Friday, September 28, 2007

NKR NEW GOVERNMENT FORMED

By Kim Gabrielian

AZG Armenian Daily
27/09/2007


On September 25, NKR President Bako Sahakian signed a decree on formation of the new government. Bako Sahakian signed another decree on appointing members of the government.

Former Ministers of Finance and Economy, Foreign Affairs, and Defence, and also the Minister-Head of the Government Staff kept their portfolios.

Former Minister of Urban Development Armo Tsaturian is appointed Minister of Agriculture and simultaneously takes the post of Vice-Premier.

Arthur Mosiyan, representative of ARF office of Artsakh, is appointed Minister of Justice. Executive Director of "Arevik" medical center Armen Khachatrian is appointed Minister of Healthcare, former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy Narine Azatian - Minister of Social Security, Director of "Capital Construction" Aleksandr Mamunts - Minister of City Building, Head of the National Statistical Service Benik Babayan - Minister of Economic Development.

NKR President also signed a decree on resigning the newly appointed Minister of Economic Development from the post of the Head of the Statistical Service.

Ministries of Education, Culture and Sports underwent structural changes. As a result of their splitting new ministries and a state committee have been formed: Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Culture and Youth Issues and also State Committee of Sports.

Former Deputy Head of NKR Armed Forces Staff Vladik Khachatrian is appointed Minister of Education and Science, Head of the National TV of Artsakh Norek Gasparian - Minister of Culture and Youth Issues.

Changes in other governmental structures would end in several days, not later than October 1, according to NKR Government Press Office.

Friday, September 21, 2007

RA PRIME MINISTER: ARMENIA PAYS SPECIAL ATTENTION TO HIGH TECHNOLOGIES AND INNOVATION ACTIVITY

ArmInfo
2007-09-17 13:56:00


Armenia pays special attention to high technologies, innovation activity and the issues of economy development based on the science and innovations, RA Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan said today in view of opening of the conference "Advancing Innovation in ECA 2007".

As RA governmental press-release reports, S. Sargsyan said that the intellectual technologies become a locomotive of the economy development in the whole world and Armenia cannot lag behind these processes. There is no alternative to the economy development, S. Sargsyan said. In view of this, the Armenian government attaches importance to cooperation of the private and state sectors aimed at enhancement of the country's competitiveness in general.

To note, the prime minister said in his recent TV- interview that there is no problem of tightness of money in Armenia's economy but that of qualified managers and enhancement of economy's competitiveness.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Armenian Patriarch of Turkey in U.S. On Turkish Propaganda Tour Once Again

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier


This week Mesrob Mutafyan, the Armenian Patriarch of Turkey, is making his second visit to the United States in the past 6 months.

During his highly controversial first visit in April, the Patriarch participated in a conference organized by a Turkish group at the Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Turkey. The conference was titled, "Turkish-Armenian Question: What to do Now?"

Despite intensive efforts by various Armenian-American groups to persuade the Patriarch not to speak at that conference, he went ahead with his speaking engagement. All other Armenian invitees, for one reason or another, refused to take part. The concern was that the Turks would use the conference as a ploy to convince the outside world that Armenians and Turks were "reconciling" with each other, and therefore, there was no need to pressure Turkey into genocide recognition.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, the Primate of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern Diocese), was so incensed by the Patriarch's planned participation that he wrote to University officials objecting to its sponsorship of this politically tendentious and one-sided "Armenian-Turkish dialogue." The University complied with the Primate's request and withdrew its support from the conference. Archbishop Barsamian rightly pointed out that Patriarch Mutafyan "has a very limited ability to freely express his true thoughts and concerns because of oppressive Turkish free-speech laws." The Primate aptly described the Patriarch as "a virtual 'prisoner of conscience' of the Turkish government."

Interestingly, the Patriarch repeated word for word in Dallas what he had said a year earlier during a similar conference held at Erciyes University in Kayseri, Turkey. The April 2006 conference was entitled: "The Art of Living Together in Ottoman Society: The Example of Turkish-Armenian Relations."

Patriarch Mutafyan will most probably repeat the same remarks during his talk on September 20, at the Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The sponsors of both the April and September conferences are affiliated with the Islamic Fethullah Gulen group.

To gain an advance insight into what the Patriarch might say this week, here are some excerpts of his previously delivered talks in Kayseri and Dallas which consist of some straight talk mixed with words meant to appease Turkish officials.

"It is certainly not possible to idealize every phase in the history of Ottoman-Armenian relations and to say that Armenians never had any problems. Being Christians, the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire were never first class citizens. And they certainly did suffer discrimination. However, we know that the first acquaintance between Turks and Armenians dates back to at least 1300 years ago. In this long history of commercial and political interactions between neighbors, there are relatively few instances where we observe exchanges of physical violence," the Patriarch said.

He then went on to say that "especially towards the end of the 19th century there was an increase in tension in relations, whether responsibility for this was due to the Ottoman government, or the German, American, French, British and especially Russian governments, Armenian political parties, or even the Armenian Patriarchs of Istanbul of that period, who discharged their obligations under the surveillance of the Temporal Affairs Council that then consisted of Armenian secularists in Turkey. Even if the various parties were not all equally responsible, it is not a moral approach in view of the painful after-effects for any one of them to deny any accountability in the development of these events, or to place all the responsibility on the other parties."

