UN HR at Times of War: Challenges for Mental Health in Iraq

United Nations NGO Committee on Human Rights
United Nations Headquarters,
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 1 212 362-4018
E-mail: [email protected]

Dr. Anie Kalayjian Organizes and Chairs a Panel at the United Nations
on Human Rights at Times of War: Challenges for Mental Health in Iraq

United Nations, New York: Dr. Anie Kalayjian in her capacity as the
Treasurer of the UN NGO Human Rights Committee has organized and
chaired a panel on Human Rights at Times of War: Challenges for Mental
Health in Iraq, at the UN headquarters in New York on 4 March 2004.
The panel was sponsored by the Bureau of the International NGO
Committee on Human Rights with the New York Officeof the High
Commissioner for Human Rights. Dr. Kalayjian is a World Federation
for Mental Health Representative to the UN, and the Vice Chair or the
NGO/DPI Executive Committee.

Panelists were: Hamid Abdel Jaber, Former UN Spokesperson in Iraq. UN
Radio: Chief of the Middle East Section; Rashida Mohammed, Poet,
Translator and Journalist/Correspondent in Iraq for AL RAAI National
Newspaper; Kirsti Pohjankukka, UN New York Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights; Sharon D. Massay, Professor of
Psychology, Seton Hall University.

DISTRIBUTION OF DOCUMENTS:
1.Generational Impact of Wars. Psychological Trauma Transmitted
Generationally. Dr. Anie Kalayjian

2.Children in War. Alan and Susan Raymond. (2000) New York: TV Books.
Data from UN Report: The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.

3.Generational Impact of Mass Trauma: The Post-Ottomn Turkish Genocide
of the Armenians. Anie Kalayjian ED.D and Marian Weisberg C.S.W.

4. Biopsychosocial and Spiritual Treatment of Trauma. Dr. Anie
Kalayjian.

HAMID ABDEL JABER: Mr. Jaber offered to share his experiences in Iraq,
explaining the enormous riches in one of the most ancient countries in
the Middle East, with two large river basins, huge oil reserves, 20
million palm trees, mountainous areas, and large agricultural areas.
Iraq was also very wealthy in educational institutions, businesses,
medical and scientific areas, claiming the most advanced educational
system in the region for centuries. Civilization flowed from Iraq for
thousands of years beyond the borders, spilling onto many other
cultures and religions. However, Iraq was also a battlefield for the
last 5000 years.

The UN sanctions destroyed every aspect of Iraqi life. The timing of
the sanctions hit the main block of Iraqi society, affecting the most
vulnerable groups, the old and the children. The government became
stronger, building palaces, and benefiting from the Oil for Food
program as well as the black market.

The people suffered and society decayed. One million children could
not goto school. The educational system had been the best in the
Middle East. Inflation flared. Thirteen years of sanctions brought
immense poverty to the grass roots.

The UN inspections were very intrusive and humiliating to the people.
In March 2003, the US military added to the decay with bombs, but why
fight for Sadaam? Iraqi people hated the occupation, and wanted a
road may to freedom. It was sad when the UN compound was bombed,
especially losing UN staff lives and Sergio de Mello. However, the UN
should be back in Iraq to supervise elections.

Mr. Jaber answered questions before departing for another meeting. 1.
The role of Sadaam imposed upon the people. Answer: Many evils were
imposed upon the people by the former regime. Sadaam was empowered to
kill all opposition. The infrastructure of Iraq was in shambles,
desperately needing energy, education and hospitals.

2. Why did such a society in Iraq fail to dispose of Sadaam? Answer:
All aspects of Iraqi society were in shambles especially the business,
health and educational systems. The people had no way to address the
government.

RASHIDA MOHAMMED, an Algerian citizen, Rashida lived in Iraq during
the time of Sadaam’s government. Her work focuses on human rights
issues. The embargoes, or sanctions, were a hidden tragedy, and the
writers were the first to pay as representatives of other countries.
Food, shelter, paper and pens were in short supply. One pen was worth
four loaves of bread. Writers sacrificed food for books, and were
isolated during the sanction period. They used copy machines for
publishing and Religious books flooded the market. Representatives of
international human rights organizations apologized to writers and
authors for the lack of food and human dignity. She hopes the
condition of writers will improve with any new authority.

KIRSTI POHJANKUKKA was trained as an attorney, has worked with the
International Red Cross and is now working with the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights in New York. The New York Office and
the HCHR Office in Geneva are focal points for Iraq concerning human
rights issues. Fundamental human rights for health and the enjoyment
of human rights in Iraq are the concernof the Special Rapporteurs that
have been appointed by the UN Commission for Human Rights in Geneva
since 1991, after the Gulf War. Efforts were made for visits to Iraq
in 1992, but did not succeed. Grave violations of human rights were
documented concerning torture and massive executions, as well as
rights for health care.

