Saturday, December 30, 2006
This site is great, it's a news mailing list that covers headlines from Armenia and pretty much all over the world, kind of like google news but it predates it. In addition to news, groong has a lot of topics on history, political analysis, culture, and a databank of treaties including the Armenian Constitution. But I have to say one of my favorite sections is Ruth Bedevian's Armenian House Museum Series http://www.groong.com/orig/armeniahousemuseums.html
In Armenia most of the houses of famous poets/writers/painters etc.. are converted into museums (kind of like Shakespeare's house in England). Ruth Bedevian traveled throughout Armenia to these houses and wrote about them including the history of such individuals. I checked out her description on the Orbelli Brothers House and I was blown away. Talk about an Armenian version of the Rockefellers or Kennedys, these guys made huge contributions to science, literature, history, and most of all their people. Their family dates way back and one of the family members was even buried at Noravank Monastery in Armenia. They seriously put us on the map with their contributions. I urge you all to read up on these guys and other famous Armenians.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Kocharian rules out a resolution to the peace talks until the parliamentary votes in 2007.
While some may see this as Kocharian covering his ass, I see this as a shrewd move not only for him but for Armenia.
Being at the negotiating table is tough as nails. Not only do you have to appease the opposing side, but you also have to please the people (something that Ter-Petrossian failed to do that lead to his resignation). And let's not forget appeasing the Minsk Group while the international community is watching the process.
Aliyev does the same thing, so should every politician, you can't let an issue like this be used as leverage by your political opponents. It'll disrupt things at home and abroad.
Friday, December 15, 2006
1-Do we need another one? Probably not, but I suppose it won't hurt to add another voice in DC. The more groups there are, the better we can have our voice heard.
2-Is this divisive? Well, considering that Cafesjian is a member of the Assembly board and Vartian is the former ED, it seriously brings up some concerns. I'm sure the Assembly is a bit bewildered about this.
3-What are the motives? The fact that Assembly members (past and present) decide to split and form their own organization needs an explanation. Do they want power? Fame? Regardless of the intentions, I still see this move benefiting Armenians due to the increase in voice.
4-Ross Vartian-Man this guy came out of nowhere, wasn't expecting him to show up again. It's good to see him back in action though. I admire his efforts in establishing strong relations with the Republic of Armenia during his tenure with the Assembly. It's good to see Armenian organizations consulting the government of Armenia, will this new organization follow the trend? I hope.
Ultimately I'm stuck between two points to this issue. Either it's too divisive or it will add another dimension to the Armenian lobby. What does this organization have to offer that the ANC and Assembly lack? Perhaps Arman can provide an explanation (this is your cue to comment!)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I especially read up on the article by Richard Giragosian on Armenia's relationship with Russia. Again, an excellent article covering a lot of important facets of Armenia's bilateral relations with Moscow, but I had to disagree on a few points. First, the article mentioned Armenia's emulation of Russia's political system and how it serves to the detriment of a democratic Armenia. Granted, the prevalence of corruption is a remnant of the old Soviet model, but Armenia can benefit from Russia's leadership in dealing with this problem. Putin, although consistently bashed in the western media, plays a strong hand when dealing with oligarchs and Armenian leadership can learn by example. Again, I ain't completely supporting Putin (that's Arman's job), but I do believe emulating Russia's government does have its merits.
Also, the article also portrays Armenia's reliance on Russia for security in a negative light. Although Russia greatly benefits from the alliance, Armenia does so too. The Russian base in Gyumri offers protection from Turkey (even though the chance for military conflict is low, it's still substantial to warrant protection from Russia), and although Russia supported Azerbaijan as well as Armenia during the Karabakh conflict, Armenia right now still needs Russia's military support.
There's a lot of Russia bashing going on, and yea the Soviet Union produced was the bad guy in the Cold War, but you know what? It did more to protect Armenia than any western country during the time. While Britain backed the Azeris during Andranik's campaigns in Zangezur and the American Congress overturned the creation of Armenia with its borders in the Treaty of Sevres, Russia offered the best protection against Turkey. Yea, they did screw us with Karabakh, they ain't perfect, but overall give Russia some credit, since the West doesn't do much either.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
It's tough to keep a blog that's solely devoted to politics and Armenian news, since when I don't see anything worthwhile to talk about I just don't blog here. My current schedule is a mess too, school is ruling my life with a wrath that it hasn't had in a long time, and most of my free time is spent sleeping (I have gone out once in the past 1.5 months).
Right now I'm sitting in my room with a really annoying fly buzzing around me. It's a big one too, which should make it an easy target but for some reason I haven't been able to swat it down (I like to swat flys out of the air instead of waiting untill they land since it's more fun). This is pretty much my break from studying.
Some news about the apparent anthem being changed, it's been shelved, woohoo (whatever). Making a big deal about nothing... which reminds me of this one guy in Glendale...
Stepan Partamian is his name, he is known for having very controversial views on Armenians and bashes us all the time. He had a one man show at the Alex Theatre a while back, and me and Arman went. Neither of us like the guy but we thought it would be interesting to see this show. It was more of the same from him, just talking a bunch of nonsene, whever you get a big group of Armenians together to talk about our culture/politics, you really don't get anywhere. Granted, Partamian is bringing these issues to our conscience, but do we really need someone to do that? There are a TON of people in the Armenian/Diasporan community who merely talk, and in the end people are satisfied with having a good discussion. Yet how many of these guys who bring up issues do anything about it? I suppose I'm guilty of doing this too by talking about it, but I'm not reaching a wide audience and getting on a high horse about it, which leads me to my next point...
