California Courier Online, August 26, 2004

California Courier Online, August 26, 2004

1 – Commentary
Germans Apologize for 100-Year-Old
Genocide? Is Turkey Next?

By Harut Sassounian
California Courier Publisher
2 – Modern Diagnostic Lab Would Boost
Capacity to Treat Animal Diseases
3 – APN Diocese Will
Honor US Veterans
At Nov. 12 Dinner
4 – Southfield’s AGBU Manoogian School
Opens Sept. 7 with New, Improved Look
5 – Film Foundation Plans Final
Project in Genocide Trilogy
6 – Dr. Mary Papazian Named Dean of
New Jersey’s Montclair University
7 – Armenian Genocide to be
Next Film by Mel Gibson?
1 – Commentary
Germans Apologize for 100-Year-Old
Genocide? Is Turkey Next?

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

Ninety years after the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish government is still
trying to cover up the facts of this most heinous crime. But for how much
Last week, newspapers around the world, including the Financial Times and
the Boston Globe, reported the German government’s long overdue apology for
the genocide committed against the Hereros one hundred years ago!
Back in 1904, German colonial troops ruthlessly wiped out the majority of
the 80,000 Hereros then in existence in what is now Namibia. Successive
German governments during the past 100 years, just like their Turkish
counterparts for 90 years, had refused to apologize and pay compensation to
the survivors.
A few days ago, during a ceremony marking the centenary of the Genocide of
the Hereros, German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said in
Namibia: “I am painfully aware of the atrocities committed…. We Germans
accept our historical and moral responsibility and the guilt incurred by
Germans at that time…. So in the words of the Lord’s Prayer that we share I
ask you to forgive us our trespasses.”
But the Hereros, just like the Armenians, want more than just a simple
acknowledgment and an apology. Kaiere Mbuende, a Herero, and a former
government official, was quoted by Reuters as saying: “How is Germany going
to own up to the apology? There has to be a form of redress, the injustice
has to be undone.”
Even though Germany is Namibia’s largest aid donor and has contributed $500
million since the country’s independence in 1990, Reuters reported that a
$4 billion lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the Hereros against Germany
in a U.S. District Court. The German government has argued that no
compensation can be paid in this case because international laws on the
protection of the civilian population did not exist in 1904. German
officials have been reluctant to issue a formal apology out of concern that
this may strengthen the demands for compensation.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry and Armenian organizations should pay close
attention to developments in this case, as it may serve as a legal
precedent for demanding compensation from Turkey for the mass murder of
Armenians as well as the confiscation of their lands and properties.
Armenians must contact the law firm that has filed the lawsuit on behalf of
the Hereros in order to learn the specifics of the legal arguments used in
that case. If adequate funds are raised to hire experts on international
law in order to pursue Armenian claims from Turkey, it is possible that by
the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, a Turkish Minister would
lay a wreath at the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, apologize to the Armenian
nation, and start a dialogue on the compensation to be paid to the
survivors of the Genocide.
If the remnants of a small tribe in Africa, with no lobbyists in Washington
or other foreign capitals, and no organized communities in various
countries defending their cause, can take such a resolute stand on their
Genocide after 100 years, then surely Armenians with their international
presence, political connections and lobbying organizations can and should
do no less.

Jewish Journalist Chastises Israel and Turkey
The International Herald Tribune published on August 20 an opinion column
by prominent Jewish journalist, Jay Bushinsky, titled: “The Armenian
Genocide: Face History’s Heartbreaking Truth.”
He wrote: “The carnage perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks 89 years ago, in
which 1.5 million ethnic Armenians were killed or deported, was a tragic
prelude to the Nazi Holocaust.”
Bushinsky said: “Hitler’s determination to destroy European Jewry was
encouraged by the world’s lack of interest in the Armenian tragedy.” He
then mentioned Hitler’s well-known question: “Who, after all speaks today
of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Hitler’s statement is inscribed “on
one of the walls of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial in Washington, and rightly
so,” Bushinsky said.
The Jewish journalist stated that various “interest groups, including
Jewish ones, misguided or opportunistic,” lobbied against the passage of
the congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide in order not to
offend Turkey. Bushinsky is indignant that when Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently accused the Jewish State of terrorism,
“neither Israel nor the overseas Jewish organizations dared remind Erdogan
that leaders of nations that had committed crimes against humanity had best
refrain from preaching to others.”
The Jewish writer expressed regret that Israel puts “contemporary
priorities ahead of moral obligations.” He recalled: “When a major
documentary about the Armenian Genocide was due to be screened [in Israel],
the foreign ministry intervened out of consideration for Turkish
sensibilities.” Bushinsky caustically pointed out: “It is hypocritical to
expect compassion and sympathy from the peoples of the world for the lives
lost in the Holocaust when ‘raison d’etat’ prevents Israel and most
Israelis from commiserating with the Armenians.”
