ASBAREZ Online [04-01-2005]


1) ANCA Seeks Adoption of Darfur Accountability Act
2) Erdogan Strongly Refutes `Accusation of So-called’ Armenian Genocide
3) Kocharian Pays Unexpected Visit to Georgia
4) Youth Set the Course for Humanity
5) Follow Tara’s Lead on April 5
6) Board of Regents Invites Active Community Participation and Support in
Strengthening Our Schools
7) Armen Movsisian in Concert

1) ANCA Seeks Adoption of Darfur Accountability Act

–New ANCA WebFax Campaign supports Decisive US Action to Stop Genocide in

WASHINGTON, DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has joined
the growing coalition seeking decisive US action to stop the ongoing Genocide
in Darfur, Sudan.
In an action alert circulated to more than 50,000 activists in every US
the ANCA called on Armenian Americans to work for the adoption of
resolutions in favor of the appointment of a Presidential Special envoy to
Sudan and the imposition of sanctions against the Sudanese Government.
Known as the Darfur Accountability Act of 2005 (S.495), the measure,
introduced on March 2 by Senators Jon Corzine (D-NJ) and Sam Brownback (R-KS),
calls for a new UN Security Council resolution with sanctions, an extension of
the current arms embargo to cover the Government of Sudan, and as well as the
freezing of assets of those responsible for genocide and war crimes in Darfur.
The Special Presidential Envoy for Sudan would work with all parties and the
international community to stop the genocide in Darfur and help craft a
comprehensive peace plan.
The ANCA WebFax letter reminds legislators, “The international community
watched as Turkey massacred over 1.5 million Armenian civilians and drove
hundreds of thousands more into the desert to die during World War I. After
this first genocide of the 20th Century, the nations of the world pledged to
prevent such atrocities in the future. And yet, over 6 million Jews and
millions of others were exterminated by the Nazis during World War II. The
world community again vowed to stop future atrocities, proclaiming, ‘Never
again.’ And yet again, over 1.7 million Cambodians were killed under Pol Pot’s
repressive regime in the 1970’s, and less than 20 years later after that,
800,000 Tutsi civilians were slaughtered in Rwanda in 1994. I urge you to take
action to end this cycle and move us to finally realize the call ‘Never
Joining Senators Corzine and Brownback in cosponsoring the Darfur
Accountability Act in the Senate are Evan Bayh (D-IN), Barbara Boxer (D-CA),
Tom Coburn (R-OK), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Dayton
(D-MD), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Richard Durbin (D-IL),
Russell Feingold (D-WI), John Kerry (D-MA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu
(D-LA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joseph Lieberman
Patty Murray (D-WA), Benjamin Nelson (R-NE), and Jim Talent (R-MO).
Similar legislation was introduced in the House on March 17 by New Jersey
Democrat Donald Payne and has 11 cosponsors including Representatives Michael
Capuano (D-MA), John Conyers (D-MI), Tom Lantos (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA),
Gregory Meeks (D-CA), Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Bobby Rush
(D-IL), Thomas Tancredo (R-CO), and Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
Following the introduction of the Darfur Accountability Act, Illinois Senator
Richard Durbin spoke in the support of the measure, citing a state’s inherent
responsibility to stop genocide: “‘Genocide’ is a word this is rarely used in
human history,” explained Sen. Durbin. “There have been genocides against the
Armenian people and the Jewish people during the Holocaust, perhaps in Pol
Pot’s times in Cambodia, and other times we can point to. Rarely do we use the
word. It is a word that is freighted with responsibility. You cannot just say
there is genocide in some part of the world and isn’t that a shame. We
signed a
genocide treaty that said once we detect a genocide, we go to international
organizations–the United States does– and demand action. So using the word
“genocide,” as the Bush administration has done, is a good thing because it
prods us to do something, but it is a challenge that we must meet on something
this timely and important.”
The escalation of Congressional efforts regarding the Darfur Genocide
coincides with an expanded Sudanese government effort to deny its role in the
ongoing tragedy. In a March 22nd front page Washington Post article, Sudan’s
First Vice-President Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha argued that, “his government had
received an unfair share of the blame for the war in Darfur.” The Washington
Post article, which presented highlights from an interview with the First
Vice-President continued: “We do understand and appreciate people having
sympathy with the victims of Darfur,” said Taha, 57, who called the
situation a
‘sad chapter’ in Sudan’s history. But he added: “This was not genocide, but an
unfortunate internal conflict… that has nothing to do with ethnic cleansing.
We urge people to see the difference between the innocents caught in the
and the rebels who are escalating their claims to gain sympathy.”
“Genocide denial–of past atrocities or ongoing massacres–only serves to
encourage perpetrators, emboldening them with the knowledge that their crimes
can be committed with impunity,” said Hamparian. “As Armenian Americans, we
reminded by the Sudanese government’s efforts to blame the victims–like its
hollow claims of self-defense–of the Turkish government’s campaign–now in
ninth decade, to escape responsibility for the Armenian Genocide.”
Express your support for the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act of 2005 by
sending a free ANCA WebFax to Congress from the ANCA website
<; Additional information about the Darfur
Genocide can be found at: Africa Action
<; or Save Darfur

