Armenia Diaspora Society

Hayastan All Armenian Fund Raises Record Breaking US $35 Million at Annual Telethon

Hayastan All Armenian Fund has raised a record 35 009 156 USD during the annual Telethon 2008. With 35 009 156 USD, more than doubling the amount raised last year. The funds raised during the Telethon 2008 will go towards the revival of border villages in Armenia and Artsakh.
Russia-based Armenian businessman Samvel Karapetian  has pledged $15 million, which will be used to construct a hospital in Stepanakert.
Other major donors include VivaCell-MTS, Mikael Vardanyan, Samvel Aleksanyan, Eduardo Eurnekian, Gagik Adibekyan, Varujan Grigoryan, Gagik Zakaryan, Norik Petrosyan, Barsegh Beglaryan, Aram Kocharyan, Khachik Manukyan, Karapet Aleksanyan.
In the days leading to the Telethon, a number of fundraising activities were organized around the world including phoneathons held in France, Argentine and New York, fundraising bike-ride, radiothon, galas, and charity concerts.
Among dignified guests were President of Nagorno-Karabakh Bako Sahakyan, Primate of the Artsakh Diocese Archbishop Pargev, Hayastan All Armenian Fund Acting Executive Director Ara Vardanyan, other benefactors and public figures.
Armenia’s wealthiest businessman – Gagik Tsarukyan, again hasn’t stepped in with any kind of significant contribution.


Armenia – a World Chess Superpower!

“The Armenian chess team is again the strongest in the world. Armenian chess players beat the Chinese team with the score 2.5:1.5 at the World Chess Olympiad held in Dresden, thus retaining the Champions title. Armenia had first gained the title in 2006.” A1plus blog has commented on the national team’s victory, adding – “It turns out that our tiny Armenia is in fact a Chess Superpower. Well done our boys…”
The 2008 Chess Olympiad was constantly in the center of Pataphysicus blog’s attention, which kept its readers updated with the latest news and analyses on the course of the games. The blog had special coverage on the 11th – final round of the Olympiad – providing fresh updates nearly every 20 minutes. No wonder that at 17:50, it was one of the first to announce with joy: “Armenia is the Olympic Champion. Congratulations to us all”.
Over the next hours Armenian bloggers flooded the internet with congratulations and highlighted the names of victorious generals of bloodless chess-wars: Levon Aronian, Vladimir Hakobian, Tigran Petrossian, Gabriel Sargsian.
Naysaikus also noted the victory of Geogian women’s team. “We are the best among men, Georgians – among women. Together we can claim the title of “world’s smartest piece of land”, the blog has remarked.
The victory of Armenian chess team has a greater significance for Infernoarm in terms of internal political developments in Armenia. The Armenian society, deeply divided by bitter political confrontation and post-election violence as a result of 2008 February presidential elections,l had not been so united for months. The Olympic gold, for once, made many forget their differences. “We won, despite the March 1 violence and all the negative developments in the country throughout the past year. Perhaps this is one of the reasons, why this Olympic gold is more valuable than the previous one. We were waiting for ourselves. We were able to withstand. We won the fight against ourselves”,- Infernoarm has commented exactly on this aspect of Chess victory. So has Nazarian, noting: “There is a depressing deficit of good news coming out of Armenia. But fortunately we sometimes come across occasions that should be celebrated.”
At least one Armenian blogger – Macbeck, has taken time to visit the scene of Olympiad in Dresden. The blogger has posted photos and brilliant comments, showing the Armenian team at play on the 10-th, pre-final round of Olympic games, which were recognized by many as the best, most vivid coverage of this years Chess Olympics. This Russian langauge entry by Macbeck is a must for those, wishing to get the feel of what its like to be at the center of Chess Olympic games and warrying, along with players and trainers and fans, for the victory of our national team.
Download the Armenian language Podcast of this entry or listen to it online by clicking the player icon below.


Armenian bloggers stage a protest action in front of Georgian Embassy

Today a protest action was held before the Georgian Embassy: the 10 – 15 participants of the action solemnly buried Georgian democracy in response to Georgian attempts to scrap signs of Armenian heritage from the Armenian St. Norashen Church in Tbilisi.

