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1) Lively Debate on Turks’ EU entry
2) Federal, State, and Local Officials to Attend 2004 ANCA Banquet
3) Congressional Candidates Continue to Speak Out on Armenian Issues
4) AYF at European Socialist Forum
5) ANCA Mobilizes Grassroots in Arizona
6) Global Healing Sets its Sights on Gyumri
7) Rose and Alex Pilibos Ark Library: a case for books and libraries
8) gor–pronunciation: ‘gOr, ‘gor
9) Los Angeles Art Show Features Extensive Jansem Collection
10) THE POLITICS OF BASEBALL–IT’S DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN!
1) Lively Debate on Turks’ EU entry
PARIS (BBC.com)–The French parliament held a debate on Turkey’s entry into
European Union, which has become an increasingly divisive issue in France.
The debate has left many deputies in the ruling party at odds with their
leader, President Jacques Chirac.
Chirac, who favors Turkish entry, approved a debate in order to head off
mounting anger among conservative MPs as well as opposition lawmakers.
Almost all the main parties in France are split on the issue.
It was an impassioned and sometimes ill-tempered debate, and certainly one of
the liveliest seen in the French National Assembly for some time.
French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin opened it by saying that neither
Turkey nor the EU was ready for Turkish membership now, though he said
desire for admission was legitimate.
France is deeply divided over whether Turkey really belongs in Europe,
geographically or culturally, and some MPs asked directly whether a union
founded on Judaeo-Christian principles could or should accept such a large
Only the Green party is united in arguing unequivocally that Turkey must be
welcomed in Europe, to show there is no anti-Muslim sentiment against it, and
to anchor the country firmly with the West.
Many others from both left and right suggested compromises, such as an
associate form of membership or even a delay to the accession talks.
According to the Turkish newspaper Zaman Daily, when asked whether or not
recognition of the Armenian genocide could be a pre-condition, Foreign
Michael Barnier said that the subject is not among the Copenhagen Criteria.
Zaman also reported there was division within the Socialist party, with some
socialist deputies demanded recognition of the Armenian genocide as a
pre-condition while some of the party’s members supported Turkey’s bid.
President Chirac has promised a referendum on the issue in perhaps a decade’s
time, in the hope of separating the question of Turkey from next year’s
the European Constitution.
As one of the founding EU members, France cares deeply about its future.
Already there is unease in the country that France is losing influence thanks
to Europe’s enlargement to the east.
Many worry that expanding to include Turkey as well would spell an end to any
hope of deepening EU co-operation to make Europe a superpower to rival the
Several French papers point out how the country’s simmering opposition to
Turkey joining the EU has left many MPs in the governing party at odds with
President Jacques Chirac, who favors Turkey’s inclusion.
Describing the heated debate in parliament on the issue, Le Monde says
“a time of deep disagreement” between Chirac and the parties which support
Both Chirac’s UMP and its ally the UDF are against Turkey joining the EU.
For Le Figaro, parliament’s venting of feelings “has served to bring to light
the divisions that the Turkish question is causing on both the Right and the
Three-quarters of the French are opposed to Turkey entering the European
and would vote against it in a referendum, according to an opinion poll
in Liberation newspaper.
Taken after the European Commission’s recommendation last week in favor of
accession talks, the survey revealed France to be the most firmly hostile to
Turkish membership of all the current 25 member states, the newspaper said.
Overall 75.3 percent of those asked would vote no in a referendum, the poll
found. Among supporters of President Jacques Chirac’s Union for a Popular
Movement (UMP) the figure was 75 percent, and among supporters of the
opposition Socialists it was 64 percent.
Only among the youngest voters–aged 18 to 24–was there a majority of 65.1
percent in favor.
2) Federal, State, and Local Officials to Attend 2004 ANCA Banquet
Event to gather Los Angeles Mayor Hahn and may others at large-scale event
LOS ANGELES (ANCA-WR)–Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and Coucilmembers Tony
Cardenas, Wendy Greuel, Bernard Parks, and Antonio Villaraigosa will be among
special guests at this year’s Armenian National Committee Western Region’s
(ANCA-WR) Annual Banquet on Sunday, October 24 at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington
Over 50 public officials have confirmed their attendance in what promises to
be the largest gathering of political activists, public officials, academics,
and ANC supporters in the Western United States, including Congressmen Adam
Schiff (D-CA), Howard Berman (D-CA) and Congresswoman Dianne Watson,
State Senators Richard Alarcon, Jack Scott, and Jackie Speier, California
Assemblymembers Dario Frommer, Jackie Goldberg, Manny Diaz, Carol Liu, Jenny
Oropeza, and Ronald Calderon, California State Insurance Commissioner John
Garamendi, and LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich.
“The ANCA’s Capitol Hill Observance in Washington, DC is the only other event
that attracts so many public officials of such significance,” said the
organization’s Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian. “The Annual Banquet is
an impressive display of the ANC’s determination to follow through on our
goals, and it is important for public officials to witness this energy.”
This year’s banquet will honor US Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) with the
ANCA-WR Legacy Award, State Senator Charles Poochigian (R-Fresno) with the Man
of the Year Award, and the Near East Foundation with the ANCA-WR Freedom
The Annual Banquet is the ANCA-WR’s biggest annual event and helps raise funds
to operate the nation’s largest grassroots and most influential political
For more information on the banquet and to reserve your table and tickets,
please call (818) 500-1918.