2) Erdogan Strongly Refutes `Accusation of So-called’ Armenian Genocide

RABAT (AFP)–During a news conference on the last day of his tour of North
Africa, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan firmly stated on Thursday,
`Turkey does not accept the accusation of the so-called Armenian genocide.
Documents refute such slander.’
When asked about the Incirlik Air Base and allegations that the US has
requested use of the Air Base with approval of a resolution about the Armenian
genocide by US Congress,
Prime Minister Erdogan responded, `As a democratic, secular, and social state
of law, Turkey will continue supporting its ally under the structure of NATO
and under the United Nations humanitarian relief efforts. However, it is
impossible to meet all requests every time. We do not have any problem about
principles. In the meantime, we will regret any attempts to relate it to
so-called Armenian genocide. The US parliament has never done such a thing,
I believe that it will not do so in the future.’
Stating that Turkey had opened its state archives in an effort to clarify the
facts, Prime Minister Erdogan told reporters that `the United States should
also take action by charging historians and jurists to carry on detailed
`Turkey has never cherished any resentment or hatred against Armenia. We
declared that we have opened our state archives, and called for research;
however, they rejected our proposal. Their baseless slander is totally
unacceptable. Turkey does not accept the accusation of so-called Armenian
genocide since documents refute it. Turkey will make a decision soon, and
inform all countries approving resolutions to recognize the so-called Armenian
genocide,’ he said.

3) Kocharian Pays Unexpected Visit to Georgia

TBILISI (RFE/RL)–President Robert Kocharian left for Tbilisi Friday on an
impromptu visit which may be connected with renewed tensions in Georgia’s
Armenian-populated areas.
In a brief statement, President Kocharian’s office said the two-day visit was
initiated by Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and will have a `private’
character. It gave no further details. Kocharian’s trips abroad are usually
announced by the presidential press service in advance.
The Georgian news agency Caucasus Press cited Saakashvili’s press service as
saying that the two men will meet in the resort town of Gudauri and discuss a
`wide range’ of issues of mutual interest.
`This is not an official visit,’ Gela Bezhuashvili, secretary of Georgia’s
National Security Council, told Imedi television in Tbilisi. `We will discuss
regional issues, as well as bilateral relations.’
Asked whether the situation in the Armenian-populated Javakhk region will be
on the agenda of the talks, Bezhuashvili replied, `We will discuss

The restive and economically depressed area bordering Armenia and Turkey is
home to one of the two Russian military bases in Georgia which Tbilisi has
trying to have closed. Saakashvili’s administration has stepped up its
on Moscow in recent weeks, threatening to declare the Russian military
The Russian base in Akhalkalak is Javakhk’s single largest employer and most
local Armenians are opposed to its closure. Thousands of them took to the
streets of Akhalkalak on March 13 to protest against withdrawal of the troops.
They staged another demonstration there on Thursday.
According to the local A-Info news agency, the latest rally was dominated by
socioeconomic issues, with organizers demanding that the government in Tbilisi
pay greater attention to the local population’s needs. They called, in
particular, for an urgent repair of local roads and simplification of customs
The authorities in Yerevan likewise press Tbilisi to address those problems.
But they have at the same time urged the Javakhk Armenians to exercise
mindful of Georgia’s geopolitical significance for Armenia.
Many Georgians, for their part, feel that the local population is being
manipulated by Russia and accuse Moscow of playing the ethnic card to prolong
its military presence in Georgia.
Saakashvili and Kocharian might also discuss a dispute over the ownership of
15th century Armenian church in Tbilisi which threatens to sour
Georgian-Armenian relations. The local diocese of the Armenian Apostolic
has accused the Georgian Orthodox Church of seeking to `misappropriate’ the
church and destroying Armenian monuments across Georgia.
A high-level delegation of Armenian clerics is due to travel to Tbilisi this
month in an attempt to settle the dispute.

