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IntegrrW

Law

ffices of

RafrOufalian Ask Our Clients About tls. Law Off ices of Baf i 0urfalian 3900 West Alameda Avenue, Suite 2100 Toluca Lake/Burbank, California 91505 Telephone 818 841 5757

i

Telefax 818 841 9004


INTERVIEW

JITTERS

TBILISI

13

Former Gorbachev aide Eduard Shevardnadze, who heads Georgia' s interim govemment, discusses regional politics in an exclusive interview. COVEB STORY

ARMENIA: BUILDING A

DEMOCRACY

16

DIVERSITY

32

As the repubhc grapples with mounting economic pressure and the threat of full-scale war with neighboring Azerbaijan, govemmentby the people is taking on new urgency in the halls of parliament. What are the nuts and bolts of Armenia's democratic process? COMMUNITY

THE COLOR OF

Outside of the Armenian-American mainstream, dozens of small communities form a mosaic of a different order. EDUCATION

WHO'S RUNNING OUR

scHools? With falling

40

student enrollment and growing discontent

over an outmoded structure, one of the Diaspora's largest school systems is facing a crisis of survival. TECHNOLOGY

THE DIGITAL

PAPYRUS

46

Powerful word processing packages catapult the Armenian language into the computer age. ART

AGAINST THE

GRAIN

75

Three artists in Califomia have shunned New York' s art

hegemony to explore their own esthetic sensibilities.

Publishers' l{ote

5 6

Letters

I to

Capsule Focus Special Report Sports !deag Gontact

Cover Design:

Commonwoalth ol lndepondsnt Statas: $35; Armenia: $30

Po.tm.rt.rr!

Ssnd addrsss changes to

:

AlI,

P.O.

lor

22 2A

55 60

Archives Film Drama Design Books Music Faces Essay

Vah5 Fattal

3296'

f.nh.tt.n B.rch,

CA 90268' U.t.A.

67 68 71

73 79

at a4 86


I

ioin all Armenians in celebrating

,1

first anniversary of the REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA the second anniversary of the

ARMENIAN INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE join

coMPosER

Arr,

rl{C.

EXECUTIVE EDllOB3 Salpi Haroutinian Ghaarian

&

Please

\IIV I

PUBLT3HED EY

the

me in celebrating the 75th birthday of RTCHARD YARDUMIAN (1917 - 1985)

whose life I shared for fifty years and whose constant inspirations were his Religion and his Armenian heritage. Performed on every continent

by hundreds of orchestras and conductors, soloists, choral groups and ensembles, Y ardumian' s music is predominantly spiritual with Armenian themes heard throughout his works.

ARMENIAN SUITE (1937) Solo Piano or Orchestra. Dedicated to his parents, the beloved Rev. Dr. Haig and Lucia (Chorlian) Yardumian.

IAIIAOIXO ED|IOnS!

Ratfi Shoubookian,

lshkhan Jinbashian

EDITOnIAL COIISULTAIT: Minas Kojaian

EDI?On EIIRIfUS: Charles Nazaflan DIRECIOR OF OPEBATIOI{Si Michael

Nahabet

COxIBIBUTINO EDlIORS:

Ksvork lmirzian; Haig Koropian ;Taline Voskeritchian ABIS EDITOB: Neory Molkonian (Santa Fe) f,EDIGAL EDlrOE: Vicken Babikian (Boston)

3TAFF WnlTEnS3 Tony Halpin, Viken Berbsrian AtSl$T LT EDITOB! Katherino Chiljan COXIBIBUTORA: Gerard Libaridian, Florence Avakian, Moorad Mooradian, Armen Aroyan, Gilda Kupelian, Linda Kirishjian, Christopher Atamian, YvetteHarpootian, Gerry S. Graber, Michasl Mastarciyan, Lola Koundakiian, Susan Patti€,

COBiEaPONDEIITt! Wa3hlngton: Zanku Armsnian, Chlcago: Sonia Derman Harlan Detrolt: Simon Payaslian Bo3ton: Arto Payaslian San FrenclSco: Janet Samuelian llontreal: Gulizar J. Mardirossian London: Ani Manoukian Padr: Armineh Johann6s, Khatchik Kechian Brus3els: Kevork Oskanian Vlenne: Sebouh Baghdoyan Am3terdam: Arson

Nazarian Tokyo: Sonia Katchian Ammen: Ara Voskian Sydncy: Haig Lopsdjian Buonos AiB3: Sam Sarkissian

flotcow:

Tigran Xmalian

YEBEYAII BUBEAU: Papken Gadachik

EE KEREZMAN (Resurrection - 1976) Organ Solo for BERJ ZAMKOCHIAN. Orchestral setting commissioned by

ALEX AND MARIE MANOOGIAN FOUNDATION to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the 1915 MASSACRE OF THE ARMENIANS.

HRASHAPAR (Wondrous - f984) commissioned for the Prelacy by ARCHBISHOP MESROB ASHJIAN for the 1500th anniversary of the Treaty of Nvarsag.

DER ASDTVADZ (Lord God Unto Everyone - 1983) and DER IM DER (Oh God, My God - 1985) Trios on Gregory Narekatsi's Elegies requested by Metropolitan Opera luminary, LILI CHOOKASIAN.

HAYR ARRAKOGH (Father The Sender - 1985) Four voice A Cappella arangement for ARCHBISHOP TORKOM MANOOGIAN. April

5 , 1992 - Bicoastal all-Yardumian concerts included the unique dual premiere ofHayr Arrakogh in two cities, same day, same time. Co-sponsored in the East by the Concerto Soloists and the Philadelphia AGBU; on the W e st C oast by r/ze University of Southem Califomia/Los Angeles Music Department and the Friends of Armenian Music at USC.

To know more of Richard Yardumian's music for Voice, Piano, Organ, Ensemble and Orchestra including Suites, Symphonies, Concertos, Mass, Oratorio, etc.. Please write, call or fax MRS. RICHARD YARDUMIAN

Box

171

Huntington Valley, PA 19006 USA Ph 800-398-5653 Ph 215-947-0355 Fx 215-947-6985

Let us rejoice and celebrate together

(,ffiy",r/,r"*,,; AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992

(Chief); Mark

Oadian, Gayane Hambartzoumian, Souren Keghamian, Gourgsn Khajagian

PHOIOGBAPIIY: Los Angeles: Michaol Agyan, Ksvork Djansezian, San Franci3co: Armen P€trossian, New York: TonySavino, Harry Koundakjian NewJercoy: Ardem Aslanian Boslon: LenaSanents, Ari Slamatiou ProvldencE: BergsAra Zobian Parls: Armineh Johannes, Alino Manoukian Amman: Karokin Ket6lian Yerovan: Zaven Hachikian, Roupen Mangassarian, Mkhitar Khachatrian ABf DIRECIOB: Vahe Fatial

GBEtflvl

SERYICEt DIBECTOB:

ASSlSfAl{f

TO

Dicran Y. Kassouny

fHE PUBLISI{EBS3Dikran

Dj6trahian

CIBCULATIOI{ DIREG?ORr

Thomas Ysterian DIFECTOBT Seta Kouzouian ADYEnIIJXG DIRECIOB: Alin6 S. Kassabian ADYEnTISI]{G DEPABIIEl{l: Ani Stepanian, Victoria Maniikian, Tsoghig S. Elmastian, Hratch Yerknabolian ADIIXItTRATIVE AESIE?A]{I: Karino Djorrahian COLOn EEPABATIOia! A & A Graphics, Canada

ADtll{ltInAIlVE

t1{TEBXATtOtlAL AUBtCRTPTTOT{ AtaD

ADVERrlSlLG FEPBESEI{TATIVES3 LOtaDOI{

Misak Ohanian Eoom 4, Capital House, Markel Plac€,Acton London w3 603, England Telephone 081 992 4621

P i13

Edik Balaian 5, Ruo d'Alombort, 92130 ISSY-lss-MLX,Franc€

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IOIITREAL Gulizar Jonian Mardirosslan 2350 Man€lla Stroet, #1 1 5, Montreal, Qusbec, H4P 2P4 T.l.phone 514 735 7301

/


Publishers'Note This issue marksAlM's second aruriversary as the leading independentpublication on Armenian and Transcaucasian affairs. Along the way, skeptics have questioned whether and whether we would survive. Along the way, we the magazine is have answered both questions with a resounding yes. Perhaps the most salient signs of our commifinent to probe everything and everyone around us are the bristling comments we hear from all sides. Together with your letters of support, we have been mauled from the political establishment and the church, from those who support the govemment and those who dismis s Karabakh as a lost cause. As advocates of free pres s, we look at these diverse opinions as a great thing. We are willing to take jabs, if that means jolting our political junkies out oftheirfeudal mindset. We are willing to tip over sacred cows. In fact, our reporters and writers keep score of how many sacred cows they have tipped each fiscal year. It's just one of

ruly

the ways they like to spur debate and dialogue. AIM is conscious of the power of the word; it takes pride

in its cool-headed, accurate and comprehensive report-

ing-

whether about a president, a publisher or a political pundit- and sfrives to shape public discourse based on

fact,notfiction. Whether inside the corridors ofpolitical power ornuclear power plants, for two years now AIM has struggled to dig outthe many sides of our reality. And in those two years our Whether inside resources andreaders have increased with apress bureau in the corridots of politica! power or Yerevan and correspondents in almost every major world nuclear power plants, city. for two years now Our ears have multiplied. Our vision has improved. Alll has struggled to dig out Camille Paglia, a leading social critic in America, says themanysides that "each of our glances is as much an exclusion as of our reality. inclusion. We select, editorialize and enhance. " Our determination to relay the untold story-fairly and independentlyjs perhaps the ultimate measure of our commifinent to building a viableArmenia and Diaspora. AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992


ing sbcio-economic and military

conse-

quences. It is the Armenians who started the present ugly feud and it is WE, who are responsibile for its tragic consequences, be it

loss of human lives or loss of credibility before the world at large. H rayr S. Karagueuzian, P h.D. Ass oc. P rof . of M edicine, U C l,A S chool of Medicine It is clearly obvious, even to the unffained

Dentistry

mhd, that in "Crossing Purposes" the writers have not

Demonds Perfection

scale.

Soul Searching

We Commit

to Deliver

approached'The President and

the Opposition' with the same balance and

The article "Crossing Purposes" by Salpi H. Ghazarian and Tony Halpin (Special Report, July) is timely, courageous (relative to the traditional Armenian mind-set and philosophy) and to the point. The articlejustly criticizes the wisdom of the ARF's challenge of Ter Petrosyan's negotiated and peaceful political strategy. The authors made at least three errors in judgment that, in my view,

needtobe rectified. l. The Armenian National Momement (ANM) is not a party per se. It is a broadbased, quasi-spontaneous national movement

that brought together people from all walks of life in an unprecedented gesture of solidarity for a united and independent Armenia.

Saying that ANM is the party in power is erToneous. 2. Writing boldly that "there is no doubt that Armenia and the Diaspora will be irreversibly affected by the president's charges and actions, as well as by the reactions ofthe

ARF leadership," is myopic and politically immature. There are no irreversible courses in the realm of political feuds, and the writers know it. 3. In the course of your analysis of the current tense climate between the President and the ARF leader, you wrote, "Are there foreign interests at work here, interested in seeing Armenia's major asset-stabilityblemished?" First of all, there is not a single foreign state or nation on this planet yet to declare an alliance with Armenia. It would thus seem reasonable to assume that the issue of stability or instability in Armenia can be used for short and/or longterm political expediency by any other foreign state, when-

ever the need arises. There exist plenty of scapegoats (real or imagined) that can be convenient targets of attack orblame. Doing so, however, badly missses the point and serves no useful purpose. Armenians must,

first and foremost, be held responsibile for their own acts and accountable for the result-

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

1992

It leaves the reader no other altemative but to conclude that by merely not making any qualification to the contrary, the writers obviously find Ter Petrosyan's speech of June 29, befitting the dignifity of the president of this or any country. How to explain the silence of the writers regarding kvon's disclosure of the number of FreedomFighters in Artsakh? The dictionary defines aperson who gives information aboutthe numberof theirsoldiers as'traitor'. In discussing the solution to the Artsakh Question, the writers use the term 'peaceful means'. Does this notmean offeringArtsakh, stock and barrel , to Azerbaijan and its heroic population for slaughtering? On the other hand, the writers did not fail to seize the opportunity of lrvon's historically unparalleled blunder, namely his speech of June 29, to criticize the ARF for its "undemocratic" by-laws.The word is being used

with a

fourth-grader's concept of

democracy.The ARF can not be discussed and analyzed only by joumalistic textbook principals. Pleasenote that I am neithera spokesman for the ARF, nor is this only one man's opinion. Please, cancel my subscription to AIM magazine, effective today.

lirair Pishtofjian Peabody,MA

Jingo Blues During the past77 yeus, and to this day, Armenians are dissatisfied with the world media regarding the reports and documentaof the first Genocide of the 20th Cen-

tion

tury. The media portrays the Armenian Genocide as one based on mere allegations and not facts by writing "4r-"nians say" or "the alledged genocide." Through years ofhard work and determi nation, political, religious, cultural, and historical institutions, committees, organizations and individuals have tried to change this attitude, and have found some success. After all, we have to understand that the world media can be misled or misinformed, but it is not understandable that an Armenian magazine suchas AIMcan write,

"Ar-"rt*t

say Shushi had always been their city" or

'Karabakh President Petrossian...asserted


.. Armer*n Olftrd testiyd lnq ard '+

that the convoy had brought no weapons through the corridor,but itwas impossible to verifl this." (Cover story, June.) Perhaps Mr. Halpin is not aware of the

6th

facts, but AIM, by being an Armenian magazine, is expected to create public opinion in

(okge Preseinl

Annenion

los Angeles Gly

favor of Armenians, instead of becoming another member of the world media, which for some reason is still fearful of conveying the truth. As an Armenian, I would expect that any Armenian newspaper or magazine has one main goal : to inform people around the

Amd

Gty

Los Arqe,les

fthrd

(ollqe, 855 Nodh

FesliYol Vermont Ave

ry.rqf"ikJflfr Armqrton

Brudtfu ui&,hro mu* fu

erfr

t0Atbl2il

world

about the Armenian Cause which includes both the Genocide and the Artsakh issue,

Corfnmr Lirrs$nilottu}rwrt

supponed by historic facts. Matios Derderian

fumsturtdlqetfh*huutU

Toronto,Canada

Hk ildtiuts, [}nrs

I have been an avid reader and advocate

B[q*h,

0ilten's &liyrlbs, ltnk

f"

U*(itu

d'r

of AIM since the days of its first issue. I am deeply disappointed at the path thatAlMhas

been taking during the past year. During oftrial for our homeland, could you not allocate more space to politically useful and unifying articles and subjects? RoubenGalichian London, England these days

to

'

to

again the crime that is being committed against people, specifically, but in a universal sense, against world culture. May I have your permission to photocopy Mkrtchian's article to send to "Preservation News" as further illustration of this example of cultural genocide? Stella S. Rustigian

lmrfuM !.nq

!!l!

d(21313{&l l57or [El8) 01]1555

Belics in Ruin Shahen Mkrtchian's article "Witnesses History" with photos by Rouben Mangasarian (Monuments, June) illustrates

nwe lilormoilisrld &silnl

Ihe fesfid*t

fu

(lrl

trel*r*dnr &rl*

ffi{

h Le[C he

dY0wr0ntqdil0rmqld30llfo]si6d&tone]

dd k wt h fn ey d k6 Arud6 (rdind ffi*s hffiod.

I

I IA\7

OFFICES OF

Wethersfield,CT

ERRATUII: Due to a technical error,

a

line was

left

Personal Injury

out in "Aftershocks in the Caucasus" (June, 1992). The third sentence in the

Immigration

penultimate paragraph should read: That political platform was pregnant indeed withconsequences as itadvocated breaking away from the Commonwealth of Independent States, forming a union

/

Green Card

Business Matters

Colporations

with the "southem" or Iranian Azerbaijanis, and adopting a "Turkist" orientation.

For more information, please contact our Armenian co-workers at

Letters should be addressed to:

AIT

229 North Central Ave.,Suite 400 Glendale, CA 91203

P.O.Box3â‚Ź6,

tanhtttan Be.ch,

CA 9O2Eo

o!t rio{8181 5462283

Comments may also be phoned in to AIM'S new

Tclephone Lcltels Bank. Call

lâ‚Źl&546 lSOit

3250 Vilshire Blvd.,Suite 707 Los Angeles, CA 90010

with your views, which will be considered lor

publication. Letters whether mailed or phoned in, should include full name, address and home tele-

phone number, and may bs edited for purposes ol and

I

I AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992

7


Regional Rifts Clamoring for independence, Kurdish nationalists from Azerbaijan recently met in Yerevan for their first meeting. Officials of the Kurdish Liberation Movement said that the former Soviet territories of Kelbazar, Lachin, Kubatly, Zangelan and Jebrail will make up the new state. There are an estimated 150,000 Kurds in Azerbaijan, which forms the smallest part of divided Kurdistan.

Your New Self

Armenian citizens will soon exchange their old Soviet identification cards for a passport-like booklet that bears the Arme-

Art Quest Surprised to leam that Yerevan's much-

touted National Gallery does not have a catalog, Frenchjoumalist Simone Damotte

recently formed a support group to aid Armenian museums. The Paris-based Les Amis des Mus6es d'Arm6nie (Friends of the Museums of Armenia) hopes tobolster and spread Armenia's cultural image to the outside world. Thegroup's firstproject is to print a catalog that features the holdings of the National Gallery.

lnto the Land

nian coat of arms. A German firm contracted

The United States Embassy to Armenia settled into its permanent headquarters on

by the govemment to print the republic's "tram" currency will produce the cards. The computer-coded document will carry the

Marshall Bagramian Street. Charg6 D'Affaires Tom Price said that in a few months the embassy will start issuing visas

bearer's name, address and optional information such as ethnic origin and blood type.

and save Armenians a trip to Moscow. A cultural attach6, a Peace Corps representative and other US officials will work out of

"The new ID card symbolizes wideranging reforms in the country's citizen registration structure," said Hamlet Garapetian, head of the Interior Ministry's ldentification Department. "It's all part and parcel of a great effort to adopt the civic practices of

the embassy, which had its provisional head-

quarters in Yerevan's Hrazdan hotel.

The Right Stuff

civilized nations."

Six Armenians received the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship for graduate study

UN Speak

inAmerica. Under the terms of the fellowship, they must return to their respective

The United Nations Secretary General recently appointed Armenian-Cypriot Benon Vahe Sevan Undersecretary General for Political Affairs. Sevan will act as liaison be-

tween the UN Secretariat, the Security Council and the General Assembly. Prior to his appointment, he coordinated the UN humanitarian and economic aid program for Afghanistan, and served as special envoy to the region. Sevan is a graduate of the Melkonian School in Cyprus and Columbia University. He

joined the UN Secretariat in 1965.

republics upon graduation. Vatche Gabrielian, a parliament official, will study public policy and administration. Hovaness Asrian, a Ministry of Justice official, will major in law. Daniel Hasradian, a Yerevan city official, will specialize in busi-

ness. Gayane Haroutunian, Alexander Movsesov, and Levon Kazarian will study economics. The annual Benjamin Franklin Fellowships are awarded by the US govemment to help transfer Westem know-how to the newly independent republics of the former USSR.

AIM, AUGUST/SEMEMBER I992

Garoline's Call An intemational human rights delegation led by Baroness Caroline Cox is calling for

the United Nations to provide

i

p

emergency aid Q toArmenians in 3 Karabakh. The { five-nationteam 43 tons of medical supplies, three incubators and twoambulances

delivered

during a factfinding trip to Stepanakert in August.

"Short-term aid cannot solve

the problems of Karabakh," said Cox, who has visited the embattled enclave nine times. "We call upon international aid agencies,

including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to respond with hardship relief as a matter of great urgency." Lady Cox is deputy speaker of Great Britain's House of Lords.

Compiled by Tony Halpin, Ardem Sarksian and Katherine Chiljan


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AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992


ffi$0Gllll[ll l$IHI 1l[]rll 0IIHI Eltrll The prestige and intemational recognition won by and credibiliry, you will be able to tap into a market AIM since its debut has opened the door for major that will increase your exposure and roli.it additional corporations to seriously consider the potential mar- business. ketofArmenianconsumersavailablethroughoutthe So when you need to influence the best read, wo1ld by advertisilg in AIM. disceming and perceptive crowd, associare with the By scaling joumalism, new heights quality in best. \,X1zhin yo.r r..d to talk to ti-r.rn, talk to us! AIM . has been able to eam one of the most loyal and .

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46.

lU N I


Tbilisi Jitters AConversation w it h E duard S hev ardnadz

e

By TONY HALPIN Reporting from Tbilisi, Georgia

Eduard Shevardnadze was the architect of Mikhail Gorbachev's New Thinking in the formerSovietUnion's international relations. As Foreign Minister from 1985 until his dramatic resignation in December 1990, when he wamed of an impending hard-line coup, he helped end the Cold War, unify Germany, and reshape global politic s. Shevardnadze, 63, now leads his native Georgia as chairman of the interim State Council goveming the republic after the overthrow of former president Zviad Gamsakhurdia in a civil war in January. The silverhaired former diplomat ruled his homeland once before, as First Secretary of Georgia's CommunistParty for 13 years until 1985. He faces serious problems, from open rebellion in the South Ossetia region, where separatists want to unite with neighboring North Ossetia, to smouldering resentment in western Georgia, the heartland of Gamsakhurdia's support. Bursts of automatic gunfre regularly shatter the nighttime peace in the capital, Tbilisi, where a midnight curfew remains in force. Shevardnadze gave an exclusive interview to AIM, through an interpreter, in his Tbilisi office in mid-July. In his analysis of regional issues, Shevardnadze discussed the political turmoil in Georgia as a series of developments that might have considerable bearing on Georgian-Armenian relations, as well as on ties with other republics in the Transcaucasus.

Alil: The situation in Georgia still appears uely

precarious. Can you establish lasting stability as long as Gamsakhurdia [now exiled in Groznial isfree to cause problems for you? Shevardnadze: If I was not sure that I could manage these problems, then I would not have started working here. Recently we have achieved some consolidation of the people, and on June 24, when there was an attempt to overtluow the govemment, the people proved who they supporttoday. ButIam not simplifying the situation and we need to do some hard work to strengthen our achievements and deepen positive trends.

But what is to stop Gamsakhurdia trying to leturn to Georgia and standing in October's elections? I can't say, you have to ask the election commission. There is a judicial investigation taking place and a preliminary investigation on criminal matters is going on, so I think that will decide.

Do you believe the recent Gonference on Security andcooperation in Europemeeting in Helsinki oflers

any mechanisms Ossetia?

to solve the conflict in

South

There are already certain European institutions and structures to

deal

withthe conflict, [such as] the Centerforlnvestigating Conflicts.

But we are not waiting until these structures start to settle this problem. We are dealing with our problems ourselves.

You have secured a temporary peace in Ossetia' policed by an international force of Georgian, Russian, and Ossetian troops. What long.term solution do you see? We need atemporary solution to achieve long-term peace, and we have to achieve this by all means. That was quite a brave step we took recently [to agree on joint supervision]. Not much time has passed so far, but I think everything is going smoothly.

But would you be witling to see South Ossetia leave Georgia if that was the only way to bring peace? It is impossible for this territory to be outside Georgian boundaries. This is Georgian land and Georgian territory and everyone should know that. This question will not be discussed in any place. This part of Georgia must

stay-will stay-within

Georgia. Not

must,butwill.

The whole Gaucasus, lrom Georgia to Armenia and Azerbaiian, seems to be caught in conflict. Would a modernizedlorm of 'Gaueasus Fedetation" bea way

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992

r3


of easing ethnic tensions in the region?

That is not realistic. If anyone put that question no one would support it, so it is meaningless. In the Caucasus, TransCaucasus, all

kinds of federations and confederations are compromised. There was

We have good relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Of course the conflict [in Nagomo-Karabakh] brings some difficulties. Georgia is interested in any solution that would solve this problem, as far as it is possible to be solved. All parts have their places. We will have good relations with Russia, there is a good foundation for that. We will have good relations with Turkey and, yes of course, with the Europeancountries andthe United States. Generally, we wanttohave good relations with everyone. But not with one part instead of others. No relations with one country will be damaged because of relations

with another.

There is a storyabout you that your mothe; gave you

a letter before she died, to be opened when you

believed you were at the peak of yout eareer. Have you opened the letter?

(Laughs) It is not opened yet. I am going to open it maybe after ten will look at it, we can wait ten years.

years. We

Will you be standing in October's elections?

I have not decided yet. There is still time. Even one week is important for me.

Eduard Shevardnadze with Russian president Boris Yeltsin during a recent meeting some kind ofconfederation once before but I think that's enough for At this stage, wecan only speak of some sortof consultative body. But no one discusses this question in Georgia. us.

How would you describe relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan?

But is this a job you like doing? This is a part of my life. Liking or disliking it is beside rhe point.

But you seem uncertain whetheryou want to continue as leader of Georgia. What will help you decide? The Tshkinvali (please check) conflict [in Ossetia] is one of the major points. I am also going to leave soon for western Georgia. This joumey has great importance for me and after I retum from there, I will take adecision.