The action was organized and staged by Armenian bloggers.
“Georgia has always been a friendly country to Armenia. However, the experience of the past five years showed but one thing: that country has been moving towards fascism. We do not care for the reasons being mere complexes or the bitterness of the defeat. We care for only one thing: crimes, cases of obvious hooliganism, are being committed, graves are being dug, historical monuments are being razed to the ground”, – the bloggers told Echannel at the event.
The action was staged in protest of the continuous efforts by Georgian priests to “georganize” Armenian churches in the territory of that country. The recent incident, which stirred bloggers’ discontent was related to the attempt by Georgian priest Tariel Sikinchelashvili to demolish the graves of Armenian Tamamshyan family placed in the backyard of St. Norashen church in the centre of Tbilisi.
The participants of the action also presented the Embassy with Armenian wine that bore the label Norashen. The Georgian ending ‘i’ was added to it.

Video and information via E-channel.

Armenia Sport

Armenia won the World Chess Olympiad for the second time!

Having defeated China, the Armenian national chess team has just won the Champion’s title at the World Chess Olympiad 2008 held in Dresden.
Tigran Petrosian defeated Chao Li, bringing the golden point to the Armenian team. The games between the pairs Levon Aronian – Yue Wang, Vladimir Hakobian – Xiangzhi Bu, Gabriel Sargissian – Hua Ni ended in a draw.
The nearest competitor, Ukraine is badly loosing to the US team. Israel also has some remote chances of catching up with our team if they beat the Netherlands, but with additional indicators the Armenian team has a serious advantage, so we can already say quite safely, that WE DID IT! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS AGAIN! Well done our champions – Levon Aronian, Vladimir Hakobian, Gabriel Sargissian, Tigran Petrosian!


Blogs warn of more attacks on Armenian Norashen Church in Tbilisi

Blogs were the first to blow the whistle about the fresh attacks by Georgians on Armenian church – St. Norashen in Tbilisi. The traditional media tailed the blogosphere in disseminating the information and providing analysis.

The posts and comments started rolling in the blogosphere after Vesta’s post:

“Today, on November 16th, father Tariel Sikinchelashvili, along with several workers, started to demolish the graves of Tamamshyanns placed in the backyard of Norashen church. The crowd of frustrated Tbilisi-Armenians demanded that tombstones be returned to their original locations”.

The blogger, who had eyewitnessed the developments, has further written.

“Following the arrival of the representatives of Armenian church in Georgia and the Armenian MP in the Georgian Parliament, the Georgian priest claimed, that he had temporarily moved the tombstones and that his intention had been to clean-up the churchyard”.

Journalist, blogger Karine Ter-Sahakyan is surprised with the stance of Georgian-Armenian community and the Armenian Apostolic church.

“What exactly are the head of Georgian Armenian church and the Armenian advisor of Georgia’s president Van Bayburd busy with? Whenever you ask them – nobody treats Armenian’s better than the Georgian authorities.”

Another journalist-blogger Mark Grigoryan is drawing parallels and asking questions.

“I want to particularly stress the fact, that it is hard to imagine something like this happening in the capital of “much hated by Armenians – Turkey”. And here, look, in the “brotherly Georgia”… what a shame! I am appalled by the silence of Georgian public.”

The blogger Gost-474-90 says s/he had been the most pro-Georgian Armenian blogger, until recently. “The story of Norashen church this time was the last straw” – the blogger says.
Download the mp3 version of the Armenian blogosphere radio program containing the blog review above along with an interview with Georgian-Armenian blogger Athanatoi or listen to it online by clicking the player icon below.


Podcast: Armenian Internet Diplomats on Karabakh Resolution

Armenian blogs did not greet the signing of declaration between presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia at the “Main Dorf” castle near Moscow, although this was the first document to be signed by the two sides of the conflict – Armenia and Azerbaijan. The bloggers were concerned by the absence of the third side – the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Download the podcast for a blog-roundup on the topic as well as an interview with Armenian journalist, blogger Armen Sargsyan from here or listen to it online by clicking the player icon below.

Armenia Sport

Abraham defeats Marquez to defend IBF title

Arthur Abraham has knocked out Raul Marquez after six rounds on Saturday, thus defending his IBF middleweight boxing title for the eighth time and remaining undefeated.
Abraham landed two rights to Marquez’s right eye in the sixth round and the challenger’s camp called off the fight just before the seventh was due to start.
“King Arthur” improved his record to 28-0 with 22 knockouts.
“I can’t really understand why he gave up,” Abraham said. “I really wanted to start going at him in earnest starting in the sixth round. But he gave up too early and disappointed the spectators.”
    The 37-year-old Marquez, who was the mandatory challenger, said he lost to a better fighter.
Abraham lives in Germany, but maintains close ties with Armenia. Earlier this year he was in Yerevan and appeared in on TV, mentining in a show on Second Armenian TV channel, if I recall correctly, that he dedicates most of his wins to beloved motherland – Armenia.