Iraq had ratified a number of human rights covenants and conventions:
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, The
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, The
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, The
Convention on the Rights of the Child, However, the Convention Against
Torture has not been ratified. The enormous human suffering that was
reported during the sanction period called for monitoring.

Alleviation of that suffering was up to the government, which should
aid civil society. In 1998 the Special Rapporteur reported a
deteriorating situation in the Iraqi population, in spite of the Oil
for Food program conducted by the UN, which was supposed to relieve
their plight. The Iraqi people were reportedly also victims of
torture by the Iraqi security. During the 2003 occupation the Office
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and various humanitarian
agencies have attempted to address the human rights situation in Iraq.
The human rights organizations, the New York and Geneva offices are
planning an extensive human rights presence in the region of the
Middle East. The UN will try to follow up with justice, building
national capacities, as Iraqi society is rich fundamentally with civil
society groups that could support a national of action plan for human
rights. The international community will also provide assistance.

SHARON. MASSEY, co-author, with R. F. Massey, of the book
â=80=98Comprehensive Handbook of Psychotherapy’, New York, Wiley,
featured an article byDucommun-Nagy, `Contextual Therapy’ that deals
with the effects of trauma in war on families, children as well as
soldiers. As a professor of psychology at Seton Hall University,
Ms. Massey trains graduate students about the trauma of war on
children and their families.

Acute trauma affects all citizens, soldiers and even terrorists who,
were at one time, connected to families. Research was conducted about
children in war from all regions. The psychological and spiritual
wounds are deep and long lasting. Two million children died in wars
of the last 10 years, 4 to 5 million are disabled, 12 million are
homeless, 1 million are orphaned, or separated from their parents, and
an estimated 10 million were psychologically traumatized. 50% of the
world’s refugee populations are children. Families and whole
communities are forced to flee, are shot, bombed endure physical
torture, watch their babies bashed against trees, while children
witness the murder of their parents. During the Bosnian war, civilians
including children faced snipers, torture, rape, illness and
starvation.

UNICEF estimated in 1986 that the changing technologies of warfare
with land mines, rockets, rubber/plastic bullets, carpet-bombing,
automatic weapons, create uncontrollable carnage with systematic
attacks on civilians, including children. Psychological trauma in
children is often hidden with emotional numbing, sobbing, inability to
concentrate, loss of hope and withdrawal. Useful therapies to aid
children frozen in trauma include art therapy and re-enactment of the
drama to alleviate fear and shame. Ms Massey mentioned a book by J.P.
Wilson, International Handbook of Traumatic Stress z(1993)New York:
Plenum Press.

Generational Impact of Mass Trauma: The Post Ottoman Turkish Genocide
of the Armenians, by Anie Kalayjian ED D. and Marian Weisberg CSW.
The authors explore the massive genocide against the Armenian people
by the Ottoman Turkish Government from 1895-1915, and the physical,
psychosocial and spiritual inter-generational trauma that lead to
therapeutic modalities. When the trauma is properly processed
emotionally, using workshops there can be a cathartic effect and hope.

The Generational Impact of Wars: Psychosocial Trauma Transmitted
Generationally, By Dr. Anie Kalayjian. `Returning violence for
violence multiplies violence. Only love can drive out hate.’ The
impact of wars: grief, overwhelming sadness, anger, hatred, rage,
revenge, guilt, failure, despair, helplessness, loss of trust, trauma,
alcoholism, drug use, inability to function socially.

QUESTIONS/COMMENTS: Many questions and comments were especially
concerned with the present trauma of Iraqi civilians, and possible
programs of rehabilitation. Civilian trauma was evident in the
looting and panic, as well as fear of an occupied force. NGOs,
humanitarian agencies and foundations all attempt to alleviate trauma.
Human Rights Watch has also addressed the emotional and psychological
needs, as well as the basic services of food, housing and health.

A question was asked concerning the possible new consitution by the
Governing Council in Iraq, that might include human rights protection
of Iraqi civilians, targeting the individual regardless of religion,
race or culture, that could be established with legislation and
constitutional guarantees. At the present a draft constitution has
not been published, but will probably be published this week. It has
not been shared with the UN as yet, but there is an impression that it
will have some basis for human rights. The issues are legally
complex, with regard to the occupation force.

Nancy Colton, Acting Secretary
*Top Photo: From Right to Left: Rashida Mohammedi, Anie Kalayjian, Sharon
Massey, & Hamid Uabdel Jaber

*Bottom Photo: From Right to Left: Kirsti Pohjankukka, Rashida Mohammedi,
Anie Kalayjian, & Sharon Massey

ANKARA: Turkey not to open borders until Armenia pulls out of Azerb.

Turkey not to open borders until Armenia pulls out of Azeri lands – envoy

Bilik Dunyasi news agency, Baku
29 Mar 04

The importance of Azerbaijani-Turkish relations is much greater than
the prospect of opening the border between Turkey and Armenia, Turkish
ambassador to Azerbaijan Unal Cevikoz has said, commenting on the
“open borders” policy in the South Caucasus lobbied by Europe and the
USA.

