocide, will lead a Congressional delegation to the region, which will include a stop in Armenia.

According to the OC Register, Royce’s trip will begin in Ukraine. He is also scheduled to travel to Azerbaijan.

“Armenia is a country struggling to build democracy and prosperity in a rough neighborhood. This was the first genocide of the past century and must be remembered. The U.S. has strong energy and regional security interests in Azerbaijan,” Royce told the OC Register in an email.

One Dead and One Wounded in Village Landmine Explosion

April 15, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan No Comments
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One person was killed and another wounded Tuesday by landmine in the border village of Berdavan.

According to the Ministry of Defense, Rafik Mughdusyan, 56, was killed and Gabriel Babikyan, 49, was wounded while collecting forage. Babikyan was taken to Noyemberyan medical center for surgery.

As a result of the unresolved conflict the border lying between Armenia and Azerbaijan remains mined, because of which such accidents still occur.

On Monday the villages of Nerkin Karmraghbyur, Aygepar, Movses and Chinar were under fire for more than three hours, causing a gas pipe explosion and damage to houses and a kindergarten.

Source: Armenia NowOriginial Article

Aliyev Blasts Armenia, West Over Karabakh

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Azerbaijan – President Ilham Aliyev speaks at a cabinet meeting in Baku, 13Apr2014.

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“Khachkar” Warning: ‘This isn’t Azerbaijan or Turkey, but Armenia’

April 14, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey 1 Comment
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14:23, April 14, 2014

A field of khachkars (stone crosses) supposedly listed as a site protected by the Armenian government is today being threatened by commercial construction.

The warning about the eminent damage to the site, situated just north of the Yerevan municipal border in the village of Arinj, was raised by Professor Hamlet Petrosyan who heads the Chair of Culturology at Yerevan State University’s Faculty of History.

In a Facebook post, Petrosyan writes, “No, this is not in Azerbaijan or in Turkey. This is a khachkar field in Arinj which, in scope and number, is the second largest such site in Armenia.”

Ceasefire 20: Minsk Group activities – failure or success?

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May 2014 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Karabakh ceasefire when after nearly three years of fierce fighting guns finally stopped firing and people on all sides started talking. The main international format advancing the negotiations is the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Its co-chairing nations are Russia, the United States and France.

Allied Vote: Armenia says ‘nyet’ to anti-Russian resolution at PACE

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Armenian delegates to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) have voted against a resolution stripping Russia of its vote at the Strasbourg-based body until the end of the year.

The Russian delegation itself did not show up for the vote that took place on April 10.

The PACE adopted the resolution by a vote of 145 to 21, with 22 abstentions (Armenia has four votes at the Assembly). It denounced the actions of Russia in Ukraine and demanded that Moscow withdraw its armed forces, including the Black Sea fleet, from Crimea.

U.S. Senate Panel Praised By Armenia, Condemned By Turkey

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U.S. — Senators listen before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on a resolution on Syria on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 4, 2013

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Turkey on Friday condemned the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee for approving a resolution that acknowledges the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and said it could harm Turkish-American relations.

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CNN International Explores the Secrets of Armenia’s Stone Henge

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction

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Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.