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.


Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:46:33 +0000
ANCA-ER to Bestow Congresswoman Niki Tsongas with 2017 Freedom Award

WATERTOWN, Mass.—Representative Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.-3), together with Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, will receive the 2017 Armenian National Committee of America—Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) Freedom Award—the organization’s highest honor given to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions toward issues of concern to the Armenian-American community. Congressman Tsongas with ANC of Merrimack Valley members Stephen Dulgarian, the late Tom Vartabedian, and Aram Jeknavorian (Photo: The Armenian Weekly) The Dec. 2 ANCA-ER Boston gala is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Artsakh Liberation Movement as well as the pursuit of truth and justice for the victims of the anti-Armenian pogroms in Soviet Azerbaijan. “Elected in 2007, Tsongas is the first woman to serve in Congress from Massachusetts in 25 years. Every April since, she has been present at the Armenian flag-raising at Lowell City Hall,” noted ANCA-ER Board Member Tsoleen Sarian. “With her pledge of unwavering support for Armenia and her membership in the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, she champions the responsibility to acknowledge the truth of the Armenian Genocide, a necessary step to building a more just future for all.” The Dec. 2 gala, sponsored by the ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund, will take place at the prominent International Place located [...]

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Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:09:59 +0000
ANCA Working with U.S. Senate Appropriator Chris Van Hollen to Strengthen U.S.-Artsakh Ties

WASHINGTON—Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Raffi Hamparian consulted this week with U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the influential Appropriations Committee, about strengthening the U.S.-Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) relationship, including through increased travel and communications among officials as well as artists, educators, students, and other civil society stakeholders. Senator Van Hollen serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, which sets funding levels for foreign aid, among other responsibilities. ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian consulting with Senate Appropriations Committee member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Artsakh relationship (Photo: ANCA) “The ANCA is proud of our decades-long relationship with Senator Van Hollen,” remarked ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “From our work in 2001 on the Maryland Armenian Genocide resolution with then-State Senator Chris Van Hollen to our work with him as a member of the U.S. House, Chris Van Hollen continues to be a stalwart friend of Armenian Americans, from Baltimore to Bethesda and across the state of Maryland.” Senator Van Hollen earlier this year led efforts on the Senate side to secure continued assistance to Artsakh, a one-of-a-kind aid program started in Fiscal Year 1998 that has provided maternal healthcare [...]

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Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:11:26 +0000
Young Filmmakers in Vanadzor Ask, ‘Where Are We Going?’

A still from the film “Where Are We Going?” by Grigor Poghosyan, where the main character, Aren Voskanyan, discusses hardships young artists face in Vanadzor with filmmaker and musician, Erik Khanoyan. Special to the Armenian Weekly Grigor Poghosyan, a 21-year-old filmmaker from Vanadzor, compares his hometown to Detroit, and even plays me a song by Eminem to illustrate his point. He’s never been there, but he has seen its frequent cameos in popular film and music. Vanadzor, the third-largest city in Armenia and the subject of Poghosyan’s recent film, “Where Are We Going?” was once—like Detroit—a thriving industrial town. Its factories have since closed and its residents have not yet recovered from the traumas of economic collapse. In 1979, Vanadzor, then known by its Soviet-era name, Kirovakan, had a population of nearly 150,000. By 2011, that number had been halved. As in the rest of Armenia, many of those who could, left to work abroad, usually to Russia. A still from a montage in film “Where Are We Going?” by Grigor Poghosyan, which documents some of the consequences of economic collapse in Vanadzor Unemployment is high in Armenia’s remote towns, and times are especially tough for those in the 18-35 age [...]