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ARMENIA: BUILDING A DEMOCRACY ARDEM SARKSIAN

or a brief moment in Septem- of Western democracy. ber, when Padiament was in President Irvon Ter Petrossian's recess, political life inArmenia "velvet revolution" ushered in nearly seemed relatively calm. But the 670 new laws and resolutions, which deputies have since returned and ev- helpedArmenia break away from the erything is back to normal. last vestiges of Soviet Communism. What is likely to follow are stormy Among those measures is the semilegislative sessions on nal I99l "Declaration" the airwaves, anti-govdesigned to launch the ernment rallies, more nation's new economic political gridlock, and an order. Parliament passed occasional bill that is 20 laws alone during its miraculously sanctioned fourth session between by-almost<veryone. JanuaryandJuly of 1992. As it enters its third "Compared to the year, the Armenian Parnumber of laws passed liament continues to by long-time governsfreamline the counfir's ments, that's Hgh," said legislative structure. Armen Bayburdian, asTwenty of its 260 seats may still be sistant to the president of Parliament. empty and the parliamentary offices "In view of the needs of a new, deof deputy president and secretary veloping democracy, 20 seems little still up for grabs, but Armenia's in six months. We are certainly slower body politic has embraced the than Russia and other former Soviet best-and sometimes yss6f-yalues republics."

z =

E

t 16

AIM. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992


I \


Bayburdian says that sometimes members of parliament (or deputies) have tumed stalling into a political art form. But that's not the major reason for the delays. "We're trying to pass legislation that is well-developed and time-resilient," he said.

At the moment, according to the Presidential press office, there is no parliamentary or presidential mechanism for replacing judges, most of whom are leftovers from the Communist rcgime. However, the chief justice

"That's extremely hard to accomplish.

of the Supreme Court and the chief of the Prosecutor's Office have been nominated

Compare this to other Sovietrepublics which

by the prime minister and await approval by

only make partial reforms. We have been

Parliament. In the absence of a constitution, the Supreme Council of Parliament reviews legislation, then sends it to committees for study and eventually to the whole Parliament for its consideration and vote. The Supreme Council is Parliament's powerfi.rl executive body. For that reason, all 240 deputies elect the president of Parliament, his two deputy presidents, the secretary and the 16 committee chairmen, who comprise the Supreme Council. According Parliament President Babgen Ararktsian, who together with the Supreme Council is responsible for scheduling bills forparliamentaqr review and vote, economic legislation continues to be a top

set on

making radical changes-lassing laws

that fundamentally alter land, building, privatization and other controversial but essential aspects of society." Armenia's drive toward democracy has been fraught with contradiction and leth-

al.gy. Parliamentary deliberations

are

often reduced to mammottr examinations of minutiae. Resolutions are sent back to their authors for revisions to frt factional philosophy. Even the passage ofbasic bills

such as the one on the legal status of the Armenian language within the Republic is stalled thanks to arguments over-language.

The motley groups in Parliament and the

country's growing economic woes have

tumed the business

of running a

nascent republic into a new bureaucratic nightmare. The structure of the judiciary is not yet established and will be discussed when Parliament considers the proposed constitution.

to

priority. Parliament is also planning to examine legislation regarding the armed forces. The decision to introduce bills dependent on whether they have been studied and developed and the kind ofready consensus around the contents of a bill, Ararktsian said.

COMMITTEE ON THE ESIABLISHMENT OF INDEPENDENT GOVERNMENT AND NATIONAL POLICY

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1992


passage of executivebills, Ter Petrossian and his staff lobby openly in Parliament. In fact, the president participated in parliamentary

To ensure the

Previous page: the Parliament building and the Presidential Palace; Parliament in session, left

backed

debates

over the privatization law to ensure its passage by a slim margin of 20 votes over the minimum 50 percent requirement.

From Bill to Law Bills are introduced by either the executive or legislative branches of govemment. So far, only the executive branch has ated any economic legislation.

initi-

Altered States During the early days ofthe independence movement, the communists and the Armenian National Movement (ANM) dominated

A cornerstone ofthat legislation, the law on privatization, approved in July after eight months of parliamentary deliberations, illustrates the profiacted process of passing a

the legislature. Today, the communists, known as the Democratic Party, have no

bill. The law was introduced by the executive branch in outline form, handed to the Supreme Council for review, and then passed down to parliamentary committees. A joint committee of executive branch officials and the Parliament's Finance Committee drew a final draft and sent it again to the Supreme Council. The Parliament approved the draft last June and published it for public reading. Finally, the Finance Commiftee reviewed all public com-

elected representatives, while the 52 ANM deputies form the largest voting block in Parliament, but fill only 22 percent of all seats. Since the ANM's heyday in 1991, other political groups have made inroads and transformed power relations in Parliament. The ANM faced little opposition a year ago. But many deputies elected on the ANM slate have since left the group and declared themselves independent or joined other par-

ments and suggestions and spawned an amended version which Parliament ap-

ties.

The ANM, the Armenian Democratic Liberal Organization (ADLO, 14 deputies), the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, 12 deputies), and the National Democratic Union (NDU, nine deputies)

proved. The president has two weeks to sign or

veto a law and Parliament can ovenide a veto by a two-thirds majority.

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PBESS

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FANAL


are the four largest political parties in Par-

liament. While the ANM started as a democratic front, it functions more and more like a political party. The other organizations that have a presence in Parliament are Artsakh [Karabakh] (15 deputies), Ankakh Zhoghovrdakan [In-

country to war with Azerbaijan. Political pressure from the opposition forced Ter

I

Petrossian to announce during a recent par-

liamentary session that Armenia is in no position to engage in a prolonged war with

E

: E

Azerbaijan.

ANM leadership came to power due uncompromising support for Karabakh's self-determination. With the fall The

dependent Democratsj (15 deputies), Hamadsaynutiun [Agreement]

(I0

to its

deputies), (15

Azat Khorhrdaran [Free Parliamentl

of the Shahumian and Mardakert regions, large rallies were organized by the National Alliance calling for Ter Petrossian's resignation and the formation of a transitional

deputies), and Agrarayin [Agricultural] (22 deputies). Parliament is the only forum where these groups can effectively challenge govemment policy. And during the past several months, challenge they did. Outraged by the dramatic tum of events that resulted in massive territorial losses to Azerbaijan, frustrated by economic decline, and irked by Ter Petrossian's efforts to

ruling council. National Alliance officials said that the council, with members from all

major parties, would run the govemment until new elections were held. That call once again helped revive the debate over drafting a constitution. Ter

maintain ANM's monopoly on the decision-making process, opposition parties formed the National Alliance. The alliance poses a serious threat to Ter Petrossian's govemment, but it also suffers from intemal rifts and conflicts. The ARF, a member of the alliance, opposes the idea of immediate privatization, and the ADLO rejects the opposition's call for the president's resignation. Armenia's body politic remains fluid because a deputy can change his or her party allegiance at will. Whether the shift reflects

20

Petrossian rejected the opposition's demands Babgen Ararktsian, above; National

Alliance meeting, below a mood swing in the deputy's constituency, however, is anyone's guess.

It's also difficult to assess whether the opposition's jabs stem from differences in ideological discourse or from narrow political ends. Govemment officials have criticized the National Alliance for exploiting the Karabakh conflict and for pushing the

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I992

to resign and made it clear that he would only do so following a majority vote in a popular referendum. He asked that Parliament consider a nation-wide referendum during a recent emergency session. But he also said that in the event of a vote of confidence in his favor, Parliament would have to dissolve and that new elections would have to be held.

The session was deadlocked because there was no constitutional framework to allow for such a course of action.


The ARF and the ADLO remain the main forces behind the National Alliance. And despite Ter Petrossian's June 29 televised address against the ARF, the organization

continues to muster enough support to covet the offices of deputy speaker and secretary of Parliament. Whatever the particular ideology or program, the parties and factions that make up the Armenian Parliament see the Karabakh conflict as the very measure by which to conduct-and manipulate-national politics. The question that's being asked today is how much political clout the National Alliance really has and whether it can remain

unified. Petrossian govemment is not a top priority for the opposi-

If the ousting of the Ter

tion, one might expect the alliance to fall apart because its members share no common social or economic agenda.

The President's

ilen

From Chief Advisor Ashot Manucharian of Karabakh Committee fame to Press Secretary Ruben Shugarian and Chief of Staff the Shahen Karamanukian, most president's assistants, like Ter Petrossian himself, entered the political arena in the days of the democratic movement. Today, the bulk ofexecutive branch activities falls in the hands of the prime min-

of

ister and 22 ministers. An executive supporting staff works on legal affairs, appointments, pardons, accounting, research and correspondence.

Khosrov Harutunian, an economist, was named prime minister in late July to partially relieve Gcgik Harutunian of his dual posts as prime minister and vice-president. The new prime minister will devote his energies to bread and butter issues. The executive branch also includes state administrations which operate like quasi-

ministries. "State ministers coordinate a number of ministries with overlapping du-

like Education, Culture, Higher Education and Science," said Ararktsian. ties

And the President

With the support of all these men, many believe President Ter Petrossian has yet to demonstrate a coherent and workable prescription for the country's problems.

He ran for president on a vague platform. What's worse, he told the people after being elected that he could not promise anything positive in the near future. He is, perhaps, the quintessential realist, but the country at this stage may need a leader with the power to inspire, motivate and move forward. This, of course, is possible only if external forces, from Karabakh to Baku and from

Moscow to Washington, allow any leader room to maneuver. For now, that seems an I unattainable luxury.

Aclash of Titans ByTONYIIALPIN

I ! !I

t was billed as aclash of thetitans, one of the greatpariramentary showdowns

l0 percent of any vote in a referendum. Fine, then what are you afraid of, he

of derirocratic Armenian polirics. In-

shot back.

stead.

it tumed into an embarrassing

mismatch. President l-evon Ter Petrossian hardly broke sweat in knocking out the opposition National Alliance when it tried to force his resignation on August 17. The thrustof the alliance's attack became lost in a fog of procedure until, exhausted, it threw in the towel. Far from convincing the nation ofTer Petrossian's unfitness to govem, the occasion, broadcast on radio and television, served only to highlight the incompetence of the Parliament. Any average voterforced to choose between the two would not have lost much sleep over the decision. The big-fight hype had been immense.

The loss

of the

Armenian enclave of

Artsvashen in Azerbaijan the previous week had added urgency to opposition calls for the president to step down.

A demonstration organized on August 15 attracted several thousand peoplethough nowhere nearthe50- l00,000touted by the organizers. But the show ofstrength was enough to promptTerPetrossian

to go

on television late that Saturday evening and call the debate on his future.

"You have the support of 8,000," he told the opposition during the broadcast, "but I was elected by more than one million It was the theme on which Ter

people."

Petrossian built the defense ofhis title. If the opposition parties had hoped

for

anotherbig show ofpublic support outside the Parliament during the debate, they were disappointed. Only some 500 people kept up a noisy vigil of complaints as bored police looked on. Inside, Ter Petrossian gave a confident, almost alrogant speech urging deputies to agree to his proposal for a national referendum on whether the president should resign. He would never quit unless it was the people's will, he told them. It was aclassic rope-a{ope tactic-Ter Pefossian has long been trying to push through powers for the presidency to dissolve Parliament by referendum. Parliament would have equal ability to unseat the president, but the body calting the poll would have to resign if voters rejected the demand. Now, by reviving hiscall, he was daring the deputies to apopularity contest. One deputy interrupted Ter Petrossian, calling out that he would get no more than

AIM. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I 992

We're not afraid of anything, retumed the deputy.

I know, you're very brave people, said the president, but anyway, you please sit down. That was about as tough as the opposibecame bogged down in procedural debate over whether election laws permitted the president tocall areferendum. No, they didnot,

tion attack got. The chamber

concluded Parliament's legal commiuee after a long pause in the session. But deputies could change that by passing a quick reform ofthe rules, it said. Further hand-wringing ensued as Parliament agonized over whether it could and should change the law in such a hurried manner. "I will abide by any decision of this body," smiled Ter Petrossian, fully aware that it was incapable of coming to a decision. Another break followed, When the session resumed, chairman Babken Ararktsian announced a new topic

for discussion-the current condition of Armenia. The opposition comer had signalled its defeat-it did not want to come out to face the president in the nextround. Deputies took a vote on whether television should continue to record the debates-yes, they said after some 20 minutes ofdiscussion, TV could. Then Paruyr Hayrikian stood up to ask

whether the voie, in deciding that television should record the debate, meant that TV must broadcast the session. Cleady exasperated, Araxian explained that it was up the the TV company to decide what to

show.

The exchange typified the day. For all their bravado and swagger, the opposition National Alliance tumed out to be sevenstone weaklings when it came time to get in the ring. Ter Petrossian kicked sand in their faces then walked away unmarked, leaving his opponents swinging at shadows. But the satisfaction in the champion's comer was tinged with frustration. "The opposition is weak because it does not suggest anything constructive, but is very desffuctive," said Presidential Spokesman Ruben Shugarian. "We are interested in having a strong opposition and we must have it. Development cannot be achieved without one.'"

I

2l


FromShushito Rome AChrcnicie By PETER BALANIAN and GOURGEN KHAJAGIAN

ED y the fourttr round of negotiations

in Rome, the Minsk Group had failed to

fieactr

an accord over the legal description of the Karabanr aetegation, but there was agreement on sending a frouble-shooter to the embattled region. The Minsk representatives agreed to send conference chairman Mario Raffaelli to Baku, Stepanakert and Yerevan, to "appeal... for an intemrption of military activities." The representatives met in Rome in August to prepare and define the parameters of the Minsk conference, which has yet to be scheduled. It has been delayed because preliminary negotiations such as the one in Rome have tailed to resolve key differences between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The talks are sponsored by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), a 48-nation group of which Armenia and Azerbarjan are membrs. Stepanakert Scores

demanded a complete withdrawal of Armenian fighters from Shushi and Lachin as a precondition to the meetings.

Since preliminary negotiations started

in June,

The two countries depicted

Stepanakert, the capital of

has scored several political points. While Armenian troops in Karabakh,

insisted the conflict was

Karabakh have engaged Azerbaijanis for years, the talks were Stepanakert's flrst foray into intemational diplomacy. Raffaelli and conference Vice-Chair-

between

Azerbaijan and Karabakh.

Political

teltdown

man Mario Sica have assured

the Karabakh delegation that Stepanakert can

Everyone thought that Moscow was giving notice to Turkey and Azerbaijan when it sent two high-ranking Russian officials to Yerevan following Armenian

in the talks with a right to veto during working sessions. But participate

Stepanakert officials can only participate

as observers during plenary

the

Karabakh conflict as an ongoing war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia

territorial gains in Karabakh. It is a widely accepted notion that Armenia falls within Russia's sphere of influence. The military accords signed by Russia and Armenia soon after reinforced that notion.

sessions.

What this means is that no decision on Karabakh can be taken without the approval of the Karabakh delegation. Stepanakert's enhanced position is an improvement over the first round of the

In the wake of the relatively

Rome talks, when Turkey and Azerbaijan

unhampered liberation AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992

of

Shushi and


A LIFE FRAUGHT WITH PERIL: A popular

struggle against all odds.

24

AIM, AUGUST/SEMEMBER

I

992


AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I 992


AIM, AUCUST/SEPTEMBER I992


Lachin, and the election of the pro-Tirkish

as

president of Azerbaijan, the interests of Armenia and

Abulfez Elchibey

Russia seemed to converge-at least temporarily. At around the same time, Elchibey threatened that Azerbaijan might pull out of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

What followed was a diplomatic meltdown between Russia and Armenia and a series of military defeats in Karabakh. The Azerbaijani army in mid-June mounted a relentless and successful thrust into Shahumian's entire northem section-including most of Mardakert-in a campaign that bore the indisputable mark of Russian military collaboration. The Azerbaijanis had for months failed to b,reak into Shahumian, but they had now changed the military status quo and the nature of negotiations on territory. The escalating tension which Raffaelli hoped to end began after Elchibey's election. Meanwhile, CSCE and Karabakh representatives held negotiations in Moscow to decide the

level of Karabakh's participation in the peace process,

Another Fault Line Armenian military losses on the ground coincided with a more damaging political split between the leaderships of Yerevan and Stepanakert. Karabakh rejected Ter Petossian's call to participate in the preliminary Rome talks because of the military defeats and the CSCE's failure to contain the situation in Karabakh.

sia as a weak member of the CIS. Perhaps Russia had altogether compromised its centuries-old interests in the Transcaucasus for the sake of better rela-

The Bevensal

tions with the United States, hoping, in rchrm, to receive considerable economic aid and postponement of debts. Predictably, the United States opted to extension, support Turkey-and, Azerbaijan-as buffers against the poten-

posal--{rave been eliminated by the Minsk Group. The CSCE seems ready to include the Karabakh delegation in the Minsk conference as a fully recognized party, since it has already participated in the working

the Transcaucasus.

sessions. By differentiating between the representative of Karabakh's Azeri com-

bY

tial spread of Islamic fundamentalism in

All decisions adopted in ttre absence and without the agreement of the Karabakh delegation-including the ll-point pro-

munity and Karabakh's legal Armenian

Armenian Alone

authorities, ttre Minsk Group has recognized

At the end of the second round, Arme-

nia successfully inroduced the question of

Azerbaijani withdrawal from Shahumian and Mardakert.

that the conflict is no longer a civil war between two ethnic communities.

Raffaelli

vs. Reality

The Karabakh delegates, who were in-

Karabakh

part in the talks because the Minsk Group wanted to recognize the representative of the Azerbaijani community of Shushi as the "other representative" from Karabakh. The Minsk Group went on to draft the so-called ll-point peace proposal during the second round and asked that Armenian and Azerbaijani troops

withdraw from Shushi, Lachin,

Shahumian and Mardakert. The group also called for the voluntary return of refugees to their homes. The document was signed by all Minsk participants except Armenia, Azerbaijan and

Turkey.

The Russian shifr

The New Republic

When the high-ranking Russian officials visited Yerevan, tensions were flaring between Armenians and Azerbaijanis along the Nakhichevan-Armenia border.

tiate between Azeri and Armenian Raftaelli:

Ter PeEossian ProPosed turning the border region into a security zone while Turkish high-ranking officials threatened to intervene. It was in light of such threats that Moscow wamed Ankara against Tirkish military involvement and sfiessed Russia's military resolve to defend Armenia. At President

the time, Moscow

guaranteed

a

"balanced" distribution of military equip-

ment and technology

to

Armenia and

Azerbaijan.

But this promise was swiftly breached. During the second round of the Rome talks, Armenia was isolated. Russia, the United States, Turkey and other delegations defended Azerbaijan. What happened? Ter Petrossian's government had perhaps underestimated the importance of

Turkish Prime Minister

SuleYman

Demirel's May visit io Moscow, or the strategic importance of Azerbaijan

to

Rus-

will be represented in future

meetings by Armenian elected officials

By the time the fourth round of talks began in late-July, the Minsk Group had alrcady agreed to

differen-

representatives from Karabakh.

I

An lmposslble mlssion?

The group called on the legally elected Armenian authorities of Stepanakert

representative of the Azeri community of Shushi to participate in the

and a

talks. The Karabakh delegation agreed to participate as the sole legal body representing the republic. When during his opening

speech, Karabakh Vice-Prime Minister Boris Arushanian said, "In the name of the legally elected authorities of the Republic

of

Mountainous Karabakh...," the Azerbaijani and Turkish delegations stormed out of the meâ&#x201A;Źting hall. They were irked bY what manY interpret as an indirect recognition by the CSCE that there was such a thing as a Republic of Karabak&. For its part, Turkey demonstrated again what Christian Der Stepanian, head

of Armenia's delegation, called Ankara's "exfteme partiality"

in

Transcaucasian

politics. AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992

from Stepanakert, a leader of the region's Azeri community, another from the Armenian community, and possibly leaders from the Russian, Kurdish and Greek communities.

These legal nuances mean

litfle until

actual fighting ends in the region. Raffaelli's visit to Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan aimed to do that by proposing atwo-month

long ceasefire in and around the encl4ve' seen whether similar diplomatic efforts will confiol the bloody clashes and military balance in the region.

But it remains to be

Peter Balanlan is a polltlcal observer and writer

Md

ln

Rome.

Gwrgcn KhaJagian ls a rcPorter ln

AIM'I Yercvan Burau.

All

photos by

Bouben Mangasarlan. 27


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For weightlifting gold medalist Israel Melitosian, victory was wrought with deepfelt emotion. During an interview with reporters, the 24-year-old native of Gumayri (Lrninakan), a region that was devastated by the 1988 Armenian earthquake, expressed hope that his personal triumph "could bring a speck

oflight to a nation struggling against

overwhelming odds." Though Melitosian, a silver medal-winning veteran of the 1988 Seoul Games, had only words of gratitude for Vasily Alexeyev, the CIS team's weightlifting coach, Alexeyev had actually refused to include Melitosian in the CIS team at the EuropeanChampionship

Games, which were held in Hungary early

this year. In fact, citing the examples of

tory practices against Armenian athletes were evident in the CIS Olympic team's decision to accept only five sportsmen from Armenia, even though the republic had presented many more athletes who were highly qualified to compete in Barcelona.

This year's Olympiad, however, marks Armenia's dependence on outside powers for selecting and representing its

Arnpnian lledatistslin

Modern Olympics I952,HEI.SINKI

the end of

Hrant Shahinian. Gold

athletes.

gymnastic team; ring exercises. Silver rnedals: combined toumamenq vaulting horseexercises.

By the next games, the Olympic Committee of the Republic of Armenia (OCRA) will have formed the country's own Olym-

medals:

pic team. With the initiative of former Armenian Olympic champions, OCRA, whose board members are culled from both Armenia

and the Diaspora, was founded early this

year in Yerevan. OCRA is entrusted with the formidable task ofleading the country's famedathletic talent in atime when the Armenian govem-

-

ment can scarcely afford to subsidize Olympic training. Should OCRA fail to secure

funding, Armenia may not have a chance to adequate

fully compete in 1996. But officials are hoping that with

some backing from

the

Diaspora. the next Olympic turn out to be the best yet for Armenian athGames may

in

Graeco-Roman

in

fencing. 1964,TOKYO

Igor Novikov. Gold medal: pentathlon team. Silver medal: individual pentathlon.

Arkade Andreasian, Hovannes Zanazanian. Bronze medals: soccer.

Barcelona.

the CIS team's European Championship Games, the team's Georgian-bom wres-

30

fencing team. Silver medal: individual

I972,MI-JNICH

had reached only second place in

tling coach, Mikhail Mamiashvilli, had nonetheless insisted on taking

Iskantarian to Barcelona, expressing faith in the athlete's

"tremendous sportive talent."

two Armenian athletes who were refused

Sharpshooter Hrachia Bedikian, of

participation in the CIS Olympic team despite their victories in preliminary competitions, many Armenian sportsmen feel that Russian coaches continue to discriminate against athletes from the other republics of the former Soviet Union. According to Hrant Shahinian, the flrst Armenian gold medalist in modem Olympics, Armenian sportsmen "had to outdo their opponents by several notches for a shot at being accepted into any collective Soviet team." But those difficulties notwithstand-

Yerevan, had reached sixth place in the Seoul

teams came back with medals." Discrimina-

Valentin Chernikov. Bronze medal :

Faeena Melnick. Gold medal: discus throwing. Edward Mikayelian. Silver medal: gymnasticteam

wrestling

ing, Shahinian adds, "90 percent of Armenian athletes competing in Soviet Olympic

Albert Azarian. Gold medal: ring exercises. Silver medal: team. Igor Novikov. Silver medat pentathlon.

Mnatsagan Iskantarian is among those athletes headed for the 1996 Olympiad. Another Gumayri native, Iskantarian,25, won the gold

Though Iskantarian

Nshan Mounchian and Samson Khachaffian,

::.'.

letes.

medal

lsrael Melitosian took Olymplc gold, malntalnlng the record he set ln 1988

'

l960,ROI!dE

Games. But this year the 32-year-old won gold in Barcelona, beating his opponent in

1976,MONTREAL Vardan Melitooian. Silver medal: weightlifting.

Davit Torossian. Bronze medal: boxing. 1980,MOSCOW

Yuri Vardanian. Gold

medal:

weightlifting. Edward Azarian. Gold medal: gymnastrcteam.

Sirvard Emirzian. Gold medal: high board diving. Ashot Karagian..S.rlyq.r$rlj Karagian. Silver medal: fencing lenclng telin. Bronze medal : individual fencing. Yuri Sarssian. Gold mdal:

all three shooting positions.

Armenian athletes also had moments of great agony. Graeco-Roman wrestler Alfred Ter Mkrtchian, the 2l-year-old champion of the CIS European Championship Games, failed to grab first place at the very last moment of a fierce competition. Overcome with grief, he was onthe verge of tears, when Coach Mamiashvilli hastened to lift him up and congratulate him on his excellent performance. Ter Mkrtchian won the silver

medal.

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I992

I

highboarddiving

.

Khoren Hovannlsian. Gold,rnedall soccer. 1988,SEOLJL Ogsen Mirzoian. Gold medal:

weightlifting.

Lcvon Juffalakian. Gold rnedal: wrestling.

