ASBAREZ Online [07-02-2004]


1. Ferrahian Banquet Marks Four Decades of Achievement
2. Celebrating Parajanov’s 80th
3. Georgia Tightens Control over Ajaria
4. The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back
5. Lost in Translation or Just Simply Lost?
6. Sammy’s at It Again
7. False Alarm and A Shudder
8. The Power in Our Youth: Pilibos Class of ’05
9. Investing in Our
10. Greens Union Launches Efforts in Armenia
11. ‘Far From Home,’ But As Close As the Stereo
12. What Vartan Gregorian, Peter jennings, Yo-Yo Ma, Sir Michael Atiyah Have
in Common?
13. Next Time Your’e Thinking about A Belt of Dog Collar…
14. Week in Review
16. ED

1. Ferrahian Banquet Marks Four Decades of Achievement

BEVERLY HILLS Over 500 community members gathered at the Beverly Wilshire
on June 18, for the 40th anniversary banquet of Holy Martyrs Armenian
Elementary & Ferrahian High School, and raised upwards of $400,000.
The school’s finance committee organizes the banquet each year to raise funds
for tuition scholarships. In celebration of Ferrahian’s 40th anniversary
milestone, the finance committee along with the administration organized
several events honoring those who served the school throughout the years.
Friday’s banquet marked the culmination of celebrations; graduates from each
decade were honored along with administrators and board members who not only
provided years of service, but were integral in the school’s development and
continued success.
His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian presided over the evening’s
ceremonies. Dignitaries including the Consul General of the Republic of
Gagik Giragossian, ARF Central Committee Chairman Hovig Saliba,
from the offices of Sheriff Lee Baca, the Department of Homeland Security,
Congressman Brad Sherman, State Assemblywoman Carol Liu, Board of Regents and
Holy Martyrs Board of Trustees, as well as Homenetmen, Armenian Relief Society
and the Armenian Education Foundation Central Executive representatives.
In honor of the school’s 40th anniversary, Dick Cheney and the Secretary of
the US Department of Education Rod Paige forwarded congratulatory letters.
Cheney noted, “The faculty and staff of the Holy Martyrs Armenian Elementary
and Ferrahian High School can be proud of the important role they play in the
lives of the Armenian community in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley,
their efforts to provide our nation’s children with the education and
inspiration they need to pursue their dreams and lead responsible and
productive lives.”
Special commendation certificates were received from Los Angeles Mayor Jim
Hahn, Councilman Jack Weiss, and Los Angeles County Supervisors Michael
Antonovich, Zev Yaroslavsky, Don Knabe, Gloria Molina, and Yvonne B. Burke.
The formal program began with a greeting from the school’s finance committee,
delivered by 1993 graduate Ara Bedrosian, who spoke of the school’s
accomplishments and its central role in instilling cultural values and
educating a new generation of Armenian American leaders. “When we hear the
Ferrahian, we think of academic excellence,” said Bedrosian. “We think of
cultural pride, tradition, progress and enlightenment. Ferrahian is the oldest
Armenian daily school in the United States and today its alumni are lawyers,
judges, physicians, engineers, builders of nations, and the pride of their
The evening’s master-of-ceremonies Charly Ghailian, an ardent supporter of
school and a parent of several Ferrahian graduates, invited finance committee
chairman Arto Atmadjian, who spoke about Mateos Ferrahian and the hard work
dedication of the school’s first principal Gabriel Injejikian. He outlined the
accomplishments of the school and spoke about the bright future ahead.
Aida Baghdoian, who has served as the school’s accountant/treasurer for
20 years, was the recipient of the finance committee’s traditional recognition
award to an administration or faculty member.
Alumni from each decade were also honored for academic and professional
accomplishments. Honorees included Carnig Sarkissian from the 1960s, Judge
Keossian from the 1970s, Dr. Joe Ouzounian from the 1980s, Apik Minassian,
from the 1990s, and Stephanie Sarkissian from the 2000s.
As Holy Martyrs Ferrahian School’s Distinguished Graduate of the Year, Dr.
Garo Kassabian was honored for his success as a prominent plastic surgeon in
the greater Los Angeles area, and for his support of the school, and various
community organizations. The committee also honored Hacob Shirvanian and
Atmadjian who served the school as Board Members and were active in its
Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Principal John Kossakian and Chairman of the Board of
Regents Yeznig Kazanjian extended commendations to teachers and administrators
for their service and support to the community’s oldest Armenian day school.
They stressed the importance of Ferrahian’s mission of enhancing cultural
wealth and administering a quality education.
A special video presentation outlined the vision of Mateos Ferrahian, the
of Gabriel Injejikian, and the fairy-tale like story of the foundation of a
school which has become a cultural icon for Armenians around the world.
His Eminence Archbishop Mardirossian closed the official program with a
address recognizing the passing of one of Ferrahian’s most cherished faculty
members Eugenie Bedrossian, and encouraging all to extend both spiritual and
financial support for its future endeavors.

2. Celebrating Parajanov’s 80th

YEREVAN (Armenpress)Relatives and close friends of legendary filmmaker Sergey
Parajanov, arrived in Yerevan from Ukraine, Russia, Iran, and Georgia to
join a
series of celebrations that began on Thursday to mark the artist’s 80th
birthday. The events are part of the Golden Apricot International Film
that opened in Yerevan on June 30.
Director of the Parajanov Museum in Yerevan, Zaven Sarkisian, said the guests
will tour Parajanov’s favorite sites in Armenia. They will also have an
opportunity to watch a new documentary about the filmmaker’s life and career,
“I Died in Childhood…” The film, directed by Parjanov’s nephew Georgy
Parajanov, was recently featured at the 26th Annual Moscow International Film
Festival, as well as in the 2004 Cannes hors compétition. It displays
photos from Parajanov’s life: on movie sets, at home, in jail. The
narration is
a monologue, compiled from letters, notes, and only episode of his unfinished
screenplay for “Confession.”