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Fri, 17 Nov 2017 15:02:15 +0000
Treacherous Ts

What do tobacco (the industry), Turkey (the genocidal state), and Trump (the Conman-in-Chief) have in common besides the first letter? “What do tobacco, Turkey, and Trump have in common besides the first letter?” It is their expert use of doubt-seeding techniques. Since the tobacco harvest ends in October, Turkey’s “republic” was declared on Oct. 29, and Donald Trump got elected just over a year ago, it seemed like a good time to point out the commonality of these three terrible Ts. We can probably fairly credit the tobacco industry with the perfection, if not the invention, of denialism. For decades, the tobacco companies claimed that stinking weed (as described by King James I of England) was not harmful. They hid their own research and documentation to the contrary. They hooked soldiers in service of their country by seeing to it they were well stocked with cancer-sticks. They tricked children into becoming addicts through “cute” advertising. They made a vile habit seem glamorous through what is, I’m guessing, one of the earliest examples of product placement in movies. Also, think of the Marlboro man and alluring women smoking in advertisements for cigarettes. With this deluge of “positive” images, it took roughly [...]

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Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:57:09 +0000
The Future Shines Bright for the Homenetmen Eastern U.S. Region

MAHWAH, N.J. (A.W.)—The Homenetmen Eastern Region of the United States held its 41st Convention and the 40th Anniversary Banquet the weekend of Nov. 3-5 at the Sheraton Hotel in Mahwah, N.J. The participants of the 41st Convention of the Homenetmen Eastern Region of the United States (Photo: Homenetmen Eastern U.S.) Hosted by the region’s New Jersey chapter, the weekend served as an opportunity to review the undertakings of the organization from the past two years and to plan and discuss its future goals. The weekend also provided an opportunity to recognize and honor the service of its exemplary senior members, as well as a chance for family and friends to elevate their spirits with the lively performance of Armenchik and his band. The weekend kicked off on Nov. 3 with the opening of the convention. Introductory remarks were given by Eastern Regional Executive representative yeghpayr (brother) Vahe Tanashian. The meeting, which included the participation of elected representatives from the 10 participating Eastern U.S. regional chapters (Albany, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, and Washington D.C.) and two miavors (units) of the Eastern Region (Charlotte and Merrimack Valley); Homenetmen Central Executive representative yeghpayr Hratch Mesrobian; members from [...]

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Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:45:48 +0000
Sonentz: In Memory of General Dro

WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)—On the eve of Veteran’s Day, the Armenia Tree Project (ATP) and the Kanayan family hosted a special dinner in Watertown, honoring Armenian hero General Drastamat “Dro” Kanayan, who led the triumphant Armenian forces at the Battle of Bash Aparan in May 1918. In 2000, General Dro’s remains were repatriated to Armenia from Massachusetts and reburied at the site of the Battle of Bash Aparan under a monument commemorating all his historic battles (Photo: Armine Aghayan) In addition to being a military commander, General Dro was also a statesman. As a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), he served as Defense Minister of Armenia in 1920, during the First Republic of Armenia. In 2000, General Dro’s remains were repatriated to Armenia from Massachusetts, and reburied at the site of the Battle of Bash Aparan under a monument commemorating all his historic battles. Next year marks the centennial anniversary of Armenian independence and in preparation, ATP is planting over 2,000 trees and decorative shrubs and adding walkways and benches at the site of the battle. (Read more about ATP’s project here) Tatul Sonentz-Papazian, former editor of the Armenian Review, former director of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and [...]

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Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:22:34 +0000
Eastern Partnership Declaration in Deadlock over Karabagh Wording

BRUSSELS—Yerevan and Baku are unable to come to terms on the wording of the final declaration of the Eastern Partnership summit, to be held in Brussels next week. (L to R) Ilham Aliyev and Serge Sarkisian during a 2017 meeting (Photo: Press service President of the Republic of Armenia) According to RFE/RL correspondent Rikard Jozwiak on Nov. 15, the ambassadors of all 28 European Union member states agreed on a declaration—except for one paragraph on regional conflicts. According to Jozwiak, the ambassadors left this paragraph open as Armenia and Azerbaijan each want to include different language on the Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh) issue. The report notes that officials in Brussels are worried about the deadlock, as differences over Karabagh-related wording almost spoiled the adoption of a similar declaration at the Eastern Partnership summit in 2015. After not being able to secure his preferred wording two years ago, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev refused to attend the summit and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov delayed signing the declaration. “The reason why the EU is very afraid now is that in 2015 at the Riga summit there were fights about this throughout the whole summit. Aliyev even threatened not to sign the declaration and it [...]

