George W Bush and the size-10, black, flying shoes

The 29-year-old journalist Muntazer al-Zaidy from “Al Badgadia” TV, threw his shoes at the US President George W. Bush at a press conference in Iraq. Even though the journalist missed his target, he did, however, become the center of attention throughout the world. The story of flying shoes along with the accompanying video circled around the Armenian blogosphere as well.
Reporter_arm was perhaps the first to react to the news.

Have you seen how a show is thrown at Bush in Baghdad, at a press conference? And Bush reacts with impressive agility, ducking down from the shoe thrown at him!

smbatgogyan shares additional details.
During a press conferenece the Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at Bush, shouting “It is the farewell kiss, you dog!” Let me note, that ‘dog’ is one of the very serious insults in Iraq, they call ‘dog’ those people who they truly despise. At any rate, we can state the following:
1. The Iraqi journalist had only a pair of shoes (which is a pity, otherwise it might have been more exciting).
2. Bush has very good instinct when it comes to avoiding objects hurled at him.
aramanoogian is upset about the fact, that the journalist missed his target:

Bush was uninjured thanks to his natural instinct as a Texan who jumps back when shoeing a horse or dodges flying shoes from his wife Laura.
As for the reporter, he should be hung from the gallows for missing his target twice.
I wonder if at future news conferences they will issue slippers to the attendees?

armish1informs, that a rich businessman from Saudy Arabia has offered to pay a huge amount – 10 million dollars for the shoes hurled at Bush. Unfotunately, armish1says, the fate of the shoes in so far not known. The journalist, on the other hand, will definately be tried in court.
Download the Armenian language podcast of this entry from hereor listen to it online by clicking the player icon below.

Podcast: Criminal Chronicles

This week’s blog roundup reminds more of criminal chronicles than anything else. At any rate, we have invited Christian Garbis of “Notes from Hairenik” blog for an interview to give you and incentive for listening to this podcast, which would otherwise be only about killings and violence in Armenia.
“5 corpses, 8 wounded in two days”, Samvel Martirosyan is observing. Reporter_arm has more detailed accounts of the killings in Lori region on October 24: “Shots in Spitak and Stepanavan. Looks like a criminal argument in Spitak. Four died. There was an attempt to kill the mayor of Stepanavan with a sharp object. He shot and wounded the offenders”.
Unidiana has eye-witnessed the murder that took place in Yerevan on October 26th: “A car dashed into our backyard in broad daylight. The backyard is usually full of playing children. Shots started coming from within the car… kids were hiding anywhere they could find”.
As a result a 43-year-old man died, one more person was wounded, Kornelij Glas writes, and then “There is another case. On the night of October 25th Kentron police department was notified of sounds of argument and shooting near the “Tsghotik” restaurant”.
“5 unkown people have attacked the house of Armen Avetisyan – former head of RA State Taxation agency on October 25th” Reporter-arm is informing of yet another criminal act, to finalize accounts of the week, full of violence and killings.
Ogostos is sarcastic – commenting on the remarks of Cheif Prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepyan, who said there’s a correlation between abolishing the capital punishment in Armenia and growth in the number of killings, the blogger says.”Right, so it’s again the God damned Europe who doesn’t let us solve our problems?”.
The A1plus blog is commenting on one of the darkest days in modern Armenia’s history. “On October 27, 1999 around five armed people, headed by Nairi Hunanyan, dashed into the NA meeting hall and shot 8 people dead. The court process on the “27” case that lasted around three years, didn’t provide answers to the posed questions and didn’t expell doubts, that the terrorists had outside support”.

Download the 1.62 Mb Podcast from here or listen online, by clicking the player icon below.

Podcast: Karabakh not for sale

Artak Kirakosyan, HIMA blog and Uzogh have commented on the halt of rallies announced by Levon Ter-Petrosyan on October 17 rally in Yerevan.
Unzipped has established a link between Russian president Dmitri Medvedev’s visit to Armenia and recent talks of Karabakh resolution based on “Madrid Principles”.
Pigh has also commented on the rumours, that the Karabakh resolution plan currently on the table of negotiations has a provision on surrendering a number of territories under control of Armenian forces. “Not for sale”, the blogger has commented sparking a flashmob throughout the LiveJournal community.
Download the 25th episode of Armenian Blogosphere podcast from here or listen online by clicking the icon below.

Podcast: football, censorship and more…

Football dominated the Armenian blogosphere this week. Virtual discussions focused on the two games of the Armenian football team – both ending in crushing defeats for the Armenian team. Belgium-Armenia 2:0, Bosnia-Armenia 4:1. The scores are painful for the Armenian blogers: Aerial-vortex and Reporter_arm have shared their views.
Life in Armenian Diaspora blog has reflected on Armenia’s football diplomacy in relation to Turkey and the news on the plans to build a new railway connecting Armenia to Iran.