3. Georgia Tightens Control over Ajaria

TBILISI (Eurasianet)Tbilisi has begun to tighten its control over the
territory of Ajaria, with the passage of a draft bill on Ajarian autonomy that
would allow Georgia’s president to disband the Supreme Council, the Ajarian
parliament, as well as the Ajarian prime minister’s cabinet. The prime
would be appointed by the Georgian president and approved by the Supreme
Council. The Georgian parliament would also be able to overwrite legislation
passed by the Ajarian legislature.
During the parliamentary debate, Republican Party deputy Ivliane Khaindrava
denounced the bill for imposing “direct [presidential] rule . . . has nothing
in common with [Ajaria’s] autonomous status,” Civil Georgia reported. The bill
was passed in its first reading on June 25.
In March, Ajaria’s president Aslan Abashidze declared a state of emergency
Ajarian defense forces appeared poised to clash with the Georgian military.
Abashidze unilaterally ruled Georgia’s western region of Ajaria for more than
a decade. But Saakashvili imposed an economic blockade that forced the Ajarian
leadership to back down, and recognize Tbilisi’s authority.
When Abashidze went into exile on May 6, and Ajaria came under direct
presidential rule, regional residents became concerned that Tbilisi may take
advantage of the transition period to curtail many of Ajaria’s “autonomous”

4. The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back

By Skeptik Sininkian

What would Americans think of a world leader who, years from now, during a
visit to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, placed a wreath on the grave of Ossama
Bin Laden? I doubt that there would be a single person who would be able to
justify the act, no matter how revered Bin Laden would be amongst his own
die-hard, fanatical followers. Well, I know how I would feelbecause last week,
President Bush traveled to Turkey and in an amazing display of spinelessness,
placed a wreath of flowers on the tomb of Mustafa Kemal, aka Ataturkthe father
of modern Turkey.
What’s going to follow isn’t Republican bashing because I think Senator Bob
Dole (retired Republican from Kansas) was one of the most intelligent,
articulate, and pro-Armenian leaders we have ever had. And had I been
writing a
column back when President Clinton and Hillary visited Turkey, I would have
some choice words for those two bumpkins as well. I’ll give all the
conservatives out there who read my column (all three of you) a few seconds to
breathe into a paper bag a few times, and then we’ll move on.
Now, I was never amongst the die-hard supporters of Gov. George W. Bush when
he was running for President. And after the whole Florida fiasco, I realized
that this is one cat on which we needed to keep a very close eye. After all,
the whole outcome of the 2000 election seemed a little too convenienteven
if he
had won by 5 or 500 votes. It just seemed strange. I also, never thought that
Bush was a terribly bright person. He was a mediocre student who had his
give him everything on a silver platter. Now, even if you ARE a Bush supporter
and can argue against these points until the cows come home, you can’t argue
with the last point: President Bush is one of the most unintelligent
we have ever allegedly elected.
How else do you explain him going to Istanbul (was Constantinople once) and
kowtowing to the Turkeya nation that refused to give Americans access to the
northern front in Iraq and attempted to extort BILLIONS of dollars from the US
in exchange for assistance they should have given to us at no cost. It
makes me
sick to my stomach to see an American President give so much attention to a
thug nation like Turkey. Turkey has contributed nothing to American
security in
the last fifteen years. Our airbases that are located in Turkey are more
beneficial to them than to us. And what good were those airbases during the
Iraq war?
Yet Bush still praised Turkey and promised to push for its acceptance into
European Union (EU). Of course Bush expects Turkey to be accepted into the EU
with him clearing the way; because that’s exactly how he has received
everything he has been ever given in lifefrom education to employment, from
major league baseball teams to his job in the White House. The same way Bush’s
father pressured folks at Yale University to accept his mental midget son
“Dubya” into one of the most prestigious academic institutions of the world,
Baby Bush expects to pressure Europe’s elite to welcome a human rights abuser
and economically irresponsible nation like Turkey, into one of the most elite
nation clubs in the world.
Someone please tell me, what was Bush thinking? I know he doesn’t read
newspapers for some ridiculous reason, but has no one in the State Department
informed him that Turkey didn’t lift a finger to help during his pre-planned
invasion of Iraq? Well, after reading briefings from White House officials,
answer is apparently “no.”
I read part of press gaggle by a Senior Administration Official aboard Air
Force One en route to Ankara, Turkey, and there were more than a few parts of
the gaggle that made me want to gag. My favorite quote is the following:
What a gem of a quote. Picking this statement apart is easier than arm
wrestling a five-year-old.
Turkey never worked out any “Europeanized” vision of itself especially one
where they drew a separation of mosque and state. If anyone questions this,
them simply visit eastern Turkey, where as recently as October 2000, a 300
year-old Assyrian Orthodox Church was converted into a Mosque (“300 years old
Church was converted to Mosque with one Petition,” Kurdish Observer October
2000.) But if remaining “true to its own national traditions” means that
has continued to oppress its minorities with draconian laws and regular
massacres, than maybe this official has a point. I just don’t get it. If
is such a model nation and such a great example of a secular democracy, then
why are people always trying to sell Turkey to the rest of the world? Wouldn’t
we see it for ourselves? When I read statements like the aforementioned, I
like I’m listening to a used car salesman give me his best pitch for a
lemonjust hoping that the new paint job will distract me from the fact the
of junk is missing tires and an engine.
Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Kurds, and all other minorities oppressed by
Turkish authorities, past or present, need to speak out against this outrage.
How much longer will American tax payers need to foot the bill of millions of
dollars of aid to Turkey and watch as they meddle with American interests. We
need to take a page out of the history of Jewish American activism and ensure
that Bush pays a political price for his misguided actions. In May 5, 1985,
after the late President Ronald Reagan visited a German military cemetery at
Bitburgwhere 49 of Adolf Hitler’s dreaded Waffen SS troops were buriedas a
gesture of reconciliation, Jewish Americans jammed the White House phone lines
with calls of protest. After his political faux pas, Reagan felt such heat
Jewish Americans that he pushed for the adoption of the UN Convention on the
Punishment and Prevention of Genocide in Congressonly a mere 37 years after it
was adopted by everyone else in the world. Was West Germany any less of an
during the Cold War than Turkey is in the Middle East Conflict? Exactly. So
is it that we, Americans, must take Bush’s faux pas sitting down? I don’t know
about you, but I, for one, plan on voting this November and it’s not going to
be for a Bush sequel or my name isn’t Skeptik.