Bushinsky concluded his powerful commentary with the following admonition:
“Historical truth must be faced regardless of how heartbreaking it may be.
It cannot be subordinated to the ebb and flow of modern international
relations. Anyone who visited the Armenians’ grim memorial to their
martyred brothers and sisters south of Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, in the
shadow of biblical Mount Ararat, cannot but grieve with them. Israelis,
Jews, Zionists and their supporters should comfort the Armenians in their
national sorrow and the Turks should accept the photographs, documents and
above all testimony, which commemorate the Armenian Genocide, instead of
insisting that it never happened.”
Jay Bushinsky should be commended for his humanity and honesty to the point
of daring to criticize his own homeland for the sake of truth and justice.
Both Israel and Turkey must realize that they will pay a heavy moral and
political price as long as they continue denying the Armenian Genocide.
Righteous individuals and organizations will hound the leaders of these
countries until they stop desecrating the memory of the 1.5 million
innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide.
To counter the Turkish e-mail campaign against Bushinsky’s column, please
send a letter to the International Herald Tribune ([email protected])
indicating your support for this thought-provoking commentary.
2 – Modern Diagnostic Lab Would Boost
Capacity to Treat Animal Diseases
By Andranik Mekailian
YEREVAN – In a project that stands to benefit agriculture in Armenia for
years to come, the Fresno, California-based Armenian Technology Group (ATG)
has initiated a program that could boost the economy and improve the
political atmosphere of the entire Caucasus. Working with the U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID) and USDA, ATG has proposed the
introduction of a Veterinary laboratory that would test diseases that can
pass from animals to humans through the food chain.
After the break-up of the Soviet Union, the veterinary and laboratory
systems of Armenia collapsed, negatively affecting food safety and public
health in Armenia. According to Anoushavan Aghajanyan, head of the
Department of Veterinary Service of Armenia, this system has been rebuilt
from the ground floor. “We want to modernize our testing capabilities,”
Aghajanyan stated. “This could be possible with the establishment of the
Central Diagnostic Lab ATG is proposing.”
Currently, the government veterinary laboratory, located in the Erebuni
district of Yerevan, tests for certain bacterial diseases, including
salmonella. New emphasis has been placed on widening the testing to include
a larger range of diseases. “We don’t have the capabilities to test for mad
cow disease or bird flu,” Aghajanyan said. “With the close cooperation of
ATG, including the establishment of the Central Diagnostic Lab and setting
it up on government premises, our system can include the testing of these
and other diseases.”
The importance of the diagnostic lab was further emphasized during a visit
in the spring of 2004 by ATG vice-president and doctor of veterinary
medicine James Reynolds, who journeyed to the village of Aygoot with a
small group of ATG professionals to investigate the illnesses of cattle
that were becoming weak and even dying while giving birth.
Aygoot, formerly populated by Azeri Turks, is located north of Lake Sevan,
not far from the border with Azerbaijan. The village, now populated by
Armenians forcibly emigrated from the plains of Karabagh, has largely
depended on foreign assistance in establishing its agricultural economy. A
milk container, capable of storing large quantities of milk and insuring
the use of all milk produced in the village, was recently donated to the
farmers of Aygoot.
During the visit, discussions centered on the nutrition of the cattle feed
being used, and the use of Vitamin A shots to prevent disease and promote
the animals’ health. “It became apparent that the animals could be
receiving toxic amounts of Vitamin A,” Reynolds stated. “With CDL in place,
we could test the sick animals and clarify any doubts about use of the
vitamin and the issue of nutrition.”
At the Hrashk (Miracle) dairy on the outskirts of Yerevan, dairy manager
Vannik Soghomonyan stressed the need for the establishment of CDL in or
near Yerevan. “We produce milk and dairy products of the highest standard,”
Soghomonyan said. “We want to produce products which will be certified as
organic. The CDL can be the first step in this direction.”
The dairy employs two full-time veterinarians, who send an analysis to the
government laboratory if an animal becomes ill. “Currently, between six and
eight diseases are tested for at the laboratory,” Soghomonyan, also
president of the Dairy Farmers of Armenia, said. “The CDL would be more
advanced, meeting European standards and opening new markets for our
Advanced testing would also make it possible to expand Armenia’s
agricultural economy, as in the case of the Agro Holding company, located
in the earthquake zone near Spitak. There, in an Italian-built complex on
hills overlooking Spitak, pig farmers are waiting for the establishment of
the CDL before enlarging their operations, noting that government
laboratories lack the capacity to test on such a large scale.
