The Armenian Weekly

News of general interest to the Armenian-American community, as well as editorials, political analyses, regular columns, and short stories and poems.

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:16:18 +0000
Twenty-Six Years On: From Charitable Assistance to Social Change
Diasporan Aid to Armenia in the Post-Independence Era Special to the Armenian Weekly The following article is adapted from a presentation delivered on May 23, in Yerevan, at a conference organized by the USC Institute of Armenian Studies titled “End of Transition: Armenia 25 years on. Now What?” Celebrations on the streets of Yerevan after the declaration of independence (Sept. 21, 1991) As the title suggests, I wish to explore certain aspects of Armenia-Diaspora relations, focusing on charitable assistance over the past 25 years. Specifically, I would like to track how diasporan giving has evolved—or, rather, cut a serpentine path forward, moving from what I would call emergency/immediate aid to more rehabilitative/developmental assistance today. I will be painting a picture with a broad brush, seeking to identify broader processes and trends, so I ask readers to accept this as a work in progress. As Ronald Suny has noted, 25 years present a good occasion for a retrospective look at Armenia since independence. At the same time, the number 25 is a bit arbitrary, and hardly exact as a marker.[1] Here we have a case in point: If we truly wish to track charitable assistance—at least in its most recent phase—then [...]

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:42:31 +0000
ARF Bureau Member Hagop Der Khatchadourian, German MP Cem Özdemir Receive Mkhitar Gosh Medal
YEREVAN—Member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau Hagop Der Khatchadourian and co-chair of the Green Party of Germany Cem Özdemir were awarded the Mkhitar Gosh Medal by Armenian President Serge Sarkisian on the 26th anniversary of Armenia’s second independence. ARF Bureau Hagop Der Khatchadourian receives the Mkhitar Gosh Medal from President Serge Sarkisian (Photo: President of Armenia Press Service) Cem Özdemir During the ceremony, President Sarkisian signed decrees awarding medals and orders of the Republic of Armenia to several individuals, public figures, as well as army and law enforcement officers. Honorary titles were also bestowed upon some for their contributions to science, education, healthcare, economy, arts, culture, and sport, as well as for expanding the relations between Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora. Argentinean-Armenian entrepreneur Eduardo Eurnekian was awarded the title of National Hero of Armenia, becoming the 16th person to hold that title. Der Khatchadourian, a City University of New York MBA, a graduate of Concordia and McGill Universities in Canada, is a member of the ARF Bureau and has served with the ANC worldwide network in various local, regional, and central-level roles since the mid 1970s. Özdemir—a German parliamentarian of Turkish descent and the current co-chair of the [...]

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:09:44 +0000
Secretary Tillerson Thanks Armenia’s Dedication to Regional Stability and International Peacekeeping
ANCA Welcomes U.S. Appreciation for Armenia’s Constructive Contribution to Peace WASHINGTON—In an apparent nod to Armenia’s constructive engagement on regional and global security challenges, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today marked the 26th anniversary of Armenian independence with a public statement praising Yerevan’s “dedication to regional stability and international peacekeeping operations,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks at the Model United Nations Conference at the U.S. Department of State, in Washington, on May 2, 2017 (Photo: State Department) “We welcome this expression of appreciation by Secretary Tillerson as a reflection of an emerging consensus within the Washington, D.C. foreign policy community around a policy of differentiation that, on the one hand, credits Yerevan for its constructive contributions to regional stability in the Caucasus and peacekeeping operations around the world, and, on the other, is willing to call out Baku for its openly destabilizing and unapologetically undemocratic conduct,” said Aram Suren Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. The full text of Secretary Tillerson’s U.S. Department of State statement is below. *** On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, congratulations to the people of Armenia on the [...]