[email protected].

5. Lost in Translation or Just Simply Lost?

By Skeptik Sininkian

Remember growing up watching those nature specials about the life of the lion
or the zebra where the narrator had a deep baritone voice? The ones where,
after a lingering shot of a bunch of lions in a huddle, the narrator would
finally chime in and say something like, “Simba, the dominant male, will
demonstrate his place amongst the pride by eating from the wildabeast carcass
first.” I miss those programs. Now that was reality television worth watching.
Now imagine a similar program about Armenians, especially Armenians living in
Glendale, California. Because, between you and me, Armenians in Glendale
deserve their own documentaryif for no other reason, so that other Armenians
visiting Glendale from other parts of the United States (i.e. Boston, New
Detroit, and Burbank) will understand the nature of this enigma wrapped in a
riddle, wrapped in a puzzle.
I don’t know why, but the more I think I understand my community, something
happens that completely confuses me to no end. Last week, my confusion was
compounded by the fact that a friend of mine from the east coast flew out
for a
visit. It was his first time in California and for the brief time he was out
here, I began to wonder about things that I had simply grown accustomed to.
instance, why do elderly Armenians choose to wear nothing but black while
crossing streets with no designated crosswalks in the middle of the night? If
you’ve ever driven in Glendale after the sun sets, then chances are you know
what I’m talking about. The worst part is that after you come to a screeching
halt, inches from making some poor dadig a hood ornament, they begin
yelling at
you, as if it’s your fault for not wearing US Marine issued night vision
equipment while driving at the designated speed limit on residential streets.
This mystery becomes more complex when you see how most of my young adult
compatriots drive. I’m not saying that Armenians are bad drivers. But a 16
old kid with highlighted hair, driving a 70,000 dollar German luxury car, or a
tricked-out (that means modified for anyone reading this who only understands
English) Japanese sports car? Yes, he is a bad, bad, bad driver who must sadly
suffer from dyslexia and misunderstands the “25 MPH” sign clearly posted for
public view. I shudder to think that they’re actually out there looking for
dadigs in black.
“It’s like driving in a video game,” commented my pale friend as his white
knuckled hand clenched the upper handle of my car door. “Don’t these people
follow traffic laws?”
“What? People drive worse in Italy and France!” I retorted in defense of my
precious Jewel City of Glendale. I responded without even turning to look
at my
petrified friend because I was avoiding a middle-aged Armenian mother
driving a
massive ten ton luxury SUV, who was pulling out of the Glendale Galleria
without signaling and giving everyone dirty looks for thinking they could have
the right of way. I slammed on the brakes to avoid another dadig who jumped
of nowhere, crossing the crosswalk illegally.
Apparently red is the color of progress in the former Soviet Union and means
“March Forward!” What was I thinking?
Driving in Glendale aside, let me present another mystery to you. My
Amerigahye (born in America) friend doesn’t speak Armenian very well. OK, let
me rephrase that. The Korean dry cleaner down the street from me knows more
Armenian than he does. But it never bothered me. I’ve never questioned his
Armenianness. But when I took him to a social gathering with mostly Armenians,
I couldn’t help but overhear comments to him like, “How come you don’t speak
Armenian if both your parents are Armenian?” Or, “Don’t you think you should
learn Armenian if you want to raise an Armenian family?” It was interesting to
hear these comments coming from people who couldn’t even name the villages in
historic Armenia that their grandparents came from, and whose idea of being an
active Armenian means not missing out on any Armenian social mixer on any
weekend. My friend on the other hand, has no access to such mixers in the city
where he lives, yet is always the first to forward an article pertaining to
Armenia or the Armenians whenever it is published. He forwards email action
alerts to me from the Armenian National Committee with such ferocity that I’ve
contemplated reporting him as sending spam. But poor soul, he can’t speak
Armenian. What difference does it make? None to me, as long as he’s informed
and active. I’d rather have ten friends like him than a gaggle of Armenian
speaking misanthropes talking about cars and money, in the tongue of Krikor
Naregatsi (Gregory of Nareg).
By the way, the same folks who complain about my friend’s inability to speak
Armenian, also complain about the Armenian Orthodox Church service being “out
of style” because it’s delivered in KraparClassical Armenian. So my activist
friend has to learn Armenian to gain acceptance by the socialites of LA, but
everyone else doesn’t have to learn “krapar” for eternal salvation. Maybe if I
think about it harder it might make sense. (Sigh).
Here’s another thing. My “whitewashed” friend can dance most traditional
Armenian dances and to the appropriate accompanying music. When I say he can
dance, I mean it. He can shoorch bar and Tamzara like there’s no tomorrow. You
should have seen the excited look on his face when I told him we were going to
an “Armenian” dancefollowed by the look of utter disappointment when we
got there. He stood there in silence, staring at the sea of Armenians flailing
their arms in random patterns by themselves on the dance floorto music with
Arabic and Persian techno beats. I wish I had taken a before and after photo.
He looked like a kid who was promised a hamburger for lunch, expecting to have
McDonald’s, but was then given a kufte sandwich in pita bread with Tahini
sauce. By the way, this was my mother’s version of the home made “Big Mac”
I was growing up. True story.
There are many other things that I look at now and can’t understand. Like,
is it a deadly sin for an Armenian child to contemplate moving out of the
before the age of thirty, or going to college somewhere further than an hour
drive from Glendale/home? Or as my friend put it, “Why do Armenian parents
dress like rejects from the “Sopranos” when going out in public?” He commented
on this when we saw a coupleman wearing a baby blue velvet jogging suit, and
wife in leopard print tube top and black tightspicking their child up from
school. By the way, my friend is from New Jersey, so I don’t question his
ability to recognize mafia look-alikes.
These are things that we take for granted because we live with it every day.
And perhaps, I’ve been a little harsh on my compatriots yet again. But when
seen through the eyes of an outsider, it does beg questioning. I know there’s
something out there that really bothers you. Maybe you’ve complained about it
to a few friends, but never publicly, because you’re afraid of seeming elitist
or prejudiced. Here’s your chance. Email me and tell me what your pet peeves
are, and I’ll bring them for discussion in this column. Until next time, keep
on truckin’ but watch the road for random dadigs.