:


For the past two years, yodve never felt fff fromArmenia.

wecongraturateo!Trrr,,/l,m#','ng,Yftiif

@

'[i,%tJl?,:*ondanniversarv'


of Diuensity DOZENS OF SMALL, VARIEGATED ARMENIAN COMMUNITIES DOT THE AMERICAN LANDSGAPE By SONIA DERMAN HARLAN

sn't it true that many of us read credits to a movie or television show j ust to discover an Armenian name? How often has our curiosity driven us to scan a phone directory in the hotel room of an unfamiliar town? Haven't we browsed through the listings of delicatessens and carpet dealers, attomeys and physicians, even the entire alphabet, to find at leastoneArmenian? ForArmenian communities of large meffopolitan areas such as Los Angeles or Boston, it may be hard to conceive of any Armenians actually living in the middle ofAmerica-Wichita, Kansas orTulsa, Oklahoma, for instance. Folks in these towns, on the other hand, seem happily surprised whenever they're looked up; "Who told you about us?" they wonder. "How on earth did you find us?" Infact, forArmenians of large communities, there is moreto seeking out compaffiots in far-off places than the desire to unearth "ian"s in the most exotic of settings. In an era of mass displacements of Armenians in the Tianscaucasus and the Middle East, and in light of the now-common routes of immigration to established communities in NorthAmerica, it is important to understand how and why certain groups end up settling in areas where traditional networks of support are either minimat or simply nonexistent. What's significant is that most "pockets" of Armenians in America, and particularly those profiled for this review, continue to maintain a sffong sense of national identity despite all the odds, while successfully adapting to theirnew environments. The Gulians were the first Armenians in Kansas City 80 years ago. Today, there are less than 100 Armenians in AIM. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I992


the area, and more than half are Americanbom. The city is still receiving Armenian immigrants, many of them refugees from Baku, Azerbaijan, who are sponsored by various church charities. But housing and employment problems are common and often beyond the resources of the community, explained George Terian, president of the Armenian Society of Greater Kansas City.

Their small number notwithstanding, Kansas City Armenians have managed to keep tradition and language alive. The Arrnenian Society, whose activities are held in its own clubhouse, organizes children's and adult classes. And visiting clergy from both the Eastem Diocese and the Prelacy alternately hold services twice a year in the Greek Orthodox Church. It is a small but visible community, with its cultural icons, such as the Hatutian apartment complex bearing the name Kessab, proudly displayed. Functioning as Armenians in small, outof-the-way places is hard, but not impossible. A case in point are the Ghazarians and Kurdians, the only two Armenian families of Wichita, Kansas. If Hampar Ghazarian's non-Armenian wife can string a whole sentence in impeccable Armenian, if the Ghazarians and the Kurdians get together to celebrate Hampartsoum's name day, and if the Ghazarians are willing tc travel to Glendale, Califomia, to have their daughter baptized, no one can doubt these people's resolve and resourcefulness, no matter where they hang their hat. The professional Armenian, and his hat, account for the smallest pockets of Armenians in America. Dr. Garo Chalian, a urologist, and his wife have called Clinton, Iowa, home for 30 years. They are one of the city's 10 Armenian families. Dr. GaroandArsine Basmajian are one of three Armenian families in Oklahoma City. A few more live in Tulsa. Garo is a professor

historic St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Some records place Martin the Armenian among the first settlers in Jamestown, Virginia. Martin retumed to England. But in 1653 two Armenian silkworm growers settled in the area. In the 1890s more Armenians came. Many, like the Stepanians, entered the confectionery business. The Kambourians' oriental rug business, established in 1906, is still run by the family. And by the end of the century, Armenian tradesmen occupied stores on major streets of the city. Today, there are400 Armenians living in

Richmond, Hopewell and

Vir-

ginia Beach. Reli-

The community's peak years were the 1920s, when about 700 Armenians owned more than 20 grocery stores, and even more barber shops. Today, the Portland community numbers between 250 and 300, though the flux ofBaku refugees has started to add to the count. Both the Armenian Cultural Soci-

ety and the 25-year-old Portland Armenian Club donate funds to the local library for the purchase ofbooks on Armenian topics. The Society also organizes lecture series at the University of Maine. "Oddly enough, this community has never had an organized church." said Antranig Mezoian, who has published a

book about Armenians in

of nuclear pharmacy at the University of Oklahoma. Arsine owns the Bon App6tit Intemational Pastry shop in town. "We get together with other families as often as possible; our holiday parties are like one extended family gathering," she said. Until recently, they had visiting clergy who held church services: but now the Armenian church in Dallas-Fort Worth is theirclosest spiritual sanctuary. "We have had many Iranian-Armenian students at the University of Oklahoma, but they have migrated to Califomia.

We were sizing down until refugees from Baku started coming a few month ago," she added.

The Baku Armenians have also come to Erie, Pennsylvania, where there are no local Armenians to help them. Will they stay nonetheless? Will this becomethenext pocket of Armenians? By contrast, one of the oldest continuous Armenian communities in the United States is that of Richmond, Virginia, home of the

gious services are held at Richmond's St. Armenian Church. The most illustrious son of the Richmond Armenian community was the late Col. Emest Dervishian, winner of the Medal of Honor for single-handedly capturing 36 German soldiers during World War II. Five days after Dervishian's January 17, 1945 homecoming, Richmond was practically shut down so that its people could celebrate Dervishian

James

Day. The Yegoian family were the first Armenian settlers in Portland, Maine. They came in 1896. Garabed Yegoian worked for the Ottoman Bank in Istanbul, Turkey, when

atrocities against Armenians forced him to flee the country.

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I992

Further north, west of New York City. stands Binghamton. a picturesque city that was once the home of the largest shoe manufacturer in the world, the EndicottJohnson Company.Between l9l5 and l9l 8, 350 Armenians from Sepastia, Kharpert and Hadjin, Westem Armenia, came to Broome County to work in the shoe industry. What is unique about Binghamton is that three generations of Armenians have grown up here with minimal new Armenian immigration. With young people leaving the city, however, the community can no longer af-


fbrd a tull-time priest for its St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church. At

Mexico, the Armenian Cultural Association of new Mexico has become increasingly

real-life connection with Armenia. A year after contributing $25,000 for earthquake

the present, the church roster is dominated by

active since 197U. The Association has seen to it that the Albuquerque public school system incorporated the history of the Armenian Genocide into its social studies curricu-

relief, several individuals in the community heard of a Kumairi (Leninakan) doctor who

lum. Mariam Davis, a Genocide survivor whose life story was the subject of a 1988 Public Television documentary, lives in Santa Fe.

Altounian was brought to Portland, where Dr. Hagop Hovaguimian, a surgeon at the Heart Institute of St. Vincent Hospital, replaced the faulty valve with an artiflcial one.

Most of the 1,000 members of the Armenian community in Las Vegas, Nevada, are transplants from Califomia. "They came here to escape the violence and smog in Los Angeles," explained Henry Davidian, a senior trustee of the Armenian-American CIub

Travel, surgery and hospitalization arrangements were provided by Hovaguimian's colleagues and the hospital. According to Shoushan Salibian and Dr. Minas Tanielian, the Armenian Cultural Association of Washington "was established in

the names of the very rich, most of whom maintain resort or retirement residences in south Florida. Mzury Armenians have settled in Phoenix, Arizona. another prime resort and retirement region. ln the 1950s, Mr. and Mrs. Stepan Mehagian and Mrs. Anna Shekerjian organized the 3O-member community. That changed in the 1970s and 1980s, when more Armenians came from Lebanon and Armenia. Others moved here from Catifomia. Todal . the 400-strong community represents an economic base prosperous enough

EI

to finance a project such as the construction of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Cultural Center of Maricopa County. The first phase of the construction was completed in January of this year. The pastel pink of the Melikian Cultural Hall, with its true{o-form Armenian architecture, seemlessly blends in with the surrounding landscape. Several pockets olArmenians carry on in the Southwest. Souren and Roxie Mikaetian are one of 50 Armenian families living in the

El Paso, Texas-Juarez, Mexico juncture. Apparently, quite a few American-Armenian soldiers who were stationed here during World War II liked the climate and terrain so much that they retumed as civilians.

Due north,

in Albuquerque,

New

Pi6*

suffered from the life-threatening mitral valve Within amatterof weeks, Dr. Gagik

disease.

TExAg

ofLas Vegas. Before the 1960s, people like Al Garbian hit it big in the hotel-casino business. Today,

Garbian's Califomia Hotel has become a hub fortheArmenian Club's activities, which

include next-day screenings of video-taped news of Armenia.

About 70 Armenian families, both American-bom and recent emigr6s from Syria, Iran and Lebanon, live in Reno, Ne-

vada. Like Las Vegas, Reno also has a gambling industry. But "Armenians here have nothing to do with that; they are mostly

small-business owners,"

said

1978 and rejuvenated in l987." Armenians settled in Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane in the first decade of the century. Today, these communities boast an abundance of oriental rug businesses, including Andonian's Pande Cameron, which operates in downtown Seattle. Around 1910. Mark Balaban and Armen Tertsagian settled in the fertile orchard country of eastern Washington, where the lush, ruggcd tenain and dry climate u ere reminiscent of the Armenian landscape. But the early years were tough for the two entrepre-

Herous

neurs, and an unprofitable apple market drove

Yeghiyaian, a Reno resident. The 150-family strong Portland, Oregon, Armenian community recently had a

them to find a better way to sell their surplus fruit. Their search ended with the recreation of a candy called Rahat Locum (or Turkish

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I992


tlcl ight

The Armenian Nationality Glassroom of Pittsburgh

). u

dclicioLrs corrl ectron ol upplcs ancl

wllnuts whiclr thc nten hacl cn.joveil as chiltlrcn in thcir Irorlclanrl. N,lurk tutil Anlcn

Since the 1930s, the University of Pittsburgh has wclcorncd ethnic conrmunities to design and build individualized classrooms throughoul the can'rpus to reflect the given group's national history and traditions, as well as its contribution to thc city's cultural fabric. Though the so-called Nationality Classrrxrnrs woulcl be devoted, in clecor and even architecture, to specific cultures. they would still be use cl as rcgular classrooms. If Armenians were to create a Nationality Classroont. it would serve as both a recognition of the community's presence in Pittsburgh and a source cll' inspiration and pride for Armenians. The project would take shape' uncler the auspices ol'the Amre nianAmerican Club of Pittsburgh. In 1985 the first stage of the plannin-e process rvas complete. "An overwhelming drivc took hold of the Annenian commur.rity." remembers Charles Klanian, chainnan ol'the Armenian Nationality Classroom Committee. "The University granted approval fbr our prqect, even though it recognized our almost nonexistent strength in numbers Iapproxi-

narncrl thc cuntlr' ,,\plcts. und thcir l-ibcrty, Orchartls soon \\us pnrlLrcirtr: ('otlcts. anothcr conltctiolr. rruulc rr itlr upricols ltnrl witlt-tuts. Thc nori-ItrrrroLrs r\plcts & C'otlcts conrpan\. basctl in (lashnrere. Wlsltingtorr. has sir-tcc crpanrlcd thc cuntir lirrc to inclutlc sr.rch deliclcics as (inrpclcts unrl. rnost rc centlr'. Fruit Fcstivcs. lll inspirctl bv tlrc orieinal recipe. Se lrt t lc i: lton )t' l0 ir l)t rr qr'( )n inr L ( rn il il U nitv ol abor"rt 1.000 Arrnr,niuns.'fhosc rvlro cur.t.tc hcrc in the 1960s u,'cre prolcssionuls u ho * orkcd torthe Boeins Contpany. [-atclv. Anrrc'nians l'ronr the Middlc East lntl Calilirrn ia have bcen scttl ing in Scattlc's Eastsidc. With its Anrrenian ChLrrch and Cultr.rral Associllion. thc city "is a rluch lrcttcr placc I than Calilirrn ia I to raise kicls." said Salihian. Across thc nltion. in Atlanta, (ieorgia.

Ala Kcylcr ol thc Arntcnian Inclcpenclent C'ultLrral Associution tlcscrifus thc cit\''s Ar-

rlcnian conrnrurrity us "a stnall troup of

busincssrncrr and higlrlv erlLrcatcd prol'essionals who huvc bcen ilttrirclc(i to thc phcnontcrrtul gror.,',th ol lhc citr und closc-bt collcgcs ruttl Lrrt ivcrsitic:."

Again. nrg rrcrchlutls lctl thc ulrv lirr carly Anttcniiln sottlcls in thr ulcl. Thc Mooradians cu:nc ll'onr ('urtrrlu in thc latc I9.10s and cntcrcd thc t irnbcr urrd puIpu ood

industrics. Anrl in tlris tlccutlc. thc llrsti:sl

growing Anncniarr-o*netl husincss in thc

citl

is Ohanne s Kubbcnjian's lust lixxl rcs-

taLlrant chain. His lrlrr,r/i sarrd*ichcs arc h il anrong cor-tr.toisscurs.

mately 100 familiesl and unknown linancial base." An engineering manager at

rhe

Westinghouse Company. Klanian took early retirenlent to oversee the project. A design team headed by architect Torkorn Khrimian, a graduate of the Polytechnic Institute in Yerevan, fashioned the all-stone. archetl ancl vaulted room to closely resemble the libraryof the lOth Century Sanahin monastery in Arrnenia. "The Armenian Classroom was not to be a museurn. but indeed a fully functional classroom," explained Klanian. Neverthele ss. he traveled to Amrcnia where he obtained

museum replicas tbr the classroom. Annenia's Corrmittee lbr Cultural Relations with Armenians Abroad presented the cornerstone taken from lhe rnonastery itself; the committee also donated a replica of an ancient khachkar. No detail was overlookcd; no expense was spared. Even the classroom's tumitirre rr,,ns g'specially designed by artist Grigor Khanjian of Yerevan. Except for a generous contribution fiom the Alex and Marie Manoogian Fclundation, the fund-raising effort for the Armenian Nationality Classroom was undertaken locally. The largest contribution came from Lois Shakarian. Support frurn the Alex and Alice Lewis fund was also significant. The Annenian Classroom was dedicated in 1988. "For one brief moment in linre ire had the right people, in the right place. with the ri-ehr chemistry," said Klanian. "This rype of project, built to illustrate our rich culture and history to non-Armenians, must cenainly be unique." I

AIM. Al lCt.rST/SF.PTIT\{llFR

I

991

tr

Thcre arc about l(X) Anncnian llrnilics lir.in-tr in -{tlanta. Thc Arrncnian lnclcpcnclcnt Cr-rltural Association. lirrnrcrl a dccaclc ago. organize s a varictl,olcultr-rral and social cvcnts. u hich art'also attcncled by ncighborine Iluntsvillc. Alabarna and Chattanoosa. Tcr.t r.tcsscc. Annen ians. A substantial contribulion to thc Arnrenian curthquakc rclie l'cl'fi)rt came front thc Alluntu curnrnunity. As lirr rtrattcrs of church al'l'iliation. Ara Kcvl'cr strcsserl that "the As-

:trt ilttiott Ir'\p('( l\ lrr,tlt tlt'tttrntirt:rlirrrt.. inviting clcrgl, ll-ortt t[c l)i6ccse lts gcll as the Prclacy.'l'his svste rn Itas scrr crl the cor.rrrnirnity qurtc u'cll." By corltrast. tlral selnc sr stct.tt itas rcccntly t'ullcn ilpart in tho slxtc ol l,ouisiana. Accoruling 1o \/artkcs Balian. l rcsidcnt ol' New Orleans. tlrc .\rnrcniln .,\s:ociution o1' Lrrui.iltltit \'ittI ttr ) lr)tllt('t \\'t \ (' :r \ r rntillunit) split alonr partisan lincs. unrl it is tlrcrclirrc being clissolvcd. In thc surrrc vcin. thc Alntc-

nian Apostolic Church ol Ncu Orlcans has partcci vnavs uith lhc snrallcr Baton Rouge Arnrcnian communit\,. Armenians fronr othcr pilrts ol northcrn Louisiana. even llonr Jackson. Mississipi, attencl church services in Ncw Orleatrs or Baton Rougc. Oncc ortwice annually. clergy visit \Iernphis, Tennessee. whcrc clivinc


liturgy is held in a rented Greek Orthodox church.

Thirty Armenian families live in southern Louisiana. Amaud's Restaurant in New Orleans' French Quarter is the most visible Armenian-owned establishment. Other suc-

cessful businesses include Sarkis Kaltakjian's oriental rug and antique shop, located inside an old Baptistchurch, and Serop's

Restaurant in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana Armenians have contributed $22,m0 for earthquake relief. Immediately following the disaster in northern

Armenia, Lousiana had proclaimed I I days of mouming in recognition of the grave loss to the

thor David Kherdian, writes stories that vividly capture the lives of Racine Armenians during his childhood.

About 5,000 Armenians live in southeastern Wisconsin. Not more than 500 are active in church and community affairs. Paradoxically, the region boasts an abundance ofchurches: St. Mesrob and St. Hagop

in Racine, Holy Resurrection in south Milwaukee and St. John in Greenfield. Only St. Hagop and St. Mesrob have resident clergy at the moment, while Holy Resurrection is the only church in the midwest that has its

own Armenian cemetery. The region is also home to many Armenian organizations. The Armenian

Relief

state's citizens of Armenian decent.

Society

in area churches. Over the years, visiting Armenian clergy language and history instruction

from Racine, Wisconsin, have served the spiritual needs of Minneapolis Armenians. The first Armenians to settle in this Minne' sota city were the Keljiks, who came from Kharpert in the 1890s. Many Armenians, like the Keljiks, entered the oriental rug business.

Today, about 175 Armenians live in Minneapolis and St. Paul Midway. The Armenian Cultural Organization of Minnesota (ACOM),founded in 1980, publishes aquarterly newsletter and sponsors language classes, as well as lectures, concerts, plays and

TV broadcasts. Armenian visibility in the twin cities is at

,,#;r?.:ffi.:,ffft1ffi:north to Chicago, and continue north on 94, one

would reach the lakeshore cities where Armenians and local politics have mixed with great success. The tiny city

of

Waukegan, Illi-

ert

Sabonjian and

nois, has had two Armenianmayors: Rob-

Haig Paravonian.

Currently,John Antaramian mayor

is

the

of Kenosha, Wis-

consin.

to

From Kenoshato Racine, South Milwaukee and

the Milwaukee suburb of Greenfield, are scattered active Armenian communities with long histories.

Ironically, the first Armenians to settle in the region were single men who had no

intention

of

staying in

America. They came from the cities of Western Armenia to work, make

some money and return to their homeland' For these men, living conditions were often dismal, but the situation back home was to become even worse. Soon, news of the Genocide forced these workers to change their plans and send for relatives and picture brides. To this day, "Armenians in this area are not much into opening theirown businesses," said Dr. Levon Saryan, aMilwaukee resident. Two Armenian-owned law firms and Sarkis Apyan's rug store may be the only excep-

tions. And according to Chuck l{ardy (Kherdian), many Armenians, notably the Gulbenkian family, helped unionize Racine

factoriesinthe 1920s. Thecommunity's workingclassroots are reflected in today's factories and offices. The Johnson Wax Company, of Racine, employs many Armenian chemists. Native son, au-

(ARS), the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), the ArmenianGeneral Benevolenl

Union (AGBU),

the

Armenian Church Youth

ofAmerica(ACYOA)andthe Knights of Vartan all have local chapters here, in addition to home-grown clubs and the Tomarza United Compatriotic Association. But with more burials than baptisms, many young people moving away to meropolitan areas and minimal influx of Armenian newcomers, the profile of this community is rapidly changing, especially in light of mixed marriages.

Though community leaders throughout these pockets do not condemn the phenomenon of intermarriage, they nevertheless try

to counter some of the effects of cultural assimilation, as in Milwaukee, by providing AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I992

its peak during the annual Minnesota Festival of Nations. ACOM also has an ongoing joint project with the state govemor. According to Vahram Cardashian, ACOM's president, $120,000 has been collected by Minnesota-Armenia Aid and is "targeted for the construction of a hospital wing, orphanage or similar structure" in Armenia. Armenians in Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina, have a2}-farnily organization known as the Triangle Area Armenian Association. The group sponsors Armenian participation in Raleigh's annual Intemational Festival, as well as organizing various social events throughout the year. Another 20 or more Armenian families live in Columbia, the capital of South Carolina'


though no organized community life exists in the city. The profile of these Armenians is similar to those of other tiny pockets of Armenians: professionals who are attracted to lucrative jobs and a desirable climate. One of the most recent residents ofthe area is Richard Kaspar,

editor-in-chief of the Durham Herald. professors Anliyan, Tiryakian and Vartanian are members of the Duke University faculty.

Further down,

in South

Carolina, the

Touloukians have been the only Armenian residents of Camden in the past 20 years.

At the tum of

the century, Armenians

who were dissatisfied with the working con-

ditions of east coast factories had sought benerjobs in the steel plants of

southem

llli-

Members of the Cleveland ACYOA and the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) are mostly grandchildren of Malatya Armenians of Westem Armenia, who were encouraged to resettle here by the American Wire and Steel Company of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Other organizations, such as the Sons of Malatya, theAGBU and ARFarealso active in the 3,000-strong Cleveland community, while the Holy Cross Armenian Church of North Royalton and St. Gregory of Nareg of Richmond Heights cater to the community's spiritual needs. hofessor John Greppin's studies Armenian linguistics at Cleveland State University enjoy wide support among Armenians ofthe area. Last

in

ofoil companyjobs

and other business opportunities have ushered in many immigrants from the Middle East, especially lranianArmenians, and the community has continuously grown since the 1920s.

About 500 Armenians live in the city today, a number that has prompted the com-

munity to build a new church, St. Kevork, with funds provided by local benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Sam and Lena Harrison. The sanctuary, which was consecrated in February of this year, resembles that of St. Hripsime in Armenia. FatherNerses Jebejian, St. Kevork's pastor, extends his duties to a number of Armenian communities in the region. In addition tocrisscrossingTexas several times amonth, he flies to points in Louisiana, Oklahoma and even

Little Rock, Ar

,"*",

kansas, where he u 1 5-family Armenian parish once or twice a year. Fr. Jebejian will also celebrate divine liturgy in

the St. Sarkis Armenian

Church

of

Dallas-Fort

Worth, which has become a

hub for 200 recent immigrants from the Middle East

and the former Soviet Union. At first glance, there are no visible signs of Armenians living in

Boulder

or

Denver,

Colorado. In fact, Mike's Cameraon Pearl

Street, The Brewing Market in Raraohoe Village Center and Nora's Boutique are establish-

nois and neighboring Missouri. There are now about 1,200 Armenians, many of them professionals, living in the greater St. Louis area. 85 percent of the

community is American-bom; an additional l0 percent have recently immigrated from Lebanon and lran. According to Zabelle Vartanian, a lifelong resident of St. Louis, even though 99 percent of Armenians marry non-Armenians, "the vast majority who marry into the Armenian community become quite active in it. They devote much time and effort to community projects." Organizations like the Mr. and Mrs. Club of Granite City, the ARS and the Women's Guild of Holy Shoghagat Armenian Church all have thriving memberships. The largest ACYOA membership (about 40 members) for a small city is an honor that

Cleveland, Ohio, Armenians like to claim.

year, the university hosted the Fourth Intemational Armenian Linguistics Conference, which was attended by scholars from around the world. The Armenian Association of Toledo sponsors cultural events, contributes funds to the Armenian studies programs of the University of Michigan, and offers high school scholarships. TheArmenian Cultural Society of Akron/

Canton serves the two communities near Cleveland, while Cincinnati and Columbus Armenians have no known organizations. Texas, the largest state in the continental United states, has fourArmenian communities: Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San

Antonio,

and

Austin.

The history of the Armenian community in Houston goes back to the I 880s. The lure

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I 992

ments that are owned by Armenians. The Colorado community dates back to the I 960's. There are about 40 families inDenverandeight to l2 families in Boulder.

Armenians of Colorado, a non-partisan organization, and the ARS are quite active in the area, while Westem Prelacy clergy from Los Angeles and Fresno visit here to observe holiday commemorations. The community is home to the Armenian Bible College in Colorado Springs, which was recently accredited by the Commission of the American Association of Bible Colleges. During a I 970 visit to the Mormon Tabernaclemuseum in SaltLakeCity,Utah,I was amazed to find several Armenian bibles among the display of religious texts. Written in the Turkish language, these Armenian-

script texts were printed in Turkey for the benefit of Turkish-speaking Armenians of Anatolia. "Until the earthquake in Armenia, the Mormons had no ideaof who we were," said


'lirny Hasratian ol Ogtle rt, Utah. Ncvcrthr-r less. the Monttott chtrrclt has cotltritruictl Sl

(X),000 to eartlrtluakc rcl iel.

Only tltrce Arrncttiatl lnrrrilics Ogdcn. u'hilc ahout

Iir

c

Armenlans of Texas and the Gotton Gin lndustry

irr

ll5 lit'c in Salt [,ake

Citl'. Accortling to Astrig Shahinian" thc Salt Lakc comntuttity dates 1',l.,,,, 1119 g11rlv lt)00s. u'hcn f'anrilies likc thc Ortrllians arltl Aposhians scttlccl irl thc cin'..lodln..\bc \'larkosiart. whosc ltarettls callltr ill lt)10. is

pre

the pr'oprictor ol lhc larecst stccl plllrlt in Lltah.

