The California Courier Online, February 25, 2021

1 -        Erdogan’s Tightrope Walk

            Between East & West May Soon Collapse

            By Harut Sassounian

            Publisher, The California Courier

            www.TheCaliforniaCourier.com

2-         ‘Nikol is a Traitor’: Thousands Demand Pashinyan’s Resignation

3-         Armenia continues to fight COVID-19 pandemic

4-         HyeID Forms First Chapter in Glendale

5-         TAAL Takes on Turkish, Azerbaijani Anti-Armenian Campaigns

6-         Letter to the Editor

7-         COMMENTARY: Pashinyan: For Himself, not Nation, Above All Else

8-         Lucy Mirigian (Aug. 15,1906 – Feb. 12,2021)

9-         Kim Kardashian West files for divorce from Kanye West

10-       In Armenia, more than 700 boys named

            in honor of Monte Melkonian after recent war

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1 -        Erdogan’s Tightrope Walk

            Between East & West May Soon Collapse

            By Harut Sassounian

            Publisher, The California Courier

            www.TheCaliforniaCourier.com

Ever since Pres. Joe Biden’s election last November, hundreds of
articles have been published around the world analyzing the
problematic relations between Turkey and the United States. Pres.
Biden has made no secret of his dislike, if not outright hostility,
toward Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The main points of contention between the United States and Turkey are
as follows:

1)    U.S. support for Kurdish allies in Syria which Turkey considers
terrorists;

2)    Turkey’s purchase of S-400 Russian missiles which could expose
NATO’s military technology to Moscow. As a result, the United States
cancelled the sale of advanced F-35 jets and imposed sanctions on
Turkey;

3)    U.S. refusal to extradite the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen
whom Turkey falsely accuses of inciting the coup d’état against
Erdogan in 2016;

4)    Turkey’s abysmal record on human rights with the jailing of
thousands of innocent civilians, journalists and judges on trumped up
charges which Pres. Biden finds unacceptable.

Pres. Erdogan is following the strategy practiced by the Ottoman
Empire of manipulating rival European powers against each other, by
switching sides and changing partners. For example, he has declared
himself to be the defender of all Muslims and particularly
Palestinians, while engaging in a military partnership with Israel
until recently. Another example is Turkey’s membership in the Western
military alliance of NATO, while purchasing billions of dollars of
sophisticated Russian missiles which are incompatible with NATO and
U.S. weapons. At the same time, Erdogan is cozying up to Russia while
involved in a military conflict with Russia in Syria and Libya. Turkey
and Russia, two normally antagonistic countries, have also managed to
find a modus vivendi in the Artsakh conflict.

The souring of relations between the U.S. and Turkey dates back to the
time of Obama’s presidency, during which Biden served as Vice
President. Erdogan was annoyed with Obama after an initial friendship.
However, the Turkish leader developed a privileged relationship with
the United States after Donald Trump became President. It is still
unclear what prompted such a warm personal affection between the two.
Was it Trump’s financial interests in Turkey or his bizarre fondness
for tyrants around the world? We may never know.

Nevertheless, Biden fired the first shot in a December 2019 interview
with the New York Times in which he called Erdogan an ‘autocrat’ and
stated that the United States should support Turkish opposition
leaders “to be able to take on and defeat Erdogan. Not by a coup, but
by the electoral process.”

The next awkward situation arose when Erdogan congratulated Biden a
few days after the November election. Four months later, Biden has
still not contacted Erdogan even though he has called many other world
leaders. Erdogan must be deeply offended by this diplomatic snub.

The first indication of the Biden administration’s tough policy on
Turkey became evident on January 19, 2021, during Blinken’s Senate
Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing, when he pointedly
called Turkey a “so-called strategic partner” and raised the
possibility of imposing more sanctions on that country. “The idea that
a strategic—so-called strategic partner of ours—would actually be in
line with one of our biggest strategic competitors in Russia is not
acceptable,” Blinken said. “I think we need to take a look to see the
impact that the existing sanctions have had and then determine whether
more needs to be done.”

Blinken’s critical comments on Turkey were later reaffirmed by US
national security advisor Jake Sullivan who described Turkey as “an
ally that in many ways… is not acting as an ally and this is a very,
very significant challenge for us and we’re very clear-eyed about it.”
Sullivan placed Turkey in the same category as China.