4) Youth Set the Course for Humanity

By Ani Agnessa Avetisyan

Starting today, Serouj Aprahamian, 23, will walk from Fresno to
Sacramento–and remember.
He will walk to honor the memory of his grandfather, who was only four
when he
was forced to walk through the deserts of Turkey into Syria.
And he will walk to honor the 1.5 million Armenians who walked to their
Ninety years ago, an estimated 1.5 million Christian Armenians were
exterminated. They marched for hundreds of miles for months without food or
water and were left to starve and die in the desert. Others were killed,
and tortured in a premeditated act of genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman
Turks–a genocide the United States refuses to recognize and Turkey denies to
this day.
The “March for Humanity,” which begins today, will pay tribute to the lives
lost during the Armenian Genocide and all other genocides. Aprahamian will be
among 16 Armenian youth between the ages of 18 and 25 who will walk the entire
time, for about 15 miles each day, rain or shine, for a total of 215 miles and
19 days. They will sleep in community centers, churches, schools and in tents
on the road side.
“We’re saying we are going to do everything in our power to get the issue
resolved and the genocide recognized! The march is to show our determination,”
said Aprahamian.
Thousands of Californians will eventually come together at the State Capitol
Building on April 21, 2005 at 11a.m. for a rally thanking the California State
Legislature and 36 other states’ legislatures for officially recognizing the
Armenian Genocide.
The “March for Humanity” was originated within the “Miatsial Marmeen” (United
Body), an annual Armenian Genocide committee comprising 26 major, national
Armenian organizations dedicated to furthering the Armenian cause. Aprahamian
is a member of the Armenian Youth Federation and one of its representatives
the committee.
“As youth, we are spearheading the event,” said Aprahamian. “But we need the
entire Armenian community to support it.”
Close to $200,000 in donations came in from various Armenian organizations
nationwide, including $2,000 from each of the 13 Armenian Youth Federation
The Armenian community has been commemorating the genocide in every possible
way as far back as Aprahamian can remember, but he feels that this march is
of the biggest and best efforts yet, and that it will send out the strongest
All the marchers want justice for those who perished and for most of them
their passion is deeply rooted in personal ties to the victims of the
Several of them have grandparents who were survivors, but who passed away
without any sense of justice or closure, as did Aprahamian’s grandfather.
Aprahamian’s grandfather, Apraham Chakrian, was one of few survivors, an
eyewitness to the unpunished crime of genocide committed against his people
between 1914 and 1921.
“He didn’t really like to talk about that part of his past,” said Aprahamian.
But Chakrian’s story was passed on from generation to generation:
His whole family was killed. And while he passed away a couple of years after
Aprahamian was born, Aprahamian says his grandfather vividly remembered his
brother being murdered right in front of him.
Chakrian then marched with his neighbors from the Ottoman Empire into Syria.
He remembered people teaching him the Armenian letters in the sand.
he was taken in by an Arab family who raised him as an Arab.
“But he always knew he was Armenian,” said Aprahamian.
When he turned 18, Chakrian refused to marry an Arab girl and ran away to
Alepo, Syria in search of his Armenian roots.
When Aprahamian’s father brought his family to America, he changed his
family’s name from “Chakrian,” which has a Turkish root, to “Aprahamian,” an
Armenian last name in honor of his father.
Today, Aprahamian refuses to forget what happened to his grandfather nine
decades ago, and he is doing everything he can to find justice for the
Aprahamian, who initially became very active in the Armenian cause in his
freshman year at Cal Poly Pomona, was the “March for Humanity” coordinator. He
worked about 75 hours per week for about two and a half months planning and
promoting the march and expects hundreds of supporters and activists from
across the country and Canada to join the march.
Aprahamian was part of a five member administrative board organizing the
march, but his efforts have been part of a much bigger undertaking, one on
behalf of an entire people–all resolute, most still angry and hurting.
For the Aprahamian’s story is similar to that of many Armenians today, who
during and after the genocide escaped to countries in the Middle East, Europe
and the United States. Their story is one of pain and perseverance, of courage
and dedication. They refuse to forget what happened and they claim they will
never waiver in their efforts until both Turkey and the U.S. recognize the
But the realization of that goal seems distant.
The Turkish Government has been frantically seeking tougher measures to
counter the upcoming Armenian observances which prominent Turkish journalist
Mehmet Ali Birand described as the approaching “Armenian tsunami.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul announced last July that a government
task force was being formed to promote the denial of the Armenian genocide and
counter the planned commemorative events.
Despite overwhelming evidence documenting the Armenian Genocide, the Republic
of Turkey continues to carry out a well-funded campaign, both in
Washington, DC
and throughout the world to deny the genocide and erase it from the history
books. And every US administration since 1982 has feared that properly
recognizing the Armenian Genocide would offend the Turkish government,
endangering America’s safety and economic ties with a country strategically
located to aid in the war against Islamic terrorism and serve as a bridge to
oil producing regions in the Middle East.
Consequently, presidents have repeatedly opposed the passage of Congressional
resolutions commemorating the Genocide and have avoided the use of the word
“genocide” to describe the systematic annihilation of the Armenian people.
Several countries, however, have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide
through legislation and state declarations. The Dutch Parliament, Swiss
National Council, Canadian House of Commons, Argentinean Senate, and the
National Assembly are some of the more recent ones to do so.
These countries have acknowledged the importance of recognizing past
and crimes against humanity in order to prevent future ones.
It was just a couple of decades after the Armenian genocide, in 1939, when
Hitler convinced his generals to conquer Poland:
“I have given orders to my Death Units to exterminate without mercy or pity
men, women and children belonging to the Polish-speaking race…After all, who
remembers today the extermination of the Armenians?”