Armenians lack leadership. When was the last time we had a good leader? And I'm NOT talking about military leaders or fedayis (Monte Melkonian, Zoravor Andranik). Those guys were great, and I respect their sacrifices, but can we say Armenia has had a good leader in government? Politics? Anything other than military? Karen Demirchian maybe, or maybe not. I must be forgetting someone. There is a sense of insecurity in the Armenian collective conscience, and I think having a good leader will be a big step forward in rectifying this issue, while having someone just bring up the same old issues to the spotlight will not do much.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
I was just sad that I couldn't attend the conference. I know I know... with all the dirt that I'm throwing it sounds weird, but it would be hilarious to be in that room. Just think of it, everybody who is anybody in the Armenian spectrum is in one room and they all want to get their ego trips out. I only get a watered down version of this as I go to the ArmeniaFund telethon... but that is for a good cause whereas this is just... well... like I said, ego trips.. and networking, can't forget about networking. But yea, I heard that some (if not most) of the people were sleeping during the conference.. just another reason to attend!
The apparently boring conference was followed by an apparently cool military parade to celebrate Armenia's 15 years of independence. Now that's a way to celebrate a holiday, forget fireworks...
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
So what do I have to say about DC? Eh... not my kind of town, but my internship was great. Working at the Armenian Embassy turned out to be a blessing, I learned so much about Armenia that I got a new perspective not only on Armenia's status, but in politics in general. The people at the Embassy were great to work with as well, and I am going to miss working there. But on to more politics..
The Lebanon Israeli conflict sets the background here for some interesting stories. Just two weeks before the fighting started, I was interning at the World Bank with ATHGO international, http://www.athgo.org/default.asp, where I heard the Lebanese Ambassador to the United States Farid Abboud speak. I later walked up and asked a quick question regarding Lebanese stability in regards to its sectarian politics. The Ambassador was very optimistic about Lebanon, stating that the country will manage. I told my mother this and we were both a bit skeptical about it. Soon after the fighting started, I call my mother and she jokingly tells me that I should go back to the Ambassador and sarcastically ask him how come Lebanon can't manage. How ironic.. but my Lebanese tails don't end...
One of our fellow interns turned 21, so to celebrate we went to a Lebanese restaurant. I later ask the waiter if he is Lebanese (knowing the answer would be yes) and tell him that my mother was born and raised in Beirut and then ask him what he thinks of the situation in Lebanon. He said Lebanon's hope is for the next generation to go back and proposes that I should do so, being under the impression that I was Lebanese. I tell him that I'm Armenian and he simply responded, "you should still go back, whether it's Armenia or Lebanon." Now back to the World Bank...
One of the moderators of the panel that was going on was the Economic attache to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in DC. I was later speaking with him and he reiterated was the Lebanese waiter said about the next generation going back.. that even though the opportunities are available in America for educated Armenians/Lebanese/Czechs/, the only way the homeland will be changed is if the younger generations go back.
So here I sit, in Los Angeles, the Mecca for Armenians leaving Armenia/Iran/Lebanon, and I was trying to put all of this together. With all the Armenians that left Armenia, how many of them will actually return permanently? My boss at the Embassy and I were both sure that at least half if not more will not return, and my boss replied, "Armenia doesn't need those that won't return, it's the other half that it needs." Ever since returning from Armenia I've been considering going to Armenia one day and living there, even though it won't happen for a very long time. Yet I'm sure that Armenia's troubles today can be overcome once the next generation of Armenians, whether they be from Los Angeles, Lebanon, or Armenia itself, will play an enormous role twenty to thirty years from now. So, here's to the next generation of Armenians :).
Sunday, July 09, 2006
(Penalty FRANCE 3:5 ITALY)
Well after 64 matches the World found their new soccer champion....Italy. IT was an intense game that went into the 30 minute extention period, where no goals were scored and thus the game was decided by penalty kicks. France's chances of winning this game could have been much higher if Zidane did not act like a mongrel idiot and did not hit the Italian player on the chest with his head; apparently because the Italian said something derogatory towards him. No one yet knows what was exchanged verbally between those two, but I am sure whatever it was it was not worth to screw your own team on the World Cup final game; that's what Zidane did.
Zidane received a red card and was kicked out of the game, rightfully so, that kind of behavior has no place in soccer. Zidane disappointed millions of people and he backstabbed his own team and nation with his selfish action, hence he stayed in the locker room when his team was receiving their second place medals. Not a good way to go into retirement for a soccer legend.
I, like many Armenians that I spoke with, was crossing fingers for both of the teams, and whatever the result I was going to be happy. Not counting Zidane's idiocy this was a great and memorable game. Lets hope Armenia will make it into the 2010 World Cup.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Well according to Transeuroenergy Corp. of Canada our beloved country has the potential to export oil. The Canadian company firmly beleives this because of the amount of the oil that our neighbors have (if they have it why shouldn't Armenia logic), and because the idea that Armenia might have oil is not a new one at all. During the 1970's Soviets tried to find new oil spots in Armenia but it was not done for economic gain but for ecological, hence the budget was small and the program was cancelled. Americans too were looking for oil in Armenia in the late 90's, and the only reason they stopped was because the owner of the comapany died.
Now people imagine if we have oil (also TRY to imagine that our government does not screw this one up..I know it is hard), things will be good for Armenia VERY, VERY good. The experts say that even if they dont find oil in Armenia (Armavir region mainly) they are sure that we will have natural gas (this is easier to extract), which is still very good for our budget. Armenia is a small country if such oppurtunities arrise and if they are managed right, I do not see why Armenia cant be the next Qatar or Kuweit. The only down side to this will be the environmental issue, but lets be honest here, from the winter of 1992 Armenia stopped caring for its environment. Maybe the money from the oil can be used to make Armenia cleaner.
I am very excited about this, the oppurtunities will be endless for our little country. No poor people, well equiped schools, new TOYS for our boys in the military, kick ass healthcare, you name it.
Monday, June 26, 2006
I am sure you heard about the Armenian "action hero" Gor Vardanyan, the guy who made 3 action flicks mostly using his karate school's trainees as actors and as stuntsmen. This fourth film has the highest budget yet at 3.6 million US Dollars. It also has a deeper story that explores one of the most important episodes of Armenian history, The Karabakh Conflict. While I like Gor's last two films for their true depiction of today's Armenia, I was hoping that this one will truly out perform the others; and it seems that it only did that partially.
