Kashatagh in Focus Again

“By decision of the Artsakh government today, the leader of the administration of the Kashatagh area, Hamlet Khachatryan, was removed from office,” Martuni or Bust!!! reports, adding that “there is a good chance that the investigation initiated by the Artsakh government could yield results and possible criminal charges against those responsible for the depopulation of the region.”
SASSNA DZRER follows up saying, that at this point it is too early to see any positive changes. To remind the reader in an earlier post I have covered the issue here as well:

Calls for protecting the interests of the “Kashatagh, the region between Artsakh and Armenia has been depopulating due to very bad governing of the region by a well connected government official”remained in focus of attention thanks to Martuni or Bust and SASSNA DZRER).

"To go or not to go?" – Eternal Argument of Young Armenian Emigrants

I have been meeting some Armenians in London recently, and always the discussions came round to the issue of immigrating to the UK. Although in all these discussions I was strongly pushing against any Armenians emigrating from Armenia, I have to admit, that deep inside, in my subconsciousness, I have been considering the possibility of immigrating to the UK myself. God! I can’t believe I just said this! Strangely enough, when I was just regaining peace with myself there came some posts in the Armenian blogosphere, that made me think again.

First came the post by Bekaisa about the importance of living in Armenia and being part of the thing called Hayastan (Armenia) and being a part of the culture called Hayastanci (Armenian):

 

To be հայաստանցի [Armenian],to preserve and reproduce the specific “type” and identity of a person living in Armenia, is much more important, then to look after and try to follow the diasporas dissolving into the globalized world. To reproduce ourselves, to blend in all those who want to live in this country, become its citizens, serve in its army, pay social dues for its elders and orphans, create values, bring up children and most of all, fight for the better future of this country regardless your “ethnicity”, subculture and religion.

 

Bekaisa is not against emigration – it is freedom to choose for everyone… however, there is a myth the needs to be addressed she says, there is this legend, that many of those emigrating from Armenia insist on, claiming, that the best way to be useful for Armenia and the people in this country, is to live outside and help from there: with money, assistance, etc. That is a legend Bekaisa insists, as the physical, spiritual and mental presence in this country, on the long term, are the only way to go if we are to support and develop that which is called “Armenian”: a system of ethnicity, values, society…

 

A very interesting post followed from Albertus and a repost of an earlier entry by Bekaisa, which came to enhance the already vigorous debate on her blog. The points made by Albertus (claiming that the main driving force behind emigration from Armenia is the natural desire to find a place that is more comfortable) are summerized in the end of his post, where he tries to define the various myths of those going, coming, going and coming and all the other way around:

 

The man is unhappy with his life in Armenia, but has no possibility of leaving, so he announces, that he is staying here because of his patriotism.
There is a possibility of leaving the country – so he goes, but promises to come back as soon as possible.
Unable to settle THERE – convinces everyone, that he doesn’t regret about anything, and that he is preserving his hayutyun [being Armenian] and is helping the relatives in Yerevan.
Having decided to return in the end, because of lack of any perspectives THERE, presents his return as a great heroic act.

OK, I guess I qualify for the last point here 😀

Your everyday table water – dangerous?

Remember the main slogan used by Jermuk: “Your everyday table water”? Well – maybe its not such a good idea to drink it every day! A large number of Armenian bloggers yesterday and today posted, about the US FDA warning to the consumers not to drink “Jermuk” brand Mineral Water. Reporter_Arm has a direct link to the FDA site with the warning. Jermuk group have denied that there might be arsenic in their water, so now Armenian consumers can decide who to trust: FDA or Jermuk?

Human Rights in Armenia

Kornelij Glas has posted the section about Armenia from Human Rights report released by Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Here’s the introductory paragraph, for the rest see Kornelij’s blog:

Armenia, with a population of approximately 3.2 million, is a republic. The constitution provides for a popularly elected president (Robert Kocharian) and a unicameral legislature (National Assembly). A constitutional referendum in 2005 and presidential and National Assembly elections in 2003 were seriously flawed and did not meet international standards. The country has a multiparty political system. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces; members of the security forces committed a number of human rights abuses.