Nlany' ol the oiclest Artrlellirttr thrllilics bclong lo thc Mortttotl chLrrch. ,'\tltl attlotlg the nrost rectrll inlrlliglltttts li'ottt ,\ntte ttia. luuny ar-e attrllcted ttl the Mormotl Iltith lrrltl Mornrott chalitie s-a pltctlorllellorl thal tlis tre sscs local Apostolic Artrrcttiatts. Still. thc AIIS. AIIF and AYlr itre vcr\ acti\!. in the lurca. I-ast 1ear. rt iletcrrttinctllroup ol Arltlc niarts cotivincctl Ciongrcsstnltrl Jatllcr I lallst'tl to votc in lavol ol'thc ( icnocitic Rcsolutitltl. Only scvert larnilics. most ol\\'llolll bcilr non Arrrtcniatt s[lrnalrlcs. ltrc tn rlofthcrrt Idaho. C'ocur cl'..\lenc is ltotltc lbr []crc arltl Julia Bak ltJakian). oritinallr lictrrr'l trrkl

It ts hclievcrl thril rnorr than 150 ilesccndcnls ol'llachador antl 1\'1411'Donigian sently livc irr Brtxrkshirc anrl I'irttison. thc oldest Arntcttian cottrlnLrrtity ol thc

\()uth\\c\lr't'tt I ttilr',1 Stlttt.. Anlcrriatrs wcrc cslublishcrl hcrc bctbre the 1890 ccnstts. BLlt thtl tlocuttlctlt hltr iilg becp lost ip a f it.e . subsctluenl (locLllr)cntaltion of Arrttctttlttts itl Wlller C'rlunty clltes l'rrrm thc lc)(X] ccnsLls.,\trhlt iintc.:l-1 Arrncnianswcrcrccorrlctl tohcrcsitlcntsol'Illookshire and Pattisgn: tltc prcscrrt tlay n ttcletts ol'Hottstol.t's ArnlctlilLt.t cgtllnlurtill'. With lris s ilii Ann1. tiyt clrildtcn. a brglftcr arrtl two nr:phcu,s. Hacharlor Dtlnieiiln 1e1t his nirtive Cicyvc, u towtr ncar ('onstnntinoplc. Tr-rlkcr'. in l87li. DLrritrg lhc iorlg passirte to thc Llrriied Slrrtcs. \ ii.l Englund and lrclarttl, hc rvlts pcrsuadccl by-a lcll<lw Irish irarcli'r t6 changc his rranre to l)onigun. Thus thc l)onigtuts^ possi[r1-"- tllc hrst cotllplcte *$d

ff*" * E*

**"*'

.

"1'his place rcrttirtcls ttte ol trlr Itltir c Istanbul." said Llcrc. Nealbv. Spokane.

* i!

Washingtrln. hlts a Ic* Illolc .-\ttllttijlLtl fanrilics. "Wc do lrhat uc cart to bc Al-tt.tc

nian; rnaybc tnorc thatl \\'hllt \\ e lr ottltl har c clonc if w'c lived in Soltlhcrn ('llilorrlia. Wc cart nrakc a dill'crcrtcc cvctt hcrc." Bcrc ldtlccl. Inclcccl. Spokarte pctliatrrc iarl [)r. (ilrrlLlrcrliar r has lccentl\ conclLtcled artallgct)lcnts lo lcceivc childrcrt ttlnt Arntcttia lirr hcar'l ttcatrnent xt vnrtous nlctlical cclltcrs in thc citl'. ;\t the 1ur sidc ol thc spLrctrulll. Ilalraii has trcconre hotttc ltt sttrttc 70 ,'\rtllttlirrt familics. Most arc rcccnt Los Atlge les tt ltrtsplants who hlvc l'lcd thc cir il rlrtr in L-e bltnon. ,\ccortling to Bcrj [iotrchakian, a IIonolulu lcsitlcrlt. ttratty I Iau aii ,\t-ltleniltlls gct togcther ()ttcc a tttonth lirr-farrlilr tlitlrters or picnics. Thcrc arc rto sigrts ol'orgatlizctl

cultulal lit-e irr this ntr.r. larsclr itltltrcrtt cornnrurt it\ At thc tunt ol'the cttiturv. tllallr rrcrc tltc groups ol toLrgh. hlrr-ii utttkttts .'\tllrelliltrl irr)nrignrnts who vcnlttt-ctl wcstward. itl seltrt ll

.,8

E

&;e The Cotton Gin Restaurant

ol'golcl. But this stor)' ilas hce n allottt tltosc wlttr have stnrck it rich in a litr rnorc lutlrlrtrlletltlil scnse : thc\ fbtlltl lhc |iuht s1lot. ll lllacc ol thcir orvn, lvhetc thev could lvtlrk ltlttl t'aisc I'anrilics. At first glancc. therc i: iitllc thlt sr'ts thcsc peoplc aplrl 1i1)ttt tltc rcst ol'Arllcrica's inrnrigranls. But with tltc aclticd chrlllcrtgcs oI sctting u1'r contntttttilics. ol lttltintitirttng it national hcritagc urrd gairrittg the respcct ol

to Anicrica. ltrrivctl rrr Ellis Islantl in 18u1. irs we ll as rcports o1'other Arttlcnilttls livirrq irl thc torvn el' Palcsrinc. lurccl thc [)oniglns to thc inllrtrJ rcgion. Ilachaikrr bought a plltlltatioll in Fort Uen{ Cqulty *ith tlrc intcrrt olcLrltivatirrg silkwonlt, but soott optcd fbr llrrrrtirlg

tloll-/\nnr'lliilll\. lr'\\ t)lllr'l ::lirtllr\' I'( lrtll tion ctluals that oi'thesc pockcls tll' Arrllc

In 1987. lj Aintcnian llrnilics u,erc hor.rolecl during Walle (ior"rnty's Anrtctiiatr Hcritagc Da1, Fcstivrrl. Both llocxs ()l thc local lnr.tselltlt. fbrntcrlv thc hottle of Dr. ['ltLti Dsligin (a ielative ol'll.P. Donigrur) u'crc lillcd rr,ith cxhibit pieccs thiil crqrtured tl'tc turn- o1'-thc-ccntur)' Ii lc\tvics ol Anlrcniiitls. ln his speech. Hrrlv K. Scarlc. tnayor o1' Brooksltire. lcknowlcdgctl thc grcat corrtributitxts Arttteniatts harc nlatlc "io tllc brisic tlbcr ol ottt ttatittn." Was his purl

I

rtiatrs. Based in Chicago, Sonia Derman Harlan is a writer and an educator in Armenian studies. She has been aftiliated with the University of Michigan and University of Chicago-

llmily olArtrrcniatts ttt ctlisrrr,tt\\irrcl ol"'settlcrs needc(l

tn

Tcras."

cottoliludpcc"ns.-ihitrvaslitllor.r,cdin llt86by'1[gpurchasr-ofanllbatlcltlttedcollollsirl planripPatiistl.r.whcle thcDonigunsol)crat.duthrivingginrrtlrkinghusint'ssuntil 197(r. i l.P. Don rgan rrlso rr* ned antl o;rclutccl l gin plant in Brtxrksh irc l)elwcen I 916 antl I 9-1E. thc plant has hccn convertcrl into thc fiirnous Cottttn Ciin ResttlLtratlt.

-tirday,

H.P. Donigun's \ister anrl ht'othcr-in-iaw. thc Barortian llunilv. llunlctl ctttton ltntl -I'hlt btrsincss wrts in opcratit)rr up till lt)51. in 1901.

stxrlLrd anothcr gin plant

I

intcnrlcd'.)

\ l\1.

.\t

(;LiS I /SLP I IrNilll:lt l99l


AIM, AUGUSTiSEPTEMBER

I

992


EDUCATION

withthe students caughtin the crossfire. Education experta wam that a qgntinuqd Foq tu enrollment threaiens to pull apart Pilibos and otherl ls Angeles Prolacy schooli, which together comprise-tlre hrfest and oldest ermenian schoo.l system in ttrc Westeniworld. Whaever the reason--infrastrucnre, demographics or ecsnomics-Armenian Prelacy schools in

LosAngelesfaceacrisisofsurvival.

-

The d'ecline at the three Prelacy high schools is daunt-

AIM, AI.JCUSTEEPTEMBER

1992


ing. The number of students at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian in Encino fell by 13 percent from 1989 to 1992, according io school records. At Mesrobian in Pico Rivera, enrollment dropped by 2l percent, and at pilibos by 7 percent during the same period. rhere has been a 20

*T;ilfsl'xr#

Executive Council or EXC. At the edges are the local trustees who approve school bud-

tain control over their school and church budgets. It was in part the localized and

8ets.

entrenghed power of the trustees that spurred the EXC to form the Education Council. But

"Although the Education Council is supposed to have extensive powers over tie school system. in reality it can do very Iittle." said Stephan Astourian, a historian and former member of the EXC-appointed Education Council, an advisory group of experts. "The real powerlies in thehands of the EXC.

"It's just a bit of

discrepancy

between the bylaws and reality," he said, sardonically.

There are a number of groups-perhaps too

many-that

shape school

policy. But

power

rests mostly with the church, the local

boards

of

trustees,

and the nine-member EXC comprised of two businessmen, two jew-

elers, two doctors, one lawyer, one physicist, and a retired school administrator.

Archbishop

Datev

Sarkissian presides over the EXC which is elected every two

1984,

the

most dramatic longterm decline. Enrollment Vahan and Anoush Chamlian tary and Junior High School in Glendale also droppedby 75 pupils last yearbecause ofcity zoning laws. Ari Guiragos Minassian-thL smallest and newest-is the only helacy school .in Los Angeles that has grown by whopping l9 percenr since 1989. More than 2,419 students enrolled in L.A.'s five Prelacy schools last academic year. That's 5l percent of all pupils who attended Armenian private schools in Los Angeles. In contrast, six ofthe seven non-prelacy Armenian schools here reported a rise in enrollment from 1989 to 1992. Only the

i

Mekhitarist Fathers school in Glendale

dipped by 7 percent during the same period. Who is accountable for the enrollment drop at the helacy schools? At the top of the power pyramid is the

s

years in May by the National Representative Assembly or NRA. "The local church meetings that elect delegates to the NRA generate no interest," Astourian said. "Usually, 50 to 60 people artend each of theie meetings. There is a prepared list ofelecr able candidates. Usually, the list is approved." The EXC is the administratve body that coordinates and oversees all prelacv schools and churches. Unlike local public school boards.

it

meets in closed session.

A tierbelow the district's powerpyramid lle lwo advisory committees that help the EXC. They are the Education Council and the Financial Council. The EXC founded the Education Council in 1987 to standardize and unify district policy. During Astourian's four years with the group, he said the Education Council began to implement a process of standarized school evaluations, revised the Armenian language and history curricula and orga-

nized in-service seminars for teachers.

The local trustees fear losing authority to the Education Council, although they have managed tore-

the Education Council, ironically, lacks the fiat to make its policies stick. "In the beginning, we didn't have a mumdate," said Education Council chairman Meher Chekerdemian. "We were just an extension of the EXC. We hadaheckofajob making us credible to the autonomous communities and their schools." The EXC usually sanctions Education Council recommendations. In fact, an all too often heard criticism leveled against the advisory group is that some of its appointed -rubber

members are nothing more than stampers.

The council started with I I EXC-ap_ pointed educators. Today, it has five. But EXC officials say that they intend to expand the group to nine members.

"My vision of a council is one that has ability to meet in open session and one that has total decision-making power on all is-

sues affecting education in Armenian schools," said Alice Petrossian, a former Education Council member who is a highlevel administrator in the Glendale Unified School District and serves on many statelevel educational bodies. "Just as in public school districts, I think the council should be elected by parents whose children attend [Prelacy] schools."

The existing electoral process is more restrictive, stratifi ed and complicated. prelacy bylaws allow anyone who pays annual churcit dues the right to vote. But the vote is for a National Representative Assembly delegate, who actually elects EXC candidates. Finally, the EXC appoints Education Council members.

"Education policy has to be centralized,,' said Hagop Messerlian, another former Education Council member who served on the Board of Govemors of the Califomia CommunityColleges. "There is a lotofparochialism. Trustees think that a school iJtheir turf. They strongly believe in local control." Trustees raise funds and administer their community 's school and church budget. They are elected altematively by parish membeis for two-year terms. In addition to the trustPrelacy schools have an advisory 191,^all EXC-approved education committee. "The problem with the local trustees is defining their role," said Gabriel Injejikian,

the former principal of

:.:i

$-[

Fenahian and

founder of


mid 80s or during Keshishian's tenure. And an array of advanced placement courses unavailable ten years ago are now offered. "There is an enrollment decline, but it's not an academic problem," said

Nazareth Kar-nigian, a longtime art teacher at Pilibos. "A lot of PeoPle have moved from the area.

Most of the remaining residents are economically disadvantaged Soviet Armenians who can' t afford the tuition." Thousands of them

movedintoHollywood and Glendale during the refugeg

the Armenian daY school movement in North America. "Traditionally, they are the fundraisers and spenders. Now that there is an Education Council, you have

friction."

There are also administrative problems between a school's principal and the board. "Their roles are not defined," he said. "There are no clear guidelines as to who has what

power." When more than 90 disgruntled parents at Pilibos tumed in a petition to the Prelacy last spring because of simmering tensions be-

tween the school's principal, Onnik

Keshishian, and some trustees, nothing seemed to happen.

Said one parent: "Our school is paralyzed. We asked the Prelacy to work on this tension. And the helacy told us that we should tear out the old pages and start a new chapter. When you ask them now, they say, 'we're working on it.' All we do is talk and write. We live in a free country, but it's like

communism." Keshishian concedes that he has problems with some trustees, and like Archbishop Sarkissian, defends the district's infrastructure.

"The task of the PTA and all of these bodies is to listen to parents for input"' Sarkissian said. "It's based on that feedback that the Education Council makes decisions. "There are parent meetings that take place. Our complaint is that they don't talk. We want them to be there. We want them to

talk." A number of pupils

at Pilibos,

who were

unaware of the behind-the-scenes wrangling or the steady slide in student numbers, touted the school's academic program. They also

extended heartfelt kudos to their civics and Armenian instructors.

"I think our school is fine," said Shant Kazazian, a junior. "I wouldn't change a

thing, except maybe the cafeteria food." Indeed, Scholastic Aptitude Test scores atPilibos have increased noticeably since the

rush years of 1987- 1988. "So a lot of well off, bourgeois parents pulled their children out," one school official said. Prelacy officials and principals also blame the recession, which has mauled American

public school districts more severely' In California, the Los Angeles Unified School District tops the list of casualties. The Prelacy schools have made anumber of minor staff cuts and accepted a salary freeze. At Chamlian, the administration took a l0 percent salary reduction last year. At Pilibos, Keshishian has found a new way to balance the budger "You beg, borrow and steal."AtMesrobian,the low income student aid fund will be slashed by more than $80,000 next year. At Ferrahian, administrators took a six percent pay cut last Year.

"When a school has financial difficulties,

you start from the top," said Vartkes Ghazarian, principal of Ferrahian. But for Injejikian, who as a former prin-

cipal guided Fenahian through

several recessions, economic slump is here today and gone tomorrow. "There is no excuse in a place like Los Angeles for there to be so few schools and such low enrollment," he said. "Armenian schools are pricing themselves out of the reach of the average family." Have economics and the recession really caused an enrollment decline in Prelacy schools or could it be that the drop is also a

symptom of flawed policy and infrastructure?

Will the trustees relinquish their authority and open the way for a centralized decision-making process bY exPerts?

Will the Education Council have real power to wield? Will parents who don't pay membership dues to the local parish be allowed to vote directly for policymakers?

"We need an educational system and curricula that speak to and move modem man," said Levon Kasparian, vice principal of Ferrahian. "schools are a reflection of the community. If the community's leadership doesn't open up, we can expect the same from our students." Soon the gates will open at Armenian schools and students will trickle in from all comers of this sprawling city. Enrollment figures will either slide or rebound. But for Vazken Madenlian, principal of Chamlian' Armenian schools will still be around. "When Fenahian was founded, part of

the vision was to show that an Armenian school could survive in America," he said. "We've proven that. Our graduates attend the better of our universities. Where we haven't been as successful is in instilling Armenian values in them. Otherwise, why havethese

schools?" I


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The Digital Papyrus

accustomed to typing Armenian in one program, you have to retrain yourself when switching to another package or another computer with different software. Additionally, differences in dialect-Westem or Eastem Armenian-pose more complications in the keyboard scheme: although both

dialects use the same Armenian character and punctuation set, consonants are usually mapped phonetically in each of the dialects (e.g. is often allocated to the T key in Westem, and to the D key in Eastem Armenian).

N ow H i-Tech Armenian S cribe s H av e M ore P ow erful Writing Tools

a'[

By RAFFI SHOUBOOKIAN

I t has been a lons time since Mesrob ! Mashtots inscribei the Armenian alphaII *, on D,rcnment. ln me ro cenlunes

Electronic quills There are two approaches to producing

Armenian text on PCs-word-processing programs with built-in Armenian fonts, or

since thln. the 38 characters tincluding the two that were added in the 1 lth Century) of the "aybuben" have been carved, illuminated, etched, lithographed, printed, mimeographed, ink-written and typewritten.

Armenian font modules used in select word

With the proliferation and accessibility of personal computers (PC) in the office and at home, Armenian characters can also be digitally processed, dot-printed, jet-printed and laser-printed with the help of computer software. Whether composing a form letter to clients or church members, authoring the great Armenian novel. publishing acommunity or school newspaper, or simply writing a letter to an old friend, Armenian word-processing programs and fonts provide not only the capability to write bilingual documents but also the editing, formatting, printing and graphics features of regular word-processing software such as WordStar, WordPerfect and Word. The present article is intended mainly for users of IBM and compatible PCs that run DOS and Microsoft Windows operating systems. There are no Armenian word-process-

ing software packages for the Macintosh platform, since the operating system allows the use of Armenian fonts in any Mac application software. There are many sources for a variety of Armenian typefaces for the Mac.

Following are the currently available commercial software products for the Armenian language:

Among the Armenian word-processing software, the most popular-and the oldest and

mostcomplete-package is HyeWriter

by Bytec Computers of Glendale, Califomia. First introduced in 1983, this bilingual word-

processors.

processing program is used by dozens of

Word processors are the programs that actually create the text, provide editing and formatting features to manipulate that text,

organizations, schools, newspapers, churches and individuals across the United States and other countries. In its second version, the

and basic housekeeping chores of opening,

package includes two optional modules: a communications program, HyeComm, which enables accessing, viewing, downloading and uploading of Armenian documents to and from a remote system through a modem, and HyeBase, a database utility with custom menus to manage and print labels, invoices and lists in Armenian. HyeWriter has become the fastest-sell ing Armenian word processor because it is welldesigned, powerful and integrated, yet easy to use and well-documented. Unl ike the other programs, HyeWriter's basic package for local clients ($270) includes an offer to upgrade the Armenian label ing of ex isting IB M keyboards. Non-local clients pay an additional $80 for a new keyboard with both Armenian and Roman characters. Other packages either do not have Armenian character labeling (but provide keyboard maps or stickers) or charge extra for a labeled keyboard. Another unique feature is its compatibility with CompuGraphics typcsetting sys-

saving and printing documents. The first group of products listed above is of this category. All are bilingual-English andArmenian can be input in the same document, while two are multilingual. Some are rich in text-formatting and otherhandy features such as support for graphics and laser printers. Font modules are software packages that provide families of type characters that could

be introduced in the word processing program, arc visible on the monitor during inputting and editing, and are sent to the printer for hard copy. With standard typewriters, the user is limited to only one or two

typefaces-

usually Courier; but with digital word processors, there is no limit to the number of fonts that can be used in a given document. The second group of products listed above consists of font packages that can be used eitherexclusively in a mainstream DOS word processor or in any application softwarespreadsheet, database, communications or word processor-that runs on the Microsoft Windows operating system. Most of them are based on classic Armenian typecharacters, such as Nork, Barz or Aramian. One aspect of computer programs that use non-English characters is the keyboard layout. At issue is the way the 38 characters

tems(MCS-10). When loaded, HyeWritertakes the userto its central file management interface, from where files can simply be viewed, opened for editing, copied, deleted, renamed or printed. Once

a

file

is opened, it appears on an

editing

HyeWriter

(and

Multi-Lingual Scholar

Armenian alphabet have been distributed on the 47 alphanumeric keys of the standard

screen with a status area at the top that displays such information as the position of tabs and margins, file name, justification, etc. In this and other aspects, HyeWriter

QWERTY layout. Since no standard has

resembles WordPerfect-a clean editing

The Universal Word Navasard

Polyglot

4 unique punctuation marks) of

the

been established for an Armenian keyboard,

most program developers loosely

follow the

of the commonly used

Armenian

L,F&C Armenian Fonts

layout

AIM Armenian PostScript Fonts ISS Armenian Fonts for ltrLS

typewriters (e.g. Olympia), sacrificing a few numerical keys and having to remap others, usually thepunctuationmarks. Case inpoint, among those listed above, no two packages have similarkeyboard layouts for Armenian characters. With the font programs, the differences are quite remarkable. If you get

Diplomat Fonts

World Font for WordPerlect World FontlorWindows Bytec HyeFonts GCC Armenian Fonts for Windouts

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I992

screen, features that are invoked through shifted function keys (Alt, Shift, Ctrl and F I to Fl0) rather than from menus, and printing codes (new page, page number, date, etc.) that are imbedded in the document by the user. Simple two-key combinations toggle the language mode-from English to Armenian and vice versa, and enable line and box drawing, and formatting (changing character size and style, underlining, etc.). In both


languages, the program features automatic

word list.

word wrapping, justification, sorted columns,

Multi-Lingual Scholar (MLS) from

search-and-replace, copying and merging, indenting, paragraph reformatting, and automatic hyphenation (reportedly 90 percent correct in Arrnenian). Anotherpowerful feature is its mail merge, which enables the user tocreate alarge numberofform letters from a HyeWriter database fi le. With a Hewlett-Packard laser printer and

Santa Monica, Califomia-based Gamma Productions, Inc., is a full-featured word processorcapable of editing, formatting and printing in up to five different alphabets in the same document. It comes standard with five alphabets: Roman (English and diacritical marks for other European languages), Hebrew, Greek, Cyrillic and Arabic/Persian, and an offer of a free Armenian font when softwareregistration issent. At$695, MLS is one of the more powerfirl but also the most

the optional HyeFont module, HyeWriter becomes a form-creating program, with the ability to draw lines and boxes with a variety of shades, thicknesses and pattems. Vertical as well as horizontal titling is easy, and even columns can be created with the l0 proportional fonts, based on three typefaces. The HyeWriter package comes with a 3ring manual with clear explanations and examples, and function-key templates. Bynext

year, Bytec plans to upgrade its top-selling product by introducing HyeWriter for Windows, a writing tool forthe popular Microsoft

graphical user interface, with pull-down menus, mouse support and multiple windows.

In the interim, it will soon have an optional HyeSpell Armenian-language spell-

checker-a unique and long-awaited feature in Armenian word processors. Expected to be priced at around $120, HyeSpell

will

be

available by the end of the year, becoming the first such Armenian word-processing utility to be marketed. It will have a base of 30,000 Westem Armenian word roots and

120,000 words, according to Varooj Mirzaians, Bytec's program developer and

expensive packages, with a single Armenian typeface that comes in only six sizes.

There is an optional selection of welldesigned fonts for MLS available from an independent source. Ikikor Aladjadjian, of Van Nuys, Califomia-based Integrared Software Systems, is the developer and distributor of Armenian fonts for MLS. These bitmapped fonts come in different packages,

with selections for dot-matrix and HewlettPackard l.aserJet Plus printers. Prices range from $ 135 for the standard dot-matrix package when purchased with the MLS, to $225

for any l0 optional fonts for laser printers when purchased separately (Integrated Software is an MLS dealer). Multi-Lingual Scholar version 4.0 supports expanded memory and a mouse, and features editing multiple files in up to eight

windows, unlimited file size, pull-down menus, spell-checking and hyphenation (not for the Armenian), search-and-replace forall languages, view formatting on-screen, and

ate entirely new fonts. Keyboard layouts are also userdefinable. A featmt which would appeal to desktopl publishers in Armenian (or any language) is the ability to export foreign-language filei into ASCII or to save it as a PCX graphics file, which could then be imporred into any software wittr publilhing capability. :i,Firitiiiiri In addition to being perhaps rhe rnost powerful multilingual DOS word processor in this lineup, the Los Angeles-based

*vs iwic d",p"ritriii.

iff Ui*&i.'

Word (TUW) distinguishesicelf with amrC

"What You See Is What You Get"

(WYSIWYG, in computer lingo) interface. It supports over 75 languages at time of writing. It is a sophisticared and visual way of writing in foreign languages,but its power belies its simplicity and ease of use. The program features a multiwindow envilonment, allowing the user to open and work simultaneously on an unlimited number of documents on the screen, within controllable windows. Imagine having three documents positioned side by side on the screen----one with the original Armenian text, the second with its translated English version, while working on the Arabic translation in the third. With an EGA or higher video system, the Ianguages can even be color-coded. The document windows can be moved, sized or zoomed with simple key strokes or with a mouse. Text can be copied or cut from one document and pasted onto another. TUW features both the speed and power

of a commanddriven program (such as HyeWriter)andthe

convenience and ease of menus and a mouse.

To facili-

tate learning, some

of the pull-down menus offer popup help boxes that

provide information on a specific operation or tips on

editing. The program has all the features expected ofapowerlul word processor and then

some: unlimited Textlrom a medieval Armenian illuminated manuscript (above) ls reproduced in Word lor Windows word-processing program, using an Armenian font. founder. Major HyeWriter user Asbarez Armenian daily collaborated with Bytec on producing the word list; the newspaper staff is currently beta-testing it and refining the

style sheets. The package includes the Font Scholar utility-a friendly font editor that allows theuserto modify any MLS printeror screen font (including Armenian), or to creAIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I 992

left margin setting languages that

for

read righrto-left (e.g. Arabic), find/ replace which also

searches in one language and replaceswithanother

and recognizes foreign accents and upper/ lower case. Languages and fonts are easily selected from the menu. Other special features: unlimited font sizes, proportional let-


O=yes, a)=no, -=Optional

System Required

IBM AT or better,Ps/2

IBM PC/XT/AT, PS/2

IBM PC/XTiAT

256K

640K (EMS support)

640K (EMS support)

256K

286K

FD,HO/3()OK

FD,HD

FD.HD/4,5 MB

FD,HDI26()KB

FD,HD

rBM

ry4!4l:l-sl1

Memory Disk drives/Disk space for program DOS Version Video/N,{on ito r

3:1!L!iqhel

3.0 or higher

EQA,vGl Molo

CGA,EGA,VGA,HGC,

PC/XT/AT

2.0 or highet

3.0 or higher

!{_ot !.tglg__ lrry,Eq'vgA

CGA, EGA,Hercules

CGA,EGA,VGA,HGC

AT&T

Printers Supported Form U

a

a

a

o

C

-9:p''!t!!4|!:Ill

9-pin,24-pin,HPL,HPD,

9-pin dot-mattix

24-pin dot-matrix

U,B,I

C

a

a

l)

Mouse Support

e-nin,2!1!n,HPL'

Postscri pt,

nde rl i ne/Bo ld/ltal ic

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U,B

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a

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o

a a

a

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Hard Page Breaks

o a

a

a a

a

Auto Page Numbering

o a

a a

Left/Fi ght/Center Justilication U

ndo

Adlusiable [.4argins

H

C o

lor

tti ng

eade rs/Footers

Columns

o

WYSIWYG

()

Page Preview

o

a

o a a

a a a o

a

o

()

a o a

()

a

o

o

O

Editing Features

o a a a

Cut/Paste One-Step Delete (word, line...) Sea rch/B e place

Mail Meroe

a

a

a

a

o

a a

o

a

o

a

English

English dict./thesaur,

o o o

a n'

a a

o

Spell Check

Armen

Word Count

a

a)

o

Auto Hyphenation

a

a

o

Line/Box Draw

a

o

o

Online Help

i)

Sorting (bilingual)

o

a a

o a a

()

a a a

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()

a

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Windows

i

a

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Unlimited

Limit l\,4

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File Handling Max. File Size

|/1!