As of yet I did not see the film myself just read reviews here and there, but it seems that two of the biggest problems in the Gor's movie's are still present; his acting and the use of prosumer tape equipment instead of a goof old film camera (or at least a good HD pro cam). His acting REALLY needs to improve and they REALLY have to try to shoot their movies on film (I know I know it is more expensive and harder to edit bla bla bla...etc).
Other than this I am dying to see this film myself. I hear people applauded the film when it was shown in Yerevan, and that gives me hopes. In you my dear readers should watch it ALSO. More updates to come when I ACTUALLY SEE THE FILM.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Monday, June 19, 2006
From the get go I have to say that Tania is right…sorry Levon. When we say boycott Turkey we should also try to help the potential consumer choose the alternative product. And the AYF pamphlet did a pretty good job of presenting the substitutes to the given Turkish product. If such a product/service is not produced by Armenia, it is surely produced by some other NON TURKIC country. The stores that Levon mentioned carry clothing made in Ukraine, Greece, US, and other countries. For tourism we can give Armenia as substitute or if the person rather wants to have access to sea Greece or Italy are the places to be.
I personally try to distance myself from everything Turkish (although I would like to learn Turkish, always good to know the enemies’ language), be it a Turkish TV channel or Turkish chewing gum. But I was not like this all the time, especially in Armenia during the HELL years. WHY? Well it is simple, goods in Armenia were either made in Turkey, Russia, or Iran. The ones from Turkey were illegal imports, but no body cared if it is illegal or not or if it is from Turkey or not, PEOPLE HAD TO SURVIVE. Today it is much easier to have a Boycott Turkey campaign in REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA, since the situation with goods has improved and we can find other cheap substitutes from other countries or MAKE OUR OWN (and I see this taking place in Armenia now). I believe that this is something that even Kocharian’s useless government can do, and if the campaign gains some momentum in the Diaspora it will spill over to Armenia and even in to other Armenian Diasporas around the world.
*There was a major victory for Armenian’s all around the world when the Armenian Olympic Chess Team took home the gold medals. Yup we beat China, which came in second. Just Imagine this people, a country with 2 million population beats a country with a population of 1250 million. This is beyond amazing. Congrats and more future victories to our champions. I was also happy to see so many people attending the concert dedicated to the champions, shows that people still have some spirit in them.
Friday, June 16, 2006
I leave for DC on Sunday, I will intern for the Armenian Embassy. Wasn't thrilled to find out that I'll work there but it's ok as long as I make the most of it and have a good time in general.. beats being in a congressman's office that's for sure. Now being in the political capital of the world will present an ideal opportunity for some lobbying of my own... yes you heard me. I have been working with a couple of brothers from my Armenian fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Omega, on a boycott turkey project (Shameless plug-in coming in 3..2...1) OH! btw, here's the website :)
So broswe around, register for the forums, and find out how to identify turkish goods :). Now what does this have to do with me lobbying? Well, if you followed my directions hopefully you found an online petition (this may not be up yet so don't be too hard on yourselves if you don't find it). I'll be carrying this little petition around and soliciting such esteemed people such as the Armenian ambassador to the United States for signatures (oh I have no shame....). I will also be posting Boycott Turkey refrigerator magnets (be sure to get them while they're hot! available in both Armenian and English, plz donate) Ok enough with the plug ins and solicitations for now...
So please check out the campaign; as always, comments and criticisms are VERY welcome :).
Monday, June 05, 2006
I'm almost done with finals, and I will be leaving for DC on the 18 via redeye flight (yippie). I eagerly await the arrival of the World Cup, I'll be rooting for Argentina, Brazil, and any other nation in the Americas (except USA, go Iran!) and African region, screw Europe. I figure, the rest of the world always gets nothing in politics, so at least let them have their glory in international sports. Arman will be rooting for Italy, I'm surprised he is actually cheering for a country that isn't Armenia. I'd expect him to at least root for Czech Republic since he lived there, what's the deal Arman? Now if only Belarus was competing...
I finally saw the Xmen movie, crap.. I'll save you the lengthy review. Other than that, I have a week to do nothing, but tomorow I'll be volunteering for Paul Krekorian. Ironically, I was at my history department's banquet last saturday and overheard two professors talking about the Krekorian/Quintero race. Now I doubt they live in the district, and for that reason it is quite interesting to see that this campaign has been making some noise. A lot of dirty playing going around so I am not surprised... politics... Anyways, I encourage the readers of this blog to check out his website and if you are qualified to vote for him (live in Glendale, North Hollywood, and Burbank) I encourage you to do so.
Good luck to Paul :)
Thursday, May 25, 2006
I was reading up on some reviews for the latest X-Men movie and for the Da Vinci Code and was unimpressed by what the two movies have to offer. To start off, X-Men still seems stuck on the one problem it has had since the first movie: too many characters and not enough development. Granted there is a good amount of development on its main characters, Wolverine, but it brushes off on those who are quite important in the comics, Cyclops. I read that in the latest movie Angel is wasted along with a couple of other new characters; now if wasting a character isn't annoying enough, they go and put pictures of Angel on their advertisements, I hate when they do that. That's just going to lead to disappointment.
Da Vinci Code seems like a movie that was quickly put together in order to take advantage on the popularity of the book (aka make money) but without giving too much thought into the actual story. Same old same old, Hollywood making crap movies to make money (summer blockbuster). Ok ok I seem like a snob now so I'll concede... I haven't seen either film so I am not qualified to comment, so take my review with a grain of salt (since I have so many people reading my blog). However, I wouldn't be surprised if I go see the movies and I'm right (I'll see X-Men). So for all the hate mail (er.. hate comments) that I will or will not get, save it :).
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Now today though I have to kinda post such a "thread" if you will, because I am really, really happy. Yesterday I and Levon went to the AEO and AOA (Armenian fraternity and sorority) formal, which started at 8pm and lasted till 2am, plus it generated two afterparties which I could not make it to, since I had work at 8am. It was a splendid event and the people who put it together deserve a round of applause. People came, drank, dined, and danced (well mostly danced) all night. Since I also hate dancing and love taking videos/pictures I recorded the event.