After several Turkish propagandists delivered their talks at the Dallas conference, the Armenian Patriarch responded by making the following statement outside of his written text: "Did some Armenian political parties promote armed rebellion in the Armenian community? They did. In some areas, did armed Armenian gangs work together with the Russian army? They did. But the Government of the Committee for Union and Progress, being in charge of the country, is chiefly responsible for the painful events that occurred and the great suffering that was endured. If you do not hold the government in charge of the behavior of the country as responsible for that behavior, then whom will you hold responsible? Instead of eliminating in their local areas the armed Armenian factions who were in rebellion, the Government of the Committee for Union and Progress sent all Armenians in the Ottoman Empire on a sort of death march to the Syrian Desert; it sentenced them to death. Therefore this party is chiefly culpable for the 1915 events."

A day before his Georgetown speech this week, the Armenian Patriarch is invited to participate at the 2nd Congressional Interfaith and Intercultural Ramadan Iftar Dinner on Capitol Hill, where he will speak along with several other clergymen from various faiths.

There has been some speculation as to who arranged for the Armenian Patriarch to come to Washington, D.C., shortly before the anticipated vote in the House of Representatives on the Armenian Genocide resolution and less than a month before the Pontifical visit of His Holiness Karekin II to the nation's capital? Many see the sinister hand of the Turkish government orchestrating the Patriarch's speaking engagements, using the connections of high-powered lobbying firms hired by Ankara.

This writer has repeatedly urged the Armenian Patriarch to stay away from
involvement in political matters and instead tend to the spiritual needs of his flock. He must at all cost resist the pressures exerted upon him by Turkish officials, in order not to allow them to use him as a propaganda tool serving Turkey's denialist agenda.

In the meantime, Armenian religious and secular leaders have an obligation to point out that the Patriarch does not speak for the Armenian Church and that his political statements are made under Turkish pressure and do not reflect his true views on the Armenian Genocide.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Full Steam Ahead

The State Department is encouraging Congress not to pass U.S. House of Representative's Resolution 106.

They are claiming that it will undermine relations with Turkey and hamper efforts in Turkey of coming to terms with the 1915 Genocide of 1.5 million Armenians.

I don’t know what games the State Department thinks they are playing or if they think that Armenian are naïve children, but I can tell you that if they were serious about Turkey opening their boarders and normalizing relations with Armenia so 106 would not be considered by anyone, they should have worked and had results by now so 106 would be not necessary. Believe me, the U.S. has the power to do what they claim to be encouraging Turkey to do.

All I can say is that the U.S./Turkey’s best bargaining chip will be that before 106 comes up to vote, Turkey needs to take concrete steps NOW and open the boarders and start to normalize relations. Until we see this happen, it should be business as usual and full steam ahead to get 106 passed. No empty promises from the Department of State, like the ones we have seen in the past should even be a consideration for us to change course. If they want us to back down, then open the boarders and normalize relations first and then we can talk about other options of Genocide recognition.



U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE WARNS CONGRESS AGAINST ARMENIAN GENOCIDE RESOLUTION

PanARMENIAN.Net
15.09.2007 15:16 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/
"The United States condemnation of this tragedy is not at issue; the question is how best to facilitate reconciliation of all concerned parties with each other and with their painful and shared past," U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said when addressing the Department of State with a report titled "The future of the U.S.-Turkey relations.

"We believe passage of the U.S. House of Representative's Resolution 106, which would make a political determination that the tragedy of 1915 constituted genocide, would undercut voices emerging in Turkey for dialogue and reconciliations concerning these horrific events. We therefore have recommended to Congress that it not pass such a resolution," he said.

"We strongly encourage Turkey to normalize its relations and reopen its border with Armenia, steps that will help bring peace, prosperity and cooperation to the Caucasus. Now, in the wake of the AKP's resounding electoral victories, is the time for Ankara to make a bold opening toward Armenia. And we hope that Armenia will respond in kind.

In conclusion, the United States and Turkey have enjoyed a relationship of Allied friendship for over half a century of enormous complexity, success, and promise. We have weathered a difficult period over the past four years. We now stand at the edge of a potentially new era in Turkish politics that offers a chance to restore a sense of strategic partnership in U.S.-Turkish relations," Mr Burns said.

TRAFFICKING A NEW WAY OF HUMAN SLAVERY

By Marieta Makarian

AZG Armenian Daily
13/09/2007


120 People Underwent Sexual Exploitation

Human trafficking became one of the most serious problems for the world. Every year the number of the trafficking victims, who are mainly women and children, being sexually exploitated both in their home countries and in the foreign ones. Unfortunately, lately, Armenia
became not only a transit country but also a providing one in the issue of the human trafficking. The Armenian women make money mainly in Turkey, the Arabian states and in Greece. It's quite strange, but RA Justice Minister David Haroutiunian still denies that trafficking is a growing problem for Armenia, stating in particular, that it's too early to say that trafficking exists in Armenia as a phenomenon.

In response to the abovementioned attitude of the Minister, we would like to represent the data provided by the relevant department of RA Prosecutor's Office.

Thus, according to the articles # 132, 132-1, 261, 262 of RA Criminal Code (all of the articles are on the trafficking issues), in the course of the first half of this year there had been 25 criminal cases instituted. In the period under review, in fact, 120 people became victims of sexual exploitation.

Moreover, according to unofficial data, the number of trafficking victims surpasses several hundreds. Thus, 63 people of 120 were exploitated in Armenia, 57 in foreign countries, 30 in the Arabian Emirates, 27 in Turkey. 39 people underwent administrative punishment for prostitution.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Legal Remedies in Claiming Restitution for Genocide Losses

By Harut Sassounian,
Publisher, The California Courier


September 8, 2007 could be a turning point in the pursuit of the Armenian Cause. On that date, University of Southern California's Institute of Armenian Studies organized an unprecedented symposium on "International Law and the Armenian Genocide: Recognition, Responsibility and Restitution."