On Feb. 5, 2021, the Pentagon confirmed that the Biden administration
has no intention to lift the sanctions on Turkey for purchasing the
Russian missiles. Turkey’s “decision to purchase the S-400 is
inconsistent with Turkey’s commitments as a U.S. and NATO ally,”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said. “Our position has not
changed…. We urge Turkey not to retain the S-400 system…. Turkey had
multiple opportunities over the last decade to purchase the Patriot
defense system from the United States and instead chose to purchase
the S-400, which provides Russia revenue, access and influence,” Kirby
said.

To make matters worse, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soslu
repeated in early February the baseless accusation that the United
States was behind the abortive Turkish coup in 2016. State Department
spokesman Ned Price issued a sharp rebuke, calling the allegations
made by the Turkish Minister as “wholly false.” They “are inconsistent
with Turkey’s status as a NATO ally and strategic partner of the
United States,” added Price.

Another contentious issue is the in absentia Turkish trial of American
professor Henri Barkey of Lehigh University on false charges of aiding
the 2016 coup. The US State Department called the accusations against
Prof. Barkey baseless.

On Feb. 10, 2021, the U.S. State Department called on Turkey to
immediately release from jail Turkish philanthropist and human rights
activist Osman Kavala who has been detained for more than three years
without a conviction. Kavala was falsely accused of trying to
overthrow the Turkish government with Prof. Barkey during the 2016
failed coup. The State Dept. urged Turkey to comply with a European
Court of Human Rights ruling in late 2019 that Kavala be released.

On February 15, 2021, when Blinken finally called Turkish Foreign
Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, he urged Turkey not to retain the Russian
S-400 surface-to-air missile system.

Last December, when the United States placed sanctions against Turkey
for the purchase of the Russian missiles, the Turkish Foreign Ministry
arrogantly warned: “Turkey will take the necessary steps against this
decision, which will negatively affect our relations and will
retaliate in a manner and timing it deems appropriate.”

Turkey is still attempting to find a way to circumvent the U.S.
sanctions. On February 1, 2021, it hired Arnold & Porter, a major
American lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., to resolve the dispute
with the U.S. government over the Russian missiles. The contract was
signed with the Ankara-based SSTEK Defense Industry Technologies,
owned by the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), Ankara’s main
defense industry authority. SSTEK agreed to pay Arnold & Porter
$750,000 for the six months to give Turkey “strategic advice and
outreach” to U.S. authorities.

It is highly doubtful that Turkey will be able to resolve the dispute
regarding the Russian missiles through its hired lobbyist.
Interestingly, the contract with SSTEK specified that Arnold & Porter
“does not make any promises or guarantees” about the outcome. “If the
matter does not reach a successful conclusion, for any reason, SSTEK
shall still be responsible for all fees and disbursements charged by
the firm under the terms of this agreement.” It is noteworthy that at
a time when the Turkish economy is on the verge of collapse and the
Turkish people are in dire financial straits, Pres. Erdogan is wasting
$750,000 of Turkish taxpayers’ money on useless lobbying.

It remains to be seen whether Turkey’s tightrope walking skills will
succeed to maintain the Russian missiles and evade the U.S. sanctions.
Should Turkey be forced to get rid of the missiles, it will have to
face the consequences of a major disruption in its relations with
Russia. Turkey will then have to choose either the East or the West.
It will no longer be able to fool both sides. Biden and Blinken are
too experienced to fall for Erdogan’s tricks.

The title of a recent article by journalist Nicholas Morgan describes
best the state of U.S.-Turkish relations: “Is Turkey Biden’s Ally from
Hell?” We will find out shortly.

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2-         ‘Nikol is a Traitor’: Thousands Demand Pashinyan’s Resignation

Thousands of Armenian protesters took to the streets on Saturday,
Febrary 20, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol
Pashinyan, whom they call a ‘traitor.’

Protesters want the 45-year-old leader to step down over what they
describe as his mishandling of the 2020 conflict with Azerbaijan.

Till now, Pashinyan has resisted mounting pressure to resign.

He approved a Russia-brokered deal to end Yerevan’s conflict with Baku
over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, committing itself to the
withdrawal of all its forces from the occupied territories in a move
that has outraged Armenians who consider the deal as “concession of
defeat.”