[email protected]

6. Sammy’s at It Again

By Garen Yegparian

No, it’s not Sosa; so don’t expect discussion on broken baseball records any
time soon. Today it’s Samuel P. Huntington of “clash of civilizations” fame.
(Too bad it’s not “Huffington,” ’cause “Sammy Huffs Again” would have made a
perfect title).
You might recall that about a decade ago, this chairman of the Harvard
for International and Area Studies and cofounder of Foreign Policy magazine,
made quite a splash with his article heralding future planetary clashes along
lines of civilizational cleavages, Islamic, Western, etc. As I recall, that
piece appeared in Foreign Affairs. I was pleased then that someone seemed to
have a clue amidst the prevailing triumphalism; you remember, “We won the cold
war! but we’re really not gonna brag about it, see, ’cause that’d be tacky.”
However, Huntington seems to have gone off the deep end with his article The
Hispanic Challenge, (Foreign Policy, March/April 2004, pp 30-45) a shorter
version of his upcoming book Who Are We. In this article, he advocates, to my
eye, a throwback to pre-WWII American society.
His central thesis: immigration patterns, particularly Hispanic, (his term)
and specifically Mexican, are different today from those of any other
period in
US history. The numbers, continuity, contiguity of the source country, and
former ownership by Mexico of much of the Southwestern US, all create
unprecedented conditions. These attenuate the assimilative forces that have in
the past sucked immigrants into the vortex of the English language and
Protestant-based (later generically Christian), melting pot. He says, in
polite, scholarly terms, of course “This is America, speak English.”n Our
compatriots growing up in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s all speak of that cursed
phrase and associated attitudes that so contributed to the loss of Armenian
language usage in our communities.
Huntington fears the creation of a culturally (especially, but not
exclusively, linguistically) bifurcated English and Spanish-based country. He
cites that this has already happened to varying degrees in Miami, Los Angeles,
Hartford, and New York.
In all this, he betrays a blithe disregard for the capitalism-induced
decay of
“white culture,”* that he says modern white nationalists fear, is being
replaced by “black or brown cultures that are intellectually and morally
inferior.” *
Huntington would have us ignore the human costs of the enforced assimilation
of past waves of immigrants, not to mention the benefits accruing to the US
elite. Cheap immigrant labor made many filthy rich. Meanwhile the racist
promise of white America caused these immigrants (largely European) to shed
their national identity to perceive themselves as white, thus entitled to
privilege over black America. Now that this unsustainible paradigm is gone,
millions of peopleimmigrants and their descendantsare very
identity-confused. I
firmly believe this is one of the underlying causes of societal disarray in
US today.
The earliest land-thieves arrived, disenfranchised the indigenous peoples,
up a system, and expected everybody arriving later to play by their rules. Now
that the tables are being turned and the globalizing forces unleashed by
American elite are coming home to roost, you can hear the whining clear out to
Mars. Tough luck!
What Huntington describes, if true, and if implemented in Armenian
communities, is beyond the wildest wet dream of even the most chauvinistic
Armenian dwelling in the US. This is one reason why it probably behooves us to
form alliances with Latino institutions and leadership so that when a
state comes to be, we’re not left out in the cold. It stands to reason that if
a non-English language achieves equal status, then others will have to be
treated in like fashion. The same argument applies to cultural
manifestationsfrom work ethics to holidays.
On the downside, we should be ready in case a white backlash strikes, as
Huntington predicts/advocates. Once again, it would pay to be allied with our
far more numerous Latino neighbors.
Food for thought.

* From boxed sidebar on page 41 of article

7. False Alarm and A Shudder

By Garen Yegparian

Admit it. You were happy when the New York Life Insurance Company agreed to
compensate the heirs of Genocide victimseven if you weren’t getting any cash.
You were thinking, “Hah, great, one instance where the veracity of the is
reaffirmed in an American court.”
But then you noticed something. A word was missing, just as in the last
sentence above. That all important, yet fearsome (to some), G word. Yup, NYLIC
had managed to avoid using the term as part of the settlement. Things didn’t
look so good any more.
Now we have a new dust-up. Based on the documents I’ve seen, and they are
incomplete, it’s safe to say our “queasy factor” should be rising. While I’m
wading where no sane mortal would wander, **the back-and-forth of legal
documents, this seems to reek of mutual recriminations of money grubbing and
unfounded accusations.
This Monday, on June 28, Judge Christina Snyder will hear arguments on
sufficient notice was given to those who might be due money from MTLIC
This dispute centers around the use of the term “Genocide” in publicity, how
much outside US publicity is “reasonable,” and what standing non-US citizens
have to gain in all this.
It seems to me that NYLIC was only too willing a hundred years ago to get
money from our ancestors OVERSEAS. Consequently, it’s entirely fair to expect
they be required to make appropriate efforts today to reach deprived heirs
overseas, even if those efforts would, under similar circumstances, be deemed
extraordinary, therefore unnecessary, in a US-based case.
A go-slow approach is wisest. We’ve waited a century; an extra several months
to get funds to heirs and community institutions will hardly make a
Yet the attorneys on the “Armenian” side of the case seem to be in a rush to
wrap this up. These men have pretty good credentials as far as service to the
Armenian community goes, so questioning their motives is not something to be
taken lightly. On the NYLIC (the ‘bad guys’) side, Walter Karabian, another
contributing member of our community, has provided services. Makes you wonder…
If your guts are doing the same thing as mine, call the lawyers for the
Armenian side and tell them what you think. Maybe a flood of calls to their
offices will slow them down enough for all of us to get a handle on just
at stake here for our COMMUNITY, beyond the obvious remuneration due to
individual Armenians.