After opening remarks by Prof. Richard H. Dekmejian, Director of the Institute, Sarkis Bezelgues, an international lawyer and doctoral candidatein law at the Free University of Berlin, presented a paper on "International Liability and State Succession: the Responsibility of the Turkish Republic for the Armenian Genocide." He stated that the Republic of Turkey is liable for themassive deaths and destruction inflicted upon the Armenian population, because the modern state of Turkey is a continuation and not the successor to the Ottoman Empire. According to Bezelgues, Turkey can be held responsible for the Armenian Genocide since a complete transmission took place of the Ottoman Empire's rights and duties.

Michael J. Bazyler, Professor of Law at Whittier Law School, spoke on "Litigation for Restitution: Comparative Analysis of Armenians and Other Groups." He stated that most lawsuits against foreign governments in U.S. federal courts have not been successful due to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA) of 1976. Several lawsuits against foreign corporations were settled out of court. Nevertheless, Bazyler pointed out that according to the FSIA, a foreign state is not immune from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts if "rights in property taken in violation of international law are in issue." In response to a question from the audience on the denial of the Armenian Genocide by Shimon Peres, the President of Israel, Prof. Bazyler boldly stated that Peres "doesn't speak for the Jewish people nor he speaks for the Israeli people."

Dr. David L. Nersessian, Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession, spoke on "Human Rights Litigation in Federal Courts: an Overview." He discussed the complex issues involved in civil claims brought in US federal courts for violations of fundamental human rights, including the Armenian Genocide. These included procedural obstacles such as sovereign immunity, political abstention, and acts of state.

The next speaker was Dr. Payam Akhavan, Professor of International Law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. His topic was "Criminalizing Historical Truth: Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and the Armenian Genocide." He spoke about the case he recently filed with the European Court of Human Rights against Article 301, in defense of Prof. Taner Akcam.

After warm welcoming remarks by Prof. Howard Gillman, Dean of USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, attorney Mark Geragos spoke on the federal class action lawsuits that he and attorneys Vartkes Yeghiayan and Brian Kabateck initiated against New York Life Insurance and AXA Corporation for unpaid insurance policies issued before the Genocide. These two cases were settled for $37.5 million. Two other lawsuits are pending against the German Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank.

John Evans, the former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia (2004-06), a special guest speaker at the symposium, spoke on "The Armenian Genocide: the International Political and Diplomatic Context of Recognition and Redress." He said that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide was making great strides in the court of public opinion and that a favorable international political climate for the pursuit of the Armenian Cause has developed in recent years. Public opinion within Turkey was also changing gradually in favor of recognizing the Armenian Genocide. He said that taking responsibility for the genocide could take various forms, including setting up a Turkish Fund for compensating the victims and their descendants, financial contributions by Turkey to a future Armenian Genocide museum in Washington, D.C., the rescue and renovation of Armenian cultural monuments in Turkey, and granting a special status for the Ararat and Ani regions.

Dr. Alison Dundes Renteln, Professor of Political Science and Anthropology at USC, spoke next on "Holocaust Denial Litigation: a Comparative Analysis." She said that if Holocaust denial is outlawed in several European countries, then genocide denial by a state such as Turkey could also be outlawed. Prof. Renteln also said that freedom of speech is not an absolute right. For example, hate speech is banned in many countries. She made a clear distinction between laws against Holocaust denial in Europe and Article 301 in Turkey. She saidthat in France and Germany, there is censorship in order to accept the past, while in Turkey, censorship is used to deny the past.

The next speaker was Dr. John Torpey, Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He spoke on "Beyond Recognition: Truth, Reparations, and the Armenian Genocide." He examined a number of cases of reparations claims-making in order to assess the propriety and prospects of reparations for the Armenian Genocide.

Dr. Alfred de Zayas, Professor of International law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy, could not be present. In his absence, Harut Sassounian read his paper on "The Armenian Genocide in the Light of the Genocide Convention." According to Prof. de Zayas, the U.N. Genocide Convention of 1948 can be applied retroactively because it is declarative of pre-existing international law. Logical consequences of the application of the Genocide Convention to the Armenian Genocide should be the return to the Armenian people the churches and other assets of historic and cultural significance, as well as granting a measureof compensation to the descendants of the victims of the Genocide.

It is noteworthy that in recent years, Turkish leaders, after cockily declaring that they are considering legal action in international courts against Armenians to disprove the reality of the Armenian Genocide, have quietly backed down realizing that they may end up losing such a lawsuit. It was, therefore, not surprising that Turkish Consulate officials in Los Angeles initially contacted USC symposium organizers last week indicating their interest in attending the conference. Regrettably, according to highly reliable sources, U.S.

officials blocked the attendance of the Turkish diplomats. Now that this groundbreaking symposium has taken place, it is up to political leaders in Armenia and the Diaspora to carefully study the materials presented at this conference by international legal experts in order to seriously consider the steps that could be taken to seek redress for the Armenian Genocide in national and international courts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

10 more days

I got a call from Haygazyan late last night to tell me that the electrical wiring and meters have been installed and all that is left now is the turn on the switch, but there is something holding things up in terms of paperwork.

I gave Ernist, the Governor of Kashatagh a call and he said that all that is left now is the agreements with the owners of the houses needing service to be signed and that process is not one he can sped up and said it will take 10 days. As a man of his word, I have no reason to doubt him, since he promised 2 months to get the power to the village and he made good on that. With that said, September 23rd or 24th is our target date for turning on the switch.