This is great news, as it only has one rail line functioning at the moment, and that is from unreliable Georgia. [] But what is clear is that a new line through Iran is vital for Armenia’s survival and options. Until Armenia has an outlet to the sea, they need to be able to not depend on Turks and Georgians for transportation. The Turks will finally realize that Armenia does have another option and that they’ve missed a big opportunity by not opening the border much earlier. Now Armenia will not be beholden to Turkey’s whims and preconditions. Ever. Or that’s the idea anyway, and they’ll know it. At this point, even if Turkey throws the border gates wide open, the rail project should go ahead.

Unzipped has posted Tigran Paskevichyan’s 10 minute documentary – “Enstrangement”, which was prevented from being screened at Yerevan’s “Moscow” cinema theatre days after another film – by Tigran Khzmalyan this time was also denied the chance to be displayed on the same cinema screen. “Censorship should have no place in Armenia. Censorship should be (and will be) defeated.” – Unzipped says and I so wholeheartedly agree!!!
Pigh is making first steps in the sphere of developing blog-documentaries 🙂 He has posted a photo of the ancient stone with inscriptions estimated to belong to 782 B.C. and used as solid proof to the fact, that Erebuni-Yerevan, the capital of Armenia was found 2790 years ago. As Yerevan celebrates it’s incredible age on October 12 (Rome was found dacades later, on 753 B.C), Pigh posts an extract from Urartu King Argishti’s inscription: “With the Greatness of God Haldi, Son of Menua Argishti found this powerful fortress and gave it the name Erebuni, for the power of the state of Biainili”. Anyway, considering the blogger’s name is also Tigran and the attempt is somewhat ‘documental’, stakes are high his blog will also be banned 🙂
Anyway, the Podcast of all of the above and more, including an interview with the extreemly prolific blogger 517design (who has recently started also a new English language blog – Armenia Discovered)  can be downloaded from here.
You can also listen to the Podcast online by clicking the player icon below:

Podcast: The global crisis as seen on the blogging week

The 23rd issue of “Armenian Blogosphere” Radio Program is out and can be downloaded from here. The program brings comments by bloggers on the decline in global markets and shift in US and Russian policies in the Caucasus.
Athanatoi has detected warming of Russia-Turkey and Russia-Azerbaijan relations seeing dangers for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in this shift of Russian intersets. Mark Grigoryan on the other hand, has interviewed American co-chairman of OSCE Minsk Group – Mathew Bryza, and notes, that first time ever a co-chair speaks to an international media outlet and states, that the Karabakh conflict should be settled based on the principle of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. “This indicates a shift of US approach to the Karabakh conflict”, Mark Grigoryan thinks. Kornelij Glas comments on the fall of Russian stock indices and decline of oil prices below $89. Nazarian compares the US and Russian economies and sees no reason for Russian speculations about the downfall of US economy and perceptions on takeover of the US interests in the world by Russia.
Back to Armenian realities. Following the President’s address to the nation from the Parliament, Uzogh has found a fundamental difference between President Serge Sargsian and his predicessor – Robert Kocharyan. While “Kocharyan sees the state as a political system”, the blogger remarks, “Sargsyan sees it as an economic one”. Mark Grigoryan looks at the speech from another perspective – the President didn’t say anything about 1) Armenia-Turkey relations 2) Karabakh conflict 3) Georgia-Russia conflict 4) Events of March 1st. “So it turns out the president didn’t say anything on the most important issues?”, the journalist-blogger asks?
This podcast also features an interview with wonderful Armenian blogger and writer Byurie.

Podcast: the week in the Armenian Blogosphere

The Armenian blogosphere this week was diverse and watchful – bloggers covered everything happening in the country: Onnik Krikorian has shared his impressions of the September 26 opposition rally, Christian Garbis has written about the blessing of Holy Muron, Uzogh, Office Zombie and Naysaikus comment on the district mayor’s election of Yerevan’s Kentron community, Nazarian is speculating on the impacts of US Credit Crush on Armenia, Pigh has filled his blog with photos of Southern Armenia, having just returned from a trip South, 517design has test-drived through a newly opened major road designed to ease the traffic in central Yerevan.
The program also features and interview with Iranian blogger Aliasghar Ramezanpoor, who talks about censorship in Iran and makes a number of very interesting revelations.
Download the 22nd issue of the “Armenian blogosphere” radio program from here or listen to it online by clicking the player icon below:

The usual week vs the political one

The announcement of “popular walks” started a chain-discussion of usual vs political everything – bloggers discussed things like usual cats and chess and “shaurmas” (eastern dish: grilled meat rolled in pita bread, similar to Donner Kebab), contrasting them with their political alternatives.