So why did I post about my happiness? Well because I AM HAPPY THAT 300 HAYASTANZIS, PARSKAHAYS, AND BEIRUTSIS, got together under one roof, drank, had fun, AND NO FIGHTS BROKE OUT!!!! This is the beuity of AEO, and this is how IT SHOULD BE; ALWAYS!!!
Unfortunatly today nearly every Armenian "restaurant event" ends with a shameful fight over some STUPID CRAP. And Armenians from different backgrounds cant get together and make something good happen. We are a solid proof that it is possible. That is why I am happy and that is why this post is up.
BTW AEO received a Thank You letter from the California assembly memeber thanking us for our achievments in the community.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
To top it off the candidate that I chose not to support is Armenian, so apparently I crossed the line here. Most of the Armenians on campus.... all of the Armenians on campus are voting for the Armenian candidate, why? Because he is Armenian of course! What better reason is there? I'm all for Armenian solidarity here, but there is a line. So what if the candidate you vote for does not do anything for the Armenian cause and just seems to pursue his goals, is it still right to vote for him since he is Armenian, or since you know the guy?
Don't get me wrong here, I support Armenian political candidates. Here in LA there's an Armenian candidate for State Assembly, Paul Krekorian. This guy does a lot for the community and is quite qualified to be a State Assemblyman. Be sure to visit his website:
So I treat this as a case by case scenario, and in the case of my school's elections, I'm sad to see a lot of Armenians voting for a candidate that probably won't do much in return for the cause or isn't even that great of a candidate to begin with.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Read it and read the posts before it here and on her page and you be the judge. Here is my response to her last post on April 25, 2006 @ 10:39 pm
Please respond to the post dont be shy, I want to see how other people think.
In my life I saw many types of people. That includes Armenians of all types and political backgrounds. But you, Shoghig, you belong to a very special, very unique, and THANK GOD very small group of diasporans that hate
First things first; stop flip flopping. Decide what you want from your life. One day you want the help to
Let me tell you that you are bringing up an issue that has been long dead and buried; the issue of “aghpars” vs. locals. It was buried because locals emigrated and kind of became “aghpars” themselves. Now its more of the opposite, it’s some of the first and second generation Armenians who by their thinking belong to your class, that go around talking how they don’t like the newcomers because the newcomers achieve all what they, the first and second generation Armenians, could not achieve in so many years. But again thank God that these type of diaspora “Armenians” don’t show their ugly heads around too much.
Want to know the story of why the whole “aghpars” vs. locals verbal beef started? I can tell you because unlike your family, which for some weird reason did not want to talk about this, my “aghpar” and local family told me about it. You see when Armenians started to return to THEIR homeland near the end of WW2, Soviet Armenia, they usually came from places where people lived relatively better than Armenians in
STOP TALKING IN THE NAME OF THE DIASPORA. I and Levon (a typical non Dashnak diasporan) can’t agree on a lot of things, but Levon and the overwhelming majority of diaspora Armenians know one thing, they have a homeland, and they are proud of it. True that the homeland is ruled by toilet wipes but at least we have a homeland, that is what makes a diaspora a Diaspora. Otherwise we would have been like the Assyrians, Gypsies, or like the Kurds; just groups of people spread around the world with nothing binding. You want to talk and write in your own dialect while in
You talk about getting the Western Armenian lands as if I have something against gaining OUR (yes not yours, because you Shoghig are a nothing) lands back. Hey the more the merrier plus WE get access to sea. Remember it was you who insulted Armenian national pride in your first post on our blog
I cant believe that I wasted so many man hours and nerves on a SEPARATIST, SELF HATING, WORM like you. You will never understand what being proud of what and who you are is. It is just very sad that you are going to inject your poison inside the pure minds of those kids that you teach. Thus making your personal hate problem that has no base and no merit their problem. SELFISH and DISGUSTING.
Listen I can tell you a way that some say can guarantee you life in
Saturday, April 22, 2006
The Never Again Campaign, a sub-committee under the Armenian fraternity Alpha Epsilon Omega, sells black and red wristbands about the Armenian Genocide (we also sell Lapel pins and t-shirts). All of our proceeds go to organizations that are spreading awareness, education, and recognition about the Armenian Genocide (Zoryan Insitute and Genocide Education Project among others). So please visit our website and support us
Now that I'm done with the shameless plug-in, back to Genocide Events. The sheer number of them forces me to say that most are just a waste of time and resources. I hate to be blunt about this, but what is the point of commemorating the Armenian Genocide if it isn't recognized? These events largely preach to the choir. However, there are some events that are quite informative, such as the one tonight at the United Community Church. Ragip Zarakolu, a Turkish scholar who recognizes the Armenian Genocide, will be speaking. So I guess not all are bad, and more events mean more opportunites for the Never Again campaign to sell our products.
Of course, the big one is on Monday with the protest and the rally; should be quite interesting. I'll be at the protest selling Never Again merchandise, so I hope to see a good turnout. I'm sure now that I'm advertising it on my blog the millions of readers will flock just to see me there (sarcasm). Seriously though, having the community come together is nice to see, hope this weekend goes well for all.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
There is a really interesting area of Brooklyn just west of Greenpoint and on the waterfront across from
We then went to the Hassidic Jew community just under the
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Georgian Church makes claim to ARMENIAN churches located in REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA (Tavush and Lori regions), based on a united Georgia map of 1918 created by Georgian Mensheviks. At the time though Georgian government had something called a brain and did not make any claims to those teritories.
The new government lacks a brain, and when in these types of situations (Georgians vs Armenians) we usually see a "Russian trace", this time it was purely Georgian, no Russian hand in this one. I beleive this could be an answer for the growing separatsim of the Javahk Armenians, but it is also important to remember why those separation claims got a rise; Georgians started taking over Armenian churches.
I hope that Georgians will wake up soon and see what they are doing is not beneficial neither to them nor to us. I dont think that we Armenians need to demand Javahk's separation (the situation is not that bad), we do not need and cant afford to have such a conflict with another neighbor, but what we can do is to ask Georgia to get its brain together and act as a brother nation.