1.000 lines

up 19

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a

3

Enqlis!lAlmen ra!

6 alphabels

2

255

o

a

File l\,4anagement Services

Languages/Fonts (standard)

8

Languages in Same Document

Armenian Fonts

Keyboard Layout

o

Pac kage

Options

6

Up to system memory

a

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43

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Ilsrirlll't.nq

F,grit4ltlul

unlimited

menu, command

a

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.- Olympia _ L!t9!!!!ecl.lnrrl

Olympia,Phonetic

Olvmpia

Manual, Utilities

Manual,Tem plales

Laserprinted manual

Spe!!e1

Armenian fonts

lojg,s! q,"t,glltig:

o

$270

s695

$495, $595 or $795'

s4s

$145

a

a

Unlimited

a

1 year

BYTEC Computers

Gamma Productions

WYSIWYG Corp.

Glendale, CA

Santa Monica, cA

Los Angeles, CA (310) 21s.9645

lyeFonJs,

Phone

(81

8) 247-1 502

Fl0),3"eJ:!9?2

FAX

(81

8) 247-r 675

(31

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0lympia, Phonelic

Service/Technical Support

Address

100

lJnlimited

Olympia

Price

Company

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Manual,Template

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One-Command Language Switching

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!.lp

A I JCI

0) s95-421 4

]S'f/SI]PTEMBER I 992

(31

0)

21

s-9668

AG Software.

lnc.

Pasadena, CA (818)

585-6047

(8r 8) 585-6336

Glendale Comp. Svcs. Glendale, CA (818) 243.ss71 (81

8) 243-6291


ter spacing and printing, batch printing, widow and orphan control, automatic page numbering, undeleting, automatic reformat-

ting, unlimited file size, error

messages,

password, automatic text file conversion to and from 33 formats, mail merge with all languages, line and box drawing. automatic installation, etc. It supports TIFF and PCX

graphics files, and produces high-quality outputs on dot-matrix, LaserJetand PostScript laser printers, and color printers; it can work with more than one printer at a time. The program includes a definition dictionary, thesaurus, spell checker and hyphen-

ation dictionary for English. German and French dictionaries (and other languages but

not Armenian), and scientific and musical notation fonts are optional.

The Universal Word is available in 23 difflerent language configurations, starting from $449 for a singleJanguage package (any ofthe five major European languages), $495 for a bilingual (English and Armenian or another Near Eastern language), and up to

$695 for one which includes more than 40 languages. Each package comes with keyboard templates and a concise manual. Only three packages include Armenian: BL669 is the bilingual package, priced at $495; ML12 has 43 different languages-all major and minor European ones, as well as Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Farsi, Greek, Russian and others-and lists for $795. At $595, ML I 3 is a better bargain if you do not need Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi and some other exotic languages. The Armenian language comes with two typefaces-Nork and Armen, both elegantly designed, comfortable to input and

_

].

to read. Each has eight fonts-bold, italic, bold-italic. underline and outline. And these are scalable fonts, thus each character size is created on demand, from the

tiny 2-point up

to l00points.

WYSIWYG Corp. just released its latest upgrade of The Universal Word, with added features and further improvements. The Microsoft Windows version of TUW is planned for March 1993. IncontrasttoTUW,Navasard isthemost basic and least expensive word processoron the list. Marketed by AG Software, a srnall computer firm in Pasadena, Califomia, the $45 program runs only in CGA video, whiph translates to characters that are uncomfortable to read on the screen. Systems with Hercules

video boards have better screen resolution. Another Navasard limitation is its output to only 9-pin dot-matrix printers. Developer Areg Gharabegian promises support for HP LaserJet printers by the end ofthe year. Navasard opens to a bare-bone screen thatprovides fourchoices: Readafile,Import an ASCII file, Start a new one or Quit the program. Once in the editing screen, the user is ready to enteroredit text with the help of a command menu at the bottom of the screen. The function and options ofeach highlighted command are explained directly undemeath. Major editing commands are given shortcuts

with Ctrl and a mnemonic letter (Ctrl-J for justification). Themenu is accessedeitherby pressing Esc and moving the cursor or by pressing Alt and the initial of the command. Helpful information on any command is provided by pressing a key combination. A status line at the top ofthe screen identifies

the file name, the language mode and othel document and system information, ' The default language is Englistr; but Armenian is easily accessed by pressing a function key: another key toggles it to English. Thus, the two languages can be easily mixed in the same document. Except foi two characters, the Armenian keyboard layout is al. most the same as HyeWriter's. Although the package includes a map sheet, the Annenian character keyboard configuration can be dis- , played on the screen anytime by pressing a key combination. At $45, Navasard is the most accessible

product for basic writing and editing in Armenian, but it is not the most user-friendly. A more powerf ul word processor and one

to rival and, in certain features,

outdo HyeWriter is Glendale Computer Services' Polyglot Word Processor: \Vhat distin-

guishes Polyglot from the rest is its "Armenianness"-the feeling that there is an Armenian developer behind the design (ironically, it was developed initially by a non-Armenian programmer as a text-editing program; the Armenian interface was later commissioned by Glendale Computer). Even though it operates on DOS, the status line information, the menu lists, commands, mnemonic shortcuts, even some of the DOS

prompts are all in Armenian-specifically, Eastem Armenian (the program manual is also available in Westem Armenian). The program itself comes in three options-a completely English interface, English with Armenian characters, or completely Armenian. Polyglot is priced at $ I 45 and supports only 24-pin dot-matrix printers.

94!ns

.l(€yboard Tsmplale Docum6ntalion

a=yes, O=no,

'Olympia =Closely emulates Olympia typewriter layout, "Separate packages lor DOS and Windows

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992

49


Polyglot is essentially an enhanced text editor (very well suitcd for a programmer) with basic spreadsheet, drawing and presentation developing capabilities. In addition to generating forms and tables, the program is able to pedbrm mathematical operations on columns or lists of figures, both horizontally and vertically. Basic arithmetic and geomet-

ric ibrmulas can be employed to

generate

progression lists. Drawing lines, boxes and diagrams in all shapes, thicknesses and sizes is quite easy, and the program's recognition of IBM's extended character set provides additional symbols, shapes and dingbats with which to work. Perhaps the most advanced and potentially most useful feature is its macro capability, slightly less powerful than those found in WordPerfect, Word and other powerful programs. Macros are a series of user-defined keystrokes that reduce repeated operations

or numerous keystroke commands to

a

maximum of two keystrokes, A macro can beeasily created to perfbrm nearly any word-

processing task that can be accomplished with a series of keystrokes. The simplest example would be a macro that automatically types "Sincerely, ... Signature" at the bottom of letters with the strike of only two keys. More elaborate operations, even train-

ing and demonstration programs, can be developed using Polyglot's macro language. The program has most of the editing and

formatting features expected from a fullfledged writing program, Similar to the WordPerfect scheme, major functions are accessed by a particular function key, combined with a mnemonic letter of the operation. This is not as intuitive as menui, but after working a while on a few documents, the essential quick keys become second nature. In this respect. Polyglot has a larger number o[ lunction keys than any other software examined here.

Another useful feature (shared by MLS and The Universal Word) is having multiple document windows concurrently open on the screen. As with TUW, the windows can be moved, sized and color-coded; their numberis limitedonlyby the system memory and video (MLS has a limit of eight). In addition, Polyglot has several utilities, all invoked by key commands, that might be of great help to some but useless for others: an on-screen ruler that measures the number of characters in a word orsentence, automatic dateltime stamping in documents, a window

language of the DOS operating system. The program provides the most essential wordprocessing features. Two considerations should be kept in mind: Polyglot does not

support laser printers, and there are no plans to upgrade the program in the future. At the end of our list is a trilingual desktop-publ ishing and word-processing program developed by the Voronoom (Search) Center in Yerevan. Although the software is not

yet available outside of Armenia, director Grigor Vahanian says he is in the process of appointing dealers in the United States. Called Hayk, the software is described in the brochure provided to AIM as an Armenian-English-Russian word processor with full desktop-publishing features. It also sports time-management utilities, electronic communications, amodule for generating graphs and typefaces, database management, mathematical calculators, and statistical analysis, among other features. Altematively called Eiutiun (Being), Hayk runs on IBM and compatibles with 5l2K of memory. The Armenian keyboard layout is user-configurable. At this time, it is too early to speculate when we might be able to get our hands on this superprogram.

Fonts: ink lor the quills Users of Macintosh or IBM and compatiblecomputers with Microsoft Windows can

completely forgo buying a bilingual word processor. Instead, they can purchase any of several packages of Armenian fonts, install

them once in the Macintosh or Windows systems, and use them in any application software that provides font selection. In a word-processing program such as Microsoft Word, for example, these Armenian fonts can be manipulated (squeeze, shadow, outline, reverse) and styled (bold, italic, under-

line) as seamlessly as Times Roman or Helvetica. The document can then be outpuG ted to any printer. On Macintosh systems, the use of a font utility program such as Adobe Type Manager (ATM) greatly improves the rendition of the characters on the screen andensures ahigherquality output on non-PostScript printers such as LaserJet. In the case of DOS systems, having Microsoft Windows 3.0 or 3.1 and

ATM

is a necessity rather than a luxury. The latest font technology is TrueType, which Apple Computer introduced in its Macintosh System 7 operating system, while Microsoft featured it in its version 3.I of the

showing system information, an ASCII

very popular Windows graphical user inter-

character chart. But the utility that is indispensable for any DOS program user is one for file and hard disk management-finding,

face. TrueType fonts produce outstanding on-screen and print resolution without the

renaming, deleting, copying, selecting files. Polyglot's utility additionally is able to search for a user-specified word in a specified directory or list of files, and then opening or selecting those which include that word. Polyglot is a perfect choice for writers in Armenian who are intimidated by the arcane

need for a utility such as

ATM.

Two

packages that feature Armenian typefaces for the Mac are Armenian Fonts by

Lines, Fonts & Circles (LFC) and AIM's own Armenian PostScript Fonts. Both use standardPostScript Type I typefacesboth on

Macintosh and IBM systems. The other packages feature fonts only for DOSAVinAIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

1992


Elre dows systems. Both character sets include hinting, flexing and keming pair-features needed for high-quality printouts, especially in publishing. LFC features seven typefaces: Pedour Script, Abaga Headline, Lucine

Headline, Anguin, Aramian, Barz and Nork-a total of l7 fonts. Prices are $95 to $175 for a set. AIM has seven typefaces in

Navasard, Dakar and Kamarak-that need Adobe Type Manager. For that reason, the latter fonts are sold for $95 each, or $200

withATM.

Font alchemy

eight fonts, with a price range of $95-$200: Maral, Ardahan, Saro, Tasagan, Arti, Sevan Headline and Sevag Headline. The first three were used in publishing the Armenian edition of the magazine. More are on the way. Arizona-based Data-Cal Corporation has another approach. Its WorldFont for Windows comes with 24 languages and alphabets, including Latin, Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, Turkish and Greek. The Armenian typeface includes a single typeface that is the least elegant among the products examined here, although the package itself is rich with features. The $249.95 price includes Adobe

processor with all the advanced editing features, ChiWriter's WYSIWYG screen display lets the user enter and edit text, symbols

Type Manager and an innovative utility,

and scientific notation, as well as create

KeyMapper, which allows the flexibility of keyboard layout mapping forany font in any Windows program.

custom fonts or modify existing ones. Fourteen fonts are supplied with the basic package, which supports all dot-matrix and laser printers, and lists for $349.95.

Data-Cal has anotherproduct, WorldFont for WordPerfect 5.1, which features screen and laser printer fonts within this most popu-

lar word-processing program for DOS. English, Armenian and another language can be mixed in the same document, with the ability

to toggle between English and Armenian with asinglekey. Anon-screen pop-upmenu shows the keyboard locations of the foreign characters. In the case of Arabic and Hebrew, right-to-left entry is possible. The package, priced at $249.95, includes over 20 languages and 40 typefaces in sizes ranging

from 8 to 20. Similar but less expensive packages are marketed by Diplomat Software, based in Newport Beach, Califomia. The Diplomat Software Se.ries includes four different packages-ofmultilingual fonts for DOS and Windows programs. At $95, the DOS Basic package consists of screen, keyboard and printer drivers (9- or 24-pin, LaserJet II[ll) that allow easy access to foreign characters while using DOS applications, even in $proadsheet and database programs.With an additional $75 each, you getoptional LaserJet fonts irt different sizes and styles specifically foruse in WordPe-rfect5.I a;dWord5.5, and another for Veniura Publisher up to version 3.0. The Windows 3.1 package ($125) con-

sists of TrueType and PostScript Type I fonts. A Windows/DOS combination set is also available at $195. T\e 37 supported Ianguages include Arabic, Farsi, Russian and Turkish. Only one Armenian LaserJe_t. ty1!if@e is available; quite tastefttlly designed" itcomes in eights sizes and styles. At ihe efld of our list are the mo$t recent additions-the Windows TrueType fonts marketed by Bytec and Glendale Computer Services. Bytec's are five TrueType fonts that will bs available in a few moAns, while 52

GCS's are five bitmapped fonts already available-Armen, Empty Armen, Empty

For those more stouthearted who would

not flinch at creating their own Armenian fonts, there is anotheroption. In addition to the more sophisticated font generating software for programmers, there is a group of products geared to the advanced computer user. ChiWriter 4.0 by the San Jose, California-based Horstmann Software Design Corp. is the most popular such program among PC

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Looking ahead, the use of foreign alphabets and characters in computer applications

will receive a gigantic boost when Apple Computer releases the Macintosh System 7 upgrade this fall. Introduced within it will be WorldScript, a utility that promises to simplify the development of software in other languages, allowing programmers to quickly develop and localize programs for countries that use non-Roman alphabet languages, at least on the Macintosh platform. An even bigger thrust for multilanguage computing is just around the comer. Within two years the Unicode intemational standard for alphabet characters, numerals and symbols is expected to gain worldwide adoption, replacing the ASCII standard thathas been in use since the early '80s. ASCII-the Ameri-

can Standard Code for Information Inter-

change-is

the code that underlies all com-

munication with computer hardware and software-sort of the DNA of computer talk. Each

of the

128 ASCII codes represents

either a letter of the English alphabet, numeric digit,

a

punctuation mark or

a

a

hard-

ware control command. But the proposed Unicode will provide for 65,536 characters-more than enough to accomodate all dead and living languages, including the characters and unique punctuation marks

of

Armenian alphabet. Until then, the software products discussed here should be more than adequate for our Armenian writing needs on the perthe

soiral computer. All sofiware and hardware brand names are tndem a rk s o r reg i ste red t radema *s of the i r

respective companies AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I992

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_,tJ|__f

lori I verfirnr

qq

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I

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i

ulru E$u[$. More like aliving historythan atraditional publication-that's howourreaders have seen AIM for the past two years. Crisp graphics, thorough reporting, thought-provoking stories and colorful proflles have led AIM to propel the Armenian print medium into the global age. With correspondents in almost every major city around the world, bureaus in Los Angeles, and Yerevan, and a diverse editorial appeal, we thrive on the passion to be the best. That's what has made us the most widely read publication in theArmenian worldtoday. That'swhatwillcontinueto guideAlM throughout the g0's and beyond, providing a solid medium to reach Armenians internationally.

/UNI

Month after Month. AIM capturesthe spirit of theArmenian nation.

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Game of Nations

known pediatrician, but there were many doctors arrested, purged, executed. At that time there was

Dr. Viktor I ssraelian on H is Years as a High-Ranking Soviet Diplomat in Moscow, N ew York and Geneva

a

purge of Armenians in Georgia and

Armenia who had any connections with Armenians from Turkey. Stalin thought Armenians who had connections to Armenians in Turkey could be Turkish spies, and so a large number from Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan were deported. I knew that my career, too, was finished. I immediately dialed Tbilisi, and my father answered. He understood. "Look, nothing happened, it was another Issraelian who was sent to Siberia," he said.

What were the difficulties in representing the USSR dwing the Gold War? s

lnterYiew by NORA DUDWIGK and GRAIG WALLEN Dr. Viktor Issraelian-physician, former Soviet ambassador to the United Nations and a career diplomat with the Soviet Foreign Ministry and Diplomatic Service---currently is a visiting Fulbright professor at

Pennsylvania State University, teaching courses on Soviet-American relations and Soviet foreign policy during World War Il and the Cold War. Drawing on his distinguished past, Dr. [ssraelian illustrates his special philosophy of international diplomacy, colored by his heritage.

Alt:

What would you do if you were to return to Armenia? Have you been approached by the Armenian Government? ISSRAELIAN: I have been approached, but not formally. Don't forget, the new leaders are young and hopefully they know me by name, but they don't know me personally. Those who were in the Supreme Soviet and many others have approached me, we have talked, they asked my advice. I was approached by Gorbachev, his aides, and the former chairman of the Supreme Soviet, who asked my advice on how to settle the conflict in Karabakh. I was very glad toleam thatanArmenian-American was invitedto be the foreign minister. I don'tknow him personally, but I am glad he is a young man. I am very critical of perestroika. It failed because old

people-the

same people, the old generation-tried to implement new ideas. People in their 30s and 40s have to lead the process for democratization, not people in their 60s, 70s. People of my age were trying to

made-it's nonsense! I am glad that Armenia's leadership is young. That's excellent.

change the society which they themselves

They can build a new society. So as far as I'm concemed, I'm at Armenia's disposal. I have some experience. Diplomacy is a profession. It's very important, very interesting and notjust receptions and parties.

Tell us about your remarkable ability through successive Soviet regimes.

to

survive

Sometimes I feel that I can't understand how I got through all those years. During the purges ofthe '30s, I was a teenager. But during the purges of the late '40s and early '50s, I had trouble. But, thank God,

Stalin died. It occuned during the "Campaign Against Cosmopolitanism," mainly directed against Jews, politicians and scientists. There was one episode when I was in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 or 26 years old. I was in Moscow and my parents were living in Tbilisi at the time. One day I got a phone call from a schoolmate: "Viktor, are you aware of your parents' situation?" I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "It's very bad news." I understood what was happening. ln 1949, there was a new wave of purges. My father was not a member of the party, he didn't play any role. He was a well-

I never was on the highest echelon, but I tried to be a real professional, and that was needed in the Soviet apparatus. Was I always in agreement with our diplomacy? No, I was not. Did I make I'm speaking now not of Communism but of foreign policy. Well, I didn't like many things. I didn't like confrontational diplomacy. Diplomacy has the task of finding a common denominator, a common language, an understanding. I tried to avoid the usual propagandapolicy in my dealings and in my behavior. I knew George Bush in the years of the Cold War. I was the representative of my country, and he was friendly to me. I didn't follow the confrontational style, but I had to criticize, that was the rule. I would say, "Don' t pay attention to what I' m going to say, I have to say it, but then, let's do business." And then I would criticize American imperialism and he would reciprocate and say someclear my disagreement?

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

I

992

55


thing about the Soviets. The possibilities were very narrow, but Moscow realized that had

I

achieved something. So that is why they kept me. A professor asked me why I didn't become a deputy foreign minister. Well, I

Theywouldthinklet him do the work, it's fine,

was an alien.

good, respected, but not too high. I was not ambitious.I likedmy

profession and liked negoliaiion. I served for eight years in Geneva

and was my own master. My cables were my contribution to perestroika. They were read by the foreign minister,by Brezhnev, Andropov, Chemyenko, then

I

tried-knowing

years and years. That is conect. It's a sorrow to confess last June my class celebrated its 50th anniversary of graduation from medical school. It was a large group. Many were well into their 70s. I was the only deserter. They said, "You were the only one who did the right thing." I disagreed and asked my physician friends, "How many people have you helped? How

BIOGBAPHY Bom in Tbilisi, Georgia, Dr. Viktor Issraelian trained as a physician, serving in the Soviet armed forces during the Second World War. Retuming to Moscow after the war he entered the Diplomatic Academy, graduating in 1946. This eventually led to a doctorate in historyin 1960 and nearly two decades of teachingand writing before he joined in 1968 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he actedas Soviet representative to the UN and directed&eir Department of Intemational Organizatirons. In 1971, he eannd the rank of Ambassador Exffaordinary and Pleni-

many lives have you saved?"

potentiary of the USSR From 1975 to 1987, he served at the Collegium ofthe

Nlinistry o_f' Foreign Affairs,

" r' 'i '

the

ministry's principal advisory and decision-making body. In 1988, he retired liom thediplomatic service, but remains

They replied, "My God, how can we know, a hundred, many hundreds." I said, "I can tell you how many tons of paper I have writ-

ten."

I am not sorry that I changed my profession and became a diplomat. It's a wonderful profession... to understand the percepa consultant to the Soviet Foreign Ministion of others. You are talking on try and a professor at the Diplomatic the same subject with your colAcademy in Moscow. leagues and you realize how the Dr.Issraelian, T3,has served as amemberofvirtually all Soviet same problem is seen by an Indelegations to the UN from 1964 to 1987-a crucial period in dian, a Brit, a German, a Pakisuperpower relations. His friendship with President George Bush stani, an Argentinian. You leam dates to this period, when they were diplomatic adversaries across to understand what a Japanese the rtegotiating table at the UN. He also headed the Soviet delegasmile means, the French smile, tion to the Geneva disarmament conferences and played a signifithe Indian smile, the British... It's sounds like you lived a smile, but it has different meancant role in their outcome. A historian, lecturer and author as well, many of your professional ings. Dr. Issraelian has beena visiting professorat Stanford, Harvard and years with a very heavy I didn't like many, many forseveral European universities, and has authored books and articles level of frustration. eign policy actions of my counondiplomatic history. Can you imagine, for eight try. But the most difficult thing years I was negotiating on the was to express not your opinion Chemical Weapons Convenlion. but the opinion of your govemDay after day, year after year I remember the conversations. We ment and to support it even if you did not like it. A good diplomat has succeeded with Gorbachev. At one of our meetings he asked, "What to express the govemment's position, never his personal one. It's good if it coincides. If it's close, you can make it smoother. But if you is wrong, what are you doing? Do you like staying in Geneva?" I said, "Geneva is not the worst place in the world, but it's not because I like have to justify Soviet intervention in Afghanistan to the intemational Geneva that I'm not moving. We have to change our position." He community , that's a deadly business. If you are a decent man, you understood that. Time and again, there was a temptation to leave. leave [the country] and say whatever you want to say, like Sakharov Often I attended meetings of the Politburo. I understood that these did. are people who not only cannot but do not want to understand. They Expressing personal views for a diplomat could have very serious have their perception of the world and you can't change it. So I consequences. In a democratic society, you don't have to share the thought, why shouldn't I just leave and do something else. I could official position. In atotalitarian state, youcould loseyourjobandyou teach orcould become ahistorian. I wrote several books onthehistory wouldn't be able to teach because you expressed views contrary to and the diplomatic history of World War II. But I thought that if I those of the govemment. You could face even more serious conseleave, what is going to happen? Nothing will change. On the contrary, quences. we have to prepare, to make the situation right for dramatic changes andthat's what wecando. Nothingelse. Andthat'show I stayedinthe tUhat is your frank assessment of American diplodiplomatic service until 1987. Was all this discussion, the Cold War maey overthe years? talks, conferences on the Middle East, arms control, etc. worthwhile? American diplomacy, like all others, has its style. For us in the The answer is "Yes." It was better that we talked and maintained arms control negotiations, it was easier to deal with Americans than communication even in the coldestyears of the Cold War.Iremember with most of our other partners, because in negotiations they are very very well how, at a conference on disarmament, the American well-prepared. They came to negotiations on a solid base. On the delegate would start condemning our aggression in Afghanistan, other hand, it is not successful in multilateral diplomacy. American though the subject of the conference was arms control. Sometimes diplomats are too tough, they don't care very much or pay the before the meeting began, he would say privately, "Viktor, look, I necessary attention to the rest of the world. have to make a statement on Afghanistan, sorry I have to do that." I Sometimes American diplomats are political appointees. I've would say, "O.K., I will respond and that will be that." I knew what he never thought it was justified on expert negotiations like arms control was going to say and he knew very well what I would say. to have a political appointee who doesn't know the subject, who contacts his aides on what he has to say. Corbachev.

their mentality, knowing their vision of the world-to explain to them that not everyone is our enemy, are hostile. Khrushchev was the first leader to travel a little bit. It opened his eyes. Brezhnev was well-traveled, but not interested. He couldn't understand anything. It's unbelievable how this huge country survived.

not all

It

It is almost as though you a;e using the physician analogy-more like psychiatrist and disturbed patient-where you may not change the behaviot lot 56

Based on your knowledge of the way polatics worked in the Soviet Union, do you think there was a diplo-

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTE,MBER

I

992


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matic solution for the Karabakh issue under Gorbachev?

relations with Armenia can be found. Untbrlunately, some of the diplomatic actions of Turke y (at the CSCE conference) arc very disappointing. Perhaps, eventually a special kind ofmilitary cooperation can develop with Russia. The Westem European countries werc traditionatly fiiendly to Armenia. These traditions have 1o be developed. Of paramounl irnportance for Armenia is the ArnericanArmenian relationship. I hope that in the Caucasus, Armenia will become a paftner of the Unitcd States, the samc way Israel is in the Middle East. There is much similarity in the geo-political situations of Armenia and Israel. The Armcnian community in the US can contribute very much to a fruittul relationship with the new Armenia. Armenians are hoping for assistance, and this is very important, but certainly that can't be a deciding factor. Experts wilt be most helplul. Armenia has a lot of problems, not frorn the younger generation but from the old bosses. This rcflects 70 years ol'living in a certain structure. Now it's destroyed and everybody wants to find his new place in the new structure. But, lhere are also problems with dcfense, security and so on. There should be a national anny in Armenia. We are ente ring a new era. lt's not a bipolar world anymore. I can assure you that the attitude of the Central Asian republics to Saddarn Hussein, to the Micldle East negotiations, to Israel, might be very different fiom the stand and attitude ofthe Christian republics. Ir's not the Soviet Union anymorc, where Moscow and I 0 or I 2 old men in the Politburo had a five-minute mceting. and decisions werc unanimously adoptcd. Now, the United Nations will play a dilTerent, morc imporrlnt role. I was an actor in a bipolar world. latest

My lather was bom in Karabakh, so I take what has happened very painfully. Scveral ycars ago I was asked for advice by our Moscow leaders. I said to them that the first thing was to condemn strongly Ithe massacres ol Armenians in I Sumgait, and that had to be done not only by Moscow ancl others, bul by the Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet. I had no doubt Annenians would reciprocate in a friendty gesture. I said a solution could be found by negotiation, but perhaps not in public.

