Risk equals reward

Edmonton Sun (Alberta, Canada)
March 21, 2004 Sunday Final Edition


Two Edmonton brothers, barely out of their teens, go to work as
furniture manufacturing reps.

Their parents, originally Armenians from Turkey, come to the city via
Venezuela with nary a dime in their pockets.

George and Jack Saroukian go on to open their own upper-end furniture
store. Finesse Furnishings opens as a small store on 51 Avenue.

Eighteen years and a detour through the west end later, they are in
their beautiful new $25-million digs in what was the old IKEA site
off Calgary Trail. The new store is almost three times bigger than
its west-end predecessor.

In just two months, Finesse Furnishings opens in Montreal. Three more
Canadian locations are planned. Headquarters, the Saroukians promise,
will always be Edmonton.

– Moving on from Redtail Landing is Jamie Driscoll. He is now “head
pro” at the new ReTee Golf Centre.

“We’re an indoor practice facility,” says Jamie, “with 20 swing
stations and a 15-metre gallery.” ReTee will offer golf instruction,
with a specialty in working with special- needs individuals. Jamie
and his wife, former figure-skating champ Lisa Sargeant-Driscoll, are
the parents of autistic four-year-old Tanner. “Our hope is to one day
start a foundation for autistic children,” says Jamie.

“A1+” TV Company Making an Announcement

A1 Plus | 21:01:30 | 19-03-2004 | Social |


2 years ago, on April 2, 2002, TV and Radio National Committee deprived
“A1+” TV Company of the broadcasting license.

During the 2 past years “A1+” partook in 8 tenders for frequency ranges and
disputed against TV and Radio National Committee decisions in all the Court
instances. Both tenders and Court decisions were made by breaking laws,
which aimed at blocking “A1+” return to broadcasting area. Making TV air
manageable Authorities conducted illegal elections, bereaving people of the
right and chance to receive unbiased and full information.

Fund for Speech Freedom Support is holding a protest action on April 2.

The initiative group protecting “A1+” TV Company calls upon everybody who
values speech freedom, to take part in the march and meeting for “A1+” on
April 2.

We demand:

1) to hold a tender for free frequencies

2) to involve the representatives of social organizations in rating
assessment of the tender proposals. We expect for quick satisfying of the
above demands or else we will keep protesting.

The march will start at 2:00 PM near “A1+” TV Company building /Grigor
Lusavoritch, 15/.

The meeting will take place on Freedom Square, at 3:00 PM.

Those who are concerned about speech freedom and interested in this action,
may phone 585427, 560716, 564299, or e-mail on [email protected].


Antelias: Mid-Lent

Catholicosate of Cilicia
Communication and Information Department
Tel: (04) 410001, 410003
Fax: (04) 419724
E- mail: [email protected]

PO Box 70 317

Mid-Lent ceremony at Sourp Neshan
Mother church in Beirut, Lebanon

Antelias, Lebanon – On the occasion of mid-Lent (Michink), His Holiness
Aram I, invited by the primate of the Armenian Diocese of Lebanon Bishop
Kegham Khacherian, presided over a Sunrise ceremony (Arevakal) in Sourp
Neshan Mother church in Beirut, Lebanon, 17 March 2004, with the presence of
Seminary students, who performed Armenian Church hymns.

Mid-Lent coincides with the 20th day of Lent, a 40-day period of penitence
and fasting observed from Ash Wednesday to Easter by many churches.

Present for the Sunrise service were members of the Cilician Brotherhood,
prelates of the Canadian, Eastern, and Western Prelacies, and also
representatives of their Lay Councils, and faithful.

Following the church service and the welcoming remarks of the Primate of
Lebanon, His Holiness delivered a speech. His Holiness said: “The Light of
our Christian faith must be reflected in the life of every Armenian
faithful”, taking his theme from one of the hymns of the Sunrise service
which praises Christ, the source of Light with the words “Let your rational
Light dawn within us”. His Holiness went on to say, that “this rational
Light must shine forth within the Armenian Church, within the Armenian
family and within our Armenian fatherland”.

Following the church service, the Board of Trustees and the Ladies’
Auxiliary hosted a traditional luncheon in honor of His Holiness Aram I.


