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ARMENIA YEREVAN


6 From the Editor 7 Letters

Cover Story

20 Destination: Armenia

10 AIM View

Armenia Prepares for the Tourism Season

Notebook

12 Birthdays and Anniversaries Did You Know?

13 Postscript 14 Word on the Street 15 Ouote Unquote I Bytes on File Nation 18 Genocide Recognition Then What?

Connections

46 Birthright Armenia Making Youth an Offer They Cant Refuse

47 Putting ldeas lnto Action Land & Culture Celebrates

'15

Years

50 Tender Loving Gare Quality ol Lile lmproves atThis Home

Sprots

58 The Politics ol Sport Chess Tournament in Karabakh Rulfles Feathers

62 Underexposed 63 Other People's Mail Focus

Arts 54 Silence

16 Being Neighborly Georgia's President Saakashvili Comes Calling

Genocide and the Graphic Novel

Armenian lnlernational Magazine Volume 15, lssue Three

I

Poshaslen: Send address changes to AlM. PO. Box

Gover photos by Karen Mirzoyan

10793. Glendale.

CA

91 209.

USA. AIM@eAmenia.com

AIM APRIL

2OO4


/UNI Publisher

Fourth hlillennium Society

Elass Mone than llall tull his week.

Art Director

month's Letters to the Editor. They are not what we want to hear, but we publish them because they make us think. In the same day that one reader insisted vociferously that writing about Alla, the homeless woman who lives underground in Yerevan ('A Home By Any Other Name" Jan-Feb 2004) is wrong and pointlesg another asked why we "never write about the bad things" in Armenia. That's a question that has no answer. What do you say? "Look, there's the story about the village without water. That's kind of bad. But the story about the homeless woman, that's really bad." It's a hopeless, pointless discussion. Over the years,AIM has been accused of being an ARF publication, an ADL publication, an Armenian Government mouthpiece, and the object of Foreign Ministry censorship. We have been called a propaganda outlet for the sitting government - actually for both governments! We have also been called Ttrrks trying to destroy all things Armenian (as if those two things were synonymous.)

Write to AlMinfo@eArmenia.com S.

Sevan Amirians Assistant to the Editor

Eliza Gallayan office Coordinator / Photo l\ilanager

llarine Arushanian Web & Promotions Armineh Gregorians Advertising

Sylvie Keshishian office 0perations

marine T0pchian Glendale California 0ffice Assistant

Mihran Manukian

Yerevan Bureau Ani Plaza Hotel 1

I

Sayat Nova Street

Business Floor No. 2Bl29 Phone 58 36 Al

Just when those dizzying contradictory realities come together, we remember what Armenia's then-representative to the UN Movses Abelian said once at an AIM gathering: "I know I am doing my job well when I have all sides equally unhappy." So forgive us, but we've decided that AIM must be doing its job well. In this issue, the story about the Nork Old Age Home (see page 50) is going to make someone unhappy. Either because it's sad, or bad. Those already convinced that the number of thieveq con-men and lazy, no-good bums in Armenia exceeds the international average as well as those who believe that everyone with a low, government salary is necessarily on the take would do well to skip these pages. The truth is that the staff and residents of the Nork Old Age Home do not fit any of these stereotypes. They are happy to be working, despite impossibly low pay. They are responsible and good in carrying out their duties. The residents of the Home are neither bitter nor lazy. The director is neither manipulative nor self-important. This story, then, is simply not for those who are ready to paint a bleak picture of everything Armenian. AIM had a choice. Not to run the article, for fear the cynics would collectively nod their headq knowingly, since this is yet more evidence that AIM distorts the truth and paints a rosy picture. Or, to indeed print the facts of the story and establish once again that together with everything that is difficult, diseased, depressing in Armenia, there is at least as much that is not. There is plenty that is right here. Some need to believe otherwise as a salve to their own guilt. Others must be able to condemn and convict all things Armenian in order to be able to feel they can rise above the fray, that they are better. Some others still would not know what to do if the Armenian image was finally allowed to transcend that of victim and move on to co-equal, normal, human. So, they insist on seeing the bad, generalizing the deflcient, and labeling the whole lot unsatisfactory. Go ahead. Read about the Nork Old Age Home. Get ready to feel a tinge of pride that compatriots in the most difficult of circumstances are living with the highest ethical, moral values. The rest - those who are ready to assume that all this goodness is a myth - should ask themselves why they're ready to dismiss the good, and only believe all that is bad. (Maybe they should also find ways to support the renovation at the Home?) In any case,AIM will keep coming to you each month. Keep reading. Keep renewing. Keep referring AIM to friends and organizations (and libraries) you feel should receive it. And don't forget to let us know what you think. Hrair

General lvlanager

Laura Gononian

AIM

received an e-mail from the American University of Beirut Library asking for several missing back issues. Of course, we immediately put a package together and mailed it. Of course, at no charge. This is not the first time AIM has received such requests. Students doing research for college papers, individuals interested in a program and remember reading about it in AIM sometime, write asking for help to find the articles. All this is geat, and it makes AIM staff and contributors proud. And why shouldn't it? Because for every ten Bravo letters, there are a couple like this

f I

Managing Editor

Hrair Sartis Sarlissian

l\il

99

Fax 58 35 99

inlo@eArmen ia.com

AllVlArm@arminco.com

Contributors

Sara Aniaru0lian, Hakob Asatrian, Marfi Belinsky, Aram Haiian, Tamar Hayhyan, Ralik Hovhannisian, Vahe Karapetian, Sflvie Keshishian, Edilh Khachatourian, An Mgrdichian, tutem Sadoyan, Tom Samuelian Chris Uregian, l{icole Vafianian, Fredrik Wadskom Photo0raphers

Anbine Agoudiian, Arnineh Johannes, Mkhihr lftachatian, ]lary lbundakiian, Zawn lfiadikian, Gam lichinian, SNi Ma&ounian, Rouben Man0asadan, Kaen iliroyan, Eric ]{azarian, An o$agan, ftoblun Photo ]lews Agency, Berge Ara Zobian Accounting Services

Bedig Araradian, GPA Legal Services

Shahen Hairapelian, Atlorney al Law Pasadena Calilornia lnternati0nal Legal Consulting Yerevan Armenia lT Consulting & Services

Vahe lssakhanian Yerevan Armenia

Prinlinlo

Printino Yerevln Armenia

Wrile to AIM! We welcome all communication. Although we read all letters and submissions, we are unable t0 acknowledge everything we receive due t0 limited stafling and resources. Letters to the Edilor may be edited lor publication.

Armenian lnlernalional Magazine Founded in 1990 Founding Editor Uartan Oskanian

Sarkissian

Founding Publisher MiGhael l{ahabet

Managing Editor

207 South Brand Boulevard, Suite 205, Glendale, CA 91204 USA

7979 Fax 818 246 0088 AlMinfo@eArmenia.com

Phone 818 246

AIM APRIL

2OO4


it consisted mostly of pictureq from Photolure, with a few paragraphs describing in a superficial way what happened each month during 2003. I was very disappointed, to say the least, when I read the section "From the Editor" on the issue of what "normal" was in Armenia during 2003. The description of what stands for "normal" in the eyes of AIM does not since

reflect the description of life in Armenia when one reads other news sources based in Armenia nor from speaking with native

Armenians who live in Armenia and from

Glass Half Empty I received the December 2003 issue of AIM on March 24, 2004. After glancing through the issue I did not understand why it took almost four months to receive the issue

Diasporan Armenians who visit Armenia. Perhaps AIM needs to go beyond the confines of the central part ofYerevan to visit other sections of Yerevan and even go outside the boundaries of the capital to visit the other regions of Armenia to see how "normal" is defined by the residents of these other parts of Armenia. Yes, the central part of Yerevan looks better because of the construction projects funded by the Lincy Foundation. Yeso the

central part of Yerevan has more upscale restaurants, cafes, clothing stores, etc. However, how are the other parts ofYerevan

in our

t7ne

Getfrenffdulirdormation

developing for the natives who live in these sections? How many natives of Yerevan can afford to shop and buy items located in the new upscale section of Yerevan on the average monthly salaries of working people in

Armenia? How many natives of Armenia can afford to buy items in these types of stores when over 51 percent of the population of Armenia live in poverty, according to official government statements? These 51 percent can barely afford to feed themselves and their familieq let alone have the luxury of buying items from these upscale stores Your article "Tiagedy Revisited" reported on the situation of the family affected by the 1988 earthquake. You write that 1,5 years later this family has seen its daughters grow and marry and have their own children. Yet, the husbands of these families are discussing leaving Armenia for Russia to find work to help support their families because there are no jobs for them in Armenia. The same day I received the AIM issue the Central Bank of Armenia reported that Armenians working abroad sent back to Armenia $544 million in 2003 to help support their families. That amount is almost as much as the budget for

sbp Wsitor cefieil

ARmEnl Alnformation ARIVIEMAN

Tounrsu DnwropNrE.NT

AGENCY

3 Nalbandyan St., Yerevan - Tel.: 54.23.03, 41.23.06 - E-mail: info@armeniainfo.am Funding prcvided by the United StatesAgensy for lntemational Development (USAID), with tecfinical a$eBtance by lnl3mational Exedtive SeMce Corpe (IESC).

AIM APRIL

2OO4


Armenia. Is this "normal" for a society? I would hope that during the year 2004

Fouft l\,lillennium Society is an independently funded and administered public charily committed t0 the dissemination ol infornntion lor the purpose 0l developing an informed public, Underpinning all our work is the firm

The

a democratic society in Armen ia and dem0cratic instituti0ns in the Diaspora. The Fourth Millennium S0ciety publishes Armenian lnternational Magazine in its etlort to contribute to the national dialogue. the directors are gratelul t0 the Benehdors,

conviction tiat the vitality 0l an independent press is fundarnental to

AIM would report all aspects of life in the entire country of Armenia and inform its

Trustees, Patrons and Friends ofthe Fourth Millennium Society who are committed to the welFbeing, growth and development of Armenians and Armenia through the promotion of open discussion and the lree flow

readers about all the issues facing Armenia. As an independent publication AIM should be willing to present the "good, the bad and

the ugly" of Armenia so that we can learn about the facts and try to find solutions. This would require actual reporting. interviewing officials and the common folk, investigative articles and taking upon itself to provide in depth information to the readership. Best of luck in 2004.

ol intormation among individuals and organizations. Their linancial contributions support the work of the

Fou(h Millennium Society and ensure the independence 0f AlM. -Vahe Aghabegians, &lpi Haroutinian Ghaarian, Shahen Hairapetian, Raffi Zinalian, Directors

Benelactors Sarkis Acopian, Albert & Tove Boyajian, The Cafesjian Family Foundation, lnc,, Araxie M, Haroutinian, Hirair and Anna Hovnanian, Vahakn and Hasmig Hovnanian,

Sarkis Ghazqrian

The Lincy Foundation, Louise Manoogian Simone

Van Nuys, California

Senior Truslees

It

is

with great disappointment that I send

you this email. Unless you think

we

Armenians are totally without access to freedom of information, may I say that AIM has truly become a propaganda outlet for the sitting government of Armenia. To call Robert

Kocharian's challengers

AUSTRALIA Heros & Kate Dilanchian CANADA Razmig Hakimiant, Kourken Sarkissian HoNG KoNG Jack Maxian USA CA Armand & Nancy Arabian, Khachig Babayan, George & Flora Dunaians, Armen & Gloriat Hampar,

George&GraceKay,Joe&JoyceStein

NHJeannetteJohn NYJamesTulenkian Rl PapkenJanjigian

Founding Truslees AUSTRALIA Varooian lskenderian USA CA Garen Avedikian, Mardo Kaprielian, Edward Misserlian, Bob Movelt, Varoujan Nahabet, Norair 0skanian, Emmy Papazian, Zareh Sarkissian,

a "motley crew"

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Zinzalian FL Hagop Koushakjian PA Zarouhi Mardikian

smacks of Bolshevism.To publish articles that

don't even give a byline demeans everything

Tenth Anniuersary Corporale Sponsorc

Armenia stands for.To seek diaspora support for such a one sided scandal sheet is ludicrous. May the life cycle of AIM be short lived along with your

Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, Garo Kassabian; Armenian Jewelers'Association; Commerce Casino, Hasmik Mgrdichian; George Tumanjan; Grand Tobacco, Hrand & Mikayel Vardanian; ISB Group, Armen & Ketty Kazandjian; Law Olfice of Aris Artounians, Aris & Karine Artounians; Law 0lfices ol 0urfalian & 0urfalian, Rafi & Sarkis Ourfalian; NASA Services lnc., Sam & Elizabeth Sarkisian, Nick & Kamelia Sarkisian, Arsen Sarkisian; Pacific Sales, Jerry Turpanjian;

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Glass Half Full Compliments to the format of highlighting developments in Armenia during 2003 by month in the December 2003 issue of AIM. Wth the'Armenia Msion 2020" contest announced also in the back of the same issue,

it

would be appropriate for an upcoming issue of AIM in 2fiX, to exclusive-

perhaps

ly focus on forward looking articles that capture the aspirations of people in private and public life in Armenia. Cesar J. Chekijian Livingston, New Jersey

I am assuming you had been having problems sending your issues out of Armenia, as I

received two issues one day apart. But regardless, I really did not mind it as I had twice as more to read, and enjoy, at one sitting. I visit Armenia at least once a year, and during the rest of the time, I closely follow what goes on through several sources. But I actually prefer AIM's approach to covering Armenia, as it feels more genuine, and without an agenda. You do a good job of presenting the bad and the good, and most of all, one is filled with hope and pride after reading your magazine' Keep it up' sam Baronian By E-mail

USA CA Vartkes & Jean Barsam, Walter & Laurel Karabian, Gary & Sossi Kevorkian, NJ Nazar & Artemis Nazarian, Ralph & Savey Tufenkian MA K. George & Carolann Najarian NY Goldman, Sachs & Co.

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us^ c uFoniln Mihran & Elizabeth Agbabian Garabed Akpolat

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AIM APRIL

Alex Sarkissian

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2OO4


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Fun Tourism is a Serious Job Simple Steps for the Armenian Government to Follow

have been coming to Armenia and will continue to come a.rpite the fact that the Armenian government and other agencies are not serious about making it easier.

Tourists

I

There is plenty to see and do in Armenia. None of it is a traditional tourist experience. Not many swimming pools, no malls or artificial tourist attractions here. Tourists come to Armenia for Armenia.The ecotourist comes for the unique mountains, flora and fauna. The religious tourist comes for the dozens of ancient, aweinspiring monasteries. The rest come to see Armenia, to see the land to which they belong. To do this, they fly thousands of miles and pay airfares that are among the highest in the world. This is absurd. Armenia is a family travel destination. That means that a family of four will be obliged to spend thousands on airfare before the vacation has even begun. To add insult to injury, there aren't enough airline seats, even at these high rates. The number and frequency of flights is just beginning to go up, and even then, it isn't enough. Between the government's inactivity in this area, and the airline companies' short-

sightedness, the number of tourists is not as high as it can be. Then, there is the matter of a visa. Just look through the pages

of this cover story and it quickly becomes obvious that there is plenty to do in Armenia. Even after the monasteries, Etchmiadzin and Garni, Geghard, it is possible to stay in Armenia for weeks and just live. It is possible, but to do that, a tourist must spend some time out of those extra weeks getting a visa renewed or extended. That, too, can be made much easier. Why limit tourists to three weeks? Why not provide visas for longer periods of time and encourage tourists to stay and spend? The current situation is strategically wrong. Better to allow tourists to spend less up front in order for them to stay longer and spend more in the long run. The Armenian government can work with the airline carriers to decrease the Europe-Armenia airfares, to increase frequency, and to make a tourist's life and stay easier. It's worth it. More people will live the wonders of Armenia, experience the ever-changing r Yerevan. and come back for more.