I invited Ernist to join us to celebrate this accomplishment, which came about from a collective effort from many people, he in the end being the most instrumental, even though it is his job.

As for the tractor fund, donations are trickling in. We received two more donations, of $100 and $50. This brings us up to $880. I’m so confident that we will reach our goal, that I have advanced the balance of the money needed, since the tractor that Armen found for Haygazyan was going to be sold to someone else if we didn’t pay for it yesterday, thus it’s been delivered and we won’t have to look around at the last minute for a tractor, like we did with the electrical generators last winter, which we were unable to find.

If there is anyone that is in Armenia and would like to join us on the day we light Haygazyan and the surrounding villages, and see the look on the faces of the people who had lost hope they would ever see this day and then sit down to a meal together, please e-mail me at: haygazyan@snff.org to let me know your interested so we can make arrangements for your getting there on that day.

THE MOST LONG-LIVED PRIME MINISTER OF KARABAKH LEAVES

Lragir.am
11 Sept 2007

Yesterday the NKR government held an enlarged meeting in which Anushavan Danielyan addressed the members of government. He pointed to the achievements of his government, in particular the GDP has tripled, he said. "The budget now is 70 billion drams compared with 20 billion in 1999. ...The average salary rose almost five, and the retirement benefit rose 4.8 times. In 1999 public revenues totaled 1 billion 600 million, now public revenues total 7 billion 300 million. It should be noted that the progress was enabled by the economic and structural reforms adopted by the government," the Azat Artsakh Newspaper reported.

Anushavan Danielyan was appointed prime minister of NKR in a dramatic period for the country, during the clash between Arkady Ghukasyan and Samvel Babayan. He managed to sustain political stability and improved the economy. The economists can give a professional evaluation of what Anushavan Danielyan did or failed to do but it should be noted that for 7 years pensions and salaries have almost never been delayed, and the quality of life has improved. The mentioned disadvantages are the unfavorable tax administration and the lack of confidence in work with the Diaspora, karabakh-open.com reported.

The new president of NKR Bako Sahakyan accepted the resignation of the government and appears unlikely to reappoint Anushavan Danielyan as prime minister.


####

Some of his less talked about accomplishments were he allowed most of our walnut tress to be chopped down for a factory he had an interest in, he didn’t increase the population to 300,000 like he said he would be 2005, he didn’t repay all the money he approved to be barrowed by “business ventures” that he ended up getting a cut from that in 2001 alone his share was over $500,000, and which many of said ventures defaulted on their loans, this just to mention a few things that come to mind.

I can only hope that Bako will appoint a Prime Minister who will be thinking more about the people than himself.

My mother-in-law things very highly of Bako and I myself have not hear nor come across anything bad about him, so many Artsakh is finally maturing and our government for the next 5 years will be working for what is best for our people. Time will tell.

I can tell you think, I and many others sure won't be missing Anoushavan.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

NAGORNO-KARABAKH PRESIDENT ACCEPTED GOVERNMENT'S RESIGNATION

ARKA News Agency, Armenia
10/09/2007 14:30

YEREVAN, September 10. /ARKA/. Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Saakyan accepted the government's resignation on Saturday.

Presidential press office told ARKA News Agency on Monday that ministers will keep fulfilling their duty until a new government composition.

According to the press release, the president signed a decree relieving Keren Baburyan, the head of presidential staff, from duty.

By another decree, the president appointed Marat Musaelyan to this post.

Musaelyan was born in 1957 in Stepanakert. He graduated from Stepanakert Pedagogical Institute.

After completing his military service, Musaelyan worked at various responsible posts.

In 1992, he completed a post-graduate course in Russia's Governance Academy and earned Ph Dr degree.

Musaelyan worked in Armenian Defense Ministry's system from 1992 to 1995.

From 1995 to 2007, he worked at Armenian National Security Service. He is colonel.

Nako Saakyan won presidency on July 19, 2007. About 64% of those eligible to vote supported his candidacy in these elections.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A little bit of music for your review

For those of you who are interested in hearing a couple more of Nick’s songs, you can click in the links below to be redirected to a site that I’ve uploaded a couple of them.

Candle of my Soul

Hard to say Goodbye

For those of you who would like to give feedback, I’m sure Nick would be interested to hear what people living outside of Armenia think of his music.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A little bit closer to our goal

My hope is not fading, but in the last few days, we have only had a couple more contributions to the loan fund that will be used to get the village of Haygazyan a much needed tractor.

I’m not sure if this is because people are on vacation and not checking their e-mails, surfing the net or are just tapped out?

Anyway, like I said before, it really does not matter how much you give, it’s just a matter of participating, even if that means just $1. The idea is that we send a message to the people of Kashatagh that we know that they are living in less than favorable conditions and we are standing behind them to make sure they succeed.

Of course for all of you who know me, you know that if we are not able to raise this small amount of money, I’ll personally cover whatever we come up short.

For those of you who have not yet forwarded our original call to action, if you believe that it is the right thing to help out our brothers and sisters who are holding down the fort on Kashatagh, please cut and past the call to action into an e-mail and send it off to everyone you know.

And for those of you who are interested in making a contribution, there are two ways to make your tax-deductible donation. The first and quickest is by clicking on the donation button below.








The second way is to send your tax-deductible donation, payable to:
The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc.
3727 West Magnolia Blvd., Suite 215
Burbank, CA 91505 USA

As always, our program, which we would love for you to be a part of, will be documented on video and most probably will be televised, at very least, on Artsakh Television and YouTube. It will also hopefully be picked up by some other stations around the world.

