Page 1

NI

Kefiorian's lleulest Bold Uenture $100,000,000 lo Amenian BuslnessGs


Photolith

thre Arts iL(rt.flf lrt$ir.rtrt*'nr$;Ll lhrl hItt,l ltUIlIu't$ tht: l; :)t;{'['PliBl I t'l'ElQl I 51 11 1{} li.lrn i'i,r ii f Hl'lu' . -... ..rl_-,"^-

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r;tlltltrliruulr The ARVEST group in ossociotion

with

PHOTOLITH

proudly

presents

Mrnclnlrc>N

o book on

Vochog's pointings.

Memorlkon will be ovoiloble during Vochog's solo exhibit ot the Posodeno

ry

?,-lei-jP-L-l

l-1.-l

lt lc

2720 wesl burbonk bouleuord burbonk, colifornio 91505 tel BlB 846 4828 - fcrx BlB.846.4868 - modem 818.846.4893 http:www.phoiolith-inc.com

e-moil:ordosh@westworld.com

Art Spoce on Dec. 6 & 7il'', 1997. ,l55 Eost Holly Si. Posodeno, CA


Il

m lm rc

Armenia Flrnd EAF) was created

in

1992 to faeilitate humacitalian assistanee,to

Irrarabagh and Armenia through the united efforts ofArmenian communities through-

out the world. AAF is headquartered in Yerevan, Armenia with afffliate organizations in,22counffieswhere,significantArmeniancommunitiesqdsU Inaddifiontooutright f,ffi donations and specific project sponsorships, AAF strlves to insttll the concept of NaE re ***..il tional Giving by way of an annual conkibution liom every individual of Armenian ancestry. drmeda'Fund,lnc. isthCWosternuniteds#tesaftliateofaUArmeniaFund' Headquartered in Los Angeles, it enjoys the unprecedented support of the Armenlan coryrnunitiee it

-

JM

gm Iry

l_rc ** i*#fr;

serveJ and their organizations. Armenia Fund,inc. has no political agenda and it stresses the need for allfumenlans regardless

strongerandmore prosperousArmeniaand furabaglr. ' Armpnia FUnd,, Inc, works hand in harrd with the GovCrnmentq

oftheirbackground orotherafffliationstobuild

&fiEffisxfi$ft s

t.n t

a

of Armenia and Karabagh, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, and the Protestant eongregations worldwide.

last year, Armenia Fund, Inc. along with All Armenia Fund and armenia Fund,U$e.lnc. (the AAF s East Qoast,aflilii&;.headquartered in NewYork City) organized a major telethon. Broadcasl to 6 rrrlllion households in'the United States,, itdgoal *as to $Cnerate the necessary funds for the construction of the Goris.Stepanakerthigh*qy, the !|fellhe connecting Anne. nia and Irrarabagh. As a result of this joint effort, over $10 million was collected and the higfirway is

e m

e n

t

well on its way to becoming a reality.

Members of the Western US Executive Board are appointed by a Board of Trustees, and serve 2-year terms.

ffiffi% ffiq* rffiq .trffi

-

ffiffi

ffi

ffi

Ilt,lfft loli '97 l$ ol?cANlzllr ffiYARMANm rulJn, INC.. il\ COLt&l}fiK{fiON WffH ARM}INIA n,UND USA, nNC, The entire proceeds of this telethon will be used to rebuild the essential infrastructures of Karabagh. We needyour participation and support to rebuild schools,

homes an d hospitals, to make electricity and water available, build house

and

educate orphans of the

facilities to

war, and help the people of Artsakh meet the

challenges of daily life. List ol Participating 0rganizalion

ARIVIENIAN

AMERICAN CITIZENS

LEAGUE

WESIERN DIOCESE OFTHE ARMENIAN CHURCH OF NORTH

AB[IENIAN AIVIERICAN COUNCIL

AMERICA

AGING

WESTERN PRELACYOFTHE ARIVIENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH

AR|\ilENlAN AMERICAN MEDICAL

OF

ON

CALIFORNIA

SOCIETY OF

AMERICA ARIUENIAN ASSEMBTY OF AMERICA

EASTERN DIOCESE OFTHE ARMENIAN CHURCH OF NORTH AI\4ERICA

EASIERN PRELACY OF THE ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF AMERICA ARMENIAN EVANGELICAL UNION OF NORTH AIV]ERICA EXARCHATE FOR ARMENIAN CATHOLICS IN THE USA & CANADA

ARIlIENIAN BAR ASSOCIAIION

ARI\4ENIAN

ARMENIAN COUNCIL OFAMERICA

MOUSA LER ASSOCIATION

ARMENIAN SOCIEry OF LOS

HAIV]AVASBOURAGAN GENERAL ASSOCIAIION

NOR SEROUNT CULTURAL ASSOCIATION

HAYASTAN CULTURAL CENTER

ORGANIZATION OF ISTANBUL ARMENIANS

ANGELES (lranahai

ARNIENIAN STUDENTS ASSOCIATION, NEW YORIVNEW JERSEY CHAPTER

H

ARMEN IAN STUDENTS ASSOCIATIOT\, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAPTER

ARPA FOUNDATION FOR FILM, MUSIC & ARTS

DEMOCRAIIC LIBERAL

CHRISTIAN OUTREACH FOR ARIVENIANS COALITION FOR CHURCH UNITY

ARI\/IENIAN EDUCATIONAL

CONSIANTINOPLE SOCIETY

FOUNDATION

ABIUENIAN ENGINEERS AND SCIENTISTS OFAMERICA

ARI\4ENIAN

MISSIONARY

ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA ARIUENIAN NETWOBK

OF AIVIERICA

PAGE

TWO

ARIiIEN IAN RELIET

ESSAYAN GETRONAGAN ALUMNI EVEREG-FENESSE MESROBIANROUPINIAN EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY FRI ENDS 0F ARMENIA

(Hayrenik

Miutiun) FUND FOR CHILDREN'S HOMES OF

ARMENIA

ARMENIA FUND

liliutiun)

PARry

UNION

ANALYSIS AND RESEARCH POLICY FOR ARMENIA (ARPA)

GLENDALE ADULT CLUB

ABI/ENIAN DEMOCRATIC LEAGUE

ARI/ENIAN GENERAL EENEVOLENT

Alphabetical Listing

ARMENIAN PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY

UNCHAG IAN SOC IAL DEI\4OC RATIC

ORGANIZATION

PETAK

HYE DOON ARMEN IAN-AMERICAN SUPPORI & EDUCATIONAL CENTER

REFORM IVIOVEI\4ENT - ARF TEKEYAN CULTURAL ASSOCIATION

IRANIAN-ARMEN IAN SOCIEIY UNITED ARI/EN IAN COMPATRIOTIC IRAO-ARI\4ENIAN SOCIETY KESSAB EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LOS

ANGELES

KHARPERT COMPATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION KNIGHIS OF VARTAN

S0ClEry ( Armenian Aintabtzy Association, Gesaria Compatriotic Benevolent Association, Zeytoun Compatriotic Association of Calif ornia, Union of Marash Armenians. Union ol Hadjin Armenians, Union of ChorkMarzban Armenians, [Jnion of Beylan Armenians, Union of Kilis Armenians, Union of Yozgat Armenians)

LAND & CULTURE ORGANIZATION VAHAGN CULTURAL FOUNDATION I\/IEDICAL OUTREACH FOR ARMENIANS

IAN EDU CATI ONAL FOUNDATION IV]EKH ITAR

YEREVAN POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION


AI,I, ARMENIA

FUNI) PROJECTS -

RMENIA I*UND built and re-

built

B

highways, 10 water

mains, 4 power transmission lines and substations, 54 residential buildings, 24 pivatehouses, B

educational and

6

the Fund will indicate the strength and the unity of our nation which we have dreamt about through out our history..."

" The success of

LEVON TER PETROSSIAN Prcsident ofthe Republlc ofArmenia

health care facilities.

"fumenia Fund is the common ground by whlch the resources of the entire Armenian Nation worldwide can be harnessed to

rebuild and strengthen Karabagh." ROBERT f,OCHARIAN Hmc Mlnister of thc Rcpubllc of

ArEc[la md fotmet

Prc8ldent of

thc Rcpubuc off,uabagh.

" ...We invite you all, young or old, man or woman, rich or poor. to unite and to conlribute to the maximum of your capabilites, and to accomplish your goals with faith and love."

"l can certainly testifu to the

KAREKIN II

of Cilicia shall continue participating in this great

catholicos of All Armcrlug

enormous and commendable efforts of the Fund, which it so

meticulously carries out. Armenia Fund belongs to the entire Armenian Nation and restassured that the Holly See

endeavour."

ARAM I Cathollcos ofthe Grcst of Cllicla

uring the

its existence Arrnenia Fund has implemented S52,255, I 1 3 worth of projects in the Re5 years of

publics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.

Houe

"Armenia Fund raises funds to

implement projects of fundemental importance for nationbuilding. Moreover, the Fund is destined to become the

focal point around which all Armenians shall unite. GAGIT HARUTIUNIAN Chalmm of the Rcpubllc of Armclia Cotrstltutlonal Court

PAGE THREE

ARMET,ilA FUN0


T

L

H

'f

H

t

E

T

H

0

I

N

I

6

- families particin 1996, 10,000 pated in the telethon that is mak-

ing the

Goris-Stepanakert

Highway a reality. This year, on November 27, ThanksSiving Day, rebuilding and strengthening futaskh will be the focus of Arrnenia Fund's Teiethon '97. Let us show the world that Karabagh has the support of all Armenlans. The time is now - tomorrow may be too late!

T

Make this ciay of -

ith this issue ofAIM magazine,we have enclosed two pledge cards lbr'l'eiethon '97. By filling out a pledge card and mailing it today, you would

Iihilnksgivinga day of national giving.

be doing your share in nation building. Rettrer y*l, have ;r liienci or lamily mr:ntber liil onc r:ut tr;o! Karabagh has done its share, let us make sure we do our share. You can also call in your pledge anytime between now

and the day of the Telethon by calling 1-800"888 889?. ARMENIA FUND, INC,, AND ARMENIA FUND USA, INC.

l'elei,ision channeis that rvill r:arry thr: Arnrcnia Fund'l"ek:1.hon '97 in 3rour arca on Novemher 27,Thanksgiving Da3r. 8:30 ant 1-o I:00 prn {l'acilir: StanclarrJ'l'inrt:). Irlt:asr,: t:on1at:l your local t:ill:le prr"rvidcr to ensure that thcy {'ilrry thr: t.ck:t.ht;n in its cntirclv.

AHI'll,lATtl LISTIN(lS

of

CityCablevision(59)CalilorniaAlbany CenturyComAlaskaKodiak.Cablevision(41)AlabamaDaleville munications (45) Bakersfield. ACS (43) Banning lvedia 0ne (25) ChulaVista. Ultronics (36) Concord. . (64) (228) Davis TCI (1 5) Fresn0 l\iledia One (4) Garden Grove.Time Ponderosa Cable Cupertino TCI IntermediaPartners(48)l\4erced.TC|(32)[/odesto Warner(53)Hayward.TCI(51)Livingston,Riverbank Cable one (52) lvlountain View.TCl (57) oakland . fCl (23) 0range County. Pacllic Bell Diqital (14) Pacitica TCI (58) Rancho Cordoba Cable America (54) Richmond . TCI (48) Rollinq Hills Estates .Cox CableCommunications (12)Sacramento ComcastCablevision (24)SanJose.TCl (B22)San[,4ate0 TCI (54)SanPablo CenturyCommunications(45)SanRamon.PacificBellVideoServices(TBD)SantaClarita .StevensonRanchCable (47)SantaCruz,ScottsValley.TCl (70)SouthLakeTahoe.TCl (63)SouthSan Francisco TCI (55) StocKon Media One (34) Tracy. TCI (31) Union City Cable 0ne (60) Victorville EoothCommunications (48)Walnut.Joneslntercable (50)WestSacramento lntermediaPartners (58) Colorado Englewood Netlink-SMATV C0nnecticul Hartford.SNET (TB0) Florida Miami Adelphi Comm u n ications (33) Georgia Col um bus . Knowlogy Con necting Colu m bus (1 5, 63) G uam Tau ming . TV G uam (62) Honduras San Pedro Sula . lvlaya Cable lowa Dubuque .TCl (73) lllinois Addison, Glendale Heights . TimeWarnerCable (62)Carbondal€.TCl (57)Chicago WedgewoodCommunications (63)Elmhurst Media 0ne (26) Morton Grove . Media one (26) Plainfield Ameritech New l\/edia (56) Rolling ft/eadows . Mediaone (26)lndianaRichmond TCl (48)KentuckyBrandenburg.TCl (42)Danville,Stamford.TCl (59) Harrodsbu rg . TC I (59) Louisiana Baton Ro uge . TC I (68) Massachusetts Am herst . Media 0ne ( 1 6) Boston Cablevisions Systems (31A), C-TEC/RCN (TBD) Boston/Brookline. Ivledia 0ne (TBD) Brockton lvledia 0ne (48A) Cambridge . Media 0ne (24) Haverhill . Cablevisi0n Systems (31 A) Lawrence, Woburn Media one (42) Lowell . Media one (58) [Ialden Time Warner Cable (67) Needham Media One (98) ouincy.Media0ne (62) Springfield.t4ediaOne MarylandBaltimore.TCl (62) EllicouCity Comcast Cablevision (73) Largo (Prince George) . Jones lntercable (368) Rockville Cable TV lVlontgomery (3. 51 ) Salisbury.ComcastCablevrsion (32)MichiganAnnArbor.Media0ne (37) Battlecreek TCI (50) Brighton .MediaOne (53)EastLansing.TCl (56)Kalamazoo Educable (21)Livonia TimeWarnerCableRoyaloak ' TCl Warren . Ameritech New l\iledia (63) Westland, Southfield . l\/ledia 0ne (32) Minnesola Minneapolis . 4Com (Various), World Sate llite Network - SMATV (Various) M issouri Kirksville . Cable 0ne Nebraska 0maha

AHMTNIA FUNN

PACI f Ci,ir]

' Cox Cable Com m u n icatio ns (4) Nevada Las Vegas . Caesars Palace Beno. lC I (52) New Jersey East Windsor . Comcast Cablevision (82, 74) Ham ilton . TKR Cable ol Delaware Valley (73) Jersey City . Comcast Cablevisi0n (68) Princeton.RCN (498) NewMexicoPlacitas CableNewMexico (39) NewYotkBronx Cablevision Systems (59)Brooklyn Cellularvision (31)Brooklyn-Oueens(Flushing^Voodside) TimeWarnerCable (65)lvanhattan (ozoneParkTimeWarnerCable) (35),RCN (77)Nanuet WorldSatellitesNetworks (78)

RCN (38)Syracuse.AdelphiCommunications (69,7'1)Westchester,lvlamaroneck.TCl (6'1) lumbus . Time Warne r Cable (1 5,63) 0regon Po rtland . TC I (66), Ti m e Warner (22 ) Pennsylva nia

NewYork 0hio

Co

Bethlehem.ServiceElectric(76)Lewisberry.FlightSystemsN0rthampton

RCN(70)Philadelphia.Comcast

Cablevision(67),GreaterMedia,lnc.(68)Pittsburgh TCl (834,36)TennesseeClarksville.CharterCommunications (58)TexasBryan.TCAGroup (48)Dallas TCl (358)Garland TCl (44)Houston.BayArea Cable, Phonscope (50), Time Warner (42). Gerald L. Fields, Co.. World Cinema, 0ptel (52) . Killeen Time Warner (43) Plano .TCl (827) Richardson Southwestern Bell (49A) Utah Provo TCl (52), Satelllte l\4anagement Service (Vari0us) Prem . Provo Cable (28) Virginia Alexandria Jones lntercable (63) Blacksburg . Adelphi Communications (6) Fairfax Media General (46) l4clean .Central lntelligence Agency Reston Jones lntercable (77) Sterling, Loud0n BenchmarkCommunications (95) Virgin lslands St. Th0mas.Car ibbeanCommunicationsvENEzUELACaracas SuperCable WashingtonEverett.TCl (55)Seattle TCl (33) Seattle . S um m it Cablevision (4 1 ) Ft. Lewis . Department of Army/Fi n. Acct. Wisconsi n Fond d u Lac . l\4a rcus Cable Partners . (23B) La Crosse TCI (58)

ftese

Pages

ae sponsorod

UY:

ARI{EllUt FUt0, lilc., 50 N. La CiGnoga Blvd., Suite 203, Bevgrly Hills. Galltornia 9021'1, Tel: 310657.1.16{.800.880.8897.fr118fl4nfi01J8&ll*0r162[iadisooAy0n]e,6u1s80,&wlr06,]i9!r,.,, Yoil 1U)l0. Tel:21 2.689.0307.

