California Courier Online, March 3, 2005

California Courier Online, March 3, 2005

1 – Commentary
US Ambassador Asked to Clarify
Comments on Genocide & Karabagh
By Harut Sassounian
California Courier Publisher
2 – The Astor Broadcast Group Grows
With One Leg in the Inland Empire
3 – Melkonian to Speak in Fresno on
New Book About Brother Monte
4 – Weekly Show Connects Youth
To the Entertainment World
5 – Letters to the Editor
6 – Singapore Armenian Church
Will Mark 170th Anniversary
7 – Bone Marrow Drive to Help
Save L.A.’s Arlene Titizian
8 – CSUN Presents March 8 Literary Evening
With Three Armenian American Authors
9 – UAF Reaches $400 Million Mark
In Relief Supplies to Armenia
1 – Commentary
US Ambassador Asked to Clarify
Comments on Genocide & Karabagh

By Harut Sassounian,
Publisher, The California Courier

The U.S. Ambassador to Armenia issued “a clarification” on Monday regarding
the statements he had made on the Armenian Genocide and Karabagh during his
meetings two weeks ago with the Armenian American community.
Given the euphemisms used by successive U.S. administrations to sidestep
the use of the term “Armenian Genocide,” it was refreshing for Armenian
Americans to hear a U.S. official who properly and repeatedly referred to
the Armenian Genocide, as genocide.
Amb. Evans made his candid remarks during private as well as public
meetings with the community in various U.S. cities. He was reported to have
said during a public gathering at the University of California at Berkeley,
“I will today call it the Armenian Genocide.” Stating that he had studied
extensively the facts of the Genocide, the U.S. Ambassador Said, “I
informed myself in depth about it. I think we, the US government, owe you,
our fellow citizens, a more frank and honest way of discussing this
problem. Today, as someone who has studied it… there’s no doubt in my mind
what happened…. I think it is unbecoming of us, as Americans, to play word
games here. I believe in calling things by their name.” He did point out,
however, that the official policy of the U.S. government on this issue had
still not changed. Calling the Armenian Genocide “the first genocide of the
20th century,” he said, “I pledge to you, we are going to do a better job
at addressing this issue.” Amb. Evans also disclosed that he had consulted
with a legal advisor at the State Department who had confirmed that the
events of 1915 were “genocide by definition.”
In response to a question on Karabagh, Amb. Evans was quoted as saying:
“everybody realizes that Karabagh can’t be given back to Azerbaijan. That
would be a disastrous step.”
In my opinion, Amb. Evans did not say anything new or earth-shattering.
Back in 1981, someone in a much higher position than a mere ambassador, the
President of the United States — Ronald Reagan — issued a presidential
proclamation in which he specifically referred to “the genocide of the
Armenians.” The U.S. House of Representatives twice (in 1975 and 1984)
adopted resolutions commemorating the Armenian Genocide. Based on these
precedents, the Ambassador’s remarks should not have been controversial at
The Ambassador’s comments on Karabagh were also factual and sensible. He is
absolutely correct that Armenians would never willingly give Karabagh back
to Azerbaijan. They spilled their blood to liberate that precious piece of
historic Armenian territory. After such a sacrifice, no Armenian official
would ever think of returning Karabagh’s Armenian population to the cruel
and tyrannical rule of Azerbaijan.
In the clarification issued by the U.S. Embassy in Armenia on Monday, Amb.
Evans alluded to “misunderstandings” that may have arisen as a result of
his earlier comments. He said he used the term “genocide” in his “personal
capacity,” which he now found to be “inappropriate.” Copying the words used
by Pres. George W. Bush in his annual April 24 statement, Amb. Evans
described the Armenian genocide as a “tragedy,” “horrific events,” and “the
forced killing and exile of Armenians in 1915.”
Amb. Evans said that his “comments on the status of Nagorno Karabagh may
have also created misunderstanding on U.S. policy. The U.S. government
supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and holds that the future
status of Nagorno Karabagh is a matter of negotiation between Armenia and
Even though there has been recently a lot of bad blood between Turkey and
the United States, their discord apparently has not reached a level that
would force Bush administration officials to reconsider their complicity in
Turkey’s shameful denial of the Armenian Genocide. The ideological bias of
a small but powerful clique of neo-conservative Turkophiles in Washington
holds such a sway over U.S. foreign policy that when Turkish and
Azerbaijani officials complained about Amb. Evans, they found a receptive
Nevertheless, I believe that this whole controversy has its beneficial
aspects for the Armenian Cause. The Turks, the Azeris and their surrogates
in Washington had to spend some of their valuable political capital to get
this “clarification” issued. They cannot go to the same well too many
times, before the cost becomes too prohibitive for them. While Turkey’s
clout in Washington is waning, the Armenians have just started implementing
their yearlong activities worldwide to commemorate the 90th anniversary of
the Armenian Genocide.