Getting Serious About Genocide What Do Armenians Really Want

wo years after France passed a law establishing the fact of the Armenian Genocide, Armenians in France still want to hold demonstrations on April 24. lt's not clear who against. France passed a two-line law that says the Genocide happened. Period. Anyone denying that fact would be acting against the law. So, a demonstration against a French govemment entity would have been superfluous Instead, eventually, the community leadership chose the British Embassy in Paris as their target, given the unfortunate statements of Her Majesty's Ambassador to Armenia, who did not characterize the events of 1915 as Genocide. The uproar over that politically expedient (for the ambassador)

cials drop their absurd, unfair, superficial approach to all Armenian-

but historically inaccurate statement says much about the emotional and psychological intensity of Genocide memories. Nothing else manages to push the Armenian button quite so much as someone denying the Genocide. It is eminently understandable, therefore, that the descendants of the survivors continue to respond so vociferously to unjust, unfair, unkind statements regarding the Genocide. What is less understandable is that there is not a similar outbunt of anger, indigration, energy at other unjust, unfair, unkind statements Where are the Armenian masses when what is arguably the world's most important energy project (the pipeline) is being built in the CaucasuE but circumventing Armenia? Where is the uproar at the cynical, opportunistic statements of the new Azerbaijani president who

a

f I

theTtrks owe it to theirAzeri brothers to keep theArmenian border closed? What keeps Armenians from demanding that US offi-

insists that

Azeri matten? Where was the righteous anger when the US

State

Department said it expected "both governments will ensure the strictest discipline among their troops along the line of contact in order to prevent any further violence," just a week after the murder of an Armenian soldier at a NATO language training program, by an Azeri soldier?

In other words, Armenians justifiably react forcefully to continuing injustice in the attitude and treatment that the Genocide is afforded. That reaction, however strong and vocal, is considered safe. After all, it is a matter of pride, dignity, self-image, history. But isn't Armenia's present predicament and future security also

matter of pride, dignity, self-image, history? Where are the forceful, unified, strong, vocal reactions when Armenia's and Armenians' economic and political protection is at stake? A cynic would be tempted to believe that it is safer to identify with the past. No one can question motives, politics, affiliation, logic, expediency. To stand up and defend the present, on the other hand, requires a willingness to take a stand which might be ques-

tioned or challenged. The optimist might say that it's just a matter of time: After all, there's never been a present to defend. It's only in this decade that Armenians have lived in the present, with choices to make and consequences to live with. The optimist will say that Armenians will quickly figure out that the present and the future are worth as much as

the

AIM APRIL

past.

2OO4

!


Chess is No Charity Where a Little Money Can Go a Long Way

of the best known names in chess are Tigran Petrosian and fwo I Garry Kasparov. Kasparov was born in Baku, while his mother hails from Hadrut, in Karabakh. Petrosian was born in Tbilisi, historically a center of Armenian creativity, art, and culture. The chess tournament held in Karabakh on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Petrosian's birth brought with it accolades and attention. Armenians scored disproportionately well. But they do this regularly. This is a game in which Armenians excel. Of the world's 1000 grandmasterg 20 are Armenian. That's one of 50. And two of the last six world champions have been Armenian. That's not too bad, either. Despite this show of excellence, the Armenian Diaspora has been somewhat reluctant to embrace these accomplishments. Why? Probably because the game of chess, despite its association as an intellectual game or sport, does not enjoy the same mass popularity in the West as it does in the former Soviet space or in Eastern Europe, where chess is highly competitive and held in high esteem. Given a proper introduction and push to get to know the individuals responsible for these achievements, it would be a strategic step for

Diasporans to elevate Armenia's champions as role models. These chess champions can also become Armenia's good will ambassadors. They travel the world, participate - and place high - in a game of intellect, interact with audiences with great reach and huge capacity. The cheap and easy thing to do would be to support these players so that they appear in a greater number of tournaments, win a greater number of awards, and raise the Armenian flag in an even greater number of cities around the world. As it is, the chess champions - men and women who are placing among Europe's top-rated players - are doing all this without help. By

doing a minimum of tutoring and training, they are able to afford the travel and expenses necessary to compete. At least most of the time. Sometimes they spend nights on hard airport benches.And they still go out and win. Similar successes in any other sport would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, because of trainers, equipment, flelds and refer-

And the wins are priceless. Here's one area where the relationship between giving and receiv-

ees Chess ig comparatively, inexpensive.

ing is direct, transparent,

invaluable.

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AIM P.O.Box 10793, Glendale, CA91209 USA AlMSubs@eArmenia.com, Phone 81 8.246 .7 97 I, F ax: 81 8.246.0088

AIM APRIL

2OO4

r


NOTEBOOK

And the Genocide Memorial f, ccording to the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial Complex Hdi...,or" Laurenti Barseghian, some 30 million people from 90 countries have visited the Genocide Memorial since it was built 36 years ago. At that time, there was no independent Armenian government. Today, besides the individual visitors and pilgrims, each year several dozen official visitors go to the Monument, place a flower, and pay their respects to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. These have included heads of states, most recent of whom was Georgia's newlyelected president, Mikhail Saakashvili (below).The Memorial sits on a hill that stretches 160 hectares. People have continuously lived on that hill for several millennia. In the 1940s,Yerevan residents planted trees on the hilltop. In the 1990s, the Armenia Tiee Project continued that tradition with every visiting dignitary. r

Standing Up Students and the Draft The

last week of February 2004 went down in Armenia's academic and parliamentary history: a week when student pressure turned around a controversial bill on military service. The bill had proposed to abolish the deferments and exemptions from compulsory military service. Defense Minister Serge Sargsian was at a meeting of Yerevan State University (YSU) studentq explaining the value of the bill to a society which is still in

I

a state of half-peace, half-war, when the meeting was cut short because

of

demonstrations outside, by students who didn't agree. YSU students boycotted lectures and classes for more than a week, to make their point. At that point, the government decided to make the embarrassing move and withdrew the controversial bill, at least in its present form. Prime Minister Andranik Margarian admitted that his cabinet failed to win public support for the bill's passing, also adding that the authon of the legislation should have made the effort to explain the rationale to the public earlier and better. Sargsian continues to defend the government's position while ruling out any concessions. On the other hand, students and academics claim that the proposed change would upset the prospects of higher education among Armenia's young men, a system already suffering from a lack of funding. They claim that the number of young men willing to continue in graduate programE following the completion of military service, will decrease greatly. Stay tuned.

AIM APRIL

2OO4


NOTEBOOK

Stiil Sailing The Armenian Navy Band on the Road ln 1998 when Arto Tuncboyaciyan came to Armenia and met the lmusicians who have become the Armenian Navy Band, his vision was that they would "move the boat." He laughs as he explains. "Yes,

I know there is no water in Armenia, but if you have love, respect and truth you can move the boat without water." So they have.

The 12 members of the ensemble play a variety of traditional instruments like the duduk, kanun and kamanche mixed with more contemporary instruments like the trombone, alto sax, drums and bass all to Tuncboyaciyan's original compositions - some playful, others deeply spiritual. Tirncboyaciyan was born and raised in Turkey and currently lives in the US. The rest of the band members, such as saxophonist Armen Hlusnunts and pianistVahagn Hayrapetian,are allYerevan's top musicians Together with Ti.rncboyaciyan's unique vocal style and ability to play a variety of instruments such as percussion and oud (See AIM Aug/Sep 2003) their audiences - in Yerevan and in Europe - are treated to a musical experience that fuses jazz with folk and creates what Tirncboyaciyan has coined as avant-garde folk through which he explaing "Wthout losing your identity you can extend your imagination."

Tirncboyaciyan is an entertainer and there are no boundaries to the music he makes. And though he's as serious a musician as anyone can get he sometimes makes it all seem like child's play with his whistles and pot of water and coke bottle and wind up toy he uses to sing "mama, mama." His songs are folkloric and full of personal truths about his life and loves and the issues he's passionate about such as his disillusionment with the Bush administration's War on Terror, a song he calls 'Abush" (which in Armenian means, stupid).

,m.#

Since 2000, they have played all over Europe from Italy to Norway

in over 45 concerts including Thrkey. In April they will again be in Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. While TUncboyaciyan will return to the US to work on solo projects, the band will be in Armenia and continue performing at the Avant-Garde Folk CIub, where they've been since the club opened in March. Tirncboyaciyan and the band have just released their new album called Sound of Our Lifu - Part One: Nanral Seeds (Svota MusidHeaven and Earth March 2004). The CD is available at the club in Yerevan, throughout Europe, and plans for US release are in the r

works,

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A link for euery season

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l{ews, lnformation, Entertainment,

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TraYel, Cultural EYents, Sports,

Students, Uolunteering, 0ngoing Proiects

= AIM APRIL

2OO4


NOTEBOOK

'lis the $eason The Tourist Season, That Is

f,

tM asked citizens in Yerevan what their expectations are of tourists will be visiting Armenia this year. Here is what they said:

Ilwho

I think this year more Diasporans will come to buy homes and land so that they can come and live here in the future. Aram Matev ossian, 27, Trffic Officer This is a very appropriate time for Armenia to be known in the outside world. Perhaps through large numbers of visitors, this year, Armenia will create deeper economic ties with the world and reach higher levelq than before. Tamar a Tatev o s s ian, 40, D entist Business will be much more active during the season as there will be a large increase in business transactions. Lala Mnatsakanian, 37, Merchant

I think this year, Armenians here have the opportunity to approach Diasporans in a better way than they did last year, especially during the Pan Armenian Games, when they would flght with them on the courts, yell and stare at them on the streets. Such large numbers of Disaporan tourists deserve to be received better so they are not disappointed in our country. It is through these interactions that our people will be exposed to new things. M anv el 14

To

khatian, 29, E cono mis t

I am actually looking forward to some interesting interactions with new people. It is by meeting people from around the world that our views will broaden. Davit Dabaghian,

I

19,

Student

it will be interesting for us if this year, more people come and they enlighten some of our youth. Also, maybe I will be lucky enough to find someone who would like me so I can marrf him. guess

M ariam N aghashian,23, Wairress

I expect the government's budget to increase, as according to the projections, this year we will have twice as many tourists as last year. This means there will be twice as much money in circulation. Marqt Petrossian, 36, Political Scientist The ffiux of visitors may be very beneficial for our youth so that their minds open up, they are challenged, and so they learn new languages. N ayra H ay rap etian, 5 0, Linguist Every year, the arrival of tourists creates new opportunities for artists This year, toq I expect to see new exhibitg new ideas from Diasporans.

Artak B ashian, 27, Artist As a large part of the tourists are Diasporans, I believe that year after year, the Armenia-Diaspora ties are strengthening. This year, I expect to see new events that will further strengthen those ties. Armen G evorgian, 23, Computer Engineer

AIM APRIL

2OO4


NOTEBOOK

I

r(l am worried

that the seuen percent vote threshold in Georgia's 28 March elections could leave opposition parties out ol parliament, making Georgia "the world's first democratic one-party state. " u

Number ol those killed in Nagorno Karabakh mine accidents in 2003

4 Number already injured in Nagorno Karabakh mine accidents in 2004

Per Gahrton,

Member of the European

flil%rd]

rrWe're tired ol hearing the number one million. Yes, there are one million retugees - but that's a cumulatiue number. There were 400,000 Armenians living in Azerbaijan belore this conflict began. President Aliyev, where are those people? Aren't they refugees? If they are not living under tents as a showcase to the world, that does not mean that thev do not exist.lt

43,000 Number ol students in Lebanon's Armenian schools 25 years ago

8,000 Number ol students in Lebanon's Armenian schools two years ago

50 Percentage by which the number ol schools in Lebanon has decreased in 25 yearc

Vartan 0skanian Armenias Minister of Foreign Aflairs,

inBratisralda:,SilXifl

f 1T:it'li:,3ffi it?:l']l!3l"tiilfr J: March 2004

50 Percentage ol Belgian-Armenian businessmen involued in the tobacco industry at the beginning ol the 20th century

rrln this case, the horror isn't only about

49.6

the historical events that took place in Turkey ouer eighty-five years ago, but also the enduring horror ol living with something so cataclystic that has been systematically denied. rr in introduction,r

Amount, in billions ol Drams (or $90 million) allocated for Armenia's military in 2004

12 Percentage rise in Armenia's military budget lrom 2003 to 2004

rr,#Strinf[?lt

rrlf the interested parties genuinely want the Karabakh conllict to be resolved peacefully, they have to stop putting pressure on Turkey'

ll

13 Number in millions, ol Armenians living in Russia, according to the Russian Census conducted tn2002

,ham Ariyev,

0.8

on the efforts to convince Turkey to open the border wrth Armena

rrTime doesn't work in lavor ol either side. The truth is that the expression of the interests of both sides is the just solution ol the conflict. Atter Paris and Key West, it appeared that a final solution had in fact appeared. But it's been three years since then, and the negotiations continue.lr

Armenians as a percentage of Russia's overall population ol 145.2 million

160 Total number ol ethnic minorities living within Russia

0.4 Armenians as a percentage ol the US overall populalion ol 289 million

John 0rdway, US Ambassador to Armenia, on llham Aliyev's comments that he is in no hurry to find a resolution to the Naoorn,

o,fl3flrfflt3l

AIM APRIL

Soures: Hayastani Hanrupetutyw, Azg Halo Tfwt, AIM Research

2OO4

15


Focus

Beinu Neiulthonly Georgia's President Saakashvili Comes Callirg says all the right things. Mikhail Saakashvili, who has been President of Georgia since the end of January visited Armenia and Azerbaijan, his next-door neighborq within six weeks of his inauguration, and he sounded good.

lle

II

Armenia is lucky to have a leader like President Kocharian, he to have an ally like Armenia, Georgian-Armenians are hard working, and that Turkey-Armenia relations would be a boon to the region. Armenians were quick to note that some of his comments in Baku were not too different. He has a lot to learn from Ilham Aliyev he said in Baku (and from Robert Kocharian he said in Yerevan.) He visited the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial, and he made a point to distinguish between the separatist Abkhazians in his own country and the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh who have been struggling for self-determination. Saakashvili, an English-speaking, young, not-terribly diplomatic, head of state, spent hours with President Kocharian, Prime Minister Andranik Margarian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian solving said. He also said, Georgia is lucky

some issues, but mostly making a list. Armenian-Georgian relations are so intertwined, that Armenia's Foreign Minister Oskanian has said on more than one occasion, that "Georgia's stability is more important to us than our own." Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, nevertheless, there is much truth in that description of a relationship that is intertwined and intimate.There are more than one million Armenians in Georgia. Saakashvili may be one of them, although he doesn't say so. The President of the Georgian Parliament is half-Armenian, as is the head of the National Security Council.

The major part of Armenia's trade with the outside world goes through Georgia. Georgia's seaports provideArmenia access to the sea. Armenia has sigred several dozen bilateral agreements with Georgia, more than with any other country except the US and Russia. Armenia and Georgia both want to head toward European integration, and both want to present aWestem face to the outside world. Before and after Saakashvili's visit to Yerevan, the Georgian president - an attorney who had studied in New York - referred to the common Caucasus home, and the need for regional integration. The Armenian leadership liked the sound of this, too, since they'd been repeating this line almost since independence. If Azerbaijan couldn't be brought to the water, let alone be made to drink, perhaps Georgia would be the common rope pulling them all together.The Europeans

and the rest of the world certainly look at the Caucasus as one unit. Saakashvili's pronouncements made it appear that perhaps the peoples of the Caucasus, too, would begin to see their way to agreement and

harmony.

r

The Georgian llag was the lint thing that new President Mikhail Saakashvili changed upon coming lo power. The new flag, a matler ol controversy lor some non-Chrisiian minorities in Georgia, was hoisled, along major roads, logether with the Armenian tricolor during Saakashvili's Armenia visit. Photo by Photolure

AIM APRIL

2OO4


lrl

AIM APRIL

2OO4


Nation


Genocide RecoUnition Then What? TOM SAMUELIAN I By lnvitation

It

is 89 years since

April l9l5 when 1.5 million

lArmenians were slaughtered "because they were inconvenient." Such is the banality of evil.

In a better world, the perpetrators might have made amends and their allies might have

encouraged them to do so. But we live in this world, where sadly, truth yields to expedience. and justice to interests. Allies harden the hearts of the perpetrators and preach the big lie; nations are eradicated, indigenous people are conalled into reservations and cultures obliterated. Convenient counterbalancLng truths are manufactured and propagated to the oblivious masses awash in their daily dousing of banal reports of evil. Ten years ago in some countries diplomats

were forced to resigr for calling what was going on in Bosnia'genocide' and a few years later they were commended for prosecuting the crime. This is strange inversion of the Armenian situation, where what happened to the Armenians was the paradigm for the UN Genocide Convention ordained by all the

Allied powerq including the US and UK, which now stammer in applying the word to the Armenian case. One of the things that makes commemorat-

ing the Armenian Genocide more poignant even after 89 years is that there are still those who do not want to remember with us I have sometimes asked diplomats whether they even bother to ask theirTLrkish counter-

parts to tell the truth about the Armenian

same forthrightness tell Tiukish groups and officialg "Our experience teaches us that the truth is less costly than the lie.The truth will set you free." For all we know, the TUrks might flnd it a relief to have the truth out in the open. They might find commemorating more tenable than covering up. Some say the issue is not the truth, but its consequences As a linguist and attomey, I find this plausible. An admission of guilt is a unique kind of speech act, characterized not only by

the factual statement, that is, the truth it expresses, but also by the consequences it entails Armenians often say they just want the truth, while Tirks refuse, because they do not want the consequencesAssuming this is part of the resistance to recogrition, clarification of consequences may facilitate a statement of the truth.What could recognition mean? Does recognition mean an apology, reconciliation and normal relations, or more?