“Turkish-Azerbaijani relations come first and there is no room for
hesitation in this,” the ambassador said.

The Turkish prime minister and foreign minister have repeatedly stated
the conditions which Ankara believes must be met before normal
relations between Turkey and Armenia can be established, the diplomat
added. Namely, Turkey demands that Armenia vacate occupied Azerbaijani
territories and ensure a safe transport corridor between Naxcivan and
the rest of Azerbaijan.

BAKU: US official happy with Azeri visit

US official happy with Azeri visit

Azerbaijani TV Channel One, Baku
27 Mar 04

The human rights situation in Azerbaijan is not as good as it could
be, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has told a news
conference in the Azerbaijani capital following his meetings with the
president and opposition leaders. Asked about the failure of the OSCE
Minsk Group to yield any results in settling the Karabakh conflict,
Armitage noted that the conflict “cannot be forced down from the top”
but the sides themselves should reach an agreement as the “OSCE Minsk
Group are facilitators”. Armitage also said that he was happy to see
that “so much has changed for the better” in the country. The
following is the text of report from Armitage’s news conference
broadcast by Azerbaijani TV on 27 March

[Announcer in Azeri over video of a news conference] A news conference
by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, 27 March 2004.

[Armitage shown addressing the news conference in English, with
superimposed Azeri translation] I can tell you how happy I am to come
back to Baku. I first came here in the 1991-92 time frame, and so much
has changed for the better.

Those of you who are here every day probably cannot see the
change. But if you, like I, come back every two, three or four years
you can really see the difference.

I have just come from a long meeting with President Ilham
Aliyev. Before that, I met six opposition leaders at the US
embassy. We had a nice discussion about their hopes and their
aspirations, and I also met our embassy family, community this morning
to thank them for their tremendous efforts on behalf of our country.

I did thank the president and through him the people of Azerbaijan for
the courage and dedication of the Azerbaijani soldiers who are serving
alongside the coalition forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Their
courage is quite noteworthy and an extraordinary tribute to the people
of Azerbaijan.

I am happy to be here and happy to try to answer your questions.

[A journalist, in Azeri] The USA, as a rule, cooperates with
Azerbaijan in the antiterrorist field. Could American mobile troops be
temporarily stationed in Azerbaijan as part of this cooperation?

[Armitage] As I have said, we are very gratified by the activities of
the soldiers of Azerbaijan serving alongside our own in Iraq and
Afghanistan. We are very appreciative for the tremondous assistance in
the global war on terrorism, which the government of Azerbaijan has
demonstrated to us. But I did not discuss the issue of bases because
we have no desire for a permanent base in here.

[Another journalist] Farid Qahramanli, Turan news agrency. Mr Armitage
said that he had a meeting with opposition leaders this morning. Could
you tell us please what questions were discussed at the meeting and
whether these issues were raised at the meeting with Mr Ilham Aliyev
and what the president’s reaction was? Thank you.

[Armitage] At my meeting with the opposition, I said that I was going
to do something very untypical for an American, that is, I was going
to listen and after I had heard their concerns, I would make a few
comments.

And I think that one thing that everyone agrees on is the absolute
need for independent media. I did discuss with President Ilham Aliyev
the question of independent media and I noted his recent refusal to
sign a law on public television would seem to be not or to be less
than independent [as received].

I must say that the president also agrees that there has to be
independent media, including electronic media.

We all agreed, of course, on the need to respect the territorial
integrity of Azerbaijan and I noted my point that although some in
every country, including my own, would say that the duty of the
opposition is to oppose, I think that the duty of the opposition is
also to offer an alternative outlook, alternative programmes and
alternative vision of the future.

[A journalist, in Azeri] Mr Armitage, how do you assess the processes
in Azerbaijan following the 15-16 October presidential elections? A
number of international human rights organizations have assessed this
as the most serious crisis in himan rights over the past 10
years. Thank you.

[Armitage] Our own Department of State has listed Azerbaijan and
described the human rights situation certainly as not as good as it
could be or should be. But it is not a permanent situation. It is not
the one that’s etched in stone. We have no doubt that it will change
and will change for the better. We have many problems ourselves as a
government here which the government of Azerbaijan allows us to put
into play, many of which they hope to better the human rights
situation. I think it is a good thing that the government allows these
programmes to continue and even to be increased.

[A journalist, in Azeri] The OSCE Minsk Group has been operating over
12 years and up to now no concrete proposals have been put forward
that would suit the sides. The proposals that they had put forward
were rejected by both sides. What do you think, Mr Armitage, are the
reasons behind this and what concrete steps is the USA, being a
cochair [of the Minsk Group], going to take to increase efforts in
this direction and achieve positive results? Thank you.