Please forward this message on to everyone you know.

The more people that participate in economic development of Kashatagh, the sooner the suffering of our brothers and sisters there will stop and the stronger our hold will be on this strategic territory which we spilled blood and gave lives to liberate. It is also the life-line that connects Artsakh with Armenia.

A healthy Kashatagh means a a healthy and secure Artsakh.

The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc. is a California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Please consult your personal accountant for the tax value to your specific situation.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

International Star… An Armenian success story in the making

For those of you who have been reading Martuni or Bust since 2005, you should remember my logs about a 17-year-old musical genius named Nick.

Nick and my wife were admitted in the Gomidas Music Conservatory together that year and thanks to my wife taking our video camera to class one day, I saw first hand a spur-of-the-moment performance of her classmates, the one most talented I thought was Nick. You can revisit the logs that mention Nick here, here and here.

Anyway, earlier this summer, Nick auditioned and was accepted to a show on Armenia TV Company which is a Tata Production called “International Star”.

As of now, it looks as Nick is the most popular of the 16 remaining contestants, this is based on how many votes he has from the public and word has it that Tata himself is very impressed with Nick and his talents.

video

Last weekend, Nick preformed to crowd of 50,000 people. It was one of his best performances so far. And just to you fully understand Nick’s talent, the performance you are watching above is live. No lip-syncing. This is the real thing!

Nick asked me to thank our readers who believed in him and made contributions to securing him a computer and recording equipment that made it possible for him to produce his original English language songs. This is one of the main reasons why Nick has been able to, in a very short period of time, professionally record 27 of his songs which thanks to the assistance of my mother, he also has secured copyrights for.

As for what awaits Nick, if you ask me, the sky is the limit and I really don’t see anything stopping him from becoming a real international star.

As of now since we have his copyrights in place, once this contest is over, we will be submitting his materials to one of the largest music groups in America. I’m not going to reveal right now how I was able to make contact with them and I’m not talking about some talent scout, but I’m talking about what I can only describe as God’s intervention that I was given the opportunity to correspond with one of the top executives who told me, though they don’t accept unsolicited materials, for me they will make an exception. And the back up plan is again from what I can only call another act of God’s finger being in it, I again was given an opportunity just yesterday to write about Nick to an artist who is signed with the same music group and has his own record label to boot, who is willing to listen and review Nick’s materials.

Anyway, not to say that winning this contest will determine Nick’s future, but if he does win (which I really think he has a very good chance of doing so), it will certainly be a great start to a career he has been working almost his whole life to ascertain and a real success story that I'm very happy we were able to be a part of.

One other thing we are now kicking around is for Nick to give a charity concert in Stepangert, where the proceeds will go to help to finance our economic development projects in Kashatagh.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Robert Fisk Helps Bring to Surface One More Facet of Armenian Foreign Minister Oskanyan's Political Persona

By Appo Jabarian
Executive Publisher/Managing Editor
USA Armenian Life Magazine

appojabarian@gmail.com


Robert Fisk, the British journalist who has written extensively on the Armenian Genocide, recently wrote an article titled "The Forgotten Holocaust" (The Independent, August 28, 2007). Fisk's lengthy article touched upon the Armenian Genocide and its relationship to today's Armenia and the Diaspora.

While some Armenian activists have debated whether to keep silent, abstain from attacking or outright criticizing Fisk, this writer saw it appropriate to publicly thank him for his stand regarding the veracity of the Armenian Genocide. At the same time, however, I want to underscore my disagreement with him on some of the points he raised.

One of the most interesting issues raised in Fisk's article was the Artsakh (Karabagh) Liberation War.

Interestingly, despite being a journalist who is very knowledgeable about history, Fisk chooses to overlook the fact that Artsakh and Nakhichevan along with other Armenian territories were separated from Armenia by Josef Stalin, the infamous Soviet dictator. In 1921, Stalin arbitrarily carved huge chunks of lands out of the 1918-1920 independent Republic of Armenia and gave them to the then artificially created Republic of Azerbaijan, to his native Georgia and to Kemalist Turkey.

Fisk also wrote, "But I sensed some political problems up at the Yerevan museum - international as well as internal. While many Armenians acknowledge that their countrymen did commit individual revenge atrocities - around Van, for example - at the time of the genocide, a heavy burden of more modern responsibility lies with those who fought for Armenia against the Azeris in Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s. This mountainous region east of the Armenian state saw fierce and sometimes cruel fighting in which Armenians massacred Turkish Azeri villagers. The Independent was one of the newspapers that exposed this."

Did Fisk run out of space in his article or simply did not have enough time to investigate and write about the "more modern" mass murders by Azeri Turks of defenseless innocent Armenians in Azerbaijan's Sumgait and Baku regions in late 1980's?

Fisk added, "Yet when I arrive at the massive genocide memorial next to the museum, I find the graves of five 'heroes' of the Karabakh war. Here lies for instance, Musher 'Vosht' Mikhoyan, who was killed in 1991, and the remains of Samuel 'Samo' Kevorkian, who died in action in 1992. However upright these warriors may have been, should those involved in the ghastly war in Karabakh be associated with the integrity and truth of 1915? Do they not demean the history of Armenia's greatest suffering? Or were they - as I suspect - intended to suggest that the Karabakh war, which Armenia won, was revenge for the 1915 genocide? It's as if the Israelis placed the graves of the 1948 Irgun fighters - responsible for the massacres of Palestinians at Deir Yassin and other Arab villages - outside the Jewish Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem near Jerusalem."