Military wise Armenia can take over Georgia many times over, plus Osetins and Abkhaz will be more than happy to help, but why go to extremes when the whole situation can be avoided if Georgia just shows some respect to its own citizens who happen to be Armenian? That is all Armenians want, just some respect.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Saturday-Raining. Luckily there was a conference, Armenians and the Left, www.armeniansandtheleft.com
So I went and saw a lot of old friends that I made while I was interning in Armenia this past summer. It was the happiest I felt in a long time and a great welcome to New York. I got my book signed by Robert Fisk, and sat through some lectures, met new people, and just hung out.
Sunday-Went to South Sea Port, Ground Zero. Said goodbye to my friends who were visiting, then went to Central Park. That night I met up with my old roomate in Armenia and another friend from my stay in the homeland.
Monday-Spent all day with an ole' friend from Armenia. Went to Washington Square Park, had some great pie at the Union Square Farmer's Market, then went to Brooklyn (I'll write about Brooklyn in more detail).
Today-Tuesday-Went to the United Nations, sat in the General Assembly hall, snuck around a bit, then started the Model UN conference. I'll go back to these topics in more detail in the near future.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
He is in the Big apple to participate in model UN, that's the UN that does not have any real powers and is pretty much useless, wait that kinda reminds me of the real UN. Levon is the Hungarian representative and he is on the committee dealing with female issues. He chose that over the Security Council, which of course does not have any real powers but at least the discussed topics are way more interesting.
Ooooooooo I am going to get some flack from the feminists, yet Levon knows that I am just yanking him.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Each country’s representative is chosen through a national vote on a sponsoring TV station, and in Armenian’s case the sponsor (thank you God) was non other than Armenian National Television’s Channel One (HH1). This means that an Armenian artist got his back covered by our own government, a step in a very good direction. So you say, what is the problem, shouldn’t we all be happy and wish the best to Andre and hope that he wins? The answer is obvious to normal people, but we are Armenian, we never have easy and obvious answers, we are WAY too special.
It seems that some people in Armenia are just selfish, self righteous, assholes with a lot of time in their hands. Armenian parliament’s MAJORITY LEADER complained about the Armenianness of the song and brought this issue up in the PARLIAMENT (yes that’s the place in Armenia where mafia bos...errr deputies come to slee…. I am sorry to work). He thinks that Andre is not a good candidate for this and that his song is more Uzbeki than Armenian. Other mongrel idiots from all layers of our society also decided to voice their “expert” opinion on this issue. The situation got so bad that there was a whole TV debate on this issue. The opponents of the song pointed out many things, starting from how the singer looks, where he is from, how his English accent is bad, ending with comparing the song to Mongol-Uzbeki rhythms.
One guy, looking like a dork, was saying (even wrote an article) that the song should be more Armenian and that it sounds Turkish. Well apparently duduk, cochari, zurna, canon, and camancha are not Armenian enough and I guess he does not know that Turks STOLE MOST of what they have from their neighbors. What these people don’t understand is that Armenia is a Europe within the East and East within Europe. So our music, especially pop music, the one that Eurovision viewers want to see and hear (the vast amounts of international viewers, especially the youth, don’t give a flying fuck about others’ ethnic music) , needs to reflect that. So what that the music has some Eastern influences, we are partly an Eastern culture. Eurovision is youth oriented, as much as I love Dle Yaman, we cant stand there and perform it, because most of the audience will be bored. Every competition has its style, Eurovision kind of requires an upbeat music with a young performer.
I think these people are just plain stupid, poisonous ass holes, looking for that “15 minutes of fame”. I don’t know, maybe it was one of the other performers that felt jealous and started rumors, but rumors don’t become public debate, actions of politicians do. How carefree is the majority leader of the parliament that he decided to tackle this “problem”? I think that this is not a question for the parliament. They should come up with ways to boost our economy, not bad mouth Armenian talent.
I want to make one point very, very clear; THESE ACTIONS HURT OUR IMAGE AND OUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Imagine how Andre feels right now, his own people bashing him for no apparent reason. It is like sending troops into a battle and saying oh yeah BTW you guys are going to die because the armament and the equipment that you have is inadequate and when you die you will be buried as traitors, good luck with that battle.
If the song was horrible the critics would say that it is, but that’s the problem for them, its not and that’s why they are after little crap, we call it “PITNO BRNEL”.
I will provide the links to the video and audio of the song, you be the judge, I believe that it is good enough to present to Eurovision and I believe its good enough to win the first place.
BTW while our politicians and “experts” are trying to destroy this guy and put down our name, Azeris are busy at work. Azeri FM asked Eurovision to remove Andre’s bio because it mentioned that the singer was born in Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Azeris say there is no such thing. Also Azeri hackers hacked Andre’s site and put Khojaly “massacre” pictures there in a pitiful act of false propaganda.
I personally wish Andre the best and may he come home victorious.
Friday, March 24, 2006
The minister was a so-so speaker, his english wasn't too good and his style was dull. He talked about Turkey's position in Eurasia and it's relationship with the United States, European Union, etc.. He outlined major points of Turkish policy that mirror American foreign policy (coincidence?). So anyways, on to the good part.. the question and answer session. The first person to ask a quesiton on the Genocide was actually an American lady (I had a brief but pleasant conversation withe her outside, really impressed me about how much she knew about the denial). The defense minister replied in the usual Turkish propaganda about denying the genocide and eventually one Armenian in the crowd yelled out "liar" and walked out. On the after the speech.. the protest..