The second part of the report, starting from the section of “Societal Abuses and Discrimination” and dealing mostly with Minority issues can be found here.

International Women's Day 2007

Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls

“Violence against women has yet to receive the priority attention and resources needed at all levels to tackle it with the seriousness and visibility necessary.”

Secretary-General’s in-depth study on
violence against women (2006)
(A/61/122/Add.1)

Source: IWD 2007
While for many people in Armenia, this day has lost its old flavor and color, I find it a privilege to greet women on this “major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women” and wish all the best, success and happiness!

About Rallies, Demonstrations and the Right to Assembly

Uzogh has an interestingly skeptical viewpoint on the recent political demonstrations and events held in Yerevan, hinting, that their hopes for becoming the Armenian version of Kmara (civic resistance movement in the republic of Georgia which undermined the government of then president of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze) will fail. The blogger writes:

I have always been amazed by the yearning of people to protest on the street. Everyone knows, that demonstrations, in their essence, are pointless when it comes to fighting evil […] demonstrations, rallies, protests and all those sorts of things organized by the politically marginal groups have but one aim – to show off.[…] You can spend your time finding euphemisms for naming the process of gathering protesting youth – calling all that as Alternative, Barekendan, defence of Shirayr Sefilyan’s rights and fight for preserving architectural monuments. However, they will never become anything more then “representatives of various non-governmental organizations”.

Uzogh then speculates, that the people organizing such events represent marginalized viewpoints, lack substantial backing and force (also hinting, that their main purpose is to receive grants from organizations like “Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, European Union, National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, USAID, and the Council of Europe“), which is why Armenia’s government and the police don’t pay much attention to them, “thank God”, he adds…
Interestingly, Bekaisa, who is one of the organizers of the events tagged “marginals” in the mentioned post, has preferred to stay clear of discussions, although her one sentence post: “Yes, but there must be a way.” was perceived by Uzogh as an attempt to answer him.

Armenia – the Land of Free Media?

A weekly live broadcast of questions and answers in the National Assembly has been ruled unconstitutional by Armenia’s Constitutional Court. Source:ArmeniaNow

Anoush Armenia has a short comment and even a shorter question on the issue – but it is so eloquent!!!

and my favorite part:

Alexan Harutyunyan the chairman of the Public Television and Radio Council, considers the court’s ruling to be fair. He says it helps to improve the general quality of the legislation governing media by bringing it closer to conformity with European standards.

what???

OK then – now we have free media in Armenia! (I’m being sarcastic here, ok?) So anyway, free does not always mean – responsible. Rubywedge is considering the latest rumors associated with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and widely discussed in the Armenia media, and suggests, hearing something bad about somebody, to make sure you hear both sides, and just in case, reassures his respect for Bill Gates:

Recently some news agencies ran a story stating that 100 of the United States’ leading entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, sent a letter to President Bush calling on him to put pressure on Congress to not recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Concerning to this I am authorized to state: “Bill Gates has not signed any such letter. Microsoft Corporation and its chairman, Bill Gates, were not aware that any such letter existed and cannot comment as to its contents, origin, purpose or signatories.”

Microsoft RA
Country Manager
Grigor Barseghyan

Uzogh also joins in to express his discontent about the recent Armenian newspaper coverage of the false allegations. Sharing the editorial from Haikakan Zhamanak, where the journalist having the false letter as his has built up a large article discussing the possible US Government involvement in drafting such a letter.

Tribute to Hrant Dink


“A collection of photos and feelings, honoring the latest martyr of the Armenian Genocide” from hovikdyadya.
Hrant Dink, an Armenian-Turkish editor, was slain in Istanbul in January. Hyelog has republished articles on the 40th day after Hrant Dink’s burrial here and here. Google video and Youtube have many more videos on the sad occasion.