View printable pictures here:

The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia is one of the two Catholicosates of
the Armenian Orthodox Church. For detailed information about the history and
the mission of the Cilician Catholicosate, you may refer to the web page of
the Catholicosate, The Cilician Catholicosate, the
administrative center of the church is located in Antelias, Lebanon.


The Problem Cannot Be Distorted


Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)

On March 16 at the NKR Permanent Representation in Armenia the speaker
of the NKR National Assembly Oleg Yessayan and foreign minister Ashot
Ghulian met with the members of the European Union-Armenia
parliamentary cooperation commission Ursula Schleicher (co-chairman of
the commission), Dmitry Volchich and Bashir Khanba. During the meeting
the head of the Europarliament delegationMs. Irsula Schleicher,
pointing out that the meeting is unofficial, enquired about the
approach of Nagorni Karabakh toward the current situation in the
regulation of the conflict as well as the possible status of NK and
the problem of refugees. Answering the questions of the members of the
delegation the speaker of the NK National Assembly said the Karabakh
party does not separate these problems from the context of the package
settlement of the conflict. Duringthe talk O. Yessayan mentioned that
he could understand the growing interest ofthe European Union in the
countries of the South Caucasus and in this referencethe settlement of
the Karabakh conflict. The NA speaker said the fact that NK is not
recognized internationally does not change the essence of the
conflict. The problem between Nagorni Karabakh and the Republic of
Azerbaijan should not be changed into a problem to be settled by the
Republic of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The speaker of the parliament of
Nagorni Karabakh mentioned that the starting point of the peaceful
settlement of the conflict is the participation of Nagorni Karabakh in
the process of negotiations; the people of Nagorni Karabakh cannot
accept a resolution in the adoption of which they had no
participation. The speaker of the NKR National Assembly hopes that the
approach of Nagorni Karabakh will be backed by the European Union.


The Winner Karen Asrian


Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)

On March 17 took place the closing ceremony of the international chess
tournament devoted to the 75th anniversary of the ninth champion of
the world Tigran Petrossian. The first place of the tournament was won
by grand master of chess Karen Asrian who had 6 points of the 9
possible. The second place was taken by the representative of Poland,
grand master Bartlome Macheya with 5.5 points. The representative of
Armenia, grand master Gabriel Sarghissian took the third place (5
points). The prize winners received money prizes and presents. The
other participants and guests also received presents. By the decree of
the NKR president the Medal of Gratitude was conferred on the guest of
honour of the tournament, the tenth champion of the world Boris
Spassky. The medal was delivered by NKR prime minister Anoushavan


We Can Be Good Neighbours But…


Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)