The attempts by to find 8 differences between the two cats in the picture (the regular cat on the right and the politically motivated one on the left) were certainly entertaining, although quite unproductive – which is, in part, what the blogger was trying to prove.
The ‘draft legislation for all things walking’, proposed by the Zbosanq blog, found the sympathy of RA former president Levon Ter-Petrossian supporter blogs. Here are a couple of articles from this mock-law (unofficial translation):

Article 2. General points
The people have the right to walk solely in the cases stipulated by this law. […]
The location of the walk, the maximum radius of departing from the starting point of the walk, the direction of the walk as well as the hour designated for the walk are approved by the RA president as presented by the RA prime-minister […]
Article 3. The guidelines for implementing a walk
Walks should be attended alone.
Those attending the walk should carry a passport at all times. The passport must be valid for a duration, which is three months longer then the duration of the intended walk.

Speaking of the ‘draft law’ Unzipped writes:”I am telling you – this is just fantastic. You have to read it! 🙂 Creativity without limits!”
As to the whole concept of ‘political walking’, Onnik Krikorian comments on Unzipped’s blog: “Might sound like a fun idea, but it won’t achieve anything, in my opinion, but anyway. Again, the problem is that a) the actions are either a) too subliminal or b) considered too pro-Levon.”
Pigh writes about political chess and Levon Ter-Petrossian’s supporters: “Looks like when they start chanting ‘Levon, Levon’, it will turn out that they meant Aronyan 🙂 Also, on March 21 they were carrying a poster with Sasun Mikayelyan’s photo. To the question of the policeman, who that was, a lady replied: ‘My grandpa’.”
As to eating “Political shaurma” on the Northern Avenue, Uzogh is laconic:”Is it just me, or has marasm surpassed all limits?”. Later on the same entry, responding to Yaloona’s question, why is it, that the Ter-Petrossian supporters are not doing any “political garbage collection”, Uzogh explains: “Everything’s simple Mam. You can’t have lot’s of people willing to collect garbage, whereas in the case of shaurma eating, a crowd will come running.”
All in all it is clear, that the blogosphere has adopted a waiting stance, rather then a happy-mocking one. Most are limiting themselves to rather surfaced discussions. Mark Grigorian is exploring the reasons for this, suggesting, that either bloggers have nothing to say, or are scared to speak, whearas, according to him, this is the time, that the heated debates would have been most useful.
A1plus blog on its turn, has a rather grim depiction of the developments around the ‘political walks’, portreying its vision in the post, entitled – “brave steps to dictatorship”:

For several days in a row the political political walks in the Northern avenue end with “manhunt”. The police keep detaining people walking in this area, passers by, a citizen who took the dog out for a strall, literally everybody. (the police are explaining, that they are detaining the people in this area, because there are people under investigation, and it is quite probable, that they might be in the Northern avenue).

Check out the fresh issue of the “Armenian Blogosphere” radio program available here in mp3 format. You can also use Itunes or an Ipod to subscribe to podcasts on this blog. As to the radio program – it was put together by the Internews Armenia team, which also has a section based on the Armenian version of this post. The program will be broadcast by Radio Hay this Saturday, in their 11 o’clock political program.

Podcast in Armenian:
Podcast in English:

Armenian Elections: Bloggers also Facing The Challenge of Choice

Despite rapid political developments and political campaign pouring onto the Armenian voter from all sides, many people haven’t yet made up their mind about which presidential candidate to support. The situation is similar offline – that is to say in real life, as well as online – in the virtual reality of Internet diaries. «Which is the right thing – having a stance, or not?», Christina is asking in her «One day…» blog, further explaining:

I can’t decide on my stance for the upcoming presidential elections. I want a change – but I don’t see anyone, who could show me – a regular person with mediocre abilities and feelings, the way to those changes.

Artashes Boyajyan has written a couple of really interesting posts, asking why would anybody want to vote for either Levon Ter-Petrossian or Serzh Sargsyan, after taking an unbiased look at the failures of both candidates during their time in power, when it comes to key state-building issues like:

  1. building a democratic state, with institutional separation of powers and functional checks and balances;
  2. establishing (in reality, not on paper) a basically fair and transparent system of economic regulations;
  3. promoting the rule of law and the respect for dignity and essential rights of Armenian citizens.