Does recognition mean symbolic land reparations, such as the return of Mount Ararat and the medieval Armenian capital of Ani, or does it mean less or more? Does it mean preservation of and access to Armenian religious, cultural and historic sites in Turkey? Does it mean free access for Armenia to the Black and Meditenanean Seas? Does it mean fair use of water resources in the region? Does it mean protection of the Armenian

of

Constantinople and the

Genocide.They usually blush or flnd the ques-

Patriarchate

tion too direct and naive to be worth

remaining Armenian population of Tirrkey? Does it mean a multi-lateral pact that guarantees Armenia's security?

an

answer. Yet there is a kind of 19th century racism in this poliry of Tirrkish exceptionalism: This notion that Turkish relations are too fragile for the truth, that Tirrks cannot be expected to face their history and that the Armenians are just not worth the discomfort. But why the charade? No one denies that the territory now calledTirrkey was inhabited byArmenians and Greeks for thousands of years before Tirrks migrated there, or that Armenians peacefully made their home there since time immemorial, until it was ethnically cleansed for Ataturk to create the modem state of Tirrkey. The 20th century was the century of mutual annihilation and the big lie - not something to be proud of. I wonder whether the day will come when those who counsel Armenians that the lie costs less than the truth will with the

AIM APRIL

2OO4

Does

it

mean monetary reparations for

victims and their confiscated properties? Or does it mean something entirely ffierent? The Old Testament teacher in Ecclesiastes says "to everything there is a season, for everything a time." After 600 years of statelessness, it is time to build a new Armenia. Within a new century and a new millennium, it is also time to resolve this injustice not only for the Armenians and Tirrks, but also for the U$ UK and other countries It is time to resolve, not to cover up, a time to transcend, not

dissimulate. r

Except lor the dillicult years ol n0 heat, n0 light, the flame at the Genocide Memorial is

always lit. Photo by Matthew Karanian


BE

$tony

REMN 2004

DINING Sou Beoreg Dolmama

-

Made with tenderloin, Yummyl Also try the crayf ish in cream sauce

over rice. A lovely place for a quiet dinner. (10 Pushkin Street)

Sandwich Mr Toaster

- Armenias

version of Subway or Quiznos

-

Tulenkian Avan Villa

Hotel- No one

enjoy the Tulenkian chel s creation.

lakes the time to make this anymore, so

(1

6 1 3th Street, Nork Marash)

a welcome addition.

(25 Koriun Street)

Pastry Vienna Caf6 at Marriott- Try the Sacher Torte (Bepublic Square)

-

its cheaper than a trip to Vienna.

U

Best Place lor a Gonlusing Dinner

Falalel Sandwich Lagonid Stand

-

Made to order, cheap and really tasty

(2 Koriun Street, across from the Medical University)

-

/ Bistro Dine on sushi and oriental sesame chicken salad with chopsticks while your dinner companion has cheese ravioli and garlic bread. ln addition, listen to two guitarists playing Spanish music in the evenings The lood is Shintaro

really good in this globalization-comes{o-Armenia

AIM APRIL

2OO4

spot. (33 Sayat Nova Street) 21.


Goven $tony

Lahmajun Mer Tagh - So good you'll think you're at the Church (21l1 Tumanian Street)

SHllPPIIUG

bazaar.

Wine List

-

Phoenicia

French and Armenian wines are a great complementto a gourmet

meal in a cozy setting. (3lamanian Street)

.

.s .::,"Sfr-;l'".:l !i:irj-,

.:;.1::ril

1...

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Eiq g

I

Shawurma Tumanian Shawurma

-

Best khoravats and shawurma sandwiches in town and

really cheap. The place is always packed. (19 Iumanian Street)

Palermo

Taboule Lagonid

- They get the parsley

Shoe Store

to bulgur ratio just right. (37 Nalbandian Street)

-

Newest cool shop in Yerevan.

Ihe shop feels as though it could be in

any major city in the world The shoes are pointedly (literally, pointedly!) ltalian.

(18 Mashtots Street)

Babaghanouj

- The smoky taste of this eggplant dish (also called mutabal) is blended with justthe right amount of lemon. (3 Vazgen Sargsian Street) Eastern Cuisine

Pizza California

Piua-\y

either the vegetable, or the Armenian Piza with basturma.

(21 Abovian Street)

Outdoor Dining

-

Arma Hotel

Perhaps the best view of Yerevan and Ararat all in one place. The

foods consistently good as well. (275 Norki Ayginer Road) Tea

-

NaturaGold

Hundreds of blends to choose from, from around the world.

(1 1 Abovian Street)

Cappuccino Yerevan Hotel

-

Really slrong coffee with perlect froth. ('14 Abovian Street)

Cal6 (indoors) Artbridge Cal6 and Bookstore

-

Sandwiches soups, entrees, cakes and great'illy'

coffee accompany monthly art exhibits. (20 Abovian Street)

Gal6 (outdoors) Armenia Marriott Hotel outdoor caf6 (Republic Square)

-

Still the place to see and be seen.

Best Value Chez Garo

-

Homemade and delicious manti, sou beoreg, mussel dolma, keofte,

Clothing Shop lor Men

topik all comlort food lor the purse of a pauper. (48 Pushkin Street)

Hugo Boss

Thai Food

fully designed and outlitted shop. (48 Mashtots Street)

Marks Thai Restaurant- Who'd of thunk itl Real Thai chel prepares Thai favorites including yummy Pad Thaiand spring rolls. The restaurantis nothing to write home about but the food is. (28 Proshian Street)

Clothing Shop lor Women Nane (1

-

- Actual Hugh Boss clothes at actual Hugo Boss prices in a beauti-

Very hip clothes imported from Europe for the chic and trendy woman.

7 Abovian Street)

AIM APRIL

2OO4


Diamonds

-

Diamond Company of Armenia/Jewelry Company olArmenia Diamonds and diamond jewelry cut and polished in Armenia. Beautilul pieces in traditional and modern settings available lor sale. (1 Sovkhozian Street, near Hrazdan Stadium)

Costume Jewelry

-

Merci Lovely faux bijoux, moderately prlces, mostly imported from Paris. (62 Terian Street)

Walches AWI (Armenian Watches

lndustries)- Made in Armenia watches thatare trendy

and very affordable. Greal souvenirs to take home.

(1

4 Abovian Street)

Candy Shop Grand Candy

- Take a walk into Willi Wonka's

and eat Armenian-made choco-

lates, marshmallows, caramels and candied lruit. (54 Mashtots Street)

Believe lt or Not Shop

- Off season clothing most likely from an outlet...a trademark lawyer's dreaml But some good buys to be had. (39 Mashtots Street) Gapland

Eyeglasses Hay Optic

-

Hundreds ol great European frames to choose from. Eye exams on Low Pricesl (41 Mashtots Street)

the spot and it only takes a day

Best lnternational Gift Shop

-

A Scottish woman importing goods from Dubai and Europe with a cool little shop in Yerevan. lf thats not inlernational, then what is? (24 Mashtots Street) Sesam

-

Appliance Store ZigZag- Iheyve got it all and have had it all lor years, from dishwashers and air conditioners to DVD players and vacuums. (20 Sayat Nova Street)

SERUIGES Taxi Service Doka Taxi - Mercedes tuis in good working condition (i.e. notfalling apart, smelly or rattling) with a meterl And, lhey come when they say they will. (55-55-55)

Laundry Service Selena

- They pick up and deliver and do dry-cleaning.

ln addition they iron

everything. Can be done in one day. Way cheaper than hotel charges lor the same services. (4 Zakian Street)

lnternet Cal6 and Phone Cards AlexServe

-

Speedy internet service and cheap international calls.

(62 Terian Street)

PIace to Have a Suit Made Akapella

- Custom

handmade suits take about a week so get measured on your lirst

day. Saville Road quality

atIJ.

Maxx prices! (59 Komitas Street, near Lambada Bridge)

*ffift\ilflmlGr'm..

Armenian Crafts and More Shop Salt Sack

-

0nly the very best handmade gifts and Armenian themed items are

selected lor Salt Sack. A must for every visitor to Armenia. Check out the wine

section in the back and take home a bottle or two (3/1 Abovian Street)

Grocery Slore

Jewelers

Galaxy - They have everything from Philadelphia Cream Cheese to Woolite. They deliver and take orders by phone and even through the internet. (1A Kievian Street- nextto Kievian Bridge)

-

Beautilul designs made in Armenia by local jewelers and Arpeg proprietors. Good for window shopping, too. (MarriottArmenia Hotel at Republic Square)

Arpeg

AIM APRIL

2OO4


Couen Stony

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Children's Museum

Children's Museum 0n the corner of Abovian and Sayat Nova, this charming museum fi led wrth works by chi dren

wil pula spring

n your step and a smile on your face

(6 Sayat Nova Street)

Parajanov Museum Always a favorlte. Even after dozens of vrs ts, theres always something new and wonderful in this home museuTn of a(ist. f ilm director, activist and all around interesting guy Sergel Paralanov (15/1 6 Dzoragyugh Street)

Sarian Museum Beautifu paintings that enler through your eyes and pefetrate a I the way to your soul (3 Sarian Street)

Khachaturian Museum Housing musica scores and etters by composer Aram Khachaturlan, as well as awards, pr0grams and accommodations presented [o the composer. (3 Zaroubian Street)

Archeological Dig Not for everyone this open dig near Medzamor has been working for decades Also visit the sma I muse ;h

um loaded with artfacts from the dig

Etchmiadzin Museums Behind the altar of the cathedra s an interesting museuTfl with church artifacts inc uding the vessel

in whlch Holy Muron is prepared, the sword that

side as well as vestments, chalbibles Look f or the Gorky lMuseum to be

pierced Christs lces and

openrng soon on the grounds.

(Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin)

,,ti' '1" AIM APRIL

200.I


NIGHT kffiffiffi Poplavok Mediocre food but the best lazz in the city, along a pond, especially enjoyable on a summer evening. (41 lsahakian Street)

Pool Arma Hotel

-

For less than US $3 per day (or a monlhs pass for $30) you may

pool {rtness center and showers, Swim while Araratand the city loom in lront of you The view is incredible and theres bar and restaurant service More use the

centrally located is the Congress Hotel pool which is a little bit of Florida

Hair Colorist lrma at Anna Rossl Salon - She knows color and uses western products lor dying and highlighting. You won'twalk outwith purple hair (unless you wantto.) Look for the orange door (31 Moskovian Street)

AR

OH

Irs0r

ME lr ttlu

Dt

National Chamber 0rchestra

c0ItttII r^ctlt tttx clt;

By lar the bestticket in town. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderlul! lf there is a con-

certwhile you are in town, don t miss it! (1 lsahakian Street)

0pera Park All the cafes in the park have music, the trick is finding one with live music and sitting in the right place so you d0n't have to listen to the music lrom another cal6 Nairi Ginema Often offers English language movies. (50 Mashtots Street)

Republic Square Lit up like a fairy tale. Sit at a cal6 and just enjoy

,6;*ry

r,

4=

Facial Vitak Salon

-

Relaxing cleansing hydrating lacials with great imported products. - you won't be sorry. (10/6 Pushkin Street)

Enjoy a relaxing hour

Manicure No Name Salonl

Clubs

*

For less than $2 and in less than a half houl geta great mani-

Monte Cristo (next to Central Bank) and Cheers (near Sakharov Square) are the

cure in a clean salon. Armenias answer to Elizabeth Ardens Red Door this one is green. (6 Byron Street)

two clubs closest to a Western ambience, but both lack the comforts one expects in the West. People tend to get rowdy al Monte Cristo Cheers is a smaller bar-

Zita at Anna Rossi Salon

like club.

(31 Moskovian Street)

Eyebrows

AIM APRIL

2OO4

-

Carelul removal and shaping of eyebrows.

-

except


YEHEMN

ronKlD$

Emin Aghahegians, a

14-year-olil nesident ol Yeneuan shanes his lauorite piclrs - some ol them are also ourr hest 'adult' piclrs

THINGS Game Zone

-

Ttl IItl

Video and computer games at 400 Drams/hour.

(58 Mashtots Street)

Bowling Center - State of the art bowling alley. Not cheap at 10,000 Drams/hour ($18) bul go early (belore 6pm) and pay hall price. (18 Halabian Street) Water World - A way cool water park with red blue and orange sliding tubes, skating rink and much more. (40 Miasnikian Avenue)

Fast Kart

-

Mini machines zooming around a track with you in the drivers

seat. (35 Acharian Street, right outside Yerevan, on the road to Sevan)

Paint Ball Center-Yep, we've gotpaintballwith allthe gearand

mess.

(Same location as Fast Kart)

SHOPPING -

CDs and DVDs Disc on Mashtots (48 Mashtots Street)

-

lots of music, games and movies.

MU$EUM$ Parajanov

-

"lf you have to go to a museum, this is the one to go lo,"

even this 14-year-old. (15/16 Dzoragyugh Street)

RESTAURANIS Mr. Toaster - Great sandwiches and really good pizza. (25 Koriun Street) Artbridge Cal6 - Young friendly wait staff and great lood and snacks. (20 Abovian Street)

Tumanian Shawurma

-

Cheap and good sandwiches. Beel, pork and

chicken shawurma, as well as the best khorovadz sandwich in town.

(l9Iumanian AIM APRIL

2OO4

Street)


Botanical Gardens (63

Mini

Khnko Aber Children's Library ron books and story

-

Ha f a

time t00 (42ll Teran

m

Goll

Avan)

Vahakni Estates (58 Gevorg Chaush)

Circus (l Agaiangeghos Street) Horseback Ridinq al Aryudzi (ca | 09 42 45 /0) Puppet Theatre (4 Sayat Nova Street)

-

Slreetr

Yerevan Zoo (20 lViasnikian Sireet)

Marionette Thealer (43 Mashtots Street) Hekiat Caf6 (6 Tamanran Street at the Cascade)

Children's Museum (6 Sayat Nova Street) Decoralive Art Studio Ceramics c asses and 's.

more. A so known as Manve /Samve (35 Sarian Street) Victory Park - There are many parks in and around the c ty be sure t0 v s t as many of them as possib e (2 Azatutian Avenue)

$tony lime at thc Children's Lihnary The

I

Khcnko Aher Children's Lihrary

142i t Terian Strcet ) is the onlv lihrarv ol its kind in all of the tbrmer Soviet Union. Built in 1980. it is truly a one-of-a-kind place. Children from regions outside of

-t I

Yerevan come on field trips with their

i

classes and teachers.

The three-story building houses over half a million books. Each age range has their own bookroom.There's a story room

with murals of Armenian fairytales

and

fables, the music room has paintings of musical instruments, the reserved room has the whole history of Armenia wrapped around its walls. The story room has a puppet theater,

and a storyteller who tells a traditional Armenian tale to any child who wants to hear a story. Groups reserve visit times. but it's possiblc to join one of them. or wait your turn and get them to tell you a story. It's defi-

nitely worth

it.

r At\t .{PRtL

100.J


Stony

Businesses that offBr prroducts

. drA w.

t.