3) Congressional Candidates Continue to Speak Out on Armenian Issues
Incumbents and challengers reach out to Armenian voters through the ANCA
“I will continue to support a strong US-Armenian relationship. Our nations
stand together, determined to create a future of peace, prosperity, and
for the citizens of both countries, regions, and the world.”
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ-5)
WASHINGTON, DC–In the final weeks before the November 2 elections,
Congressional candidates from around the nation continue to submit Armenian
National Committee of America (ANCA) Candidate Questionnaires outlining their
views on Armenian American issues.
The ANCA questionnaires were sent to over 1,000 Congressional candidates
throughout the country as part of this election cycle’s ANCA voter education
drive. Copies of both the Congressional and Presidential questionnaires can be
downloaded by visiting the ANCA website at <;
Also provided on this website are sample cover letters and instructions for
forwarding the questionnaires to candidates.
The ANCA’s election year voter education campaign helps inform Armenian
Americans about the policy issues impacting Armenia, Karabagh, and the
American community. The campaign also provides timely and reliable information
on the records and views of the candidates seeking Armenian American votes,
while encouraging increased civic participation in local, state, and national
The Questionnaire features nine questions about recognition of the Armenian
Genocide; US support for Armenia and Karabagh;
US-Armenia economic relations; self-determination for Karabagh; conditions on
US aid to Azerbaijan; the Turkish blockade of Armenia; and the US subsidy of
the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline bypass of Armenia.
Provided below are several questions asked to Congressional candidates
throughout United States.
–Do you support Congressional initiatives and resolutions to commemorate the
–Do you support US aid and other bilateral programs to strengthen Armenia’s
–Do you support continued US developmental and humanitarian assistance to
–Do you support expanding the US-Armenia economic relations, including
extending permanent normal trade relations for Armenia and negotiating a
Security Agreement and Tax Treaty?
–Do you support Karabagh’s right to self-determination within secure
–Do you support maintaining Section 907 as a statement of US opposition to
–Do you support legislative and other means to encourage Turkey to end its
blockade of Armenia?
–Do you support linking US arms sales/transfers to Turkey to its blockade of
Armenia, occupation of-Cyprus, mistreatment of Kurds, restrictions on
communities, and human rights record?
–Do you oppose US taxpayer subsidies for a Baku-Ceyhan pipeline route that
4) AYF at European Socialist Forum
YEREVAN (YERKIR)–The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) will join over 300
organizations in the third European Socialist Forum (ESF) in London, October
The forum is set to discuss issues ranging from war to human rights. An AYF
representative’s report is planned for the War and Peace session. The AYF has
participated in the two previous forums held in Italy in 2002, and France in
Around 20,000 campaigners from trade unions, charities, religious groups, and
political organizations will take part in over 500 seminars, workshops, and
A huge cultural program of screenings, theater, and exhibitions is running
alongside the political debates; the event will culminate in a demonstration
against the war in Iraq on Sunday.
“The whole point of the forum is finding common ground,” said one
“Coming here allows us to build bridges and remove misunderstandings.”
5) ANCA Mobilizes Grassroots in Arizona
PHOENIX–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) continued to reach
out to Armenian communities across the Western United States with its recent
trip to Phoenix, Arizona.
ANCA Western Region Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian and Government
Relations Director Armen Carapetian met with ANC activists from the Arizona
community to discuss the importance of the upcoming November elections. An ANC
workshop with community leaders and activists highlighted their Grand Canyon
State visit, along with participation in various community events, including a
dance at the local church hall and a community picnic that attracted over one
hundred Arizona Armenians.
“The Armenian American community in Arizona is growing and prospering,”
Kassakhian said following his two-day trip. “The increasing political
of Armenian Americans in Arizona impressed us. Clearly, the ANC of Arizona is
going to play an important role in a state with eight Members of the House and
two very important US Senators.” ANCA-WR staff spent the weekend in Arizona
collected signatures from community members for a petition addressed to
Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) who serves as the Chairman of the influential
Congressional Subcommittee on Foreign Operations Appropriations. The petitions
urged Congressman Kolbe to maintain language in the Fiscal Year 2005 Foreign
Operations Appropriations Bill authored by Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA). The
bill prohibits Turkey from using any US foreign aid money to lobby against
official US acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.
Over 100 signatures in support of the Kolbe petition were collected at a
community picnic organized and hosted by the Arizona Armenian Relief Society.
At the gathering, Kassakhian summarized ANCA’s priorities in Washington, DC
in the Western Region, including passage of a genocide resolution and of a
to provide normal trade relations between the United States and Armenia.
6) Global Healing Sets its Sights on Gyumri
GYUMRI–Cindy Basso Eaton is a long way from the manicured lawns of her
childhood town of Stockton as she surveys the “houses” that stretch along the
streets of Gyumri, the second largest city in Armenia. She shakes her head in
disbelief, shocked that nearly two decades after one of the world’s most
devastating earthquakes rocked this region to the ground, nearly 15,000
residents still call makeshift metal “sea container” like shelters home.
As the president of Global Healing, this scene only serves to give her more
incentive to pursue the California-based, non-profit organization’s latest
This year, Global Healing will embark on its 6th healthcare project (Global
Healing has four completed medical projects in Tbilisi, Georgia and a current
medical project in Roatan, Honduras). With the blessings of the Ministry of
Health of Armenia, Global Healing will construct and oversee until
self-sufficiency, Armenia’s first-ever blood banking facility operating at
“Global Healing is a lifeline to those communities whose petitions for help
have fallen through the cracks of poverty, civil unrest or environmental
upheaval,” Basso Eaton explained. “We zero in on a need, and supply the fix.