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:00:40 +0000
Poem: Liberty
  The Government Building in Yerevan (Photo: Araz Chiloyan) Liberty By Mikael Nalbandian Translated by Alice Stone Blackwell When God, who is forever free, Breathed life into my earthly frame,— From that first day, by His free will When I a living soul became,— A babe upon my mother’s breast, Ere power of speech was given to me, Even then I stretched my feeble arms Forth to embrace thee, Liberty!   Wrapped round with many swaddling bands, All night I did not cease to weep, And in the cradle, restless still, My cries disturbed my mother’s sleep. “O mother!” in my heart I prayed, “Unbind my arms and leave me free!” And even from that hour I vowed To love thee ever, Liberty!   When first my faltering tongue was freed, And when my parents’ hearts were stirred With thrilling joy, to hear their son Pronounce his first clear-spoken word, “Papa, Mamma,” as children use, Were not the names first said by me; The first word on ray childish lips Was thy great name, O Liberty!   “Liberty!” answered from on high The sovereign voice of Destiny: “Wilt thou enroll thyself henceforth A soldier true of Liberty? The path is [...]

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 21:08:57 +0000
Tufenkian Artisan Carpets Calls on U.S. Treasury Secretary to Start Tax Treaty Talks with Armenia
  Owner and CEO James Tufenkian Has Built Landmark Boutique Hotels and Established Carpet Weaving Workshops across Armenia WASHINGTON—Tufenkian Artisan Carpets—a global brand long respected worldwide as a leading source of handcrafted artisan area rugs—has called on the U.S. Department of Treasury “to begin talks with Armenia toward a long-overdue and badly needed modern U.S. Tax Treaty,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). Owner and CEO James Tufenkian Owner and CEO James Tufenkian, a major American investor in Armenia’s growth—through his artisan carpets, hotels, and philanthropic work—noted in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that for the past 17 years he has been “building great boutique hotels in the important touristic regions of Armenia to help develop those very depressed economies, and to create a broad base for tourism to the whole country.  In addition in 1993 I established a very labor-intensive business hand-weaving carpets and textiles to preserve this indigenous and historic Armenian craft, and to provide work for at-risk segments of the population.” He called special attention to the “unusual prospect, in this day and age, of facing double taxation,” noting that “such a disincentive was eliminated long ago in competing nations [yet] Armenia continues [...]

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:24:10 +0000
Checking in on the 26th
  Twenty-six years ago, on Sept. 21, the current Republic of Armenia (RoA) came into existence. It was the third manifestation of an Armenian republic. Since anniversaries of this sort are opportunities for reflection, I thought I would assess, on my own scale, how our still-nascent state is doing. I chose fields of endeavor based only on what I have some awareness of, so it is by no means comprehensive. Let’s proceed alphabetically. A view of Yerevan from the Mother Armenia monument (Photo: David Sullivan) Archeology There have been some high-profile finds, such as the oldest shoe, oldest winemaking apparatus, and one of the four Dikranagerds (Tigranakerts)—this one not in the RoA but in Artsakh. But, what’s more important is the follow-up. Are these and similar sites being properly preserved? I hope and suspect, yes. Are they adequately plugged in to the tourism industry that is so important to the country’s economy? From my own awareness, no, they are not. Also, there are hundreds of known but unexcavated sites that local experts are afraid of unearthing lest the lack of funding and attention from official, government agencies render them subject to looting and other degradation. There are reports of open [...]

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:28:03 +0000
President Sarkisian at UN: Armenia to Declare Protocols with Turkey ‘Null and Void,’ Azerbaijan Has No Legal Claim on Artsakh
‘We Will Enter the Spring of 2018 Without Those—as Our Experience Has Demonstrated, Futile—Protocols’ ‘Artsakh Has Never Been Part of Independent Azerbaijan’ NEW YORK (A.W.)—Armenian President Serge Sarkisian announced in his address to the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly that Armenia will declare the 2009 Armenia-Turkey Protocols “null and void” if not ratified by the spring of next year, and that Azerbaijan has no legal or moral ground to present any claims on Artsakh. President Sarkisian addressing the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly (Photo: President of Armenia’s press service) Sarkisian said the so-called Zurich Protocols, which were signed in 2009 between Armenia and Turkey to allow the opening of borders and to set up formal diplomatic relations between the two nations, “continuously lacked” any positive progress toward implementation. “The Government of Turkey came up with preposterous preconditions for their ratification that run counter to the letter and spirit of the Protocols,” Sarkisian said in his address. “I expressed the clear-cut views of the Armenian people on this issue three years ago, when I spoke from this eminent podium.” The deal was brokered by the United States, Russia, and France. In Feb. 2015, President Sarkisian recalled [...]