'l

From lran

From Beirut

Evik Specialty Food Store (106

Lagonid Reshunnt (37 Nalbandian Street)

Nalbandian Street) EaSm Cuisine (62 Vazgen Sargsian

Street)

Raflis Kebab (50/1 Mashtots Avenue)

From the US

(53/55 Pavstoc Byuzand Street)

Southern Fried Chicken (12 Tigran Mets Street) Mr. Toaster (25 Koriun Street)

From ltaly

Iufenkian Hotel (See page 36)

Seroj Sukiasian s Apartment Buildings

Maniott Armenia Hotel (Republic Square)

Piza di Roma (1 Abovian Street 32 Tumanian Street

/

/

1 Khorenatsi Street)

Piza Pepino (23 Mashtots Avenue)

From France

Rouge Cosmetics (15 Vardanants)

Cal6 de Paris (2311 Abovian Street)

Europe Hotel (32 Hanrapetutyun Street)

Monte Cristo Restaurant

From Aleppo Haleb Food Store (72 Terian Street)

Paris Lena Store (mens clothing)

Aladdin Restaurant (31 Moskovian Stree$

(17 Abovian Street) Menua Tours (19 Sayat Nova Street)

Parma Market (79A Baghramain Avenue)

Artbridge Cafd and Bookstore

Palermo Shoe Shop (48 Mashtoh Avenue)

(20 Abovian Street)

(16 Tumanian Street)

From lstanbul

Merci Bijoux (62 Terian Street) Merci Mode (womens clothing)

Chez Garo (48 Pushkin Street)

(62 Terian Street)

Ani Curtain Shop (28 Moskovian Street)

Nane Shop (womens clothing)

Ai Leoni Restaurant (40 Tumanian Street)

Campaillard Bakery (5 Koriun Street) (20 Vzgen Sargsian Street)

Ani Plaza Hotel (19 Sayat Nova Street)

AIM APRIL

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OI'[BIATIN

PITl|

what t0 da whcn you'ug done it all Tamara lce Gream Factory Call the marketing department five days ahead and visit this funJilled factory with a laboratory and a production building. Be sure to go hungry and on a hot day and sample great ice cream. (Tel. 28.00 58)

Ashtarak Milk Factory Call eight days ahead to arrange a tour of the lactory which produces ice cream, Taste your way through the

yogurt milk, sour cream and other dairy products. lactory Fun! (Tel. 28.94.28)

House ol Davidian Carpet Factory - Visitlhis plant (15 minutes lrom Republic Square) with 50 looms and see how carpets are made by hand The tour lasts about one and a half hours. (Tel.57 14.27)

Archery/Skeet Shooting Iry your hand at archery (or pistol and rifle shooling) in the Davidashen Gorge. Shoot either at targets or inlo the gorge. They also have skeet shooting diversion lrom regular day trips. (Tel 36.10 10)

- a greal

Horseback Riding Ayrudzi Riding Club offers horseback riding and lessons in picturesque Ashtarak

(Tel 09 42 45 70)

Goom Market at 11pm A llurry of activity as farmers bring produce from the villages, and sellers make wholesale purchases f rom middlemen-brokers.

Flower Market at 11pm Flower brokers sell wholesale out of the backs ol their cars to local merchants great buys and really fun. (Vazgen Sargsian Stadium parking lot)

-

Yerevan Brandy Factory They call it brandy, etleryone else still calls itArmenian Cognac! One and a half

hour tour of factory wlth tastings and refreshments, (Tel. 56.33.38)

Fast Kart Just outside the city limits of Yerevan, on the road to Sevan, you can test your driving skill (as if Yerevan's roads are not challenging enough) at this go-kart park. (Tel. 62.88.80)

Watenuorld Theres nothing like hurdling through tubes and landing in cool relreshing water atthis welllhought out water park. (Tel. 63.34.30; 63.89.98)

AIM APRIL

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uffi

fl#ls

tE#-

r Jq,

l!_

,]

fl".':-iIti

[lr,*.#


o o

Drivers who don't stop for pedestrians

-

or red

lights for that matter. Pedestrians who cross the street anyrvhere and anytime without looking for oncoming cars.

o General apathy o Khorovats at every celebratory gathering. o Shop owners who don't have change and get annoyed when the customer doesn't either

o When people

.

say "no problem" knowing full well that it will be a problem. Lack of organized lines; pushing and shoving

while in line.

o Gettin0 trapped ata dinner with hours of toasting. o The custom of spitting. o Being followed around in stores by anxious shop workers who either want to help or watch to prevent

. o

shoplifting. People who will grve wrong directions instead of admitting they don't have any idea where you want to go Drivers who change their tires or make repairs or

adjustments to their cars in the middle of the road, instead of pulling over to the shoulder. Not only annoying,

o

but very dangerous. Lack of variety in cheeses and good olives (although it's

getting better).

Photos by Karen Mirzoyan

AIM APRIL

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31


Stony

A Day on 10,000 Dnams Sleep - 0n a friend's couch Breaklast - Yum Yum Donuts Walk

-

0

-

500

Donuts and coffee

Around Vernisage

.

Bookmark Souvenir - Vernisage Lunch - Lagonid Stand - Falafel and a soda Metro - Clean, cool and organized Sightsee - Around city Gal6

-

Dinner

50 0

150

Studio Cafe atthe Cascade or Chez Garo on Pushkin Sreet . 3,000

.

Bepublic Square - Cotton candy, popcorn and a soda lce Cream - From a stand Walk Up - 0r ride the escalator at the Cascade to see the Beer

-

1,000 500

Coffee

-

0

600 150

view .

0

250

Anywhere

300 Mini Bus - (round trip) 2,000 Amusement Park - Victory Park with rides and Late Night Snack - Mr. Toaster for sandwich, fries and beverage 1,500

treats

10,000

Total

Wffiffi

i?.',#i,i, IJ"J"r[:'Jtr3l:

there's no sign welcoming customers or

advertising the fare. Welcome to a place where everything including the tables and chairs are reminiscent of grandma's kitchen. And especially the food.This is the best place in Yerevan for real (Western) Armenian food. Welcome to Chez Garo where proprietor Garo Enfiedjian has embarked on his latest venture in the restaurant business.

Since June 2003 when Chez Garo's opened, customers can't get enough of the delicious Western Armenian dishes that are the specialty of the house. When you've had enough of Yerevan's

best khorovats (or kebab, as barbecued chunks of meat are known elsewhere in the world) and want something different, this is the place to be. Located on Pushkin Street near Mashtots, the place is so small and modest you'll miss it if you don't look closely. Most weeknights, all of the 20 chairs are taken. Come early or call ahead if you want to satisfy your craving for mante (baked Armenian dumplings stuffed with ground meat and onions) served with garlic yogurt sauce and sumak. Dilto if you want the best sou beoreg (thin layers of hand-rolled dough, boiled, layered with cheese and butter, and

a crispy golden brown) since the church picnics of your youth. There is no menu at Chez Garo's. The staples are the mante, various beoregs, and the standard appetizen: tabbule, hummug etc. But never stop there. Always ask Chef Garo what delectable, exotic items he's cooked up. One night it will be topik - the garbanzo bean paste stuffed with spiced oniong cooked and served with lemon juice and olive oil. Another night it will be some form of lamb stew baked long and slowly. For the very fortunate, there is midia dolma (stuffed mussels) or kufte. The restaurant has a staff of three. There is baked

AIM APRIL

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and retail establishments. There are no fancy tables or chairs or umbrellas. In the spring, a

few wooden tables and chairs come out to the sidewalk, and stay through the fall. Here, Studio Cafd provides a perfect view of the Botero Cat.

ocated at the foot of the Cascade. Gohar Sargsian's Studio Caf6 offers a three course meal, with wine or beer, for about US $9. In the summer of 2001, when Sargsian decided to turn her flrst floor apartment into a restaurant, it was risky business. "My apartment was always a meeting place for my friends. When a friend suggested the idea for a restaurant, I was all for it even though I had no experience in running a business like this."

..-l: *

U5ffiul*o

vernisasel

Enfiedjian who cooks the meals, sets the tables, pours the wine and introduces guests to each other.Then there are his two helpers, women who have learned his recipes and help

in the

added

among the multi-leveled fountains, amid the

colorful flowers. Here lovers and friends and families gather until the late hours of the night when the air is perfectly balmy. At the foot of this immense structure

kitchen. and also wait tables. But

beware, they'll refuse to remove your plate if there is any hint of food left on the table. The customers are mixed.There are some from Istanbul, where Enfiedjian was born. Others are from France, where he lived for many years. Some are from Lebanon or the US, in search of home cooking. Others are just fortunate enough to have found him. Don't expect an)'thing fancy. When the restaurant gets busy, some regular customers (and there are many) help serve and clear the tables. If you go more than once, you'll see Arto

and Gayane at the corner table. One night after dining at a nearby restaurant, they

noticed this little street-level place

and

inquired inside. They came back the next night for dinner and have returned every night for eight months. "When I come here to eat, it's like I'm eating at home. Every day there is something new. I feel like I'm coming home at the end of a hard day," says

each of

Yerevan, Studio Caf6 is one of several cafes

the summer people can be found sitting --...}k-.-

-

which overlooks Opera and downtown

Studio Cafd is still that gathering place for

C.

Armenian favorite, sorrel soup

which can be a hearty meal in itself.The combination of appetizers such as humus and eggplant salad along with the tomato, cheese and basil salad make for a refreshing and light summer lunch or dinner. For those who are really hungry or want something more filling, there is herb crusted steak or grilled pork chops or pasta bologonese. But before or after or with any of Studio Caf6's meals, there are the French fries - the best in town. They're thin. crispy, sweet, delicious. As in most places in Yerevan, one can sit for hours, lingering over a meal and coffee. This is one of the best places to linger under the summer sun or in the warm and breezy evenings. In the summer, most nights the tables are packed. But not to worry. Sargsian rarely turns a customer away. This businesssavvy woman has got the right ingredients to keep her customers happy. If what you are looking for is good food with friendly service, then this is the place to be. The perfect view of the newly revamped Cascade is an

friends - but the number of friends has grown to include her customers. You can't beat the location. The Cascade is more than a cascading stairwell. It includes several platforms and exhibition spaces along its sides. It could well be considered the Spanish Steps of Yerevan where especially in

'i=,= '\-5,,t---; *--'':"

The restaurant has six tables inside. Its style can best be described as relaxed and unassuming. The menu is a mixture of traditional and international fare. There's delicious homemade lentil soup, or the

Arto. r AIM APRIL

2OO4

bonus.

r


Goven $tony

A Day on 10,000 Dollans Presidential Suite at Marriott

-

2 f loors, jacuzzi,2 bathrooms, executive lounge,

1,000 Square) Mercedes Stretch Limo - US $200 per hour, for 7 hours. (Tel. 52.11.11) ,400 Prescription Eyeglasses - Hay Optic (7 Abovian Street) 300 breakfast, cocktails, snacks. (Republic

1

Handmade Leather Purse Handmade Suit

-

-

Manul (11 Abovian Street or 9 Mashtots Street)

Akapella (59 Komitas Street)

-

150 300

Earrings - Franck Mueller (18 Abovian Street) Lunch - Phoenicia Restaurant (3 Tamanian Street) Charity - Three computers and a printer for a village school Facia! - Vitak Salon, next to Dolmama Restaurant (10/6 Pushkin Street) . Massage

.

1,500 80

2,000 .

40 20

Ask the hotel concierge.

Manicure & Pedicure - Ask the hotel concierge Hair - Color, cut and blow dry at any of the salons recommended Painting - From Art Vernisage at Sarian Park. Collee and Pastry - Caf6 de Paris (2311 Abovian Street) Purchase 5 Gitt Subscriptions at AIM off ice for friends (Ani Plaza Hotel) Handmade Caryet - Tufenkian Rugs. (2111 Tumanian Street) Dinner - Dolmama (for 2 with wine) (10 Pushkin Street) Collee and Dessert - Yerevan Hotel Lobby (14 Abovian Street) Poplavok - Jazz, caviar and champagne. (41 lsahakian Street) Total

25 60

125 20

245 2,500 100 15

120 10,000

llne of the newest additions to Yerevan's fine llaining experience is Noubar Jivanian's Phoenicia with its wide range of European and traditional Armenian dishes Dini.,g at Phoenicia is a regal affair. The original stone walls, wrought iron fixtures and unique Armenian qrmbols such as the pomegranate are tucked away in the most unexpected comers The tasteful d6cor creates a

romantic environment where one can relax and relish fine food and good wine.

Jivanian opened Phoenicia 2003.

in

An astute businessman with

February

a penchant

for fine food, he ventured into the restaurant business and has found that his expectations have been surpassed. "Phoenicia as a name has historical value for me. It is a link between east and west, which is what we've tried to do with our cuisine here. Food that is meaningful and his-

AIM APRIL

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DllTMAMA ln 1998. Jirair Avanian opened Dolmama !because. "There weren't any decent places to eat in Yerevan," he says. "There was no respect for food. I wanted to give people a creative alternative." And that he's done. Dolma is made with of tender filet mignon. Apricots are

slices

used as a basis for sauce on baby veal. Thick, creamy buffalo yogurt is the basis of a surprisingly simple dessert that is reminiscent of

- and way beyond - grandma.

The philosophy behind Dolmama is to provide food with dignity. This makes for serious dining instead of traditional Armenian home cooking. With the amazing variety of produce and meat in Armenia, Avanian has been able to make good on his mission.

Like the menu, the

atmosphere at

Dolmama is sort of homey, but with a stylish twist that mixes the old with the new. The artwork is eclectic: ancient carpets with modern batik. The walls are warm earthy tones of greens and blues and peaches Nothing is over-

ly ethnic or strictly Armenian, but everything is Armenian-inspired - just like the menu. Dolmama's menu provides a nice selection of choice. Grape leaves appear not just in the

almost-traditional dolma mentioned above,

but also as wrapping for quails. Pork,

beef,

chicken, lamb, trout and the famous Armenian crayfish make appearances in various sauces and with fortifying side dishes - all elegantly and beautifully served, several omnipresent pomegranate seeds. Delicious carpaccio, different from anything any Italians

with

could produce, to home made pasta with yogurt sauce are all on the permanent menu. But look for the special menu, too, which offers seasonal items in a seasonal country. For soup try the mushroom crayfish bisque. The salad and appetizer menu includes delicious choices such as smoked trout with sun-dried tomatoes and arugula

toric at the same time." Phoenicia's small dining room seats only 36,and even at full capacity that makes for an intimate setting especially when the occasion calls for a special evening. The menu is a mmbination of European, Greek, Cypriot, lrbanese and Armenian dishes Jivanian's aim - to create dishes that link east and west - is apparent in the selection. Start with the Phoenicia tomato soup or sweet corn cream chowder. There are a variety of hot and cold appetizers such as mari-

nated green olives or calamari fritatta. But the best is the carpaccio - pink, think and delicious. Continue with the fusion salad featuring sharp, delicious Armenia arugula and sweet pears. As a main course, Jivanian offers steak tartare, French style or Armenian chi kufte. The delicious poached pear in wine sauce makes a perfect dessert. So does the best tiramisu in town.The average cost per person with a glass of wine is about US $30-50 and well worth the experience. On Friday and Saturday nights a violin and guitar duo provide a well-selected repertoire of romantic, happy music. r AIM APRIL

2OO4

walnut mushroom salad. For a main course there's mountain lamb stew or ishkhan (a local flsh) with lemon butter sauce. The current special menu includes a celery and yo$urt soup with bacon or whole cornish hen with a f,g and wine sauce. With such an elegant menu no wonder Avanian's menu is the choice for state dinners and inaugural parties. This is also the special night out venue of choice for Yerevan residents and for frequent visitors. The average cost per person is about US $35-50 including wine and dessert. And what wine - Avanian's selections of new favorites and old gems makes the experience well

worth it.

For those perfect spring and summer evenings, patio seating is available. To make sure you have a table for dinner, reservations are

recommended.

r


Tulenkian

Hotels

At Sevan and the Lori Reqion

Both Tuienkian hotels are beautiful. luxurious and a perfect blend of traditional Armenian d6cor with Western conveniences and standards The hotels are surrounded by beautiful scenery and ofler a won-

derful escape from the crty Mostolthe blankets, mirrors, furniture and {ittings are locally made (and for sale rn Tufenkian s Yerevan shop) ln addition. the restaurants are great But the best thing about the hotels are the mattresses the most comlortable in Armenia. Worth it lust to sleep in the bedsl

More Hotels Outside ol Yerevan

I

Harsnakar Hotel Complex and Waterworld

2

lsuz Hotel rn Gyumr

1

l.

Tsovinar Cottages at Sevan

12. Ayg Hotel in Ararat

13 Anush Hotel in Jermuk

3 Argishti Hotel in Vanadzor 4 Adlgaz Mountain Resort ln Tsahkadzor

15 Anush Motel on the way to Lori

5

16

Berrin Guesr House r^

6 Writers

7

Gyur'

House rn Tsahkadzor

Darist Hotel in Kapan

14

Basen Hotel in Sisian

Life Guest House in Jermuk

17 Ghazarian's GuestHouse in Dilijan 18. Sedas Guest House in Goris

B Splendor Cottages in Tsahkadzor

19. Getap Guest House in Dilijan

9

20. 0dzun Guest House in 0dzun

Viardo Cottages in Tsahkadzor

10 Flamingo

Cottages at Sevan

21 .