Armenian bloggers hail Obama, with slight reservations…

“Did my small part today”, American citizen Nazarian writes, having voted for Obama,”The polls opened at 7 am. There were people who had been in line since around 6 am. Some of the poll workers said that people came over at 5 am. I was there at quarter past seven and the whole thing took less than an hour with half an hour of wait outside”, the blogger describes his voting experience.
Unzipped is inspired: “They proved that impossible is possible in America. They proved that ‘American dream’ exists”,he says, meanwhile, warning of possible disillusionment,”Expectations are so high of him that chances to get disappointed are very high too. Beginning of new era, or so I hope.”
Political scientist Artashes Boyajian believes in Obama campaign motto – “Change we can believe in!”, he says, “The world needs a positive and respectful attitude from America, for a change”, Artashes goes on to explain. “Let this be a victory of intelligence over arrogance, of responsibility over recklessness, of decency over shameful fear-mongering!!!”.
Pigh is original, as always -“Friends, why is it that you’re taking Obama’s election with such joy”, writes the blogger, known for his Republican political outlook and coincidentally, bearing the name Pigh, which stands for elephant in Armenian,”What, do we all care for the rebirth of powerful America?”
“IMHO”,the blogger goes on to say, “the brave-little-soldier Mccain and silly Palin would quickly bring the “global stronghold of democracy” to its logical end. Our Armenians, instead, are so joyful! So joyful! All our office looks like at Easter holidays.” And don’t hope that Obama will deliver his campaign pledge and recognize the Armenian Genocide, Pigh warns at the end, thus explaining his reservations on Obama victory.
Throughout the US election campaign and especially more so in the recent weeks, there were speculations in the Armenian blogosphere, that Obama is only the result of skillful PR. Uzogh, however, disagrees. “One thing I can see from Obama’s stance is – morality. He tries to show (and personally, I am convinced in it), that he cares about all the values, which are important for all the people, regardless of their being black, white or whatever. You can call all this – dirty PR and hold me for a naive romantic. Well, I guess we’ll have to live and see for ourselves”.
“It comes as no surprise that Armenian-Americans who supported Obama–most likely the vast majority of them although there’s probably no way to say for sure–are ecstatic about his being elected as president. He has made several promises to the Armenian-American community, most notably to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In a press release issued by his campaign Obama for America it clearly states his dedication to recognition”, Christian Garbis has written, reflecting on the overall excitement with Obama’s election among Armenians. “Even if he does not live up to this promise, it would not be his fault. He would not be the only president to refrain from doing so–in recent memory both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said similar things as campaign pledges. The US State Department policy has always been one favoring Turkey’s interests, and Armenian Genocide recognition has never been one of them”.  At any rate, Christian concludes, “Obama will nevertheless embrace and instill change internally in the US and also around the world. I can’t wait to see him visit Armenia one day”
Download the Armenian language podcast of this post, also featuring an interview with LiveJournal blogger Aovin, from here or listen to it online, by clicking the player icon below.


Armenia, Azerbaijan sign declaration on Karabakh dispute

Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have adopted a declaration expressing mutual agreement to continue talks on peaceful settlement of Nagorny Karabakh conflict.
Following a round of one-on-one talks between Serge Sargsyan and Ilham
Aliyev earlier today, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan took part in tri-lateral talks, joined by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
As a result of today’s meetings the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan have expressed their readiness to seek a “peaceful resolution” to the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, based on “binding international guarantees.”
According to AFP the two sides have agreed that “the achievement of a peaceful settlement must be accompanied by legally binding international guarantees of all aspects and stages.”
Amid continous talks, that a Karabakh solution is possible within next two-three months, the signing of this declaration seems to add more fuel to the speculations on speedy resolution.
It is also noteworthy, that this initiative of Russia’s Medvedev comes on the wake of presidential elections in the USA. Is Russia trying to prove somehing by this or just trying to use the opportunity to improve it’s image making use of inaction from the side of US?