OtS97Aanil,iafunO,lnc.A[RighhResfffsd.Coli€l]"Eavil0fSasoon'l*rt*'Assistt8yEadm#tiur.: Graphic oesign: Dicran

Y kssouny. Collsboration: Jsrilyn Jandeglan.


DEPARTMENTS: 08 Editor's Note 11 Letters to the Editor 12 Notebook 13 Bytes on File

14 Focus 50 Other People's Mail 52 Underexposed 54 Essay ARMENIAN SURVEY:

16

Cover Story

ln an unparalleled initiative, Kirk Kerkorian has donated $100,000,000 for business loans in Armenia.

Bob Dole and Jim Aljian planning to loan $100,000,OOO to businesses in Armenia

20 Armenia Fund Telethon The single largest fundraising effort

in

the

Diaspora kicks off again.

22

Exhibiting Good Judgment

in an to the US,

The Cenocide has finally been included

exhibit on Armenian immigration after some debate.

SOCIETY: 32 A Tale of Two Soldiers Beirut-Does this look like war?

Two soldiers from different wars, have different wounds and very different stories.

BOOKS: 24 Black Dog of Fate Peter Balakian's Black Dog of Fate confronts personal and collective history by mixing art with politics. A RT:

38

Albert Kodagolian Up-and-coming filmmaker has

Filmmaker Albert Kodagolian

under his belt and lots

two

movies

of plans.

40

Carved in Stone Armenia's little-tapped wealth of prehistoric art.

44

Art in Venice

The Venice Biennale is

Nations

the art world's United

and Olympics combined.

Armenia

shon e.

Art in

Venice

AIM(lSSN1050-3471),NovemberDecemberT99T,VolS,No4rpublishedmonthly,545peryear,byThetoudhMillennium Fax (818)2450088. Second Socieiy20TSouthBrandBoulevard,Slite203,Clendale,CA91204;Phone:lUg246-7979, ClasPo*agepaidatClendale CAandadditionalmailntoffces CanadaPortPubicationsMariProductSaesAgreementNo. O516457 O Copytilhl 1 996 by The Fo!dh Millennium Soclety. All rights reserved AiM may not be reproduced in any manner, eliher n whole or n pad, wiihout wiltten permrssion from the publ sher The ed tors are not responsib â‚Ź for ursol cited manu scr ptr or art unless a stamped, sell-addre$ed envelope is enclosed. Opinions expressed in signed adicles do not necessarily rep

resenlihâ‚ŹviewrofTheFoudhMillennrumSocrety Foradvedisingqueriescalltl-818-246-7979 Sublcriptionraterforl2issues AIM,PO Box3295,ManhattanBeach,CA90266,U.S.A. Us:$45,Foregn:$55.Postmasters:Sendaddresschangesto

Atl

07


Gslting to Norrr{al

THE

FOURTH MITTENNIUM

SOCIDIY A Not-for-Profit, Public Benefit Corporation

Normal is one of the most frequently used words in the Armenian language. Yes, Armenian. On the list of Russian words with Latin roots which have become daily fare in Armenia, the word which rates greatest usage is normal. How are you, with your husband unemployed and your English-speaking daughter

MICTIAEL NAHABET

stepping in as the family's breadwinner? "Norrmahl." How is work, now that you have

VARTAN OSKANI,\N

less to do and more time to do

it in? "Norrmahl." How do you feel about acceptance to

medical school, even though it's unclear what that means job-wise in five years? No surprise: "Norrmahl." So, it is only "normal" that in the same issue in which we cover the pioneering development initiative of industrialist-philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian (Cover Story, page 16), we also feature a special promotional supplement by the Armenia Fund (page 3-6) and an update on the Fund's work (Armenian Survey, page 20). As Lincy Foundation Chairman Jim Aljian noted during his two and a half day trip to Yerevan and Ejmiatsin in October, "there is something distressing about seeing so many people on the streets, midday." Clearly, that is not "normal". And the Kerkorian initiative to provide $100,000,000 in business loans through Armenian and European banks will go a long way towards creating jobs, injecting funds into a capital-starved society, and retuming people's lives to normalcy. Yet, no amount of individual or business enterprise will build a country's infrastructure. From sewers to schools, from bridges to irrigation systems, from highways to homes, only a government can plan and carry out the construction of a society's basic, indispensable, underlying framework. Without these fundamental facilities which serve the everyday transportation, communication and energy needs of people, no development or growth is possible. The Armenia Fund's mandate is to galvanize individual resources in the Diaspora-and Armenia-to build the essential underlying structures for the col-

lective good.

All this, of

course, while the blockade of Armenia's borders

is still in place,

and,

although there is no war in Karabakh, there is still no peace. Yet, Karabakh has elected a oil interests are stepping up their lobbying for a polir ical solution--any solution, so long as the oil can flow (Focus, p. l4).

new president, even as the world's

Through all this, AIM continues to look for its own solutions. The growing list of trustees, benefactors and donors is a promising indication of a stable 1998. This November-December issue marks the end of what has been. we think, the end of sporadic and irregular issues of AIM. With January, 1998, we plan to be on track and "normal". May 1998 bring peace and stability.

/r*r

DIRECTORS

RAF.FI ZINZAI,IA)-

ASSOCIATE TRUSTEES NEW YORK

I,OI'ISE \{ANOO(]IAN SINIONE AUSTRALIA

IIE,ROS

& KA'I'E, DII,ANCIIIAN CALIFORNIA

KHAC]]II(; BABAYAN FLORA & (;EOR(IE DtiNAIr\NS (;liORCll'l & (;Ri\CI', K,\'1. CANADA

RAZMIC; H,\KINIIAN

KOI

IIKIiN Si\IiKISSI,\\ HONC KONG

.IACK

It/\\tA\

FOUNDING

TRUSTEES

CALIFORNIA

G.\RI.]\,\\'EI)IKI,\N

\IIRIX)

KAPRII.]I,IT\ IlD\\ -\Rl) \ltssL.ltLl \\ BOI] \,to\,El_

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RO t

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A\

r* AFI

ABEI'

\ORAIR OSKANtA\

Ii\I\,IY

I)APAZIAN

Z,\RI.]I I S,\BKISSIi\N ITAI.'F'I ZINZAI,IAN AUSTRALIA

\.,\ROO.IAN ISKENDI.]RIAN FLORIDA

H,\(;0P K()I SH\K,II\\ PEN NSYLVAN IA

ZARoI-III \I \RDIKT-\\

I'OURTH MILI,INNIUM SOCIITY 207 South Brand Blvd. Suite 203 Clendale, CA 91204, USA Tel: 8'18 245 7979 Fax.818 245 OO88

O8 AIi

November/December1997


BINITACTORS AND PATRONS OI THI

FOURTH MILTBNNIUM SOCIBTY

THD

FOURTH

MILLENMUM SOCIETY A Non-Profit Corporation

Betrefactors and Patrons of the Forrrth \Iillerrniun'r Societv are corrrrrtitted to the well-beirrg" â‚Źirowlh and developrnent of Annenians anri -{.nnenia tlu'ough the pronrotiorr of open discussion and the free flow of inforrnatiorr arnong irtrlividuals antl organizations. Tlreir filancial cotttributiolts supporl the *'ork of the I'ourth \lillenrrirrrn Societv attcl ettsttre tlte irtdepettrlctrce of A[\'I.

l'orrnderl in 199i1. the 1'OT

RTII MIII,INNIUM SOCIITY

is arr artr

Bil\[FACT0RS ($5.000 to $10.000)

clraritv ('onrnritte(l to thc rli..r'rrrittirt iott of ittlirt tttatiort fol tltr' prrrpose ol' rk'r'elopirrs

't'l\lr\\ R \t.PH ,\\t) 51\ r.l\' lt I.E\KIA\ ,\RAXil,t \t. ItAROt

rrrr irrlirlrrrcrl prrlrlir'.

PATR0NS ($1.000 1o $5.000) AUSTRALIA

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ARMENIA: ARlll IND SA'l'E\lK ,\\',\KlA\ GERMANY: Rlljl"l Blll)tKl\\ CALIFORNIA: \'l'.R\'.\\l' ll,\(:{1'OR\',\\. l)IKRA)'l r\\l) STELL,\ I'lK}I,\\1,\\. ,\\'l'R,\\llr \ IR(;t\1,\ ZOR\.\\. I'At'L l l.\(lHI(llr\\. TA KOtll l't' llr\l)l)AD

1O AIM

NOVEMEER/DECEMBER1997

\\l)

TIIE TOURTH MIII,INNITM SOCIITY PO. Box 10793 Clendale, CA91209

fel

818 246 7979 Fax:

81

8 245 0088


Founded in 1990 FOUNDING EDITOR Vartan Oskanian FOUNDING PUBTISHER Michael Nahabet

ERRORS

Armenian lnternational Magazine

ON

FILE

While Dania Ohanian writes "Abbot Mekhitar and his followers continued to consider themselves part of the

207 South Brand Blvd. Suite 203 Glendale, CA 91204, USA Tel: 818 246 7979 Fax:818 246 0088 E-mail: aim4m@well.com

Armenian Apostolic Church." (Religion, March-April, 1997), she fails to mention

the fact that while he had originally joined the Armenian Apostolic priest-

Dania Ohanian PRODUCTION AND PHOTO MANAGER Parik Nazarian DESICN AND PRODUCTION The Central lmage Agency

INSIGHTFUL COMRADES

STAFF WRITER

The "Comrades in Arms" Cover Story (May-June 97) was probably the

Harry Enfijian EDITORIAT ASSISTANT Raimond Der Avanessian INTERNS Karine Avedissian, Sonig Krikorian

YEREVAN BUREAU

most engrossing and insightful piece of journalism that AIM has published in a long time. The political and military activism of the 1970's and 1980's was

and cultural traditions," but the author omits the fact that through his intellectual pursuits he maintained his orthodoxy to Roman Catholic doctrine and his order was officially recognized by the Vatican

truly an important era in the

in

develop-

ment of contemportary Armenian identity, both in the Diaspora and in Armenia. To revisit the lives of these two men, Alec Yenikomshian and Antranig Boghosian, who acted on their convictions and helped shape that identity, was truly rewarding reading. Furthermore, the views they expressed regarding the current political and social situation in Armenia were the most insightful and objective I've read in

COORDINATOR Gohar Sahakian DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Vahan Stepanian

Donald Flumerfelt ADVERTISING

Raffi Ohanian, Meline Ounjian CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

a long time. If Alec Yenikomshian is

Sylva Dakessian, Tony Halpin, Sarkis Shmavonian, Ronald Crigor Suny,

indeed covering the local situation in Armenia for Diaspora press, I would hope that AIM publishes his commen-

livan Tabibian, Hratch Tchilingirian, Taline Voskeritchian CONTRIBUTORS Artashes Emin, Yerevan; Susan Pattie, London; Ara Chouljian, John Hughes,

I

am confident that most, if not all, AIM readers will unite with me in conveying sincere best wishes to these two

tary.

Janet Samuelian, Hrag Varjabedian, Los Angeles; Mark Mdkasian, Rhode lsland; George Eournoutiar, Lola Koundakjian, New York; Moorad Mooradian, Washin$on, DC; Vartan Matiossian, Buenos Aires

Hrant Gadarigian Bronx, New York

Aline Manoukian, Armineh Johannes, Paris; Edmond Terakopian, London; Karjne Armen, Kevork Djansezian, Raffi Ekmekji, Erjc Nazarian, Los Angeles; Garo Lachinian, Maryland; Ardem Aslanian, New Jersey; Harry Koundakjian, New York; Berge Ara Zobian, Rhode lsland

NO MORE FORGETTING

EDITOR EMERITUS

Charles Nazarian

This week my household received

EDITORIAL CONSULTANT

its first copy of AIM. I think I had

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WRITE TO AIM! We welcome all communjcation. Although we read all letters and submissions, we are unable to acknowledge everything we receive due to limited staffing and resources. Letters to the Editor may be edited for publication.

1712. The February 1997 issue of

AGBU

News Magazine, headlined "Armenians in Italy," has [an article] about the Mekhitarist Congregation, presented without the denominational bias implied

in

Ohanian's article and commonly

found in the Armenian press. William Simonian Whittier, California

According

to the

Mekhitarian

Educational Institute, Abbot Mekhitar was ordained a celibate priest in 1696, within the Armenian Apostolic Church.

He founded his new order in Constantinople in 1700, u,ithin the Annenian Church, but in an effort not unlike those of other church leaders, to

reach out to other branches of

men-

PHOTOGRAPHERS Mkhitar Khachahian, Zaven Khachikian, Rouben Mangasarian, Yerevan;

hood, it wasn't until after he converted to Catholicism in 1695 that he founded his new order in Constantinople in 1701. It is true that Abbot Mekhitar and his followers had a "special mission...to study and perpetuate Armenian religious

already shed a tear or two by the time I made it to the fourth page! Living in a country like Australia

can make

it

very easy

to

Christendom. Following harassment by

his followers left Constantinople and lived on the Peloponnesian Island of Morea, under Venetian rule, for over a decade. From there, he fled to Venice, and the monastit order, which took his name the Armenian church, Mekhitar and

after

his death, was recognized by the Vatican ecclesiastical authoriry in 1712. The

Editor

forget the

strength and unity which lies in our people.

Your magazine has helped me realize tbat we aren't a dying race about

Re: Bytes on File, March-April, 1997: The Uruguayan Diocese has always been under the auspices of

which many people are ignorant, but that

Ejmiatsin, first as a South American pon-

we are making things happen and that

tifical representation, and since 1984, with its own Primate, Bishop Hagop

there is hope for Armenians both in and out of Armenia.

Kellinjian.

Natasha Tchekmeyan

Vartan Matiossian

Melbourne, Australia

Buenos Aires, Argentina At/l

'tl


He came, he saw, and he almost conquered. Sargis Sargsian, 24, a rising tennis star from Armenia, recently participated in this year's US Open tennis tournament, where he lost to the more experienced Michael Chang. Sargsian last played at the US Open

in 1995 when, as a student at Arlzona State University, he was deemed the top men's collegiate player for that year. Sargsian has also been making significant progress in professional tennis standings since last year, when he ranked

218 (AlM March 1996). This year, he is rankedT2 in the world, and his coaches and fans are looking forward to seeing that number climb.

ln addition to playing in the

US

Open, last July Sargsian placed first at the Newport Hall of Fame in Rhode lsland.