You won’t find us sitting in a boardroomwe have none. Our offices are our
computers, phones, cars, kitchens,” she explained.” We are a small group of
hardworking volunteers dedicated to bringing modern healthcare to developing
countries. We never say never.”
The Armenia project is an example of that attitude.
Although “blood stations” exist in Armenia, Basso Eaton explained these
centers lack national or international guidelines for operation and safety. A
large portion of the blood transfused in the regions of Armenia is untested or
not tested properly and risks contamination with infectious diseases such as
HIV, Hepatitis B and C and syphilis. In addition, there is no system in place
for transporting blood products throughout the region. This was a scenario
Global Healing could not ignore.
“When completed, the Gyumri facility will have the technology and functioning
equipment to test all donor blood for infectious disease as well as accurately
type, process, store and cross match blood prior to transfusion,” she
explained. “We feel the people in the Shirak region deserve no less than
she continued. The Gyumri blood bank will be modeled after Global Healing’s
Tbilisi, Georgia blood bank facility and will include extensive training of
Armenian staff by foreign medical and administrative teams.
Basso Eaton’s pleas for help have been successful. “With just $7,000 in
donations we have done amazing things to realize the launch of this important
project,” she said.
In June, The United Armenian Fund in Los Angeles helped send a container of
equipment and supplies to the proposed site in Gyumri. The equipment and
supplies were donated by Baxter, Northern California. In addition, Helmer
Laboratories donated two vital temperature controlled blood bank refrigeration
units as well as a platelet incubator and agitator. Global Healing received
confirmation that Doctors Without Borders will supply the blood bank with
infectious disease kits and the Armenia Aids Program will supply equipment for
testing HIV as well as HIV test kits through the Global Fund project. In
addition, Becton Dickinson has donated over one years worth of blood bank
supplies. Major monetary donors to date have been Alice Runge, Frank and Irene
Garavano, Andy and Nora Armenian, Stan Shore and two anonymous donors.
“Now we are looking for the angel, that special person or corporation who can
step in and give us the financial power to complete this promise in Armenia,”
Basso Eaton explained.
To fully begin and complete the blood bank, Global Healing needs to raise
$150,000. $30,000 will be used in the renovation of the existing site. $60,000
will be used to procure the necessary equipment and supplies not donated.
$60,000 will be used to cover the expense of sending foreign medical and
educator teams to Armenia to train locals. It will also be used to implement a
media campaign in Armenia to educate the public on the merits of a “voluntary”
blood donation system as opposed to the existing “paid” programs.
100-percent of contributions will be used for the Armenia Project. Global
Healing is a US non-profit 501 (c) (3) and soon to be a UK registered charity.
Please send contributions to Global Healing, PO Box 2166 Orinda, CA 94563.
Please visit the website at
7) Rose and Alex Pilibos Ark Library: a case for books and libraries
By Ani Boyadjian Boghigian
There’s a point in time in any young reader’s life, when she or he remembers
being turned on to books. Whether the loving image of a parent holding up a
book and readingthe book becoming the extension of something so dear, in turn
becoming endearing itselfor a teacher in high school assigning that one great
book that opens the floodgates to new sensations–the result is one and the
same: the beginning of a lifelong love affair with reading.
Words, in the right sequence, can be truly powerful. And images, conjured up
through the dog-eared pages of a favorite tome, leave indelible footprints in
our imagination, become an endless source of fascination–to be discovered and
rediscovered, as we grow older.
For me, it was when my parents bought a World Book encyclopedia set from a
door-to-door salesman in the very early 70s. I was so impressed that they
devote such a huge sum to a set of books, that I set off reading them all, one
by one, letter by letter. Later, in my high school English class, our uncommon
and irrepressibly joyful and sarcastic English teacher, Mr. Neil Dodd (who has
vowed to “keep teaching at Mesrobian until the school burns down”), opened up
the worlds of Dickens and Austen, Joyce and Heaney, by assigning books that
still hold a special and sacred place.
How about our kids–the readers and thinkers, we hope, of tomorrow? A nearly
exclusive visual age leaves little room for the simple pleasures of a good
book. Or does it?
How many times have you heard the refrain “My kid does nothing but stare at
the computer and chat online,” or “I don’t think my daughter reads enoughhow
can I get her interested?”
These are all valid and timely comments and questions. It’s no secret that
people are reading less, unless they are staring at a computer terminal.
kids are turned on to reading soon–and as often as possible, they will
a big way. Readers make better thinkers. Readers make better writers. So many
students have trouble formulating a sentence, penning their thoughts. One of
the obvious root problems is that they do not read enough.
It IS possible to get students excited about reading. It IS possible to get
students excited about a library. A new school library seeks to offer an
alternative–a respite for the hand-eye coordination-weary–through the
sanctuary of the book. When it comes to a school, it all starts from the
Let me tell you how and why.
After much planning, much work, and many promises, the Rose and Alex Pilibos
Ark Library finally opened its doors. For the over 800 students of the school
who have not seen a working library on campus for the past five or so years,
this is, to say the least, an exciting time. After nearly two years of
construction, and then over a year and a half getting the innards of the
library in order, a fully automated library is ready and is already welcoming
students to its fold.
