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.
http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/2/29/1788145/prog-29.mp3″

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9 thoughts on “Blogs warn of more attacks on Armenian Norashen Church in Tbilisi

  1. Blogs were the first to blow the whistle about the fresh attacks by Georgians on Armenian church – St. Norashen in Tbilisi.

    I suppose you mean Georgian Orthodox Church with the tacit approval or impotent lack of action of the Georgian authorities and NOT “Georgians” unless you’ve conducted a poll among the entire population, that is. There are also many Georgians, for example, who are concerned by the growing power of the church and see it as a direct threat to democracy and human/minority rights.

    For example:

    The Church and the State Relationship in Georgia
    http://dianach.livejournal.com/2612.html

    Unfortunately, sometimes I wonder if this is actually about a Church or just a way to attack another country. In that respect, all countries in this region are guilty of that, but it’s important to differentiate between state/church action and a huge body of people you can only imagine to hold a particular view because of stereotypes and prejudices. Even so, I would feel better if Georgian bloggers would take on this case against the Church.

    Even so, the media and bloggers should learn to differentiate and choose its words carefully unless they inadvertently or purposely want to promote conflict and ethnic hatred. I would have hoped we could have learned that by now.

  2. From Blogian’s post on Global Voices Online:

    Commenting on pigh’s post, juventini says:

    […]

    Самое обидное, что многие сейчас подумают, что все грузины такие и что к армянам там ужасно относятся, но это, конечно же не так. Мы (тбилисские армяне), всегда жили и продолжаем жить дружно с грузинами и не жалуемся.

    […]

    Most troubling, many now will think that all Georgians are like that and that Armenians are treated [in Georgia] horribly. We, Tbilisi Armenians, always lived and will continue living with Georgians in friendship and [we are] not complaining.

    http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/11/27/armenia-bloggers-throw-funeral-at-georgian-embassy/

    Meanwhile, I notice a number of Georgians are joining the Facebook page to stop this scandal. And this is the point. What is at stake here are not “Armenian national interests,” but internal efforts to support democracy and the rights of all citizens regardless of ethnic and religious background.

    Please, do not hijack the case of Norashen for nationalist purposes because then I would consider such efforts to be as bad as the nationalism from some segments of Georgian society as well. However, I suspect that for some this has nothing to do with human rights and democracy and is merely a way to push nationalist interests.

  3. Onnik – you’re partly right in your first comment [I suppose you mean Georgian Orthodox Church with the tacit approval or impotent lack of action of the Georgian authorities and NOT “Georgians” unless you’ve conducted a poll among the entire population, that is], but I’ve been seeing and feeling a considerable rise of nationalism among Georgians and highly anti-Armenian moods recently.

    An increasing number of Georgians see Armenians as enemies and say Armenians should leave Georgia for good.

    A recent poll http://www.tert.am/ru/news/2008/11/26/ussr/ demonstrated that Georgian’s do not consider Armenia a friendly country, while 16% of Armenians consider Georgia a friendly country. Meanwhile – 69% of Georgians consider Ukraine a friendly country, and 41% consider Azerbaijan a friendly country.

    There’s a poll for you to see :)))

  4. Sure, I totally agree, but perhaps it goes both ways as your poll indicates. There are also attempts to stir up nationalist sentiment here, especially with regards to Georgia and Azerbaijan. Incidentally, the poll doesn’t give a figure for how Georgians view Armenia so the situation is not clear at all. You say “A recent poll demonstrated that Georgian’s do not consider Armenia a friendly country,” but there is no data.

    Is it more or less than the 84 percent of Armenians who don’t consider Georgia to be a friendly country. Anyway, what’s your point? That the ALL-RUSSIAN center of the study of public opinion is a credible opinion pollster? From what I understand it started off as a credible organization respected in Russia and the West, but is now referred to as “[Russian] State Controlled.”

    It was founded by Yuri Levada and was really valued, but then Putin removed him and appointed his own people. Levada claims it was because the Kremlin didn’t want his polls on Chechnya published during an election year. His polls also showed that Putin’s popularity was lower than the Kremlin were happy with. His replacement, Valeriy Fedorov, is reportedly referred to as a member of the presidential administration.

    That’s your primary source and argument? That’s the poll you’re sarcastically referring me to look at? One conducted by a State-run organization directly linked to the Kremlin? Even worse that the Armenian media would treat it as somehow reliable. Then again, the professionalism of journalists here is so low and we know that newspapers and TV companies reports only what is suits their political and economic goals.

    Still, I do agree that anti-Georgian sentiment is strong here and anti-Armenia sentiment is the same there. However, the two feed off each other and that should be understood.

    Regardless, I despise nationalism among Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Georgians (and everyone else for that matter) and let me just ask this question. Many of those bloggers decrying the “death of democracy” in Georgia took what position during the February presidential election and 1 March clashes? Were there posts on the “death of democracy” in Armenia?

    Rhetorical question — of course there weren’t.

    Basically, is this about democracy and human rights or something else? Incidentally, all sides are guilty of this. My take is that tolerance and respect for others is key here, but I doubt this action was designed with that in mind. That’s their right, of course, but it was not held to serve the purpose of promoting tolerance for minority and religious rights in Georgia

    If anything, it was a nationalist response to a nationalist action and was staged to serve a nationalist purpose. That is, it was to promote anti-Georgian attitudes in Armenia. Or maybe when the next Jewish monument in Yerevan is vandalized or swastikas daubed on walls happens, we’ll refer to “Armenians” being nationalist, racist and anti-semitic?

    Anyway, unfortunately, the gut knee jerk reaction of ALL ethnic groups in this region veers towards nationalism when we should all be working to changing that mentality if there is to be a peaceful future where everyone can respect the rights of others. We need to CHANGE nationalist stereotypes and prejudices and NOT feed into them.

    Unfortunately, Georgian nationalism in terms of Norashen mobilizes the Armenian nationalists, Armenians pushing a nationalist line in Javakheti creates a knee-jerk reaction from Georgian nationalists, and vice-versa. It’s also why this region will not be democratic or tolerant for a long, long time to come.

  5. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

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