California Courier Online, April 8, 2004

California Courier Online, April 8, 2004

1 – Commentary
No Meetings with Turkish Diplomats
In April or Any Other Month

By Harut Sassounian
California Courier Publisher
2 – Mashdots College Hosts
Exhibit of Paintings
3 – Apo Torosyan’s Documentary
To be Shown on Horizon TV
4 – Canadian Publisher Releases Two
New Books From Prof. Shirinian
5 – AEF Accepting Applications
For Tufenkian Scholarships
6 – Major Aram Sarafian Will
Speak at April 16 Meeting
1 – Commentary

No Meetings with Turkish Diplomats
In April or Any Other Month

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

The Turkish Vice Consul in Los Angeles asked me if I would be interested in
meeting this week with a visiting high-ranking diplomat, Amb. Ecvet Tezcan,
who is the Director of the Dept. of Intelligence and Research at the
Foreign Ministry of Turkey.
I turned down the invitation just as I had done last June when I was first
asked to meet with this same diplomat. In my opinion, the Turkish
government’s real intent is not dialogue, but creating a false impression
with European and American officials that Turkey is trying to resolve its
differences with Armenians. The Turks hope this deceptive effort would help
remove one of the many obstacles on their path to joining the European
Last year, when several major Armenian-American organizations met with Amb.
Tezcan in New York and Los Angeles, I expressed a similar concern. As
expected, that fake experiment in dialogue ended in failure. Just one month
after meeting with Amb. Tezcan, the Armenian Assembly of America sent him a
terse letter complaining that recent statements made and actions taken by
the government of Turkey “stand in sharp contradiction to the tone and
substance of our earlier meeting. They raise serious doubts about the goals
of your country’s policies. We would therefore welcome the Turkish Foreign
Ministry’s clarification on these apparently conflicting attitudes in order
to justify future exchanges on the issues that divide us.”
Last week, Amb. Tezcan flew to the United States hoping to meet again with
various Armenian organizations in New York and Los Angeles. This time,
though, the Armenian Assembly refused to meet with him, indicating that it
would be inappropriate to hold such a meeting during the month of April,
when Armenians are commemorating the Genocide. The Armenian Assembly
proposed to meet with him after April, but only after the two sides
“critically assess what has transpired” since their meeting last year.
“Dialogue without results is not in anyone’s interest… we need to lay out
our objectives prior to meeting,” the Assembly told Amb. Tezcan.
In order not to appear divided on this most significant issue, I hope that
other Armenian organizations, particularly those that met with Amb. Tezcan
last year, turn down the invitation this time around, refusing to meet with
him not just in April, but during all the other months of the year, until
the Turkish government decides to carry out an honest dialogue with

L.A. Weekly Publishes Second Apology

After a meeting with several representatives of Armenian organizations and
receiving e-mails from scores of readers complaining that the first apology
they had published was not satisfactory, the L.A. Weekly printed this week
a letter from a reader as well as a second apology.
In its February 20-26 issue, the Associate Calendar Editor of the Weekly
had inserted the words “No Armenians allowed” in the announcement for a
multi-ethnic, inter-faith concert in Los Angeles. The first apology,
published in the Feb. 27-March 4 issue, had stated that “the brief
commentary was intended solely as a joke, we recognize it may have offended
some readers. For that, we are truly sorry.”
In its April 2-8 issue, the Weekly published a letter from Dr. Arbi Ohanian
of Los Angeles who qualified the Associate Calendar Editor’s remarks as
“racist” and demanded her dismissal. He also asked for the publication of a
“thorough and appropriate apology to the Armenian community.”
After this letter, in a second apology, the publishers stated that the
employee in question, “who had a long history of good service at the paper,
did not set out to offend Armenians or any other group of people. She is
horrified that anyone would take the phrase ‘No Armenians allowed’
seriously.” “But,” the apology went on to say, “given the still-fresh
memories of the Armenian Genocide and acts of discrimination, we understand
the pain our words have caused and would like to apologize again to all who
were hurt by what was written. We recognize the importance of the
culturally vibrant and successful Armenian community, and look forward to
more positive relations in the future.”
It is now up to the vast army of Armenian-American lawyers and judges, and
more particularly, the Armenian Bar Association, to pronounce a
professional judgment as to whether this second apology is sufficient to
end this controversy or would they recommend legal action against the L.A.
Weekly due to the possible violation of the civil rights of the Armenian