The project began with the idea to simply refurbish the existing
library. Over time, and through the persistent efforts of the administration,
this was shelved in favor of an entirely new structure, built alongside a
gymnasium that offers some breathing room for students on an already tight
The structure became an ark, soaring above the school, seemingly floating and
resting on “Ararat,” the gymnasium. Architects Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann
Ray of Studioworks designed the boat-shaped library from a standpoint of
merging two philosophical ideas: “gymnastike” (meaning exercise of the body,
for the gym structure, or “Ararat”) plus “musike” (education of the mind,
denoting the library)thus creating a harmony of form and function. [For more
information on the award-winning structure, see the links listed at the end of
When the architects were done with their magic, the real roll-up-your-sleeves
work began. With a loyal work force of student volunteers, many of whom
a huge part of their summer to help out in the library by hauling books in and
out, matching books to catalog cards and annotating them with notes and other
necessary tasks, the library began to take shape and form.
Though the outline the entire process may not be particularly interesting, it
may nevertheless serve as a blueprint or guideline for any Armenian school
which, through a mixture of a luck in funding and/or “pari nakhants,” would
like to update or automate their library and its collection.
The first questions to ask when undertaking such a project include the
following: Is the current facility adequate? If not, what other space can be
used? What are the needs of students/teachers? Is the current collection
timely, or is it mostly outdated and in need of replacement? Is there a
automate, or is the card catalog enough? What goes into library automation?
What are the obvious and hidden costs associated with such a project?
The prerequisites to this project are a modest budget, a good consultant, and
a large and loyal workforce. No library can be established without some
a budget. A budget will cover library software costs (which may run from
$10K), computer terminals/workstations (which can be purchased or leased
through a vendor), new materials costs (new books, audiovisual materials,
etc.), and other essentials (various library furniture, promotional materials,
etc.). Hidden costs may include computer networking and licensing fees,
which need to be renewed yearly, and other costs that may creep up over the
life of the project, which can run longer than expected.
A great library, however, is a both a great long and short-term investment
the school. It can also work to accomplish things that may not be obviously
readily measured. It can revitalize school programs and school pride, to get
students involved in the day-to-day operations of running a library long after
the start-up work is over, ensuring their presence and active participation.
In the summer of 2002, after the new structure was finished, a student
workforce, under the supervision of the Education Committee of the Rose and
Alex Pilibos School, began by hauling the books into the library from a
area where they had been kept from the time the previous library space was
emptied. A card catalog for both the Armenian and English collections was
although it was not maintained or updated, it was nonetheless invaluable in
getting the collection automated. Most of the books had call numbers and spine
labels, making them easy enough to sort by subject. At the start of the
project, the existing English-language collection consisted of about 2,500
titles, while the Armenian collection numbered around 1,000.
Students began the painstaking task of matching the catalog card to the book
in hand. This was done with the understanding that the cards would be
and then shipped to our vendor, Follett (a leader in school and public library
services and software), which would then “create” a database for us that we
could upload into our new online catalog.
One by one, book by dusty book, cards were matched and collected. Any books
that were not fit to be up on the shelfoutdated items, torn and badly damaged
bookswere weeded, or removed, from the collection with care and consideration.
Once all of the cards were collected, they were sent to the vendor. The vendor
took each catalog card, and created a new database for the Library. They
printed labels and barcodes, and mailed disks that contained a bibliographic
recordwhat you see as the author, title, publisher and subject information for
a bookfor each item that we downloaded into the server. Then, an army of
students went through all of the label and barcode sheets, and matched them
with our booksbook by book.
At the same time, new books were ordered for the Library, a much-needed shot
in the arm and an attempt to fill in some gaping holes in the collection. The
school administration set aside a start-up budget for books. No new books had
been purchased for the library for some five years. Follett software offers a
service called Titlewave, which offers new, award-winning titles for purchase
in every subject. Subject by subject, award-winning books that supplemented
existing collection and were deemed appropriate and supplemental for the
curriculum taught at the school were selected, purchased, and sent,
shelf-ready, with disks ready for uploading, from the vendor.
Over several monthsin the fortunate company of zealous students with
insatiable appetites for Sassoun Bakery’s banirov beoreg and Arax Bakery’s
manaeesh (present company included)the facility began to take shape and
finally, began resembling a library.
Alongside the physical labor and new book purchases, the school’s Education
Committee also planned the purchase and layout of computer terminals, and a
list of necessary library furniture and signage that would be designed by
either the architects, or purchased from a vendor.
The Education Committee contacted Dell with the express interest of
computer terminals for the Library, which ended up as a lease agreement. In
addition, we secured the lease for the more than 25 terminals for the new
computer lab at the school. The advantages of leasing from a major vendor are
the availability of round-the-clock hardware support, as well as
the terminals if they malfunction, or an upgrade if a newer model is released.
The architects wired the Ark so that it is computer-ready, making it a rather
simple process to network the terminals and the server in spaces that were
pre-designated for the workstations.
The overall layout of the library was also an important consideration: One
side of the Ark would hold English-language materials–the other,
Armenian-language ones–in a mirror image of each other. It was very important
to place Armenian books in a prominent area of the Library, and not relegate
itand its contentsto a corner. The Armenian- language collection would also be
cataloged, book by book, using Library of Congress rules for transliteration
and romanizationbasically creating records for each Armenian book by using
English letters to represent Armenian soundsand adding subject headings for
I can safely say that this is the first Armenian day-school library to have
its Armenian collection romanized and made part of the online catalog, or
This is significant and important for many reasons.
First, it means Armenian books are treated the same way–worthy of the same
respect–as any English-language book.
Second, teachers and students can use the catalog to search Armenian books
that are as accessible as English-language books.
Third, it makes the Armenian language collection, and the English language
collection, open for anyone to browse–anywhere in the world with Internet
access. In the future, all Armenian records will also include a link to a
digital image of the title page of the book.