Here are the office and fax numbers.
Call them.

Mark J. Geragos, Shelley A. Kaufman, Mark M. Kassabian

(213) 625-3900
(213) 625-1600

Brian S. Kabateck

(213) 217-5000
(213) 625-5010

William Shernoff, Evangeline Fisher Harris

(909) 621-4935
(909) 625-6915

Vartkes Yeghiayan

(818) 242-7400
(818) 242-0114

On a completely separate note, I’m compelled to point out how pathetic we
You’re thinking, “What’s he gonna gripe about this time?” And maybe you’re
right. But the only thing more sickening than the Reaganomania that swept over
us, is the continuing response to Skeptik Sinikian’s and my pieces on the
deceased president.
No, the problem is not that some wrote in to praise him, or others to bury
him. The problem is that so many wrote letters to the editor ABOUT THAT TOPIC.
Am I the only one who noticed that Asbarez printed more letters about this one
matter than it did about everything else in the past six months?
This says to me that the readers of Asbarez (excluding the obligatory Turkish
and other governmental snoops)the overwhelming majority of whom are Armenian,
care more about host country issues than Armenian issues. Imagine where those
who don’t read Asbarez or another Armenian paper stand. Is it any wonder we
have so many problems and such decay in our communities, their structures, and
Perhaps it’s natural to be immersed in our daily, mundane concerns. But isn’t
the point of Armenian survival in the Diaspora is that we must make a
conscious, sometimes superhuman, effort to overcome those distractions,
provided courtesy of Turkey/Genocide/dispersion, and focus on our goals?

8. The Power in Our Youth

Pilibos Class of ’05

As I sat at my desk, pondering the simulation results for a particle
accelerator injector design, our secretary put an envelop on my desk, “Are
these Armenian characters?” pointing to the first line of the return address.
“Yes,” I said, “That’s the Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School. I was there
two weeks ago to talk about cosmic ray science and the cosmic ray stations in
Armenia.” The Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) is the group of scientists in Armenia
who conduct world-class research on top of Mt. Aragats and we, the Diaspora,
have been supporting them and proudly following their progress.
I am always delighted when young people take the time to write to me after my
visits to their schools. It shows that they were interested, it shows that
are polite, it shows that they know how to network.
So I eagerly opened the envelop and read the letter. In its short 6 lines it
had already brought me to tears of joy and pride by the time I got the
“Sincerely.” It showed all the things I said above, but it also showed that
these students have compassion and are willing and able to take on
responsibility. I want to share this letter with you, so you too can be proud
of our next generation.
“Dear Representative of CRD friends,
It was truly an honor and a pleasure to have you as a guest speaker at our
school. We learned much about your helpful projects, which rekindled an even
stronger love and respect for our homeland.
To lend our humble support, enclosed please find $180.00 which we, the
students have collected. We wish you success in your future endeavors and hope
to meet you again, this time on the steppes of Aragatz.

Eleventh Grade Students of
Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School”

I wondered, “how many lunches did they have to skip, or which pleasure they
gave up to save these funds to help their fellow Armenians in Armenia?” I was
so overwhelmed with pride for them, that I began to miss them immediately. I
called the school to thank them, but they were already gone for the summer,
the accumulated tears in my eyes flooded down my cheeks.
Class of 2005 at Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School, if you are reading
this article, know that I am extremely proud of you, and I thank you from the
bottom of my heart!

Anahid Yeremian
June 25, 2004

Cosmic Ray Division – Armenia
Stanford, California
[email protected]

9. Investing in Our

2004 Intern Class Draws Participants From Kansas State University, UC
UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford and Glendale College

GLENDALEThe Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA-WR)
recently announced the selection of four candidates to participate in the
prestigious ANCA Leo Sarkisian Summer Internship Program in Washington, DC.
Based out of ANCA Headquarters, the eight week program will give its
participants a first hand understanding of the American political system.
Out of a pool of over one hundred applicants, four highly motivated
students who displayed a clear commitment to the advancement of
Armenian-American issues were chosen from the Western United States. They will
join five other participants from the Eastern Region and Canada.
“The program is the only one of its kind in the country,” commented ANCA-WR
Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian. “While at the ANCA National
Headquarter, which is only a few blocks from the White House, the interns will
gain a fresh and multi-dimensional perspective on the Armenian Cause and its
political and legislative future in the United States.”
The 2004 ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship participants from the Western US are:
Garen Kirakosiana University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) junior studying
Political Science; Seepan Parseghiana Stanford University sophomore studying
Political Science; Ani Garibyana UCLA senior studying History; and Shant
Taslakiana University of California, Santa Barbara senior studying Political
Science with an emphasis in International Relations.
The ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program is the cornerstone of the expanded
ANCA Capital Gateway program, designed to provide university students and
recent graduates with opportunities to intern or find career positions on
Capitol Hill or at other US government agencies in Washington, DC.
In response to the growing number of applicants to the Leo Sarkisian
Internship and the Capital Gateway program, ANCA-WR had launched a new
Western-Region internship program. The internship will provide participants
with an opportunity to experience political workings at the state and local
level. It also includes a lecture series that will feature elected officials,
media professionals and community leaders.
“We are very excited about the new Western Region internship program,” said
Argam DerHartunian, Internship Coordinator for the Western Region and Leo
Sarkisian Internship Program Alum. “It is our goal to equip a new
generation of
political organizers and activists with the tools they need bring about
The talented youth from across the Western Region who will participate in the
program are: Nari M. Chopuriana UCLA junior studying Political Science; Nare
Avagyana University of California, Berkeley sophomore studying Political
Science and Social Welfare; Gennadi Gevorgyana graduate student at Kansas
University studying Journalism; Elina Mnatsakanyana UCLA sophomore studying
Political Science; and Babken DerGrigoriana Glendale Community College
sophomore studying Political Science.
For more information on these and other Armenian National Committee of
programs log on to or call the ANCA-WR at (818) 500-1918.

