The Armenian Weekly; August 4, 2007; Arts and Literature

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The Armenian Weekly; Volume 73, No. 31; August 4, 2007

Arts and Literature:

1. An Interview with Hrag Yedalian
The Director of ‘The People’s Advocate’ Talks about his Debut Film
By Khatchig Mouradian

2. How to Preach Armenia, Add Guns
‘Le Voyage En Armenie’ Takes Aim at Informing Audiences on Armenia
By Andy Turpin

3. Morgenthau’s First Day in Constantinople
By Kay Mouradian

4. Deep Dark Tragedies
A Review of ‘The Knock at the Door’
By Bedros C. Bandazian

5. Cilician Techno
GenoTrancide Makes You Drift Away
By Simon Beugekian

6. Poems by Zahrad
Translated by tatul-Sonentz

1. An Interview with Hrag Yedalian
The Director of ‘The People’s Advocate’ Talks about his Debut Film
By Khatchig Mouradian

Criminal defense and civil rights attorney Charles R. Garry is associated
with numerous high profile cases in the ’60s, making him one of the leading
attorneys of the 20th century. In his career, which abruptly came to an end
when one of his clients, Rev. Jim Jones, led 900 of his followers to mass
suicide, Garry defended Black Panther Party chairman Bobby Seale and the
anti-Vietnam war activists known as the Oakland 7, among others. He died in
1991, at the age of 82.

In his autobiography Seize the Time Bobby Seale wrote, "We don’t know every
detail of Charles’ life, but we can see that he is a man who is dedicated to
the survival and the existence of the right to self-determination of human
beings. We need a lot more history on Charles R. Garry so we can understand
what motivates a man to be such a defender of the people’s human rights." In
the documentary The People’s Advocate: The Life and Times of Charles R.
Garry, director Hrag Yedalian attempts to find out what motivated the
Armenian-born Garry (Garabedian) to embark on that road.

Yedalian studies film at the American Film Institute Conservatory. The
people’s advocate is his first documentary. In this phone-interview,
conducted on July 30, he said, "[Garry’s] opening and closing statements
often include reference to his own people."

K.M.-Why did you decide to do a documentary on Charles Garry?

H.Y.-I was this young person trying to get involved with different causes
and all of that was pretty much motivated by my origin, by the fact that my
grandfather was a survivor of the genocide. I wanted to take that motivation
and channel it in a positive way. And quite frankly, I was born in the U.S,
I grew up in the U.S., I went to school here. It’s pretty important for me
to get involved with what’s going on here. Charles Garry’s story was
fascinating for a number of reasons. Despite the fact that he was probably
one of the most sought after civil rights attorneys during the ’60s, here
was this guy of Armenian descent, and he was defending all these people who
were seen as the poster boys and girls for the "Revolution." I wanted to
look into the story but most importantly, I want to use the story as an

As an AYF member, I used to interact with literally dozens if not hundreds
of youth my age, and I wanted them to see that in addition to Genocide
recognition, there are so many profound issues that affect us. I felt that
Garry’s example would serve as a positive influence. Garry was an individual
of Armenian descent who went out of his way, became an attorney and defended
human rights.

I’m sure Garry has been criticized for changing his name, etc. I’m sure
Armenians of the time felt that he wasn’t "Armenian enough." But if you look
into his trial transcripts of any of the Panther cases, or any of the
anti-Vietnam war cases, his opening and closing statements often include
reference to his own people. When defending the oppressed, his essential
argument for the jury was: These people are being oppressed, segregated in
this country today. Throughout history, we’ve seen what has happened to, for
example, the Armenian people, and we can’t allow our government to be
oppressive in the same ways that other governments have been in the past.
And that was his main thrust, that was the central focus, and he understood
it. So addition to being an Armenian who was discriminated against in the
Fresno area, he lived through the Depression, he knew how difficult it is
for the poor to get by in the U.S. So it was the dynamic of all this that
attracted me to his story and I really wanted to present it to the public in
general and people my age in particular.

K.M.-Talk about the sources you used.