[Armitage] First of all, the resolution of the question of Nagornyy
Karabakh cannot be forced down from the top. It has to be a lasting
endurable solution. I believe it has to be something that the two
sides agree on to the end. The OSCE Minsk Group are facilitators.

To that end, we are hopeful that the two sides can sit down under the
aegis of the OSCE Minsk Group in the not too distant future because
the Minsk Group has some new ideas they want to put before the two
sides for discussion.

If the question of the resolution of Nagornyy Karabakh was easy, it
would have been done a long time before now. But we continue our
efforts, as I say, and we hope that the two sides will sit down in the
near future.

[A journalist, in Azeri] ANS TV, Ali Ahmadov. Mr Armitage spoke about
the human rights situation in Azerbaijan. Was this issue discussed at
the meeting with Mr President? If yes, were any agreements reached on
taking steps in this sphere in the near future? Could you please tell
us about the issues discussed at the meeting with Mr President, on the
whole?

[Armitage] I am not in the habit of talking publicly about the inside
discussions that I have with any leader. I found President Aliyev to
be extraordinarily open, extraordinarily forward leaning, at least
with me, particularly on the question of independent media. I had a
discussion with him. We recalled my own history here in Azerbaijan,
how amased I was when I first came here to find out there had been
flouring religious freedom here in Azerbaijan even in Soviet
times. There were Jewish enclaves and Othodox enclaves and freedom of
religion was actually allowed even during the Soviet days. That is the
type of spirit and culture that Azerbaijan seems to embody for me. I
was able to discuss that with President Aliyev. Beyond that, I will
just keep the discussions to myself.

[A journalist, in Russian] France-Press, Sabina Aliyeva. In Yerevan
yesterday [26 March], Mr Armitage noted the need for opening the
border between Armenia and Turkey. But Baku states that this could
hinder a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Did you discuss this
issue with Mr Ilham Aliyev today and if yes, could you reach an
agreement on this? Thank you.

[Armitage] Yes, we did. Generally speaking Washington’s position has
been that the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border would be a good
thing. However, President Aliyev made it clear to me his point of view
that to do so now would actually be harmful to a resolution. So we
discussed that. I think he sees my point of view and I certainly see
his. It was a very good discussion.

[A journalist, in Azeri] Gunay Novruzqizi, Leader TV. Mr Armitage, the
situation in Armenia is now tense. The opposition may attempt to
recreate the Georgian velvet revolution in Armenia. There have been
reports that in order to stabilize the situation, [Armenian President]
Robert Kocharyan might resume the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. Another
war may start. What is the USA’s view on a war option, given that
Armenia does not accept any options, and Azerbaijan has no other way
of liberating its territory?

[Armitage] I found President Kocharyan quite relaxed. I asked him how
tense things were and how much tension he thought was around the
immediate Nagornyy Karabakh area. He said not much at all. So, from
that I was heartened. But we do know most recently from the situation
of Kosovo that things can change rather rapidly. So, this is why we
need to try to resolve this as soon as possible.

Let me thank you all very much. We are going to go and get on the
airplane and try to make all the way back to Washington. Let me just
say again what I said as I started. I am so happy to have the
opportunity to be back here and so proud of what has happened here. I
wish you all the best of luck.

BAKU: Azeri speaker asks Russian counterpart to help settle NK

Azeri speaker asks Russian counterpart to help settle Karabakh conflict

ANS TV, Baku
29 Mar 04

[Presenter] Azerbaijani Speaker Murtuz Alasgarov has received Russian
State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov. He said that Russia is Azerbaijan’s
strategic partner, adding that measures will be taken to expand
cooperation. For his part, Russian State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov
said that the Interparliamentary Assembly and the intergovernmental
economic commission would hold sessions in April. Alasgarov expressed
the hope that Russia would help settle the Karabakh problem.

It should be noted that Boris Gryzlov, who is on a two-day visit to
Baku, met Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Artur
Rasizada.

[Correspondent over video of the meeting] Armenia is behaving as a
terrorist state and is growing narcotics on the occupied territory,
[Alasgarov said]. It is committing terrorist acts at the expense of
the funds made from that. As a country which has special relations
with Armenia, we want Russia to be more active in settling the
problem. From this point of view, we have always had great hopes for
Russia. The Nagornyy Karabakh problem should be resolved only
peacefully and on the basis of international norms.

We hope that as chairman of the State Duma, you will use your
authority to help establish peace and stability in the South Caucasus.