5) Follow Tara’s Lead on April 5

By Vahe Peroomian

My quality time with my daughter Tara is a precisely timed 11 minutes every
morning as I drive her to school. During this time, we talk about many
subjects, as varied as the phases of the moon and why the moon can
sometimes be
seen during the daytime, her performance on one test or another, and,
the upcoming elections in Glendale.
Tara is only seven years old (seven and a half, if you ask her), but she’s
already voted in every election in the last three years. No, this is not a
of voting early and often à la Chicago of the early 20th Century. She takes
pride in accompanying me to the voting booth, carefully arranging the sample
ballot next to the ballot, punching, or more recently, coloring in my/her
choices, and receiving an “I Voted” sticker for her effort.
I have watched Tara’s political knowledge grow by leaps and bounds in the
several years. She has gone from blindly punching the ballot (remind you of
adults you know?), to asking why we’re voting for someone, identifying lawn
signs, and even pointing out our two possible polling stations, both of which
happen to be on our drive to school.
Her most recent request, though, clearly caught me off guard. Our mailbox
hasn’t been spared the deluge of colorful candidate mailers and pre-filled
absentee ballot request cards that are characteristic of every election
A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I needed to send in my absentee ballot
request, as election day was bound to be hectic, and the number of charter
amendments on the ballot would ensure long lines at the polling stations. Tara
was adamant, though. She’d rather vote in person. Somehow, to her young mind,
voting absentee did not carry the same weight–the same significance–as going
through the effort of voting in person. I had to make sure that this was not
about the “I Voted” sticker. It was not. She was very clear, as every
seven year old can be, that we were not going to vote absentee, even if it
meant that we would have to leave the house 30 minutes earlier than normal on
April 5.
I wish that everyone is faced with a similar dilemma during this election: to
vote in person or absentee. What I was hoping to instill in my daughter when I
taught her about the electoral process, was a sense of what it takes to run a
city or a nation, to give her firsthand knowledge of what she would eventually
learn in her civics classes. She has voted with equal enthusiasm in every
election she’s voted in–local and statewide special elections, statewide
primaries, and the most recent presidential election. To her, every
election is
as eventful as any other, and that should be Tara’s lesson for everyone. Is a
presidential election really more important than a local election? Absolutely
not. After all, the most divisive issue in Glendale isn’t whether we’re a red
city or a blue city embedded within a blue state, but how densely to build on
our hillsides, how to accommodate the lower-income segment of our city’s
populace, how to best serve the diverse population of the city, how to
from one end of Glendale to the other in less than one hour, and many similar
issues that the President of the United States has no interest in even being
cognizant of.
The April 5th elections are in fact historic in many respects. The City of
Glendale will celebrate its 100th birthday next year. Yet, never before has
there been so much interest in city elections. The last time there was an
actual contest for the office of City Clerk, 75 years ago, our citizens were
still giddy with the roaring 20s. Now, we have nine candidates for this
position. Nineteen is the magic number of city council candidates, their
backgrounds, and the issues they represent as diverse as the Jewel City they
hope to represent and lead. None of the contests in this election are a
formality. Simply put, everyone in Glendale has an opinion on these issues;
everyone wants their voice to be heard. Where else in the US would you get
of a turnout for a local special election than a presidential election as
contentious as that of November past?
Tara is also curious about the choices we’ll be making on Election Day. She’s
grilled me like no candidate forum could, and I think she trusts her dad’s
explanation of the long process by which the Armenian National Committee
reached its endorsement decisions. After all, the number of times I’ve had to
tell her I’ll be coming home late because of meetings has increased
exponentially in the last two months. Having evaluated every single candidate,
and having interviewed many of the electoral hopefuls, I feel that I’m not
misleading my child or anyone else in the community.
What everyone should obviously do is vote, regardless of whether they take
time to evaluate each candidate themselves, or trust the ANC’s judgment as to
what’s best for our community, in general, and Armenians residing in Glendale,
in particular. If you haven’t already voted absentee, Tara and I hope to see
you in line on Election Day.