Motel in Stepanavan

Altitude Bunker

-

Very

coo bar wrth New York Clty attitude. (12 Sayat Nova Street)

Restaurant Shant Restaurant

-

lts a hootl Step back to the late Greek, early Boman

Empire Food and service aren't bad. (2 Janlbekian Street) Bu ild ing Cleopatra Casino with the Pryamld (under construction). The theme is carried

on inside (0n the road to Sevan, 5 km lrom Yerevan)

x.*l

lndoor Cal6 Sayat Nova

Cafe

Ihree f oors featuring the Col seum with ancient Greek

adornnrents and I ve cabaret enterlalnmenl on one floor, a trip to the Amazon (comp ete w th b rd calls) and live music on another f loor, and a cool rooftop garden The lood is okay but its the place that must be seen. (33 Sayat Nova Street)

0utdoor

House

Ca16

Rome

Sit among the rurns of ancient Bome with fountains, columns and a large video screen b asting current hits (5 0ghakadzev Aygi) Ancient

.\

0n the road to Ashtarak. across from Vahakni check out the Versace wanna-behouse complete with ltalian statues and fountains (Note, no connection to Vahakni

l\t ,\PRil_ tol)l

)


Stony

mrewaymm bU$m,hsrm toulsitffir

Poet Paruyr Sevaks grave and museum

-

A pictur-

esque small museum among gardens is a nice little

stop before crossing the mountains to Noravank. Caveman Caf6 (for lack of a befter name)

- A charm-

ing caf6 built into the side olthe mountain 1 5 km belore Noravank by a man who understands

tourism. Looks like it was built by Fred and Wilma Flintstone. 0rder khorovats on the way up and then enjoy your meal in the cool cave on the way down. Wineries, just off the main road on the right, belore the turn into the

Noravank monastery, offer wine-

tasting. Take a bottle or two home. Local women make the best lavash in a tonrr(in the ground oven) just oflthe main highway ramp on the left side, on the way to

Sartarabat. Buy a kilo to

eat

on the way back. Satans Gorge is at the base of the road that goes up to Tatev Monastery, lt's like a little Garden ol Eden

with hot springs. Bring a bathing suit,

a towel,

maybe even a book to read.

A teahouse on the highway to Sevan offers herbal teas and pastries, and is a perfect stop either travel-

ing to or from the lake. The Charents Arch, a monument to the poet Yeghishe Charents who died in a Soviet prison, is a rest stop on the way to

Garni. lt offers a speclacular

view of the Ararat mountain and the Ararat valley. Beware of grazing cows. Just past the Arch on the right side, heading toward

Garni, is

a fruit stand run by women who yell and

scream at potential customers, offering their handmade products

-

After a visit to

Saghmosavank in Ashtarak, stop at

jams, pickles, yogurtand dried fruits.

the Ashtaraki Dsor Restaurant, eat khoravats, grilled

lish and lresh lavash at this fun, outdoor complex with live music nightly, paddle boats and even a mini-zoo. A mustlor every tourist!

AIM APRIL

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BEYONIIOURI$M What to 0o When Feeling Ghanitahle lllhen

vou can't stand to see one more

can you do?

finances to meet its needs. So, as you pack those two suitcases that the airlines allow, put your own clothes and toiletries in one, and use

Not to worry.Armenia is a place with a variety of attractions - not all of them fun, but most of them fascinating, interesting and rewarding.

donate. That leaves you with plenty of space to put in all your shopping on your way back.

UU.nrr.tr.

or one more mountain, what else

the other to bring things you would like to

tions? They are the institutions and organizations which contribute to Armenia's develop-

Etchmiadzin Children's Genters Located in Nork, Arabkir, Malatia,

ment. Imagine visiting and seeing firsthand the various organizations which provide services to Armenia's population. Orphanages, schools, social service organizations, AIM (yes,AIM!) the artists'union - curious about what they look like and how they're run? Go check them out. Do or don't make a donation as you choose. Perhaps you'll flnd a project or

Kanaker and Etchmiadzin, these centers provide after school programs. Program includes dancing, singing, art, language, religion and gymnastics. The children put on unique. spectacular shows. Gifts of art supplies and treats are gratefully accepted. Contact: Fr. Khad Ghazarian

Western concepts of privacy. It's easy to walk in, uninvited, and poke around to understand what's what. And understand you must if you want to make a difference in any of the various directions open to all. Below are some of what AIM suggests you visit. Want to go further still? Wonder what you

can bring with you when you come to visit

Armenia? The days when blue jeans and

Address: 14H Nercissian Street Phone:28.15.06 E-mail: ucenter@freenet.am

Phone:56.07.07 Website : www.pyunic.com

AIM Magazine Visit the AIM office and see how your favorite magazine is produced and published in Yerevan. Purchase the latest copy (hot off the local press) and subscribe your friends and family. Contact: Laura Gononian Address: Ani Plaza Hotel 19 Sayat Nova Street #28 - Business Floor Phone:58.36.99

E-mail: AlMinfo@eArmenia.com

Pyunic Center lor the Disabled Center for disabled children and young adults offers sports and computer training, summer and winter camps, and language classes. Pyunic's athletes compete in the international Paralympics. Tiaining equipment and supplies build personal and nation-

flii

chewing gum were high-demand items, those days are long gone. There are few consumer

goods that can't be found in Armenia. So, don't bother putting any of those in your suitcase. Instead, imagine bringing a suitcase full of paintbrushes, pastels or good paper for an art class Or a labeling machine and labels for Or educational software for a classroom. Or sheet music for a music school. Or... well, you get the idea. All of these can probably be found in Armenia if one searched long a museum.

and hard. But most institutions don't have budgets that allow them to purchase what they need. So, gifts of supplies or software would be long-term gifts, useful and desirable.

How to decide? Write AIM and ask us. We'lI be happy to send suggestions or refer you to those who would know. But there isn't an educational, health or social institution in Armenia (or anywhere for that matter, but this article is about Armenia) with sufficient 38

gift

for the giver and the receiver. Contact: Hakob Abrahamian. Ruzanna Sargsian Address: 16 Tsisernakaberd

E-mail: pyunic@arminco.com

What are these unconventional attrac-

two worthy of support by your family or church or club. In any case, it will give you much to think about. After all. Armenia is small and the society not dedicated to the

al pride. Funding a child to go to camp is a

AIM APRIL

2OO4

NPAK NPAK is the Armenian acronym for the Armenian Center for Contemporary and ExperimentalArt. NPAK allows young artists to express themselves in a variety of experimental styles such as mixing video and com-


puter art, live performances, installations, photography and painting. Since its opening in 1996, NPAK has become a center for conceptual art, experimental theatre, rock and electronic music.

Contact: Edward Balassanian Address: 1/3 Pavstos Biuzand Boulevard Phone:56.82.25

Email: accea@netsys.am Website: www.accea.org matches can be found for individuals in need

Ghess Academy of Armenia

of

Spearheaded by grandmaster Smbat Lputian, this unique institution, founded in 2002, provides free chess training to the best young players in Armenia. With affiliated campuses in Gyumri,Vanadzor, Armavir, and most recently Stepanakert, Chess Academy is taking urgent measures to maintain what has been Armenia's most competi-

screening and laboratory facilities and accept samples on the spot. Contact: Sevak Avagian Address: 1A Saryan Street

the

tive sport for which its recognition of success and traditional excellence is unparalleled. Learn how you can help trainers and players stay in Armenia, practice their profession, and ensure that tomorrow's world champions

bone marrow transplants. Center

I

has can

Phone:53.98.80 E-mail: abmdr@arminco.com Website: www.abmdr.am

Norwegian Refugee Gouncil Since 1995, the Norwegian Refugee

Council has constructed solid stone houses for hundreds of Armenian refugee families from Azerbaijan. Msit their offices in the Tekeyan Center to learn how you can help fund a home for refugees. A Diaspora visitor discovered that the refugee family for whom they had funded a home was actually a relative! Maybe that will happen to you, too? Contact: Timothy Straight Addres: Tekeyan Crnter - 50 Khanjian Sneet Phone: 57.17.98 Email address: tstraight@nrc.am

play for Armenia. Contact: Aram Hajian Address: 49 Haffapetutyun Street

Phone:52.02.46 Email: aramhajian@arlex.am

Nork Old Age Home Social service organizations such

as

orphanages and old age homes can use all kinds of assistance. The home for the elderly in Nork is no different. Operating since 1990, it is home to 220 residents and operates with the barest resources. Although basics such as three hot meals a day and medical care are provided, there is still much the home requires. Whether you'd like to volunteer your time or make a donation Nork is a place to consider. Contact: Andranik Danielian Address: 197 Armenak Armenakian Street Phone: 65.27.71

Bone Marrow Registry Project The Yerevan office is the center of an international effort to collect and develop a massive data base of blood samples so that AIM APRIL

2OO4

39


Stony

T0uRt$M201 The Dos and Donts ol lburism

DO be a charitable tourist. If you're a teacher, bring one suitcase fllled with school supplies, if you're a doctor, bring a suitcase fllled with medical supplies. (See page 39). DO put 20,000 Drams in your pocket and

leave the city. Don't come back until you've spent it all at village markets, roadside stands, a meal in a small caf6. DO stop at hidden spots (see page37).

Ask your driver.

DO stay overnight in a hotel or bed and breakfast outside the city. (see page 36) DO take a weekend trip to Karabakh. DON'T miss the newly renovated museums in Yerevan. DO sit in Republic Square on a Saturday

afternoon to watch wedding parties circle the square.

DON'T forget to spend an evening watching the fountains in Republic Square and soaking up local flavor. DO have your picture taken at the Cascade near the Botero Cat. DO visit a hair salon and get a "do". DO hike up Mount Aragats. DON'T miss reading the papers. DO watch television (even for a few minutes) and check out the commercials. DON'T miss the Art Vernissage in Sarian Park across from the Opera.

DON'T forget to get paperwork allowing you to take art out of the country. DO walk or jog in the Hrazdan Gorge. AIM APRIL

2OO4

DO check out the view of the city and Ararat from the top of the Cascade steps. DO take a ride on the metro - it's cool, clean and efficient. DO arrange to take a tour of a local factory. (see page29)

DO talk with business travelers to see what they are doing and why. You'll get some interesting answers. DON'T forget to eat khorovats somewhere along Proshian Street, especially at one of the huge themed restaurants. DO visit the Sharan Craft Center for beautiful children's sweaters and lovely handmade gifts. (57 Arshakuniants Street) DO pick up a copy of Yerevan Guide or

Tour Info

magazine.

r


TIITBIEETRPIGTllRt The Economy ol Tounism

"fourism

I

is not just about the economy." points out Artur Zakarian, Head of the

at the Armenian Ministry of Tiade and Economic

Tourism Department

Development, "It's a social phenomenon."

You only have to walk the streets of Yerevan during the summer to realize that he is right. Visitors, predominantly but

not sole-

ly Diaspora Armenians, swarm the city and can be seen in tour agency minibuses all over

the country from May to October every year. Last year, the number of external tourists

(tourists coming from abroad) broke all records since independence, climbing accord-

ing to the Armenian National Statistical Service to just over 206,000, a 25 percent increase since 2002. As a proportion of total national GDP, tourism has been rising steadily from 6.1 percent in 2ffi1 to nine percent in 2003. In that year, tourists spent some US $260 million in Armenia.

Given this growth and employment potential, particularly for the rural regions which lie on the path to a medieval monument, it is not surprising that President

Kocharian and the Armenian Government in

Armenian Tourist Development Agency

2000 declared that tourism was going to be a

(www.Armenialnfo.am), is that airfare to and is still much too high.The existence of a visa regime, with most Western countries, and visa prices at or around $60 is also a deterrent, she says.The government is working on the second problem: visas are now available electronically, and visa fees are going to be re-examined by the government. The other major problem is the lack of a service mentality.Too many taxi drivers don't smile or don't quit smoking. Although most roads are now renovated, there is still a need for rest points on major roads. On the other hand, the number of international-standard beds has increased to 4000, and there are now hotels and restaurants outside Yerevan, in Shirak, Lori,Aragatsotn and Karabakh. The number of flight destinations and the frequenry of flights linking Armenia

priority sector for the Armenian economy. In fact, according to a national competitiveness study conducted by international management consultants McKinsey & Co. in April 2003, tourism was one of the sectors with long-term potential for Armenia. What explains this growth? Well, one reason naturally is the burst in the numbers of Diasporans who keep coming back. Whether

to take part in

events such as the Pan Armenian Games and the Diaspora conferences or just to visit the homeland for the flrst time, visitors from the Diaspora are increas-

ing every year and are the vast bulk of Armenia's external tourism. Yet Armenia is

also attracting more and more

non-

Armenian tourists and in fact the percentage

of total tourists who are not

Diaspora Armenians has risen from 10 percent in 2001 to an expected 30 percent in10f,4. One of the reasons these numbers are not

even higher, according

to Angela Sax

Aslanian, Deputy Executive Director of the

AIM APRIL

2OO4

fromArmenia

Last year's Pan Armenian Games brought in lhousands 0l loulish. Those numberc are expected to double this year. Photo by Photolure 41


Goven $tony

among all countries that lie along the ancient

Silk Road. So is the effort to radically improve the standard of client service through seminars and training sessions for tourist professionals as well as by modernizing the tourism education system and settingup international partnerships with other edu-

cational institutions abroad. Lastly, much emphasis will be placed on raising the quality and availability of information and statistical data on the industry to the highest possible international standards. This will help the government to judge much more accurately

the impact of its policies as well to promote Armenia globally. Most important of all however according to Zakarian will be the level of cooperation and coordination of the efforts of all those involved in the tourism sector, from the Government and the private sector to the everyday man and woman in the street or in the village. "It will take the full engagement

of the citizens to make tourism a success story in Armenia," he explains, "Because

with the rest of the world has risen significantly. It's now possible to fly to Prague twice a week,Istanbul four times a week, Paris three times. Frankfurt once, London three times and Vienna four times each and every week. That

The creation of the Armenian Tourist Development Agency is part of the Government's long-term plans to promote tourism internationally. Armenia's participa-

to Moscow, an

tion in the World Tourism Organization's Silk Road Project is an effort to do just that, by

expected Italy flight, soon, and regular weekly flights to Athens, Aleppo and Dubai.

strengthening of tourist and transport links

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Gonnections

Binthnight Anmenia Making Youth an Offer They Can't Refuse

ln 1982, Edele Hovnanian was a student lat the University of Pennsylvania.

adults to Armenia have multiplied over the years and particularly after independence.

Philadelphia. She did what lots of college studecided to take a year to study abroad. The institution her choice? Yerevan State University.This was 1982,when there were hundreds of Armenians from the Middle East who would come each year to Armenia to pursue a college education. But few came from the West. She remembers that despite her non-existent Armenian language skillq and with the

Today, approximately 20 such programs exist (see www.armeniadiaspora.com for a complete listing). Most of them provide summer experiences in Armenia. The Land and Culture Organization (see adjoining article),

Soviet stranglehold on Armenia still very

experience (see AIM June 2001). Research performed by a team commissioned by Hovnanian in 2fi)3 shows,however, over the past five years, less than one percent of all US-based Armenian youths between

dents do

-

of

much apparent, eight months

later,

Hovnanian found herself not wanting to retum to the US. She is not alone. Programs bringing young

the Armenian Youth

Federation. the

Canadian Youth Mission

to

Armenia,

Diaspora-Armenia Connection are just a few of these. There is also Armenian Volunteer Corps that works to provide a longer, deeper

the ages of 18 and 32 have traveled to A view ol Debed River lrom the village ol

Ayroum, near Alaverdi, where LGO volunteerc built a solar lruit dryer complex in the summer ol 2003. Photo by Rafli Nlziblian

Armenia each year, and this percentage is probably even lower for the Diasporas in other countries.

The overriding message from the AIM APRIL

2OO4

vast

majority of those who do come and immerse four short weeks, in work, study or cultural visits and backpacking, is that this is a unique personal experience that sparks a sense of ethnic and cultural identity and a greater understanding of the people themselves, even for just

and the country Sometimes, it even develops into an urge to stay and help build Armenia.