H.Y.-At Berkley, I took this history class titled "Rethinking the Sixties."
The purpose of the class was to work on a substantial paper that dealt with
any topic of the ’60s. After the first class I was already thinking of
Charles Garry. I approached the Professor and told him that I’m very
interested in writing about Garry, but because there isn’t a lot of printed
material I want to go and interview people. After she gave me the OK, I
called Roxanne and asked for her advice. She e-mailed me the contact
information of people she had spoken to and interacted with, and that’s
where it started. I started talking to people.

Roxanne had the benefit of dealing directly with Garry. I never had that
benefit because Gary passed away in 1991. So I had to tell a story about
Gary without Gary, basically. Obviously the best way to do that was to
interview the people who were closest to him. So if you see the interviewee
list, it includes everyone from, let’s say, Bobby Seal, the co-founder of
the Panthers, to his longtime girlfriend, to his two brothers, who both
passed away since. So you have all this oral testimony that’s actually quite
fascinating. I wanted to intentionally make a film that was not the
duplicate of Roxanne’s film. At the end, I wanted for someone who was really
interested in Garry to get different pieces from each of the movies. The
only interviewee that appears in both is Bobby Seal.

In addition to that, the main sources come from the archival footage that I
found from local television stations in San Francisco. That’s where the gold
was. I think I’ve used archival footage from at least six or seven sources
if not more. Also, an important part of the film was Garry’s legal
documents; they are all at UC Berkley and I spent a few months going through
them. There are copies of paperwork and legal files that I was fortunate
enough to obtain and go over. So it’s really the mix of four or five
different types of sources in the film.

K.M.-Can you tell us briefly about your background? You mentioned your work
in the AYF, but give us a more general background, your education, etc.

H.Y.-Well I went to two Armenian private schools. After I graduated from
high school, what I really wanted to do was get firmly involved in the
political process. During high school and after, I was involved with local
political campaigns here in Los Angeles to get people registered to vote. I
was fortunate enough to be a part of that process. And as I got more and
more immersed, I decided to sort of take a different route. I got interested
in organizational work, in international human rights work, and I wanted to
go to law school so that I could try to do similar things. Garry’s a good
example of what civil rights/human rights attorneys can do with their
careers. After graduating Berkley, I started law school. I registered at
UCLA Law, but a few weeks into it, because I was so involved with this
documentary, I decided that it wasn’t the route to go. So I left law school
for film school, and that’s sort of the route that I’ve decided on at this
point-making films and hopefully trying to influence a few people through
that work.

K.M.-So you’re still studying?

H.Y.-I’m still studying, yes. I’m going to start my second year in

K.M.-Let’s talk about the people you interviewed. Can you tell us how you
made the selection, and about your experiences with interviewees like Howard

H.Y.-To be in my position and to talk to these people was sort of an unreal
experience because most of them are people who have influenced history. To
have the privilege to talk to these people was a big deal for me.

You mentioned Howard Zinn. I’ll start with him. I’ve always been fascinated
with his work, and I called him and told him that I was looking for a
narrator for a film on Garry and whether he would be interested.
Immediately, without hesitation-and I was actually shocked by it-he said he
would definitely be interested in doing that.

I caught him at a very busy time in his life. He was going across the
country, and if he was to do the narration, he would have had to spend a lot
of time writing it. So we agreed to take a different route: He would be in
the film, and he would provide the historic context. So, for example, when
we’re talking about the anti-communist hunts during the 1950’s or the
Vietnam War, he provides a brief context. There are four Panthers in the
movie. There’s Bobby Seal, who was an obvious choice, and the other three
are very interesting and important choices. One has to realize that although
Charles Garry was defending Bobby Seal or others in court, he wasn’t
constantly interacting with them because these were men in prison. He would
visit them but he wasn’t interacting with them on a constant basis. He was
interacting with the other people involved in the party. In fact, he was
probably closest to David Hilliard, who was the chief of staff of the
Panther Party. David talks about this on the phone. He and Charles Garry,
they were partners during the late ’60s. They would go around college
campuses and David would represent the party, and Garry would talk about the
legal aspects. And they would literally go on tours and raise money for
these causes and talk about these cases. And then there is Ericka Huggins,
who is an extremely sensitive person and truly admired Garry. I also
interviewed Kathleen Cleaver because she knew the party inside and out, and
she was very active with the first Panther trial. In addition to knowing
Garry pretty well, she provides the historic background to most of these
cases. Most of the interviewees were incredibly generous in lending their
time and support to the film.

K.M.-Talk about Garry’s brothers, Harvey and Haig Garabedian.

H.Y.-Actually, the first interview I conducted was with both of the brothers
in 2003. They were living in Fresno and I called them up, and we basically
developed this friendship, and they would talk literally for hours.

They definitely didn’t know the details about, let’s say, his involvement
with the Panthers, or his decision to take on this case or that case. They
didn’t know any of that. What they did know, was about their roots, what
Garry was going through as a child growing up in Fresno… That was the most
important part.

Unfortunately, the brothers never saw my film. In fact, I don’t think Garry
ever saw the final cut of Roxanne’s film, so it’s pretty unfortunate
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2. How to Preach Armenia, Add Guns
‘Le Voyage En Armenie’ Takes Aim at Informing Audiences on Armenia
By Andy Turpin

WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)-If Martin Scorcesse decided that he wanted to
commercialize his film interests and lend his mob movie talents into doing
pieces for tourists boards and educational councils, "Le Voyage En Armenie"
would be the result. A funny, didactic adventure through a beautiful but
corruption-plagued nation that gleans to the world the post-Soviet realities
that some people know firsthand, and others are oblivious to beyond a few
alarmist news headlines.

But in place of Sicily or Naples, French director Robert Guediguian took the
helm and commanded such a likeminded endeavor tailored for the Republic of

The film, shot on video in location throughout Armenia proper and subtitled
in English from both French and Armenian, is a wonderful film for the
general public and the Armenian diaspora community- when taken with a grain
of salt.

The story revolves around a wealthy female doctor who is ethnically Armenian
but a French national who had previously been a true believer in the
militant student politics of the French New Wave era.

Her father, a loveably curmudgeonly Hayastantsi man, is diagnosed with a
fatal heart condition by his alienated daughter Anna and without hesitation
decides to fly the coop to Armenia to spend his last days in the old country
without explanation or approval from the rest of the family.

Anna travels to Armenia in search of him and insodoing discovers the Armenia
within her that she previously didn’t know existed.

I have to admit that the trite movie cliché that previous sentence exhibits
is painful even to write. But in spite of that, "Le Voyage En Armenie"
redeems itself and is a good film.

How, you may ask?

The shortest gnaw to the quick is simply to say the acting and the writing.
All the players are amazing; though more than likely the only actor that
will be recognizable to American viewers will be Simon Abkarian, of previous
"Casino Royale" and "Ararat" fame.

Never forget that even films like "Casablanca" were initially created as
blatant Allied war propaganda pieces- but with decent acting and writing
even the most exploitive or hackneyed premise can be at least salvaged.

But "Voyage" knows how to work today’s culture of sex and violence- even
when they work side-by-side a Wizard of Oz style formula of heroes on an
Armenian ideologue’s quest.

A grandfatherly chauffeur, a Karabakh General ‘Rick Blane’ and a
buxom-yet-naïve hairdresser-stripper that personify modern day Armenia
replace the Lion, Tin-Man and Scarecrow. All of which are led by a Dorothy
that knows from anti-Algeria protests how to use a machine gun when the plot
switches gears and they become potential targets for an Armenian ‘oligarch’.

The combination of high-handed ethics and pseudo crime drama may seem at
odds with each other, but like a good chef experimenting with a new recipe,
Guediguian manages to pull it off just enough that it goes down smoothly.

Just don’t Hold your breath for Jean Reno to tackle "Voyage En Armenie II:
Operation Gyumri" anytime soon.
——————————————– ————————————————–

3. Morgenthau’s First Day in Constantinople
By Kay Mouradian

After a hearty breakfast of omelets smothered with herbs and a variety of
breads, cheeses, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and yogurt, the new ambassador
made arrangements for his family to tour the city while he went to work.
Entering his office he left the door open, walked across the thick Persian
rug to the window, and observed the bustling activity on the bay. Small
steamers taking commuters back and forth were just as packed as the New York
ferries on which he had traveled. He admired the vibrant deep maroon colors
in the rug as he approached his desk. Sitting in the brand new black leather
chair, he ran his hand along the grain of the handsome oak desk and smiled
thinking he would never see it so uncluttered again.

"Mr. Ambassador." Phillip entered and stood at the foot of the desk. It was
nine o’clock. "I need to brief you."

"Sit down." Morgenthau pointed to a carved wooden chair.

"We have a staff of 45 persons," Phillip began. "They do their work well,
and I will take care of problems that arise. In fact, Sir, we career
diplomats normally undertake the responsibility of running the embassies."

"Mr. Phillip, I am sure you are quite capable, but I want you to know that I
normally take charge. I will be a working ambassador, not one who merely
attends only formal functions."

The First Secretary’s face remained expressionless.

"My effectiveness as Ambassador is only as good as those of you who support
me. I know I can depend upon you." Morgenthau gave him a disarming and
genuine smile.

Phillip could not help but respond in kind. His new boss did not become
wealthy by letting others do his work, but the first secretary knew he
needed to prepare the new ambassador. "Sir, are you familiar with

"It means foreigners in Turkey live by the rules of their country, does it

"Yes, this law gives our citizens a strong sense of security. We control the
American interests in the Turkish Empire. It was back in the 1400"s,"
Phillip continued, "when the Turks devised this contract with foreign
governments to exempt their citizens from Ottoman taxes and the Ottoman
Judicial system. That contract is still in effect today."

Morgenthau smiled as he thought about the longevity and effectiveness of
such a contract. "I presume its intent is to attract foreign capital?"

"Yes, but also, to allow a foreigner arrested in Turkey to be tried under
their own country’s judicial system, in the citizen’s own Consular Courts.
Turkish law is founded on the Koran and under these laws the testimony of a
Christian is not admissible against that of a Moslem. The great majority of
Turkish judges are clergy, Imams and Muftis, who adhere strictly to the laws
of the Koran."

"Has the embassy undertaken many of these infractions?"

"Almost none. Most recently a drunken sailor, a man of questionable
character. He claimed to be an American citizen, but I learned he was not.
Most of our citizens in Turkey are missionaries. As you can imagine they are
highly educated and have great influence here as well as at home. I have
some figures that may surprise you." Phillip pulled a paper from one of his
folders and read the embassy’s statistics. "The missionaries administer more
than a thousand American primary schools in the Ottoman Empire, 41 high
schools, six theological seminaries, six colleges, one university and 13

"I was surprised to learn that they have such a strong foothold in Turkey,"
Morgenthau responded. "I met several heads of the Foreign Board of
Missionaries on their way to the Hague to attend a conference, and we had
many long talks together as we crossed the Atlantic. I was also surprised to
find that their educational work is confined to the non-Moslem communities,"

"Yes. Apostasy is a capital crime in Islam punishable by death," Phillip
said as a matter of fact and continued on with his litany of vital
information as he pulled out another paper. "The other Americans in Turkey
mostly have business interests. Standard Oil, the American Trade
Corporation, the Sailor’s Club, the U.S .Shipping Board, MacAndrews and
Forbes licorice root dealers, and the American Chamber of Commerce are all
based here in Constantinople."

Morgenthau suppressed a smile at the earnest, if humorless efficiency of his
First Secretary. "How many Americans are in Constantinople?"

"I don’t know for sure. We have never gathered together as a group. I’ll ask
Dr. Mary Patrick, president of Constantinople College for Girls. She knows
everyone. You will enjoy her wit and intellect. Even Turkish men respect

"I think a reception for the American community is in order," Morgenthau
responded. "It will be an easy way for me to meet them. Will you plan the
"Of course, Sir."

Morgenthau reached for a cigar in the ivory inlaid humidor someone had been
thoughtful enough to set out for him. The box smelled of fine Turkish
tobacco. He rolled a thick dark cigar between his thumb and forefinger,
passed it beneath his nose, snipped the end with a small gold knife attached
to his watch chain, lit it and had a look of pleasure as he blew out the
smoke. He reached for the humidor to offer Phillip a cigar.

Phillip raised his palm. "No thank you, Sir."

"Today, I’ll make my introduction to the American consulate generals by
letter, but I would like to meet them personally. What do you think of my
visiting the thirteen consulates?"

"I’m sure the consuls would be delighted, "Phillip said. "However, you must
realize the distances are great and transportation often is primitive. You
should discuss the idea with Schmavonian. He is a native and knows the best
way to travel.

"Phillip rose to leave. "I’ll send in Mr. Andonian, your personal secretary.
He has an excellent command of the English language and is a very good
"Good." Morgenthau took some paper from the top drawer of his desk, took
another drag from the cigar and started to draft his letter.

Later that afternoon Morgenthau met with Schmavonian. Morgenthau spoke
German fluently, but spoke no French, the common language of the diplomats.
Schmavonian would be his Turkish-French tongue. "I want to familiarize
myself with this country and to personally meet the thirteen American
consulars. Phillip suggested I discuss with you the best methods of travel."

Schmavonian, eager to assist, chose his words carefully. "Ambassador
Morgenthau, many of the American consulates are located near seaports and
the best way to reach them is by boat. A small launch is attached to the
embassy, but it is not adequate for such a lengthy trip. You need at least a
fifty-foot steamer.

"Can we rent one?"

"Ambassador, this is Constantinople, and the importance of the political
arena cannot be underestimated. All the embassies representing powerful
countries have such boats manned by their navies. If you want to be looked
upon with high regard by the Turkish hierarchy I suggest you consider the
idea. It is unfortunate but this image is important. An American ambassador
in Turkey is still relatively new, and the assignment of a steamer would be
dramatic and give you the same status as that of the European ambassadors."

Morgenthau began to understand the underlying message this portly white
haired man was communicating.

"Remember Oscar Strauss?" Schmavonian asked.

"Yes, I know him."

"Well, when he was Minister of the American Legation, his requests for
interview with the Sultan were continually denied. If he had had the status
of an ambassador those requests would have been filled."

"I see," Morgenthau responded. "Let me think about the idea."

Later that evening Ambassador Morgenthau wrote a personal letter to the U.S.
Secretary of the Navy, Joseph Daniels, and requested the assignment of a
fifty-foot steamer to the Constantinople post.
——————————————– ————————————————

4. Deep Dark Tragedies
A Review of ‘The Knock at the Door’
By Bedros C. Bandazian

Recently, there have been many new publications, media documentaries, movies
and books revealing personal stories about the Armenian Genocide of 1915
perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish Government. As an American-Armenian whose
father was a survivor of this vile act committed by the Turkish Government
against its own citizens, these books and publications are welcome
revelations to the world public of this "forgotten Genocide."

Understandably, for many years, the survivors and their children were more
attune to making a living, educating their descendents and establishing
themselves into reviving the Armenian Nation; thus this type of publications
were not readily available. Now, the words of the survivors and their
extreme tribulations are being told to the world by many people, exposing
the dastardly deeds of the Turkish government, committed over 92 years ago,
but still being defended by the current Turkish government and many Turks.
Ms. Ahnert has shown great courage in telling the complete story of her
Mother, Ester Minerajian Ajemian.

Of special interest is the style and content of her book. The reader
accompanies Ester back and forth from the time she spent in the Armenian Old
Age Home in Flushing, N.Y. to the period of her life during the tribulations
of 1915. It is an easy read. Margaret Ahnert’s love for her mother cries out
from every page. Ester Minerajian Ajemian, the survivor, the mother, the
wife, the woman, becomes an extraordinary storyteller to her daughter of
these events and a real hero for the Armenian nation. All the details of
every passage in the life of this Armenian Genocide survivor are exposed:
The good, happy moments, the horror, the most inhumane acts against her and
the complete annihilation of her family from Amasia is brought to life in
this book.

It is especially important that books of this nature are published, read and
promoted. Many authors do not have the courage of Ms. Ahnert to tell the
deep dark tragedies committed by the Turks. Especially the horrid acts
against Armenian women, children and old people as told by this survivor is
articulated in amazing detail. It is one thing for a government to be strong
in war against an army of its enemies but the acts committed by the Turks
against the defenseless were unprecedented. The author , Margaret Ahnert,
knows the importance of telling it all and not anesthetizing the facts,
because the details of this horror need to be known by all human beings. Too
many times, we excuse the Turkish people of these acts by passing the
responsibility on to the Ottoman Government at the time. Some say, the
Turkish people did not know, the Turkish people were helpful, it was the
Turkish Government and its leadership.

As the story of Ester Minerajian Ajemian unfolds in the book, we see that
the entire Turkish people become involved in this plot of extermination. In
the city of Amasia, Turkish townspeople, its civil & governmental leaders,
its business leaders, its Islamic religious leaders, its women, men and
children all become part of the conspiracy of annihilation of the Armenian
People, the Armenian Nation. The Christian Armenian population becomes the
target. In this story, we see how the Turkish leadership of 1915 gave carte
blanche to its Turkish citizens, criminals, its Islamic religious
institutions, its army and the Kurdish tribes, to fall prey upon the
Armenian population. Many Turks of that era were guilty and their
descendents, who deny and, therefore, perpetuate this Genocide even today,
are guilty as well. This book is open proof of this crime.

Ester Minerajian Ajemian’s survival was a miracle. Her future was destined
to bring forth a new family in America and perpetuate the survival of the
Armenian nation. Her daughter, Margaret Ajemian Ahnert took the banner from
her mother and has now provided all an opportunity to see within the prism
of reality, an uncut version of the Armenian Genocide. It must have pained
Ms. Ahnert to reveal the gory details of the offenses against her mother and
the Minerajian Family but knows that to omit actual facts would not reveal
the true horror. Is this a one-time book from the author? Did she only want
to tell the story of her mother?

We admire her bravery for the truth revealed, as one reads this story, we
share her pain. The book is a must read for all people, not just Armenians.
Especially it is a must read for Turks and their friends in Washington, DC.
The ancestors of the perpetrators of this genocidal act have built a false
country upon the dead bodies of the Armenian victims, a shaky foundation
that will crumble if justice does not take its course. No state that has the
inner source to commit such vile acts against their own citizens can justify
being part of the civilized world of today. This book is another testament
to this fact. Thank you, Margaret Ajemian Ahnert for this novel. It will be
a lasting addition to our library.

Bedros C. Bandazian is chairman of the ACAA Armenian Heritage Cruise, the
managing trustee of the ACAA Endowment Funds and the St. James Armenian
Church of Richmond, Va. Endowment Funds and President of Bandazian & Holden,
——————————————– ————————————————-

5. Cilician Techno
GenoTrancide Makes You Drift Away
By Simon Beugekian

Techno and trance music never really had the same popularity in the U.S. as
they do in Europe and the Middle East. Techno had its moment in America in
the mid-to-late 1990’s/early 2000’s, and still has a niche following in
clubs where it is closely associated with rave culture.

In the U.S., DJ’s who play techno music are barely heard of, and their shows
only cater to a small group of dedicated fans. Contrast that to the recent
Tiesto concert in Beirut, Lebanon. The world-renown DJ’s concert attracted
thousands and thousands of fans, and the event was one of the biggest and
most high-profile in Lebanon this summer. Trance music also enjoys relative
popularity in Europe, where club culture and rave culture are much more
alive than in the U.S.

Given techno’s popularity in the Eurasian part of the world, it is not
surprising to see Armenian musicians attempting to break out. And that’s
what Serouj Baghdassarian ("C-Rouge") attempts to do with his first release,
"GenoTrancide", distributed in the U.S. by Geka Records
(). To those who know Armenian music, "C-Rouge"
Baghdassarian is the son of renowned Armenian musician Seto Baghdassarian,
who often tours the U.S. with singers like Karnig Sarkissian. Though the son’s
music is quite different overall, the father’s love for Armenian music has
been passed down, and that’s what makes GenoTrancide a good album: the
eclectic, and usually very successful mix of two very different types of
music-Armenian folklore and (sometimes) spiritual music-with modern techno

So how does one reconcile these two types of music? Traditional Armenian
music is melancholic and subdued, and even up-beat Armenian songs have an
element of longing about them. After all, traditional Armenian music
reflects historic Armenian trauma. Techno/trance music, on the other hand,
is almost exactly the opposite. It does not carry any traditional cultural
baggage; it is more about momentary and quick exhilaration. It is upbeat,
rather aggressive, and transcends cultural borders (no single culture can
claim ownership to trance music, unlike almost all other genres). These two
forms of art seem to be at odds, clashing. However, for years now, Ara
Gevorkian has been mixing some elements of techno with Armenian music. His
albums have been best-sellers in Armenian circles. But still, Gevorkian
doesn’t go nearly as far as Baghdassarian does. Gevorkyan’s techno beats are
more subdued; they seem to be there only to accentuate and underline the
Armenian musical element, which almost sounds "superior" to the techno
beats. C-Rouge doesn’t do that. First of all, the beats and mixes he uses
are far from being "subdued," and secondly, the two elements of techno and
Armenian music are equal and complement each other in ways completely
unexpected. The obvious differences between the two forms vanish when, just
like two symmetrically opposite pieces of a puzzle, they fit right into each

The cover slip of the CD includes an introduction by the artist: "This
record is not merely a collection of songs rather it is an attempt to drift
away the listeners from reality and take them onto a journey of passion and
agony by remembering fallen cities such as Adana in Cilicia." This
introduction is a rather ambitious statement, but it describes the mood of
the album best. The tracks on the album do really help the listener "drift
away." The combination of Armenian doudouks and techno beats creates a mood
of transcendental enjoyment, as most art should.

While GenoTrancide was obviously primarily conceived as an album for the
younger generation, it certainly won’t alienate older listeners. The
traditional Armenian music is not accentuated enough for younger listeners
to turn off, and at the same time, the techno beats are not hard enough to
turn off older listeners who are looking for something more "Armenian." The
balance achieved in the album is commendable. One particular song that stuck
in my mind was "Anoush," an amazing combination of "Ambi Dagits" and the
artist’s own trance creation. As the dance beats energize the listener, one
can hear the age-old "Ambi Dagits," only slightly distorted, giving the
impression that the performers are singing through running water.

On the down side, "GenoTrancide" does tend to be rather trite sometimes. The
techno beats are sometimes repetitive, even flat. The most important element
of the album is that it allows the listener to "drift away." Sometimes, the
music just doesn’t cut it. It’s almost there, but not quite yet.

But one has to remember, this is Serouj Baghdassarian’s first release. The
young man, who lives in Beirut, Lebanon, is just starting to break out, and
already, GenoTrancide is a best-seller in Virgin Megastores in Lebanon.
GenoTrancide is certainly a great beginning for an artist who promises a lot
——————————————- ————————————————– —

6. Poems by Zahrad


While everyone
and me vertical-
whomever I met
At once we formed a right angle

I told them
They can trust the right angle-
they can believe
That wherever it is-in whatever shape
ever truthful
It is a straight ninety degrees

In comparison-I asked them-can you
Without careful measurement
Without detailed assessment
acute or not
Offer an angle to your beloved
and in certitude
State its degree?

They said I was right-
then they lay down
horizontal and
went back to sleep

————- ZAHRAD
Translated by Tatul Sonentz



It was
A hollow ring-lying down
Yawning with languor-
-I took and put it around my neck-

I thought I’d collapse under its weight-instead
light as a feather-
I felt like a speedy sparrow
Stealing mulberries from a tree
-or it was that way anyway-who knows? I didn’t!

Then I removed it from my neck
Set it before me-it was springtime
-Green wind-green hill-green stallion-
As if instead of the zero it was the world
that I saw now as I had not seen yesterday

I dived into its illusory circle-and suddenly
A vacuum flooded inside me-
Sorrow and yearning-regret and intrigue-all vanished

I jumped out of the zero
-All round and hollow
it yawned with languor

——————– ZAHRAD
Translated by Tatul Sonentz