Many, many times, Armenians with wonderful book collections ask, “What should
I do with my Armenian books? I’d like to donate them, but am not sure what to
do…” Armenians are very proud of their personal libraries, and with good
reason. Many in our community and in communities across the nation have rich
personal libraries that include out-of-print Armenian books that are
My answer will always beGive your books where they are needed the most:
to a library or to an Armenian institution–on the condition that they will
make them accessible by making them part of an online catalog. A library will
add those books to their online catalog, making them either part of a national
database, which is the case with most public and academic libraries, or make
them part of their online catalog accessible through the Webwhich is the case
with school and/or special libraries. The book is thereby never sent to
oblivion. Instead, it becomes part of a rich heritage, another “member” of
cyber library space. In this way, all books at the Rose and Alex Pilibos Ark
Library are made available to literally the world, through access to our
catalog. In my estimation, this is most certainly an important statement. The
cataloged Armenian book, which may not be available at any other library in
country, exists, and anyone who is interested may discover that it exists.
Certainly this is the first step towards it use. Certainly it is superior to
having it languishing in dust in a personal library or garage.
The Education Committee was happy to receive many donations from teachers and
Local writer and literary critic Puzant Granian donated the Armenian
collection. New Armenian titles were purchased at Sardarabad, a local source
for books. While in Armenia this summer, I picked up other titles,
Armenian translation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Which brings me to my next point: there is an obvious lack of interesting and
timely Armenian literature for young adults. A look at the picture-book
of English-language books, and the corresponding section for Armenian-
books for children drives the point home. Many of the Armenian- language books
are thin, paper-bound, and of poor quality.
Thankfully, a great crop of Armenian-language books for children have been
publishedin Armenia, and abroadthat attest to the fact that things are
changing. Now the voice of our generation, in Armenian, is needed. Stories for
youth that speak to them in the here and now, in their native language,
stories that are meaningful to their age, world-view and experience. These are
the kinds of issues that are brought to the fore when working on a library
collection. It’s not simply purchasing this and that, but fueling the idea to
also create this and thatin this case, and why not, original stories in
Armenian for young adults.
But I digress. Alongside these considerations, the Committee worked hard to
project future needs and services, and hired a new librarian Sarig
spearhead these projects. The librarian and teachers are already working
closely, through library orientation sessions and various events, to help
students discover that the Library is a place to read, do research, think and
Alongside the Library, the library website was also developed. The website
provides an active link to the OPAC, or online catalog, as well as access to
Proquest library databases (geared toward K-12 research needs), links to
websites for research and recreation, and other valuable information.
The collection now includes nearly 5,000 books in English and Armenian,
covering virtually all subjects. The Library also owns periodicals (“Pakine,”
“Hairenik,” etc.) and some Armenian monographs dating to the early part of the
20th century. Future plans also include adding an audiovisual collection and
viewing section. At present, the library is open to students and staff only.
However, in time, the Library has plans to open to the public and become a
It is my dream that all Armenian schools automate their libraries, one by
step by step, and create a consortium of libraries for resource sharing, with
each school library complementing, completing and enriching the other. For
those libraries that are already there, consider the consortium idea as one to
ponder. For those libraries on their way to automation, consider it another
reason to get started.
The Rose and Alex Pilibos Ark Library is at a fresh, new, and exciting stage
in its ongoing development. The architectural space is organic; it has been
interesting to see it bloom through the books and all of the positive energy
flowing through, on the road to becoming that harmony of form and function
the architects envisioned. During the Grand Opening celebration, I asked
Scheide, one of the architects who has worked so closely on this project, how
he felt seeing the space at this juncture. He said that it is the most amazing
time, because no matter how well an architectural space is planned, you cannot
really foresee just how it will be utilized or how it will come alive.
Over time, students and teachers will discover all that the library has to
offer–and all that they can bring to the equation.
A library with a great collection is of no use unless it is used, and used
well. The challenge now will be to create avenues and bridges where students
will discover booksboth in English and Armenianand forge a new and dynamic
relationship with books and reading.
It’s not an impossible dream, and the ultimate winners would be our kids.
Read about the Ark: w
The Ark was featured in: Lotus International, 2003, no. 117, pp. 86-93.
Visit the Pilibos Library: library.pilibos.org and become a Friend of the
Ani Boyadjian Boghigian is Russian and Armenian Acquisitions and Catalog
Librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library system, and is a member of the
Rose and Alex Pilibos School’s Education Committee. This is her second library
automation project. Her first project was the AUA Papazian Library in Yerevan,
8) gor–pronunciation: ‘gOr, ‘gor
1 : grammatically incorrect verb ending in Western Armenian
2 : innovative musician, charismatic, rising World Music star
by Paul Chaderjian
His name is blunt. Gor. Say it. It’s okay.
Gor. Say it again. You can, you know.
True. Many frustrated Armenian schoolmarms and parents have scolded students
to stop tacking a ‘gor’ at the end of verbs. It may be grammatically
but it’s also the name of the hottest music act since [fill in the name of the
last artist whose CD you downloaded].
Gor. Say it. Shout his name from rooftops, at church halls and kebob stands.
Text message your friends. IM them with smiley faces, swap the files, sync up
your iPod, for now “Gor” is a more than an error in Armenian history–it’s the
future, the present, and it’s making a mark in the diaspora.
“There are a lot of Armenians who are ready to listen to a new kinds of
Armenian music,” says Gor, “and I am offering them something new.”