10. Greens Union Launches Efforts in Armenia

The Greens Union of Armenia is urging Armenian organizations to join the
in preserving a natural preserve in Yerevan called the “Orchards of Dalma.”
culturally important area covers over 530 hectares and contains 3000-year old
water canals and underground tunnels and several rare plant species. 60
hectares of the orchard were developed during the Soviet period.
According to government documents uncovered by Greens, the Yerevan mayor’s
office is inclined to develop portions of the remaining area. In 2000, former
mayor Bazeyan submitted a letter to the state government outlining “a
scheme of
functional zoning.” In it, the mayor proposed the construction of housing
complexes, a golf course and a highway. The proposed development would cover
over 120 hectares of land.
In another letter drafted during the same year, the mayor’s office requested
that the ministry of nature protection allocate 10 hectares of the land for
use. Half of the area, the document noted, will be covered by a factory,
when complete, will produce watch parts for the Swiss company “Frank Muller
Armenia.” If built, the factory would release harmful toxins that would
have an
irreversible effect to the local environment.
This year, on March 27, 2004, the prime minister signed Resolution No.
titled “About Changing Land Use and Borders of Lands in the Preserve of
Yerevan’s Orchards of Dalma,” which officially lifted any development
restrictions on the region. The resolution effectively bars public debate over
proposed projects.
Currently, the US Embassy of Armenia is constructing a site on a region of
orchard that is known to contain rich archeological diggings. The construction
began after the US Embassy signed a private agreement with the Armenian
The March 27 resolution also impacts over 1800 growers, who depend on the
for their livelihood.
The Greens Union of Armenia urges all Armenian organizationsparticularly
that are active within the United Statesto voice their concern about the
destruction of the “Orchards of Dalma,” by contacting Armenian government

Representative of the Greens Union of Armenia in the United States, Dr. Anne
Shirinian, can be contacted through phone/fax at (732) 462-9089 or email at
[email protected].

11. ‘Far From Home,’ But As Close As the Stereo

VANCOUVERAncient Armenian folks songs Mariam Matossian’s grandmother sang to
her as she was growing up are now on the air on Canadian Broadcasting radio
stations from British Columbia on the West Coast to Nova Scotia in the East.
National CBC programs including Bill Richardson’s Round Up, Jurgen Gothe’s
Drive, and the program Roots and Wings are featuring songs from Matossian’s
debut CD called Far From Home.
“I remember when Jurgen Gothe’s producer phoned me, and I could hear my music
playing in the background while he spoke to me,” says Matossian. “When he told
me how much he loves this music, and they’ll play it next week, I just cried.
To think that the songs my grandmother sang are being heard all across the
country, in small towns in BC, this is above and beyond any of my
Far From Home combines the sweet, yet haunting vocals of Vancouver-area high
school teacher and counselor Matossian with the sounds of the traditional
sounds of the duduk, oud and rhythm of the dumbec. Funded by a grant from the
Canada Council, Matossian takes her audience on a journey through time and
the ancient homeland of her people.
“We’ve received e-mails from folks as far away as Nova Scotia and remote
of British Columbia,” says Matossian. “It’s amazing that people want to know
more about me and the album and our culture. After they purchase the album,
they write again to say how the songs moved them to tears, how a song in
another language is able to touch someone who does not understand the words.
The mysterious power of music just fascinates and moves me.”
Recently, Matossian was invited by radio station 690 AM to perform live on a
Vancouver-area broadcast of the program North by Northwest, Host Sheryl MacKay
interviewed the singer about not only her album, but also the Armenian culture
and genocide.
Matossian’s music is also reaching far beyond Canada. She has received orders
for her album via the web site from as far away as the Netherlands, France,
Japan and, of course, the US. “I want the recording to give a global audience,
Armenians and non-Armenians alike, the chance to experience the beauty of our
music,” says Matossian. “With this album, I was able to fulfill my goal of
creating something that would honor my family, my culture and God.”