Ok, so when I arrived there were about 100-150 protesters but when I came out the number dropped to around 30-50. I was talking with them, briefing them on what happened, and a thought occured to me, why weren't these protesters inside? In fact, why weren't a lot of Armenians inside? There only by my count 7 Armenians hearing the minister speak, while 100 of them outside. Wouldn't it have been more productive for the AYF to have purchased tickets and take people inside? I was a bit disappointed by the low number of Armenians inside the building, but this disappointment grew to a bit of frustration when I realized that so many Armenians came to just.... yell outside? Instead, they could have stared denial right in the face and hammered the minister with questions.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I arrived today from my 4 day San Francisco trip; it was a really good getaway. The city itself is quite small when compared to LA, but the transportation is so much more convenient. I spent some time in Oakland as well, even the ghetto of Oakland. I saw some pretty interesting (and shady) things there. I'm glad I got out that situation, but I'm also glad that I saw it, that I wasn't sheltered away from it. There's a lot of shadiness in the Bay Area, from Oakland, to Berkeley, and in SF (bums walking the streets). I am not in any way deriding the Bay Area by pointing out its faults, there's a lot of that garbage in LA too. However, it was a sort of reality check that I saw those aspects. I hate to limit myself to only one side of anything; I'd rather immerse myself with whatever I am dealing with, and I see it being reflected in my travelling. With that said, I am interested in how I will approach New York. I'm bound to run into the not so nice areas of the city, and I hope I can appreciate it while not denouncing it.
I didn't see any remnants of the Armenian community in the Bay area, but then again that may have been because I wasn't looking to hard for it. However, I did see a testament to Armenia joining the United Nations (The UN was pretty much drafted in SF in 1945). It's nice to see traces of Armenia around you.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Interesting thing happened today at school. After my final I decided to kill some time on campus in order to avoid the traffic going home (didn't do anything, there was still traffic on the way back), so I went into the campus bookstore to check out my books for next quarter. I walked across a discount bookstand and saw a copy of The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misrepresents US Foreign Policy. My sister refered me to the book, and I was pleased to see it on sale in a campus bookstore (I am not particularly fond of the NY times, LA times, or any other mainstream American media for that matter). But what surprised me was the price tag on the book, it was marked down to 92 cents.... that's right... a book for 92 cents!!!!! I became quite upset that a book of that magnitude would reduced to less than a dollar, a sign that people, students in fact, aren't interested. Of course I bought the book, took it home, and gave it to my sister, who was also surprised to see the price tag. Such a shame that news is twisted in the mainstream media. There are independent sources of media, however. One of my favorites is Link TV, they offer a wide range of news, documentaries, and presentations on various world issues. So I'll take my time here to urge everybody to take a break from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, NBC, CBS, and take a look at what Link TV has to offer:
Since 2003, democratic revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia have dealt strategic blows to the ambition of Russia's leaders to reconstitute the former Soviet empire by retaining political and military suzerainty over their weaker neighbors. But Russia's imperial pretensions along its periphery linger.
Calls from the elected presidents of Georgia and Ukraine for a united Europe stretching "from the Atlantic to the Caspian" should embolden Europe and the United States to help people aspiring to freedom in other post-Soviet states end Russia's continuing dominion over them by rolling back the corrupting influence of Russian power in regions beyond its borders. This task is especially urgent in countries where Russian troops and political support sustain secessionist conflicts that threaten aspiring new democracies and the security of the West.
Since the Cold War ended, Russian leaders have built a shadow empire on the territories of Russia's sovereign neighbors, extending Russian power where it is unwarranted and unwelcome by sponsoring "frozen conflicts" in southeastern Europe and the South Caucasus. This behavior, designed to maintain political and economic influence beyond Russia's borders, impedes democratic development in states that aspire to join the West. It exports instability, criminality and insecurity into Europe. It threatens regional military conflict that could draw in the United States and other powers. It also bolsters anti-democratic forces within Russia who believe Russia's traditional approach of subverting its neighbors' independence is a surer path to security than the democratic peace enjoyed by the nations of Europe.
The frozen conflicts in the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and in the Moldovan territory of Transdniestria, share many characteristics. Russian troops fought on the side of local armies when these regions broke away from their mother countries as the Cold War ended. Russian officers continue to help train and command the breakaway territories' Russian-armed militias. The secessionist leaders are all Russian citizens, some sent directly from Moscow, who are maintained in power by the continuing presence of members of the Russian military and security services. Secessionist political leaders also enjoy the sponsorship of powerful criminal elites in Russia, which profit from the unregulated smuggling trade -- in consumer goods, drugs, weapons and women -- in the conflict zones.
Moscow has granted the people of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transdniestria Russian citizenship, including Russian passports and the right to vote in Russian elections. This effective annexation of sovereign peoples is expressly designed to undermine the authority of pro-Western governments in Georgia and Moldova.
Russian political and military influence also looms in the shadows of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Opposing armies that fought a bloody war over the disputed enclave in the 1990s now shoot at each other from trenches across a "no-man's land" more reminiscent of Flanders in 1916 than the European neighborhood in 2005. This barely frozen conflict threatens a hot war that would devastate the region.
It is also the place where a breakthrough is perhaps most likely. Western governments could support a settlement there in which Armenia returned to Azerbaijan the occupied provinces surrounding the disputed territory and allowed Azerbaijani refugees to resettle there. Nagorno-Karabakh could enjoy full autonomy until its ultimate status was decided by democratic referendum at some future date. In return for Azerbaijan's cooperation in ending a conflict that threatens its growing prosperity, the West should welcome closer partnership with that country as it moves forward with reform, end residual sanctions against Azerbaijan dating from the 1991-94 war, require closure of the Russian bases on Armenian territory that threaten Azerbaijan, offer a mini-Marshall Plan for the entire South Caucasus and put these countries on a path to Europe.
In South Ossetia, Europe and the United States should support Georgian calls to internationalize the Russian-dominated "peacekeeping" force, which now functions chiefly to obstruct changes to the secessionist status quo. The United States and the European Union should join Georgia, Russia and South Ossetia in a new negotiating framework designed to achieve a lasting political settlement consistent with international law.
In Abkhazia, the Atlantic democracies should push to transform the U.N. observer mission into an armed peacekeeping force, hold Russia to its 1999 promise on troop withdrawal and pledge assistance to rehabilitate Abkhazia's war-torn economy as part of a federation agreement with Georgia. With the West, Ukraine can help bring change to neighboring Transdniestria by continuing its recent crackdown on cross-border smuggling, reinforcing Moldovan demands for a Russian military withdrawal and supporting a political settlement upholding Moldova's sovereignty and the democratic rights of all its people.