Meet Gor Mkhitarian, former lead guitarist and vocalist for the hit
Yerevan-based rock band “Lav Ehlee.” He taught himself how to play the guitar,
sang in the church choir in Vanadzor, writes his own songs about life, love,
about his struggles, about people living and struggling. Among his influences,
he lists William Saroyan, Moby Dick, the Beatles, and the Armenian culture.
“When I was growing up in the 1980s, bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, the
Beatles were censored,” says Gor in perfect English. “People couldn’t find
these records, because they were called ‘bourgeois’ or capitalist music. You
simply couldn’t find the music in the stores.”
Gor’s brothers scoured the black market and brought home bootleg copies of
Western music. He loved the sound so much that he formed a rock band with his
friends. “We were just playing and hanging out,” he says. “We loved the music,
so we decided to play and record some covers, and that’s how we started.”
Behind the Iron Curtain, influenced by the history of the era, inspired by
Western rock, and seeded with the sounds of Rouben Mateossian, Flora
Mardirossian, Rouben Hakhverdian, and then-underground star Arthur Meschian
were the sprouts of Gor’s music today.
What evolved from passion and love of music in 1995 was the biggest rock band
in Yerevan Lav Ehlee. “We recorded a bunch of albums,” says Gor. “The rock
music we played was more like acoustic rock, more like the Rolling Stones, the
Dave Matthews band, that kind of music. Not too heavy and not too soft.”
Gor. Not to heavy. Not too soft. But blunt. 30. Handsome and charismatic. Now
a solo act. Check the web. Google his name. You’ll be surprised by the buzz,
the praise from a dozen publications and the honors from Armenian and
non-Armenian award shows. Now click on his album cover on CDRama.com and buy
his latest and third CD, Episodes.
“I mix a lot of genres in Episodes, but it’s all in Armenian,” says Gor. “My
work is all about Armenia, being Armenian, being a human being in Armenia.
a lot of influence coming from Western music, I’m trying to make a bridge
between cultures, especially between Armenians in Armenia and Armenians in the
Exhausted are the half-dozen remakes every Armenian musician has sung once
then again. This is Armenian music reinventing itself. This is the music
drafting into the culture young fans with sophisticated tastes. It’s bringing
back the comatose canon of oh-so-passe, circle-dancing tunes from keyboard
generated duduks, wa-wa organs, and drum machines.
That is old. This is raw, new and true.
Turn up your iPod. Listen to the accordion, the base, acoustic guitar.
in a new world. A new age. Can you hear the violin? Can you hear the flute?
Those words in Armenian about a young man waking up and understand is poetic.
You are special once again, in your cocoon of an MP3 player, in your car, on
the subway. Can you hear the Banjo? Turn it up. It’s all there, and it’s all
Armenian, 100 percent. Written, composed, and performed by a talented musician
from Vanadzor, whose chance meeting with a Bostonian created the quantum leap
“A friend of a friend, Raffi Meneshian from Boston, came to Armenia for a few
weeks,” says Gor. “We had a party, and I played the guitar. Raffi listened and
told me that he wanted to release my first solo album–just acoustic guitar
The accidental meeting in 2001 led to the release of “Yeraz” by Boston-based
Pomegranate Records. That’s how the legend began, and it’s caught on. What was
recorded in bits and bytes was trail-blazing Armenian music, fueled by the
restless boredom and anxiety of a culture sick of its parents’ and
In hotrods in New Jersey, on the freeways in So Cal, and on the 1 and 9 lines
on the Upper West Side are random men and women listening to revolutionary
music, once underground, now energized by the rabid getaway from years of
take-me-seriously classical, ‘estradayeen,’ bee-bopping, rabiz, and whatever
renovations of staid genres.
“The new album, Episodes, is about episodes from peoples’ lives,” says Gor.
“There are a few acoustic songs, just guitar and vocals like my first album.
There are also experimental songs with a lot different musicians like in my
Gor’s second album, Godfather Tom, showed off the musician’s uncanny ability
to take musical risks, mixing new instruments with his ancient culture, using
the cadence of the Armenian language with the backdrop of Hillbilly, Rock, and
Country all in one.
“If listeners like it, great,” says Gor about his music. “If they don’t, it’s
just a matter of taste. We’re fine with that too. But I think they’re going to
like it, because the new generation is looking for something new.”
Gor is serving up original lyrics with pride. Candid lyrics. Personal
thoughts. “I don’t want to remember what I did the night before, but it’s
evident who I am.”
Who he is and his music will be featured in the Thanksgiving Day Armenia Fund
Telethon. Set your VCR’s and program the TiVo, because his music is inventive,
fitting no genre, and creating something new. In Armenia they call him
“Alternative Armenian Folk Music.” In the real world, Gor has scored big with
young Armenians everywhere.
“We started to sell my album Yeraz not only in the Armenian market,” says
“but also on the Internet, Amazon, and CD Baby, and we’ve had a good response
from listeners. They says they don’t understand any words, but they loved it.”
“Yeraz,” his first solo CD released in 2002, fused the unique sounds and
lyrics of ancient Armenian folk music with modern rock and sometimes
experimental sounds. The innovative and original combination quickly garnered
global attention, winning Gor acclaim from all over the world, as well as
accolades such as “best alternative rock singer” and “best world music album.”
Gor. You haven’t heard this kind of novelty before. Trust me and say Gor.
a chance. Buy it on-line or sample the music on-line from the archives of “All
Things Armenian” from Fresno State Radio (<;).