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Wed, 15 Nov 2017 16:01:28 +0000
A Brief Meditation on the Politics of Being Armenian

A couple months ago, I was talking to a good odar (non-Armenian) friend of mine about my upcoming trip to Armenia in the fall. At the time, I had quit my job and decided to spend a few months volunteering in Armenia as a transition phase into my next life chapter (whatever that may be). I was describing to him what an emotional and powerful moment this would be for me, as going back to our home country and trying to make an impact in some way is a “right of passage” for many young Armenian-Americans. The first time I traveled to Armenia, in 2011, I had participated in a similar immersion program, but this time around felt as if it would be more significant—considering how much I’ve matured since my wide-eyed 19-year-old days. Mount Ararat from the sky (Photo: Talia Bachekjian) After listening to my passionate expression of excitement my friend said to me, “I never realized how nationalist you are.” “Nationalist?” I responded with a chuckle. He explained that he had never heard anyone talk about their ethnic country with such a desire to be included in its journey toward progress and independence. I had also joked with [...]

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Wed, 15 Nov 2017 15:27:33 +0000
Is the CEO of Turkey’s Newest U.S. PR Firm Really Armenian?

Ronn Torossian (Photo: Juda Engelmayer) Two articles by Louise Neu on Medium.com have revealed that Ronn Torossian’s public relation’s firm signed a contract to represent Turkey earlier this year. Torossian is CEO of the 5WPR firm, based in New York City. Justice Department records indicate Torossian signed the agreement on May 25, 2017. His firm will get paid an additional $60,000 for the period of May 16-Nov. 16, 2017, which is automatically renewable for another six months. This payment is in addition to the amount specified in a contract signed on Aug. 10, 2016. It is noteworthy that Torossian signed the agreement with Turkey nine days after President Erdogan watched his bodyguards beat up a group of demonstrators in front of Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. Three days after the protesters were beaten and injured, Torossian published an article in The Algemeiner, titled “Deport Radical Islamist Preacher [Gulen] and Maintain American Interests.” Neu revealed that Torossian had written another article, in Newsmax, on Feb. 17, criticizing the media coverage of Michael Flynn’s resignation. Ironically, Torossian had written an earlier article in Newsmax on May 20, 2015, critical of PR Firm Levick Communications’ work for the Embassy of Qatar, in [...]

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Wed, 15 Nov 2017 14:45:56 +0000
Armenia’s Parliament Adopts Military Draft Law Amid Student Protests

YEREVAN—The Armenian Parliament passed its final reading of a bill that restricts the right of students to military draft deferments. A scene from a student protest outside Armenia’s National Assembly on Nov. 15 (Photo: Vahram Baghdasaryan/Photolure) According to RFE/RL’s Armenian service, 86 members of the 105-seat National Assembly of Armenia voted for the legislation on Nov. 15, while six parliamentarians of the Yelk faction voted against the measure. Hundreds of students from Yerevan State University (YSU) and other universities have held demonstrations protesting the bill for the last seven days. The legislation stipulates that to get a military draft deferment, all male students who wish to pursue their studies must sign contracts with Armenia’s Ministry of Defense and agree to serve three years in the military after completing their studies. The legislation also notes that if they do not sign the contract, the students will be drafted to the army and serve for two years once they turn 18. Representatives of the protesting students met with Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, Education and Science Minister Levon Mkrtchyan, and Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan last week; however, protests—including the boycott of classes—continued, as the students claimed they were not satisfied with the government’s [...]

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