Fisk raises a valid point about the inappropriateness of the burial site of the remains of liberation war's Armenian heroes. However, he needs to dig deeper into the psyche of the genocide-surviving Armenians. It is only then that he will realize that there is no "revenge for the 1915 genocide," but a basic human right to live and to defend the common dignity and well being. Today's Armenians in Artsakh, Armenia proper and the Diaspora are no less focused on the importance of self-defense than their Vanetsi, Sisetsi, Zeituntsi, Mushetsi, Sassountsi, Musa Lertsi fighter-ancestors. They know too well the value of genocide-preventing war of liberation. They also know the difference between determined resistance in southern Artsakh and passive surrender in northern Artsakh.

Fisk also helped bring to the surface yet one more facet of Armenian foreign minister's political persona. He wrote about his conversation with Mr. Vartan Oskanyan: "There is debate in Yerevan today as to why the Diaspora Armenians appear to care more about the genocide than the citizens of modern-day Armenia. Indeed, the Foreign minister of Armenia, Vartan Oskanyan, actually told me that 'days, weeks, even months go by' when he does not think of the genocide. One powerful argument put to me by an Armenian friend is that 70 years of Stalinism and official Soviet silence on the genocide deleted the historical memory in eastern Armenia - the present-day state of Armenia. Another argument suggests that the survivors of western Armenia - in what is now Turkey - lost their families and lands and still seek acknowledgement and maybe even restitution, while eastern Armenians did not lose their lands. Demoyan [Direcotor the Genocide Museum in Yerevan] disputes all this."

To date, Oskanian has not disputed any portion of the content of Fisk's article. Therefore, his silence raises some questions.

How can one represent the republic that exists on the 50% of the territories of its predecessor: Armenia of 1918-1920 (Eastern Armenia) with 60,000 sq. km., and ignore its territorial claims? Today’s Armenia is a tiny 29,000 sq. km., not including the liberated 15,000 sq. km. of Artsakh.

How can one reconcile Oskanyan’s claim of "deleted historical memory in Eastern Armenia," when in fact only last year nearly 90% of the Armenians participating in a public opinion poll in the same Eastern Armenian lands of Armenia and Artsakh and presented demands on genocide recognition by Turkey? A whopping 70% stated that they would not settle for anything less than the return of the Turkish-occupied lands of Western Armenia.

Did Mr. Oskanyan “conveniently” forget the indignation that he caused a few months ago in Armenia, Artsakh, and the Diaspora, when he expressed willingness to “hand” the liberated Armenian Karvadjar in Artsakh to Azerbaijan?

Oskanyan has been Foreign Minister for too long, without having achieved any substantial gains for Armenia. Furthermore, Armenia squandered away many valuable opportunities for diplomatic gains in the international arena and even sustained self-inflicted damages thanks to Mr. Oskanyan's mishandling of several cases at the United Nations and elsewhere. It is absurd that the foreign minister of a land-liberating state - Armenia - mislabels the liberated Armenian lands as "occupied" territories. Mr. Oskanyan has done just that!

Isn't it time for a change? The political landscape is shifting. We need more proactive leaders in Armenia. Selling the phone grid and the electrical grid to Russia cannot be construed as sound strategy. Fortunately, the people are ahead of the politicians on most issues. Time will install the will of the people and their demands.

Retribution and restitution is still our rallying cry. Those with amnesia need to fortify their spines by digging deeper into the calamity that decimated the Armenian Nation. Nothing less is acceptable.

Slow and Steady

Well in the last couple of days we have received what I would call a decent response to our call our for participation of lending a helping hand to the people of Kashatagh.

I don’t know if the goal I’ve set for raising the money in 10 days will materialize, but considering that only 3 days has passed since the calling has been put out and people are on vacation around this time of year, I would say that $580 so far is not a bad start.

I received an e-mail from one of our readers who made a contribution and they wanted to know if just giving a tractor is enough and how are the people in Haygazyan going to afford fuel, seeds and fertilizers?

Well I don’t have the answer to those questions, but can say that many of the families living in Haygazyan are employed in the school and a good number of them also have family living in Armenia or in the Diaspora, so I’m sure if they know that there is a good chance they will have a return on their investment, they will find the money somewhere. The government also gives loans for fuel, seed and fertilizer, though from what I remember, it never quite seems to be enough, though I think it usually comes up short when you have to pay for the farming equipment. So by the village owning the equipment, that should make working the land more viable.

As for how fertile the land in Haygazyan is, a few months ago when I visited, Armen showed me the harvest of hay. Since the village does not have any farming equipment, they had to bring in equipment to do the cutting and bundling from Goris. The only deal they could get anyone to agree to was that the village gets 10% of the harvest, which came out to 1,500 bales of hay, while the equipment owners ended up haling away 13,500 bales, which in today’s market has a value of 6,750,000 dram or for those in the West, $20,150.

Now this is not to say that the little $3,000 tractor will be able to cut and bundle 15,000 bales, but even if they only were able to do half that, were still looking at a gross of a little more than $11,000, which in Armenia terms is very good and should bring work to those in the village who are not working in the school and are sitting at home wondering what they will do to feed their families.

Anyway, if you have not yet made your contribution to the start of economic development in Kashatagh, here is your chance.

There are two ways to make your tax-deductible donation. The first and quickest is by clicking on the donation button below.








The second way is to send your tax-deductible donation, payable to:
The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc.
3727 West Magnolia Blvd., Suite 215
Burbank, CA 91505 USA

As always, our program, which we would love for you to be a part of, will be documented on video and most probably will be televised, at very least, on Artsakh Television and YouTube. It will also hopefully be picked up by some other stations around the world.