Recently the regular round of the Dortmund consultation on the
settlement of the Karabakh conflict took place in Moscow. A special
group on the settlement of the regional conflicts was formed within
the framework of the consultation, the co-chairmen to which are Harold
Sonders (USA) and Vitaly Naumkin (Russia). The representatives of the
non-governmental organizations of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorni
Karabakh take part in them. Member of parliament of Karabakh Maxim
Mirzoyan participated in the last, as well as the previous three
meetings. M. Mirzoyan told during the interview that the aim of the
consultation is survey of the public opinion in the conflict
countries. The data are processed and passed to the OSCE Minsk Group
on Karabakh settlement. According to Maxim Mirzoyan, this is already
the sixth round of meeting between the representatives of Armenia,
Azerbaijan and Nagorni Karabakh. The parties had a common opinion
concerning the peaceful settlement of the conflict and with the
participation of Karabakh. But now, he mentioned, no attempts were
made to touch upon the main problems: the causes of the conflict and
expertise of the legal package. Although, he said, during the third
meeting the Karabakh delegation passed the legal package of the
conflict to the organizers of the meeting. The parties were offered to
work out a definite outline of the peaceful process before the next
meeting, including two obligatory points: establishment of effective
levers with the participation of all the interested parties and means
for maintenance of mutual trust by the official bodies of the
authorities and the local citizens. According to the authors of the
document, the parties must assume responsibility to achieve such an
agreement that would not ignore the rights of neither of the
parties. The temporary maintenance of the status of Nagorni Karabakh
should be sought for. As to the technical means, these include the
gradual withdrawal of forces from the area of military actions,
stationing of the international peacemaking forces, providing of
conditions for the return ofthe refugees, agreement on maintaining the
borders of the new formation according to the borders of the former
autonomous region. In this reference we asked a number of questions to
Maxim MIRZOYAN. – Mr. Mirzoyan, recently much is said about the change
of the format of negotiations for the settlement of the Karabakh
conflict and in this reference about the coordination of the relations
between Armenia and Karabakh. Don’t you think that such considerations
lack ground? – It should be noted that Armenia was involved in the
conflict artificially. That idea was brought into being under the
pressure of the parties interested in the aggravation of the
conflict. Soon, as the consequence of this logic, Karabakh was
relieved from the `responsibility’ for the conflict and the
responsibility was cast on Armenia. This format is in effect up today
because for many it is favourable to describe the conflict as
Armenian-Azerbaijani. The permanent delay of the conflict settlement
resulted in the fact that nobodydeals with the essence of the
problem. Moreover, the international organizations use the problem for
the settlement of their own problems in the region; the settlement of
the Karabakh problem seemed to have become an obstruction to the
solution of other problems. The invisible confrontation between the
West and Russia has become quite open recently. Azerbaijan does not
miss the chance to use its own and others’ forces for aggression
against Armenia. And Armenia has nothing else to do but to become the
guarantor of the security of Karabakh and defend its
independence. Thus, the approach of Armenia is a precaution for
defence of its own security in case of aggression on the part of
Azerbaijanagainst it. – And nevertheless, the question of
participation of Karabakh in the negotiations has been more frequently
touched upon – Without doubt.During 12 years the Minsk Group
co-chairmen became convinced that the talks have come to a deadlock
because the real conflict party, Karabakh, does not take part in them.
You may not hide a needle in the sack. And the reason for this is the
weak position of the Armenian diplomacy and the inert behaviour of the
Minsk Group. – Mr. Mirzoyan, in the interview to the agency `De Facto’
thesecretary of the NKR Security Council Karen Baburian stated that
connected with the offer of reporteur of the Council of Europe Pierre
Garton to recede the five regions liberated by the Karabakh army in
return for opening the railway suggestions were made in the corridor
talks of the Karabakh parliament about passing the regions under the
authority of NKR. What is your attitude towards such offers? – I agree
to this opinion. It is necessary to grant a status of factor of
peaceand military balance to these territories providing our
security. It is necessary to clarify the demarcation line and explain
the adequacy of this step.` Is this possible in our
parliament? – This is very important. Currently there is a situation
when the members of parliament are not interested in a question of
such importance for the country. During 12 years the parliament has
not adequately discussed the problem of Karabakh and the approach of
the Karabakh party. This is also the evidence to the fact that the
process is directed from the outside. The high officials of the
European organizations (they try to holdthe initiative of the Karabakh
settlement) make statements showing that in the approaches of the
mediators the humanitarian aspect prevails over the political and
legal aspects. In particular, the special reporteur of the European
Union Terry Davis announced during his visit to Stepanakert that the
most important task is the solution of the problem of refugees. In
this situation isn’t the essence of the Karabakh problem distorted? –
The conflict in Karabakh occurred from the desire of Azerbaijan to
force out the Armenian element out of its borders. Thus, the main
constituents of the conflict are the territorial and ethnic-demographic
factors. The restoration of the former status of these territories
would mean returning to the causes of the conflict, and hence the
war. We may be good neighbours but not members of the same family.


BAKU: Visit of Aliyev to Slovakia

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan State Info Agency
March 20 2004


[March 19, 2004, 22:15:56]

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met the European Union
commissioner Gunter Verhogen in Bratislava, 19 March, AzerTAj
correspondent reports.

The EU commissioner congratulated President Ilham Aliyev on election
as the head of state and wished success in his responsible activity.

President Ilham Aliyev spoke in detail on the reforms Azerbaijan
conducted especially last years after regaining its state
independence, noting that these accomplishments in the path of
development of democracy and market relations were possible thanks to
stability established in the Country.