I proposed that a deal could be made; that the Azerbaijanis wouldn't give up Karabakh for nothing, but in the atmosphere of confiontation, it would be absolutely impossible. If Gorbachev had been really intercsted in settling, he could have done so then. Now the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan has become an international issue. Together. the problem of Karabakh and the principle ol selfdetennination have to be dealt with by the United Nations.

You mentioned that Armenia should develop an Armenian foreign policy. What would be in the best interests of a brand.new state on the world stage? The foreign policy of any country depends on many factors: history, tradition, politics. economics. Armenia doesn't have the best environmcnt, but it can't change its geopolitical situation. The priority is thc neighboring countries. t don't think too much can be expccted l'rorn Iran, because of its domestic situation and its policy. I would cerlainly concentrate efforls on maintaining good relations with Russia and with Georgia since thcy are both Christian states. That is, if they are ready to cooperate with Armenia. Hopefully. Turkey at present is not thc old Turkey. I think a reasonable basis for

Nora Dudwick and Craig Wallen are freelance writers based in

Philadelphia.

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992


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Global Siblings The Sister Cities Trend May Bring Armenia Real Gains By GHRISTIAN C. CASPARIAN merican concem for the plight

of former Soviet republics

is taking on new meaning with the

proliferation of "sister city" relationships. The concept ofsistercity is not anovelty. The Town Affiliation Association of the

United States, better known as Sister Cities Intemational (SCI), was founded in 1956 and represents over 1,400 affiliations with cities around the world-nearly 100 with Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) cities.

Although the affiliations are often mere symbolic gestures andresult innothing more than a new vacation spot for a participating city's elite, the situation in the former Soviet Union promises someting more substantive. Through their ties, American cities can assist struggling govemments with city development of their public services and economies. In many of the former Soviet states, sister city development has come almost as quickly as the August, 199 I coup. Cities such as

Spitak, which was the epicenter of the earttrquake that devastated much ofnorthem Armenia, while Yerevan and the French city of

Lyon signed one of the most far-reaching pacts in the history of Armenia's sister city relationships; finally, the city of Troy, New York, will soon become the sister city of Goris. U.S.-Armenia sistercities are in a slightly different situation than ttrat faced by affiliates ofother CIS states. First, none ofthe six American cities are by themselves an agricultural or business center; they are all upper- and middle-class suburbs. Also, Armenian-Americans have a large presence in these cities and are very civically involved, which lends itself to the success of the relationship.

Baldwin, Wisconsin and Fresno, Califomia are offering their particular resources and expertise to the needy areas of their sister cities' economies. And they are now

reaching out with medical supplies, food, and civil and agricultural expertise. Armenia has attracted more media attention than most CIS states due to the 1988 earthquake and the ongoing war in NagomoKarabakh. It's no coincidence then that seven American cities and

one European city have established ties with Armenian ones during the last five years. The first affiliation was formed between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Yerevan in 1987. This was followed by ties between Alexan-

dria, Virginia, and

Leninakan

(now Gumayri); Pasadena, California, and Kirovakan;

Watertown, Massachusetts, and Jrashen; and between La Veme, Califomia, and Etchmiadzin. Most recently, Thousand Oaks, located in Southem Califomia's Ventura County, offi cially formed ties with

AIM, AUGUST/SETTEMBER 1992

The

Armenian-American presence,

however, can also threaten the survival of these programs. Some community organizers involved with the sister city process have observed that Armenian-Americans have too many pre-existing monetary commitments to Armenian political and religious groups to be generous donors for the homeland. This means that in orderto survive, city cases non-American

organizers-in many

and Armenian-American-must solicit aid

from the non-Armenian community. "We don't have much [Armenian community

paticipationl, I'm sorry to tell you," says ofthe Pasadena Sister City

June Takenouchi,

Committee. "First they said 'we'll help' but it didn't end up that way." Kirovakan is Pasadena's newest sister city relationship. After one year, it has had a slow start, in large part due to the difficulty of communications with Kirovakan- not only with the telephone lines, but with language. Pasadena's counterparts in sister cities in Germany, Finland and Japan all speak English. Consequently, Kirovakan's progrirm is set up differently.


Also, everything a sister cify volunteer

growth," Ms. Dillakian said, typifying the

does, must be done at his own expense, and when it comes to entertaining visitors, this is not cheap. "That's one reason we're losing a

hope of many native Armenians. Until now, most of the relationships have amounted to little more than official declara-

lot of people-youngerpeople who want to help," says Takenouchi. Sister city ties begin in the spirit of exchange and cooperation, but the issue of what a sister city affiliation can really accomplish has for the most part been unexplored. At the official sisterhood ceremony between Spitak and Thousand Oaks, members

tions of goodwill. Performing arts troupes, mayoral delegations, tourists and cultural delegations might visit the sister city, but business exchanges are still nonexistent. "Right now there's a lot to be gained if you look at the face of the sister cities program with the former Soviet Union," says Megan Donnelly, program officer for Sister Cities Intemational. "It has changed dramatically from cultural and educational exchanges (which are still there) to real techni-

ofboth sides expressed their own ideas of what the relationship might hold. While the Thousand Oaks representatives spoke of

Councilmember Karine Dillakian, expressed hope for something more tangible.

cal-assistance and skills-transfenal programs where CIS cities are asking for assistance in areas that they have never had to deal with before-water sanitation, creating a tax budget, using revenues." The Cambridge-Yerevan Sister City As-

"We're hoping that this sister city relationship with Thousand Oaks will grow into a living and ongoing partnership, whereby Armenia can learn to create a strong and viable economy to maintain sustained

sociation (CYSCA) has begunto implement such civic training programs. Deborah Welsh, president of the association, notes that the Cambridge program does not constitute direct technical program transfenal, but it does

"intemational peace and understanding,"

of the Armenian delegation, including Mayor Arsen Ohanian and members

about water management and air pollution. Megan Donnelly notes that the CYSCA has made great strides toward offering public policy and municipal guidance for the Yerevan city managers, instruction that is of inestimable value for the young govemment. A similar assistance package has been

promised by the city of Lyon. A recent agreement with Yerevan city officials has paved the way for a comprehensive sister city relationships package that includes joint

publishing, broadcasting and job training projects, as well as technological aid to fight some of Yerevan's worsening ecological problems. During the Soviet era, the Armenian capital established several sistercity ties, notably with Eastem European countries. Most of these relationships were cultivated solely to serve Moscow's economic interests, though the Hungarian city of Titograd brought many cultural and economic benefits to Armenia, and the sister city relationship with the Italian city of Canara continued to flourish well after the demise of the Soviet Union. In the early days of the Karabakhmovement, when street protestors in Yerevan were portrayed by the central Soviet nervs media as "hood-

Armenia's Neighborc end'their U,S. Sister Gities AZERBAIJAl{: Baku - Houston, Texas

lums" and "extremists,"

the

Carrara City Council issued a declaration supporting the Armenian people's wish to unite with Karabakh. The Alexandria-Leninakan committee has also sponsored successful exchanges which have brought tangible results. Last year, the program hosted

five visiting architects, who studied at Virginia Tech. One

of the participants, the only woman in the group, was able

to utilize the knowledge

-

TURKEY: Istanbul - Houston, Texas Meftr{.- SantaFe Springs, California

project in Gumayri, commissioned by the Swiss govemment.

This marble statue in Yerevan was ltalian sister city Carrara's gift to the Armenian capital offer guidance. "[We're not] goingoverthere and saying 'This is how you democratize a

AIM / MKHITAR

(MCHANIN

she

had gained in the US. Immediately upon herretum to Armenia, she was asked to oversee the construction of a polyclinic

country,' We've never done that. All we say is, 'This is what's been working here. What part ofit seems appropriate for you?"' Even so, the association provided training sessions by the Cambridge City Manager during the Yerevan delegation's visit, suggestions from the City Finance Officer on drafting and deliberating a budget, and addressed the Yerevan delegation's concems AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I 992

The four other participants, however, have not yet retumed.

RitaBalian. initiatorof the Al-

exandria sisterhood and a founding co-chair of the committee, believes that student exchanges could "pose serious problems, because when foreign students get a taste of American life, of true democracy, andof the abundance of opportunities, they do not want to retum" to their native land. Beside being the oldest sister city rela-

tionship with Armenia, the CambridgeYerevan tie shows that tremendous strength

can be drawn from the local community.


With a mere $10,000 budget, CYSCA has

country."

sponsored, among other activities, the July l99l visit of Yerevan Mayor Hambardzum Galstian, the CYSCA's fall trip to Yerevan, and an art exhibit at the Armenian Library and Museum in Watertown. The association also publishes a quarterly newsletter with a circulation of 6,000. How does ttre CYSCA manage to sponsor such wide-ranging programs on its minimal budget? "The reason we're able to get it done is because of this national exposure, which gets us national

By working with organizations such as Direct Relief International after the 1988

earthquake,

local

Armenian-American

groups were able to raise substantial funds and interest among non-Armenians.

canon. "[Armenians] have a tremendous amount to offer in that we [the US] are a relatively young country and they have a very rich culture, history,literature and artto share," states Megan Donnelly. "The impact of the program is incremental with each

Three situations make fundraising for Armenia very difficult in the United States. First, some maintain that non-Armenians might hesitate to offer funds to Armenia because, with so many Armenian-Ameri-

doors forthemto satisfy theircuriosity, to see new places, to meet other people, to travel

exchange."

"Americans are very inquisitive," says Rita Balian, "and [sister city relations] open

cans in the American sistercities, they should

and to enrich their experience."

funding from non-Armenian foundations,"

be able to help out their own homeland.

Deborah Welsh says.

Second, the US economic recession has af-

Most community organizers express the urgency but also the difficulty of recruiting

tions. Finally, even if an Americanhas money

Noting that the US is virtually the only nation of volunteers, Deborah Welsh says "the understanding of intercultural and crossculnral issues is probably the longest-

fected donations to all charitable organiza-

lasting impact on any of the individuals who have worked on theseprojects and who have gone abroad."

Thousand Oaks resldents Ava and Alec Avedissian holding plaque which clmmemorates Thousand Oaks and Spitak's Slster City agreeement.The Cambrldge-Yerevan slster city emblem. Then-Pasadena mayor, Jess Hughston, and Klrovakan mayor Boris Mkhltarian, second and third lrom rlght, slgn agreement.

local or even national non-Armenian support. Filmmake J. Michael Hagopian, a

to donate, the appeal of

member of the Thousand Oaks project, explains the need for non-Armenian support for the sister city project: "This is not a group of Armenians pushing their own cause. To make it successful, you must have the [support of thel entire community." Says Cambridge's Welsh of her commit-

pital or a battered women's

tee: "Wedon'tlookatourselvesasadiasporan

Armenian organization...but ArmenianAmericans are certainly invaluable."

As Avie Balikian, a community organizer in Thousand Oaks, states, "The whole purpose is that Armenian-Americans must leam to use the American system: it's a goldmine for us if we're going to help our

a

handicapped children's hosshelter may seem more urgent than that of a vague program in

a

far-

off country. As one organizer put it, "the [Armenian] sister cities will be stalled until they get more tangible programs." The CIS states and Armenia clearly stand to gain a lot through the exchanges, if implemented properly. But what can non-Armenians gain from the sister city relationship? Above all, sisterhoods appeal to two things

in Americans---curiosity and volunteerism. In this era of expansive cultural awareness, Americans standto leam a lot aboutaculture

largely untaught in the US educational AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992

Inquisitiveness and a need for philanthropic fulfillment, it seems, are pretty tenuous bases for a program's survival. Program directors themselves admit that the sister city committees rest on very unstable ground. All the same, interest in the Armenian people and nation has remained strong throughout the recent crises. The 1988 earttquake flust moved Americans to provide humanitarian aid for Armenia. Organizations such as AID sent relief teams to investigate the disaster. The stories and images that they brought back "touched the hearts of millions," according to Thousand Oaks Mayor Robert kwis. Once Americans began to learn aboutArmenians, they wanted to help them out in theirtime of need.

"My

approach is this agreement

will not

only put Armenia on the map, it will put Troy, New York, back on the map again," says Zohrab Heghinian, who initiated relations between the twocities. He believes this will happen through media attention covering future cultural events and gatherings. Heghinian believes that Armenia under communist rule hindered involvement. "The latestdevelopments inArmeniamade itmore

easy--+specially for us Armenian-Americans-to open our heart towards Armenia.


Now being aware that Armenia needs all it can get, I was searching within me to see whatl could do." With so many "marriages" popping up, he even would like to establish an Armenian-American Sister Cities association. For most of the Armenian-American sister cities, concem for the welfare of postearthquake Armeniaburgeoned into a desire to form long-lasting relationships. Avie and

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successfully promoted medical, humanitarian, and financial assistance to the disasterstricken areas. It was with the disaster relief efforts that the Armenian-American community began to enlist the help of the American community at large.

When resident J. Michael Hagopian, retumed from Armenia in 1989 with film footage of the devastation, the movement to forrn a sistercity relationship began. Former Mayor Frances Prince was selected to be the chair of the committee, which includes MayorLewis and former MayorAlex Fiori. Once a city council approves the sister city committee's proposal, SCI oversees the process. SCI assures compatibility of the communities, reviews the goals, objectives

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tionship. "The mayor and the city councils play a role in the establishment [of ties] but they can't take on the responsibility of its daily operations, because of their other, daily responsibilities," notes Donnelly. According to Donnelly, the relationship can also help the cities to cooperate on universal problems. "Despite all those differences [between cultures], there's a lot that can be worked on together. Cities and people share basic kinds of problems."

For Armenian cities that form sister city relationships, such ties mean much more than simply securing economic aid or sympathy for the plight ofthe new republic. "In sister city relationships, we tend to present ourselves as perennial victims," says Gulnara Shahinian, who heads the City of Yerevan's Foreign Relations Committee. "It's true that as a nation we have suffered a great deal.

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AIM. AL]C;L]ST/SEP'IEMBER

I

992

EVE

RYDAY


Survival lnstinct D or a A g hbalian R e c o ll e c t s H e r F amily' s Trav

Siberia, because he prefened cold weattrer! Once there, he taught the prison camp commanderto play the violin.

Dora's mother died

ail s

U nder S oviet Repre s sion By TONY

llALPll{

ora Aghbalian guards the memory of a father she last saw when she wasjust eight years old. Now a sprightly 79, herlife has

been defined

in many ways by Nikol

Aghbalian, who was minister of education during the brief frst Armenian republic of 1918. She lives in a cramped apartment facing Yerevan's main Marshal Bagramian Street. The family house where she lived until the Bolsheviks kicked them out in 1922 is now the offices of ttre subway police.

Dora Aghbalian keeps a picture of her father on the wall, and a complete set of his writings on her bookshelf. But she has never been able to seehis grave in Beirut, lrbanon.

Nikol Aghbalian is remembered as a leading Dashnak theorist and activist who founded the Armenian College Nshan Palandjian Jemaran in Beirut together with writer Levon Shant. But less is known about the family he left behind in Armenia. He met his wife I{rajpi only once, in han, after he left Armenia on April l,1922,to escape the Bolshevik repression. He never saw Doraand hertwo brothers afterthat day. When he died alone in August I 947 , aged 72, he was awaiting word from his family on whether he should retum to Armenia. They haddecided to send amessage thathe should. It was an ironic end for a man who had argued his whole political life that the only way to ensure Armenia's survival was for Armenians to go back to their homeland. "He always saidthat the Bolsheviks would come and go but that Armenia was, is, and always would be, so people had to retum," says Dora. "They had to live in Armenia to

entbittemess at the memory.

While Aghbalian taught first in Egypt and then in Beirut, things were going from bad to worse for the family. fhajpi lost her job afterhe left, and there were money problems. Moushegh was barredfrom the university, and younger brother Rouben suddenly found he could enter only if he scored "excellent" in all his examinations. Dora entered music school but was told to leave after two years because, they said, she was an enemy ofthe people. "There were a lot of meetings at the school, and people said daughters and sons of the people's enemies had no right to be taught," sheremembered with awry smile. Meanwhile, her mother tried to work in a kindergarten, but was prevented by the authorities. She demanded that if they would not let her work, then they should allow the family to leave. Surprisingly, the Soviets

And what would the man who told Amenians to come home but never himself went back say to today's scattered Diaspora? "He would tell the Armenians to come back," his daughter says firmly. "Because in many other countries Armenians have begun to assimilate. But he understood, as I do, that itcan only happen when Armeniais stronger, and when people can come without being afraid of losing everything in other countries. At flrst, he would begin a struggle to make

Armenia stronger."

This was 1926, and the family decided they would try to join Nikol Aghbalian in Alexandria. They sold everything they owned; then the govemment changed its mind. "They told my mother'you have to stay, you will be a kind of hostage here'," says Dora.

After architect Alexandre Tamanian sent letterto the govemment on herbehalf, Dora finally succeeded in getting work in as a piano player at an outdoor movie theater. Two years later, Hrajpi was arrested for alleged anti-Soviet behavior and jailed for six months. Her daughter walked past the prison every day, talking loudly in the hope her mother might be comforted by the sound of a familiar voice. Shortly after, seeing no a

l93l-

future in Armenia, Dora went to Moscow where she married a young architect. After a

remainArmenian." Aghbalianwasimprisonedin l920during

the first wave of Bolshevik terror, when

because, she said,

relatives of those jailed would gather outside Yerevan' s prison to read a list of those killed the previous day. When he was freed the following year, Nikol began lecturing at the

enter other departments-I would have to write articles, but nobody could say anything if I just played music." She graduated and began a career as a cellist in Yerevan's Opera House orchestra. But her marriage failed because her husband resented her family name and the trouble it seemedto bring to his career. Doraonly says now that she was "very stupid to decide to

foot and trekked through the freezing Armenian mountains to the safety of Persia.

1967. Brother

agreed.

brief stay in Baku, Azerbaijan, they retumed to Armenia at Dora's request and she succeeded in entering the music conservatory. "My mother advised me to study music

university, until he was wamed of an impendhg renewal of repression. He left on

in

Moushegh, now 81, continues to work in a factory in Vladikafkaz, Georgia, where he was sent from Siberia. Rouben, 76, a retired engineer, still lives in Yerevan. She is philosophical about the hardships thrown their way by the family name. "We all have strong characters. We tried to have our own lives, and when we decided to do something, we tried to do it. We didn't care that the govemment tried to oppose us."

it would be dangerous to

The new Soviet govemment offered to allow him to retum as a teacher, and tkajpi went to kan to try topersuade him to accept.

marry."

But Aghbalian refused. "He told my mother to go back and live in Armenia because, he said, his sons have to live in Armenia," says Doris, withoutappar-

for three years, after being accused of conspiring to bring down the Soviet government. He was subsequently exiled to Kazakhstan but asked to be transferred to

Meanwhile, in 1936, Moushegh wasjailed

AIM, AUGUST/SEPIEMBER

1992

Dora Aghbalian in her Yerevan apafiment

with

a

photo of lather Nikol

I


WhoseTFuth? Whose Land?

deplorable situation today." That situation includes the highest suicide rate ofany group in America, alcoholism and a complete lack

Producer Arthur Chobanian's Film Spotlights the Plight of Native Americans

at

ncident at Og,lala is a movie that says a

documentary film released by Miramax. "Everybody had a problem with it-the NativeAmericans, theFBI, the govemment, the filmcompanies." fi

lm refers to the execution-

cent period

in

American history, and the American Indian Movement's attempt to organize the rights of the Na-

tive

Americans.

Leonardwasthelast vestige of that period, so the story necessarily focused

style murder of two FBI agents on South Dakota's Pine Ridge reservation in 1975. It depicts the fate of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and its most famous living member-l,eonard Peltier. lncident at O glala recounts the ways in which the prosecution fixed the Peltier trial for the sake ofa conviction, after it was forced to release the only two other suspects in the case for lack of evidence. In fact, the movie is nothing less than documentation of the war that the U.S.

onhim."

government waged against Native Americans and the American Indian Movement in particular-a war which, for obvious reasons, was not acknowledged by the govemment northe national media. As might be imagined, the FBI was neither

settlers and what happened to the Armenians, and the

forthcoming with information nor was it willing to cooperate with Chobanian. What surprised the producer far more was the

the

Partofthereason he was attracted to

the project,

Chobanian admits,

a visceral level."Obviously there is a parallel

came at

between the geno-

cide

of the Native

Americans by white

police conviction. The

a

similarities, Chobanian is quick to add, end there. The main purpose in making Oglala was not to secure l.eonard Peltier's release from jail. Rather, there was aclear-cut political agenda: "Leonard's guilt or innocence was not the

main point of the movie. What we wanted

1

perpetrators." Whiletherewere 10

million Native

anything in American history books, is the

real-

{N

cres on the part of

unanimously praised by audiences and critics alike. Incident at Oglala has been favorably compared to A Thin Blue Line, the Errol Morris documentary which led to the release of the imprisoned Randall Adams. Like A

official-truth behind

tb

shameandcomplete

Americans on the

as opposed to the

,i\*

denial of the massa-

reticence of Native Americans themselves. "We got there thinking that we'd be welcomed, because, after all, we were doing something positive for them," he says, "but they were very suspicious. Some even asked for money before granting interviews." But Chobanian andhis team persevered, and two years later they had a movie of rare quality,

T hin B I ue Line, Ogla/a seeks tofind the

were formed-"the government exploited

Pine Ridge... about that very re-

tot of things"that a lot of people don't wanttoheir. "\-ou can't imagine the problems we had getting ttris movie off the ground," says Arthur Chobanian, producer of the recent

The title of the

to the US govemment when the reservations

was to tell the story surrounding events

By GHRISTOPHER ATAIIIAN

a ! II

ofopportunity. Forced to live on desert land with no industry, no cities and, therefore, no resources, the young find no jobs and nothing to do. "When they did finally find something of value"-mineral sources unknown

North American continent when Christopher Columbus anived

in 1492,

today there are less

than one million. That, as much as legacy of white settlement and the creation of the United States. But Chobanian is also quick to point out the fundamental difference between Indo-Europeans and Native Americans: "Armenians, like other white people, are sedentary builders, etc. -intellectuals, Native Americans are environmental and spiritual in orientation. They are still hunters

and gatherers at the core and they will not give up these traditions."

"The American govemment would like everyone meld together into 'Americans.' But the Native Americans still resist this. Hence, part of the reason for their

to make

AIM, AUGUST/SEPI'EMBER I 992

that too. They gave Native Americans very little money, mined their land and often left them with radioactive backyards-national sacrifice areas. "The Native Americans are people who are so angry at what has happened to them and yet so rooted in tradition that I don't see any rosy future or easy outcome for them." Incident at Oglala came into existence largely thanks tothe efforts of Robert Redford, the executive producer. Redford got the project approved as part of a three-movie deal with the now flnancially beleaguered

Carolco. All three films deal with Native American topics, a cause dear to Redford,


whohas championedNative Americanrights. In spite ofhis efforts, the press has criticized Redford for having perhaps done too little too late, and for not pushing hard enough during this last project. "That's ridiculous," says Chobanian. "He's shown his commitment for 25 years. It's amazing that he's done as much as hehas. Ifpeople are asking that he get their land back for them-well, nobody's going to get their

land back."

Chobanian began his film career as an actor, after graduating from Boston University with a history degree in 1972. He soon realized that he was far more comfortable as a producer. Judging from his accomplishments to date, the move was an auspicious

one. Apart from Incident

at Oglala, his

credits include the highly successful Roc,tyl/ and Roclq IV, as well as overseeing the

development of the acclaimed Round Midnight urdThe Right Stuff.