Please forward this message on to everyone you know.

The more people that participate in economic development of Kashatagh, the sooner the suffering of our brothers and sisters there will stop and the stronger our hold will be on this strategic territory which we spilled blood and gave lives to liberate. It is also the life-line that connects Artsakh with Armenia.

A healthy Kashatagh means a a healthy and secure Artsakh.

The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc. is a California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Please consult your personal accountant for the tax value to your specific situation.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

$300 Raised for the Farming Equipment Loan Fund

I received a pledge from one of our readers in Glendale for $100. This brings us up to $300, which is 10% of what we need to secure a loan for the Village of Haygazyan to purchase a tractor so they will not have to depend on renting one to cultivate their land.

The person who pledged the $100 asked the question of why this will be a loan and not a gift?

When we went to Haygazyan in the winter, Armen the mayor, who was one of the freedom fighters who liberated Southern Kashatagh, objected to our wanting to pass out money to the families under his governorship.

He said that up until that time, Haygazyan had not received any real assistance from the government or Disapora and he didn’t want those who remained to become dependent on handouts as that type of aid only promotes laziness and reduces ones motivation to work hard to take care of ones family.

At that time Armen convinced me that instead of giving money to the families, we give them small electrical generators so they will be able to light their houses at night, listen to the radio and charge their cell phones (for those who were able to afford to have such a luxury). We attempted to do this, but due the us not being able to find 16 generators, we reverted to go back to the original plan and gave money.

At the same time and as a compromise for us passing out cash that would most probably be gone in no time, I promised to help promote non-depended economic development, which means that we help them get on their feet, but not with a hand-out, but with investors or low/no-interest loans so they could develop their natural resources so they would be able to profit from them and have an incentive to stay on their land.

So once again, for the next 10 days I will be beating the participation drum, not because I don’t have the money myself to loan to Haygazyan, but because this is a form of giving an opportunity to those who last year took the time to sign the petition written to the government demanding change and the government responded with the change we asked for. Now I would hope that those who signed that petition will literally put their money where their mouth is and participate in developing Kashatagh so that next, time if there is a problem with what we complained about in our petition, the people living in Kashatagh who should be economically secure, can resolve those issues with their own powerful voice, the voice of those who pay taxes and the salaries of the ones serving in government.

Okay, for those of you who agree with what is written above, take the time to bring us closer to our goal of $3,000, which will be used to provide a no-interest loan to the very deserving villages of Haygazyan and bring them one step closer to being economically stronger than they are today.

There are two ways to make your tax-deductible donation. The first and quickest is by clicking on the donation button below.








The second way is to send your tax-deductible donation, payable to:
The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc.
3727 West Magnolia Blvd., Suite 215
Burbank, CA 91505 USA

As always, our program, which we would love for you to be a part of, will be documented on video and most probably will be televised, at very least, on Artsakh Television and YouTube. It will also hopefully be picked up by some other stations around the world.

Please forward this message on to everyone you know.

The more people that participate in economic development of Kashatagh, the sooner the suffering of our brothers and sisters there will stop and the stronger our hold will be on this strategic territory which we spilled blood and gave lives to liberate. It is also the life-line that connects Artsakh with Armenia.

A healthy Kashatagh means a a healthy and secure Artsakh.

The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc. is a California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Please consult your personal accountant for the tax value to your specific situation.

Another Kashatagh Success Story... Haygazyan soon to have ELECTRICITY!!!

For all of you who have been following Martuni or Bust since the beginning of the year, you will remember our benevolent project, called Hand-To-Hand, that the Shahan Natalie Family Foundation carried out.

If you recall, we had a great success in providing monetary relief for 16 families, many of whom had liberated and settled in the villages of Haygazyan and Hale, which are located in Southern Kashatagh (Lachin). We also succeeded in drawing attention to the condition that the forgotten sentries of our homeland were facing in print media and television. At that time they had for 9 years endured inhuman living conditions, including no electricity and a lack of public transportation. These conditions were a direct result of high-level corruption.

Well, since we gave a helping hand to the people of Haygazyan, I’ve been advocating change for them in the form of direct dialogue with the new Governor of Kashatagh (the old Governor was expelled after pressure from the Diaspora to remove him).

Now after 8 months, the wait is over. A couple of months ago, I had a face to face meeting with the Governor and informed him that the time for talk is over and it’s now time for action. Haygazyan, Hale and the neighboring villages needed to have electricity installed and I needed a deadline. He assured me that in the next couple of month they would have it.

I just got off the phone with Armen, the mayor of Haygazyan, and he told me that power has arrived to the edge of the village. Within the next 10 days the wiring in the villages will be completed and the light at the end of this tunnel is in sight.

Now that it looks as though Haygazyan and Hale are off the list of territories that will be part of the negotiations with Azerbaijan and due to their having electricity, many of the 100+ families that left will return.

Our next helping hand is needed for economic development so the people of Haygazyan can utilized their natural resources to become self-sufficient.

Here is your next call to help build a stronger Kashatagh.

The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation is soliciting your tax-deductible contributions for a no-interest short-term loan program that will give loans to villages such as Haygazyan for the purchase of farming equipment.

If you recall in the video that was on Artsakh Television, Haygazyan and the surrounding villages have no farming equipment. They have to depend on tractors from Goris, which are not always available when they are really needed.