It was in view of this "untapped potential" and of her own "life-changing educational experience" in Armenia nearly 20 years ago, that in September 2fi)3, Hovnanian founded Birthright Armenia, a new, non-partisan organization whose mission it is to strengthen

the Diaspora ties with Armenia. Birthdght Armenia aims to provide Armenians from all over the world, between the ages of 18 and 32 with the opportunity to be a part of Armenian

daily life and to contribute to Armenia's development while at the same time cultivating their own personal relationships and sense

of Armenian identity. The goal is simple: to


drastically increase the number of Diasporans visiting and connecting to Armenia, making it "trendy for Diasporan youth to travel to Armenia, a rite of passage that all young Armenians should have," Hovnanian explains. Linda Yepoyan is the Birthright Armenia director. She has been at this since 2002 when Hovnanian first came up with the idea. Since then, she has spent most days sitting at her computer,with telephone in hand,and making connectiong contacts, doing research, seeking

information in order to turn this Armenian community truism - "it's the youth that will make a difference" - into a real viable pro-

gram. Yepoyan, who lived

in

Armenia

between 1989-92, was determined to create

a

program that would be tailored both to Armenia's needs and to the Diaspora's identity and resources, incorporating the lessons and advice of existing Armenian and foreign models lor Diasporan youth immersion programs After seven months of planning, Birthright

is

up and running. The organization is offering community service placements with one of the many established service programs in Armenia. volunleers on an excursion to 0dzun. During their four-week stay, volunteers establish life-long bonds with each other, and with Armenia. Photo courtesy ol LCO LCO

Land and Culture Celebrates L5 Years f he I*and and Culture Organization (LCO) ! lwuar.tandandculture.org) is perhaps one

for over 25 years At first, these campaigns were held in Iran, in Syria, and then slowly, in

of the hst-known Diasporan youth summer

$oviet Armenia. After independence, the

programs (See AIM AugusUSeptember 1999). Set up n 1977 in France as a small

f6strg:changed to Armenia. By last year, LCO had four campaigns with a total of 60

grass-roots initiative, the organization now

working on two large sqale constructifii

1989.IrO',s

its l0th annirercer$ii the presidea$r:,r6f"''t$ Gevork Yagtqiisn; ' :.,.ii llhe'

:Eili(.to,:undqrto&e

in the US, UK,

projects inArrrenia and Nagorno Karabakt.

nual,:preserviition,

Belgium and:Armenia and has organizing one-mon& summer volunteer programs

This year the LCO celebrates 15 years sinc.e its fnt campaign in Alpenia back in

munity devebpmeat;,s Diasporan

has additiorral branches

kn

AIM APRIL

2OO4


Gonnections

But Hovnanian hasn't forgotten her own experience. So, Birthright also offers classes in Eastern Armenian language, as well as weekly seminars, excursiong and arcommodation with local Armenian families Additionally, if the participants successfully complete an eight-week program - any program, with any organization

-

Birthright Armenia reimburses the entire

roundtrip airfare. For those whose programs in Armenia last less than eight weeks, the organization will help organize placements so that they can stay a minimum of two months inArmenia,

thw becoming eligible for reimbursement.

In addition, the organization is keen to support any Diasporan student who wishes to follow a study experience in Armenia - be it through a semester abroad or year abroad program at any of the Armenian universities. This in effect will be the lirst step towards the creation of a number of quality, accredited study abroad programs in Armenia with foreign universities, from which Diasporan students will be able to choose. And by studying

in Armenia, young

Diasporans can truly

become part of the real life in Armenia like Hovnanian and Yepoyan did.

Armenia and its reality. In the words of Raffi Niziblian, campaign coordinator in Armenia, "LCO sees itself as a gateway for the Diaspora toArmenia and hopes to play a key role in Armenia-Diaspora relations."

LCO volunteers work, eat and spend their leisure time in vilages,gaining a unique,often life-changing introduction to Armenia that over the years has been shown to have a profound impact on young Diasporans"Many, to their own surprise, come to discover or re-

examine their own Armenian identity through the beauty and warmth, the hardship and struggle of the local people they en@unter," says Niziblian,who himself was a volunteer in 1999 and 2001.At the same time, LGO

Pnsident Edele Hovnanian (cente0 with Amenia Direclor Hayk Minasian (right)

Ghene

and [C0 USA Board Mcmb6r Anita tlersis ltett;, al he innaugumlion ol the solar fruit-drying lacility hat LGO volunteers helped build, in Ayroum. Photo courtesy of LCO

AIM APRIL

2OO4

For Hovnanian, being part of the real life in Armenia is the only way that Diasporans can understand the country and gain "a greater appreciation of the people in the Homeland. believe in their future and be inspired to help make that future." With this in mind, participants stay with local Armenian

families rather than in hotels and receive Easlern Armenian language training prior to and during trips to ensure that they get as much as possible out of their experience. The travel assistance of course makes the experience possible for many for whom the sub-


stantial cost of air travel is a major obstacle. This approach is certainly new and differ-

ent. And

it

gets better. What really

sets

Birthright Armenia apart is that it aims to act as a facilitator for all the other organizations running youth programs in Armenia - in effect directly and indirectly helping them grow by providing the infrastructural, logistical and financial support for them to expand. This support and cooperation, sometimes all too rare, is reciprocated by all the organizations currently in Armenia. "The important thing is not with which I..:.-.':',,'..

Werience is also personally rewarding participants truly contribute to the

,,. 't,r,rrt,,,,'!seBuse

,

Armenia,

but that they do come to

Armenia, learn what the country is really

if

they want to stay longer or return," says Narineh Azizian, direcabout and decide

tor of the Armenian

Volunteer Corps

(www.armenianvolunteer.org). "Birthright Armenia is therefore doing exactly the right

thing by embracing all existing youth programs in Armenia."

range of opportunitieg together with more professional recruiting, advertising and outreach. Given the poor economic climate of the last few years in the US, this objective will be ditflcult to achieve in the short-term predicts Yepoyan, since "non-profit organizationg are faced with cutbacks, downsizing of programs, and fundraising challenges and so very few are in a position to create new programs right now."

Birthright Armenia plans to support the creation of new, top-quality, well-organized youth programs that will provide a wider

LCO volunteers at

quake(19q&1$)r Other krportaot renova-

hospltst

tiol

on

work and play.

Photos courtesy ol LCO

i.,I.'.'

,t',:::::]l],lr:::the

' ,.

organization young Diasporans come to

I lilpprovement of conditions More than 10 volrifiteers decided tomove toArmenian perna, nently as a result of an intense LCO experierre. The benefits ire not one-sided howevor. The villagen themselves also benefit as apart from the positive impact of the project

itself on their area, they greatly appreciate interacting with young Diaspora Armenians and many of the expenses of the campaigns such as food and accommodation are fed into the local village.

Each campaign usually costs between $10,000 - $15,m0 and vary

projqetq include Saghmosavank (1998 20CI) aud Tatev's SL Minas village church (completed 1997). More recently, LCO has undertaken more projects aimed at enhancing economic and social development at the community level.In 2003, the two key projects were the constuc-

tion of solar fruit dryers in the village of Ayroum, in the Inri region 15 kilometers from the Georgian border, and the building of a water pipeline at the Shrshi regional hospital in Karabakh. Furthermore, almost 30 volunteen continued with the renovation of an

in

Kessab, Syria that will become an ethnographic museun According

from year to year based on the organization's direction, Diaspora concers and above all,Armenia's priorities For example, at the request of local 'rrr, 'residents, LCO volunteers worked on the restoration of the ancient church of the 1,t1,,rittlt1ti...tlGogaran village, 1.5 houn north of Yerevan,

therefore, in addition: lor;ihe ongoing proje.â‚Źt

had been damaged by the Spitak earth-

in Syria, two groups will work at the Shushi

ttt::itiiii.tttt.,teff

Armenian home

to Edele Hovnanian, president of the

US

lage in road to

will also,be u mostlybcal a sec'tion ot,fi!*,

Like Armenia,

tion.Wlthmorc programs emeryn&

respond

to

these

multi-nadonal,,out

from other more difficult to

LCO branch, this trend will continue "until Armenia's economic and employment situatbn ge8 trr more solid ground"" In 2ln4 r

AIM APRIL

2OO4

49


Connections

Ienden LouinU Gane Quality of Life Improves at This Home +:

-;i

s F.. r:l:

Nork Old Aue H()rnu is ll()t ll prettv p1... hv unv rlr'.'tch , rl the irnasination.

The

I

It's not inviting or warm. it's not painted in fricndly pastcls. it's not cvcn rcallv sanitary. But spcnd any am()unt o[ timc with cithcr thc staff or residents. and the human warmth and kindncss that cxists in this drab placc becomes undeniable.

In this sad-looking. grav place. kind faces with laughing smiles greet each visitor with a thousand blessings. Residents are full of warm words for the staff. too. who in turn treat the residents as they' would their own grandparents and elderlv aunts and uncles. 50

These elderly mcn and women who smell of filod and medicine and sometimes of urine no matter how much the statT bathes them. nir matter how much the nurses attend to them

-

arc thc rcsidcnts of this residential tacility which is one of tbur owncd by thc Republic. Those faces. those wrinkled faces tired and sad, sweet and smiling with their thick glasses and uncombed hair. Those frail bodies beneath layers and layers of colorful clothes

that are not much more than tattered rags. walking around in slippers and woolen socks have come to watch a performance. Actress Violeta Gevorgian who is considered by

AIM APRIL

200.1

many to be an icon of the Armenian theater hasn't been on stage for the past 15 years. She's at Nork for a special visit.The residents slowly shuffle into the cold auditorium, most not sure why. Emma is sitting in the front row. She too wants to recite a poem. But the nurses pull her back, kindly, with a "Not now Emma. Maybe later." She sits back disappointed and eager. Slowly they come and go. They hobble into empty seats but most can't sit for long. As Gevorgian finishes her performance, she says, "I wish you all well. Please don't think that you are alone or forgotten."


A woman shouts back, "We are not alone here. This is our family. This is our home." And one by one they begin to leave for the cafeteria where their hot lunch awaits. Valodya is 65 years old, but looks much older. He wears a suit jacket much too big for him. He says he has 13 children but the doctors and nurses take better care of him here at Nork than his own family did at home. He leans forward like a child about to share a secret, "I have to confess, though. I've not been a very good husband or father. I drank too much. My youngest son still comes to see me." Sophia never married or had children of her own. She says she was the youngest of the

family and her father made her promise that she would never marry so that she could take care of her parents. "Until the day he died he

made me promise that I would not marry." She shrugs her shoulders. "But this is a good place. They take very good care of us here." Meet Vica Chocolatovna. She's been at Nork just a little over two years.After her husband passed away Mca decided that she did not want to be a burden on her daughters who have large families of their own to support. She ran into a neighbor at church one day, someone she hadn't seen for some time. Her neighbor told her she was living in a home and Vica began to inquire. She asked the mayor's office about housing for the elderly, she asked about old age homes and when she found out about Nork she came to visit and decided she wanted to stay.

Vica is different from the rest

I have everything that a person could possibly need."The staff says

here. This is my place.

her daughters and grandchildren regularly come to visit. They make repeated attempts to take her back home but she refuses. Mca can talk for hours. She's a great storyteller; all she needs is an audience. And here, she has one. During social gatherings she sings and dances. Every morning she makes the rounds, going to each room and wishing everyone good health and spirits. Her real name is Victoria. When asked

because

she's come here on her own. She has made her own fate - no waiting around for her children to decide what would happen to her.

"This home is like heaven for me,"

she care if you believe me or not, but I really think it's like heaven here. They feed us three times a day whether we want to eat says

"I don't

or not, they provide us with water and heat and all the comforts we need. What more can I ask? Sweetie, I've spent my life dancing on flowers and over mountains, I am happy to be Residents ol the Nork Old Age Home enioying

lheir leisure time. Photos by Karen Mizoyan

AIM APRIL

2OO4

why she calls herself Chocolotovna and doesn't go by her real name she responds, "Isn't Chocolotovna a sweeter name?" She has similarly sweet names for her favorite nurses and doctors. She calls one Marmalatovna another Brilliantovna. Each has a special place in her heart.

Director Andranik Danielian regularly walks the halls and grounds and can be seen speaking with the residents. Given the chance each will sing his praises and thank God for putting them in the care of such a good and


Gonnections

thoughtful individual.

Liza and Masis are a couple. For both this

a small television. an old sewing machine and little knick-knacks from their

have

is their second marriage. Circumstances have

life before. Masis makes jokes and Liza

forced them to move into this home. They have a private room. It's one of the newly

blushes and laughs. Their home is like any

renovated rooms that the UK-based Friends of Armenia have helped build. It's a clean comfortable room with a private bathroom. Liza keeps the room tidy and neat. They Nork Old Age Home residents gather to watch a perlormance by Violeta Gevorgian. Photo by Karen Mirzoyan

52

other one-room apartment the only difference is it's part of a bigger home and they know it. Though Liza praises Danielian and thanks him from the bottom of her heart for the care they are given she becomes weepy and sad and remembers her own home. her own family and questions the reasons why she is where shc is. But Masis won't let her cry for long. He smilingly and proudly says

AIM APRIL

2OO4

something about her beauty and what

a

wonderful wife she is and she soon forgets. Liza and Masis are one of the lucky ones who live in the newly renovated rooms. Since 2002 Friends of Armenia has been helping to renovate these rooms which were originally designed to house six to eight children. Most of the residents are still in rooms with sometimes four to six elderly. Danielian says "We realize that this is not a comfortable situation for our residents Having so many people in one room is not desirable, but unfortunately we don't have the


resources for mass reconstruction. Thanks to

what Friends of Armenia is doing, we

are

slowly splitting these rooms in half to provide two residents with a comfortable room and a private bathroom with bathing facilities." In 1990, this complex was built to house children with mental disabilities. But the earthquake and the violence against Armenians in Baku resulted in refugees. So, it was decided that the newly constructed building would be used to house and shelter an elderly population that had nowhere left to go. Today, of the 220 residents who live at Nork,67 are refugees.

When Danielian came to run Nork in "The country was in an economic crisis. Thking this job was a big responsibility and I wasn't sure if I wanted it. 2000, he remembers,

But I think it was necessary for me to be here. It's taken a long time to get things in order and there is still so much work to be done."

And work he is doing. This 15-year-old building is an example of bad construction and no maintenance. It's in a terrible state of disrepair, from missing

Methodist Committee on Relief donates oil and powdered milk. USAID helps provide heating; the Armenian Red Cross donates Christmas gifts, the Embassy of the cheese,

Sovereign Order of Malta provides supplies. The Ministry of Social Security allocates about $3 per day per individual to keep Nork

work that requires a lot of heart and soul for very little reward. But anyone on staff readily admits that they can't imagine themselves doing anything else. This includes Danielian who says, "I tell myself often that I can't do this anymore but it's all talk. I've no plans to go

anywhere."

r

running. This means that everything from payroll to electricity to medication to food to funeral expenses has to be budgeted within this amount. The average monthly salary for someone employed at Nork is about $23. It's a lot of

lhat sleeps lour to six has been translormed into a smaller room lor two, with a private bathroom (Below), wilh help and lunding by UK-based Friends ol Armenia. Photos by Karen Mirzoyan Above: A large room

wooden planks on the floors, to unhinged doors. rusted sinks and toilets. and broken tiles. Danielian is fixing what he can, and building new rooms, too, like the one that Liza and Masis have. Friends of Armenia plans to continue raising funds for reconstructing more rooms on more floors. It costs about US $2000 to split a room in half and create one room for two individuals with a private toilet and shower facilities. The results of their work allow these elderly to live a much more dignified existence. Danielian says "This is a state-run organization and the government is doing everything it can to help, but our resources are limited. If it weren't for the aid of organizations like Friends of Armenia, we would not be able to do this." Along with Friends of Armenia, which provides for the main reconstruction,

Daylight Adult Day Care Center in Glendale, California helps with the cosmetic reconstruction such as paint, lighting fixtures and curtains.