Chobanian describes producing as an all-encompassing process. In Oglala, he not only had the usual production duties but assumed many directorial ones as well. Chobanian also wrote Redford's narration, which unified the documentary. "hoducing... is an extremely passion-

ate

Clockwise from left: Producer Arthur Chobanian; a Native American wearing lhe American lndian Movement sign; Executive Producer Robert Redlord; a scene lrom lncident at Oglala

"I like to struggle through it until its completion." It is perhaps ironic that

process,"

he

says.

concentrate on one thing and then

Chobanian, who somewhat

disingenuously describes himself as "an average-conservative-

type-of-guy," began producing Rocfo, movies and now has com-

pleted a project like Incident at Oglala. Rocfo, represents a form

of American

and Hollywood

myth-making that O g I al a, in both its form and content, vehemently opposes. Rocty constructs mainstream myths of white male power,

of the American Dream, of the victory of Good (America) against

Evil (Everyone Else). Everything from the music to the cutting and the acting precludes the audience

from having anything but a unilateral response. O g la la, onthe other hand, does not dictate ideology or impose any one view: itpresents a case, shows the obvious discrepancies in the official version and

leaves it to the viewer to determine the truth. "We're not saying that Peltier was guilty ornot guilty. We may never know that. What we are saying is thathe was falsely convicted, that the FBI's casejust doesn't hold up, thathe didn't get a fair trial."

Most important is viewer involvement in the creative process of deciphering events-in the end, that is perhaps the very best the film canhope to achieve. Chobanian found documentary work an unusually satisfying experience and plans to get more involved with writing and, possi-

bly, directing. His next project, also a documentary, deals with Luther King.

the assassination of Martin

Whatever direction he chooses

to take, it is sure to display the same commitment and daring that Incident at Ogla/a brought to the cinematic world.

Christopher Atamian is a New YorkSased scholar now flnishing hls graduate work in fllm in Los Angeles.

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992


rhe Armenian Genocids A Comprehensive Bibliography and Library Resource Guide Bibliography of over 380 published books in the English Language First Edition, 104 pages, $24.95, lgg2.

Amnenian Wisdom: A Treasury of Quotations

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Annenians and Iran A comprehensive Bibliography in the English, persian, and Armenian Languages (Romanized), First Edition 98 pages , $ 24.9s, lggl.

Armenian American Almanac A Complete Guide to Armenian Organizations and Professionals in the U.S.A. & Canada Second Edition, 402 pages, $ 44.95, 1990.

Ethnic Cookbooks and Food Marketplace A Complete Bibliographic Guide & Directory to Armenian, franian, Israeli Middle Eastern & Greek Foods in the IJ.S.A. & canada Third Edition, 146 pages, $ 29.95, lgg2.

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of Armenians who live outside their homeland. However, if we broaden the scope of exile to include those who live in the former Soviet republics and the tattered communities of the post-Genocide Diaspora, the number of exiles swells into the millions. Bartdve argues that on a personal and social level, there hasn't been a fundamental change in the status of the Armenian exile since the mid-1970s. She compares Armenia to a foster mother who cannot replace the historical Armenian lands from which the Diaspora's ancestors were uprooted. For the Diaspora, there remains a "longing to retum to the Land, its warmth

and its light."

What's left then for the hyphenated Armenian in the meantime? Bartbve believes that a grounding

in Ar-

menian language and culture must go hand in hand with efforts to adapt to country-

Stephen Mendillo and Julie Boyd in the New York production of L'Armdnoche

specific diasporan environments. Bartdve's consciousness of her Armenian identity serves as the springboard to her work. This is especially true in L'Ar-

At Home in Exile The Archetype of the DiasporanArmenian Reemerges in Reine Bart|ve's L' Arm,inoche

minoche,wherea quest for spiritual redemption in the face of loneliness, racial intolerance and alienation is carried to an extreme that's as absurd as it is sobering. L' Armdnoche has been frequently staged

By ABIS SEVAG

,

in France with favorable

Arminoche, playwright

Reine

head on.

Bartdve's chilling commentary on life in exile, is a radical departure

On the one hand, Bedros follows the path of dissolution and assimilation. On the other,

from the first generation hero that writers like Shahan Shahnur depicted in the decades after the Genocide.

Marie embarks on a wrenching search for self-affirmation. But they both try to exorcise a common history of horror and symbolize the condition of the outsider.

Whereas the melancholic Bedros in Shahnur's 1929 seminal novel Retreat

Without Song represents

resignation,

Bartdve's heroine Marie confronts life

Seventy-seven years after the Genocide

and with few survivors living in exile, it may seem anachronistic to address the topic AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

press reviews.

It

was presented in New York under the title Nowhere in 1985 and also last June under

I92

the direction of Ubu Repertory Theater's Frangoise Kourilsky. The play opens with a middle-aged French civil servant reading a newspaper in a deserted railway station. Marie, the French-Armenian daughter of a refugee, appears and announces that she is bound for a nearby town, but as night draws on she shows no urgency to reach her destination. 71


DidYou Kttow ThatI

The National Association for

She is childlike and rather exotic, a bit dotty. The man is annoyed by her chit-chat but also uncomfortably attracted to her. Marie tells him about the massacres of the Armenians in Turkey. "What counts is

Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) has been in existence for 37 years, is the only organization dedicated principally to the furtherance of Armenian sfudies, research, and publication, and gave impetus to the Armenian Studies movement on a

to hold on," she says, but it becomes pathetically clear that she has neither a destination nor anything in particular to hold

on to. Her father, a survivor, came to France with hopes of freedom and equality, only to encounter the fear and hatred of xenophobes like the bureaucrat at the station, who listens to her but does not seem to

worldwide basis;

I NAASR endowed the first two permanent chairs of Armenian Studies at Harvard University and the University of California at Los Angeles and has fostered and supported Armenian studies at over a dozen other leading colleges and universities in America;

understand what he is hearing. All he wants

to talk about is how the "Al-

I

NAASR's Armenian Book Clearing House is the world's largest distributor of books in English on Armenian and related subjects with over 1,000 titles currently available;

gerian rats and

niggers" are flooding France;

how they are never satisfied

I

with their jobs; how he is thinking of building a

NAASR has held over a dozen national and international conferences with outstanding scholars and authorities participating on various aspects of Armenian history, language and culfure;

I

higher fence around his pre-

cious home to keep the filthy foreigners from

NAASR's Armenian Reference and

Research Library has the largest

climbing oYgr

collection of books, pamphlets, periodicals, and personal papers in America;

and gettlng at hrs

family and pet dog. She, on the other hand, understands too well the pleasure he took in torturing Arab rebels in Algeria. The bureaucrat's rejection of Marie

I NAASR through its lectures, seminars, publications, book fairs, and other programs disseminates information about Armenian history and culture to Armenians and non Arme. nians alike; and I

becomes more unequivocal when he refuses to lend her 50 francs, which ultimately drives her to murder him. Fol-

NAASR's programs will guarantee

the continuous preparation of scholars

and specialists in Armenian history, culture, and language, the conducting

of research into all aspects and periods of Armenian history,'and the stbady

outpouring of authoritative published works in English?

Help Preseroe the Armenian Heritage andldentity! Send or call

for a free book list and further information about N AASR'I programs, membership, and free publications.

National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, Inc. 395 Concord Ave. Belmont, MA02178 (6'.t7) 489-1610

72

Reine Barteve

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lowing the bureaucrat's death, Marie finds solace in talking with the station rats. Outcasts like herself, these are creatures that when hunted down become ferocious. Although Bartdve avoids discussion on works in progress, she has reportedly completed a new play about the lives of three royal sisters in the medieval kingdom of Cilicia. If it's of the caliberof L' Armi noc heor Le Pavillon Balthazar-it will surely be

worth the wait.

A prolific writer and stage veteran, Bartdve, 55, is known for her warmth, sensitivity and strength. Her stage work has ranged from classical roles to productions of Anouilh, Ionesco and Tennessee Williams. Since writing L'Arminoche she

l0

has authored more than plays and adaptations for stage and the French national

radio, including Le Pavillion Balthazar, O uve rture S ur M er, L' O rp he linat, and Aliv e by Night, which was commissioned for the

bicentennial celebrations

of the

French

Revolution. Aris Sevag is a freelance writer based in

NewYork.


Postal Ghic

authorized the Samuelian issue since the a foreign firm. The AT&T stamp is still accepted by the Armenian govemment. Samuelian's design follows a legacy that other was in part sponsored by

Armenia Issues aNew Set of Stamps By ARTO PAYASLIAN

I f you receive mail from Armenia, I vou'r. in for a colorlul surprise. At the upper nght hand comer of the envelope r! you'll seea delicatepaintingofthetwin peaks

of Mount Ararat under

an intense blue

sky, and the Armenian tricolor rising diagonally from the peaks. The stamps are designed by Harutiun Samuelian, who holds a physics degree from Yerevan State University. His work has been exhibited extensively in Armenia, throughout the former Soviet Union and other countries.

With values

of .20,2.00, and 5.00 dram

(which may soon replace the ruble

as

Armenia's currency), the stamp design has a flrst run of 100,000 sets. Earlier this year the Armenian government held a design competition for the

republic's first set of postage stamps. Nearly 125 from around the

artists --/ - frrn

The committee selected Samuelian's en-

try from a pool of six finalists and awarded him 30,000 rubles. The stamps were then printed in London by the House of Questa. Those who came in second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth place received monetary awards from 15,000 to 3,000 rubles. The govemment will also print the finalists' designs in the near future. Of all the winners only one was diasporan. Bom in Lebanon, painter and AIM graphic designer Dicran Kassouny holds a fine arts degree from the University of La Veme. His two stamp designs eamed him fourthplaceand an awardof 3,000

a

rubles.

Even though a prevlous stamp, designed

graphic artist

by

Dutch

Will

van

Some ol the

lirst stamps of the

Armenian republic, issued in 1919

Sambeek and issued last Octoberto commemorate

globe submit-

ted

designs before the,March deadline. Under organizing committee guidelines, the designs had to feature both the Armenian tricolor and Mount Ararat.

Armenia's direct

437

dialtelephone service

AT&T is technically the

through

country's first,

Parliament

if not for Armenia's return to independence in l99l . could have been easily lost

In

1919, Arshag Fetvadjian was chosen to

prepare designs and oversee Armenia's first issue of paper currency and stamps. A renowned painter and scholar who had won 1887, the "Grand Prix de Rome" Fetvadjian had achieved a refined synthesis of European technique and traditional Armenian themes. Before Fetvadjian, Armenian stamp designs were overwhelmingly influencedby Russian art, with somber hues and one-dimensional composi-

in

tions. Fetvadjian broke that convention. producing works of great vitality. Samuelian has picked

up where Fetvadjian left off in 1921. Thenewbreed of stamps is the product of a collaboration between the Ministry of Communications of Armenia, Hagop Barsoumian, director of the Intemational Stamp Company based in New Jersey,

and the House of Questa. "We are proud to have been selected to print this first commemorative stamp issue

The new stamps, which were designed by Harutiun Samuelian, and the first-day issue

for

Armenia," said Ken

McAllen, managing director

of the

House

of

Questa.

"Through it, we have built a very close relationship with

s' AIM. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992


Armenia which we are sure will continue for many years to come." The Republic of Armenia has appointed the Intemational Stamp Company to be its

official philatelic agent worldwide. A major factor in this decision was Barsoumian's extensive background as a stamp collector and dealer. Educated in Cyprus and Beirut, he is one of the foremost authorities on Armenian philately. Barsoumian simply showed up in Yerevan in March and offered his expertise Io govemment officials. "l wanted to give assistance freely, voluntarily, which is whatall diasporan Armenians should be thinking of doing for their new country," said Barsoumian in a telephone conversation from his Montvale, New Jersey, office. Barsoumian is having the stamps printed at his own expense and will

(z

:

Dicran

Kassouny's work won fourth place in the governmentsponsored design competition

provide much of them to Armeniacost-free. The rest will be sold by his company ro dealers and collectors worldwide. Beside serving as a volunteerconsultant to the Stamp

Committee of Armenia's Ministry of Post and Communications. Barsoumian nate all profits to the ministry.

will do-

Barsoumian is also funding Armenia's will be out by the end of September. One set depicts the goddess Anahit, another the Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan. A set dedicated to Armenians who competed in Barcelona and past Olympics will also be available soon. As with the latest stamp, Barsoumian will donate a major portion of the profits to Armenia. Once we only pondered freedom for Armenia, dreamt about it, screamed for it, and now we can send a piece of it to anyone, next few stamp issues, which

anywhere. Arto Payaslian is afreelance reporter based

in Los Angeles.

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

I

992


JohnAltoon By IIERLE SCHIPPER

11 r

he cement that bonded artists into community" is how John Altoon is remembered today, not only by his con-

start. Sales of his work contributed importantly to Ferus' survival before it closed in 1965, and he was honored

fields in the Hyperions, to the vestiges of

with an impres-

sive succession of awards until the end of his life, although intemational recognition would come only posthumously. Since Altoon's death, stories circulated in his lifetime have been raised to the level of myth. How fortunate that his work, so singular in its power td evoke a viewing

anatomy and landscape in the Harper Series (1966-67), in which softly luminous forms are reminiscent of Arshile Gorky, wittr whom he shared his Armenian heritage. The surrealist undercurrent of Altoon's work was mostpronounced in thefigurative

temporaries in Southern Califomia but by countless members of the generation that followed. Rough-hewn in bottr manner and physique, Altoon, whose exhibition of female nudes was held early this year at the Braunstein/Quai Gallery in San Francisco, was a charismatic figure whose capacity for warmth, gregariousness and unmitigated joy made him a legend after his death in 1969 at the age

of43.

Bom in [.os Angeles to parents who had emigrated from Turkey, Altoon was still in high school when a wash drawing of a Madonna and Child he submitted to the annual exhibition of the Armenian Allied Arts Association won him a scholarship to the Otis Art lnstitute in [,os Angeles. Altoon was already an established artist by 1957. Having wimessed abstract expressionism first hand in New York, where he had embarked on a successful career as a graphic artist early in the decade, he returned to Los Angeles and joined the newly opened Ferus Gallery, the venue that was so important for introducing breakthrough styles that have helped shape L.A.'s present stature as an art mecca.

Unlike Ferus friends such as Craig Kauffman and Larry Bell, who pioneered the Light and Space movement, and Ed Rushca, whose work became the very paradigm of L.A. Pop, Altoon was not tempted to give up the style that let flow an endless procession of fantasy-bom images. Not even the airbrush, with which he achieved a luminous glow, or the occasional imagery of his flagsandLife magazine covers, aspects that alliedhim tothe Ferus genres, could curb the

meandering hand that brought forth what critics saw as the "content of the hidden recesses of his psyche."

Indeed, the draftsmanship that often transformed images of the bawdy and the grotesque into compositions of delicate sensuality suggests that Altoon was finely attuned to his inner voices, perhaps in response to the psychotherapy he often un-

derwent.

Altoon's work extended from the fully abstract to the figurative, especially in drawings, reflecting an insatiable existential curi-

osity that lunged to the fore with loving, sharpwitted observations on the human con-

dition.

'

His paintings ranged from the Ocean Park series (1960-63), whose slashing brushstrokes make strong on clean white 76

Previous page:, Untitledby Paul Sarkisian, oil on rag, 55"x85", 1989

o =

Above, Untitledby John Altoon, oil on canvas, 693."182", 1 959; at right, John Altoon Facing page: top, Charles Garabedian's

lliad Study,acrylic on paper, 3012"x40", 1991 ; bottom, Study lor the lliad acrylic on canvas, 84" x242",

1

991

elements of his drawings. These could be unabashedly erotic, as if to pique the rigid self-righteousness that monitored the L.A. art scene, or served as vehicles for biting social commentary, in which human and

animal forms often merged. Potent statements such as these blasted buffoonery and decried the brutality that pervaded the 1960s. Some, perhaps, mirrored his own private anguish. Altoon was a deeply troubled man who at times fell so ill that he needed hospital treatment. In such periods ofcrisis, as Pasadena artist and lifeJong friend JirayrZorthian recalls, his flow of creative energy would abruptly halt. But despite his recurring bouts with depression, the artist continued to produce works of great power and depth, and had an enthusiastic following from the very

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

1992

experience that verges on revelation, still prevails to afhrm a capacity for transcendence that far exceeds the measure of

life.

a

brief


Gharles Garabedian aking on Homer, as in the recent "studies for the Iliad" series, is nothing new for Los Angeles

I

painter Charles

Garabedian.

Scouring the iconography ofboth East and West, and spanning the timetables of world culture, his art is a monumental attempt at reinventing history and myth in a flamboyantly modemist context.

Garabedian's work owes much of its potency to his own heritage as an Armenian. Bom in Detroit in 1923 and raised in an orphanage until age nine, he first encountered the art of his ancestral land well after his career was underway. Stumbling upon an Armenian rug at the shop of a relative, Garabedian noticed an obvious affinity between a figure woven on the rug and his own compositional technique. The revelation led him to a frenzied research of Armenian illuminated manuscripts. His ultimate discovery of a whimsical, rather irreverent style in Armenian manuscript illumination, much like his own, prompted him to ponder the possibility of a collective unconscious.

least one piece in Garabedian's recent exhibition at the L.A. Louvre Gallery in Venice, California suggests that unique brand of irreverence, as expressed by the ironic androgyny ofa human figure. Labeled "female" by the gallery, the piece stands apart, its richly colored curving bands evoking the pattem of I 3th Century religious manuscripts.

At

Two elements across the base, however, accentuate the exhibition theme. Resembling dismembered arrns, these are references to a unifying principle, the Trojan War, that marks most of the paintings. Garabedian

retells the whole of the Iliad in his own

phantasmagorical terms. Here the bloodshed, though graphically manifested in the form of decapitated heads and headless bodies spewing blood, makes the absurdity of war so strikingly evident that pain, the warrior ethic, fatalism and humor become aspects of one and the same thing.

Upon earning

figure scaled to occupy most ofthe canvas.

With her torso slanted diagonally and abdomen appearing to swirl, her limbs are manipulated like so many geometric elements to fit the square of the canvas. Yet the image is convincing, testifying to a highly focused esthetic. In 1978, Marcia Tucket, who earlY on had hailed Garabedian as "wonderfully perverse," included some of his works in

a

=

master's degree from

z

l

the University of

California, Garabedian joined with a group of

o

classmates to form the core ofthe highly

a

experimental Ceeje

o

o

Gallery (1961-1970) in Los Angeles. The work of these artists

consistently defied the mainstream and paid no heed to fashion or fad. Garabedian explored abstraction early in his career,

and like members of

L.A.'s "finish-fetish"

of the '60's, many of

them studio neighbors and pool-room cronies, worked with resins. In turning to the figure, he came to challenge the university's rig-

community

the exhibition "Bad Painting," when she opened New York's New Museum. The recent L.A. Louver exhibition reaffirms Garabedian's command of that "perversion." Supplanting the rules of academe with those

orous life-drawing discipline, twisting,

of his own resolve and renouncing literal-

flattening, disproportioning and otherwise reshaping the human form. If his compositions appear flaccid at first glance, the im-

ness and the preconceived to redefine beauty

pression is quickly dissipated by a subtext of sheer energy that informs his studied and ultimately graceful awkwardness. Seated Nude-Miss Fisher, dedicated to his junior-high school music teacher, is a standout among the smaller paintings, the

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992

with the imagery of his own vision,

he

invests his work with authenticity. And if anything can exceed that, it can only be the joy he finds in making it. Merle Schipper is an art critic based in Los Angeles.


Paul Sarkisian seum of

By MAG IIcGLOUD peaking of his childhood memories, Paul Sarkisian evokes something ofthe raw powerand conviction of origins. "Being Armenian does not make me paint the way I do," he says. "Still, when I think about it, if I were not Armenian, I wouldn't paint this way." In 1954, Sarkisian retumed to t os Angeles from military service at a propitious moment in the history of Califor-

Art.

More than adecade has lapsed, however, since the artist's lastexhibition ofnew works. Commenting on the hiatus, Sarkisian has referred to it as a sort of"enhenchment" vis

i vis the art establishment, a step back from his work to form a better perspective on his vision and career. During ttris period, Sarkisian devoted his energies to a variety of design projects. With his wife, Carol, he planned and consffucted a new home just north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they moved in 1984.

nia art. That year, the local art scene was bursting wittr young energy and talent, supported

Southern Califomia artist

This is perhaps most evident in the artist's figurative collages of the '80s, which signalled an altogether new level of virtuosity in collage-making. Sarkisian has so heighr ened the representative aspect ofthe collage that his drawn images are even more "realist" than the work of photorealist painters. The phenomenon was a major stylistic shift for Sarkisian, whose artistic evolution has seen consistently drastic leaps in the last two decades. Among his early obsessions were his bigger-thanlife-sized compositions of

the '60s, some as large as l0' x I l', where "pop" imagery was juxtaposed Id with portraits of artist friends, occasionally joined by nude

figures painted as

by a small but significant network of newly opened, alternative galleries. Sarkisian, who has studied at the Chicago Art Institute

Billy Al

Bengston has once said that "Paul Sarkisian's ideas were 20 years ahead ofthe rest ofus."

sensuous

Aphrodites. These delicately airbrushed,

allegorical canvases attracted immediate interest when they were first shown at the old

and the Chouinard in Pasadena, Califomia, would soon eam acclaim in L.A.'s avant

Pasadena Museum In his series of

in

1968.

four monu-

mental "fagade" paintings from

In 1955 he was invited by the now-famous garde circles.

the '70s, Sarkisian's relentless

curator, Walter Hopps, to par-

in the landmark

search for precise detail and surface texture came to fruition. At first scan the "fagades" ap-

show was highlighted as the

exact world in reflected light. And yet, that world is illusion, a mirage that strives to project it-

ticipate

"Venice Merry-Go-Round" exhibition. In a recent New Yorker profie ofHopps, the

pear photographic; they echo an

first important group exhibi-

self beyond appearance, beyond

"reality," even beyond the photographic surface.

Though still informed by some fundamental esthetic concems, Sarkisian's recent series of paintings marks aradical de-

parture from anything he has produced thus far. In his new, mammoth-scale paintings, the image has dissappeared, or the surface itself has become the image, a sort of "s[ucture," where the painter rediscovers

and reidentifies himself, exPaul Sarkisian

Untitled ffi, acrylic on canvas,79tte"a1g3", 1980

tion of a generation of emerging California

artists. Although the "Merry-Go-Round Show" hardly seemed historical to art audiences

of the time, its

greatness

lay in

the

prophetic nature of Hopps' selective "eye." Beside Sarkisian, the list of featured artists included Richard Diebenkom, Jay DeFeo, Craig Kauffman and Sonia Getchoff. Since those early years, Sarkisian's work has been exhibited extensively, and some of his paintings have been acquired by top private and public collectors, among them the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Mu78

In the following years, Sarkisian experimented with prints in a rented space in downtown SantaFe, where he had installed a large printing press. Here he began to produce a series of large-scale, brilliantly colored monoprints on paper, saturated with

intense painterly vitality and spatial dynamics. In these works, chromatic marks float above bright backgrounds, tense as electrons in a charged color field. Sarkisian

ploring new possibilities. On one level, Sarkisian's paintings may appear controlled, rational and intellectual, yet his work has always been rooted in the realm of the sensuous. Beyond the artist's exfaordinary command of technique, there is an air of inner secrecy, of emotions that are only partly glimpsed. It is this vitality of the sublime, therichmodulations of textured surfaces, that provide the context for the physical weight and integrity of form in the artist's latest compositions.

eventually fransferred the press and his work

into a Iarge studio he had designed near his home.

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER I 992

Mac hlcCloud ls a poet and ceramicist bascd in Los Angeles.


Shadow Roles

%i U

SOVI ET W OM EN : WALKING TH E

TIGHTROPE By Francine du PlessixGray.

Doubleday,NewYork 1989,213 pp,$19.95

By NORA DUDWICK acollection of essaYs based on interviews and observations made in trningrad, Moscow, Riga, Tbilisi, Tashkent, and kkutsk ov iet W omen,

in

1988, constitutes Francine du Plessix Gray's attemptto "decode the forceful spell" exercised over her since earliest childhood by the Russian mother, govemess, greatgrandmother and great-aunt who raised her. It was in them that she fust sensed the "searing energy, and iron discipline, a formidable

will to dominate" of Russian women-

qualities this collection explores and honors. The essays highlightthe tensions between

woman as producer and repoducer, and ironically confiast women's present plight with the emancipatory ideals of the l9l7 revolution. While over 90 percent of Soviet women were fully employed and comprised over half of the work force, the network of child care facilities and services have deteriorated sharply in recent decades. Women's bitter complaints against their "double burden" and the life- draining exhaustion they feel constitute one of the leiunotifs of the book. In addition totheirjobs, women alsobear primary responsibility for childcare. Yet despite the high official and cultural value placed on motherhood, Soviet gynecological services have been in an abysmal state.

Ironically, in the very country which pioneered the "painless childbirth" technique popularized abroad by [-amaze, Gray is pain-

funy sruck by the dismal and Bronze 22" "Flyingl'lvsquerode" Limited Edition of

7

depressing

matemity clinics. Despite the enormous conflicting pressures of work and family experienced by Soviet women, Gray is awed by their "keen sense of their patience, diligence, optimism, endurance, shrewdness, and

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self-esteem-a

self-esteem apparently heightened by the very arduousness of their everyday duties." As the Russian proverbclaims, "women can do everything; men can do the rest."