In the Russia-brokered deal, Pashinyan agreed to cede swathes of
territory in and around Nagorno-Karabakh to end fighting.

Demonstrators on Saturday gathered at Freedom Square under a heavy
police presence, chanting “Armenia without Nikol!” and “Nikol
traitor.”

“The moment is exciting, as 33 years ago on this day and under similar
weather conditions we gathered here for our first rally that marked
the beginning of the Karabakh movement,” Vazgen Manukyan, the
candidate for the PM’s post from the Homeland Salvation Movement
stated on Saturday during the opposition rally in Yerevan.

Manukyan reminded that after the Genocide “Artsakh was the only island
settled by ethnic Armenians” who applied to rejoin with Armenia.
“Artsakh applied to Mother Armenia with a desire to rejoin, and the
whole nation stood up,” said Manukyan. He reminded that the Karabakh
movement formulated the primary task of creating an independent state
based on ideas of freedom and liberty, justice in the state and
prosperity for the whole people not only for a group.

Speaking of ‘the 2018 revolution’ in Armenia and its consequences,
Manukyan said: “What do we have after three years? We have lost
everything. All our military victories vanished. Our country is not
even independent, as our security is ensured by Russia which means we
are totally dependent on Russians in security issues. They
[government] tried to eliminate the national ideas. They have spoken
about freedom, while in reality our country is turning into a police
state where dedicated and patriotic people are arrested,” pointing
also to the unfortunate situation in the economy.

The opposition figure next spoke of the two options as a way out of
the existing situation, which, in his words, require the removal of
the current leaders in the first place.

“Only after that real actions may follow. Some of the steps are not
only about recovering what we have lost, but also building the state
we have dreamed about. If Pashinyan is gone or replaced by others who
are fond of electoral fraud, money and thirst for power,  we will
again fail. It will be quite difficult as we need to rebuild our army,
and our security should be ensured not by Russian but Armenian
troops,” said Manukyan.

“Let me state that no matter how many rallies we hold Pashinyan may
not leave the post on this own. That is why we should break the
pillars supporting him. Which are those pillars? First, they are the
part of our compatriots who does not realize the way our country moves
forward. Our task is to explain these citizens the real state of
affairs in the country. The law enforcement is the second pillar – the
Police the National Security Service. They do not perceive they are
serving the Turkish-Azerbaijani interests. We should be tough and
convincing at the same time. We should also leave an exit strategy for
those parliamentarians who are still supporting Pashinyan. Armenia
must boil,” said Manukyan.

As to the second option, Manukyan noted every moment they should stay
ready to uprise and instantly take the power.

“We will proceed with the first option, always staying ready for the
second one,” concluded the oppositionist.

Resignation of the current government is a salvation of the Armenian
nation, said the Prosperous Armenia Party head Gagik Tsarukyan during
a rally on Saturday.

“It’s getting worse day by day. Since the country is shaking, there
can be no development. The world simply does not trust them,” he
noted.

According to the opposition leader, last year he warned the
authorities about the threat of war. “You all remember that on June 5,
2020, I said that we are on the verge of an abyss, the government must
resign, and if this does not happen, then we will lose Artsakh,” he
noted.

“Our dream is a mighty, powerful homeland and the sole obstacle that
hampers the achievement of this goal is Nikol Pashinyan,” said ARF
leader Ishkhan Saghatelyan at the demonstration. “We will not step
back, we will get rid of Pashinyan.”

In November, Armenia’s former Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan was
forced to resign amid growing discontent across the South Caucasus
nation.

Armenian-backed separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence
from Azerbaijan after a war over the mountainous region that left tens
of thousands dead in the 1990s.

However, in the recent fighting, which broke out in late September,
Azerbaijani forces backed by Turkey gained the upper hand and
retrieved large swathes of land. Ankara denied accusations of sending
mercenaries to the conflict.

Russia, which is considered to be Armenia’s ally in this conflict,
refused to take sides militarily and brokered the ceasefire deal,
sending thousands of Russian peacekeeping troops to enforce it until
the two warring sides are able to resolve the territorial dispute
through diplomatic channels.

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3 -        Armenia continues to fight COVID-19 pandemic

(Combined Sources)— Armenia will roll out the Covid vaccination in
March 2021, Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan told reporters last
week. She said the vaccination will be given on a voluntary basis.
People in risk groups will be vaccinated free of charge, she said,
adding that it’s not yet clear what it will cost for others.