Armenian bloggers demand justice

Social justice was in focus of Armenian bloggers’ interest not just in virtual, but also in real life. It is no secret, that there are prominent Armenian bloggers among the organizers of the “part joke, part serious” exhibition held on March 4th, 2007 and the exhibit was actively (photo)covered in the blogosphere.

Կես կատակ, կես լուրջ ցուցահանդես ©  ֆոտո Նվարդ Երկանյանի (Азура), Երևան, 2007

part joke, part serious exhibition © photo by Nvard Yerkanyan (Azura), Yerevan, 2007
According to CRD / TI Armenian Election Monitor 2007:

[…]the round part was divided into two sections: part serious and part joke. A note attached to the hand saying “You are your own weapon” was compulsory for those willing enter the serious section. This part of the exhibit featured posters with news about Jirayr Sefilyan’s arrest, inhabitants of Buzand street displaced from their houses, the “refurbishment” of the city and other problems.[…]
[…]As a whole the main goal of the organizers was to raise peoples’ awareness about the importance of media and freedom of speech. That is essentially what many of the young people were busy with [i.e. freedom of speech] by writing down their ideas on the “Don’t keep it inside” leaflets.[…]

While one of the organizers of the event, Bekaisa is discussing what worked and what didn’t at the event, bloggers continue discussing the issues reflected in the exhibition. Narjan has drawn attention to the fact, that the attempts of the Danish police to relocate some homeless people from the center of the city to the suburbs (which makes sense according to the blogger) has resulted in public protests, and compares the situation with Armenia, where legitimate owners of houses are thrown out of their land and the public at large does nothing about it. Martuni or Bust writes about the issue with a great deal of frustration this time, thereby proposing his own approach for the solution of the problems of displaced homeowners.

[…]ALL those bulidings that were built by illigal means need to be confiscated from those criminals who today have the luxury of the protection from the law of Robert Kocharian and his criminal gang and given to the people who owned the land they stand on. All those that purchased houses and commercial space in those new buildings can go after those that sold them the stolen property. This is on our to-do list and even if it is 30 years from now will happen.[…]

Calls for protecting the interests of the “Kashatagh, the region between Artsakh and Armenia has been depopulating due to very bad governing of the region by a well connected government official”remained in focus of attention thanks to Martuni or Bust and SASSNA DZRER). The Armenian Economsit has also looked at the governance in the rural areas, noting a lot of positive developments as the investments in the sphere increase. However, the blogger has many important questions as to what really will be the results of the recent trends:

[…]Undoubtedly the commercialization of the agriculture sector has great benefits. [Not sure how many commercial entities are engaged in this sector, but I assume ownership is highly concentrated.] It is potentially more efficient and cost effective to cultivate the land by commercial entities than by the farmers and villagers each with their own small plots. But is there a risk that the latter will be (are already) displaced, thereby exacerbating rural poverty? Are the commercial entities truly more productive? Is anyone writing on the subject?[…]

The Fun Side of Armenian Elections

There are funny sides to the Armenian Elections – a lot of them, as a matter of fact! The uncharted zone for example sees “Prosperious Armenia” (Bargavach Hayastan) as a “quick and inexpensive method of carrying out a national census in Armenia”. 🙂
Kornelij Glas looks at the “Father of all Armenians spread out throughout theUniverse, Ara Abrahamyan“(the head of the Union of Armenians of Russia and the World Armenian Congress), who like “Abraaham, who brought his son to sacrifice”, has “sacrificed his brothers for the well being of the Fatherland. The first one – Armen – was laid on the Altar of “Prosperous Armenia’s” party list, the other one – Gagik, like a God’s Sheep is forfeited to the Republican Party”.
However the biggest pre-electoral humor news came via Bekaisa’s report about the editor of the “Comedy Club” popular Russian humor show, humorist Garik Martirosyan, who has registered to run for Parliament on the United Libratory National Party (ULNP) proportional list. I’ve embedded a “Comedy Club” video with Garik Martirosyan in case you don’t know who he is:
From Youtube, via Kishbek

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