Armenian agency says Azerbaijan “destroyed” possible NK peace plan

Armenian agency says Azerbaijan “destroyed” possible Karabakh peace plan

Mediamax news agency, Yerevan
29 Mar 04

Armenian news agency Mediamax has claimed that preliminary agreements
were reached during mediated talks between the Azerbaijani and
Armenian leaders in Key West, the USA, in 2001. Under the agreement,
Nagornyy Karabakh and the corridor linking it to Armenia were to go to
Armenia, the agency said, quoting reliable sources. However, the then
Azerbaijani president, Heydar Aliyev, did not think of putting into
practice the Key West agreement, but gained time to ensure the
handover of power to his son. The incumbent Azerbaijani president “is
finishing the game started by his talented father”, the agency
said. The following is an excerpt from report by Armenian news agency
Mediamax on 29 March headlined “Key West agreements dead”; subheadings
inserted editorially:

It became obvious last week that the Paris and Key West [Florida, the
USA] agreements on the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict
reached in the spring of 2001 by the Armenian and Azerbaijani
presidents with the mediators’ participation are “dead”.

Talks started between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents with the
participation of the OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen in Key West three
years ago, on 3 April 2001. The initiative to hold the meetings in Key
West came from the USA – the US cochairman of the OSCE Minsk Group,
Carey Cavanaugh, suggested meeting in Florida after two rounds of
negotiations between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Paris
with the active participation of French President Jacques Chirac.

Key West agreement did exist

Mediamax agency has for a long time possessed information from
reliable sources about the content of agreements reached in Key
West. We did not disclose this information taking into account the
fact that formally the Key West agreements remained on the negotiating
table. Today we think we have the right to make public some excerpts
from this document.

Despite the statements by the Azerbaijani authorities about the
absence of a “hardcopy” of the Key West agreements, it was precisely
the “rough draft” of a peace accord drawn up by the mediators after
the Paris meeting that the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders discussed
during the talks in Florida. It was expected that the peace agreement
would be drawn out on the basis of this “rough draft” and that it
would be initialled by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in the
presence of the US, Russian and French foreign ministers at a meeting
in Geneva in June 2001. A final and comprehensive peace agreement was
expected to be signed later in the capital of one of the co-chairing
countries of the OSCE Minsk Group with the participation of George
W. Bush, Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac.

Karabakh was to go to Armenia

Thus, it was written in black and white in the document discussed in
Key West that Nagornyy Karabakh together with the Lachin corridor
[linking Armenia and Karabakh] “shall be handed over under Armenia’s
sovereignty”. That was why Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan
said in Yerevan on 17 March that “the content of talks between
Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents Robert Kocharyan and Heydar Aliyev
had justified the fact that Karabakh representatives were not involved
in them”. Vardan Oskanyan explained that this was a reason for a
recent statement by the Armenian Foreign Ministry saying that “if Baku
wants to start the negotiations from scratch it should appeal only to
Stepanakert”.

In exchange, Baku would get back the occupied territories and a
highway linking Azerbaijan and the Naxcivan exclave. Despite rumours
spread by the Armenian opposition that Armenia had agreed to cede the
region of Megri to Azerbaijan, in reality the document said that an
Azerbaijan-Naxcivan highway remained under Armenian control, and the
possible attraction of international peacekeeping forces to ensure its
security would be negotiated further. Moreover, the mediators
presented five highway routes to the parties and only one of them was
contiguous with the Armenian-Iranian border. Preliminary construction
estimates were attached to each route description.

Heydar Aliyev’s “brilliant game”

Heydar Aliyev’s consent to solve the problem this way seemed
unbelievable. That was why, according to Mediamax sources, before the
Key West talks Armenian top negotiators had several times asked Carey
Cavanaugh whether the US mediator was sure that Heydar Aliyev was
really ready to confirm the “Paris principles” on the paper? Every
time Cavanaugh’s answer was affirmative. For this reason, the
statement by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage that “the
parties reached progress but not agreements” in Key West can be
argued, since Heydar Aliyev said “yes” in Florida, i.e. he gave his
preliminary consent, and said “no” a month after he returned to
Baku. Therefore, we have every reason to say that in reality there
were the Key West agreements.

Although Armenian leaders, and in particular Foreign Minister Vardan
Oskanyan, say that Heydar Aliyev was ready to take “decisive steps” to
solve the problem, we think that the late Azerbaijani president played
a brilliant game, pulling the wool over the eyes of both Armenia and
the mediating countries. There is every reason to suppose that Heydar
Aliyev did not really think of putting into practice the Key West
agreements. He was just trying to gain time necessary to pass power to
his son. The policy pursued by Aliyev junior today attests that he is
finishing the game started by his talented father.

Today, when three years have passed since the Key West agreements, we
decided to present in a chronological order all the main developments
and statements of the parties around these talks. In our opinion,
having read this material, any reasonable person will understand that:

a) the Paris and Key West agreements did exist;

b) the mediators were trying to keep in force those agreements until
recently;

c) the previous and current Azerbaijani authorities did everything to
destroy the peace plan drafted with the active participation of
Russia, the USA and France.

