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Tuesday, 26 November 2013


Volume # 8, Issue # 222

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Official Organ of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party

Is the White House so Scared of Turkey That it՝ Won't Even Hang a Rug? ՊԱՇՏՕՆԱԹԵՐԹ ՌԱՄԿԱՎԱՐ ԱԶԱՏԱԿԱՆ ԿՈՒՍԱԿՑՈՒԹԵԱՆ By: J. DANA STUSTER In 1926, Vartoohi Galezian -- a 15-year-old refugee from the genocide in Armenia -- arrived at the White House to pay a visit to President Calvin Coolidge. She had come to view the rug she and 1,400 other orphans living in Ghazir -- then part of mandate Syria, now in Lebanon -- had woven as a gift to the United States in thanks for the humanitarian assistance provided to the refugees of the ethnic cleansing of Armenians during World War I. In June 1995, the Ghazir rug, a huge, beautiful work exemplary of the Middle East's legendary weaving traditions, was shown once more to Galezian and her family, but it's now been more than 17 years since the White House has displayed what has come to be known as the Armenian orphan rug. Now it is unclear when the rug will ever be shown again. The rug is now caught in a tug-of-war with historians and Armenian advocates on one side pulling for the rug to be displayed and the White House on the other, which seems reticent to release the rug for an exhibit. Many suspect the White House of kowtowing to Turkey, which refuses to describe the

The Ghazir Rug

RAG MAMOUL receives material from around the world and in many languages. Our Liberal principles advocate ‘Freedom of speech’ as a mainstay of our beliefs; consequently the subjects and ideas presented will not necessarily reflect our point of view. All published material is reviewed, however, we rely on the kind understanding of our audience when grammatical and spelling mistakes are missed. And in some rare cases, correction of submitted material is purposely not addressed, if it changes the implied context of the author.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Volume # 8, Issue # 222

deaths of 1.5 million Armenians as a genocide and objects to the display of Armenian artifacts -- and the implicit acknowledgement of Turkey's responsibility in the 20th century's first large-scale ethnic cleansing. But the rug has powerful supporters, who are now pushing a White House loathe to antagonise Turkey to put the rug on display. As strange as it sounds, the memory of a nearly century-old genocide is now being litigated over the future fate of a rug. For a time, it looked like the rug would be shown next month at a book launch event for a book about the rug's history, but the White House declined to exhibit it. "We regret that it was not possible to loan it out for this event," Laura Lucas Magnuson, assistant press secretary for the National Security Council, told Foreign Policy. "Displaying the rug for only half a day in connection with a private book launch event, as proposed, would have been an inappropriate use of U.S. government property, would have required the White House to undertake the risk of transporting the rug for limited public exposure, and was not viewed as commensurate with the rug's historical significance." But some suspect the decision was motivated by political expediency as much as concerns about finding the right setting for the rug. The rug is a symbol of the expulsion of the collapsing Ottoman Empire's Armenian population in 1915, which left 1.5 million dead and hundreds of thousands displaced -- an event that most historians consider the first genocide of the modern era. The devastating effects of the deaths and displacement prompted the first concerted effort at U.S. international humanitarianism with the establishment of Near East Relief, an early precursor to USAID. But Turkey adamantly denies that the

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Volume # 8, Issue # 222

ethnic cleansing meets the legal definition of genocide, which requires that the effort to wipe out a population be "deliberate and systematic," claiming instead that the Armenians were victims of widespread upheaval in a country in turmoil. The use of the term "genocide" -- and anything that draws attention to the deportations, massacres, and death marches -- is a loaded political issue in relations with Turkey. "It is very hard to believe that politics doesn't have anything to do with the White House's abrupt refusal to loan the carpet to the Smithsonian" for the book launch, said Keith Watenpaugh, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who has written extensively about U.S. humanitarianism among Armenian survivors. "This explanation strikes me as after the fact -- and not terribly persuasive. Artifacts from official collections are brought out for special occasions all the time. It is not unusual for meaningful pieces of art or special documents to be displayed for short periods." Watenpaugh has started a petition asking for the White House to reconsider displaying the rug. In a separate effort, 31 members of Congress have sent a letter to the White House urging it to "release this American treasure for exhibition" but have not received a response. "If the White House doesn't release the rug to be shown at the Smithsonian, it's my intention to put together an event on the Hill at which the rug could be shown," Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and a coauthor of the letter, told FP by phone Thursday. That event, which Schiff said could be held as soon as January, would focus on U.S. humanitarian efforts and the "circumstances that led to the making of the rug." As to whether he thought the White House's refusal to show the rug was motivated by concerns over Turkish sensitivities, Schiff noted that it would be evident if the White House changes its policy for future events. "We'll see soon enough," he said.

Keith Watenpaugh

Rep. Adam Schiff

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Volume # 8, Issue # 222

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Regardless of the terminology involved, the rug has a fascinating history. It was woven by a girls' orphanage in the town of Ghazir, about 20 miles north of Beirut, that housed 1,400 girls and was funded through the sale of woven rugs and contributions from Near East Relief, a U.S. development charity that provided support to Armenian refugees. The sprawling rug -- 11 by 18 feet -- contains 4,404,206 knots and is intricately patterned with animals, plants, and arabesques. It was presented to President Coolidge on December 4, 1925, in advance of a Near East Relief donation drive. The rug stayed in the White House until Coolidge left office, at which point it went with him to Northampton, Mass. It was passed down through the family and given back to the White House collection in 1982. "The Ghazir rug is a reminder of the close relationship between the peoples of Armenia and the United States," Lucas Magnuson wrote by email. It is also "a symbol of the immense generosity that the American people once demonstrated to the children of the Middle East," Watenpaugh told FP. "It is a superb work of art and a poignant reminder of a time when the relationship between America and the Middle East was much different from today and built around education, humanitarian relief, and cooperation. Today, as millions more children are suffering because of the war in Syria, we have the right to remember that history and an obligation to rekindle our tradition of compassion." But, for now, that history will stay locked away. Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Armenia Fund will host the 16th International Telethon on, November 28, 2013. Proceeds from the Telethon will benefit the construction of the Vartenis to Martakert Highway – linking the northern regions of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. The highway will help link villages and cities and will promote socioeconomic development, boost trade, and cooperation in both countries regions.



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RAG MAMOUL an ADL PUPLICATION Official Organ of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party Editor in Chief ASSADOUR DEOVLETIAN Editorial Staff ALINE BALIAN (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) HAGOP CHAMKERTENIAN (Sydney, Australia) DIANA DER GARABEDIAN (Buenos Aires, Argentine) SEVAG HAGOPIAN (Beirut, Lebanon) GACIA JEGHALIAN (Cairo, Egypt) Dr. MINAS KOJAYAN (Los Angeles, USA) HAYG NACCASHIAN (Montreal, Canada) GARABED SAYABALIAN (Marseille, France) Administrator ANAHID CHEOREKJIAN Tel: +374 77 00 22 11 Fax: +1 647 435 0800 Email:

Hayg Nahabed and other Armenian Legends introduces young readers to the legendary Armenian heroes like: Hayg Nahabed, Vahakn the Dragon Killer, Dork Ankegh, Ara the Handsome, and King Dikran Yervantian. Edited By: Sevag Hagopian Illustrated By: David Bedrossian

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Tuesday 26 11 13, volume # 8, issue # 222  

RAG MAMOUL’s aim is to produce, broadcast and publish a digital communication journal that will be distributed throughout a vast network of...

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