According to Avanesyan, the government will import only the vaccines
that have successfully passed phase 3 of clinical trials.

Three vaccines—AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Sputnik V—have so far been
approved by an expert commission.

“With regard to Pfizer, there are issues pertaining to the required
storage temperature, which need to be solved,” Avanesyan said.

The amount of vaccines to be imported will depend on several factors,
including their cost and how much money the state can allocate for the
purpose.

The European Union and the WHO Regional Office for Europe will work
together in a major effort to support the deployment of COVID-19
vaccines and vaccination in Armenia. The project funded by the
European Union and implemented by WHO will cover all
phases—constituting “end-to-end” support—of COVID-19 vaccine
deployment and vaccination and will serve as a major investment to
strengthen the routine immunisation system.

The project will be implemented by WHO over a three-year period as
part of a €40 million European Union-funded initiative to support six
countries in the WHO European Region in preparing, deploying and
monitoring rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. “Vaccines bring us closer
towards the end of the pandemic. However, we will never beat the
pandemic if the vaccination coverage concentrates only in certain
parts of the world. The EU stands by Armenia also during the process
of vaccination to ensure we soon can meet together without the fear
for lives of ourselves and our close ones. Together, we will beat this
pandemic faster,” said EU Ambassador to Armenia, Andrea Wiktorin.

“COVID-19 knows no borders; it unites and demands united solutions. It
is noteworthy that the solidarity principle made the world stand
together to fight this calamity in unity. The long-lasting cooperation
and the continuity of common projects between the Ministry of Health
of the Republic of Armenia, the European Union and the World Health
Organization is a valid proof for this. During the intensification of
the pandemic and the war, Armenia has always felt the results of the
strong support and cooperation. Even today, our colleagues are
standing strong next to us and are willing to assist in the process of
procuring vaccines. We are full of hope that 'Health and Peace' joint
initiative will help member states endure all the challenges that this
pandemic has posed,” said Avanesyan.

Egor Zaitsev, the WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country
Office in Armenia, said: “Thanks to this generous support, WHO can
strengthen its collaboration with the Government of Armenia to ensure
that vaccines can reach those who need them most, as soon and as
efficiently as possible.”

The funds will be used initially to support the first phase of
preparedness and deployment, with an emphasis on imminent needs in
strategic programmatic areas such as planning, equipment/supplies,
training of health workers and information campaigns. The project
builds on the European Union’s and WHO’s ongoing support to countries’
response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the joint €35 million EU
Solidarity for Health Initiative, aimed to support the partner
countries in their fight against the virus and address better the
needs of the most vulnerable people.

Armenia in January announced plans to purchase thousands of doses
directly from its main ally, Russia. At the same time, Armenia made
advance payments to COVAX to procure vaccines for 300,000 people. In
the meantime, Armenia continues its containment effort of the
coronavirus extending lockdown measures until July 11.

According to the Ministry of Health, there were 5,003 active
coronavirus cases in Armenia as of February 22. Armenia has recorded
169,255 coronavirus cases and 3,147 deaths; 161,105 have recovered.

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4-         HyeID Forms First Chapter in Glendale

GLENDALE—The HyeID Board of Trustees announced the creation and active
functioning of HyeID’s Glendale chapter. With over 30 registrants and
a growing number of enthusiasts, Glendale is the first in a network of
chapters that the HyeID is planning to create around the world. HyeID
has received numerous inquiries and interests from Armenians worldwide
to join by signing up as cardholders.

Those who join HyeID are entitled to discounts when they purchase
products or services. Half of the discount goes to the cardholder,
while the other half is split equally between the HyeID organization
and the cardholders’ preferred organization.

In the second phase of the HyeID non-profit organization, Diaspora
cardholders ages 18 or older are eligible to vote for or be elected as
representatives in the planned Diaspora Armenian Parliament (DAP)
which has been the long sought after dream of all Diaspora Armenians.
Diaspora Armenians all over the world will be able to participate In
democratic elections in pre-determined electoral regions to form the
Diaspora Armenian Parliament.

“The HyeID board of trustees welcomes Armenians from around the world
to join the HyeID movement. The time has come for the Diaspora to be
organized and united in order to plan, execute and disseminate all Pan
Armenian issues and concerns to the various local, and governmental
platforms,” stated a HyeID representative.