[Passage omitted: chronological order of events in 2001-2004]

ROA UN Rep Martirosyan Meets with Armenian UN Accredited NGOs

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Armenia
to the United Nations
119E 36th street, New York, NY 10016
Tel.: 1-212-686-9079
Fax: 1-212-686-3934
E-mail: [email protected]
Web:

March 29, 2004

PRESS RELEASE

On March 25, Ambassador Armen Martirosyan, Permanent Representative of
Armenia to the UN, met with the representatives of the Armenian
non-governmental organizations accredited at the United Nations.
This was the first meeting of its kind aiming at getting more closely
acquainted with the work carried out by these organizations at the UN, their
concerns and the possibilities for cooperation with the Permanent Mission in
this respect.

At the beginning of the meeting Ambassador Martirosyan thanked the
participants for the enthusiastic response to the Mission’s invitation to
hold such a meeting. He noted that Armenia, after becoming a member of the
ECOSOC, had been trying to have a constructive input in the works of this
essential UN body in all those spheres that our country had some experience
in or had persisting problems. The NGOs have an essential role in this
respect as organizations participating in the activities of this body.
Mrs. Diane Paravazian from the Armenian Assembly of America, Mr. Aram Arkun
from the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Mary Toumayan and Mary
Melikian-Hayner from AIWA, Mrs. Anie Kalayjian from the World Federation of
Mental Health, Mr. Hrag Vartanian and Ms. Adrienne Alexanian from the AGBU,
Mrs. Hamesd Beugekian and Mrs. Penelope Giragosian from the Armenian Relief
Society and Mrs. Iris Papazian from the Armenian Prelacy took part at the
meeting.

The participants welcomed the idea of the meeting and spoke in favor of the
approach described by the Ambassador, which will enable us to present
Armenia to the international community in all the dimensions of its
activities and in the whole spectrum of the existing problems and concerns.
It will also allow the Armenian NGOs to more fully and comprehensively
present their activities and projects carried out in Armenia that fall
within the framework of the ECOSOC.

At the end of the meeting the representatives of the Armenian NGOs expressed
their willingness to continue this positive engagement and work in the areas
envisaged in a more coordinated way.

http://www.un.int/armenia/

Opposition Rally in Gyumri Ended in Disorders and Arrests

OPPOSITION RALLY IN GYUMRI ENDED IN DISORDERS AND ARRESTS

29.03.2004 18:49

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Sunday rally of the Justice opposition bloc in Gyumri
ended in disorders and arrests. As representative of Hanrapetutyun party, MP
Smbat Ayvazian told Arminfo agency, a group of women with anti-opposition
placards tried to wreck the rally. The opposition activists took the
placards away and forced them out of the area. Some young people trying to
defend the women started a fight. Ayvazian says that the police arrested
exclusively oppositionists. In his words, 4 representatives of the
Hanrapetutyun party are in custody at present.

ANKARA: Jewish-Christian Fighting Cannot be Good, Especially for ME

Zaman, Turkey
March 29 2004

‘Jewish-Christian Fighting Cannot be Good, Especially for the Middle
East’

Sir, last evening I went to see “Passion of Christ”. It describes
the last 12 hours of the Prophet Jesus. To me, it was extremely
provocative. It tells, in a strikingly impressive way, how Jews and
Romans tormented Jesus. If I were a Christian, I would have left the
movie with animosity for Jews and wanted to slap a few Jews. In your
opinion, could such a film serve for peace?

No matter how much the ways of peace are searched for in the world,
basically the same things have been done since the old days. I have
seen many different versions of the film. As a matter of fact,
Ben-Hur runs in a similar vein. In that film, the Prophet Jesus is
treated very roughly. There is also a film done by Belgians.

An actor that fit the mold of the Western type played the Prophet
Jesus. That is, a man with green eyes and blond hair. Generally, [an
actor] who resembles the Middle Eastern type is cast in the role of
Jesus. But, it was not the case [with this Belgian film]. In that
film, Jesus is treated very poorly as well. Of course, the betrayers
were still Jews and the torturers were Romans. I did not see [Mel
Gibson’s] ‘Passion’ movie. They talked about it. The same things are
in it. It is the type of film that could elicit from the response
from Jewish people that, “anti-Semitism has returned from the dead.”

This is, in fact, in the souls of some Christians. The existence of
Islam essentially brings some Christians and Jews together. They are
getting along because Islam exists. They enunciated it as a European
civilization, a Judeo-Christian civilization. Now this is perhaps
alarming in a way, because their foil happens to be Muslims.

It is mainly in the human soul. It is in America as well. There are
people who feel that they are Americans and feel that they are the
natives of America. There are people who accept the first group as
immigrants– refugees. Just like, Jews living in Turkey who had come
from Spain… There are people who think this way about those who took
shelter with the Ottomans; it is the same here with Americans. Even
more so. In some cities we traveled to, people said, “This
neighborhood is like this, that neighborhood is like that.” There is
a serious attitude against each other harbored in these two
neighborhoods. Some people feel they are American and in addition
some people feel they are Jewish. Here [in America], there is
certainly a serious Jewish power. I believe it was former Malaysian
President, Mahathir Muhammed, that said, “Jewish power is dominant in
the world.” Such words were considered anti-Semitic. A considerable
attitude formed against it.