Head of the Azerbaijani state noted that the relations with the
European Union are high level, and the Organization renders to the
Country assistance, makes efforts for settlement of the
Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorny Karabakh conflict, and assessed the
appointment of EU special representative for South Caucasus as
strengthening of its activity in the region.

Noting the developing relations between Azerbaijan and European
Union, Mr. Gunter Verhoen underlined that the work of the Commission
set up in connection with the strategic document on joining the
initiative `Enlarged Europe: New Agenda’ by the South Caucasus
countries would finalize shortly.

He also stressed that the European Union has intensified its efforts
for peaceful settlement of the Armenian -Azerbaijani Nagorny Karabakh
conflict and he would recently visit Baku.

BAKU: Aliyev met NATO secretary general

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan State Info Agency
March 20 2004

[March 19, 2004, 22:16:49]

On 19 March, in the frame of Slovakia visit, President of Azerbaijan
Ilham Aliyev met the NATO Secretary General Yaap de Hoop Scheffer,
AzerTAj correspondent reports from Bratislava.

During the meeting of friendly and warm atmosphere, discussed were
the existing links between Azerbaijan and NATO, focused the issues of
integration of Azerbaijan to the Euro-Atlantic structures, as well as
exchanged views on preparation works for the June 2004 Summit of NATO
due in Istanbul.

Noting that he attaches great significance to the cooperation with
NATO, President of Azerbaijan said that cooperation with this
Organization is of progressive character. He once again stressed the
necessity of integration to the Euro-Atlantic structures, saying,
`Azerbaijan will further continue its policy in this direction’.

NATO pays much attention to the South Caucasus and considers
Azerbaijan as an important partner of this Organization, Mr. Yaap de
Hoop Scheffer emphasized.

The parties exchanged views on a number of other issues on
cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO, especially was focused the
plan of activity on cooperation that is under preparation.

In the course of talk, the parties also discussed the situation in
the South Caucasus, settlement prospects of the Armenian-Azerbaijani
Nagorny Karabakh conflict. The North Atlantic Alliance wishes quick
and peaceful resolution to the conflict and it is important for NATO,
Mr. Yaap de Hoop Scheffer said.

From Kalashnikovs back to Christ

Daily Telegraph, UK
March 20 2004

>From Kalashnikovs back to Christ

Juliet Clough finds tragedy, beauty and a warm welcome in a country
that has been dealt more than its fair share of blows.

Armenia basics

The old woman thumped a thin chest, decorated with Soviet badges. “I
worked on road construction,” she said. She wandered away, muttering
to herself, among the potholes that pass for streets in Yeghegnadzor.

Nostalgia for the Soviet past, with its pensions, paid holidays and
free health care, crops up all the time in encounters with the
elderly in modern Armenia. “Poverty seems like an upgrade here,” said
one of the many “diaspora men” I met during my travels round the
country in October, a Californian taxman.

The expressions of the diaspora men – typically, wealthy
second-generation Armenian North Americans – betray the complexity of
the emigre baggage they carry. “We need to know we have this history,
this feeling of grandeur,” John Hovagimian from Toronto told me as we
explored the sumptuous medieval monastery complex of Noravank. “But
sometimes we cry inside for the tragedy we have passed through – and
the beauty of the land.”

Tragedy and beauty: the operatic theme ran counterpoint to all my
attempts to understand something of Armenia, an effort considerably
helped by a comprehensive new guidebook from Bradt. I got my quickest
fix standing in the courtyard of the monastery of Khor Virap, half an
hour south of Yerevan. Beyond, detached by a light scarf of cloud as
well as by a line of Turkish border checkposts, floated the luminous
cone of Mount Ararat.

A salesman handed me a pigeon to set free – a dollar for a wing and a
prayer. Like Noah’s olive-branch-bearing dove, my bird, he assured
me, would head straight for Mount Ararat. In practice, of course, it
flew straight back to base. I recognised my chap tucking into his
feed tray as we departed.

Ararat is one of the world’s sacred mountains. The pain of its loss
to Turkey, following the 1915 massacre of a locally estimated 1.5
million Armenians in Anatolia, was written, momentarily, on almost
every face turned towards it from this site.