Thousands are now fans, chanting his name at small and large concert
New York, Boston, Philadelphia, even in Wisconsin. Gor’s music (gormusic.com)
is unusual. It’s addicting. It’s Gor. And he’s got banjos and Komitas on one
expressionist musical canvas.
“I met my banjo player in Armenia,” explains Gor. “He was serving in the
Corp in Armenia. I met him in Vanadzor and Itchevan. He is a great
we got together, and we recorded this album. Since then, we recorded my second
and now third album.”
It’s the old world meeting the new, the banjo-playing Peace Core volunteer
meshing with the language of Mashtots. The bridge between East and West. A
liaison world music publications are calling “Post-Soviet Alternative Folk
But Gor is beyond labels. He’s fresh. He’s new. He’s fun to listen to, and he
has the ethereal IT. In other words, corporate music librarians in New York
high rises like it, don’t know how to describe, and know it’s a sure hit for
world audiences. And it’s Armenian.
Underground. No more. Gor is out there, and his music is selling at Armenian
record stores, on Amazon and CDRama dot com. Armenian music–Welcome to the
21st Century, Baby and turn the alarm clock off already.
“I woke up, I saw, I understood everything,” he sings. It’s cutting edge.
pioneering. And it’s unusually hip. Fans say Gor represents a new
Armenians who are redefining what the culture thinks of as Armenian culture.
So show the schoolmarms the birdie and start saying “Gor” as many times as
want. He’s now part of the new Armenian lexicon.
9) Los Angeles Art Show Features Extensive Jansem Collection
New York’s Galerie Rienzo exhibits 14 Jansem works in Los Angeles, along with
and other rare works
After being in the art business for many years, Robert Rienzo opened Galerie
Rienzo in 1985. Today, he owns an impressive collection that includes works by
Post-Impressionists Charles Camoin, Elisée Maclet, and Louis Valtat, as
Salvador Dali, Eugène Galien-Laloue, Pablo Picasso, and French Armenian artist
“Jansem is the second most important painter of the School of Paris
says Robert Rienzo who specializes in the School of Paris and is the exclusive
representative of Bernard Buffet for the United States. “Jansem is also the
expert and top living painter now at age 84.”
Rienzo has brought fourteen of Jansem’s works to the Los Angeles Art Show,
taking place October 15-17.
Among them is Jansem’s ‘Reclining Ballerina with Tutu.’ “This work by Jansem
is quite rare,” says Rienzo, explaining that although images of ballerinas are
not rare in Jansem’s work, it is difficult to obtain those with tutus.
Approximately 55 galleries, both domestic and international, are
with 3,000 works by 250 artists of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
collection covers 1950-1990.
The Los Angeles Art Show began on Thursday, October 14 and will last until
Sunday, October 17 at the Barkar Santa Monica Air Center, South Field, 3021
Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, California. Show admission is $18 a complete
catalog. Members of participating museums can buy tickets at half price.
10) THE POLITICS OF BASEBALL–IT’S DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN!
BY SKEPTIK SINIKIAN
I’m not a fan of baseball. In fact, it’s the one sport that I could care less
about. Leave it to us Americans to come up with a national pastime where
overweight people stand around aimlessly for hours looking bored and
themselves periodically. This is not a sport, it’s the checkout line at the
I personally think that any game where people remain stationary for more than
ten minutes is not a sport. If there were rabid dogs chasing players on the
field or if you were allowed to hold on to the baseball bat throughout the
and use it for self defense–now that would be exciting to watch. My friend,
however, strongly disagrees. He lives by the game and when his beloved Boston
Red Sox made the playoffs this year, he was beside himself. (Seriously
don’t think he got this excited when he heard the Soviet Union collapsed and
Armenia was free again.) Anyway, it turns out that his so-called BoSox are
notoriously bad at the game. In fact, they haven’t won a World Series since
But before I go on, just to reinforce my opinion that baseball is a
“sport,” I want to know who names a team after an item of clothing anyway?
What’s next? The Glendale Baby Blue Muu Muus? So where were we? Ah yes…the
Bostontsi Garmeer Koolbahs.
Every year my friend claims that THIS will be the year the Red Sox win the
World Series. And sure enough, every year the Red Sox fall short. My friend
took me to a bar in Santa Monica to watch the game against the New York
(the arch rivals of the Red “Koolbahs”) a few days ago and there, in their
as-natural-as-it-can-get habitat, I observed the Red Sox fans cheer, gloat,
sulk, and weep throughout the game which lasted a mind numbing three hours and
forty minutes. While I watched these crazed fans, a thought dawned on me. Red
Sox fans are the Armenians of baseball! Every year they hope to achieve
greatness and every year they fall short. Sometimes it’s because of poor team
management, other times there are disagreements between players, most of the
time however, they are just outmatched by the colossal New York Yankees whose
combined players’ salaries for one year is more than all the foreign aid that
Armenia has received from the United States the last two years ($ 184,193,950
in 2004 alone!)
But why do I think that the Armenians are like the Red Sox? There’s the
collective underachiever quality they share. The Red Sox have apparently had
some of the best players in baseball throughout their history but have never
been able to collectivize that talent towards a World Championship Title!
That’s not that different from Armenians who boast some of the brightest
thinkers and most talented artists in the world but put two Armenians in a
together and you end up with eight different political parties and at least
seven opinions all on the same issue. Here’s another quirky coincidence
the Red Sox and Armenians. The last time they Sox won the Series was in
1918–the same year Armenia achieved independence. Makes you think.