12. What Vartan Gregorian, Peter jennings, Yo-Yo Ma, Sir Michael Atiyah Have
in Common?

By May Habib

Along with Vartan Gregorian, famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, journalist Peter
Jennings, and mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah, received honorary degrees from
the American University of Beirut last Saturday.
When Gregorian arrived in Beirut from Tehran 54 years ago, he had $50 in his
pocket, couldn’t speak Arabic or English, and did not know a single person in
the country.
The head of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and an acclaimed
philanthropist and educator, returned to Beirut for his honorary doctorate.
Gregorian’s first English teacher in Beirut Antoine Kehyaian, was present at
the ceremony to see his former pupil.
“As a student I used to tell Antoine, ‘Don’t worry, one day I will get a
degree from AUB,'” said Gregorian, who has received honorary degrees from 15
universities. “I had to spend 50 years in the wilderness in order to earn
When he left Beirut, Gregorianwho also delivered the commencement address
Saturdaywent to Stanford University in California, where he earned his
bachelor’s degree in 1958 and his doctorate in history in 1964. After teaching
at various universities in the US, he became founding dean of the Faculty of
Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and eventually became the
After leaving the University of Pennsylvania, Gregorian headed the New York
Public Library, raising an unprecedented $400 million for its revival.
Never content to remain too long in any position, he left the New York Public
Library in 1989 to become president of Brown University. He then left Brown
for the philanthropic Carnegie Corporation in 1997.
Gregorian advised students at the ceremony to “get really rich” so they can
donate money to AUB in the future.
“There are not many AUBs in the world, especially this part of the world,” he
said. “You owe it to AUB and the Lebanese to keep this beacon of learning and
light shining.”
Sir Michael Atiyah, whose work in string theory has been awarded numerous
medals, also commended AUB for creating cultural links that “straddle space
time.” Atiyah, the son of a Lebanese father and a Scottish mother, grew up in
Sudan and attended Victoria College in Cairo. He was knighted in 1983 and was
awarded the rank of commander in the Order of the Cedars by the Lebanese
government in 1993.
Atiyah helped AUB develop its Center for Advanced Mathematical Studies and is
the chairman of the center’s International Advisory Committee.
Jennings, who came to Lebanon in 1972 as the ABC News bureau chief in Beirut,
said that AUBfounded by US missionariesis “one of the greatest things the US
has done in the Middle East.”
Waterbury joked that he would try to keep secret that the hugely successful
Jennings did not finish high school and does not have a university degree.
“We forgive you Peter for your early dismissal of our product,” Waterbury
Yo-Yo Ma, a concert cellist since the age of 9 and a 14-time Grammy winner,
closed the ceremony with a piece from Bach. “I know I was not invited here for
my speaking skills,” he joked, holding up his cello.

13. Next Time Your’e Thinking about A Belt of Dog Collar…

By Jason Fell

The online business Peter K Designs will feature designer belts and dog
collars that are hand-stitched in Armenia’s northeast village of Noyemberyan.
The unusual partnership was conceived after Peter and his wife Stephanie
returned from a two-year Peace Corps stint in Armenia.
It happened like this. While working with the villagershusband and wife Peter
and Stephanie Kwasniewski noticed that a number of women and girls were
exceptionally skilled in the art of petit needlepoint and embroidery, which is
similar to cross-stitching only the stitches are much smaller. The women would
try to sell 6-by-11-inch embroidery designswhich took about 150 hours to
foreign merchants who occasionally traveled through the village looking for
craft items. If the women were lucky, they’d get $4 for each item. Sometimes
the merchants would just take the work, promising to pay later but would never
“There’s a lot of anger and frustration there,” Stephanie said, “especially
with the men. Many of the jobs available now, culturally, the men are not
allowed to do. Men can’t run a shop or work in a restaurant. Many sit around
the village all day or play backgammon. A number of men have moved out of the
country, mainly to Russia or the United States, in hopes of finding work. The
women are left trying to provide for their families.”
Peter and Stephanie were impressed not only by the craftsmanship of
Noyemberyan women but also their strong work ethic.
Even before they returned to the US, Peter and Stephanie began selling the
embroidered rectangles to friends back home, who framed them as works of art.
The couple soon discovered, however, that the market for these was limited. So
they decided to develop a new business strategy. So they decided to put the
embroidery put on belts.
Having maintained relationships with the villagers, Peter employs 85
women; he
hopes to someday employ 200 to 300.
The belts and dog collars will be available exclusively online. They come
in a
variety of motifs, including cities of the world, golfing and sailing and can
be monogrammed with up to three initials. According to Peter, the industry
standard for embroidered belts is 17 stitches per inch, but his are 24
per inch, or 576 stitches per square inch.
“These belts are finer than other belts available now,” according to Peter
“The detail is fabulous.”
Although the Web site is up and running, the belts and
collars have not yet been finished. Peter hopes to be able to start filling
orders within a couple weeks. He expects to sell each belt for $165 and each
dog collar for $60.

14. Week in Review

Turkey ‘Sincere’ in Seeking Rapprochement with Armenia

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian was upbeat on Wednesday,
after his talks with Turkish leaders in Istanbul this week, saying that he
found a “sincere desire” to improve the historically strained relations with
Armenia. But he indicated that the long-awaited opening of the
border is still not up for discussion.
Oskanian met with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and had an impromptu
10-minute encounter with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines
of a NATO summit which finished its work on Tuesday. He described his brief
conversation with Erdogan as “quite interesting.”
“It confirmed my impression…that the Turkish government really has a sincere
desire to achieve progress in relations with Armenia,” Oskanian told a news
conference in Yerevan.
Erdogan’s Islamist-leaning cabinet, Oskanian continued, is more willing to
soften Turkish policy on Armenia than its more pro-Western predecessors were.
“There is really a difference. This government does have a desire [to
ties], it’s just that conditions are not yet ripe,” he said, referring to the
possibility of Turkey lifting its economic embargo imposed on Armenia in

Chirac Slams Bush for Interfering in Turkey’s EU Bid

ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)French President Jacques Chirac bluntly criticized
George W. Bush on Monday for supporting Turkey’s bid to join the European
Union, saying the US President had “gone too far”.
On Sunday, Bush publicly endorsed Turkey’s bid, telling Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara: “I will remind the people of this good country that
you ought to be given a date by the EU for your eventual acceptance into the
Chirac told a news conference on the sidelines on the NATO summit here: “Not
only did he go too far, he ventured into territory which is not his concern.”
The French president, who is among the EU leaders most firmly opposed to
Turkish membership of the EU, added, “It would be like me telling the United
States how to run its affairs with Mexico.”
In response to Chirac’s comments, Bush on Tuesday told an Istanbul university
audience that the European Union is “not the exclusive club of a single
religion.” “America believes that as a European power, Turkey belongs in the
European Union,” Bush said.