While in Yerevan, Dr. Reynolds met with USDA and USAID officials,
discussing the need for the CDL and the positive benefits its
implementation would have for Armenia and the entire region. Meeting with
Trevor Gudie of the US Embassy. Reynolds pointed out that the CDL would
bring veterinary diagnostics to Western standards “We must work with the
purpose of finding and preventing diseases that affect society,”
During his trip to Armenia, Reynolds visited several USDA projects where
different methods of grazing are being studied. The projects stress the
grazing of cattle and other animals instead of the Soviet method of keeping
animals indoors most of the year. “The CDL has to be coordinated with the
livestock system,” Reynolds said. “That is where ATG has a distinct
advantage, due to their extensive work in livestock and agriculture in
ATG’s experience in animal breeding has also impressed Armenian agriculture
minister Davit Lokian, who has asked USAID to facilitate the establishment
of the CDL, under the stewardship of ATG.
As the concept of the Central Diagnostic Lab becomes reality, the positive
affects will go far beyond disease control. Since the CDL tests so widely,
including both animal tissue and milk, diseases will be found in their
earliest stages, resulting in increased production of milk and other
agricultural products.
As the ATG-sponsored milk containers (cooling containers) are put in place
in rural villages, the role of the CDL will be even more important, as it
will test for bacterial diseases such as salmonella and brucella. The CDL
testing capabilities are so advanced that when testing animal tissue for
salmonella, the lab can find out when the animal contracted the disease,
before or after it became sick.
With the establishment of the lab, other livestock will be protected, even
animals crossing borders, a situation in which diseases such as
tuberculosis and anthrax can be passed from one country to another. As the
presence of these diseases diminish, markets will open up, increasing trade
and promoting good will in the Caucasus. With the proper certification of
Armenia’s agricultural products, Armenia will proudly take its place in
international markets, increasing income for Armenian merchants and the
farmers of Armenia.
3 – APN Diocese Will
Honor US Veterans
At Nov. 12 Dinner
BURBANK, CA – The Armenian Professionals Network of the Western Diocese of
the Armenian Church has announced plans for a dinner event on Nov. 12,
paying tribute to the dedication and patriotism of Armenian American men
and women who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States.
The community is Invited to attend the dinner at 7:30 p.m. in the
Kalaydjian Hall of the Western Diocesan Complex, 3325 North Glenoaks Blvd.,
Burbank, Calif.
For reservations, contact Arture Zabounian at 818-974-9454
4 – Southfield’s AGBU Manoogian School
Opens Sept. 7 with New, Improved Look
SOUTHFIELD, MI – The AGBU Alex & Marie Manoogian School will open its doors
on Sept. 7 with a new and improved look. The school has experienced major
changes over the summer. “We were dreaming about it so long, we knew
exactly what we wanted,” said Dr. Nadya Sarafian, Alex & Marie Manoogian
School principal.
During a recent tour of the school, Sarafian beamed when talking about the
improvements, changes, and additions the school undertook, all in
preparation for the 2004-2005 school year.
Sarafian was proud of everything, from the new tile floor in the restrooms
and the new Pre-Kindergarten facilities, right down to the fact there were
only minor changes from the pre-construction vision of the “new” Manoogian.
The new facility will have its familiarities, but will also be full of new
sights including a state-of-the-art media center that will allow students
easy access to both print and electronic sources of information, a new
building façade will be in place with new landscaping, as well as
structural improvements to the school’s main entrance.
There is an updated drop-off/pick-up area that will facilitate improved
traffic flow in the school’s parking lot.
The school’s courtyard on the west side of the building has been reshaped
and enclosed, complete with new playground structures and cushioned
flooring for the younger students.
Another important change for the new school year is a further separation of
Manoogian’s high school students from the areas intended for the school’s
lower grades. This division is expected to promote a greater sense of
community among the older students.
5- Film Foundation Plans Final
Project in Genocide Trilogy
THOUSAND OAKS – “Caravans Along the Euphrates: Anatomy of the Secret
Genocide” is expected to be the “crown jewel” of the Armenian Film
Foundation’s “The Witnesses” trilogy project. It will be the culmination of
a massive contribution on the 25th anniversary of the Foundation.
Lead creative production staff met with award-winning Director/Producer Dr.
J. Michael Hagopian in Thousand Oaks this week to critique the
film-in-process. Those present included Co-producer Glenn Farr, an
Oscar-winning master feature film editor and director; and Carla
Garapedian, narrator and co-writer of the first two “Witnesses” films, who
is a former BBC anchor about to enter into production of her own film later
this fall. Associate Producer and Assistant Editor Barbara Gilmore, whose
experience includes working as project director and associate producer on
five Armenian Genocide documentaries, also was on hand.
Hagopian, who holds a doctorate degree from Harvard University in
international relations, places great value on the feedback of his
talented, knowledgeable staff members who have dedicated years to helping
preserve Armenian heritage and promote its causes. Several other screenings
will be held to solicit input from scholars, survivors and people from
other walks of life before the final production phase.