To make them more self-sufficient, and at the request of Armen, the mayor of Haygazyan, they are in need of a $3000 loan (he asked for a loan and not a gift) to purchase a small tractor that they can use to cultivate their very fertile land. I’ve already secured one donation from a reader in Detroit for $200, so all we need now is $2,800.

The loan, which will be interest-free, will mature in 2 years and that money will be used again as another interest-free loan to a village in need of farming equipment.

Our goal right now is $3,000 (if we raise more, we can help more villages). I’m hoping we can raise the $3,000 in the next 10 days, so when our group of people who visited in January return to Haygazyan for the lighting of the village ceremony, at the same time we can also deliver to their tractor. Not only will they then be able to see what they have on the dinner table at night, but they will have something to put on the table that they produced with their own sweat.

Remember, it’s not only up to us to talk about how we need to keep Kashatagh and stand by our brothers and sisters who are holding down the fort from hostile neighbors; but it’s our responsibility to lend them a helping hand so they can stand strong and have an incentive to defend our homeland from those who are talking about taking our land by force.

100% of the money collected goes to this program and none of the money collected is used on administrative fees. Also keep in mind that every penny counts and even if all you can afford is $1, that too will make a difference.

There are two ways to make your tax-deductible donation. The first and quickest is by clicking on the donation button below.








The second way is to send your tax-deductible donation, payable to:
The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc.
3727 West Magnolia Blvd., Suite 215
Burbank, CA 91505 USA

As always, our program, which we would love for you to be a part of, will be documented on video and most probably will be televised, at very least, on Artsakh Television and YouTube. It will also hopefully be picked up by some other stations around the world.

Please forward this message on to everyone you know. The more people that participate in economic development of Kashatagh, the sooner the suffering of our brothers and sisters there will stop and the stronger our hold will be on this strategic territory which we spilled blood and gave lives to liberate. It is also the life-line that connects Artsakh with Armenia. A healthy Kashatagh means a a healthy and secure Artsakh.

The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc. is a California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Please consult your personal accountant for the tax value to your specific situation.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE?

By Monk Koryun Baghdasarian, Member of the Jerusalem Srbots Hakobeants Congregation

AZG Armenian Daily #158
01/09/2007


Armenian Genocide

People often come across with the words "the Youth Turks", "the Ottoman Turks" in the press, mass media reports, in the announcements of Armenian and foreign state officials, who condemn the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide. Moreover, the country that is responsible for the Armenian Genocide often is mentioned "the Ottoman Turkey" or "the Ottoman Empire", but not Turkey.

Here we can raise an important question: can we separate the Young Turks from the Turkish nation and the Ottoman Turkey from the present Republic of Turkey.

The Jewish people separate Nazis from the whole nation of Germans, and think that Nazis are responsible for the Holocaust, but not the whole German nation. The basis of that thinking is that most of the Germans were not even aware of the genocide happening by their side.

However, what is the reason that does not let us the Young Turks regard as the only responsible for the Armenian Genocide.

Of course, there are similarities between the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, but each of them has its own peculiarities. The following peculiarities prohibit Armenians to recognize the Youth Turks as the only responsible for the Armenian Genocide:

As compared with the Armenian Genocide, one of the reasons of the Holocaust was the fact of being non-Aryan nation. Moreover, the Germans always regarded Jews as threats in their financial and economical spheres. The Jewish Holocaust did not happen in their motherland, while the Armenian Genocide has been committed in the historical land of the Armenian people: in their motherland, where the Armenian nation was formed and developed, where the Armenian people created a civilization and a culture of a universal value.

The Armenian Genocide was not a result of an ideology.

The Turks killed the right of an ancient nation to live safe in its own motherland.

Most of the Turks in cooperation with the Kurds, who believed in the promises of the Turks, committed the Armenian Genocide. The little percentage of the Turks, who didn't participate in it, later seized and captured all the property and belongings of the Armenian people.

It's worth to mention that as compared with the Holocaust the Armenian Genocide is not recognized and condemned yet. Moreover, the Turks not only deny the Armenian Genocide, but also try to distort the historical events and present themselves as the victims of a so-called genocide by Armenians.

In the period of the 92 years' denial Turks destroy the Armenian historical, cultural and religious tracks, the Armenian churches and monasteries.

Today's Turks do not differ from the Ottoman Turks, and the Kemalist-Republican Turkey from the Ottoman Empire. Even today, Turkey is ready to attack and tear to pieces its victim and finish its unfinished work.

The following facts can prove the above-mentioned: Turkish invasions of the I Republic of Armenia from 1918-1920, the 13 Turkish divisions' allocation in the entire length of the border of the Soviet Armenia during the World War II, ready to attack Armenia, death of 37.000 Armenians from Istanbul in the so-called construction of the roads in Erzerum, the accumulation of the Turkish armed forces in the length of the border of the Republic of Armenia in 1992, the murder of the Chief editor of "Agos" Hrant Dink, etc.

Taking into consideration the above-mentioned, we have no right to separate the Youth Turks from the whole Turkish nation until they deny the Armenian Genocide

MOTHER SELLS NEWLY BORN BOYS

Panorama.am
18:19 31/08/2007


Armenian general prosecutor's office has investigated a criminal case on sale and purchase of newly born children. Resident of Tavush region J. Khemchyan has delivered a boy baby in Ijevan hospital in December, 2004 and has sold him for $800 a few days later. It was found out that Khemchyan also delivered a baby in 2006 and sold the child again in a few days.

Armenian general prosecutor's office says arrest has been applied as a pretrial measure against Khemchyan and her accomplices. The investigation continues to take measures to discover all the circumstances of the case and to detect the persons guilty.