Karabagh Foreign Ministry Brushes off Azeri Assertions

STEPANAKERT (Armenpress)A statement released on Wednesday by Karabagh’s
Foreign Affairs Ministry, stressed that the upcoming August 8 elections is
another step in building a civil society in Mountainous Karabagh Republic
(MKR). “We proceed from the fact that only legally elected representatives of
authority are empowered with necessary power and bear responsibility for the
fate of people of Mountainous Karabagh,” read the statement.
Azerbaijan has undertaken international efforts to stop the elections saying
they run counter to international law as well as Azerbaijan’s legislation.
“Mountainous Karabagh has been living independently for 16 years and has
nothing to do with Azerbaijan’s laws; citing them, therefore, is absolutely
groundless,” the statement says, describing Azerbaijan’s assertions as “cut
from current realities.” The statement scoffs at another assertion by the
foreign ministry that the elections are invalid because the Azeri
population of
Mountainous Karabagh cannot participate. “If we follow this kind of logic then
all national elections in Azerbaijan are invalid, as almost half a million of
ethnic Armenians had to flee it as a result of ethnic cleansing,” the

Armenian Patriarch Meets with Bush

ISTANBUL (Haybad/Zaman)During his trip to Istanbul for the NATO Summit,
W. Bush took time out on Sunday to meet with various religious leaders,
including Turkey’s Armenian Patriarch, Mesrob Mutafyan.
Patriarch Mutafyan had an opportunity to speak to Bush about the situation of
Turkey’s non-Muslim population, and stressed that for minorities to exist in
Turkeyor for any ethnic or national minority to exist anywherethree
institutions must be guaranteed: First, places of worship to preserve
heritage and to nourish the spiritual life of the community; second,
schools to
teach language and culture; and third, foundations to fund religious and
educational activities and the necessary personnel to keep them active. The
minorities in Turkey, he stressed, are attempting to maintain those
institutions for the future and well-being of their communities.
Mutafyan also handed a letter to Bush, in which the spiritual head criticized
the US war effort in Iraq and noted, “the United States of America and her
President, have the ability to preserve the values they struggle for without
resorting to violence in all its terrible diversity. It is sufficient to
maintain their trust in God, in their sense of vocation and ultimate potential
for good. Whenever we embrace violence we are already diminished and the high
moral and religious ideals to which we aspire are betrayed.”

Safarov Trial for Gourgen Margaryan Murder Set for Fall

BUDAPEST (Combined Sources)Criminal proceedings against Ramil Safarov for the
brutal killing of Gourgen Margaryan is set to begin in Budapest sometime this
Senior Lieutenant Ramil Safarov, an Azeri officer is accused of hacking
Margaryan to death, and of attempting to murder a second Armenian officer Hayk
Makuchyan. All three soldiers were attending a NATO Partnership for Peace
training program in Budapest. Margaryan, 26, was murdered with an ax as he
slept in the early hours of February 19.
Safarov is charged with premeditated murder which carries a 10 to 15 years or
life imprisonment. The court has yet to decide whether the trial will be
public. If he is convicted, Sarafov could be transferred to his homeland to
serve his sentence.

Rights Court Condemns Turkey for Expulsion of Kurds
STRASBOURG (AFP)The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday condemned
for expelling about 15 Kurdish villagers from their homes under a 1994
state of
emergency and for preventing them from recovering their property. The decision
is the first with a bearing on the inability of hundreds of Kurds to return
home to their villages in southeastern Turkey until July 2003.
Ankara “had the essential duty and responsibility of guaranteeing the
conditionsand providing the meansto allow the plaintiffs to return home of
their free will, in security and with dignity…or to voluntarily make a new
home elsewhere in the country,” the court ruled.


First, thank you for publishing my views on your on-line addition.
I am compelled to write you once again, however. After reading “What
Planet am
I On?,” I was again shocked at the biased nature of your publication. While
may print letters that “oppose” your columnists views, where is the balance in
your “reporting?” While the above-mentioned piece is undoubtedly a “column” of
sorts, it is not listed as such. No author or credits are given, either.
Are we
to assume that this piece is the opinion of the paper? If so, this is tragic.
Allow me to explain why. The “column” makes reference to the fact that
President Reagan made life “more difficult for people,” that he “set the stage
for . . . to cause great harm in the future;” and that President Reagan’s
“bequest to us is largely negative.” These are all nice catch phrases and
accusations, but where is the poof? Where are the writer’s facts?
From 1982 to 1989, government revenue doubled, from roughly $550 billion to
$1.5 trillion. Why? Because tax ratesincluding the top marginal ratewere
lowered for all Americans. This empowered us to spend, to save, to invest, and
yes, to CREATE JOBS. These jobshint, new tax payersbrought in more money to
federal coffers. Ad hoc economists often argue that these tax cuts increased
our debt. Yes it did. But the debt was, and still remains, such a small
percentage of our Gross Domestic Product, it is inconsequential. That deficit
spending also allowed us to rebuild our armed forces, re-build a strong
national defense, and ultimately defeat the Soviet Union without firing a
single shot. Lest we forget, Armenia was once a soviet satellite, and would
probably still be one had it not been for President Reagan’s aggressive
spending that forced the USSR into bankruptcy.
Let’s also look at the standard of living. Please refer to the Bureau of the
Census that will show that the black middle class grew exponentially during
1980’s; home ownership went up; inflation disappeared; the standard of living
increased; and more people started small businessesthe backbone of our
It’s one thing to throw around catchy left-wing propagandait’s another to
it up. In this case, the writer can’t, because there is nothing to
his or her outrageous claims.

Aram Z.
Washington, DC

16. Ed:

What Planet am I On?,” was written by Garen Yegparian. The name was
inadvertently left out of the web posting, though included in our print
edition. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of
Asbarez. We welcome differing opinions and arguments from readers.

All subscription inquiries and changes must be made through the proper carrier
and not Asbarez Online. ASBAREZ ONLINE does not transmit address changes and
subscription requests.
(c) 2004 ASBAREZ ONLINE. All Rights Reserved.

ASBAREZ provides this news service to ARMENIAN NEWS NETWORK members for
academic research or personal use only and may not be reproduced in or through
mass media outlets.