Thanks to the Turkish and Azeri over-reactions and the media coverage of
this controversy, the Armenian Genocide has become once again an important
topic of discussion in various capitals, including Ankara and Washington.
It is only a matter of time before Turkish and U.S. officials give up their
untenable denials of the Armenian Genocide. The only remaining question is
would they do it willingly and with dignity or would they have to be
dragged into admitting the inevitable, losing all respect in the process!

2 – The Astor Broadcast Group Grows
With One Leg in the Inland Empire
Inland Empire Business Journal (California)
By Joe Lyons
The history of the Astor Broadcast Group is the history of Art Astor. He
was born into an Armenian immigrant family. After a tour in the Army Air
Corps (earning him the Air Medal with four clusters) he took a
communications degree from USC in 1949 on the G.I. Bill.
His loyalty to the school remains apparent as he wears the cardinal and
gold colors at least once a week and carries the football and basketball
broadcasts on KSPA, his Ontario station. But that’s getting ahead of the
Degree in hand, he started in TV as what he describes as `the Armenian Dick
Clark,’ but that was 50 years ago. Among other positions, he headed the
sales department at Los Angeles station KHJ during the great `Boss Radio’
days of the early sixties.
By the late seventies, he was in a partnership which owned KIK-FM, a
country station out of Orange County. By 1982, he had bought out his
partners and, with the purchase of an AM/FM operation in the Bay Area, he
became the proud owner of the Astor Broadcast Group.
In 1999, Hank Stickney, owner of the Quakes, sold his Rancho Cucamonga
radio station, known as The Muscle, to the Astor group. The calls became
KMXN with the name AM 1510 applied to it to let people know where it is.
The name has stuck, but the call letters are now KSPA.
The signal remains the same. The official city of license is still Ontario,
but the studios are still down in Orange County. Oddly enough, those
studios are also the site of an incredible collection knows as Astor
It seems that back in the seventies, Astor fell in love with a 1967 Jaguar
4.2 sedan. That car became the start of a remarkable collection. Nearly 200
`rolling sculpture’ are now the heart of an amazing fleet – from a 1925
Dodge Bros. car to one of the largest private collections of Packards in
the area.
Each car is as original as possible and all are drivable. In fact they all
get out on the road sooner or later. Many famous names are attached to
these cars including Orson Welles, Cary Grant, Admiral Nimitz and even
Howard Hughes.
Soon the Astor Group will be opening a multipurpose event center which will
put the entire collection on proper display as a special attraction for
groups looking to hold their functions in a most unusual atmosphere.
In this age of corporate broadcasting, where programming people in New York
issue memos every day on what to air to people like us 3,000 miles away,
the Astor Broadcast Group remains one of the last of the independent
entrepreneurships in our area.
At nearly 80, Art Astor can still be found in one of his offices every day.
Of course which office he can be found in depends on whether he’s working
on plans for the event center, getting ready for a major car show,
developing the international syndication of the Wolfman Jack shows or
planning new ideas for Ontario’s AM 1510.
Last year the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce presented Art Astor with a
lifetime achievement award. They may have been premature.
3 – Melkonian to Speak in Fresno on
New Book About Brother Monter
FRESNO – Author Markar Melkonian will present his new book, “My Brother’s
Road: An American’s Fateful Journey to Armenia” at 7:30 p.m., on March 15
in the Industrial Technology Building, Room 101 (corner of Barstow and
Campus Drive) on the Fresno State campus.
The lecture is part of the Armenian Studies Program Spring 2005 Lecture
Series and is co-sponsored by the Armenian Students Organization.
My Brother’s Road is the story of Markar’s brother, Monte Melkonian, a
third-generation California boy, who grew up to become a promising
archaeologist, a witness to revolution in Iran, a militiaman in the streets
of Beirut, a guerrilla in southern Lebanon, a prison strike leader in
France, and a commander of 4,000 fighters in the Karabagh war. The son of
native Californians and a Little League Baseball player, yet he embodied
the agony and the folly of the final years of the Cold War and the dashed
dreams of the post-Soviet era. Monte did not just witness the convulsions
of those years; he endured them and he helped bring them on.
The product of eight years of research and writing, the book draws from
hundreds of interviews and thousands of unpublished documents in four
languages on three continents. But My Brother’s Road is not just the story
of a long, amazing journey and a short life: It is also a story of
discovery, written by Monte’s brother, his comrade and sometimes-critic.