As I sat there watching the perennial underdogs of this snail-paced gladiator
match fight off inevitable defeat, my friend turned to me, pale faced and
depressed and blurted “I can’t watch anymore. I can’t stand losing to the
again.” I smiled to myself because I had been wondering the same thing about
this year’s Genocide Resolution, the upcoming 90th Anniversary of the Armenian
genocide, the poor Armenian Archbishop of Jerusalem who was spat on by a
Yeshiva student earlier this week, all the while thinking “This is
When will Armenians stop being kicked around?” And as the bar emptied after
another demoralizing BoSox loss to the Goliath Yankees, my friend, who only
moments ago had looked more nervous and shaken up than a prostitute at
confession, had a calm smile creasing across his face. “We can tie the series
when they come back to Boston,” he said to himself. “We’ll win all three games
in Boston and push a game 6 or 7 in New York.” The New York Yankees have
World Series match ups since the Red Sox last won a Series. But my friend
I still think that I’d rather undergo a lobotomy than watch an entire game of
baseball. Maybe then I’d enjoy it. But watching my friend cheer for the
underdog, I understand the importance of picking yourself up when you’re down,
dusting yourself off, and getting back in the saddle. It doesn’t matter if
opponents have beaten 20 or 200 times. It’s the one time when they are
expecting to win and when you beat them matters. That’s why even if the
Congressional Leadership, the White House, lobbyists for Turkey, Armenian
organizations who work against the interests of our community succeed in
derailing our initiatives this year, we will get up and start over.
As the great US President and roughrider Teddy Roosevelt once pointed out,
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is
marred by dust and seat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes
short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasm; the great devotions,
spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best, knows triumph and who, at
if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall
be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
After all, it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. Play ball!
Skeptik Sinikian never wants to be taken out to the ball game even though he
enjoys peanuts and crackerjacks. Sinikian can be reached for comment at
[email protected] or on his blog at
SATURDAY OCTOBER 16
Pyunic Presents the 2nd Annual Kef Night featuring “The John Bilezikjian
Location: Baghdasarian-Shahinian Hall (Glendale HMEM Ararat Chapter), 3347 N.
San Fernando, Los Angeles, 90065. Donation: $35. For tickets call Lorig
Sivazlian (818) 517-1208. Come casual, full of energy, and ready to dance.
THROUGH SUNDAY OCTOBER 17
Horizon TV presents Gabo (Gabriel Manukyan) paintings. Saturday, October 16:
11:00 AM-9:00 PM. Sunday, October 17: 11:00 AM-6:00 PM. Location: St. Gregory
Armenian Catholic Church Hall, 1510 East Mountain Street, Glendale, 91207. For
more info call Horizon (818) 246-1989 or Zepiur (714) 425-4447.
WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY OCTOBER 20, 21
Tom Bozigian 12 week Armenian/Greek Dance Course–2 locations: St. Peter’s
Armenian Church, 17231 Sherman Way, Van Nuys (Wed.) and Glendale Civic
Auditorium, 1401 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale (Thurs.) All levels. Time: 7-10:30
PM. Adults: $95 Students: $85. Call for discount packages (562) 941-0845
THROUGH SUNDAY OCTOBER 24
Harvest Gallery presents the works of Zareh. 938 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Parking available corner of
Brand and Glenoaks. (818) 546-1000.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 25
Annual ANCA-WR Banquet. Call (818) 500-1918
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5
ARF Western Region Central Committee annual banquet, details to be announced.
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 7
Holy Cross Ladies’ Aid 4th Annual Holiday Boutique. 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Location: Holy Cross Cathedral, Bagramian Hall, 900 West Lincoln Avenue,
Montebello. Free Admission.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 24
A Christmas to Remember Dinner-dance. Joseph Krikorian and Armenchik in Reno,
Nevada. Package includes 3 days & 2 nights at Peppermill Hotel & Casino,
includes dinner-dance. $340 per couple, transportation available with
reservations from Glendale/North Hollywood/Hollywood. For more information or
tickets call (818) 339-2466.
THROUGH DECEMBER 31
Traces of Identity: An Insider’s View of the LA Armenian Community,
Photographs by Ara Oshagan, Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd. Fri-Sun
12-5 PM, Adults $5, Seniors & Ages 12-17 $3. (323) 644-6269.
JANUARY 9-16, 2005
ARMENIAN HERITAGE CRUISE VIII. Leaving Ft. Lauderdale, FL for 7 day Western
Caribbean Cruise on Costa Mediterranean. Cruise cultural events, Armenian
movies, Tavlou & Blote Tournaments, Armenian conversation & dance lessons, and
much more. Music by Nersik Isperian and his Yerevan Band, the Richard
Berberian Ensemble with Mal Barsamian, Arthur Apkarian and his Armenia Band,
and new favorite from California George Pchakjian. All inclusive prices start
at $699 per person double occupancy, port charges, federal/state taxes. Early
booking prices through May 31, 2004. Limited discount Cabins remain. Call
Travelgroup International 866-447-0750; or West Coast, Mary Papazian
818-368-8282; East Coast, Antranik Boudakian 718-575-0142. Visit
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 27
An evening honoring the memory of 3 great legends of ANCHA–Mardikian,
& Shekerjian. Under the auspices of the ARS Western Region, organized by the
Mardikian, Saroyan, Shekerjian Banquet Committee. Location: Los Angeles Police
Academy, 1880 N. Academy Drive. Donation $75. For more information call
323-662-9259 or 818-335-2101.
SATURDAY MARCH 5
Junior Achievement of Armenia and Armenian Eyecare Project gala event.
Location: Orange County Museum of Art, 6:30 PM. For tickets call (818)
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