Other organizations help too. The United AIM APRIL

2OO4

53


Int$

$ilerGG Genocide and the Graphic Novel w Hi, l"T,li"oh :lf

*,ii'T#

llil

Genocide,but Dikran Mangasarian does - all the time. His forays into the graphic novel genre began in the early 1990s with his creation of a series of books at the behest of the late Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin I, portraying the life and times of Gregory the Illuminator - the third in that series was never published and the pencil renderings remain just as they were upon the Catholicos' death. However, his true commitment to the mastery of the genre can be traced to his particiThese characterc presented in the lirst issue,

in the prestigious Angouleme International Festival in France (for graphic novel comics), in 2000 where, as Mangasarian explaing "I reached a turning point both in my work and in my understanding of the graphic novel genre. But, moreover, I reached a new understanding of the scope of the Genocide and my commitment to that theme crystallized, then and there - in full - and there was no turning back." 'At Angouleme I realized this genre that pation

I held so dear, was considered a sort of sacred niche to an ever-growing audience of fans and connoisseurs, across the globe and, as genre, it had become an incredible educa-

million dollarindustryof particular weight in the US Japan and especially Europe, where people of all ages and backgrounds flock to places like Angouleme in droves just to see and feel the intensity of emerging graphic art and artiss

Literary/artistic interest in the graphic novel is attested to, as well, by a slew of academics, art critics, and university departmentE as well as postdoctoral students, who have made the genre their life's work. A Yerevan-born Armenian, from a family of f,ne artists, Mangasarian, 45, speaks of his motivation for his most recent and ambitious project to date with sensitive passion. "The Genocide has always defled real understanding for many of us in a way - its scale, its brutaliry its devastation, its real-time

@wst sltw ffi? fi ffi ? ffi&t

will eventually all appear in luture issues ol Silence-

tional and cultural tool, as well," he adds. The graphic novel genre is, in fact, a multi-

n& I ru A ffi

lt

3& &

54

t

AIM APRIL

ffi * 2OO4

t Q


realitv. As un artist and as itn Armenian. I rvas clrawn to this prolect t'cn'ttaturtrlh' and I dis-

covercd a nrcdium thal uoulcl allou' r-ttc ttr dcvckrp and prescnt thc emotional ancl psvchological aspects ol this horror in all thc humarr cictail it dcrnancle d." crplains Nlangasarran. Armcniu had procluccd sontc grcat attinlrlors hoth during the Soviet puriocl and irl

i1s altcrnrath. Illustrated childrcn's boctks. cornics. and cartoons in pnnt lnd on lilnl lie re l'anriliur rncdiunts lor animators ancl thc aninration genrc in Arntcnia. Horvevcr. no graphic novcl or graphic novclist hlrd appcarccl on the horizotr - nothing of u'orldclass calibcr r-rntil Nlangasarian and his ntosl rcccnt project dcaling, rr'ith the (ienocidc.

dre* upttn a grcat milnv his uraphic novcl oral lirr rcsearclt s()urces Mangasarian

lri:lrrrie.. l)er.ulllll nr'cotlnl:. r'\cuilllr'\s

rcp()rts bv forcign obscrvers" and historical clocLrr-ncnts. But thc narratlvc basc lor this

lirsl installment cil uhat is slated to bc it multi-volumc pntject is taken directlr' lhtnl the truc lilc cxpcricnccs of Hltrutioun Partanrian. riho suriiicd tltc first Cientlcide o1 thc 20th centurv and mitde his witv to Yrrevan 1'rorn ('ilicia. in l91li. anci rcunitcd rvith his ()nc. truc krve rvho had also surrived. This scenringly impossihle. \'et truc turn of events forms thc basis lirr N'langasariitn's *'rlrk. The storvline and clialoguc arc bcing writtcn rvith glcat agilitv hv Mangasariitn's close

lriend ancl collaborator. writcr/director Roupcn Tsuturian. rvhosc f ihn and video proiccts arc oftcn uircd on Arme nian tclcvision.

J'saturian and Mangasitrian agrced to continuc working on thc projcct. cvcn alter they both realizcd thc dcntancls it *'oulcl make on thcrr alreadl hcctic pcrsottal anr-l prolessional schedules. due in largc Part to thc abiding intcrcst and conttt.titmcnt thev

both sharc in making thc (rcntlcicle

issue

known to wicler auclienccs. in a rnanne r ne ver belirrc attcmpted. Thcir u'ork on thc spccilic. true stor\' ol'onc man's "expcriencinq thc inrpossihle ancl thc horrilic" allou,ed this illustratclriwriter tcam 1tl tell thc larger story of "a natiolt and a people undonc. but somehow still alive and thrir.'ing." Mangasarian spent a grcat clcal ol tinle altemptinq to understand this dark cpisttde in

rrorld historv irt lr nurv. ntore c()ntnassiottlttc r'. us hoth insitle r rrrtd trutside r. Producing rvithin his own psvchc and upon the printcd pagc a serics of compelling and emotionrr]lr ir rouultt rlepicti,rns. "Whilc readins accounts and listcning to sun,ivors. I also looked at thc dcvastating photers ol lhc Genocidc rrnd hcgan to ttull iee I the cxlr: nt ()l thc hrutaliti that hatl hccontu mani-

rnAnnr:

fest during thc Turkish attcmpt 1o cxtcrminalc thc Armcnians." Mangasarian notes. CIcarlr,. this graphic novel is Mangasarian's most demanding project to date - his labor of love - and its lirst volumc is now being rendcrccl in full. colorizccl. animated form.

AI\I APRIL

]00.1

Silence recounts the horrors ol the Genocide as an illustrated novel.

it

takes Once the storyline is set. Mangasarian a minimum of two full days, depending on the detail. to draw and color cach page.

From human life - its fiailt.v, its hrutality and pain - to the flora and fauna that must have stood in silent witness, to the unnamable. untellable murder of a nation that for which words have never sufficed Mangasarian has unleashed upon the page a Iiving reliquar,v of lost. silenced forms. And. thus, the working title for the lirst, true graphic novel dealing with the


Ants

Armenian Gcnocide thcme

"The working Ii|le

-

- Silence.

-

Silence probably best describes thc t'eeling so many of us - particularly the survivors - have cxperienced in

the aftcrmath of losing evcrything - bved ones. family. homes. ancestral lands and then being told'it ncver happened' by the Turkish government and its supporters." Mangasrrrian emphasizes.

Mangasarian's well carncd notorictv is

not limitcd to the graphic novel. His work in oils and acrylic, using mixcd media - wood, canvas, plaster. gold lcaf and dccp colors rclay a vibrant world ol Armcnian leit-motifi and illuminated figures in a wholly new colttex1, reaching deep into the psyche. through and bcyond the Armenian. to a human archc-

typaI subconscious. His work as an illustratur is equally noteworthy. With 1-5 books to his credit and a series of well-received monthly and quarterly

children's publications. Mangasarian has been able to showcase a cast ol'old and new chiiracters, which ignite thc curiosity ol both voung and old.

Mangasarian's art is ncver just art. His work. as thc work ol anv true master, begins and travels the course of the transcendental. ol'the moment and the proccss. Whether they be the colorful. minute rcnderings intmducing Armcnia's unique birds to a new generation via his children's publications or the severe beauty and heart-wrcnching. emotional landscape of the Genocide in graphic novel form. the transcendental becomes clear in Manqasarian's work. Silenr:e is not at all silcnt. but full of sounds and sights. A story of Genocide that is brimming with life. This 4S-page, full color. hand drawn, hrst volume of Sl/erzce willbe published in Limited Edition for a select. pre-sale audicnce in September 2004. Currently. Mangasarian is working non-stop to produce the full version <tt Silence and is pursuing publishing possibilities in Europe and the US, in hopes of seeing at least a few volumes published as the 90th anniversary of the Genocide approaches. Dikran Mangasarian. Photo by Ruben Mangasarian

AIM APRIt,2004


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$ponts

The Politics ol Spont Chess Tournament in Karabakh Ruffles Feathers

fhey say that politics is just like a chess I game. In the case of the ligran Petrosian Memorial Toumament, held in mid-March, it was the chess toumament that took on political dimensions. As soon as word got out that an international chess tournament was to be held in Stepanakert, the capital of Karabakh, formal protests were hurled from the Azerbaijani

Foreigr Ministry with wild accusations and threats directed at the participants and even their governments. Most of them dismissed the ramblings

as

saber-rattling and sour grapes.

Although the ire from Baku continued to drone on in Azerbaijan, the tournament was capturing headlines throughout the international press "In Armenia, a memorial tournament in honor of the late ex-world champion

Tigran Petrosian, ...who reigred at the height

of Soviet hegemony from 1963 to 1969, starts on Tuesday," reported a newspaper in the Philippines And in The Washington Post, a headline read, "Trgran Petrosian Memorial Tournament, Stepanakert, NagornoKarabakh, Armenia, March 2004." From Georgia, too, there was unexpected trouble. "Who knows, maybe they were forcefully - probably with blackmail - brought to Karabakh," alleged Georgian grandmaster Ztxab Azmaiparashvili about the participants.

Azmaiparashvili's attempts to destabilize the toumament were brushed off by participants, honorary guests, and chess fans alike. His invective succeeded however in causing the Georgian Chess Federation to forbid grandmaster Baadur Jobava from participating in the tournament. Neverthelesq Jobava

AIM APRIL

2OO4

came as an honorary guest. Even his appearance in this capacity was answered by sanctions, personal threats, and penalties by the Georgian Federation.

"On FIDE's [Intemational Administrative

Chess Organization] web site, I was blamed that the flag of Georgia was raised for my participation," said a surprised Jobava. "I want to assure everyone that the flag of Georgia was not raised, although it should have been, as Tigan Petrosian was bom in Tbilisi. I do not want my name to be circulated in political and chess intrigues I only did my duty as a professional chess-player, to make our favorite game Grandmaster Sveshnikov's expression says it

all, as international master Petrosian linishes ofl his Russian opponenl Kobalia, while the observant Ghess Academy studenl lakes notes lrom the masterc. Photo courtesy olAram Hajian


nr()re \\,cll knorin lrnrl ll()llulrrr." '['lrc politiclrl r.linrcnsion of thu toLlrnlnrcnl t'.

(rxrk or.r vcl lrrrothcr llrcet riith tuo lo[tnds to -lrc go. l I nrnilin grirntlrnastur- ( i hucnr \llr-qhruli

't

tj. trl

'aI .l\ LI

approlrchcd thc orllrnizcrs ltro hours helirrc thc bcg.inninq ol thc nert 1o lrsl touttcl. stlttittg that hc couU n()l c()ntilrLlu Pllrling in the tour nlrnclrt hccliLrsc rrl lr Ihone clrll hc hlitl tcccircrl

U

-lchlln the ir.cr ious nisht. [:r irlcntlr'. Baku littcrlplccl to |rcssure the Intnirn throuch channcls in Ithrlrt. ltttd cottscqtte trtl\. ll'onr

hii cig,hth roirnrl ganrc. Fi)rtLlnalcl\. shortlr bclirlc his llst loLtrttl uuntc. thc grunrlmastcr tl'orl Iran t-cccirctl ltttoIhct' errll re -lrllolr ing him to purticil'rrttc.'lhc lirst glslr lrttornft hr []akLr to slir up trttublc lr'us dcult uith resolutclr br lrln.uhiclr clcarlv uuntcd to keup thc chcss rnlrtch lrcc rll' othct' coLtttttics' 1,,'lit i. ;rl ittl t i,:tt.. ilrtLl Illl! r'i('f ttl0I it er. hc nus lirrccd to lirrl'cit

-fhe casl ol' charactcrs 'l'he

rcltr100-1 hrrrl lrccntlctlicatctl br FIDII)ctrosiirrt. lrnd ir serrcs ol lournlrntents arorrnrl thc u'orltl uoulrl honor the lcgcnclart 'l.he orulrrtize rs tlcciclctl 1o invitc r\rrncniun.

to

top liu'ciun Pluvcrr totether rrith scterltl ,\ttlt.tti;r'. lr,;r

1rl;11q1. 1,, .r'1111',1,

ol'

itt :, tllllt-

round irll plirr'-all chcs: toLtrnlrnrcrtt. Ihc totul prizc nroncr \\ii\ o\cr t S Sll.()()1). rrith lirst prize e arning !i+()(I) thusc rtunrl're ls

industn

stanclrrrcls

be

;\r'nrcniun. togcthcr u ith llr c othe r langLugg5 * is his coLrrrtn s l()p nrle(l natr\e borlr lllli\cr. IirP-1'1111.1 Lirl\ iun l.ninclnraslcr Er genr Sr e shnikor lrirs contr jbutcd e normouslv to chcss thurrrr.linrl hlrs cr e n hltcl ltn ttpening r'arirtirrn ol tlre Sicilirrn rlclcnsc niin.lcd altcr him.

Above President Arkady Ghukasian of Karabakh, (seated eft), challenges lormer World Champion Boris Spassky in a lriendly duel at the inauguration ol the Stepanakerl Chess School. Many ol Karabakh's lop government oflicials look on,

Surgissian

(standi"g center). Be ovl Flags ol Karabakh, FIDE and the participating six nati0ns hang at lhe newly-renovated 0flicers' Club in Stepanakerl where lhe lournament was held. Pl.c:os ccurtesy 01 Aram Halian

'l\icntr rc'lrr-olrl gnrrtclnrasler

\\li\

one t,l lire ..\rnrenilrns riho plrrticipated at thc lournlr.r'trnt. I Ie is lr Iirnlcr ulttlcr-l.lWorlcl ('henrpion us rrell lrs tire current chrur-tpion o1' -l}c li-r c:rr-okl gnutclnrtste r Kare n .\rnrcnili. ,\sriun i: knori n lirr his tough clclcnsrr e pr()\\ cs\ unrl rluick cllcLrlating ubilitr. Cirantirnastcr.\shot Anitstlsilrn lias lrecn it Iixlure ()n thc Arnrcnirrn tclnr lirr thc lrcttcr lltrt rrl 1lro clccaclcs anrl hus clrmctl thc rlistinction ol be inq Armcnian chuntPion scr e tt t jrttcs. Ihc

including Prime Minisler Danielian {stand ng r ght), and Parliament President 0leg Yessayan

llt'lri rrlr< ruundcd uLlt h\ t\\() r,rung.pl,rltti:irrF nren uho provccl to be much tougher <lp1tone nts than their nrodest ratings woulcl inclicatc intcrnational r-naster Tigran Pelrosian ancl nlitional nrastcr Arnran Pashikian.

ing thc

lirr plarcrs ol'the strcrtgth

inr itccl to Stcplinakcrt.

Thc rnr itcd flar crs. gLrcsts. lnrl the personalitics that populatccl tlte urcnt spanncrl u brtracl ningc. Thcrc ucrc l0 pl11ig1'5; livc llonr ,\rnrcniu. anci one caclt ll1)nt Politncl. l.atvia. Sl ilzcrland. Ru,ssia anci Irun. In addi(ir)n. thrcc iniliriduals \\'crc invitcd as honontrv gLlc\ls: tiu'nrer \\irrlcl Chanrpion Buris Spusskr'. thc to1-r lllr) cr ll onr Armenia. granclnriiste r' \ilarlirnir Akopiun (rvhosc parcnts' lincrigc triice

\ back to ShLrshi and Karmir in ls rvcll as (ieorgia's top \oung

Kirrlrbakh).

plln cr. gnrnclnrastcr

.l(

ilil

)1lrva.

r\nrorrg thc purticipants. Blrllomiej N4acicja ol' lblrrncl hud thc highest ratine. folkrwccl hv llranclnlrstcr \likhlril Kobllia lront Russia. (ihacm Nllghlnri is Inur's top plavcr ancl onll' grandnlrstcr. Surtzcr]anil's Y'itnnick Pcllcticr. as tllcntcd lrith langulrscs as hc is lvith chcss ltc spe lrks Russran. us ri cll lis sonre

At\1 .{PRIL t0()-l


$ponts

Former World Champion Boris Spassky, a living legend of the chess world was born and

kningrad. Spassky was heralded as a phenomenal talent who ascended to the top, raised in

challenging the reigning world champion Petrosian in consecutive candidates' cycleg finally defeating him in 1969.

Acprn K.

Spassky spoke warmly of his contemporary.

Chibukhchian, who recently moved from

"Given the fact that he lived away from his

Tbilisi to Stepanakert, bringing experience and

native Armenian soil for most of his life, the significance of this tournament for him may actually have been even greater than one would think. Petrosian had a magnetic personality and commanded love and respect from and toward his fellow countrymen," he reminisced. Spassky's presence and readiness to help was evident prior to and during the tournament. At the beginning, when it looked like

professionalism to the school. The spirit of the tournament was captured in the opening ceremonies. A packed house of over 500 spectators enjoyed a movie celebrating Petrosian's life and achievements, live music by two young professional musicians from Karabakh, as well as a stirring keynote speech by Spassky. He vividly recalled his interactions with Petrosian and expressed his appreciation for the hospitality and reverence that the chess community and government representatives had shown towards him, and toward the game he also loves He wryly added that he was thankful that he was no longer considered the enemy of the Armenian people, a humorous reference to his having replaced Petrosian as World Champion in 1969, before relinquishing the throne to the legendary Bobby Fischer three years later. Other highlights included the viewing of a video taped

some participants might withdraw, under pressure, Spassky stepped in.