Mother Theresa born in Albania in '191O, died in lndia this September, but her Sisters of Charity continue to work to alleviate the suffering of the world's poor and disadvantaged. No less in Armenia, where the Sisters (top photo) arrived in 1988, soon after the Spitak earthquake. And they stayed. Seven members of the order (there are over 4,000 worldwide in 120 countries) are still in Spitak caring for

disabled children. The nuns--from Poland, lndia and Africa--run a residential

facility for boys and girls, based in the northern Armenian city's " ltalian district. " They are basically self-sufficient, says the

mayor, except for occasional requests of city government for help with transportation and similar assistance. The 50 children of all ages who are served by the sisters suffer from various developmental and physical disabilities.

city's

12

A I /t,l


al4 *'Lli W.bo,.6 ee @.d

lrerbst

r6oh

- . e." or

@, :]@ . 1ot rcr.

@

,ou

or eren ! r..rh

Pr..- n-ti.rra i" tu a.,.r.piq.r ror 6!.t .^r t* @.nr .dd or jd r* ff-r d +n u.n@

iilo or 11il

Percentage of the US budget allocated for foreign aid, according to most Americans: 18

Actual percentage of US budget set aside for foreign aid: ,005

@

ffiffiI

Total US budget in 1997: s1,622,OOO,OOO,O00

Amount of US foreign aid to Armenia in 1997: $111,200,O0O

Hye Toon - Home Page of Armenia by Houssik Hovhannisyan and Levon Shakhbaguyan

NAME:

WHERE YOU'LL FIND lT: http://www.euroway.com/hyetoon

WHAT

15 lT? A vast amount of material is presented on Armenian history, culture and all other Armenia-related topics, such as religion, education, politics, business, travel, organizations, entetainment, sports, recipes, etc.

Maintains the only authorized archive of GROONC postings.

UPS!DE: Excellent web site organization, excellent links, latest news and direct chat site.

Number of operational nuclear power plants in Armenia: 1 Number of operational nuclear power plants in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Ceorgia:

O

Number of Armenian-Americans who served during World War ll: 15,0OO Number of Armenian-American women in the USO, entertaining US troops overseas: 1

DOWNSIDET There are no new content additions. Percentage points by which non-native, English speaking students in the Glendale, California schools outperformed native, English-only students on the language section of the state's basic skills test: 3

On the math section: 8 Percentage of Clendale's non-native, English speaking students who are of

Armenian descent: 43% The Armenian Apostolic St. Sarkis Church of London was packed on September 7 as mourners gathered in a service for the remembrance of the soul of Diana, Princess of Wales, who had died in a car accident in Paris just a week earlier.

Levon Topouzian,

a

Chicago-based orthopedic surgeon who dabbles in genealogy and Armenian Studies traced Diana's maternal roots to an early 19th century Armenian from lndia, Eliza Kewark, "She married the Scottish merchant Theodore Forbes and was sometimes referred to as Mrs. Forbesian. Their daughter Kathleen Scott Forbes married James Crombie from Aberdeen. They had a daughter, Jane, who married David Littlejohn and their daughter Ruth married William Gill. Ruth Sylvia Cill, the grandmother of Lady Diana Spencer, married Lord Fermoy and their daughter, Frances Burke Roach mar-

father." The Princess's exceptional universal appeal and popularity is due to the combination of Celtic and Armenian genes, according to Topouzian. ried the 8th Earl of Spencer, who was Lady Diana's

Number of dead in sectarian strife in Northern lreland, in 3O years: 3,2OO Number of dead as a result of Basque uprising in Spain, in 30 years: 8OO Number of dead in Turkey as a result of the Kurdish civil war: 26,000 Duration of the Kurdish civil war in Turkey:

13 yearc LA Times, US Congress, Glendale Unified School Distrid and Alory: Armenian World Wat Herces, lnternational Atomic Energy Agen6/, The Manchester Cuardian

Richard Demi4ian's Personalities, Tilumph

November/December

1997 Al lt

13

ll


What's the toughest job in the world?

One could say

it is being president of Karabakh-

under any circumstances, let alone following in the footsteps of the much-respected Robert Kocharian. Newly elected president Arkady Ghukasian's job is also difficult because he is in a seemingly odd partnership with the president of Armenia whose job might be, just might be, even harder. The president of Karabakh is, on the one hand, dependent on the president of Armenia for legitimacy, for basic assistance of all kinds, and for diplomatic-and physical-access to the rest of the world. On the other hand, the two presidents are clearly on an equal footing when it comes to considering the interest and security of their people and arriving at corresponding policy decisions-and there is always the possibility that those policy decisions won't be the same ones. In that case, Armenia is very much at Karabakh's mercy because the fate of what is inextricably linked to the fate of the other. That the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal ar,d Le Monde all reported the new president's election says much about the fact that the western world is watching very closely all that goes on in Armenia and Karabakh. That 85 percent of the people of Karabakh voted and 89.5 percent of the voters chose Ghukasian says much about the resolve of the people of Karabakh. They have much to be resolute about. Their security interests must be clearly understood and supported by the same international community with economic interests in

Azerbaijan. After all, Gaidar Aliyev was in Washington DC in early August, just one month before Ghukasian's election, signing agreements between four major US oil companies and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan. The White House was, significantly, the venue of the signing ceremony. by Salpi Haroutinian Ghazarian

14

A I /ln November/December 1997


November/December

'1997 A Ll

'l 5


cover storv United Armenian Fund, an organization which has brought some $30 million in humanitarian and medical aid to Armenia in less than l0 years. In addition, Kerkorian and the Lincy Foundation double-matched all the money raised by Armenian communities around the world to provide Armenia with heating fuel during the second blockaded winter of 1993-94. A total of $21 million was collected of which $14 million came from Kerkorian. The Lincy Foundation also matched every dollar donated during last

year's Armenia Fund telethon, broadcast from Los Angeles, with the purpose of raising funds to construct the highway linking

Armenia

to

Karabakh (see page 20).

Kerkorian's foundation matched the nearly $4.5 million collected from individual pledges.

Although the amounts in question exceed the sizes ofdonations made by indi-

viduals and organizations

in

various

Armenian communities throughout

the

world, the nature of Kerkorian's gifts is consistent with traditional philanthropy-helping the poor, the vulnerable, the cold, the ill.

But this new venture, announced in September 1997, is in a category all its own. Donating money-a lot of money-so that low-interest loans can be available to small and medium-sized businesses in a cash-poor

society

in

a grand

idea. According to Bagrat Asatrian,

a transitional economy,

is-well,

director

of Armenia's Central Bank,

million

is five

$100

times the total capital of Armenia's banks. At the same time, it is equal to half of all assets throughout Armenia's banking system. It goes without saying that this is the largest single investment in Armenia's economy. All other loans by international finan-

Ila

Bol d

Ne

cial institutions work through government agencies to provide the financing necessary for institutional development and building infrastructure. No one has worked directly

le

with the private entrepreneur on such a large

$100,000,000 lo Amcnian Businesses The biggest single move to boost Armenia's economy was announced by the Kirk Kerkorian had initiated a one hundred million dollar entrepreneurial enterprise lendshortest press release. US businessman

ing fund to originate from the

Tracinda Corporation and the Lincy Foundation, to provide short and long term loans to small

businesses and private enterprises in Armenia.

Named

for Kerkorian's

daughters Tracy and Linda, the Tracinda Corporation is the entity through which Kerkorian operates his myriad business interests, including

16 AIil

scale.

An

MGM Grand and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. and 13.75 percent of Chrysler. The Lincy Foundation (again, a play on the daughters'names) is the 8O-year-old philan-

thropist's non-profit charity through which he disperses millions of dollars of earnings to various charitable and educational causes throughout the state of Nevada (where Kerkorian and his holdings are based), the US and now the world.

undertaking

of this

magnitude

requires managers with corresponding clout. Enter Bob Dole. "Mr. Kerkorian asked me to

get involved in administering this fund because he knows of my commitment to Armenia and Armenian causes," explained former US Senator Dole, in a telephone interview with AIM, prior to his departure to Yerevan. After leaving the Senate and losing to Bill Clinton in last year's presidential race, the 27-year senator from Kansas joined the Washington DC law firm of Verner,

Actually, not the whole world. Just Armenia. Helping Armenia is not new to

Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and

Kerkorian. Since the 1988 earthquake, he

star

has consistently donated money

to

the

Hand.

Considered the star at his firm, he is also the

of this show. If Kerkorian is the initiator of this


TT

respondino to questions from the press.

bold, complex yet essential enterprise, and Dole is the name which lends visibility,

everyone felt. No one doubted the real need, timeliness and wisdom of such a move.

credibility and know-how, Jim Aljian

Everyone had questions about how it would work. Everyone. Including Jim Aljian. Prior to his departure, Aljian told AIM, "there are many, many questions that will have to be answered. We anticipate that we will have a European bank overseeing an Armenian bank processing loan applications and distributing loan funds accordingly. But it still is not clear who will be the actual owner of the loans-the local bank or us." Then, there is the matter of which

is

clearly the project's linchpin. Aljian, 65, has been with Kerkorian

for decades. The Certified Public Accountant who is Chairman of the Lincy Foundation is acknowledged as the low-key, straight-shooting decision-maker in much of Kerkorian's charitable activities. Straight-shooting and decision-making skills are certainly called for here. There are no precedents to study, no groundwork

to follow. Investing $100 million in Armenia's slowly-growing economy can wreak much havoc if not properly done.

That was why a two and a half day

local bank---one local bank or Robert Kocharian, various ministers and government dignitaries, as well as Peter

blitz was organized in mid-October for

Tomsen, the US Ambassador to Armenia.

Dole, Aljian, his wife Marjorie, and a coterie of specialists, including Dole's press secretary Joyce Campbell, an aide and two attorneys from Dole's law firm. Also accompa-

'"The amount and quality of support and interest by the Armenian government has been tremendous," noted Aljian upon their return. Prime Minister Robert Kocharian greeted the delegation at the airport. Minister of Trade and Industry Gamik Nanagulian opened doors and facilitated the entire two and a half day stay of this highlevel delegation. "The Parliament, members

nying the group were

Armenia's

Ambassador to the US Rouben Shugarian, United Armenia Fund Executive Director Harut Sassounian and Professor Alice

Kelikian.

The private jet carrying the group in Frankfurt, Gerrnany, to confer with a German bank about the possibility of stopped

their overseeing local Armenian banks in the administering of the loans. They arrived in Armenia at 2:20 p.m. on Monday, October

13 and were greeted by Prime Minister

of govemment----everyone was enthralled at the overall plan and scope of this project. Everyone's attitude was, 'How can we

help?' There were no obstacles." The size and make-up of the welcom-

ing committee and the visiting delegation simply underscored the sense of urgency

several?

Kerkorian's overriding intention, and what Aljian uses as a constant standard, isjob creation through low interest business loans. Armenian banks currently charge around five percent interest per month, and loans are

for short terms.

"If you want to open a hotel," explains Aljian, "a short-term loan is quite useless. On the other hand, for a factory needing a bridge loan for inventory one year is quite long enough. We will be looking at where the greatest need is, and where people have a real handle on developing business plans and management." During their Yerevan visit, the group visited the Garun textile factory, where

Aljian says, "We were very

impressed.

Outside contractors provide supplies and

handle shipping. Gohar Yenovkian, the alt

,t7


director, provides the labor, using highly computerized equipment to draw patterns and cut as much as 100 pieces of cloth at a time, all in a plant that is as modern as any

roll over

plant anywhere. This was very encourag-

no plans to open a Yerevan office specifically for this project. Instead, he foresees that the European bank will handle the local administration. Prior to his departure, Dole stressed

ing." Yenovkian herself is excited about the

possibilities for expansion with such a loan. Her current staff of 400 can grow and she can serve many more clients with increased capital.

As Bob Dole noted during their visit, Garun should also be able to manufacture its own lines. Yenovkian is thinking along the same lines. "I already have some samples, and the first thing is to find appropriate markets either in Moscow, or in the West. But without the opportunities that this Kerkorian program makes possible, I will not be able to expand sufficiently to become a manufacturer and exporter. With an extra half million dollars, I will be able to increase the number of workers, and do my own manufacturing, rather than simply remaining a contractor."

A half million dollars to

one enter-

consistently. Beyond some unavoidable bad debts, and some fees to be paid to the banks involved, there should be no expenses, really." Aljian says there are

that this "first trip is a preliminary sort of thing, a chance to get acquainted, meet with the people, visit the unemployed, see some small businesses, go to the hospitals." And they did. In two days, they visited various facilities from an orphanage to an electronics factory, with lots and lots of meetings in between. Twenty-two to be exact. They met with Armenian and US businessmen, with officials from the Prime Minister to parliamentarians working on developing legislation, to the people in the

thought there would be some selective lending already in place in Armenia. Nor much, but some. But, we were told that really, less than one percent of a1l loans are for a period longer than six months. As a result, there is no experiential base from which to evaluate long-term loan requests. " Aljian and Dole are both convinced that this problem can be easily overcome.

"We would like locals

to make as many

streets.

Actually, the people on the streets came first. As soon as they arrived in the city, Dole, the consummate politician, seeing that he had one hour with nothing scheduled, decided to take to the streets and "meet the people." He did. First they smiled, gripped his hand, and then they told hint

their problems. "The country needs a lot," stressed Dole on his return. "Lots of things need to be done." At the same time, Dole, who had visited Armenia in 1989 with his wif'e. Elizabeth, noted the changes. "People are making money, making pizzas, cars. There are nice looking shops." Yet,

it

was quickly clear to everyone

that the infrastructure necessary to process and provide loans is not there. There is not enough knowledge about the process of planning growth and appropriate spending. Over time, a positive and necessary byproduct of such a large infusion of capital will doubtless be the development

of

support

industries-from consulting and business plan development to loan appraisal and review. The first thing that has to be done on the Armenian side, however, is legislation Dole, who was a crusader on the issue of genocide recognition during his years in the US Senate, and Allian placed

a wreath at the Genocide Memorial. Aliian, whose lather left Diarbekir, Turkey, in the 1890's, after the first wave ol massacres, noted "l am happy to be here, and know how much my lather would have wanled to see this day."

prise?

Aljian is not necessarily averse to the

idea. "It's all possible. Of course

it

all depends on appropriate business plans. This is a new endeavor, there are no precedents to

follow. The ideal situation would be that borrowers would borrow funds, repay them with nominal interest. and the funds would

'18

A

Llll

November/December 1997

development. "There is currently no civil code," notes Aljian, with some concem. "There is no code on lending, on collaterals,

on bankruptcies. In other words, commercial operations are not codified, and there are no means to remedy a situation. Therefore, the European bank that will oversee the entire mechanism will have to go in, set up the procedures, work with various organizations and find the necessary solutions to satisfy the bankers, who are concerned about our low-interest loans. "Unfortunately," continues Aljian, "I

Dole and Dr. Alice Kelikian, the daughter of orthopedic sur-

geon Hampar Kelikian, who had operated on Dole after World War ll, and had won the senator's undying respect, planted a tree in Kelikian's memory.

decisions as possible. And we believe we can be up and rolling quickly. " Perhaps in two or three months. First, said Dole, "We are waiting fbr the European bank to give us a proposal on how to proceed."

And. as Aljian said to a reporter in Yerevan, "We have to get the US Intemal Revenue Service regulations cleared up. No American entity can give money to a foreign

entity and consider

it a tax deduction.

Theretbre. the foundation can receive permission to do this only if we ensure that it is for charitable purposes. After all, we have no intention of bringing this money back. It is for the good of entrepreneurship in Armenia."

Lincy

has, in the past, donated money

for loans. "The Eurasia Fund is doing a lot

of lending,

and Lincy has given them


$250,000. And we are funding a program

through the American Red Cross (whose president is Dole's wife, Elizabeth) to build housing there. These houses are built by what is called "sweat equity". We have provided a loan of $5 million to build houses for people who agree to work on the construction of the houses themselves."

met with Dole and others in the delegation insisted that they should "open their own bank. Armenian bzrnks are controlled by the

mafia." Armenian banks quickly announced necessary. with the Kerkorian program.