An interesting attempt at portraying the pre-election scene in Armenia was undertaken by the Armenian Patchwork blog – publishing photos of various candidates’ posted political posters:

Political Posters© Photos by Anush Babajanyan, Yerevan, 2008
In his JLiving notes blog David Sand describes the pre-election race on television, mostly commenting on the newscasts of the Public TV of Armenia and remarking, that per his impression, all candidates are given equal attention. Continuing along these lines, the blogger writes:

Baghdasaryan’s campaign is rather colorful, he speaks a lot, although often on unrelated issues, keeps promising growth in pensions, incomes and other material goods. [] The fact, that such announcements are simply absurd, are perceived perhaps by only a few people. Geghamyan keeps throwing dirt at Ter-Petrossian, at the same time advertising his glorious anti-crises program less and less. Vahan Hovhannisyan’s speeches are boring, but perhaps some people find them interesting? [] Vazgen Manukyan’s speeches are very interesting, but obviously more then half of the voters do not understand him.
The coverage of Ter-Petrossian’s campaign sounds more like а criminal newsreel. First some freedom-fighter was beaten[], yesterday was an even bigger brawl in Artashat with a rather contradictory coverage as to who initiated and who suffered from the fight.

Onnik Krikoryan keeps following the election trails, photographing all important rallies. His second blog – Armenian Election Monitor 2008 also features English language press and blog reviews, covering all aspects of election related developments. Last week Onnik Krikoryan posted about Serzh Sargsyan, Artur Baghdasaryan and Vahan Hovhannisyan rallies.

Serge Sargsyan Komitas 018 ARF-D Liberty Square Rally 009

Photos by Onnik Krikoryan © Oneworld
At any rate, there is still one week to go before the elections, and the undecided voters, still have time to make up their minds. As for now, Christina is calling on to everybody to be more reserved:

I don’t know, really don’t know… hatred and evil are clashing like waves in this little piece of land, and their rage is acquiring the force of a tempest. Hatred closes you eyes, puts your target in front of you and all your creative talents are wasted on efforts to destroy it. Spare those efforts…

The Armenian language version of this post is available at the along with its Audio variant, which will be broadcast by Radio Hay this Saturday.

Bloggers Love Media – Media Love Blogs, so Who Loves More?

Armenian blogs have always been attentive towards Mass Media, although you can’t really call it love, in part because there’s not much to love in the Armenian Mass Media these days. As to the newly demonstrated love of the Armenia media towards Bloggers, Ahousekeeper has very rightly noted:

“Aravot” newspaper has discovered the Armenian Blogosphere. Talking to Uzogh, and later, searching through our journals, they have come to the conclusion, that Armenian Bloggers “don’t like political games and disdain homosexuals”. So now you know what questions journalists are most interested in, don’t you?

And while some Bloggers appreciate the fact, that the Armenian media have finally entered the 21st century, others are wondering, why, of all issues discussed in the Blogosphere, the Aravot journalist had been so interested only in Bloggers’ attitude towards homosexuals? At any rate, despite the strange conclusions made by the journalist and obviously “provocative” headline, it was a pretty good article, the Armenian News Blog has concluded. Let us remind once again, that A1+ and Radio Hay are the two media who love Bloggers more, and loved them earlier then others. Both of these media outlets already have set up their own blogs. A1+ blog is located at, and Radio Hay blog is at
Coming to the “reciprocal” love of Bloggers for the Armenian media, here’s what we read on Ogostos‘s journal about ALM TV company – a TV company – widely regarded among the more educated young group of the population in Armenia, as a disgraceful TV channel, which could only be laughed at:

The “ALM” channel went on air on metric frequency, which means – it was broadcast all over Armenia.
A most incredible TV channel was thus created in the world. Different from all others. Television, who’s owner has the right to do everything. He can broadcast 24 hours of a party held at the “ALM” for New year if he likes. Or, if he likes, he can show a boy singing 24 hours of traditional Yezidi songs. He can talk politics 24 hours in the most awkward key… if he likes. And if he likes, he can announce to the whole wide world “darned Yezdis, I invite them here to sing, and in return, they don’t vote for me! this means, they won’t sing on my channel any more!”.

One more interesting Mass Media discussion was started on Uzogh’s blog. The blogger had placed a news video from the Haylur news program of Public TV of Armenia, covering the recent pre-election meeting of Levon Ter-Petrossian with voters in the town of Talin, during which a man from the crowd was beaten up by the supporters of the presidential candidate, in response to his yell: “Talin people are not supporting you!”.

The blogger had asked other Armenian Bloggers working in the sphere of media, what they thought about the news item, and whether it was ethical or no. In response, Mark Grigoryan had come up with a detailed analyses, pointing out that:

Generally speaking, the material could have been done much more professionally. I think, that the Public TV of Armenia, undoubtedly, should provide news coverage of much higher quality than that.

The other respondents to Uzogh’s inquiry also noted, that the news item wasn’t balanced enough.
To conclude, we can state, that while the Armenian Mass Media are just doing the first steps towards discovering the Armenian Blogosphere, the Bloggers, on the contrary, have been talking the crap out of the Armenian mass media for quite some time now, and looking at the current trends in pre-electoral media coverage in the country, looks like they’ll have much more to dwell upon in the coming week or two.

The audio version of this article will be broadcast on Radio Hay FM 104.1 on Saturday, 11:00

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