Incorporated will be a penetrating storyline of survivor accounts selected
from a collection of over 400 interviews. The interviews were
professionally photographed by Hagopian over a span of 40 years in Europe,
Australia, Asia and North America.
Himself a survivor, Dr. Hagopian has devoted much of his life to
documenting the legacy of other survivors and those whose lives were
brutally extinguished.
His works have to date amassed over 160 prestigious film awards and prizes
from around the world.
The Armenian Film Foundation now endeavors to raise funds in the Armenian
community to help finance the remaining work on Caravans Along the
Euphrates: Anatomy of the Secret Genocide. Completion of the film is
targeted for 2005, the 90th commemorative year of the Genocide. Support for
the first two films of the project, totaling $800,000, was garnered
primarily from the California State Legislature, as well as from
foundations and some individual sources through the efforts of ardent
supporter and Executive Producer Walter Karabian, Esq. Those who make
generous donations to help finance this project will receive recognition in
the credits at the end of the Caravans Along the Euphrates film.
For further information on this and other Armenian Film Foundation films
and projects, visit the website at , or call
their office at 805-495-0717.
6 – Dr. Mary Papazian Named Dean of
New Jersey’s Montclair University
MONTCLAIR, N. J. – Dr. Mary A. Papazian of Michigan has been named Dean of
the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State
University, announced Dr. Richard A. Lynde, Provost and Vice President for
Academic Affairs at MSU. Papazian has been serving as Associate Dean of
the College of Arts and Sciences at Oakland University in Michigan, where
she has been employed since 1988.
She began at MSU Aug. 16.
Papazian has been Associate Dean of Oakland University’s largest academic
unit since 1999. Offering more than two-thirds of all courses at the
university, the College is home to 240 full-time and 200-part time faculty
members and has a yearly operating budget of $25 million. During her
tenure, Papazian developed and gained approval for academic programs
ranging from the Ph.D. in biological communication to an M.A. in liberal
studies and bachelor degree programs in studio art and women’s studies. She
served as the university’s coordinator for the annual Meeting of the Minds
undergraduate research conference; as ombudsman for faculty and students;
and as Executive Director of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance,
where she developed an assessment of the current state of performing arts
at Oakland and a plan for its future. She taught English literature
starting in 1988, was named associate professor in 1994, and full professor
in 2003.
“We are delighted that such a talented and visionary administrator, teacher
and scholar has joined the leadership team at Montclair State,” Lynde said.
“Mary’s guidance and vision at the largest of MSU’s Colleges and Schools
will prove invaluable as we continue our efforts to elevate the
University’s academic and programmatic offerings to the very highest
Papazian was also chair of the Phyllis Law Googasian Award Committee at
Oakland University; and chair of the College of Arts and Science’s
Committee on Appointment and Promotion. In addition, she participated in
ongoing fund-raising activities; chaired the Teaching Excellence Award
Committee; and was a member of the University Senate, Honor’s College
Council and the executive committee of the university’s affiliate of the
American Council of Education Network for Women Leaders.
Papazian earned her B.A. in English literature in 1981; her M.A. in 1983
and her Ph.D. in 1988, all from UCLA. She will be moving east with her
husband, Professor Dennis R. Papazian, a long-time scholar at the
University of Michigan, Dearborn with expertise in the history of the
former Soviet Union and its successor states (particularly Armenia), and
her two daughters, Ani (10) and Marie (five).
7 – Armenian Genocide to be
Next Film by Mel Gibson?
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Conservative author Bruce Walker, writing in the
Ohio-based American Daily last week, revealed that one of the proposed
topics for a future Mel Gibson film includes “Armenia, The First Holocaust.
“The forgotten holocaust,” as Walker calls it, was “The un-holocaust. While
the world watched – even worse, after the Himmler, the Heydrich, the Hitler
of Turkey had lost the war – at least one million Armenians were
exterminated for their Christian faith and their misfortune of being a
nation conquered by the Moslem Turks.
“This was the laboratory for what was later used in the Gulag by the
Soviets, then used in eastern Poland by the Soviets, then used against Jews
by the Nazis. Moreover, this was a war on Christianity itself. Churches,
priests, crosses all were the first objects of Turkish atrocities. Nothing
ever happened after this holocaust. No Nuremberg Trials. No `Schindler’s
List.’ No `Diary of Anne Frank.’
“There cannot be too many descriptions of the very genuine moral and
physical horror of the Holocaust, but each dead soul murdered in the
Killing Fields or the barren fields of the Ukraine or in cattle cars
leaving Poland and crammed with Polish families deserve equal memory to
mankind and to God.
“Why not start with the first holocaust? Why not begin with that calculated
sadism which was the First Holocaust, the extermination in the Twentieth
Century of millions of Christians – primarily Armenians, but also Greeks
and others – while the world watched, then forgot, then pretended never
happened? That, Mr. Gibson, would be my next film, if I were you.”
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