So, as far as I understand, you find fault with the film’s approach?

In a word, people seek peace. So, in my opinion, this film was
inappropriate. It is even so between Jews and Christians. In America,
the present administration and the Democrats vastly act together in
different ways. Jews are among them. However, Jewish-Christian
fighting is especially bad for the Middle East. At the very least, an
island of peace must be formed somewhere and the problems in other
places must be solved in this way. But, if there is no place that you
feel safe and fighting is all around you, you cannot achieve peace in
the world.

After September 11, Muslims became the “outsiders” of the world. With
this film, could the concept of “outsider” be changed? It cost US$30
million and it paid for itself with ticket sales from opening day.
Could it be the case now that Muslims might think, “Ahh, this is
great. Let them pick on each other, we will slip away”?

There could be Muslims who think such thoughts. When the matter is
looked at on the surface, they might even be right. It could be said,
“Good, let Christians and Jews pick on each other, we will slip
away.” In a way, this is logical. But, it is the logic of one level.
Accepting this as is is a different issue. To presume that it could
be and to say, “That could be thought”, are two completely different
issues. I mean what I say. Many people who think like this might
appear in America as well, because they [Muslims in America] are also
very disturbed in America. They [the American government] keep track
records on them. One who says, “I am a Muslim,” is perceived as a
radical and terrorist. They [Muslims] experience the anxiety of being
monitored while they are on the way to mosque. When it is the case,
they might say, “Let them pick on each other.” But when it is looked
at worldwide, it is not the case.

If you were the director, what kind of a movie would you have made
about Jesus? How would you present those final 12 hours?

There is no such thing in the Koran and sunnah as the last 12 hours
of the Messiah. There are the final minutes. It is mentioned in the
hadith. It is in the Koran in brief. It [the Koran] gives it in many
verses but particularly in surahs about Meryem [Virgin Mary], Al-i
Imran, and En’am. A fair amount of space is allocated to both the
Messiah and to Meryem.

Here, Mu’mins [believers of Allah] read these verses of the Koran
while they are in contact with various spiritual leaders. They convey
the words of our Master Prophet (peace be upon him) in that
direction. This is both a means for reconciliation and agreement.
Islam’s view of the Messiah is very glorifying in nature. Since it
takes him in his real position, there is no exaggeration. Since there
is no exaggeration [ifrat], it does not give birth to an
understatement [tefrit]. That is who the Messiah is. He is a noble
servant of Allah. He is created by the soul of Allah and the breath
of Allah. He does not have a father. His mother is a holy woman. She
is the only woman mentioned in the Koran by name. With this side,
wherever Islam puts forth its considerations about the Messiah, it
gives rise to pleasure, I believe.

There are the things in sunnah about the Messiah’s last moments. He
advises his companions. “One of you will betray me,” he says. It is
to be Judas. Christians accept him too. There was a time that this
had been argued. And later, with the coming of Islam, they had said,
“Let’s not make these kinds of things a topic of discussion for now.
There is such a situation based on logic and peace. I mean, this
isn’t emotional. There is bitterness inside; however, there are such
things as logic and peace. They had passed over it lightly.

In the past, there were always inter-religious problems. Moreover,
even with the Buddhists who are thought to be the least problematic,
problems occurred in recent times. There were problems between
Christians and Jews. At one period, some Christians did the same
things to the Jews as they had done to the Muslims in the Crusaders.
This is a wound that bleeds inside. And it is talked of all the time.
In particular, in the churches of the East. At that time, the Eastern
Church opposed the Crusaders. Now, when these incidents had taken
place in the past, Muslims had also to wage wars for defense. There
was war when their camps were attacked; there were wars to protect
their countries. For us to resist against the Crusades and form a
front is nothing to be ashamed of. Neither the battle of Alpaslan
[chieftain of the Seljuks], nor Kilicarslan’s [a Seljuk Sultan]
coming to close quarters against the Crusaders at the Nigde Plain,
nor Nureddin Zengi’s [Seljukian sultan] wars, nor Selahaddin
[Eyyubi]’s [first sultan of the Eyyubi dynasty] fight against them
are nothing to be shamed of… They were very just. The attitude of the
Caliph Omer had been displayed. But, it did not finish there, but
continued up to the Ottoman Era. Istanbul had been invaded. The
commander of the invading force said, “Now, the Crusade is over.”
These are the cases. And they have been considered; they have turned
out to be provocative elements inside the people. Breakups occur.
Those who were broken try to take strength from someplace else when
they do not have enough strength. New factions have come into
existence. It used to be that there was a Democrat side and a
Communist side. Now, there are many sides. One should not do the
things, which caused conflict in the past, a means to make new
conflicts today by carrying over old ones into the present. They must
be buried in the past and forgotten. From now on, we should think
good things for the sake of humanity. “The past was ruined, let’s
pursue revenge and ruin today,” in my humble opinion this has no
meaning and logic.