The resulting emigration haemorrhage continued after independence in
1991, when the economy of what had been the USSR’s most successful
industrialised state went into freefall, a state of affairs witnessed
by the ghost factories that ring the capital and by the half-built
holiday complexes for the comrades, decaying in resorts around
Dilijan and Lake Sevan.

“Armenia is rich in stones,” reflected Nouneh, as we left the fertile
Ararat valley for the province of Vayots Dzor. This sounded sad until
I learnt to read it as a massive understatement.

Armenia adopted Christianity in 301 AD, the first nation to do so, 10
years ahead of Rome. The result is indeed a wealth of stone:
ecclesiastical buildings of mind-blowing antiquity. Hunkered down on
their mountain ridges, Armenia’s high-shouldered churches defy the
winds of change.

Christianity’s 17 centuries have not been enough to erase the older
beliefs that still break surface at almost every site: wishing trees
hung with votive rags; sacred springs; floor drains for the animal
sacrifices still carried out at special occasions.

Five days, 11 churches and a profusion of richly carved stone later,
I was hooked: God the Father presides at Noravank with a dove
apparently nesting in his beard; sirens and lions with dragons for
tails guard the rock-cut churches of Geghard.

The latter’s acoustics, which I heard tested by the State Capella
Choir, would make angels weep with envy. Medieval khachkars,
stone-cross slabs whose points take off into a maze of Celtic-style
flourishes, abound at Echmiadzin, since 303 AD the Vatican eqivalent
in a country still devoutly Orthodox Christian.

Heading for the 13th-century Selim caravanserai, which once offered
shelter to travellers on an Armenian spur of the Silk Route, we
followed a procession of steamrollers, a sight to cheer the old lady
in Yeghegnadzor. Everywhere apparent, the healing hand of diaspora
man – building roads, hotels and airports and restoring historic
sites – can only benefit Armenia’s fledgling tourism business.

The upbeat feel starts in Yerevan, whose grand 1950s main square,
recently reopened after a major facelift, is part of an estimated
$200 million spend by the American media tycoon Kirk Kerkorian.

The US-based Tufenkian carpet empire employs 1,200 people in Armenia
to weave the motifs of their grandmothers into covetable carpets;
prices at the Yerevan store start at $230 per square metre. Tufenkian
knitters also supply bedcovers for the same company’s four heritage

Away from decaying Soviet technology, Armenia looked beautiful: the
plunging gorges of Garni and Noravank spread, in autumn, with all the
colours of a weaver’s loom; the apple-tree branches in south-western
villages such as Yeghegis bowed to the ground under their weight of

Tree-climbing children, shaking down walnuts; willow-lined streams;
little hayricks and biblical flocks of goats: Armenia’s country idyll
goes hand in hand with mud-paved streets, outdoor taps, and with
Azeri refugees from the ongoing dispute over Nagorno Karabagh having
to find homes in redundant oil tanks.

Diaspora generosity must be an inherited trait. The hospitality of
Armenians towards strangers, by comparison unimaginably well-heeled,
remains my most special memory. In the village of Hamon alone, an old
woman parted the strings of dried apples hanging from her cottage
eaves to implore us to come in for coffee; another pressed a handful
of walnuts into my hand and a passerby insisted on giving us a dried

Vahram and Hranoush Khlagatsayan spread a feast for us in their
orchard in Artabouink: wheat soup made with yogurt and coriander;
spinach with sour cream; home-made curd cheese, flat bread or lavash,
made by their teenage daughters in a fiery pit.

Vahram and Hranoush, too poor to have any income beyond the produce
they barter with their neighbours, are participants in a
British-financed rural development project that exchanges house
improvements, including installing indoor lavatories, for village
hospitality within striking distance of potential tourist sites.

In tough times, and with a restaurant and cafe culture only now
taking off in the capital, a few professional families have taken up
the idea. In private homes in Dilijan and Garni, genial hosts served
up waist-expanding introductions to a local cuisine which, like the
robust Armenian wines accompanying it, has survived the drab Soviet
years with gusto. Invariably our hosts’ home-produced vodkas sent us
on our way rejoicing.