Russia holds the key to any resolution of the frozen conflicts, and the Western democracies are surely not powerless to foster a change of Russian behavior in Europe's back yard. President Vladimir Putin must understand that his country cannot enjoy partnership with the West -- including membership in the G-8 club of Western democracies and the chance to host their summits -- as long as his policies in the European neighborhood, and at home, look less like those of a modern European statesman than of a czar.
Ana Palacio is the former foreign minister of Spain. Daniel Twining is an Oxford-based consultant to the German Marshall Fund of the United States. These are their personal views.
Now I want to address the issue of helping Armenia. In my personal opinion, which if anybody asks I can try to back up with historical facts, Diaspora (all around the world) should have one prime goal MAKING SURE THAT ARMENIA THRIVES.
I know it is hard to work with a corrupt government of Armenia, but there are still ways to work around their incompetence and corruption. One very good example is the aforementioned trip to Armenia of our fellow brothers. They will provide all of the financial and material help DIRECTLY. I believe that this is the best way to circumvent the corrupt government bureaucracy and get things done the right way.
I am sure some of you know this lady (I forgot her name...shame), she is a wealthy Armenian-American who EVERY year COLLECTS money and other funds from her own pocket, Armenian businesses, wealthy Armenians, and any other sponsors in USA, and takes that money DIRECTLY to Armenian orphanages and to the families of fallen fedayis and soldiers ( in other words the levels of Armenian society that are most vulnerable, and are usually the poorest).
What I am trying to say is that, Armenians in the Diaspora, especially the wealthy ones, should make helping Armenia not a hobby (like it is today unfortunately for the MOST of them), but one of their primary concerns. I know quite a few rich Armenian in Russia, US, Argentina, and Europe that could do more for our country. Because if Armenia is gone, then the Diaspora is also gone since Diaspora needs a mother country to be considered a Diaspora, otherwise we would be just like Gypsies, just a group of people living here an there.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
So, on the topic of children in Armenia, there is a French-Armenian organization, DA-Connexion, which has now spread to the United Kingdom whose mission is to help the children of Hayasdan. I became aware of this association through a French-Armenian, Raffi Sarafian, who worked with us in Hayasdan last summer (2005). Raffi is very involved in this organization (in fact, he is now the president of the student branch) and he and his sister, Anouch, were there to rebuild schools and organize week-long summer camps for rural children. Raffi and others have worked hard to create a new website for the association, which may be found at: http://www.da-connexion.com/ (don't worry, there is an english version and also an armenian one). If you are at all interested (and you should be) in the plight of children, especially rural children, in Hayastan, I would urge to to check out their site, if only to look at the photos.
Anyways, the chapter from Cal State Los Angeles is going to Armenia this summer and donating much needed supplies to a kindergarten in Armavir. Here are some pics:
Reminds me of the villages that I visited this past summer when I was in Armenia. I'm confident that the brothers will do a good job in Armenia. It's hard for me to see them go and not join them, but I do have my own plans this summer that I need to take care of anyways. Arman can relate, he hasn't been back ever since he left. It would be nice one day to reunite with all of my friends in our homeland.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
I'm not planning on celebrating my birthday like that any time soon, now it's the typical going out for dinner type of thing. The best part about it is going to be, again, my friends.
Other news, school is going extremely easy all of a sudden, I only have one final to take, which is so odd. I think this may have been the easiest quarter in my undergraduate career, which is nice, I think I need an easy quarter for a change. Arman, on the other hand, is completely swamped with finals, presentations, and programming work, so he is on hiatus for a while. I went to bug him anyways today at the computer lab, watched online videos of russian special forces, exchanged some arguments, shook hands, then left.
My lone final is a day after my birthday, and the Saturday after that I'm taking off to good old San Francisco (actually Berkeley). I'm only going to spend 3 days there, but I am still looking forward to it. That would be about two weeks prior to my New York trip, so altogether I'll have close to a month of taking it easy (not a bad deal huh?).
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
On to another Armenian singer, the great Tata. Ok, I'm not that much of a Tata fan either, but when I heard that he is having a concert in LA in late April, I decided that I had to go. Imagine, all the Armenians from Glendale flocking toward one place, it would be quite an experience. I wonder, would Arman consider going? He isn't in to the Armenian music; New Age is more of his thing, I bet if Yanni was having a concert he would run there and get his autograph (not to say Yanni is bad, either). Anyways, I'm sure Tata would feel right at home in LA, he should even stay at the Glendale Hilton and walk (or better yet, drive) on the streets of Glenoaks, Broadway, and Brand. What a sight that would be.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I was not happy that Crash won, but I was happy that Brokeback lost. You can call me whatever you want, but Crash is YET ANOTHER RACISM MOVIE (please stop making them) and Brokeback is a nice way to show how normal gay love is. Which I think is not, its not normal, period.
They can love each other as much as they want to and they can present it as nice as they want to, I don't want that kind of propaganda spread around, but I think its kind of too late since a gay person can make fun of me at school of how hairy I am but when I come back with a gay joke, I am threatened by a disciplinary action. After this film, Mr. Lee's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon gets a whole another meaning.
I think Munich was the movie that deserved an Oscar. Yes it was kind of one sided, and the sex scenes were used out of context, but it had a much more useful and a realistic message, how governments operate.
Monday, March 06, 2006
Hollywood went the safe way and gave it to a movie about racism, but they were 17 years too late. In 1989 Spike Lee made a movie about racism, "Do the Right Thing." While I haven't seen the movie, this film was hailed by critics, but got completely snubbed at the oscars. Not only did it not win, anything, it was only nominated for two oscars, best supporting actor and best original screenplay. No director, no motion picture.
Now, 15 years later, they give it to a film about racism and the director is white, the writers are white, while they snubbed a black director (not too many of them when compared to white directors). Granted there were black actors, and Terrence Howard was nominated for hustle and flow (three six mafia even won for their song) but I'm sorry, if Hollywood truly wanted to make a statement, they would have given it to Brokeback, just like they would have given it to Spike Lee. Yes I'm playing the race card, but when was the last time a black director was nominated for the academy awards?