"I

was prepared

to help the organizers of the tournament - I was ready to play! Let's say it would have been my small contribution to the efforts and spirit of the tournament. I'll admit that I am not so sure I would have played so successfully. In retrospect, now that we are seeing the quality of the competition, I am secretly glad I wasn't needed," he said. Instead, he stood shoulder to shoulder with Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian both as a spectator, and at the opening of the Stepanakert Chess School, an expansive, newly renovated, 600-square-meter (approximately 6,000 sq ft) building perched on a small hill in the center of the reborn city. Eager students and parents watched with awe as the former World Champion surveyed the scene, noticeably impressed with the facilities and the spirit demonstrated by the authorities. In addition, on the day of the inauguration of the

school, Georgia's Jobava participated

in

a

chess match held against 25 of the school's stu-

dents - simultaneously impressive exhibition.

-

which made for an

Other tournament guests included members of the Ewopean Champion Women's team of Armenia, memben of the board of directors of the Armenian Chess Academy of Yerevan (with which the Stepanakert Chess School is affiliated), as well as the top trainer of the new school, International Master Artur AIM APRIL

2OO4

Armenia's Asrian (left)won the tournament holding 0ll top-rated Polish grandmasler Macieia, who linished second. Below: The games were lollowed by spectators lrom each participating country, as well as the people 0I Stepanakert. Seated in the lront row are some 0l the participants and honorary guests. Photos courtesy of Aram Hajian Above:

message

from Garry Kasparov and the reading

of a welcoming letter from FIDE

President

Ilyumzhinov who endorsed the tournament despite pressures within the intemational chess

administrative body, emphasizing the "won-

derful continuation

of the rich and

unique

Armenian chess tradition." Kasparov's video message said it all. He emphatically underscored the signiflcance of holding the international tournament in Stepanakert and lauded his countryrmen's tribute to fellow World Champion Petrosian taking place on the territory of Kasparov's own forefathers. "To my mind, this is an expression


of good will on the part of FIDE. War wounds are being healed. People are now preoccupied with creative and peaceful work. I heartily con-

gratulate all the participants of the tournament, as well as the organizerq who have been able to break the ice and launch the country into the international arena." The Moves

During the games themselveg the quality of

the well-matched players became evident, notwithstanding the nominal differences in their ratings. Due to a lack of funding, Armenians have fewer opportunities than their European counterparts to compete internationally. As a result, the actual improvement in their playing strength is not always accurately reflected in their static rating. It is for this reason that Armenians are notoriously feared opponents on the international chess circuit. Witness round four, when the player with the lowest rating, national master Pashikian,

simply crushed grandmaster Macieja of Poland, the tournament's top-rated participant

and with the black pieceg no less In chesg white moves first, an advantage akin to serving in tennis, and correspondingly, statistics indicate that white wins about twice as often as black at top levels of play. After four rounds out of nine, a single point separated all 10 participants, indicating the highly competitive nature of the toumament. (A win eams the victor a full point, a draw a half point, while a loss is worth zero.) The struggles continued. Certain battles were drawn out

-

over six hours and a hundred moves, such as Sargissian overcoming Asrian in the round four clash between the two Armenian leaders Other encounters were fast and furious: in round seven, the Swiss grandmaster Pelletier was annihilated by Asrian in 18 moves. The final standings saw all Armenians perform well. In first place, with 6 out of 9, was Asrian, whose father, incidentally, hails from the Martuni region of Karabakh. In third place, on tie-breaks with 5 pointg was Sargissian, both

he ascended to the top. Present in Stepanakert were 10 playerg a chief arbiter (the esteemed Russian Bykhovsky), three honorary guests

and two organizing entitiesThis was the stage

for the flnt major international event in the history of Karabakh.

At

Category

strength

XIII

(the playing level or

of international tournaments

Karabakh's Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian, who chaired the organizational efforts (together with the president of the

are indicated by the average rating of the participants), the Petrosian Memorial Toumament was the strongest invitational held in the Tianscaucasus for the better part of a decade. The live games transmitted from the downtown Stepanakert playing hall were followed by thousands of people, on line, around the world. The website, www.karabakh2004.com, received so much traffic that the first few days' live transmissions were barely able to proceed

Chess Academy of Armenia, grandmaster Smbat Lputian) and oversaw the day{o-day

tion.

of

whose parents happen

to come from

Martakert. Sandwiched between the two local heroes with 5.5 points was Macieja. The tournament was an undeniable success

logistics of the event, was thrilled with the affair. "We are overjoyed that such a wondeful event

commemorating the birth of Tigran Petrosian, one of our nation's national treasureq was held

on center stage in Karabakh the past two weeks I am confident that showcasingAntakh and our rejuvenated capital Stepanakert has been a positive step forward in the recognition of our past, present and future." A far-flung group of individuals from the

world of chess had assembled for the tournament honoring the late Petrosian, the ninth World Champion of the modem era, and the man most responsible for the chess boom that has gripped Armenians since the 1960s, when

AIM APRIL

2OO4

uninterrupted due to the electronic congesAll in all, hundreds of thousands of people followed the tournament, in this "small, easternmost region of Armenia," as the British ! newspaper, the Independen, put it. War, it is said, is lirsl won on the battlefield, and then al the negotialing table. The negotiating table, however, can lake on many forms, and during the Petrosian Memoria! Tournament, batlles ol a dillerent nature were conducted over the eight by eighl chessboard. The daily matches took place on a stage in lront ol the demonstration boards lor the audience. The moves were also tlansmitted live on www.karabakh2OO4.com, as thousands around the world lollowed the moves. Photo courtesy ol

Aram Hajian


Undenexposed

Broccoli lady Keeping Her Customers Happy "!t's

a pleasure l.o make people happy." says

lAnahit.

also known as the'Broccoli Lady'

Filling a Gap

of the Closed Market on Mashtots Avenue. The market is known to have the highest quality products in the city, with prices to match products. Fruits, vegetables, dried and candied fruits and nuts are all featured in booths next to Anahit's. What makes her 10year old business unique is that her products are different from the rest. While everyone else sells the same greens, the same tomatoes and the same cucumbers, peppers and eggplants, Anahit had the foresight and business sense to produce and sell items not found in

any other market - such as broccoli, leeks, yellow squash and Brussels sprouts. Six years ago, Anahit's customers began to request these items, and she has been doing her best to find a way to grow them ever since, with the help of the Etchmiadzin Greenhouse Association - a Dutch-Armenian co-operative started 10 years ago.They bring the seeds from the Netherlands and grow the vegetables in gas-heated greenhouses during the winter. She buys them in the winter and grows her

a 12fi)square-meter plot around her house in the village of Aintab, in the Massis region, right outside Yerevan. One of the newest items at Anahit's stall are the mixed salad greens one finds in most Western markets. Five different types of lettuces, are washed, cut and in a plastic bag, ready to be tossed. own during the other seasons on

f,

rmenia's first free tourism magazine,Tour was laurrched last fune. Aiming to fill a gap in the tourism markeqthe magazine is still unique - and ttniving - aknost a yea

Ilkrfo,

on.It's the brainchild of

a

first-time visitor

to Armenia, Iranian-Armenian Markarian who vacationed here in

Karen

ffi.

Tour Info highlights the best of Armenia every rnontlqh agticles range from historical and cultural mugt-sees to arE and craftsA different region is featured in

each issue along with its hotelq nature

trails and transportation options. A Yerev.an guide also appears every month. With aeire{ation of 3000, the magaaihe k

what'$ in aword The Two Versions of the 1,000 Dram Bill tfeghishe Charents, poet, victim of Stalin, advocate of Armenian unity

I

is

remembered for many things. Among them, his favorite poem - Yes im anush Hayastani - whose first two lines read, "l love my Armenia's sun-baked word." Or is it "I love my Armenia's sun-baked fruit?" Not clear. So unclear in fact, that Armenia's 1000 Dram notes, which feature Charents, have both lines. The older, 1999 release bills have the 'fruit' version. The newer. 2000 release notes have the 'word' version. Charents specialists disagree on which is right. Both versions are

out

there.

r AIM APRIL

2OO4

disributd at the arrivals level of

the rt, and is available to pick

&p.atYcrevan's hotels and embassies

I


0then People's Mail

Expeniencing Yeneuan

Dear S, In a land famous for its 300 sunny days, this one happened to be the greyest and foggiest

of

all.And to top it all,I was suffering from a horrible toothache for that whole day and finally at five in the afternoon, I found the courage to pick up the phone and made that fatal appointment with a totally unknown dentist. By the sound of my voice, he probably felt the emergency and decided to put an end to my misery the following hour.The diagnosis was as dramatic as it was irrefutable:A root canal. It was already six in the evening and I was calling all my favorite saints, the doctor's empathy, sympathy, trying to make excuses to skip this torture but it didn't work. To make a long story short, all I can remember is that I left his clinic at nine in the evening.

Are you interested to know why it took so long?

He would not let me go just like that, and even during the procedure, tryrng to divert my pain, he started talking about anything and everything. Next, the nurse joined in and so did another patient and in a natural flow the conversation continued over the niceties and heating power of Armenian brandy. Of course, that needed to be tested. And while drinking, we couldn't help mentioning those heroes past and present that helped this country find its rightful place in history. Then I nearly forgot that Id had a root canal just a few moments ago. I got home drunk, had a hang over the next day, and something is still hanging there... lightness inside my head. This is my taste of Armenia. [,ove,

H

Dear K.

has lived all over the US and met her in

LA.

tin

Fint stop was Garo's, an excellent bistro

can minivan with three dodgy looking Russian guy$ a demanding Genevan financier, and a woman of my generation. We were trundling over packed snow in transit from an arrivals terminal in Moscow to god knows where. I never imagined I d strike up an instantaneous and gratifying friendship in these hanh circumstances But that was before I knew anything about the Armenian character and the capacity for a truly warm welcome that Yerevan can offer even in the dead of winter. The young woman E, an Armenian-American retuming from a month in hs Angeles for Christmas and New Year, and I, struck up a conversation as we waited for an unsurprisingly delayed flight to Yerevan, She and I had several thingB in common. I left New York two and a half years ago to study and then work in [.ondon and she left the states a year ago to work in Yerevan for a while. We told each other about our work: mine working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in social policy advocary; hers as a journalist. And we had a good old bitch about American foreign policy and the blindly consumerist lives most Americans lead which keep them lulled into passive acceptance of Bush's toxic agenda. After several productive days with the

with deceptively unimpressive d6cor.We had a feast that that we gobbled up with lavash and very good strong beer. The management was lovely and the lady of the house presed me to finish our second round of little dishes off We went on to H's flat a few blocks away. I

It was the middle of the night. I was in

a

NGOs including our local host, a leading Armenian social service agenry I drew the conclusion that Armenians are very open and demonstrative people as well as well educated and dedicated to hard and effective work.When I rang E, she was happy to arange a night out on the town.I met her at her charming little flat on one of Yerevan's elegant tree lined and snow-covered thoroughfaresWe stepped out to meet her friend H, a lrbanese-Armenian who

AIM APRIL

2OO4

surveyed his impressive collection of paintings

and mixed media pieceg several by local artists Once the rest of our party was suitably attired for clubbing we went out to Monte Cristo, a popular place to dance on Friday nights It was firll when we got there and packed within a half-hour, oozing with smoke, drink and sweat. I have neglected to mention that as a non-smoker I found the Armenian experience completely over the top in terms of second hand smoke. A guy even lit up on the

Moscow-Yerevan flight! Anyway, there was more good cold beer and the chance to dance. Unfortunately the DJ had a deadly mix of unsophisticated mixing skillq random crowd pleasers (e.g, The Macarena) and a penchant for audience participation, actually tuming tunes down so we could sing along. The next day most of the party posse met for late aftemoon tea atArtbridge Caf6.A few had been nursing hangovers but I had to be on - all morning chairing the last session of our meeting. I had a nice treat of brandy soaked tea to pick me up. A few other friends joined us including a guy who had made a presenta-

tion at my meeting. Small world Yerevan is and a really cosy one too. Getting up to go I felt as though I was leaving friends I'd know for years not days I think a much longer retum visit is in order!

hve, F


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The Facts about Upcoming New Benefits in Medicare MEorcaRE MoornNrzATroN

Acr or

2003

EDICARE is an essential health ciue program for people age 65 and older, people with cenain disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease.

Recendy, President Bush and Congress worked together to pilss a new law to bring people with Medicare more choices in health ciue coverage and better health care benefits.

This new law preserves and suengthens the current Medicare program, adds important new prescription &ug and preventive benefits, and provides extra help to people with low incomes. You will still be able to choose doctors, hospitds and pharmacies.

If you are happy with the Medicare coverage you have, you can keep ir. Or, you can choose to enroll in new options described below. No matter what you decide, you are still in the Medicare Program.

Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Cards will be available in2OO4 to help you save on prescription drugs. Medicare will contract with private companies to offer new drug discount cards until a Medicare prescription drug benefit snrts in 2006. A discount card with Medicare's sed of approval can help you save l0-25o/o on prescription drugs. You can enroll beginning as early as May 2004 and continuing through December 31,2A05. Enrolling is your choice. Medicare will send you information soon with details about how

to enroll.

People in the greatest need will have the greatest help available to them. If your income is no more than $12,569 for a single person, or no more than $16,862 for a married couple, you might qualify for a $600 credit on your discount card to help pay for your prescription drugs. These income limits change every year. Different rules may apply if you live in Puerto Rico or a U.S. territory. (You cant qualify for the $600 if you already have drug coverage from Medicaid, TRICARE for Life or an employer group health plan.)

Also new

in 2004, Medicare

Advantage is the new name for Medicare + Choice plans.

Medicare Advantage rules and payments are improved to give you more health plan choices and better benefits. Plan choices might have improved already in your area. To find out more, call 1 -8o0-MEDTCARE ( I -800-633 -4227).

New Preventive Benefits will

be covered, including:

r

A one-time initial wellness physical exam within 6 months of the day you first enroll in Medicare Part B.

r r

Screening blood tests for early detection of cardiovascular (heart) diseases. Diabetes screening tes6 for people

with Medicare at risk of getting

diabetes.

These benefits add to the preventive services that Medicare already covers, such as qrncer screenings, bone mass measurements and vaccinations.


Prescription Drug Benefits will be added to Medicare in 2006. All people with Medicare will be able ro enroll in plans that cover prescription drugs. Plans mightv^ry, bur in general, this is how they will work:

r

You

will

choose a prescription drug plan and pay a premium

of

about $35 a month.

I I

You

will pay the first $250 (called

a "deductible").

Medicare then will pay 75o/o of costs berween $250 and $2,250 in drug spending. You will pay only 25o/o of these costs.

r

You

r

Medicare

of the drug costs above $2,250 until you reach $3,600 in out-of-pocket spending.

will pay

1000/o

will pay about

95o/o

of the costs after you have spent $3,600.

Some prescription drug plans may have additional options to help you pay the

out-of-pocket costs.

Will

be Available for people with low incomes and limited assets. Most significantly, people with Medicare in the greatest need, who have incomes below a certain limit won'r have ro pay the premiums or deductible for prescription drugs. The income limits will be set in 2005. If you quali$,, you will only pay a small co-payment for each prescription you need.

Extra Help

Other people with low incomes and limited assets will get help paying the premiums and deductible. The amount they pay for each prescription will be limited.

Medicare Advantage plan choices will be expanded to include regional preferred provider organization plans (PPOs). Regional PPOs will help more people with Medicare have mulriple choices for Medicare health coverage, no matter where they live. PPOs can help you save money by choosing from doctors and providers on a plant "preferred" list, but usually dont require you to ger a referral. PPOs are among the most common and popular plans right now for working Americans.

All of these options

are voluntary. You can choose

to remain in the traditional Medicare plan you

have today.

For the latest information about Medicare, visit www.medicare.gtlv or call I -800- MED I CA RE ( 1 -800-633 -4227) . TTY users should call | -877 -486-2048. To get a copy of this information in Spanish, call l-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call l-877-486-2048. Para una copia en espafiol, llame gratis al l-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Los usuarios de TTY deben llamar al l-877-$f

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lraral Rich traditions and advanced te*hnologies of tobacco processing.

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Tens of thousands of people are employed in the countryside. Thousands are employed in the factories.

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Addrrss: Masis Tobrcco M.V. Rrpublit of Armenia 378370

.\rarat Rcgion, Masis,

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Our production is exported to the USA, Europe and to the countries of ClS.

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Destination Armenia - April 2004