I could not call Yerevan, a resolutely Soviet creation of the 1950s,
picturesque. But time spent in the capital fills essential gaps.
While the unemployed young loafing round the Genocide Museum, let
alone the unemployed graduates selling fruit on street corners, say
something about 21st-century Armenia, the key to the early past lies
miniaturised in the Matenadaran, one of the world’s great manuscript

Pride of place goes to Ptolemy’s map, a 1482 copy, showing Armenia’s
borders stretching from the Black Sea to the Caspian. A prize fought
over by all the neighbours ever since, landlocked Armenia would today
fit comfortably inside the borders of Belgium. Here too, explained in
lively fashion, are exquisite fragments of 5th-century gospels;
medieval herbals and theatrical treatises; classical Greek texts that
have survived only because of early translations in the beautiful,
looping, Armenian script.

Mother Armenia, ankle-deep in rusty armaments, brandishes her sword
over a city today more given to karaoke than Kalashnikovs. The
Yerevan Brandy Company factory hangs a festive aroma over the centre.
Ever after the 1945 Yalta Conference, when Stalin introduced him to
the company’s Diplomat blend, Winston Churchill, so goes the PR
story, ascribed his long life partly to Armenian brandy.

Shnoragalutsyun. Shatlaveh. Thank you. It was excellent.

Armenia basics
Juliet Clough travelled with Regent Holidays (0117 921 1711,
) and British Airways (0870 850 9 850,
). An eight-day individual trip costs from £1,295 per
person, sharing (single supplement £375) including return BA flights,
b & b in a three-star Yerevan hotel and in guesthouses in Dilijan and
Sissian; all transfers by private car; English-speaking guide.
Three-night weekend breaks in Yerevan are also available, from £499
per person, sharing. A 12-day group tour of the highlights of Armenia
and Georgia departs in August: from £1,390, sharing.

Guidebook The Bradt Travel Guide: Armenia with Nagorno Karabagh


Composer Gaining International Audience

March 20 2004

Composer Gaining International Audience
By Anastasia Tsioulcas

NEW YORK (Billboard) – Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian is a man of
passion and intensity.

Whether discussing his friendship with Dmitri Shostakovich,
describing his childhood in Beirut, Lebanon, or recounting the
influence of William Faulkner’s writings on his work, Mansurian
punctuates his reflections with sweeping hand motions and piercing

Yet the 65-year-old’s music exemplifies the power of the small and
subtle gesture. Renowned violist Kim Kashkashian — herself
Armenian-American — explains the appeal of Mansurian’s music this
way: “His writing is very distilled, very concentrated. The intensity
is extreme.”

Mansurian says his music is steeped not just in Armenian music and
history but is also influenced by a Japanese artist he observed some
30 years ago.

“I saw an ikebana artist creating a composition from flowers,” he
says, “and the theory behind this art is to reveal beauty through
simplicity. When they cut off leaves, you can see the childhood of
the plant. From that emptiness, you imagine and create life

Despite his renown at home and his friendships with such colleagues
as Arvo Part, Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, Valentin
Silvestrov and others, Mansurian is not well-known internationally.
But that is rapidly changing.

Since their first meeting several years ago, Kashkashian has become a
champion of Mansurian’s work, and the composer has written several
works for her. Kashkashian’s advocacy has blossomed into a long-term
commitment to Mansurian from producer/ECM label head Manfred Eicher.

The first fruit of that relationship arrived last July, when the
Munich-based ECM released “Hayren,” a disc that included Mansurian’s
piece “Havik” as well as songs by the revered Armenian
composer/ethnomusicologist Komitas (1869-1935), arranged by

On March 30, ECM continues to explore Mansurian’s work with a two-CD
set titled “Monodia.” Two compositions on the new disc were written
expressly for Kashkashian: the 1995 viola concerto “And Then I Was in
Time Again …” and “Confessing With Faith” for viola and voices (in
which Kashkashian is joined by the Hilliard Ensemble).

“Lachrymae,” a piece for viola and saxophone, is played here by its
dedicatees, Kashkashian and saxophonist Jan Garbarek (who makes his
instrument sound remarkably like the traditional Armenian duduk).
Rounding out the collection is 1981’s Violin Concerto, played by
Leonidas Kavakos.