Protests Against British Ambassador Continue

Last week, Armenian individuals and organizations from around the world
continued sending protest letters to the British Ambassador in Armenia,
Thorda Abbott-Watt, and to the British government for refusing to
acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Institute sent a
joint letter to Amb. Abbott-Watt, strongly castigating her and the British
In the first such protest of its kind, more than 200 Armenians gathered in
front of the British Consulate in Paris on April 3rd, demonstrating against
the British Ambassador’s and her government’s denial of the Armenian
Genocide. Armenian communities in various countries should consider holding
similar protests on April 24 in front of their local British Embassy or
In the meantime, please continue sending your e-mails to the British
Ambassador in Armenia: [email protected]; to Michael Jay, the
Under-Secretary and Head of the UK Diplomatic Service:
[email protected]; and to Prime Minister Tony Blair through the
following web site: (click
on select a subject, select “international affairs,” and then click on the
“go” button), asking the British government to withdraw its Ambassador as
she can no longer effectively carry out her diplomatic duties in Armenia.
Please send copies of your e-mails and any responses to the Armenian
Foreign Ministry ([email protected]) and to
[email protected].
To review articles and statements on this issue, please check the following
new web site:
2 – Mashdots College Hosts
Exhibit of Paintings

GLENDALE – The Mashdots College is sponsoring an exhibition of paintings
by renowned Diaspora artists, Simon Shahrigian, and Yervant Demirdjian,
April 16-18, at the Glendale Public Library.
Also on exhibit will be a collection of historical Armenian embroidery from
Van, Vasbouragan, Aintab, Kharpert, Ourfa, Dikranagerd, Joulfa, Yerevan, as
well as costumes, silverware, needle lace, crochet works and accessories
from the collection of Berg and Shake Hovaghimian.
The exhibit will also contain tri-dimensional and unique Armenian art works
by artist Hasmig Kldjian.
The opening reception will be held April 16, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Exhibit hours are Friday and Saturday, 12 noon to 8 p.m., and Sunday, from
1 to 5 p.m.
Admission is free.
For more information, call the College at (818) 548-9345.
3 – Apo Torosyan’s Documentary
To be Shown on Horizon TV
LOS ANGELES – Massachusetts artist Apo Torosyan’s memorable video,
“Discovering my Father’s Village” in Turkey, will be shown on Horizon
Television this month. Air time information can be obtained by calling
Asbarez, (818) 500-0609.
A second-generation genocide survivor, Torosyan is nationally known for his
“Bread Series” works of art which have been exhibited throughout the United
States and abroad.
The 30-minute video was filmed on a recent trip to Turkey in September
2003. Apo interviewed villagers and the last survivor in his family of the
genocide, and combined this footage with historic background, music and
scenes of abandoned Armenian homes to create a “poetic documentary.”
In the film, three witnesses, directly or indirectly talk about the
Armenian genocide of 1915-1923 and discrimination against Armenians in
One character in the movie is the artist’s 90-year-old aunt, Nazik. She
recalls the bloody events in which her relatives and other youngsters
around age 18 were killed by the government-organized bandits. In another
segment of the interview, she talks about the fact that gold and jewelry
the victims hid in their homes when they were forced to flee. The gold and
jewelry were found by the Turkish villagers when they moved into the
deserted homes.
The second witness is an elderly villager named Hamza. He talks about
recent economic hard times in the village. He speaks with gratitude of how
his parents and grandparents cashed in the gold and jewelry they found to
survive over the past 20-30 years.
The third character in the film is a local historian. At one point, he
talks about the bandits that existed in the area. At another point, he
shows today’s Turkish prejudgment and perspective about the history of
Armenians. He discusses history with no basis in fact, but with organized
“Discovering My Father’s Village” and “The Bread Series” on VHS and DVD
formats will be on sale at the “Sardarabad Bookstore in Glendale, (818)
4 – Canadian Publisher Releases Two
New Books From Prof. Shirinian
KINGSTON, Ont. Canada – Blue Heron Press announced last week the
publication of two books by Canadian Armenian writer Lorne Shirinian. The
first is an exciting new collection of plays, “This Dark Thing: Two One-Act
Plays,” and the second is “The Landscape of Memory: Perspectives on the
Armenian Diaspora.”
The two plays, This Dark Thing and Red Threads on White Cloth are an
exploration of the explosive forces that can lead to genocide and the need
for survivors to tell of their experience.
“I wanted to universalize the experience of the Armenian Genocide,”
Shirinian said about the first book. “I did this by placing the action of
the first play in a contemporary setting with non-Armenian characters. The
second play takes its thematic reference from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, in
which an attempt to silence a victim ultimately fails.”
The second play, Red Threads on White Cloth, is preceded by an introduction
by the author, who explains the thematic and symbolic antecedents of his
play. In the play, survivors of the Armenian Genocide talk about their
fate, their survival and their unsuccessful attempt to have their voices
and stories listened to and understood. The play dramatically highlights
the necessity to listen to the voices of victims of crimes against
Shirinian is Professor and Head of the Department of English at the Royal
Military College of Canada.
Addressing the second book, “The Landscape of Memory: Perspective on the
Armenian Diaspora,” Shirinian notes, “We are at a turning point in the
Armenian diaspora in North America. Identity, community and belonging are
all problematized and will continue to be. Furthermore, the traditional
elements of identity such as language, religion and our relationship to the
Genocide are already waning. In this collection of essays, I wanted to
explore these issues and what is at stake if the Armenian diaspora is to
have a future.”
In a wide-ranging series of insightful essays, Lorne Shirinian analyzes
various aspects of the Armenian diaspora as the titles indicate: The
Resettlement of Refugees after the Armenian Genocide with Special Reference
to Canada, Memory, Narrative, and the Construction of Identity in the
Armenian Diaspora, The Landscape of Memory, Armenian Orphan Survivors: The
Georgetown Boys, The Armenian Genocide and the Issue of Forgiveness, Being
a Writer in the Armenian Diaspora.
For more information about the books, contact Blue Heron Press, 160
Greenlees Drive, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7K 6P4; Tel: (613) 549-4334;
Fax: (613) 549-5318; Email: [email protected] or visit the website:

5 – AEF Accepting Applications
For Tufenkian Scholarships
GLENDALE – The Armenian Educational Foundation (AEF) is accepting
applications for Richard R. Tufenkian Scholarship for the 2004-2005
academic year.
The Richard R. Tufenkian Scholarship was established by Ralph and Savey
Tufenkian in memory of their son. Five $2,000 scholarships will be awarded
to Armenian undergraduate students at an accredited United States
colleges/universities. To qualify for this scholarship, students must be an
Armenian descent and have a minimum 3.0 GPA, show financial need, and be
actively involved in the Armenian community.
Students who meet the above criteria are invited to submit written requests
for applications to the AEF Scholarship Committee, 600 West Broadway, Suite
130, Glendale, CA 91204. Written requests for applications can also be
made by FAX (818) 242-4913 or E-Mail [email protected]. All completed
scholarship application packages must be postmarked no later than July 30,
2004. Applications are also available on
AEF was established in 1950 to achieve the following objectives: To render
financial assistance to Armenian educational institutions, irrespective of
their religious affiliation or denomination; To assist Armenian students in
acquiring higher education: To establish and to aid in the establishment of
Armenian educational institutions and cultural centers; To establish and to
aid in the establishment of Armenian courses of study and research
6 – Major Aram Sarafian Will
Speak at April 16 Meeting
LOS ANGELES – US Army Major Aram Sarafian will be one of the featured
speaker at an April 16 public meeting, at 7:30 p.m., at the Garabedian Hall
in Hollywood, jointly organized by the ARF Karekin Nejdeh and Papken Suni
Sarafian, of Falls Church, Virginia, serves as a Military Intelligence
Officer in the US Army reserves, with past service in Bosnia, Afghanistan
and Iraq. He is a longtime active member and supporter of Hai Tad, with
political activities which include interactions with congressmen and
senators. A graduate of the Duke University School of Law, he currently a
practicing attorney with the New York law firm, Kenyon & Kenyon. In
addition to a Masters in Economics from Duke University’s Graduate School,
he also holds a Master of Sciences in Computer Information Systems from
Boston University’s Brussels International Campus, in Belgium He is also
one of the founders of the Armenian National Committee of North Carolina,
and has served as its past chairman. He has also served on the board of
Directors of the Armenian National Committee, Eastern US Region.
In his message, Sarafian will explain what role young Armenian Americans
can play in serving this country and also be faithful in their obligations
to help Armenia and Armenians in general. As a third generation Armenian
born in America, Sarafian is a true role model who shows the depth of his
convictions to uphold the laws and requirements of this country and his
love and commitment to his Motherland.
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