6) Board of Regents Invites Active Community Participation and Support in
Strengthening Our Schools

LOS ANGELES–The first Armenian all-day school in the United States, Holy
Martyrs Ferrahian, was established over forty years ago. The network of
Armenian schools has been expanding ever since, and today a total of 2,736
and girls attend our seven preschools and six schools across California–from
San Francisco to Orange County. The higher academic standards achieved by our
schools and the growth of our community challenge us to further expand the
network of our schools to better serve the educational needs of the new
generation. We are charged to meet this challenge collectively with even
greater commitment and perseverance. The more our schools accomplish, the more
we must strive to surpass our own achievements.
The Western Association for Schools and Colleges (WASC) has accredited all of
our schools, and four of our pre-schools have National Association of
of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation. The students attending the Prelacy
Schools have also been consistently progressing in terms of academic
performance. This fact is evinced by students’ impressive performance in
interscholastic competitions, the number of students receiving awards for
academic excellence, the high acceptance rate of our seniors into first tier
universities, and the merit-based scholarships that those same students
The Board of Regents has embarked on a mission to further improve the overall
quality of the Prelacy Schools in the community, with specific emphasis on
professional development of our teachers and Armenian education. The Board has
already taken steps toward realizing this goal, which entails preparing
teachers who have not only mastered the material in their own fields, but who
are also versed in contemporary teaching methods and approaches to
learning. It
is important for teachers to know and understand the psychology of Armenian
students growing up in the multicultural American society.
In this regard, we have been organizing our own summer courses for Armenian
subject teachers for the past two years. The weeklong Summer Institute
the Armenian subject teachers with an opportunity to be introduced to teaching
strategies by specialists, specifically focusing on methodology, Armenian
language and literature, and contemporary teaching principles and techniques.
In addition, all of our teachers participate in an annual daylong seminar
experts in child education and psychology. Furthermore, in order to evaluate
the role of the Armenian identity with respect to curricula and teaching
methods, in June 2004, the Board of Regents organized a two-day conference
titled “Armenian Education in North America: Reassessment in the Context of
Changing Armenian-American Identity” at Woodbury university. The participants
of the conference included Armenian school principals, teachers,
university professors, and students from the US and Canada. Finally, with the
help of specialists in education and Armenian history, the Board of Regents
also standardized the content and lesson plans for teaching our students about
the Armenian genocide at all grade levels. In this way, a methodical,
structured and incremental approach to teaching the Genocide was established
throughout the course of students’ education. Last April, the standards,
outlined in a 275-page document, were distributed to all of the Armenian
schools in the US and Canada and will be subject to evaluation after the
year of their implementation.
Among the Board’s forthcoming projects and objectives is the development of a
Standardized Test in Armenian language and history for grades 5th, 8th, and
12th. The Board of Regents, in collaboration with the Education and Finance
Councils, principals, directors and local committees is currently revising the
Salary Scale of our teachers to improve their compensation, who deserve our
respect and admiration for their dedicated and professional services. In
addition, starting in May of this year, with the establishment of the Board of
Regents newsletter, we hope to create a stronger bond between the community
the Prelacy Armenian Schools. The Board of Regents, as a result of the popular
demand of the community, also intends to expand the Vahan and Anoush Chamlian
Armenian School, currently serving first through eighth grades. This long-term
project of adding a high school is estimated to cost more than $10 million.