The obverse of the Powerful Soviet woman is the brooding, inEospective, passive Sovietmale, whom many womenregard as superfluous, or at best, decorative. Asked

what the average man does in the home' Gray's Riga acquaintances "dissolved into raucous laughter" and answered, amidst *he takes out the "hoots of derision," that 79


ARiltt{rA1{

Itlfvtst0l{ pRoDUoto]{s, tNc dog." For many Soviet women, primary ties

Ihe

of

familial love and obligation are between mother, child, and grandmother. Ametaphor of these self-contained "sovereign matriar-

chies" is provided by the brightly painted, nesting matrioshka dolls, "breaking apart at the stomach to spill outmany identical dolls, parthenogenetic females fitting snugly into the next, generation after generation."

Gray links women's self-esteem

and

men's passivity to the historic dominance of women-centered cults and the absence of male gods in early Slavic religion. The need to combat these woman-centered cults may account forthe harsh position toward women taken by the Russian Orthodox Church, and shed light on what a female theater dkector bitterly describes as the "oriental misogyny" ofRussian culture. A psychologist suggests to Gray that serfdom and the crushing of the

Ihe only independed vciery

progromhthwald

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1825 Decembrist Movement intensified men's sense of marginality, while women "kept right on ruling overtheirlittle domestic

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kingdoms, andnever sufferedan equal sense ofhelplessness." Soviet women are also trapped by these cultural stereotypes of female strength and

( {:.

heroic self-sacrifice. Many admit they use suffering to maintain their aura and status. Despite the fact that they enjoy far less

A"I.il. ARIhIillAil IH.EVIStoil ilEItToR!(

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"an ascetic zeal, the dedication to a new and better society," Elvira and Galina personify for Gray "all that the world's most heroic community of women might yet become." Unfortunately, Gray often equates Russian with Soviet, and her analysis of female strength draws exclusively on Russian and Slavic history, religion, and literature. Although she has travelled to Latvia, Georgia, and Uzbekistan, her greatest interest is clearly in Russian culture, and it is Russian women's voices which dominate. Weak men, "sovereigl matriarchies," and the wholehearted acceptance of single motherhood simply do not hold true for places like Cental Asia or the Transcaucasus. This caveataside, the conditions and attitudes Gray describes easily apply to Armenia. Like their sisters in Moscow, Tbilisi or

hkutsk, Armenian women are caught between their acceptance of women's primary

leisure and rest than men, they dismiss the

Los Angeles

possibility that men can change. As Tatyana Tolstaya,

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gifted Russiannovelist, tells Gray,

"Men need that extra rest, otherwise they would die far too young. Women are the roots, men are just the leaves."

Gray attributes women's surprising negativism toward Western feminism to their lack of exposure to anything but the most "outdated radical voices of the 1960s." She also notes a backlash in the state-controlled media against the "overemancipated, masculinized woman," now blamed for hooliganism, rising divorce, and the abandonment

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ofchildren. Soviet women and men have been inculcated, however, to accept the

immutability of female and male natures, and women increasingly look to domesticity as a retreat from an "equality" which allows them to perform heavy manual labor in addition to

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aseparate and

society constitutes a nascent form offeminist consciousness for Gray. Gray's warmest admiration is expressed for women such as Elvira Novikov, the feminist scholar, and Galina Petrovna, an enterprise director in Irkutsk, for their ability to transcend prevailing gender stereotypes. Gray portrays them as spiritual descendants ofthe selfless female revo-

lutionaries

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of Soviet

of the late

19th century who

dedicated themselves to the overthrow of czarism as well as to female independence. Combining "nurturing warmth, cheer, gentleness, selfl essness, stoic patience" with

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1992

responsibility for the family, and their desires for education and fulfilling work.It is to be hoped that their refieat from women's

crushing double burden and spurious "equality" doesn't trap them in

a suffocating social system their daughters will someday

resent.

Despite disturbing, often depressing aspect of womens' lives to which Gray introduces us, SovietWomenisapleasure to read. Gray's rich imagery and her evocation of "padded intimate interiors" redolent with the fragrance of dried apricots and steaming kasha, summon up, with wonderful immediacy, the sights, smells, tastes and sounds which form the world of the strong, articulate women whosevoices she so sympathetically records. Nora Dudwick is a treelance writer based in Philadelphia.


KITffEN ARI

ARIUIENIAN

Hand colored Armenian artwork for your kitchen. Slips into any 11 "x'l 4" f rame LcJoks great, separately or hanging in a set.

Vox Populi

-

l-^,"*"1 I .PHffi

A C elebrated Women' s C hoir from Yerevan Gears Upfor lts FirstTour of the US By KEVORK IMIRZIAN he ruling voices in Armenia today

may still belong to men-in politics, economy and the sciences. But in music, a group of 30 women has taken charge with a versatile, dynamic

and well-trained chorus that is bound to dominate the field for many years to come.

The group, known as the Yerevan Women's Choir, has already made its voice heard, beside eaming plaudits andcollecting

girls with him, he formed the nucleus of the present choir with the goal of expanding the range of Armenian choral music and bringing it intemational acclaim.

decade of hard work, Veranian ffained his ensemble of now 30 women to perform works ranging from fifth century Armenian sacred music to Westem classics and contemporary masterpieces.

Following

a

Once the group's reputation was established in the Soviet Union, it did not take Veranian long to take the choir to intemational competitions and claim top prizes in Italy, Spain,

Germany and France against world-class competition.

"The

choir benefitted tremendously from those trips," says Veranian, citing the invaluable

experience of

competing against

other

women's choirs

while

leaming

from each other.

"We made giant sffides after each

competition in termsofmaturing as a group as

well

prizes, throughout the former Soviet Union

the eve of its first American tour, the choir has set its sights on winning the hearts of audiences in the US The Yerevan Choir, which isthe only allwomen a cappella ensemble east of the Balkans and south of the Volga, is made up of professional singers as well as accomplished amateurs. Ranging in age from 19 to 35, some of the women have been with the group since its creation n 1976. The choir in fact traces its roots to what could be called its ancestor, the Belisko children's choir, which performed under the baton of its founder, Hovannes Veranian, starting n 1957 . After Veranian's death in 1973, his son, Artur, a budding choral conductor himself, assumed the directorship of the ensemble. But within three short years, after taking 13

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order. Perhaps the toughest challenge for the group was the task of providing a sense of

continuity amidstacultural environmentthat

in perpetual chaos. But as the walls of tyranny came tumbling down, new and unforeseen avenues seemed to be

opened up for the ensemble. Today the group can choose to perform a work by an American composer or include in its program an assortment of patriotic songs without having to worry about arguing their artistic or ideo-

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Prints are $20. each or sold in multiples of 5 for $75. Please circle each print desired and include ad with your order. Send all orders to;

ever, has not al-

the group had to struggle to maintain its course and then face the many challenges coming its way with the collapse of the old

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ways been a bed of roses---especially since 1988. As the country headed into one crisis after another,

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attaining success for Veranian and

and as far away as Westem Europe. Today, with anewly-released CD to its credit andon

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logical merits with a panel of capricious party functionaries. "To me the voices of these women symbolize the freedom of artistic expression in Armenia," says Ohannes Salibian, aBoston

AIM, AUGUST/SEPIEMBER

1992

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musicologist who recorded the choir in Yerevan two years ago and produced the group's new CD. "Vocal art is the heart and soul of Armenian music, and I found this choir getting as close to the authentic art as

fewotherscan." Indeed, Salibian was so impressed with the choir that he approached the Armenian Arts Alliance (AAA), aBoston-based organization that promotes cultural exchange between Armenia and the Diaspora, and persuaded them to extend the choir an invitation to tour the US. "They deserve to be heard by

audiences all overthe world," says Salibian, "because this is one group thathas been able

An Eclectic

Mix

Y e r evan W omen' s C hoir of Arme nia Artur V erani an, c onduct or M EG Rec ording s, C ambridge, M as s.

192,69 minutes: DDD

By IIIGHAEL H. ABSIIAGOUI{I

to mnscend the national boundaries and cross over into the intemational."

Veranian, who currently is in the US to conduct rcsearch and to explore new avenues for his ensemble, says the objective of the tour is to "present to audiences the

Arme-

nian vocal art in its purest form and to demonstrate where we have reached in ttrat art." Before departing for the US, Veranian entrusted the task of keeping the choir in shape to Lilit Simonian, one of the eight sopranos, who also doubles as an assistant conductor. The ensemble continued its rehearsals unintemtpted through the freezing daysof winter, oneoftheharshest inmemory and made worse by the fuel shortage caused by theAzeri blockade. During thosedays the

ndoubtedly, the prospect of hearing a new recording of familiar music, unfamiliar music by familiar composers, music of unknown composers, or music performed by unfamiliarforces would excite any reviewer. But to

expect. (Veranian's adaptation of Shnorhali pays homage to the l2th century style, but should not be confused for I 2th century music). With

their infectious rhythmic pulse and their varied use

tone color

Conductor Artur Veranlan have the combination of all

of these on one

recording affords the listener aunique musical experience. With this debut recording

fromthepromising YerevanWomen'sChoir of Armenia, we have just such an opportunity. While the eclectic selection of music makes it

difficult

songs of

Komitas which

open this recital bring out a sparkle and a sense of fun in the choir that is lacking in the rest of the works presented here. But they also betray a lack of concentration when singing the familiar pieces. In Hoy Nazan, for example, while the choir commands the virtuosity necessary to perform this piece, intonation problems at l'09" and 1'30" show an absence of total dedication to the music. Whlle Habrban has the req-

take his place at the podium.

82

of

Not unexpectedly, the six

folk

scores time and again until, as one of the singers remarked, "we can all sing it in our sleep." Simonian, for her part, says she will be only too happy to pass the baton back to the "maestro" when he retums in August to

duty." I

in

Petrosian's Abaran, the choir finds success with extroverted pieces as well.

self, drives the women hard, going over

affair. The Peninsula Women's Choirof San Francisco will host the group's stay in the Bay Area and underwrite the costs of the concert in Palo Alto. On ttre East Coast, World Music Inc. of Boston and the World Music Institute of New Yort have signed on as co-sponsors ofthe concerts in their cities. "Everything seems to be in place for a great tour," says an exuberant Veranian, 'And the singing part will be our pafriotic

joy to listen to in itself.

Indeed, with such a committed presentation, one hardly misses the sound of men's voices which the medieval world of the composer would

group would pack into the apartment of

The choir's three-week US tour, which open in Providence, Rhode Island, in mid-October, will not be a solely Armenian

choirs would ever attempt. The performances are consistently creditable and sometimes go beyond the limits of well-rehearsed competence to convey a real sense ofconviction. This is so in the dedicated singing ofNerses Shnorhali's serenely b,autiful Amcn Hayr Surb, where the blend and refinement of the choir is

a

Stepan Veranian, Artur's brother and the manager of the choir, to continue its work while all public buildings, including the Komitas Conservatory, remained closed. "The cold was no problem," says Stepan Veranian. "It was the uncertainty of the situation that made ourjob difficult." The choir shifted into high gear with the first blossoms of spring and upon receiving the official invitation from the organizing committee in Boston to tour the US in the fall. Theensemble now rehearses six times a week, and does it in larger quafters at the Conservatory. Simonian, who has proven to be as tough a taskmaster as Veranian him-

will

nificent music which is far too rarely heard. More than that, from the Mesrob Mashtots Voghormia Intz Asdvats of the fifth century, to the folk idiom of Komitas' Hoy Nazan,to the contemporary elements of Sidelnikov's Metamorphoses, this collection offers vital and absorbing works of entirely different kinds, the compositional range of which few

to place these

performances

in any one category, the variety in

these

compositions shows that there is much mag-

AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

1992

uisite rhythmic drive of an involved interpretation, a sour soprano note at the end shows a want oftotal involvement. Nevertheless, the choir performs these folk songs with all the obligatory aplomb. The sacred music which forms the middle section of this concert provides variable performances from a creditable Ekm alian Surb, SarD (emotional does not necessarily imply

slow) to a riveting rendition of Mashtots' Ognakan Enduneli.In spite of a shaky so-


prano entrance at 49", the Erkanian Orhnial Lines Du is a welcome inclu-

indeed. But the perennial pitfall of clear

sion.

unclear is its declamation that one cannot make out the text of Surb, Su rb. Our

text enunciation eludes this group. So

Clearly, the final three pieces of this recording command the most of the listener. With Sidelnikov's Metamorphoses, Mellnas' Aglepta, and the Haladjian S t abat M at e r,the choi pr ov es that it can overcome even the most demanding elements of contemporary and avant garde music. Its confidence in the ostinato techniques of Metamorphoses (a piece which this group pre-

knowledge of the text must carq/ us through. This works for some pieces, but in the Gabrieli madrigal, the text is entirely lost in performance. Unfortunately, not even the program tells us which of the dozens of Gabrieli madrigals this is. Four of the pieces on this disc were

recorded live

noticeably drier atmosphere than the live recordings. For some pieces, this is an advantage; for others, it is not. In spite of minorreservations about someof the performances, these are not sufficient to detract from the overall pleasure to be had from the recording, nor from its importance as a document in

sive interpretation even though at?' 39" its intonation is suspect. Haladjian wrotehis Stabat M ate r (at

19 minutes the longest work on this program) for the victims of the Armenian earthquake of 1988. The Yerevan Women's Choir gave the frst performance in lrninakan in January 1990. Its four movements (S tabat M ater, Quie st Est H omo, Eja Mater, and Quando Corpus) provide a variety that seems to bind all the other works together. The first and fourth movements utilize contemporary techniques; the second movementhas the rhythmic drive associated with folk music, and the tender nature of the third movement pays homage to the limpid

in Marktoberdorf, Ger-

many, the rest were recorded in Yerevan. Curiously, the studio recordings have a

miered in Moscow in January 1990) provides the foundation for a persua-

melodies of traditional Armenian music. At the end of the fourth movement, Haladjian effectively incorporates the spoken H ayr M er into the composition. The choir copes well with the intricacies of this work, although one would have wished for a more rounded and mellow sound from the sopranos in the

sound of the Armenian choral tradition. There

exist moments of indescribable beauty, and an overall atmosphere of genuine commitment penneates the entire recording. Michael H. Arshagouni, a Ph.d, candidate in historical musicology at UCIA, has studled at the Royal College ol Music, London, and holds an MFA in conducting.

EjaMater. On the whole, the choir sings very well

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The Juilliard Exchange

Jake-in.the.BOX

NEW YORK

LASVEGAS

Juilliard, the intemationally renowned school for the performing arts, has adopted

two musical talents from Armenia, violist Arsen Housepian, 22, and pianist

Tigran Nanian, 18. Dean

Bruce

MacCombie "dug around" in the Juilliard scholarship fund, "getting every penny" he could to provide them with a full scholarship. Why? A trip to Armenia last year inspired

auditions to the Juilliard board members, who were impressed enough to accept two of the students. MacCombie then started acampaign to establish the Fund for Armenian Exchange, to help foster a cultural alliance

Ever since he was a boy, Jake Simidian wanted to become a boxer, perhaps because

;o I

=

s z z

him.

"The musicians are wonderful," said the dean, who was a guest of the

Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan. "I was incredibly impressed with the high artistic level there." The stu-

he was bullied in his native Iran, and consequently had his share of street hghting. When he immigrated to America at age 17, exposure to TV fights and boxing magazines drew him into a world he could never completely leave. It was ironic then that he attended a Quaker school in New York where combat of any sort was unacceptable. But that did not stop him from reading boxing books and haunting the local gym where fighters trained. Jake learned enough to eam a boxing scholarship at Michigan State University, but the

boxing program was canceled before he

dents performed a concert composed

started. With that disappointment, and his

in tandem by MacCombie and the conservatory's dean, all via the fax machine. "It was absolutely stunning." The arrangement was the brainchild of New York pianist Lucy Ishkhanian, who initiated relations between her alma mater, Juilliard, and the Komitas. In Armenia, MacCombie watched many talented students perform, and presented videotaped

v

between students at Juilliard and musicians in Armenia-the first such structured program with aforeigncountry attemptedby the school. Housepian and Nanian will continue

their studies

at the

Juilliard this fall.

-Katherine

Chiljan

Healing Tsongas and Thyself Although former Senator Paul Tsongas he still has his health, due in large part to his personal physician, Dr. Tak Takvorian of the Dana Farber Cancer lnstitute in Massachusetts. Tsongas became his patient in 1986 when Takvorian was Clinical Director of the Bone Marrow

will not be president,

back." It took Takvorian six months to heal and completely recovered except for paralysis in his right hand, which remains to this

Transplant Team; he performed on Tsongas a then-experimental bone marrow transplant surgery for lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. Tsongas was the first cured cancer patient to run for president and used the recovery as a theme in his campaign. A controversy erupted about Takvorian's non-reportage of a recurrence of the disease eight months after treatment; he dismissed its importance as less significant since Tsongas has been in excellent health more than five years after the relapse was treated with radiation therapy. A graduate of Stanford Medical School, Takvorian has been on the Dana Farber staff for 15 years. A twist of fate reversed roles between he and Tsongas over a year ago when Takvorian took a bad fall and broke his neck

Simidian with boxer Mitch Green

in April

in six

places.

"I

was temporarily

5'll"

a

quadropeligic and wasn't necessarily expected to live; Tsongas was a great healer to me after my accident- his availability, his

coming to visit, his encouragement, advice and charisma in terms of lending a hand... a lot of what I used to say to him was echoing

parents' stress on education, Jake decided to stay out ofthe ring as a professional; but as a boxing aficionado, he has gone the limit. He eamed a master's degree in psychology and became a counselor. Jake was the sole counselor for 2,000 young inmates at New YorkCity's Riker's Island Penitentiary and taught them boxing techniques. He also has had the priviledge to spar with the best fighters, including George Chuvalo, former top-ranked heavyweight, A nimble 53-year-old, Jake still hits the bag, shadow boxes, and runs four times a week. At and 200 lbs, he remains a formidable figure. Now a high school coun-

day. "In my business I saw pain all the time and I liked to think I understood it, but it takes a whole new charge and life takes a greater

dimension after you face a life crisis."

-Katherine AIM, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

Chiljan

selor in Las Vegas, Nevada-prize fight capital of the world-he never misses a match. He has served as "glove man" (the person who certifies the regulated condition of the gloves, then retums them to the commissionerafterthe match) and acted as liason


for the yearly USAruSSR amateur boxing competitionsforseveral years. Healsotrains, most notably Mitch Green, who under Jake achieved a l6-0 record before losing to champ

Mike Tyson. Always on the lookout for talent, Jake works with young amateur heavyweights. "Boxing is like a chess game today, not just strength and speed; it is a mind game," he says. All of Jake's boxing attention has been

devoted

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to propelling his "last shot"-

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greatness 10 years ago when al 6' 2" and220 lbs. he KO'd 6'9" 300 lb. Wayne Corchoran during the second round of the USAAJSSR

amateur boxing exhibitions, Jake believes Khoren, a security guard in North Hollywood, Califomia, has all the natural skills to carry afighterto the top. As an amateur, Khoren was an Olympic runnerup, and champion in the USSR and Europe. To "be in the comer of an Armenian heavyweight champion of the world" is Jake's dream, but atage32,Khoren has only a few boxing years left. Until he finds an investor willing to take a chance on a longshot, Jake and Khoren's dream remains in neutral.

In the meantime, Jake enjoys working with his high school teenagers. "It is fulfilling, but not in the way boxing is fulfilling; counseling is giving to andfor others, whereas

boxing is apersonal indulgenc"i,

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85


TheVision Thing By SARKIS

SHltlAVOillAN

he sudden birth of Armenian democracy-essentially to fill a political vacuum-poses its own special questions of ultimate loyalty and national identity. This democracy did not devolve from some sort of institutional sovereignty; it was not wrested from a body of royal prerogatives; it did not derive from an ethical or religious sanction, or rear up from bloody popular, ethnic or class rebellions. Armenian democracy originated solely in the enervation and collapse of a government 2,000 miles to the north of it. Its precise character has formed in the coalescence of diverse, feudal elements-found in communities dispersed all over the world-with native patronage structures and nationalist movements. There is an immediate need to surmount stresses in Armenia between loyalty to patron and loyalty to nation. There is confusion over the extent to which Diaspora elements can or should exercise influence over national policy. Beside these, there is the tendency of Armenians to revisit in 1920, a national past which is not worth

revisit-

i'sl"uonr.,petrosian,svisionrorArme-

the fi.B33;,i1, t'::[.flSy i

nia seems in many ways locked in

Soviet Russia into a weak buffer state. This fictive 1925 Armenia would have been no Finland either. It would have been more like Iraqi Kurdistan. One could go on coining such counterfactual arguments but with

small yield. Politics admits of no such intimacy with all motives, impulses and effects that bear upon an event. Politics is the discourse of strangers and of anangements made with those to whom one is not intimately allied and with those whom one does ,4o, trust. Ter Petrosian and the present govemment, in their thin armor of independence, are working hard to fashion new political and economic ties wittr all of Armenia's neighbors. The means at hand are almost entirely diplomatic: visits, conferences, treaties. This policy, for all its surface civility, is actually bom of Armenia's military weakness and general isolation. The end result is yet more paper. The hard fact is that Armenia has no obvious allies. Armenians speak a wholly different language, use a wholly different script, have a wholly different ethnic origin and a wholly different modern history from any of theirneighbors. Modem Arme-

Trt" had fact is

that Afmgnia IUS nO obvious atlies. ffi:Xf continuationoftheformerArmenianinde- AfmenianS Speak a whollv differrent +:ld;ffi:lgl"l'i?,ii;[,,i,! l,",i:'fii: langUagc, USg a WhOlly "puzzte" of t920, still rryin;-this timetogetitright. diflefgnt SCfipt, haVg a Some years ago a popular scientitic ---r magazine ran a series of puzzres, aI the wholly differdnicthnic solitions to which had todo either with Ofigin and a WhOlly :lT'#11:T,ff,1[?i::i?:H'i:j;E'.1 jiffe;9nr -od?rl ii,,t history from any ;i iher spective which was ,"t

.

glance. The type

,,

.

"u,i*. ",vision of imaginative

llr;,ltffl

ifi#iy

fr.t:T,"1,'J,"ru-lH of this easy

much over the exact meaning

course wourd be bu,ding on the intemational legacy of the old Soviet

'hf,i'un.u.,ive

:Hiil;,-x*,ffl::'i#i":iif'l#i::

closer ties with Russia and Georgia ihan withArmenia'sotherregiona-l neighbors.It

H:,fl"ffir'.oif#t-::i#t*l.'ftti

i#li:

sibletoconsiderinlg2l.

,,"I!'"ii#ll

lf,:"U#ff#"ile

Arme.

llil,T'#il',,,illiJ:l'ut:if'#i","J"ii

Russia,althoughithasalwaysmaintaineda neighbOfs, requiredtosolvethesepuzzles-toexceed democratic political system. India is not implied bounds-would also enrich Arwell-disposed toward the Muslim states on menian political vision as it seeks ways to accommodate itself both to I its borders either. India too views with anxiety any growth either in independence and to national issues which involve the Diaspora. I pan-Turanic or pan-Islamic sentiment in formerly Soviet Central A hesitancy to overstep old bounds is certainly one of the most I Asia. baleful features inherited from the Soviet system, and one sees the bad I maia atso possesses a highly advanced technological base geared effectsintheday+o-daylifeofeveryex-Sovietrepublic.Inthissense I to export trade. Any research or licensing agreements between too,LevonTerPeffosian,forallhisurbanity,stillshowseffectsofthat I Armenia and India, any iurangements to finance, manufacture, or long isolation in his political vision. I market high-quality electronics would be of mutual benefit: such is Ter Petrosian himself has raised the parallel between 1920 and I the stuff too of potent political alliances. lgg2severaltimesinhisspeeches.HisargumentrunsthatifArmenia I MuchoftheintemationalclimatesupportedtodaybytheRussian inl920-whenitpossessedpaperbordersfarmoreextensivethanthe I govemment is to keep old, familiar ties intact while the intemal

actualonesoftoday-hadstruckadealwithTurkeyatatimewhen leconomydrifts.Thatway,iftheeconomydoessettledownandgrow, Turkey was ready to deal favorably with Armenia. its national I trade ties will still be in place.

nimble I Nevertheless, some novel initiatives are needed. A small, I nation like Armenia, seasoned in the Soviet orbit, can promote new wound up losing most of its historic lands and independence. I and creative economic and political ties, thus providing just the spur Yet the conclusion that can be drawn from the same evidence is I within Russia, too, for arrangements that could be ultimately favorthat l920couldneverhavebeendoneright. I abletoArmenia,

territorial aspirations would have been largely satisfied. Instead, Armenia insisted upon the paper borders of the Sevres treaty and

Levon Ter Peffosian engages in a dangerous enterprise called "counterfactual history." The president's "as-if'conclusion is that a flexible policy in 1920 would have goften good, permanent terms for Armenia from its neighbors, especially Turkey. An equally contraryto-fact conclusion is that any arangement made in 1920 would have endedby 1925 eitherthroughtheconquestof Armeniaby aresurgent, nationalist Turkey or through Armenia's conversion by Turkey and 86

By overstepping the implied bounds, by importing the unusual but doable ideas, the Armenian republic will inspire confidence in the new system, the democratic system, rather than the old system which depended on personal networks based on individual loyalties. SarklsShmavonlan, Ph.D., a rarebookdealer, received his advanced degrees ln hlstory wlth speclallzatlon in Armenian natlonallsm under the Busslan Emplre.

AIM, AUGUST/SEFIEMBER 1992


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Armenia: Building a Democracy - August/September 1992  

Armenian International Magazine | Armenia: Building a Democracy - August/September 1992

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