For a while, the brothers shared the dangers and hopes of the road.
Markar Melkonian is a teacher, writer and veteran solidarity worker. He
holds several graduate degrees, including a Ph.D. in philosophy from the
University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Melkonian’s books include Marxism: A
Post-Cold War Primer (Westview Press, 1996) and Richard Rorty’s Politics:
Liberalism at the End of the American Century (Humanities Press, 1999).
Melkonian is a founder and a director of The Monte Melkonian Fund, Inc., a
nonprofit organization that assists the neediest of the needy in Armenia
Relaxed parking will be available in Lots Q, K, and L after 7:00 PM the
night of the lecture. For more information on the presentation, contact the
Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669.
4 – Weekly Show Connects Youth
To the Entertainment World
GLENDALE – Although still considered a fledgling show, World Entertainment
Connections is proving to be the Glendale and Burbank areas’ premiere local
source for the latest entertainment news, red carpet premieres, movie
reviews, and top American and international music videos.
This show is doing what no other show has done in the local area: bridging
the new generation of Armenians with American pop culture. And, they’re
doing it every week.
This fresh new take on the entertainment scene not only maintains strong
roots with the established Armenian community, but it is exploding with
colorful pop-culture vitality. W.E. Connections delivers to their young
audiences a unique fusion of the international music scene and the American
entertainment industry. The show covers entertainment from red carpet
Q&A’s with Academy Award winning director James Cameron (Titanic), to
exclusive one-on-one interviews with international sensations like
Armenian/Persian singer Andy, to spotlights on up-and-coming bands from the
local area, to Oscar viewing parties packed with Hollywood celebrities.
Hosted by Jill Simonian (a former Miss Hollywood and Miss California
Pageant finalist), the show also features young local Armenian talent from
Southern California, including Michelle Mack delivering entertainment news,
and Arin Mikailian with his ‘sometimes-too-honest’ movie reviews. Most
importantly, it showcases the heartfelt vision of producer Vahik ‘Vic’
Pirhamzei (Richmond Media Entertainment) of Glendale.
“You’d be surprised how many people watch… and they keep watching after
they see it,” says Judith Ghougassian, former production coordinator. “It’s
a lot of fun and I think that people like to see Armenians putting
something like this together for the young Armenian-American generation.”
Nearly 200,000 households in the Southern California area can catch this
show: Sundays at 9 p.m. in Glendale/Burbank on Charter Media cable Channel
26, and Mondays at 9pm in Sunland/Tujunga on Comcast cable Channel 27.
5 – Letters to the Editor
Dear Sir:
I read with great interest your editorial “American Jewish Group to Lobby
for Turkey’s EU Membership [California Courier, Feb. 3]. I believe you
should have mentioned the Jewish organizations that demand not only
Turkey’s but also the world’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Additionally, I respectfully ask that you include the Jewish Defense League
on that list.
My late husband, Irv Rubin, who was the international chairman of the
Jewish Defense League, always observed April 24 in solidarity with the
Armenian people. During our marriage of 22 years that ended with his 2002
untimely death, I heard Irv say countless times, “if the world had taken
notice of what the Turks did to the Armenian people, the Holocaust would
not have happened.”
If I can be so forward as to give advice, I would say to the American
Armenian community: People will not remember the Armenian Genocide unless
Armenians make them remember. Just as the Jewish community raised great
amounts of money in order to erect buildings and monuments so the world
would never forget, the Armenian community has a responsibility to
commemorate their tragedy in the same way. As the philosopher George
Santayana so beautifully stated, “Those who cannot remember the past are
condemned to repeat it.”
Shelley Rubin
Administrative Director
Jewish Defense League
Los Angeles, Calif.
6 – Singapore Armenian Church
Will Mark 170th Anniversary
SINGAPORE – The Trustees of the Armenian Church of St. Gregory the
Illuminator, built in 1835 in Singapore, and the Armenian residents of
Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong, have decided to celebrate the 170th
anniversary of the church with a schedule of Armenian cultural, social and
religious events at the site.
Catholicos Karekin II, Archbishop Aghan Baliozian Primate of Australia, New
Zealand and South East Asia, have indicated their intention to participate
at the activities, which this year also commemorates the 90th anniversary
of the Genocide.
Giving early notice to provide everyone sufficient time to book their dates
and travel plans to Singapore to help celebrate and commemorate this
historic occasion. Organizers ask the potential visitors to remember if
all of the Armenian living in Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Guangzhou,
(China) and Malaysia were able to participate, they would hardly number 70
to 80.
“We appeal to all Armenians who may be able to attend to make the effort
and give us your support,” organizers observed.
The planned dates are November 11 12 and 13, with a possibility of a
pre-event on Thursday, Nov. 10.
An Event Committee has just been appointed and will prepare an event
program over the next three months. Committee members and other details
will be announced soon.
7 – Bone Marrow Drive to Help
Save L.A.’s Arlene Titizian
CHATSWORTH, CA — Arlene Titizian, 56, has recently been diagnosed with a
rare disease, Myelofibrosis, a proliferation of fibroblastic cells in bone
marrow, causing anemia and sometimes enlargement of the spleen and liver.
The only treatment for survival is a bone marrow transplant.
Doctors have told the family that the best chances of finding the correct
match are from those of Armenian descent.
Two bone marrow drives have been set up in the greater Los Angeles area to
help find a match for Titizian. On March 6 from 1to 5 p.m., volunteers
can donate at the Ararat Home (15105 Mission Hills Road, Mission Hills) or
April 3 from 12:30 pm – 5:30 pm at the United Armenian Congregations
Church (3480 Cahuenga Blvd. West., Los Angeles). The donor drives are
sponsored by the Armenian Bone Marrow Registry Program and the City of
Hope, respectively.
There is no cost to be included on the Armenian Bone Marrow Registry.
Arlene Titizian is the wife of George Titizian for 37 years and mother of
Sonia Mikaelian, Martin and Armen Titizian. She is the proud grandmother
of three grandchildren, Nicholas, Kristopher and Alexa
8 – CSUN Presents March 8 Literary Evening
With Three Armenian American Authors
NORTHRIDGE, CA – The Armenian Students Association (ASA) at the California
State University, Northridge (CSUN), in cooperation with the Armenian
Studies Program (ASP) on campus, has organized a literary evening, March 8
at 8 p.m,. at the University’s Grand Salon, as part of the ASP’s 20th
Anniversary celebration.
The evening will feature three talented Armenian American writers and their
recent publications.
Rising stars on the literary scene, the three authors will present their
books. Aris Janigian will provide his perspective on the Bloodvine,
Micheline Aharonian Marcom will analyze her The Daydreaming Boy, and Markar
Melkonian will lead the audience along My Brother’s Road. These books will
be available for sale.
The Armenian Students Association of CSUN, representing over 3,000 students
of Armenian descent at the University (10% of the total student
population), is a very active body organizing 10-15 activities annually
pertaining to Armenian culture and relevant issues.
The ASP offers 14 undergraduate courses on Armenian language, literature,
culture, etc., as well as a Minor, a Concentration, and a Certificate in
Armenian. The Program also has a Memorandum of Understanding with Yerevan
State University that promotes collaboration in various academic
For further information regarding the literary evening, the ASA, and/or the
ASP, contact Program Director Prof. Hermine Mahseredjian at (818) 677-7228
or h.mahs[email protected]; Prof. Vahram Shemmassian at (818) 677-3456 or
[email protected]; or
9 – UAF Reaches $400 Million Mark
In Relief Supplies to Armenia
GLENDALE – The United Armenian Fund’s 132nd airlift arrived in Yerevan on
February 27, delivering $3.2 million of humanitarian assistance.
The UAF itself collected $2.6 million of medicines and medical supplies for
this flight, most of which were donated by the Catholic Medical Mission
Board ($2.4 million) and AmeriCares ($196,000).
Other organizations which contributed goods for this airlift were: Medical
Outreach for Armenians ($170,000); Nork Marash Medical Center ($101,000);
Armenian General Benevolent Union ($80,000); Armenian Eye Care Project
($31,000); Harut Chantikian of New Jersey ($26,000); Dr. Stephen Kashian of
Illinois ($23,000); and Fund for Armenian Relief ($22,000).
Also contributing to this airlift were: Innotech Projects Inc. ($19,000);
American University of Armenia ($17,000); Glendale Ghapan Sister City
Association ($17,000); Howard Karagheusian Commemorative Corp. ($16,000);
Bay Area Friends of Armenia ($11,000); and Armenian Gospel Mission
Since its inception in 1989, the UAF has sent $400 million of humanitarian
assistance to Armenia on board 132 airlifts and 1,153 sea containers.
The UAF is the collective effort of the Armenian Assembly of America, the
Armenian General Benevolent Union, the Armenian Missionary Association of
America, the Armenian Relief Society, the Diocese of the Armenian Church of
America, the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America and the
Lincy Foundation.
For more information, contact the UAF office at 1101 North Pacific Avenue,
Suite 301, Glendale, CA 91202 or call (818) 241-8900.
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