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:11:12 +0000
Letter to Editor: When a Critique of Racist Discourse Veers off Course
  Recently I read an op-ed by Uzay Bulut in The Armenian Weekly titled “Turkey’s Genocide Denial: Four Narratives.” The article starts with an informative account of four different trends of genocide denialism in Turkey. It critiques the racist discourse that exists in Turkey primarily against Armenians, but also Greeks and Jews. At one point, however, the article veers off in another direction—when the author asks, “why is denial of genocide still so popular in Turkey?” The eternal flame at the Armenian Genocide memorial complex in Yerevan (Photo: Serouj Ourishian) Here, she attempts to collapse 14 centuries of Islamic history into a history of Muslims oppressing non-Muslims. She essentializes and generalizes Muslim hatred toward non-Muslims. Of course, it is easy to make an argument about Islam as a violent religion when one only points out the violent moments of its history, and disregards violence perpetrated under the name of other religions and within other religious societies. This is how typical Islamophobic arguments are advanced. In such cases one easily points out how Islam over the centuries has spread its force “by the sword” but fails to consider how Christian colonizing powers took over and Christianized at least two continents: North [...]

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:15:28 +0000
U.S. Reps Pallone and Gabbard Strengthen U.S.-Artsakh Solidarity during Working Visit to Shushi and Stepanakert
ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian Joins Legislators in Celebrating Artsakh’s Freedom, Supporting Talks toward a Durable and Democratic Peace STEPANAKERT, Artsakh—Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and House Foreign Affairs Committee member Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) traveled to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) today, where, alongside government officials and ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian, they witnessed firsthand the independent Republic’s remarkable economic, democratic, and cultural progress, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). House Foreign Affairs Committee member Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) with Artsakh Parliamentarian Lernik Hovhannisyan and ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian at the Republic of Artsakh National Assembly “It was an honor to join Representatives Pallone and Gabbard, on the free soil of the independent Artsakh Republic, for this wonderful celebration of our shared commitment to the values of peace, freedom, and democracy,” said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “As our Congressional friends saw today, Artsakh is a very American story: the victory of a free people over foreign rule, the well-deserved and hard-earned triumph of democracy over dictatorship.” Representatives Pallone and Gabbard visited Artsakh’s cultural and religious centers in Shushi and the capital, Stepanakert, then addressed members of parliament. Joining them on their visit were Robert Avetisyan, permanent representative of the Artsakh Republic [...]

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:33:09 +0000
Americana Executives and ANCA Meet to Resolve a Contentious Relationship
  Representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and senior executives of Americana shopping mall in Glendale met on Sept. 5 and agreed to put their future relationship on a better footing. The Americana at Brand (Photo: Fourbyfourblazer) This was the first meeting in more than a dozen years between the two groups, precipitated by the refusal of Americana to provide paid advertising space on its billboard for “Architects of Denial,” an Armenian Genocide documentary. The producers of the documentary were told by Americana that the subject was “too political.” This was a puzzling and irritating response since Americana had seen neither the documentary nor the text of the display ad that was being rejected simply because it was about the Armenian Genocide. After several attempts asking Americana officials to explain the true reason for rejecting the display ad, they became even more adamant in their refusal. The most insensitive sentence in one of their emails to the documentary producers was that Americana had received comments on this controversy “ranging from the Armenian community and the Turkish Consulate.” This highly offensive statement was equating the voices of descendants of the Armenian Genocide to that of a Turkish diplomat [...]

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