As indicated by the progress of our schools, in the past, our challenge
was to
provide education and Armenian instruction to the young generation as a means
of survival on foreign soil. The education was meant to ensure students’
success, while at the same time preserving Armenian cultural, linguistic and
religious values. However, today, we must strive for more far-reaching goals.
As we are living in an era of social and economic globalization and in a
multi-cultural society, we are mandated to reach educational excellence,
strengthen the Armenian identity of our students, and prepare well-rounded
individuals, who are confident and equipped in their abilities to succeed as
Armenian-American citizens and contributing members not only within the
Armenian community, but in society at large. If in the past our goal was to
preserve the Armenian identity, today we must begin to look for new ways to
channel the richness and applicability of such an identity as an asset in
contemporary society.
According to Dr. Rubina Peroomian, the chairperson of the Board of Regents,
“Our mission is to make the Prelacy Armenian schools an environment where
students forge a balanced sense of their Armenian identity within the context
of contemporary reality. It is our responsibility to tap into our
resources, in order to successfully produce generations of students with a
clear sense of ‘Armenianness’ and with the competence to excel in American
society and culture. In other words, it is our goal to provide our students
with the necessary tools to function as good citizens with an intelligent
awareness and understanding of both the American and Armenian aspects of their
identities. Realizing the benefits of a balance between the two is of utmost
importance for the future of our children.”
The Board of Regents intends to embark on this mission with COLLECTIVE
RESPONSIBILITY and COLLECTIVE ACCOUNTABILITY. We have placed great emphasis on
the word collective, because the Prelacy Armenian Schools belong to our
communities, to us all, COLLECTIVELY. Together, we are much stronger in
preserving and ensuring the progress of our schools, while at the same time
providing our new generation with the best educational opportunities possible
in the United States. In order to further advance our educational mission and
to meet the challenges of the 21st century, the Board of Regents has
decided to
establish an Endowment Fund for Prelacy Armenian Schools. Only the dividend of
this inviolable fund will be used toward the educational needs of the Prelacy
Armenian Schools. Hovan Tashjian, Executive Director of the Board of
Regents of
the Prelacy Armenian Schools, described the significance of the establishment
of the Endowment Fund: “We have a strong and impressive network of schools in
the community. By initiating efforts to further enhance the quality of the
schools and by involving the community, we hope to spark a general revival and
celebration of our past accomplishments and objectives we have set for the
With this goal in mind, the Board of Regents has organized its first Annual
Banquet-Awards Night on Friday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. to initiate the efforts
toward establishing the Endowment Fund for Prelacy Armenian Schools and to
honor our dedicated and long-serving teachers, staff, and volunteers as they
are the ones responsible for bringing excellence to our schools. During this
event, the Board will acknowledge individual achievements of teachers, staff,
and volunteers, thereby recognizing their hard work and exemplary
commitment to
educational progress of our students. By honoring the pillars of our schools,
we reaffirm our dedication to the growth of our academic institutions as a
priority in our communities.

The Board of Regents intends to embark on this mission with COLLECTIVE
RESPONSIBILITY and COLLECTIVE ACCOUNTABILITY. We have placed great emphasis on
the word collective, because the Prelacy Armenian Schools belong to our
communities, to us all, COLLECTIVELY. Together we are much stronger in
preserving and ensuring the progress of our schools, while at the same time
providing our new generation with the best educational opportunities possible
in the United States.

–Prelacy Armenian School Board of Regents

7) Armen Movsisian in Concert

April 2 at 8:00 PM
Barnsdall Gallery Theatre
4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
Tickets are $25, and available at Barnsdall box office before the concert, or
by calling 818-265-0506.