George Clooney, when he was giving his acceptance speech, talked about how glad he is to be "out of touch" by being in Hollywood, that is; stressing how only celebrities talk about important social issues. After what happened with best picture, I'm sorry, but Clooney's praise of Hollywood is unfounded.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Living in Los Angeles I suppose I'm naturally inclined to have an interest in not only movies, but in Hollywood in general. Movies can be a double edged sword for me. There are always the poor ones, that are pretty much a waste of time. Then there are the blockbusters, that may a lot of money but are seldom thought provoking. Then there are the good movies, ones that have a message, good plots, acting, and score. These are the movies that get the audience to think, and ones I highly value.
Seven Samurai is perhaps my favorite movie. Directed by Japanese film legend Akira Kurosawa. Of the more recent films, Motorcycle Diaries is a special one for me; particularly the focus on Latin America. Then there are the Armenian movies that I have yet to see, like the Mehr Baks. I have to get my hands on these (it's a trilogy), and the Karabagh war videos. These examples of why movies are made, and I'm glad there is an institution such as the Academy to recognize these movies in the face of blockbuster hits (though I'm not always a fan of the Academy) and though we all have differences, if the public would take the time to see more of these good movies, the film industry would greatly benefit.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
March 3 2006
Baku, March 2, AssA-Irada -- A foreign expert has said
missiles in Upper (Nagorno) Garabagh, Azeri region
occupation, that target oil facilities in Azerbaijan.
"The SCAD-B type rockets aim at oil fields, pipelines
in Azerbaijan, which could bring about a disaster,"
Research Center's military expert Martin Marek has
told Swedish press.
Marek said the weaponry was sold to Armenia by Russia
He did not rule out that Armenian military forces are
in Upper Garabagh.
The analyst went on to say that the current "de-facto
status of Upper Garabagh" is actually reinforced by
invested in Azerbaijan by Western companies. "Official
Baku is also
aware that if the war resumes, these companies will
investments in the country." Marek noted, however,
is directing its oil revenues to bolstering its
military power, and
is thus seeking to solve the long-standing dispute
Dear visitors this is nothing new. Azerbaijan will not attack Armenia since the second it does, the Baku-Jehran pipeline will be destroyed by the Armenian armed forces. This is not permissible to BP which put its millions to build the pipeline. That is why Azeris can threaten as much as they want to, the "big boys" (US, Europe, Russia, and Iran) don't want this conflict to resume, and Azerbaijan is not strong enough and never will be to go against these powers' wishes. Yes they can buy new weaponry more easily with their oil dollars, but new weapons are not the only thing that they need. They also need a dedicated and motivated fighting force, which they lack.
This does not mean that we, Armenians should sit on our hands and wait. We need to work our buts off to get our economy up and running and get as much investments as possible. This not only will raise our populations backing of their government, but also will help us purchase better weaponry.
Friday, March 03, 2006
Ever since committing to the model UN team at my school, I have been very attentive to international news. In addition to the various sources I read online, I recently started in on Robert Fisk's latest book, The Great War for Civilization. For those who don't know, Fisk is the preeminent journalist in the Middle East. He has covered the region for over 30 years, including the Iranian Revolution, The Lebanese Civil War, Afganistan, Iraq. He even interviewed Osama Bin Laden three times. His new book is around 1000 pages, and full of information as he chronicles his journeys throughout the Middle East. It also includes a chapter on the Armenian Genocide, which I have yet to reach (I barely put a dent into it, not even 100 pages in). Fisk also talks about the poor state of journalism, how the mainstream media does not provide adequate coverage on the world (sort of on the lines of Noam Chomsky). Fisk is straight shooter, I'm sure even Arman would like him, even though Arman has no faith in western media... or the west in general. I'll keep reading my book and post updates.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Last time I was on the east coast was when I was about 10 years old; my family went to D.C. for a week. I will be returning to D.C. this summer for two months, and combined with this trip to New York I hope to get at least a hint of how the east coast Armenians run things. I have to admit I'll be missing my hayastantsi and parskahayes (I'm under the assumption that the only place in the western hemisphere that contains the three branches of Armos is LA), but I'm sure the east coast will have its unique taste.
Anyways, while we are on the topic of Armenians in LA, I heard this joke that I can't get out of my head for a week now:
So an Armenian is driving his pimped/rabized out mercedes on Glenoaks and he pulls over when he pulls over to park on the street so he can go buy some cigarettes. He opens his door and all of a sudden a huge big rig comes and slams into his car, tearing off the door. He calls the police and starts complaining on how the car will never be the same again, and the cop says: "You Armenians are so materialistic, you don't even realize that the truck that took of your door also took off your entire arm." The Armenian quickly turns to where his arm was and says in astonishment: "Oh Shit, my ROLEX!"
That's all for now
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Many of our conflicts arise from the differences of how we see Armenia and Armenians in the past, present, and of course in the future.
Be sure that you will read about all of the important and unimportant topics that Armenians care about. Topics ranging from fields of politics, history, language, to every day life topics of how the Armenians drive in Glendale.
Our goal is to unite Armenians everywhere, and make us understand each other better, thus making us stronger.
Yes we are both very hairy
For quite some time now I've been addicted to Armenian blogs. Everything diaspora blogs to Armenia blogs to Glendale blogs, I can't help but read up on what Armenians around the world have to say. But I see an absence in the Armenian blogoshpere that I hope my blog will fill.
The Armenian diaspora has spread around the world; Armenians are everywhere, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Singapore. Up to this point I've always associated the Armenian diaspora with western Armenians; those who were forced to flee the genocide, a sort of conventional diaspora. I'm a part of this, my parents grew up in the middle east and I was born in Los Angeles.
Yet there is a new, interesting dynamic in the Armenian diaspora going on, the influx of eastern Armenians, particularly hayastantsis. Here in LA I'm surrounded Western, eastern, hayastantsi, parskahaye, beirutsi, and I see all of them as being Armenian. This blog attempts to show the dynamic, my close friend Arman, born in Armenia and now lives in Glendale, will represent the "east" while I would naturally be "west." I hope this can show everybody how even though Armenians have differences, we still get along just fine.