Those interested in joining the HyeID organization to help establish
the future Diaspora Armenian Parliament should visit HyeID.org and
complete the application form.

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5-         TAAL Takes on Turkish, Azerbaijani Anti-Armenian Campaigns

Five months after forming an informal task force addressing the 2020
war waged against Nagorno-Karabagh by Azerbaijan and Turkey,
Armenian-American journalist Vic Gerami has launched the Truth and
Accountability League (TAAL) whose goal is to refute anti-Armenian
propaganda.

The governments of Azerbaijan and Turkey have for decades hired
renowned U.S. and international lobbying and public relations firms to
enshrine these two nations as democratic in spite of their numerous
crimes against humanity.

“The Armenian community cannot afford to assume that members of the
media will, on their own, examine all the facts and evidence and
report without bias, while Azerbaijan’s oil money directly or
indirectly influences the media narrative,” said TAAL founder, Vic
Gerami.

The goal of TAAL is to build awareness and foster concern for the
plight of Armenians who are suffering at the hands of this deadly
alliance, said Gearmi.

TAAL will serve as a watchdog organization conducting human
rights-violations monitoring and reporting, in order to ensure greater
governmental accountability.

Gerami noted that last year Azerbaijan spent $1.3 million on lobbying
firms—among which were the Livingston Group, Stellar Jay
Communications, BGR, The Podesta Group, and DLA Piper.

These firms worked aggressively to distort facts and to disseminate
false narrateves to media outlets. “TAAL combats this war of
disinformation,” Gerami said. “We need those who believe in peace,
democracy and human rights to step up to the plate and help us be
effective in our work.”

The mission of TAAL is to stop the defamation of the Armenian people;
achieve worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide; advocate for
the free exercise by the Armenians of Artsakh their right to
self-determination; attain universal recognition of the Independent
Republic of Artsakh—and to secure justice and fair treatment for all
people.

TAAL helps members of the media, human rights advocates, and
non-governmental organizations as well as other stakeholders, to
better understand complex issues surrounding the genocide now underway
in Artsakh. TAAL also advocates for a secure and stable democratic
Artsakh and Armenia, said Gerami.

While still in nascent stage, TAAL has already been hard at work.
Gerami co-produced the celebrity campaign, ‘I Stand with Artsakh &
Armenia’ featuring Kim Kardashian, Serj Tankian, Congressman Adam
Schiff, Ed Begley Jr., Sally Kirkland, Lawrence Zarian, and Andrea
Martin, among others.

Gerami is seeking additional financial and moral support through a
crowdfunding campaign on Facebook.

For more information and to support TAAL, visit:
https://www.facebook.com/donate/2823047621345188/

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6-         Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

I want to congratulate Harut Sassounian for his column dated
February18. I can’t allow myself to hope that Armenia’s leaders, past
or current, will learn from it. But they could benefit, if they tried.

My own experience in Armenia parallels what you describe. There are
deeply thoughtful people in the country, who possess information and
have developed a serious analysis of a variety of problems – I have
had the pleasure of knowing three who occupied minor positions in the
government. I have not had the extent of contact that you have had
with the higher echelons of government but I have met and talked at
length with two of the country’s presidents, one leader of Parliament,
two ministers, and several high-ranking bureaucrats. With one
exception, these “leaders” did not know very much about the topic that
led to our interaction, (the Armenian Diaspora), but all felt they
did, and the consultation was always pro forma – they spoke most of
the time, mostly repeating forcefully what they thought and believed,
couldn’t really handle or weren’t interested in genuine discussion,
and in the case of several were dismissive.

I don’t expect the leaders of a country to know a lot of details about
many important issues. Leadership and learning are distinct things
and, as Churchill said, “experts should be on tap, not on top.” Their
job is to inform.  However, leaders have to know how to listen to the
right experts, to learn what they need to know from them. Armenia’s
leadership since the mid-1990s has not shown that most leaders are
willing to learn.

Khachig Tölölyan

Professor (retired),

College of Letters and the Department of English

Wesleyan University,

Middletown, CT

Co-founder and co-editor (1979-2009), Pynchon Notes

Founder & Editor (1991-2019)

Diaspora: a journal of transnational studies

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7-         COMMENTARY: Pashinyan: For Himself, not Nation, Above All Else

By William Bairamian

Knowing what you know now, do you have any doubt in your mind that
Nikol Pashinyan would’ve risked the lives of the Armenians on the
streets in 2018 to achieve power?