California Armenian community, who was

in Armenia during the Dole-Aljian trip,

Our bank alone has 46 branches--40 in

recounts a typical story. "The son ofa friend was talking about how he needed money to continue to work, and suggested to him that he apply for a loan under this new pro-

Armenia and six in Karabakh. We are currently handling a one million dollar loan from the World Bank. It is only the non-professionals who think Armenian banks can't handle srich funds. We can and must work

venture will have to overcome is cynicism. Savey Tufenkian, an active member of the

I

gram. He waved me away, and said-I don't know anyone on the inside, no one will give me a loan. " This, coupled with the rampant distrust of those in positions of authority, means that it will take time until those who apply for a loan, and are turned down, realize that it was their methodology that was the problem, and not the underhanded interests of the person on the other side of the desk.

And then, of course, there are

the

interests of the person on the other side of the desk. Members of the opposition who

ernment which then selects a bank.

"But more important," Haroyan con-

their readiness to work, in whatever ways

Arzik Suvarian, deputy chairman of the board of Armagrobank, said, "I believe that such a program cannot be implemented without the participation of a local bank. That would clearly be counterproductive.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle that this

government is completely excluded as intermediary. The loans are given directly to the individual business. unlike World Bank and other loans which are provided to the gov-

with such large amounts. Armenia's economy needs one billion dollars for industrial development." Suvarian and Armimpexbank's vicepresident, Gevorg Haroyan, agreed that the infusion of such a large amount of money will necessarily lower everyone's interest rates. "Currently, our own resources are very expensive, and so our loans are no lower than 3.5 to 4.5 percent per month." In addition, Haroyan noted, "I would like to stress the great advantage of this loan compared to other programs. One is that the

tinues, "the interest generated by these loans will remain in the republic." The advantages are obvious to everyone. The problems, as well. Tigran Jrpashian of the Sed Marsed Investment firm, based in

Yerevan, noted apprehensively, "If this program fails, we can be sure that no other serious investor will come close to Armenia for 10 years."

But Aljian is optimistic. "We have to work through the local banks. They will be responsible for putting together packages to present to our people there to review. Then they will be advanced the money to loan out. To help Armenia's economy, we have to do

two things: help entrepreneurs and help banks."

Everyone is counting on the knowhow, commitment and savvy of these successful practitioners of American enterprise

to make a $100 million difference in Armenia's development.

by Hakob Asatrian and

Salpi Haroutinian Ghazarian STATEMENT

OF OWNERSHIP, MANACEMENT AND by 39 USC 3685) 1.

CIRCULATION (Required

Title: AIM (Armenian lnternational Magazine)2. Publication No. 1050-3471 3. Filing Date: September 20, 1997 4. lssue Frequency: Monthly 5. No. of issues published annually: 10 issues 6. Annual Subscription Price: $45 US & Canada, $55 Europe,

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Publication Name: AIM 14. lssue Date for Circulation Dite Below: May-lune 97 15. Extenl and Nature of Circulation A. Total No. Copies (Net Press Run): 13,000 Averate No. Copies Each lssue During Preceding 12 Months: 10,000 Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors and Counter Sales: None B. Paid and/or requested Mail Subscriptions:5,600 C. Total Paid or

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It is now possible to arrange for fast, safe, dependable money transfers from the US to Armenia, and lrom Armenia to the US. Transfers to Armenia can be arranged through any bank in the US. All that is required is the name,

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Ihe cost? Unbelieuably low. lnecobank Gharges a low 1%. Fol transfers ouer $10,000, the charge is only 0.5%.

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Please, translar

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To:

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any)

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November/December

1997

Al

rl

19


armenian

SUTVCV essary to maintain a country's basic system of services. Add

fourth of the country's industri-

Economist, the Goris-Stepanakert Highway is refened to by international journalists as the single most obvious example of the potential of the Armenian Diaspora. "Last year's telethon was our first one, and we were fortunate to have matching funds from the Lincy Foundation, and some major contributions from individual donors. However, our major accomplishment was bringing in nearly 10,000 individuals to participate. Our goal this year is to double that number." The telethon's reach has greatly increased this year, too. While the broadcast itself will originate from Los Angeles, over half the telethon content will have been sent from Yerevan. Ara

al potential.

Madzunian, filmmaker, and producer

to that the fact that this is

a

country whose infrastructure would have had to be overhauled anyway, since so much was linked with the larger Soviet system which no longer exists.

And, don't forget the 1988 earthquake which destroyed or damaged 21 cities, 58 villages, 230 factories, 450 schools, 416

medical facilities. and one-

of

this

year's telethon says, "Viewers last year were mes-

National Giving

So, where is the nation, and what can it give?

"In Armenia's case, it's simple," says Armenia Fund Westem USA President Rafi Ourfalian. "There is a vibrant Diaspora that wants to partici-

pate in building a Armenia. From that

new premise

rose the Memorial in

Day

which gathered around five and a half million dollars in individual donations, from 10,000 individuals and families throughout the

Telethon

1996,

us." "The message is for every individual of Armenian descent to do something to support Armenia and Karabakh." adds Greg Kahwejian, VicePresident of the Armenia Fund Western US. *We believe the most direct and effective way is to make a commitment to contribute annually towards Armenia's progress." "The challenge facing the Armenia Fund is not easy. The fairly well-organized ArmenianAmerican community is accustomed to fundraising events with very specific targets: building schools, building churches, financing scholarships. Building a country is a rather new challenge," says Ourfalian, "And we have to find new ways to make significant contributions in that

The Armenia Fund Telethon It is the largest single fund-raising effort in the Diaspora-and Armenia. In 11 hours on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, the Armenia Fund expects to raise the kind of money that has never been collected by one organization in one day for one purpose, in the Armenian Diaspora. The Armenia Fund's task is daunting for another reason as well. It is notjust the amount of money that must be raised. The goal is to raise the money by involving as many people in the giving as possible.

The Armenia Fund's premise, after all, is National Giving. For a developed country, with a

population employed and generating

taxes.

national giving would happen automatically. Either through income tax or simple business transactions, countries raise the money necessary to build all the institutions which serve all of the

Z.

celebrities, there were many who said they watched merely for the well-prepared visual con-

will be footage of Armenia Fund projects and challenges." "We're working with our colleagues on the east coast to assure that we have a proper line-up of stations and assure that we have a larger east coast viewership than there was last year," says Kahwejian. "We ale also working on technical anangements to uplink our signal to Europe and South America. In France, for example, the community is setting up gatherings to view the telethon and do their own promotion of specific Armenia Fund projects. "Armenia and Karabakh, through their tax structures and economies, have very limited resources and the only way the process of improving lives in Armenia can be speeded up is tent. This year, too, there

through the efforts

in

point. The focus of last year's telethon, the highway which has been carved out of mountainsides is by itself responsible for Karabakh's de facto annexation to Armenia. No longer can Karabakh

of the Armenia

Fund,"

explains Kahwejian.

Edward Balasanian, who worked for Armenia Fund for four years, in Yerevan and New York, remembers the 1996 meeting of the Armenia Fund Board of Directors. "We reviewed an impressive record of more than 30 major projects. Nearly 60 percent of the available funds then, just over six and a half

million dollars, were expended in Karabakh, the rest in Armenia. Only 2.2 percent of the total annual budget went to overhead.

arena." The Goris-Stepanakert Highway is a case

merized by the effective, touching, messageladen short films from Armenia and Karabakh, prepared especially for the telethon by talented filmmakers. From clips of young teenagers fighting in Karabakh to messages from politicians and

"

In a country where everyone

has a story about under-the{able money transactions, the

Armenia Fund provides regular monthly reports on the progress of all projects, and is regularly audited by the Amyot Accounting Firm, based in

be refened to as an enclave. Over 75 kilometers (47 miles) of finely asphalted road carries buses

Paris and Yerevan.

to

and cars daily from Stepanakert to Yerevan for personal and business purposes.

In Armenia's case. the economy is not developed enough, and the population is not tax-

The real political and economic implications of this road are not lost on outsiders. From Foreign Affairs to National Public Radio Io the

A Range of Projects The Goris-Stepanakert Highway is, by far, the Fund's most important accomplishmen thus fart. Two of the road's five segments are com-

people: irrigations systems, sewers, highways, power grids. Government budgets also provide

funding

for social programs-assistance

orphans, the elderly, the disabled.

able enough to generate the kind of money nec-

20 AIM

November/Decemberl997

pletely asphalted and finished, the other ttuee are


lapsing due to water seepage under their foundations from leaky pipes. Since necessity is the mother of

invention, Armenian engineers have pioneered the

retrofit ofsuchbuildings, without having to vacate the residents. After all, they have nowhere to go in this city of permanently homeless people. No Detour

by Mary Ann Kibarian, Armenia Fund USA

This Humanitarian Conidor-the

A portion of the Goris-Stepanakert Highway (above); children in Karabakh (left); Manushak Petrossian, Executive Director of the Armenia Fund, Yerevan, and Rafi ourfalian, President of the Armenia Fund of the Western US.

in various stages of completion

(see box). Equally imporrant is the construction of the 13 and a half miles of internal roads within Karabakh which are essential to link Karabakh's cities to one another. These roads were completed two years ago. Without them, it would have been just like the old days, when cars had to travel through Azerbaijani teritory to go from one Armenian-populated city to another. Water purification and distribution systems

Water, the Source of Life by Rafli Bedrosyan, Armenia Fund Canada

Projects

in war-tom Karabakh are a priority

for the Armenia Fund so that the people of Karabakh

don't leave, thereby depopulating this region, too. Water is a key issue. Although water is abundant in the highlands and on mountaintops, clean

potable water Stepanakert due

is

scarce in urban areas like to deteriorated water distribution

in Armenia and Karabakh are proceeding quickly (see box). Electric substations and power trans-

and treatment systems, further damaged by the war.

mission lines have also been completed in Stepanakert, Mardakert, Hadrut and the sur-

is designed to replace the existing damaged system with an

rounding areas. It is hard to determine whether the need is greater in Karabakh or the Earthquake Zone. Perhaps the question shouldn't be asked, and apparently, Armenia Fund does not. Although a conscious decision was made by the Armenia Fund's Board of Directors (which

expanded circular network around the city, provid-

includes President Levon Ter Petrossian, I and Catholicos Aram I; see AM April 1996) to focus on Karabakh, the Catholicos Karekin

Armenia Fund has prepared thorough reports on the needs and projects in the Earthquake Zone, and a good deal of specified donations are allocated for that region. There are eight schools in various stages of disrepair in Gumri alone. Together, they would accomodate 4350 students. There are nearly 100 multi-story residential buildings which could be home to tens of thousands of homeless. There are over two dozen factories in need of reconstruction. "When you see all of the specific needs that are so great, and yet so basic, you can't help but give," said one mother of two. "I was glued to my set all day last year. Odd as it sounds, I can't wait to see more."

A major project for the Annenia Fund is the Stepanakert water pipeline, which

ing safe drinking water for its 50,000 inhabitants. Eighty percent of the city is now receiving water through this new system, financed by the Armenia Fund Canada branches in Monheal, Toronto, and Vancouver. The water delivery system includes new reseryoirs in Stepanakert and Baluja. The Armenia Fund in Holland, and theArmenian Business Forum contributed to this segment of the water network.

The need for water is no less.critical in

men work seven days a week, from dawn to dusk,

chief surveyor. A road builder who had fled Azerbaijan moved to Bertatsor in order to work on this highway. These seasoned experts arc working to straighten many of the twists and tums. While this adds to construction time, &e effort ultimately reduces highway length and makes it safer. Bertatsor, in Lachin, is a tiny village with a popula-

tion of only 25 families. One young womar,

the mother of a four-year-old and an infant. For her, the completion of this road assured their security.

Day or night,

way. It is

taffic never stops

on this high-

a compromise on both sides--drivers and

construction workers are in a sort of willing partnership. It isn't unusual to wait 20 minutes while huge boulders or heavy equipment are moved. In the US, there would be "Constuction Detour-Use Altâ‚Źmate Road" signs. Not the case here. This is the road, there is no alternate.

Cat-holicos, have always had a few public fountains and local wells, but never a water pipeline. Our engineering team, accompanied by village officials, climbed nearby Mount fuagats on foot to locate springs and estimate the work needed to install a pipeline down the mountain slope to the village. That was 1996. Today, the Armenia Fund has com-

18.5-km (I2-mile)

pipeline, and on Independence Day, September 2 1, 1997, President Levon Ter Petrossian, officially tumed on the valve and water gushed through pipelines painted red, blue and orange. Annenia Fund engiaeers are also working in the Earthquake Zone where many buildings which

by

AIM Staff

a

teacher, chose to move here with her family. She is

The villages of Burakan, site of the Burakan observatory and the summer residence of the

of the

in

order to keep on schedule. The timetable must be maintained, or they will not get paid. Ore 72-yeNold came out of retirement to serve as the crew's

Annenia.

pleted construction

Goris

Stepanakert Highway is literaly carved out of stone! What begins in Yerevan as a bumpy ride on a road with plenty of potholes, soon becomes a smooth drive on a brand new highway. Sections of the road are either completely asphalted with guardrails in place, shoulders graded lanes marked, or in some stage of final construction. One reason for the varying levels of completion is the differing tenain along the course of the road. Consequently, one section may need to be dynamited and bulldozed, while another may need to be leveled and graded. The crews are very proud of their work. These

survived the earthquake are now in danger of col-

November/Decembet

1997 Al t

21


ELil$ l$L[N[ EXHIBIIIIIG GlIllD JUIIGTTIEI{I

Genocide is allowed as ex[lanation lor Amenian immigtation to the US After weeks of negotiations, the story of Armenian immigration to the US is being told at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum to the relative satisfaction of both the exhibit curator and the National Park Service (NPS) officials who oversee the

museum. Modified text, photographs, and headings have been added to the exhibit section which addresses the massacres and geno-

cide of Armenians as the primary force for

the group's immigration. Just north of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, Ellis Island was once a processing center through which 12 million immigrants entered the US

from

1892

to 1954.

Controversy arose when Museum officials removed text covering the historical context of the massacres and genocide after the exhibit's September 6 opening ceremony. without explanation or forewarning. Further concern rose over the Museum's choices of benign photographs, selected prior to the opening ceremony, to illustrate these atroci-

ties. According to

exhibit curator

and

Director of the Anthropology Museum of the

People

of New York, Margaret Tellalian

Kyrkostas, these photos did not tell the whole story of the atrocities. What ensued was an outcry from the Armenian community and supporters, including Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Pat Kennedy (D-RI), Rep. George

Radanovich (R-CA) and New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, all demanding that the historical text be replaced, and representative photographs be hung. Fueled by a New York Times article raising allegations of censorship and sanitizing history, as well as a campaign by the Armenian National Committee of America, protest letters, faxes, e-mails, and phone calls poured into the office of NPS Superintendent Diane Dayson.

22

Al

rlrl

November/December 1997

Dayson held

a

meeting

in

mid-

September with parties on both sides of the dispute, wherein she stated that due to purely

"operational" errors by the Ellis Island administration, proper guidelines were not clearly stated regarding what the exhibit could entail. As a result, each side expected a different final product-a fact not realized until a week before the opening ceremony. This was troubling to Kyrkostas, who had received a letter in July 1996 stating that "(the Ellis Island) exhibit committee has decided to accept your expanded Armenian

exhibit

for the

temporary gallery." She

thought this meant her entire proposal for the exhibit-in which she outlined the text and described the photographs to be used-was accepted.