One group says collaborator, the other says pro-Shariyah [Islamic
law]. What a conflict…

A group in Turkey claimed that you are a missionary of Christianity.
Would you like to say anything about that?

Out of jealously, one group says, “Americanist,” and the other says,
“Collaborator”. Yet another says, very oddly, “He is pro-Shariya. He
will bring religion and make it dominant in life.” These are such
opposite things to one another that if all are claimed about me, then
these attacks could conjure up many different thoughts; therefore,
many things are still up in the air. Another group views approaching
Christians as supporting their free and comfortable travel,
propaganda, church institutions and activities. In my humble opinion,
there is jealousy and grudge. They [those groups] cannot stomach
these things.

I did not invent tolerance and dialogue. Its meetings have been held
in different places of the world for a long time. Muslims were also
invited. These [meetings] were held in the Arab World, in the Far
East, the Vatican, Europe and America. Scientists from Turkey were
also coming [to these meetings]. But, they were producing the
scenario themselves.

They were fabricating those, walking around in comfort; they were
even performing missionary works. Muslims are not involved in this
line of work. They were not able to speak their thoughts, to say,
“Let’s do this.” They would not say, “let’s hold it in Abant or
Harran.” You have to have a thought; you have to be involved in the
planning in order to have an influence on the planning. As much as
they benefit from tolerance and dialogue in their thoughts, you have
to benefit from your religion and be religious. They either cannot
see or do not know this. Jealousy made some blind.

I don’t know of any person that, with the start of this tolerance and
dialogue process, converted to Christianity. There are people in
Turkey who convert to Christianity. A friend of ours told me about a
book. It is a book written in the 14th-15th century. He mentioned
that at that time the Christian institution said to the Armenian and
Assyrian minorities that were living under state protection, “Stay
where you are, as you are; conceal your opinions, act as if you are
one of them; one day, everything will change and we will come there.”

The ones who were previously Christians did not convert. Now, among
us there are many who manage this. And with Turkey’s philosophy
nowadays, they are comfortable. There is something related to Sabiha
Gokcen that a commander once talked about. According to [Mustafa
Kemal] Ataturk, whoever feels himself/herself to be a Turk is a Turk.
Now, we do not talk about this. The Jews said, “You are the real
child of this land.” I said, “Honestly, I would not know.” My
ancestors came from Ahlat [a county of Bitlis, an eastern Anatolian
city] two or three centuries ago. You came here 500 years ago. Now,
it should be talked who is from Istanbul?

TOMORROW: Has the Messiah come?

Day 7: ‘I am Searching for a Troubled Heart’

Day 6: ‘High-Ranking People Used the Cassette Incident as a Tool for
Blackmail’

Day 5: ‘I Bury My Yearning for Turkey in My Chest’

Day 4: ‘I will not Deny that a Religious Reactionary Exists in
Turkey, but It is Being Over Exaggerated’

Day 3: ‘I Find the Government’s E.U. Efforts to be Sincere’

Day 2: ‘A Real Muslim cannot be a Terrorist’

Day 1: No Islamic World Exists Today

Soccer: Iceland fight back to win – Iceland 2 – Armenia 1

UEFA.com, Europe
March 28 2004

Iceland fight back to win

Iceland won the race to be runners-up in UEFA European Under-17
Championship second qualifying round for Group 2 as they came from
behind to beat Armenia.

Stepanyan stunner
The Armenians had the better of the early exchanges and took a
deserved lead on 20 minutes when captain Arthur Stepanyan headed
Vardan Khachatryan’s corner into the net. They could have doubled
their advantage before the break but Edgar Manucharyan curled a
free-kick just wide.

Iceland fightback
In the second 45 minutes Iceland upped their game and eventually got
an equaliser after 64 minutes, Bjarni Vidarsson scoring from close
range following a Bjarki Sigvaldason corner. And it did not take long
for them to turn the match on its head as Matthias Vilhjalmsson
latched on to Sigvaldason’s ball over the top to finish confidently
just three minutes later.

Not enough
Despite the win, Iceland finished three points behind group winners
England, while Armenia end in third ahead of Norway.

US intends filling in gaps in relations with Armenia

Pravda.RU:World
13:17 2004-03-29

US intends filling in gaps in relations with Armenia

The United States has allowed its relations with Armenia to stagnate in
recent years, according to US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. As
reported by a Rosbalt correspondent, Armitage said during a briefing: ‘I
have now come to fill in the gaps in our relations. It cannot be denied that
the United States during the past few years has been busy in Afghanistan,
Iraq and in the fight with international terrorism. But the United States
has interests in the South Caucasus, Armenia interests us, and I have come
to reanimate our relations.’

The visit of Richard Armitage is the first to Armenia by a high-ranking
member of the US administration since 1999.

© RosBalt