It’s difficult to describe the music of Armen Movsisyan; his mellow,
style is compared to that of Ruben Hakhverdian’s, but Movsisyan explains the
difference in the driving force behind their music: “Since Ruben is the one
who put the first stone in the wall of this genre of music, then it’s natural
for people to compare me to him. However, our understanding of the world, ways
of thinking, and even our approach to music differ. As for his art… Ruben
Hakhverdian, Artur Meschian, these are people that have begun the genre…and by
the way, it’s not the “worst” genre in Armenian music.”

By Ishkhan Jinbashian

Armen Movsisyan is a man of many surprises. For starters, he was trained
as an
art historian and, of all things, a physicist. His lifelong dream had
everything to do with becoming an astronaut, nothing with making music. And
then the coup de grace: before 1988, when he suddenly decided to become a
musician, he couldn’t sing a note, let alone play the guitar. Furthermore, he
had no benefit of formal training, whether vocal or instrumental, either
or after his first public appearance. Thus his new career was risky at best,
with a considerable chance of attracting ridicule.
But what happened next was something of a happy anomaly. For his first-ever
concert, Movsisyan decided to test the waters by performing for a tiny Yerevan
audience of university students, as hard-to-please a crowd as any. He came to
the fore with a repertoire he had just composed, a guitar he had only recently
learned to play, and a voice barely for unleashing. He was an instant success.
About his out of the blue eagerness to become a singer-songwriter, Movsisyan
has this to say, lacing it with minimal drama and a conspiratorial grin: “I
fell in love.” The rest was history–literally. Because Movsisyan’s rise to
prominence coincided with a large historical moment which would never cease to
fuel his imagination and art.
Nothing would be the same after 1988. The epochal year saw not only the
earthquake which ravaged nothern Armenia and especially the city of Gumri,
Movsisyan’s birthplace, but also the beginning of Armenia’s freedom movement.
Watching at close quarters, Movsisyan became one of the earliest artists to
express the poetics of loss and regeneration in a country impatient to
By 1992, Movsisyan was devoting himself solely to music. He was also becoming
the poet of a theoretically purer, gentler Armenia, where faith and hope were
never meant to be dirty words.
Movsisyan’s musical sensibilities came of age in a decade that took
Armenia on
a chaotic ride from the euphoria of independence to the hangover of the day
after, and at last the long drawn reckoning with the realities of a
socio-economic downward spiral. Despite the appalling living conditions,
government corruption, and rampant cynicism, Movsisyan was among those who
refused to join the mass exodus from the country. He stayed put and absorbed
the often surreal phenomena borne of extreme circumstances, always on the
lookout for the life-affirming aspect in a collective dream gone awry.
Starting with his initial concert in 1988, when he registered an instant
rapport with an audience of disenchanted students, Movsisyan’s stance was as
simple as it was challenging. Leaving is for losers, he seemed to say. He also
had to work very hard to prove his point.
For both inspiration and a renewed sense of dignity, Movsisyan looked to the
freedom fighters of Karabagh, the treasure-trove of Armenian folk music, the
dialect of his ancestral Moush, and the immutable pleasures of living in
Yerevan. He says he rediscovered swaths of meaning all around him, and was
moved incessantly to celebrate the lot in his music. Neither he nor the
base of his fans would be disappointed. As in his albums ‘Love, Hope,
Remembrance’ and ‘We’re Armenians, Armen Movsisyan Unplugged’ can be heard
as a
string of intimate fireside chats, with the earnest voice of a modern-day
minstrel constructing tales and pastiches on the soothing lines of acoustic
guitar. The effect, as always, is quaintly uplifting.
With the massive influx of movies, music, and literature vying for Armenia’s
new consumer culture these days, it may come as no surprise that the country’s
musical tastes are shifting rapidly. “Too much Easternization and way too much
Westernization,” Movsisyan says, referring to the inherent identity crisis in
most pop music coming from Armenia. “The trick is to remain true to your
essence while absorbing whatever disparate influences. The world is still
waiting for that modern Armenian sound that is irreducibly and unmistakably
Armenian. The geuine article.”

All subscription inquiries and changes must be made through the proper carrier
and not Asbarez Online. ASBAREZ ONLINE does not transmit address changes and
subscription requests.
(c) 2005 ASBAREZ ONLINE. All Rights Reserved.

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

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

You may also like