Ellis Island staff argued, however, that they were waiting for the mounted pictures and text from Kyrkostas to make their final decisions as to what would be hung. Because they did not have these until the week of the opening ceremony, inclusion and exclusion decisions were made by the administration at the last minute. Carl Rutberg, Curator of Exhibits

for Liberty and Ellis Islands,

explained, "Some of the text got up because we needed to have some text, and then when my supervisors reviewed it, we came to the conclusion that it was not the best text for the exhibit." But there was some discrepancy in

statements made

by the

administration

regarding the selection of photographs illustrating deportations that were chosen for display over others depicting public hangings

for example. In the Times article, NPS spokesperson Manny SEumpf was quoted as saying, "In the judgment of the superintendent's office, they were too gory and gruesome for the types of audiences we and decapitations,

get." This angered Armenians who charged that the photos were necessary to show the horrors of the genocide. In the first meeting, however, when asked directly if the pictures were in fact too gory and gruesome to be hung, Dayson stressed that this was not considered in photograph selection. The issue was purely operational, she emphasized. Yet the late September follow-up meeting re-established the issue, when clari-

fication was sought regarding the general selection process of the photographs. Rutberg explained that initially all of the photos Kyrkostas proposed for the exhibit were

divided into groups. He explained, "Marge and I went through (the photos) and divided them into one section that showed the massacre and the marches especially. And there was one section that was-I guess gory is the

key word here that has been floating

around-and I

asked (Deputy Superintendent) Larry Steeler to look at those. We decided that the photos were too gruesome for the exhibit. We thought that the photos that we selected could tell the story and that it was not necessary to show the decapitated heads." The issue ofphotographs depicting

atrocities against Armenians is not new to Ellis Island-although it was new to the current administration which was not in place during the 1991 struggle over the removal of

a photograph and caption. At that time, Turkish lobbying groups successfully pressured the NPS, Department of the Interior, and the White House to remove the photograph of a public hanging of an Armenian, which was accompanied by a caption referring to periodic Turkish massacres that led to

the immigration of nearly

100,000 Armenians to the United States by 1924.


Yet, uncertainty about the role of the Museum in telling the story of Armenian

immigration clearly

still exists.

Steeler

repeatedly stressed that "the purpose of this museum is devoted to the immigration story. It is almost as if some of you people want to make this an issue of Turkish homicide, genocide, massacres that were done to the Armenian people-to bring it to the forefront, and regrettably we are the ones who have to deal with the conflict that you folks historically have had with the Turkish community."

After an intense counter-lobby effort, however, the photograph and caption ultimately were replaced and currently can be seen in both the permanent and temporary exhibits.

The administration insists that Turkish pressure has not been an issue in this debate. At the final September meeting between the two sides of the controversy, the staff maintained that it had only been contacted by one Turkish reporter, and that any procedural decisions made were not a result of attempting to appease both Armenian and Turkish lobbying groups.

While immigration should remain the historical focus at Ellis Island, Harvey Fertig, Assistant Counsel to City Council Speaker Vallone, emphasized the importance of displaying terms like massacre and genocide as exhibit headings. "I just saw a class of kids coming into the gallery. If they look up and just see memories, there really is no meaning to it. If they see the word genocide, there is a meaning to it. It focuses people on what the impetus for the immigration was." The exhibit is scheduled to run through February.

by Nicole Vartanian

Vartanian is a doctoral candidate in education at Columbia Univercity.

KMPG is one of the largest business advisory firms worldwide with 80,000

staff in 147 countries. Since March 1997 it has a full service office in Yerevan, licensed by the government, to serve the public and private sectors of the Armenian economy. We cater for the needs of both local and

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Mihran Bakalian, 13

Today

I went

to Ellis Island to

see an exhibit about Armenia and Armenians in the United States. It was very interesting. For example, I didn't know about Armenian physicians in the Civil War, and I had never seen an Armenian-made flintlock rifle from Zeitoun before. I also felt very significant because this was my heritage, my history. I appreciated the fact that there was information on the

Genocide, although

I

was

still

dis-

gusted, as I usually am when I see pic-

ItI^oArmentct . Auditing and accounting

by Armen

tures of it.

Even though it was interesting, while looking at it I felt very American. My grandmother and my great-uncle entered America through the same building I was visiting. Ever since they arrived, Armenian individuality has been partially assimilated into the collective American identity. I partially felt like I was looking at someone else's history today. I have been all around the world, and there has been no place that I feel truly a part of. I felt like an

exile during my three-year stay in Beirut. When I returned to the US, I was "back home," but in a way I still felt like I didn't belong. At times I feel very American, and at other times I feel very Armenian. I don't know which one I am, who I am. Sometimes I think of how I want to dedicate my life to defending this country which has for so long defended its own people, including some of

my own ancestors. Other times I think of what I can do for the country of my ancestral origin, Armenia, which needs so much help. I don't know which to choose. I think, "What

In London

Geoffrey S. Russell Tel 44 (0) 171 311 5160 Fax 44 (0) l7l 311 5879

if I'm

stationed

at an air base in

Turkey, and I end up looking at Mount Ararat from the other side?" AII I can say is that I'm confused.

atii

23


IEttING lI UKE rr rs

Never Too Late Black Dog of Fate: An American Son Uncovers His Armenian Past. By Peter Balakian. Basic Books, 1997. 289 pages. $24.00 hardcover.

living to

Poet Peter Balakian tells a story about the relationship of the the dead: There is the relationship of the author to his mater-

nal grandmother, Nafina Aroosian n6e Shekerlemedjian, now 33 years deceased; there is the relationship of Nafina, a survivor of genocide, to her lost family in Diarbekir; and there are the relationships of the author's parents and aesthete aunts, who tried each in a different way to of their ancestors" off their backs. His grandmother, the central figure of Black Dog of Fate,

ease "the cemetery

ln its |ilth printing in six monlhs, poet Peter Balakian's memoir, Black Dog ol Fate, is the latest in a series ol "Armenian" boolts rublished by maior US puilishers. Markar Melkonian reuieuled the boolr, and Salpi Haroutinian Ghazarian s[oke with the autho]. 24 Alm

November/December1997

inhabited his boyhood in suburban New Jersey in the 1960s. On Friday afternoon visits to his grandmother's apartment, grandmother and preteenage grandson would bake choreg, listen to rock and roll and discuss the New York Yankees' starting line-up. From time to time, however, his homey grandmother became a dark riddle, reporting strange dreams and old country lore, and lapsing into unuttered fears. Long after her death, she continued to inhabit Balakian's adulthood, in both her homey and her haunting aspects. For any of a number of reasons, Balakian is prepared, as his parents and aunts were not, to lift the rock of collective memory and peer under it. In the course of time, Balakian learns that his grandmother was a survivor of a massacre and a death march which claimed the lives of her parents, her brothers and sisters, her husband and her nieces and nephews. The author also discovers that after the deportation, she took steps to demand Turkish govemment indemnification for losses endured, including both property and the lives of a dozen family members. Balakian marvels at the strength and presence of mind of the young widow-barely 30 years of age and living with her two daughters among refugees in Aleppo-who initiated the suit. The suit, of course, came to nothing: Nafina lost her patrimony without compensation. Less compelling is the short final chapter, entitled "Commemoration." Balakian does not believe that a victim of genocide can "consummate his relationship with the past without the perpetrator's confirmation of wrongdoing." He is outraged not only that Ankara's mouthpieces deny the genocide, but that they "come to the United States and comrpt American institutions on a moral issue like this one". His faith in The New York Times, NATO, and U.S. Senators (including Al

D'Amato!)

as

potential bearers of decency is almost endearingly naive. Sherkerlemedjians certain

After all, who knows how many Nafina

American institutions and their surrogates have created in, say, Guatemala in recent decades, with at least the tacit approval of the Congress and the New York Times? During the course of what Balakian at one point refers to as "this whole horrible century, " few of the Talaat Pasha's, Adolph Hitlers and Henry Kissingers have owned up to their butchery. Even Balakian's friend, professional moralist Elie Wiesel, has refused on more than one occasion to condemn the sort of U.S.-backed


Zionist depredations that, in the summer of 1982 alone, claimed the lives of at least 17,000

unarmed civilians in Lebanon. At the end of this whole horrible century, it is too late for the slogan "Never Again." It is never too late, however, to speak truth to power. Armenians in the US are fortunate to claim as one of their own such a voice as Balakian's. Nafina Shekerlemedjian

lost her patrimony;

nevertheless, she

bequeathed to her grandson a different legacy-

-a legacy the grandson, grown to adulthood, transmits to the reader in graceful, precise prose. This is abookreaders ofAIMwoulddo well to read. by Markar Melkonian

ple, the Jews can't really say that they were exterminated on their ancient homeland. The treatment of the Native Americans has been genocidal and one of the great crimes of American civilization. Of course, there are differences too. They weren't subjected to the Armenian kind of "final solution"-extermina-

recognition? The US was a strong witness to the Armenian Genocide when it happened. President Wilson and his administration felt great compassion for the Armenian predicament. The Near East

Dooft Richard Rorty's Politics: Liberalism at the End of the American Century is forthcom-

Genocide in bold headlines for two solid years. More so than the Holocaust. Everyone in the US government knows the facts of the Armenian Genocide. Only because of NAIO politics with Turkey, our government today has caved into a deep cynicism about this issue. I believe moral leadership from the US

Intellectual AIM: You were angry, weren't you, at the enormity of what was kept from you for so long?

I was frustrated and bewildered. And that sense of frustration propelled me on to discover what I came to learn. But, as you know from the end of my book, I don't judge anyone in my family. They did what they had to do, and they were all terrific people. But the discovery of the Armenian Genocide past came to me as a gift. Balakian:

So, you came into it from the outside in a sense. Do you think that had you been a real

insider, growing up with it, you wouldn't have been able to tell the story?

I can't say what I might have been like had I known everything from childhood, but it is sort of a classic situation that artists are often outsiders to the societies they write about. Take James Joyce, Camus, Faulkner.

There is a chapter in your book about the emotional confrontation your father had with an Indian Chief. What do you think about that parallel between the Armenian Ioss and the Native American loss? It's a real parallel. Clearly, what my father was responding to that day, in the Bad Hills National Park, when I was 13, was the realization that Native Americans had been pushed off their own homeland, humiliated, defeated. That is a powerful parallel because, for exam-

The Armenian community pays a lot of lip service to the importance of the arts, culture, literature and intellectual activity. But as soon as young people show interest in history or writing or Armenian Studies, they are immediately discouraged. "Are you crazy? How are you going to support a family?" is the first response. Did you hear any of that?

parallel in any way responsible for the US government's unwillingness to stand up and be counted in the matter of genocide Is the

Relief Fund sent over 22 million dollars to help the Armenian survivors of the Genocide,

An Interview with a Public

the academy to some degree, and among writers and artists who feel politics is somehow a soiling of the hands.

tion in the space of a year or so.

Melkonian, a director of the Monte Melkonian Fund, Inc., is author o/Marxism, a Post-Cold War Primer (Westview Press, /996). His next

ing .from Humanities Pre s s.

aware now, here in the US. I think we're in an increasingly progressive environment. But I do think that there are still some bourgeois and genteel impulses in America. This is true in

and the New York Times covered

the

government on the issue of Armenian Genocide representation is essential. While the US hasn't done a great job dealing with its treatment of the Native Americans, at least it has shown signs in the past several decades of making apology toward Black-Americans and Japanese-Americans. The US is capable of more leadership in our cause, and I think that has to happen in the coming decade. Our story is a story whose time has come. We have made serious strides forward. The Armenian Genocide can be called a discourse now in the 90s. There's a lot of scholarship, there are courses being taught all over the country, books are coming out by the year, artists are doing things in painting, in music, in theater. There's a new threshold of energy and repre-

s

o

Balakian at a book signing hosted by the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church in New York.

sentation.

Artists, Armenian and non-Armenian, in this apolitical country are very quick to say

they're non-political. Yet, you haven't hedged, whether in the matter of taking on

Princeton University and their Tirrkish Studies chair, or whether it's this book. How is it that you are politically comfortable?

I think that one doesn't plan these things. They

evolve. My memoir deals somewhat with my own evolution into things historical and political. My own poetry took me there. I believe in the old idea of the public intellectual. You can be a novelist, a playwright, a poet, a historian, and be able to move from your craft into the public arena without sacrificing one for the other. European, Russian and Latin artists and intellectuals don't have this hang-up about where politics begins and art ends. But, I think

that we're more politically savvy and self-

I wish I had

been able to include the following story in the book. In my senior year in college, my father said to me, "I don't understand why you're pursuing law school. You shouldn't be doing this. Poetry is your passion, and I hope you pursue it." My father obviously understood what I didn't at 2 1, that literature is a real career. I was encouraged to pursue an artistic and intellectual life, and I'm grateful for that. I hope parents encourage their kids' deepest impulses, and if they go into intellectual and artistic directions, I hope their parents understand that these things pay off enormously, both as careers and as forces for social progress. We need

it.

Your tool is language. Do you speak Armenian?

I grew up in the 50's and 60's in a very atfll

25

main-


stream American world. And, while we were Armenian in many deep ways, we were also very American, and my world was defined by football, baseball, teen age life and rock and roll. My parents couldn't have gotten me to learn Armenian, nor were they eager to push it on us. They spoke it around the house when they wanted to keep things secret from us. So there it ismore secrets.

Do you know contemporary Armenian poetry? Do you agree that it is 70-80 years behind what is being published in the US? I know some contemporary Armenian poetry, not

of it through Diana Der Hovanessian's translations. I published a group of them in the last issue of the journal Graham House Review, a lot-most

which

I publish. A

significant amount of

Armenian poetry I read strikes me as too didactic and a little antiquated in convention, and yet there's someone like Paruir Sevak, who I think could have a great audience here, if we get proper translations. There's Gevorg Emin, who's a kind of minimalist, parable-like poet, and needs

some exposure

here. My

friend Artem

Harutunian is a Ginsburgy Armenian poet and probably sort of out of place there. I'd like to see the best Armenian poets really well translated into English. We need to devote money to it. I could put together a program, and I wish the funding would appear, because I think it's not that complicated.

Why, 80 years after the Genocide, are we still Genocide recognition, about making our art and literature known to the world. Is it lack of seriousness? Are we overwhelmed by the task?

running around talking about

My

sense of why such a successful, tenacious, gifted culture like ours hasn't done better in marketing, promulgating and promoting of all these issues-Genocide representation, culture, books-is maybe because we have such a strong ethos of individualism in our culture. We function so well as capitalists and entrepreneurs. We've been trained that way from centuries of outsiderhood in the Ottoman Empire. And Armenians have been satisfied with talking to themselves for too long. We need to realize that we can contribute to the mainstream, and we must see ourselves in the mainstream-Armenians, yes-but a part of the bigger show. We need to have a better sense of having a machine. And the machine means, you can't squabble, you gotta put aside vanity and ego, you gotta say, "Look, we gotta get the job done, we gotta get it done now." You say we have to get Siamanto's selected poems out by May, let's not fight about the paper quality, let's just get it out there. There should be professional, one-two page press releases on Armenian Genocide news, ongoing throughout the year. We need to hire public relations firms. Why haven't we done Eighty-two years after the Genocide, it's incredible, mindboggling to me. People who haven't governed themselves have to

it?

learn more about making machines out of organizations. There's no more time to waste. It's very doable. Money is key. Let's hire PR firms, let's have concrete goals, and build coalitions with other cultures groups, like Jewish-Americans and African-Americans. I think the interesting

thing about this moment for

Armenian-

Americans is that it's a very favorable moment for our culture and its story. The US is changing, becoming much more favorable and empathetic to our case, the Genocide story. There are a lot of Americans of our generation who are really concerned about not only the event of 1915, but the trauma, and the horrifying aftermath of Turkish denial. A lot of people want to reach out. That,

together with the multi-cultural reality of American life at the end of the century makes it a favorable environment for our children to feel excited about the importance of the Armenian story and the pride they can have in an ancient culture that has reemerged at the end of the 20th century with its own country. I know my daughter is deep into Amenian stuff. She's teaching herself Armenian with her grammar books. She is 13 and goes to Armenian camp. If you had asked me to go to Armenian camp 30 years ago, would have left home! At school, she talks about Armenian stuff with her teachers and other students. She feels it's a real badge of honor. She wants there to be that extra cultural dimension, otherwise she's just another American kid. Our kids have a great chance to be messengers, play-

I

ers and articulators in this culture's future.

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Garo was discharged in two years. Unable to hold down a steady job, he parted

too large, and his feet are blistered. When invited into an office to talk about his needs,

from his family and somehow traveling

his papers, his disability benefits, he cowers. It's hard to get him to sit on a chair. He knows his filthy pants will leave their mark. Not wanting to be the bearer of bad news, old acquaintances and family friends who had seen him on the streets said nothing to his family in Tehran. His brother, Armen, recently heard about Garo's condition when two women visiting Tehran from Glendale asked the Church Prelacy there for help to track down Garo's family. Armen was first

through Ttrrkey reached Austria. He doesn't remember how he lived, how he moved, or how long it took to cover the 2000 miles from Tehran to Vienna. Nor does he recollect arriving in the US, as a refugee.

In 1990, in Glendale, California, he with Paranoid Schizophrenia, and began to receive government assistance. was diagnosed

His meager income enabled him to live in various housing facilities, but as his mental condition deteriorated and his ability to manage his life and his finances worsened, he moved

-t \

there is no going back. The Iran-Iraq war lasted eight years, took the lives of more than one million on both sides-no official numbers are given by either side. Thousands of Armenians fought in the war that ended with no clear winner. The Iranian Armenian community did not hesitate to send its finest to defend the country which had been their home for over 400 years. The regime of Saddam Hussein, across the border, also laid claim to its Armenian youth.

\Jometimes

Garo Shirinaian, 38, is still fighting

that war. He may be among the lucky ones who came out alive, but no one can say he is unharmed. Thirteen years ago, when he lived in Iran with his mother and brothers, he was

to fight and sent to the island of Majnoon in the Persian Gulf where fighting was dirtiest and heaviest. Thousands died daily. Those who didn't wished they had. called

to poorer and poorer motels, and

November/December'1997

I

am going to

finally, the streets.

back,

He lives on the streets, one day in an abandoned apart-

America to start a new

. life';' According to { 3 psychiatrist Ara { Kadoyan, Garo's future is uncertain.

ment, next day under a stairwell. He asks for money at the Lucky's supermarket frequented by many of the city's 40.000 Armenians. With the money they give him, he goes to a nearby Taco Bell, and has his daily meal. If there is a little

Some respond well to

medication, others don't, he says. Yet,

extra, he buys chocolate. Some days, he buys the chocolate first.

He doesn't talk

other factors. such as a positive environment

about

and

family support

are

the war. "Please, don't ask any-

very important.

thing, please," he says as he covers his head. There is no doubt that the memories haunt him still.

order in the US of the

He is unable to hold

That's a tall 1990s where social benefits are being cur-

a

job. or converse with a physician. Armenian social service agencies

Garo Shirinaian, living 0n the streets of Glendale.

appear to be unable to do more for him than simply offer him an occasional plate of food, or some pocket money. Physicians and government assistance workers won't see him unless he showers. He can't shower because he has no home. He walks around, limping. The rain boots he wears without socks are two sizes

A temporary solution has been found in Glendale, at the Twin Palms Care Home for the Mentally Ill. Although he has shelter, daily meals and medication, Garo does not associate with any of the 20 plus mentally ill residents of the Home, still asks to be let out so he can go stay in a motel, and every now and then, asks the staff to put him in touch with Dr. Jack Kevorkian. When he doesn't ask for Dr. Kevorkian, Garo asks for his mother. "I want to go home so she will cook for me and make my bed," he says about once every hour. But the doctors say he is inca-

32 AIni

incredulous, then recriminatory. "We didn't know," he repeated, "We had no idea. From Austria, he sent us a note, 'I will not come

tailed. Home care facilities have no

space. "There are so many homeless on the streets, we just can't help. Take him to anArmenian place," said an employee at a Pasadena facility. But the

"Armenian places" are incapable of providing care and shelter, or of offering the kind of long-term assistance necessary to secure medical, social and residential benefits. .

pable of traveling alone. The authorities won't let him-he has no papers. The Iranian Special Affairs Office in Washington, DC, has agreed to provide him with proper documentation, free of charge. The staff of the US embassies in Armenia and Dubai have not been very helpful in ganting Garo's brother a visa to travel to the US and take his brother back to Tehran. As the secretary ofthe local Armenian church said, when Garo was searching fbr a place to live, "There are so many homeless people in the streets; he is one of many, what can you do?"


Dentist Nishan Kazazian of the Armenian Dental Society of California eagerly volun-

CCITI

I *o years ago," says

Gregory Kirianoff, a Century City, California plastic surgeon, "George and Flora Dunaians showed me a picture of a young man whose face was distorted in the Karabakh war, and asked

if I would

teered to reconstruct the several teeth broken, missing or damaged during the explosion.

Born in Iran. Dr. Kirianoff is

he1p."

president

So began the odyssey of Araik

of the

Armenian-American

Medical Society of California and organized trips for teams of physicians to go to Armenia after the earthquake. He also performed a number of reconstructive procedures on victims of that earthquake, and

Aroushanian, whose face was simply blown off in 1993, while Araik was fighting on the southem front in Karabakh. And not just his face. The bomb

had also fractured his right arm, but as Kirianoff says, "he had been smart enough not to let them amputate it." Nevertheless, Araik had lost 80 percent of the vision in his right eye and his whole nose, up to and

helped train specialists from Armenia at USC, UCI and Loma Linda Medical Centers. In other words. Kirianoff was not unfamiliar with the kind of training and care available in Armenia, and was satisfied with the way "they put the skin together and salvaged Araik's nostrils by keeping them under a layer of skin, so they continue to receive

including the orbit of his right eye. "It took five operations to reconstruct a new nose," Kirianoff explains, look-

ing proudly at his handiwork. Araik

25

percent Russian and, as he puts it, "100 percent Armenian." From 1988-1992, he was

sits

from him dressed elegantly in a suit. "I used cartilage from his ribs to create the framework for the nose; I needed the lining to cover the inside ofthe nose and then covered the outside with the stretched skin of his fore-

Araik. The 26-year-old tall, attractive young man has a new lease on life, and he knows it. Living with the Dunaians in their

head."

Pasadena home, he

across

It

nourishment."

Satisfied does

not begin to

describe

is far from the whistling

missiles which caused the physical damage to

was, needless to say, a very deli-

cate process. Yet, eleven months and five surgeries later, with much donated expertise,

time and effort, it all succeeded. Surgeons Kirianoff and Norick Boghossian, radiologist John Kassabian, ophthalmologist Albert

Bakhtanian, Nurse Marian Barsoumian together donated services which would have cost over $150,000. Kirianoff's services and facilities alone would have come to nearly two-thirds that amount. The treatment didn't stop there.

his body. There was also the emotional toll caused by the hurtful jeering and stares of those who were shocked by the disfigurement he endured for three years. Araik had not yet graduated from the Radiotechnic department

of the Yerevan Polytechnic Institute when he volunteered in 1993. "From the end of September until May of next year, the fighting was at its worst," he remembers. "We were defending the road to Hadrut, which the

Azeris were trying to take.

It was February

1994, and I was at the front, in the trenches. We were bombarded every day, from morning to dusk. It never stopped." As he recounts the minutes which changed his life, he is nonchalant, with the air of someone who has retold and relived the story often. "During the air raids, seconds count," he explains, "and you have to have quick reflexes to try to avoid the shells. A small gesture can make a world of difference and that's what happened to me. A rocket flew very close to me, just seconds before I could cover my face. I was knocked out for a few seconds, and when I came to, I realized that something terrible had happened. Not

Qo

n; et o0

o

eiira cartiiage wis

taken from

thi

concha of Araik's

ear.

The finhl operation was periormed

on

l\ilarch

11

, 1 997. All told, the live operations took a total of 22 hours.

November/Decembe|I997 A

Ltlt

33


to the US and a doctor named Kirianoff would perform the operation.

"I came to the US in March 1996, and since then, they have been my second parents. I immediately became their "soldier son." Nearly a year and a half later, fuaik is still in awe of the Dunaians generosity. "This is like a dream. I still can't believe how lucky I am. They have given me my life back." The Dunaians, who are well known throughout the Armenian-American community for their extensive involvement in various causes, have surprised many by this unusual effort to

It's not that George and Flora haven't helped others. Orphans programs, Olympic athletes, embassies and consulates, help Araik.

r,,ffiffi$: Above, Araik Aroushanian, left, with Plastic Surgeon Gregory Kirianoff, atter five operations. Bottom right, Araik poses for a lamily picture with the Dunaians family, George, Flora and Gigi (lett to right) and Armenia's First Lady, Lucia Ter Petrossian, second from left, during the latter's Southern California visit in September.

only couldn't I move my arm and shoulder, but I could feel blood all over, and something was hanging from my face. I checked my arms and legs; everything was in place but from the look

of my fellow soldiers and the painful

expres-

sions that they were trying to hide I realized that

something terrible had happened.

It

became

harder and harder to breathe; my face was cold and numb."

While the fighting continued, the soldiers carried Araik past raining bullets. "I will never forget our commander, Ghazar, who made sure I was safe before he rushed back to join the few remaining soldiers." Ttwo weeks latel Araik was flown to Yerevan with other wounded. He was worried about going home. Although his family knew

given that hope by George and Flora and a second chance to live. Flora remembers the busy day when they heard about Araik. "We were at the Ararat Diocesan office at St. Sarkis Church in Yerevan, planning a reception for all those who helped the Diocesan orphans program," she says. "Araik's aunt approached my husband George and asked for assistance. George listened to her story, asked for Araik's photo and medical papers and promised we would help." But Araik had heard promises before.

nursing schools and medical supplies-they do generously of their time and money. But giving time and money is one thing, inviting a stranger into your house and your life is something else.

it all. They give

"We had no idea the surgery would be so extensive and take so long," says Flora, "But really, we've been so lucky. Araik couldn't be

a

better person."

"They opened their home and their hearts and their pocketbook to someone they'd never seen. This young man needed help of a very basic kind. And it required long{erm commitment on the part of whoever decided to help.

To his astonishment, then, a month later the

George and Flora didn't just pay for his ticket and send him to school. They gave him a home and a life," says a friend who visits them often.

Dunaians sent word "saying they would take me

Reporting by Parik Nazarian

he'd enlisted, they had no idea he was on the frontlines in Karabakh, let alone that he was wounded. On the night he actually went home, "Seeing their shock and pain was more painful than my own injuries," he remembers. But the pain hadjust begun. His nose and face were always covered with bandages. Children either teased or avoided him. He withdrew, buried himself in his studies and graduated in 1994. "Although people always salute you for fighting in Karabakh, still you get tired of them staring at you day after day. To me, this was another kind of battle. I felt myself shrink, my posture changed, my head was always down." Then, Araik's father died of a heart attack. "I felt I caused it. I asked God, why. But, as the Russians say "Hope dies the last". I was

Araik Aroushanian is aware and thankful that the Dunaians are "giving me the support and the preparation I need to go back home strong and well, to lead a productive life." Araik left for Armenia in mid-October. He had learned English, was employed in various capacities, and was ready to go help his family. He will have to return for some final touch-up work by Kirianoff. But just before he left, there was

only one bit of treatment left. The two long-span dental bridges prepared by Kazazian, in August, were placed in Araik's mouth by Kazazian's widow, Sona, also a dentist, the day before Araik returned to Armenia in October. Kazazian, 36, had died of a heart attack just one week earlier after returning from Karabakh where he had treated soldiers and civilians.


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Since then we have become friends. He has read my screenplays f.or Moses West and Sessions. He offered to present Sessions. To that extent there is collabo-

ration, and there is an effort to help. Also, Howard Kazanjian, producer of Return of the cledi, and I are collaborating on a film. I met Hank Moonjean at the Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) which is an organization that looks for young Armenian talent and promotes them. Itoes the ilmmaler lme e rcsponrtDtltty ttrerds roclety?

Young and Talented., Albert, Kodagolian is Passionate

about Cinema

Albert Kodagolian, S6, born in Iran, is a determined and talented young filmmaker living in Los Angeles. A {raduate of the prestigious USC Film School, he has already produced two feature films, one of which, The Glass Chain, was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in

after the Soviet Union's break-up. He is a man without a country. This theme has been the title of my life. Everywhere I've lived, I have been without a country-in Iran, Cyprus, Germany and now here. My greatest fear is to go to Armenia and find out that I am a foreigner there as well.

i995.

lell us about tbe uouies

you barc already

mada

your interest in fllms? I made my first film when I was 6 years old. It starred my entire family and was only 2 minutes long, but it had a story, a narrative. I continued doing that until I left for Cyprus to attend the

made my first feature film at 21 during the summer of my junior year at USC. We did a 55mm feature called ?ie

Melkonian Educational Institute. At

Was

What constitutes tme art in films? When you make a statue, first you make a metal spine, and then you start covering it with iayers of clay. At the end you have a beautiful statue that doesn't Iook anythin$ Iike the spine, which actually is holdin$ the whole statue. As a director, the spine of my art is my life, my personal experiences. Courageous filmmakers use their personal lives and culture in their work. That kind of art is real. When you scratch the surface, it bleeds. It's not artificial, plastic.

confortable worf,in[ with? Yes. I recently wrote a screenplay entitled Moses WesL which was a collab-

oratior with playwright Mankerian.

Shahe

It is the next film that I will

direct, and includes themes that

are close to my heart. The movie is about a

Soviet-Armenian spy who is stuck in Canada because his government has abandoned him. The story takes place

38 AIilt

November/December'1997

Are most fllmo today enli[hteninf, or

I

Hollywood tends

to mafte sensatlonal

Glass Chain that was shot entirely in

that manipulate your senses. There are few movies which elevate your taste, and those are

ChicaSo. I was a producer on that film.

mostly foreign and independent fllms.

this No,

was an independent film. ltle

raised the money, went to Chicago and shot it. My second film was The Method, which Showcase Entertainment bought all foreign rights to. So far, we have sold

it t0 Germany, France, Spain, Australia,

Brazil, and others. The Method starc Sean Patrick Flanery. He was the lead actor in Powder. What perceatage of success in film do you attribute to talent, iletermination, contacts and lucf,? I rank talent the highest, because talent rises eventually. Next comes determination, becausa someone who is tal-

cles presented in

filmmaking. Filmmaking is a very expensive art. It takes a lot of money, time and energy.

And the third is contacts.

It is very

important who you meet.

Is there

any collaboration

are your five favorite filmr? Amadeusby Milos Forman, Dangeroufr Liaisons, directed by Stephen Frears and produced by Ilank MoonJean, Bebecca by

Alfred Hitchcock, Angel Heart by Alarr Parker and The Conformisi by Bertolucci. I Iove a,ll Bertolucci movies, but speciflcally The Conformistbecause it is about a person

who is put in a difficult situation, to conform or not.

Whiclr filmmaterg heve hed ttre nost influence on you ? What

I strive to be like Bernardo Bertolucci. I like about hlm is that he takes his

culture-the passion, the art, the food, the

politics-and inserts it in every film he ma,kes. He is very poetic, yet bold. Like Bertolucci, I strive to gently put my culture in every film I malre. You slowly make your

culture yours by putting

it in the back-

It is more effective when culture is the foundation upon which stories are spun. ground ofyour films, not up front.

amonSst By ArDetl Pogharlan

Armenian filmmaf,ers?

I mei Atom Egoyan two years Sundance where he was a

movies, like roller-coaster rides,

Wtat

a studetrt production?

it

ented misht be discouraged by the obsta-

Do you Xave a unique theme you feel

Iives.

nanipulative?

What do you see as the beginning of

Melkonian there were no such possibilities, so I started pursuing theater.

I think a filmmaker has more responsibility towards his own feelings. A good filmmaker will take a theme or ah idea he is in love with and portray it in a new way, hopefully enlightening the viewer. But there is no doubt that we are responsible for what we arb salfing through film. There is a fine Iine ietween being enlightening and belng manipulative. People g0 to movies t0 experience feelings expressed in films, feelings which they do not express in their daily

ago at

juror. I

had

The Glass Chain and he had Exotica.

Pogharian is a utility consultant, and editor of the Melkonian Alumni Newsletter.


1#

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n

"s,

Arnflenh wltl orcr Olymplc Or

'l,ristas! :E

Wonderc llke rkllng Or cllmblng lnto a ol a volcenlc crater. i. Ol ...

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AnmeuaFurudffiil 50 N La Cienega Blvd

Suite 203 Beverly Hills Calilornia 9021 1 Telephone 3'10 657 1164 Facsimile 310 657 I 184

ARMENIA E'{'I{D, INC. STATEMENT OF CONERIBUUONS NiID EXPENSES - CASH BASIS flrLY 1, 1996 TO JIINE 30, 1997

Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of

Nofth America Western PrelacY of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America

zz uJ J J

Armenian Evangelical Union of North America

Arnenian Cadtolic Church Alphabetical Lining ol ho Pdni c i paling orga nizations

-F

Analysis and Research for Arnenia ABPA

t l

o LL

Armenian American Citizens League

-F

Armenian American Council on Aging Armenian American Medical Society of California Armenian Assembly of America Armenian Educational Foundation. lnc.

Arnenian Engineers and Scientists of America, lnc Arnenian General Benevolent Union

-

AGBU

Arnenian Misstonary Association of

o o o o

E o E

America AMAA

Arneni an Profess iona I Soci ety Armenian Society of Los Angeles Armenian Writers Union

$ 1 ,948,328

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED TRANSFER TO GORIS STEPANAKERT HIGHWAY PROJECT EROM JULY L, 1-996 TO JUNE 30, 7991

7, s86,818

OPERATING EXPENSES

Advertising Parking Rent

Insurance

Printing Postage and delivery Salaries - office Payroll tax expense Telephone

Contract labor Accounting Taxes and licenses Equipment rental Business promotions Office expense and supplies Meals - telethon Travef - tel-ethon Video - telethon Set design - tefethon Editing - tefethon Administrative - te]ethon

$

22, 949

2,320 33,700 s85 14, 653

9,11 38,

4

4

98

4,9]-8 8, 198

67,204 638

20

3,343

r,

636

4,'7'7 6

3,289

21, r]-'l 3

,'l o6

15,659

L,25'l

90.243 341. BB3

TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES

Chtistian )utreach for Arnenians friends of Armenia Fund for Chtldrens Homes of Armenia lnc Hayrenik Union

Knights ol Vartan Medical jutreach for Arnenians, lnc. Nor

Sercunt Cultural Assoctation )rganization of lstanbul Arnenians Tekeyan Cultural Assoctation United Arnenian Conpatnotic SoaeA

Vahagn Cultural Foundation. lnc

fiurpuurnuI firurlurfiurfiru[uG

fi[ilfitutgtuil

19, 621

INCOME EROM OPERATIONS OTHER INCOME

Interest income TOTAL OTHER INCOME EXCESS CONTRIBUTIONS OVER EXPENSES

? trtro ?

RCO

s___23i35.

FROM JANUARY 1, 1996 TO JUNE 30, 1996 AN ADDITIONAL $7OO,OOO WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE GORIS STEPANAKERT HIGHWAY PROJECT FOR A TOTAL TRANSFER OF $8,286,818 EROM JANUARY L, 1996 TO JUNE 30, ]-997.


alg

ARMENIA FUI|D U.S.A., ll{C.

u'fr

:i:'"v'v":'*h

n,'u,

llllT*,:':;ffi

****

Fax:

21268e

53

7

Armenia Fund USA Inc. Statement of Support, Revenue, Grants, and Expenses For the Year Ended June 30, 1997

TRUSTEES

H.H. Kmrxu

I

(LINAUDITED)

Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians represented by

H.E. ABP. KflUAG

BARsAMTAN

Primate 0iocese ol the Armenian Church ol America

H.H. AB^M

I

Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia represented by

H.E. ABP. MEsnoB AsHJrarl prelate Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America

National Giving

235,000 691,000 63,000 98,000

Goris-Stepanakert Hwy Science & Culture Program Presidents Program Special Projects

132,000

Lincy Foundation Matching Gift

l,l18,000

Interest lncome

2,000

w

Hox. Gacr( G. HanounuilrAr{ Chairman

Constitutional Court Republic of Armenia

Total Support and Revenue

HrnrR Hovnlrnr Chairman ol the Board of Trustees Armenian Assembly ol America

BOARD OF DIBECTORS

Hlcop Kouvounro,tnn

Grants to Armenia Fund Raising Projects

$

2,138,000 37,000 203,000

$

2,378,000

Adminishative and Related Costs

Chairman

Mu*^n Total Grants and

surE

Expenses

Co-Chairman

:

Jostpx Brsnrlnr Secretary

Htnmr Guuln Treasurer mABY

Ailt{

A complete copy of the

1997 audited financial statement of Armenia Fund USA, Inc. is available upon written request to the organization at 152 Madison Avenue,

New York, NY 10016

KTBARTAI

Executive Director

Giving

the

Dream

Dinen

sion


'l-ltr' \i'nict' llieltttitlt: is t ht, ar'l lr"urlcl's t'ni1t'rl -\trt iorts ittttl ()lr rnlri('s ('{}tltlrirtt'tl.

A Spectacle inVenice


AZAT SARKISSIAN MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE 1997 SLIDE-PROJECTION MIXED MEDIA INSTALLATION

SONIA BALASSANIAN UNTITLED

1996 VIDEO IN5TALLATION

STEPAN VERANIAN UNTITTED

1997 MIXED"MEDIA INSTALLATION

The Armenian Pavilion, besides being a model of Diaspora-Armenia relations, is also a demonstratiorr of limited funds and maximal deter-

The Art Biennale of Venice, considered the most prestigious intemational art exhibition and corn-

petition in the world, invited Annenia to participate for the second time in a row. During the previous Bierurale in 7995, the works of Garen Andreassian and Samvel Baghdasariarr (see AIM. January 1996) rnust have convinced the Biennale directors that Armenian art is "cutting-edge" enough to be included in the forum where eaclr country's artistic capabilities are judged.

The wr"rrks of artists Sonia Balassanian, Atom Egoyan, Annan Grigorian, Azat Sarkissial and Stepan Yaranian said rnuch about Arzrrenia and its culture during the five rnonth exhibition which opened June 15. The Amerrian Center for Contemorary Experimental Art (ACCEA), appointed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia to organize the Annenian Pavilion in the Venice Biennale this year, intentionally chose a mix of works by Diasporan and native artists. Balassanian, born in Iran, is a US citizen. Egoyan, bom in Eg1pt, is a Canadian. Lrdeed, the ACCEA itself is a hybrid.It is registered as a charitable organization in both Yerevan and New York, and runs a center in Yerevan, which provides artists with an outlet for experirnentation.

The comrnissioner and curator of the exhibition was First Deputy Minister of Culture of the Repu-blic of Armenia, Anelka Grigorian. Balassanian and Egoyan used film and r.ideo ima6les to make political staternents. On the other hand, the three from Armenia make person-

al, abstract, social staterrents-Armarr Grigorian on

canvas, and Sarkissian and Vera:rian through multirrredia installations.

mination going a long way. Mthout the huge budgets which make possible rental and construction of pavilions close to the biennale's center, the Arrnenian Ministry of Culture and the ACCEA approached the Mekhitarian Congregation of San Lazzaro, where the pavfion was eventually housed. "Without the Monastery's cooperation, the cost

would have been prohibitive," explains Edward Balasanian, Coordinator of the 1997 Armenian Pavilion Council.

Of course, while the Monastery as venue was financially beneficial, it made access to the pavilion much more difficult. The island, which can only be reached by the boats that make the trip several times a day, nevertheless saw some rrrore tiran1,000 visitors in the first few weeks, among them some of the world's most notable art critics. Housed in tlrree large rooms in the Mekhitarian complex, the message of the pieces didn't escape the viewers. London's Sunday Telegraph

called

it "most haunting" and "moving". The Sunday Tirnes

described Egoyan's and Balassanian's images and concluded, "the his-

torical anguish...is unmissable." "Celebrating Resunection" is how Annenia's First Deputy Minister of Culture, and the Pavilion's Commissioner, described the Pavilion's tone.

It cost $33,000 for Annenia to participate in this 41th Biennale whose grand prize went to a performance artist vrho sat for six ltours each day in a heap of stinking bullock bones, scrubbing one with a brush while wailing a sad tune. One hundred people donated from $5 to $5000 to enable Arrnenia to make an artistic, as well as political statement, in a world forum as important as the politica.l ones which get far more press. Aside from Ceorgia and Russia, Armenia was the orrly county of dre former Soviet Union represented in Venice. The Middle East hardly at all.

November/Decembet

1997 Al ti

45


HAYASTAN FOUNDATION CANADA INC. Caud.inating

the

fmncial mtriburim

of Amian

mmunilizs thmghmt

t\riuilizing and undotahing humnilarinn

{tl

thz

wuld

projecls

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^htpwltwt qntiw4nll wnw2qwn\1p Ltwfhonntplfi nfihgnn dwpquuitultwt qtwqhfiht,

"HAYASTAN" ALL-ARMENIAN FUND - Toronto, Canada INCOME STATEMENT

iF

u,

o o U' :)

zz 1ll -J J

-F (I f

o lr. I.IJ

I F

e

SUPFOITTf,RS

4rh. FOUNDATION

Amrlan Ewgclicd Chnch Hobfriri y

.lMinCM St Ct gory ht ilM,

National Giving - Azgayin Dourk Organization memberships Kantzanag - Piggy Bank

General - Total

,ltu, Catlbllc Clilrch St Mary

Aturian

C,d.rc,lt

llmnian D.@ilic Lib.tol Port,

ScialDeM, H.rchdPorty B.tu|oLnt

Uniil

o @

n

Awnian

M.dicalAMiiliD BobahaY Culturol

Aswiation

Cerdi0ANni6 BBiBs Cowil Haataia Cultu

(,

al,l$@iilio,

Knigh& oJVatun

E

o o o o

E

po o

.o !

F

1996

Icloyaa

bryon I&tiat . dcdneda

1,147.W 20,952.@

$

Office rent Office - tax/maintenance/insurance Office general

$

175,187.66

4,800.00 3,360.00 317.33 7,898.40 5,774.78 530.00 1,522.42

Functions Travel Printing Goods & Services Tax - recovered

1'11,162.06 500.00 1,097.00 31,236.20 34.35 '144,029.61

"Services Received" - Total

$

Total Revenue

$ 199,390.59

4,800.00 3,080.00 80.00 1,362.35 3,471.00 6,420.00 1 ,518.30

$ i

24,202.93

20,731.65 184,761.26

EXPENSES

A. Administrative Postage Telephone & fax and misc. Visa - lmprinter

1,962.38 830 74

Office genaral Wages

931.65 9,500.00

2,316.74 707.56 5.40 2,480.00 138.26

99.28

Bank S/C

Nor gar@Dt

A@iatid Union otMtsh

$

148,688.66 4,400.00

B. Donations - "Services Received"

Administrative - Total

Cdturol,l@iotion Cuttural

$

Functions lnterest

E

.o

1997

REVENUE

A. General

Atuanian Gailral

o o

July 1, 1996 - June 30, 1997 ln Canadian Dollars

PARTICIPANTS

$

$

13,324.05

5,647.96

B. "Servlces Received" Office rent

4,800.00 3,300.00

Offi ce - tax/maintenance/insurance Office general

Functions Travel Printing Goods & Services Tax

"Services Received" - Total

Total Expenses TRANSFERS TO ARMENIA

$ s

4,800.00 3,300.00

353.44

110.1',i

9,211.15 5,667.58 2,554.60 2,566.07

7,524.29 3,480.73 6,210.00 1,558.64

$ $ i t

28.452.U 41,776.E9

$ 156,705.00

I

Net Cash lnflow (Outllow) Opening Cash at Bank - Beginning of Year

Closing Cash at Bank - End of Year

908.70

4,763.32

s2,631.73 143,055.00 (10,925.44

I't,780.09

3,854.62

$

26,983.77

_9____!,!!!{L

Ara BoyaJian, Treasurer

"Hayastan" Alldrmenian Fund, Toronto 280 SHEPPARD AVENUE EAST, SUITE 2I

July 15,1997

I, NORTH YOR& ONTARIO, CANADA, M2N 3BI

Tel: (416) 223-3318 Fax: (416) 223-3532


cqUOU[DSUtt D 4UtUU&UOqUtqULtu qh[fbUot[PGU FONDATION HAYASTAN CANADA INC./HAYASTAN FOUNDATION CANADA INC.

HAYASTAN ALL ARMENIA FUND - Montreal , Canada. lncome Statement (July 1, 1996 -June 30, 1997) REVENUE

A. General Dues Donations Donatron from US "Kantzanag" collection (piggy bank) Functions Sale of Books lnterest Goods & Services Tax - recovered General - Total

1997

1996

c$

c$

106,887 3,711 140,000

131

,713

5,820

628 15.428 132

(3,0e8) 700

315

414

495

--Z67se6-

13q549

B. Donations - "Services Received" Office - auditing, insurance Postage Printing Services - Total

1,000 508 2,000 3,508

o

Total Revenue

271,104

135.549

EXPENSES A. Administrative Office Rent Office Furniture Printing & Stationery Postage Telephone & Fax Advertising lnsurance Office - legal, auditing

Wages Bank Returned items Bank Servlce Charge Administrative - Total B. Services Received Office - legal, auditing Postage Printing ServiCes Received - Total

C. Transfer to Armenia

Total Expenses

3,756

-

1,015

2,572

1,776 1,645 1,143

2,282 1

2,704

,5.19

1,666

5,753

'1,000

60 684 185

830 400 122

---nd,s22

12Se0'

1,000

s08 2,000 3,508

0

264,073

124,105

280,171

140,627

cASH SURPLUS(DEFTCTT)

(e,067)

(s,078)

Cash/Bank at beginning of period Cash/Bank at end of period

23,054

28,132 23,054

13,988

Hayastan" All-Armenia Fund, Montreal Herair Amirian Treasurer 2340 CH. LUCERNE, #30, V.M.R., QUE. CANADA H3R 2J8

TEL.: p1a)

738â‚Źs(n

.

FAX 614 738-35iX)


Nune Yesayan sings folk and ethnographic

American

CD. The Soviet

Union's most

popular jazz

artist

songs,

has

been living

For all those on-

the-wrong-sideof-forty-and-getting-nostalgic-for-

entirely contemp orary, orchestrated compilation of songs. Without forgetting her music's deep

works by Antionio Carlos Joabim, Rogers and Hammerstein, Charley

roots, Nune acknowledges and performs

Self-Awareness. It's a badly packaged audio cas-

,r-;B'I#3,.: ,*_ rtili*1,,rJ.Tl,i,Jf

sette featuring the

The Hamazkayin recording of Arpine and

chosen songs are well-delivered as well.

Here, classic folk songs and religious chants are presented side by side. Nine selections, one more beautiful than the other.

,r, ffJ,Tl,ful:llifi *glTf11?.:13i'Ji

audi-

ence.

No

classical

music lover can have too

Armenian Romance Songs is a must-have for any collector. Traditional pieces such as Ganatchiat's Oror are performed by mother and daughter, accompanied by Gloria Mikaelian. As important a place as these songs have in the Armenian musical repertory, it is surprising that they haven't been available heretofore in one

packaged and presented with beautiful liner notes. There's only one problem: there's nothing Armenian about it, except the performers. As producer Harold Hagopian himself writes, this "album will undoubtedly prove confusing, in fact

Tladitional Crossroads P.O. Box 20320 Greeley Square Station

NewYork, NY 10001 $15 plus $3.00 s/h

Considering there aren't that many female Armenian singers in any genre. this year is a bonanza. Ballads from the Black Sea is Datevik Hovanessian's first

Garni Distribution 207 S. Orange

Glendale, CA9l204 $15.00 plus $3 s/h

The CD is called Van,

but

Mannik

Grigorian's passionate delivery of

22

Armenian refugees of the Genocide who either performed or were entertained in the saloons and bars of Manhattan.

the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Loris Tjeknavorian is not to be missed.

Hamazkayin Music Committee 3945 Karen Lynn Drive Glendale, CA 91206 $15 plus $3 s/h in U$ plus $5 infl

the on-the-wrong-side-of-sixty crowd.

to many." All

Khachaturian. The all-Armenian CD featuring pianist Dora Serviarian Kuhn with

place.

Armenians on 8th Avenue is fun, well-

Turkish songs were common Armenian fare early this century, especially for

recordings. Especially of

Elisabeth Pehlivanian's renderings of

There's another recording which fits into the nostalgia category, but this one is for

48 Atrn

ern

many

incomparable, heavenly voice of tenor Gevorg Hunanian. It's rare when well-

even controversial

for the mod-

exPerience'

there is a wonderful cassette called

an

in the US for nearly a decade, and she has been loyal to her art. Her fans will be pleased to hear this rich, throaty born improviser perform

Parker, and one Komitas selection, providing an exciting and unusual listening

Dad's-music,

too.

But hers is

both timeless

classics and less familiar melodies will be loved by everyone. As popular as ethnographic songs are, there aren't many good recordings of these earthy, rhythmic songs. This addition to the MEG Recordings catalog is rich without being ostentatious. For those who like their music served unadul-

terated, you can't get simpler and truer than this. P.o. Box

or, .

If your

idea of Christmas shopping is going through catalogs around midDecember in a mad panic, you'll feel right at home with the St. Vartan Gift and Book Shop catalog. The book shop of the Armenian Diocese in New York has produced 24 fill color pages featuring necklaces, vases, crosses, cards, posters,

wall hangings and--books. Lots of

""-#*$,tT11Ti; $15.00 plus $2.00 s/h

books.


different Armenian artists from Iran). Most important as a phenomenon, this coffee-table book will be an eye-opener for some, a nostalgic return to another era for many. Alice Navasargian labored for years to gather in one volume works

which are varied, by artists who are nevto an understanding of the evolution of what was the largest and most stable community of Armenians outside Armenia. ertheless important

Not into any of that? How about T-shirts featuring the striking artwork of Zadik Zadikian. Or a child's drawing of the Armenian tricolor, entitled "Armenian in

Iran-Armenia

ings of Ayvazovsky and the words of William Saroyan, paperweight khachkars and monuments, alphabet penholders carved out of stone are only some of the hundreds of gift items (some kitschy, others

truly authentic and beautiful). St. Vartan B"oot Sho? New York. New York 10016

J;rfff;

207 S. Brand, Suite 203

Training." And there are note cards with children's drawings from the State Center for the Aesthetic Education of Armenia (50 cents each). The list is almost endless. Who gets the necklaces made of garnet, amber, agate or a number of other semi-precious stones, crosses of brass and bronze. Posters of the marine paint-

."U""

Glendale, CA9l204 $75.00 ptus $4.00 s/h

Armenian or English contains the wide variety of writing that has made Ararat a valuable venue and archive for nearly 40 years. Edited by Leo Hamalian, each issue is a gold mine of poetry, fiction, memoir and short story. The book reviews are many and lengthy, and the occasionally featured art work is usually among the finest. The Summer 1997

issue, featuring the work of Marcos Grigorian on the cover is typical of Ararat's form and content. A gift subscription will make you, and the receiver, very happy.

i,:$1i.ftl:

*"*

There isn't one photographer who has been to Karabakh and doesn't talk about the volume of photographs s/he wants to publish one day. Hrair Khacherian did it. After 4 trips, he compiled a lengthy volume of moving and honest photographs depicting the life and struggle of the people of Karabakh. Unusual in their beautiful design and high picture quality, both books benefited from the professional experience and personal commitment of

"*u'*)o"rr11'11?

of Montreal, whose possible the excellent AA Graphics made quality to both these necessary color

Razmig Hakimian

works. Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian APostoric

"tHt#i,^#iff

New York,

I{Y

10016

If you

are looking for

something that will delight both children and adults alike, look no further than Toys, published by the

Narod

Armenian Children's Institute. Toys

is a unique color notecard series featuring photographs of wooden toys hand-crafted by sculptor Kardash Onnig. The toys themselves are of traditional Armenian design and ajoy to view by children of all ages. Toys arrives as a set of ten cards, each

featuring one of five different toys (two per toy). The cards and envelopes are perfect as gifts, or as holiday cards to send to your friends.

The harvest of art books is as inviting and compelling as ever. Last year's Stream of Fire and Minas are still available. This year, there is also lran-Armenia Golden Bridges (200 color reproductions of 50

$30.fi) Plus $4.00 s/h

If

content is more important that form,

The Narod Institute 1220 N. Cedar St. Glendale, CA9I207 nacci @earthlink.net $18.fi) per set

the AGBU Ararat Literary Quarterly is for you. No other publication in either

Arn

49


THESE ARE REAL LETTERS

To the Los Angeles Times

TO REAL PEOPLE. SEND US YOURS.

Congratulations on your completion service! Bari galoost America to you who have come home. May the force be with those who are staying and working in

of

Hayastan..

Further congratulations

to

Frank,

Art, Dave, Eli, Rose and your Hayastantsi spouses. May you have wonderful lives As a high school student, I attended many football games at Birmingham High School in Southern California. Two years ago, when with my friends, we saw a guy in the stands, not filming the game but filming the mascot--called Joe Brave [a caricature of a Native American male

warriorl. We asked him what he was doing. He explained that, as a Native

together.

This past year of re-adapting to the

USA has been both challenging rewarding. One night

and

I

woke up craving one of those Yerevan-street rotisserie chickens in the worst way. Availability of McDonald's consoled me in no way whatsoever. Funny how it goes, cheh?

you travel down Bryn's

will

pass

Dvin Jewelers, Nanor Prints and Eastern Lahmejune. You can even stop in at Aram's Cafe and ask, " Mi hat surch kareli e?" and they will know what you mean. You will feel right at home as you hear

the staff behind the counter yelling

at

each other in Armenian. If you go one block over from Bryn's

house to Mount Auburn street, you can find peanut butter at Sevan Bakery, Arax Market, and Massis Bakery. Mount Auburn Street even has electric trolley buses. The trolley rods do not fall off of their wires, but I am working on that. Remember those rotisserie chickens we

Restaurant.

if

Joe Brave bothered her, she said of course it did, but that nobody here cares about how we or any Native Americans feel. Although proud to be a Birmingham High School sports fan for two years, I began to understand the Native American viewpoint. Now reading about the hatred expressed

If

street in the other direction, you

used to buy off the street in Yerevan? Well they are available within walking distance of Bryn's house at the Ararat

American, the mascot bothered him and that he was documenting the behavior. To be honest with you, we didn't understand. When I asked my friend of

Native American descent

Art Studio.

So anyway, Bryn and I visit the Armenian Library and Museum of America and the director says, "We were

just talking about Peace Corps. An Perhaps the most interesting part of this year has been the Diaspora. I am talking about Retired Peace Corps Volunteers Armenian Diaspora. When I first got home to Massachusetts, there was just

RPCV named Elaine Dickey is volunteering here part time. She comes here by bus two days per week." We did learn that

myself and first-year volunteer Brian

Albert already spent two full days at ALMA before he ever accepted his invitation to serve in Armenia. Albert jan,

I didn't learn much about Native in high school. The little

Tenney and his wife Astghik. Six months later Teresa Kornegay moves here from

you are way ahead of us. When I asked Ruzan which experi-

Texas (husband Armen arrived a month ago.) Then Genevieve comes out from

ence

knowledge I did gain was from my friend, television and movies. I do know, however, that "honoring" people against their will is wrong. I also know that if a school used my people-Armenians-as a mascot, it wouldn't last 44 years, it would last 4 seconds. Being somebody's mascot is insulting even if the people dancing around think it is OK. I am horrified to

Colorado and lands a job at St. James Armenian Church in Watertown, MA"Diaspora Central". Last week I picked up the phone to hear, "Inchpes es aghber jan?" lt is Art Queenan calling from his home in Worcester to tell me about a lecture he attended at the Knights of Vartan.

translates to Whore Corporation in Armenian. Those dirty rotten capitalists. Not only do they have prostitution, but

Bryn Johnson then calls and announces he has relocated to MA. But it gets better:

they even incorporate protection.

think what an American public school would do with an Armenian mascot.

Without realizing it, Bryn has relocated right into the heart of Diaspora land! Bryn's house is right next door to Hagop's

toward Native American activists, I understand what my friend was going through and why she didn't dare say a word.

Americans

Richard Demirjian

50

Al

rU

November/December 1997

in America has surprised her the

most thus far, she said it was when Art's father offered to prepare lunch for the

whole family. During dinner, Art was

talking about a company called

Bose

Corporation which, as Bryn reminded us,

it.

Talk about using

Best regards, Donald Flumerfeltian


ffi Isl: 626,564.4200 Fox: 626.564.4221

6{-70 lllast Unlon Slreal Old Posodeno

(ollfomlo 91103


SPIRIIUAT SINGING Armenia is proposing to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that 1998 be the year of sacred music festivals, in order to build spiritual bridges amongst peoples.

The first such bridge was built in Cyprus last Easter, when the Festival of Sacred Music fbcused primarily on the chants of the orthodox churches ofAnnenia and Russia. Under the patronage of the First Lady of Cyprus, Lilla Irene Clerides, the Moscow Armenian Acappella Choir, directed by Nelli Antreassian, sang at Kolossi Castle. The Pharos Charitable Trust organized the event, as well as

a later

performance

of

the

Chi I ingirian String Quartet.

RENEWAT It isn't the year 2001 just yet, but the Armenian Church has already to note the l700th anniversary of the acceptance of

begun

Christianity as a state religion. The celebrations began with an exhibition of "The Treasures of the Armenian Church" at Moscow's State Museum in thc Krernlin. The exhibition, under the joint patronage of Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians, and Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, had the cooperation of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian Ministry of Culture. as well as the Armenian Embassy in Moscow, and the Diocese of Russia and New-Nakhichevan of the Arrnenian Church. This is the first of over a dozen exhibitions and programs scheduled around the world highlighting Armenian architecture, manuscripts. arl and music.

I

a

52 Atl

The lirst pilgrimage to Armenia and its three diocese took place in August, with the participation of over I50 lay people and clergy, led by the Executive Secretary of the l700th Anniversary Committee, Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The 100 pilgrims were accompanied by nearly two dozen clergy from North Arnerica, Europe and the Middle East. They made all the important slops from the Monastery o1'Geghard to the Matenadaran and Lake Sevan. and "renewed their awareness of and taith in the Armenian Apostolic Christian tradition," according to Archbishop Hovnan Dcrdcrian of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Canada.


lrnderexnosed I

x

GTtlRY tlil SAI.E During Soviet times, there was a medal for everything the state wished to encourage. Had more than five children? Fought in the last war? Taught school for several decades? Brought pride to the great fatherland with athletic prowess? There were medals for all-much coveted, proudly displayed. Today, they are displayed still, but notjust on chests. Oddly enough, where they used to be worn on special national days, out of a sense

of respect, today they are worn, sometimes daily, by those who yearn for the old days these medals represent. For others, the medals have no significance, except as collector's items, or as a source of much-needed income. At the Vernissage outdoor crafts fair, tourists and others can pick them up for as little as 500 drams (or one dollar). Of course, the more valuable Lenin's star and other medals cost more-as high as $25 even.

Ntl GHANGES Discussions about the administrative unity of the Armenian church in North America may be (and sometimes may not be)

ongoing. But routine matters like ordination of clergymen, acquisition of property and church-related activities go on.

Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate of the Western Diocese (See of Ejmiatsin) of the Armenian Apostolic Church, recently completed a move into spacious, centrally located quarters in Burbank, California, to serve the huge community in Southern California. At the same time, the Western Prelacy (See of

Cilicia) saw the ordination of its prelate Very I o

Reverend

Mushegh Mardirosian (right) as Bishop. The representative of the Cilician See in Canada, the former Very Reverend Khajag Hagopian (left), too, was elevated during the same ceremony in Antilias in June.

November/December

1997 Al M

53


essav

become Haigazian University, and that it is returning to its former base in Sanayegh-near the public garden, and the Central Bank of Lebanon, where our gold (if we had any) is still kept. Those hotels which are operational are full, even though rooms cost $300 to $500 per night.

St. George's Yacht and Motor Club is open and welcomes annual memberships at $500. The food and service is impeccable. Chez Andre's French Bistrot has reopened, again. After getting blown up twice. it is still where old friends meet with their families. Andre died last year, but his cousin takes care of the bistrot with the same family smile and charm.

The sign on the Beirut International Airport building

reads

"Welcome to Lebanon."

We certainly felt welcome as we passed through the passpot office with its new computers. As the passport official stamped our passports, he looked at our faces-my wife Aida's and mine. They judge your heavy luggage contents by looking at your lovely face. Just don't tell them you have 50 shirts from London's Marks and Spencer Department Store, for dear relatives you haven't seen in a decade. Just cut off the labels and they will not mind. It's just that Marks and Sparks, as they are known in the Arab world, is still allegedly on the black list. But most "Marks and Sparks" customers visiting London come from the Arab countries anyway. Then, we got on the road. Traffic in Beirut is not too bad when school is not in session. It's hell on earth, when schools are open. Food, delicious food, is abundant and everywhere. There is Jermuk, bottled mineral water imported from Armenia. It's good for the indigestion after those heavy meals. There are American cigarettes-75 cents to a dollar in all the shops. A bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label is $ I 8.00. That's not all that's cheap. The best Cuban cigars can be found throughout the city, and the freshest are at the airport.

Churches are full of believers. Families visit their dead every Monday, still hoping for a lasting peace. The best news was the

54 AIi

November/De.ember'1997

that Haigazian College has

Cleanliness is next to godliness, and Beirut is quite heavenly. Despite all the construction work going on, the streets are unbelievably sanitary. A city sweeper is paid approximately $100 per month, but at least he has

a

job.

Finally, most surprising, cigarette smoking has dwindled, but the nargile, the famous Arabic water pipe, has made a place for itself, especially among the well-to-do. No ethnic discrimination. Shiite women, with their shawls covering their hair, and Armenian women, too, puff away on the hubble-bubbles in open restaurants. Makes me want to retire there.

Text and photos by

Harry Koundakjian


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Kerkorian's Newest Bold Venture - November/December 1997  

Armenian International Magazine | Kerkorian's Newest Bold Venture - November/December 1997

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