If, say, Serzh Sargsyan told Nikol that there is no way he was going
to leave, what would Pashinyan’s options be? Either call it off or
escalate the situation, right?

And, again, knowing what you know now—about his readiness to send
armed protestors to clashes with police on March 1, 2008; about his
readiness to send thousands upon thousands of young men into the meat
grinder; about his readiness to cling to power despite Armenian POWs
in Azerbaijan—do you think he would’ve called off the protests or
settled for something less than the premiership?

How about knowing that he’s an immoral yellow journalist who spent his
life defaming the heroes and institutions of the Armenian Nation?
Would that help you decide?

This, ultimately, is the great divide between nationalists—people who
put their nation first, before all else—and everyone else.

The others have other interests in mind when making their decisions
regarding the nation: self (narcissists), foreigners (xenophiles),
nothingness (nihilists). These others are willing to say and do
anything to achieve their power but the nationalist, while he is
flawed, like every man, prioritizes the well-being of his nation.

This is why Serzh Sargsyan said during his meeting with Pashinyan at
the Marriott Hotel that Nikol hadn’t learned his lesson from March 1,
the lesson that he shouldn’t use the people on the street to achieve
his political ends, thus endangering their lives.

Sargsyan knew that Pashinyan was responsible for those deaths in 2008
and he knew that he was unrepentant because he was doing the same in
2018—and looked like he was ready to go even further.

No, Pashinyan hadn’t learned his lesson. So, Sargsyan left,
peacefully. It would’ve been impossible for him to know then that
Nikol and his government would send thousands of men to their deaths
knowing that they were fighting a losing battle and would alter the
lives of hundreds of thousands more.

If Sargsyan knew, he would have surely stayed and made the difficult
decision to use force, as his predecessor had in the interest of
saving thousands of lives and protecting the homeland.

Now, Nikol and his supporters know that nationalists have learned
their lesson, that granting immoral people who have peddled lies their
whole lives at the behest of outside interests the benefit of the
doubt can lead to existential disaster.

They know nationalists will not make that mistake again—and that is
why they are staying as long as they can while working tirelessly to
get us to forget their crimes. We won’t.

This article appeared in The Armenite on February 18, 2021.

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8-         Lucy Mirigian (Aug. 15,1906 – Feb. 12,2021)

Lucy was born in Armenia on August 15, 1906, the youngest of five
children of Kevork and Altoon Sarkisian. While still very young, she
contracted small pox. The “pox” completely destroyed her right eye,
requiring Lucy to spend the rest of her life with one artificial eye.
From even that young age, Lucy never considered herself disabled or
let this tragedy get her down. Instead, she led a “limitless” life,
attending college, learning to drive, working for years for the U.S.
Treasury Department, being an active community member, becoming a
voracious reader, a lover of handicrafts, and a world traveler and
organizer.

While she was still very young, Lucy and her family left everything
they owned, escaped from Turkish-held Armenia just prior to the
genocides, and relocated in Fresno. In Fresno, Lucy’s father and
grandfather (a parish priest in Armenia) helped build the Holy Trinity
Armenian Church. At age 15, Lucy contracted typhoid and lost a year of
her schooling. Undeterred, she returned to school after her recovery
and was able to complete high school and secretarial school. Lucy,
then, ended up teaching Sunday School and Armenian School, and started
clubs for the young people of the Fresno Armenian church community.

Lucy married Ashod Mirigian in 1936, and moved to the Bay Area,
ultimately settling in San Francisco. Lucy immediately became active
in the San Francisco Armenian community, again teaching Sunday School
and Armenian School, as well as joining the Ladies Auxiliary and ARS
(Armenian Relief Society). In fact, when the United Nations was being
formed in San Francisco, Lucy joined George Mardikian’s group of
volunteer ladies to help feed the delegates during their planning
meetings at the Opera House.

Lucy and Ashod became charter members of the Armenian American
Citizens League (AACL), an organization formed to help the displaced
persons who were flooding into the U.S. from war-torn Armenia. Lucy
and Ashod had two children – Sonia (married to Hagop Koujakian), and
Garo (married to Aida Petrossian). Lucy enjoyed helping her children
grow by being active in PTA and other school activities. She
encouraged music lessons and education. As a result, her children
learned violin and piano, and both became career educators.

Once her children were a little independent, Lucy began working for
the Social Security Administration. Upon her retirement, she began
traveling and ultimately traveled around the world. After joining
AARP, Lucy enjoyed their club activities, and eventually became their
local tour director – organizing numerous gambling trips and cruises
for fellow seniors.

Lucy passed quietly in her sleep on Friday morning, February 12, 2021.
A family graveside service will be held in Fresno at the Ararat
Cemetery.

Lucy is survived by her daughter Sonia and her husband, Hagop, her son
Garo and his wife, Aida, grand-children Melina (and her husband Carlo
Manjikian), and Lara (and her husband Armen Titizian), two great grand
children (Joey and Bella Titizian), and numerous nieces, nephews,
relatives and friends – all of whom she loved dearly. In lieu of
flowers, you are welcome to make donations to the charity of your
choice. Mom’s favorites were: St Gregory Armenian Church, Nor-Cal
Senior Services, Armenian Relief Society, and the Armenian American
Citizen’s League Scholarship Fund.

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9-         Kim Kardashian West files for divorce from Kanye West

By Lisa Respers France

(CNN)—Kim Kardashian West has filed for divorce from Kanye West, a
court clerk for Los Angeles Superior Court confirmed to CNN on Friday,
February 20.

Christy Welder, a representative for Kardashian West, confirmed the
divorce filing but said Kardashian West had no additional comment. CNN
has reached out to West for comment.

The filing cites irreconcilable differences and Kardashian West seeks
joint custody of the couple’s four children. It also cites a
prenuptial agreement regarding their assets.

The two, who married in a lavish wedding in Italy in 2014, have been
living apart for some time.

West has reportedly been living at their home in Wyoming, while
Kardashian West has stayed in California with their children.

The couple met in the early 2000s, but it would be years before they
became romantically involved.

West interviewed his wife for Vogue Arabia and asked her about the
first time they met.

“I thought you were attractive, nice, very charming, really funny,
powerful—I was in awe of you, but I was really shy, quiet, and a
little nervous, to be honest,” Kardashian West recalled.

Both had high-profile relationships before they went public with their
love in 2012.

West famously proposed to Kardashian by renting out a sports stadium
and hiring an orchestra, as her family watched from nearby—all of
which was documented and shared on the family’s popular E! reality
series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

The couple have four children together. Daughter North was born in
2013, followed by a son, Saint, in 2015, daughter, Chicago, in 2018,
and son, Psalm, in 2019.

The couple supported each other through tough times, including
Kardashian West being robbed at gunpoint in Paris in 2016 during a
home invasion.

In 2018, West tweeted his admiration for his wife.

“Gratitude and happiness best describe what my wife means to me,” West
wrote on Twitter. “I’m deeply grateful and purely happy.”

Kardashian West, for her part, has also often spoken out in defense of
her husband, who has been open about his struggles with bipolar
disorder and stirred controversy with his provocative tweets and
political views.

Last summer, Kardashian West sought understanding from the public in a
social media post.

“I understand Kanye is subject to criticism because he is a public
figure and his actions at times can cause strong opinions and
emotions,” she wrote in a statement shared on social media.

“He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures
of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss
of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is
heightened by his bi-polar disorder. Those who are close with Kanye
know his heart and understand his words some times do not align with
his intentions.”

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10-       In Armenia, more than 700 boys named

            in honor of Monte Melkonian after recent war

(News.am)—Since the end of the war in Artsakh, more than 700 boys born
in Armenia have been named after National Hero of Armenia Monte
Melkonian, which is unprecedented.

The Civil Status Acts Registration Agency informed that, based on the
data in the unified electronic governance system, in the period
between 2016 and February 1, 2021, 1,816 children have been named
after Monte.

Newborn boys were more often named after Monte after the war in April
2016. In 2020, the number of boys named after Monte has doubled
compared to the previous year.

In particular, whereas 162 boys were named after Monte in January-June
2020, 577 boys were named after Monte in the second semester, and this
is three-and-a-half times more than the number in the first quarter.

After Armenia’s declaration of independence, the name Monte became
widely popular in Armenia and the Diaspora. Monte means a peak.

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS