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ASBAREZ Online [08-27-2004]

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  • ASBAREZ Online [08-27-2004]


    1) Russia Halts Georgia Talks Over Embassy Protest
    2) Pan-Armenian Educational Conference Ends in Yerevan
    3) Second Annual Armenian Teachers' Conference Comes to a Successful End
    4) Deep Purple Heart Haze

    1) Russia Halts Georgia Talks Over Embassy Protest

    MOSCOW (Reuters)--Russia said on Friday it had pulled out of talks with
    neighboring Georgia over disputes in separatist Georgian regions that have
    stirred tension between the two states. The Russian Foreign Minstry cited loud
    and abusive protests outside its Tbilisi embassy in stopping the talks, held
    against a backdrop of bloodshed this month in the South Ossetia region.
    accuses Moscow of backing separatists in South Ossetia, which seeks union with
    Russia, and in the Black Sea region of Abkhazia.
    US-educated president Mikhail Saakashvili aims to end the two rebellions and
    restore unity to Georgia, ruled from Moscow through seven decades of Soviet
    "While such scenes outside the Russian embassy in Tbilisi continue, it
    will be
    impossible to hold any contacts or talks with Georgia, either on military
    issues or a 'big' agreement," a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said.
    It said hundreds of people were expected to take part in protests on Friday.
    "There is no doubt that the disturbance is going on with the knowledge and
    evident permission of the authorities," it said, adding that the complicity of
    the Georgian government was a breach of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic
    It also said the embassy had stopped issuing visas to Georgians who want to
    visit Russia, where tens of thousands of Georgians despairing of employment at
    home work or do business.
    Georgia is a sensitive issue for Russia, bordering as it does on the restive
    south Russian region of Chechnya.
    Saakashvili's fiery rhetoric, including a warning to Russian holiday-makers
    that they risk being shot at if they vacation at Abkhazian coastal resorts,
    raised the stakes in the row, which came to a head this month with violence in
    South Ossetia.
    Russia has peacekeepers in both regions and, like Georgia, says it wants to
    resolve the disputes peacefully.

    2) Pan-Armenian Educational Conference Ends in Yerevan

    YEREVAN (Yerkir)--The first-ever Pan-Armenian educational conference came to a
    successful end in the city of Tsaghgadzor, with the participation of nearly
    representatives from various countries. After a blessing by the Catholicos of
    all Armenians Karekin II, the conference was underway with welcome messages
    sent by President Robert Kocharian, as well as His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos
    of Cilicia.
    During the 3-day conference, the participants, which included principals and
    teachers from diaspora schools, examined the current state of Armenian
    focusing on the problems it faces and possible solutions.
    With the goal of helping diaspora teachers, it was announced that re-training
    courses will be offered in the upcoming year in the Spuirk educatonal center,
    under the auspices of Echmiadzin.

    3) Second Annual Armenian Teachers' Conference Comes to a Successful End

    ENCINO--The Board of Regents of Armenian Prelacy Schools' second annual five
    day seminar for Armenian teachers was an exceptional success with 96
    The seminar, held at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School, was attended by
    the entire Armenian teaching staff of all the Armenian Prelacy schools and
    Also invited was relevant staff of other Armenian schools, Armenian Relief
    Society Saturday Schools, and Davitian Mariamian Educational Foundation.
    Experts presented on Armenian upbringing, educational methodology and
    psychology, pedagogy, and Armenian language, literature, and history.
    The entire program was funded once again by the Armenian Educational
    Foundation at the request of the Board of Regents.

    4) Deep Purple Heart Haze


    It's official. As of this week, I am more interested in the results of the
    Olympic Men's badminton finals than I am in this year's campaigns for
    President. Unfortunately, the Olympics are going to draw to a close in a few
    days but the Election isn't until November. This means we have to endure
    another two months of boring analysis and pointless verbal attacks none of
    which include the word "shuttlecock." In case you've been engrossed in NBC's
    mediocre coverage of the Olympics (Watching NBC, you would think that no other
    country besides the United States had any athletes in the Olympics), then
    you've missed out on Campaign 2004, the Road to the White House, better known
    as Purple Heart-gate. Did Kerry really sustain wounds in battle in Vietnam or
    did he inflict them upon himself? Did he or didn't he have wounds that bled?
    Are the other swift boat commanders telling the truth or are they part of the
    Bush campaign machine? My answer to all these questions is a big, fat,
    resounding "who cares?"
    Some will say that Kerry brought this upon himself by peddling his wartime
    resume like a recent college graduate at a job fair. Personally, I never
    saw it
    that way. I think others highlighted his service in Vietnam and he played
    up to
    it, but it was never his intention to run as a candidate whose sole claim to
    fame was being wounded three times. The way I see it is like this. If a person
    falls out of the top story of a ten story building and survives, then it's a
    miracle. If it happens again, then he's lucky. And if it happens a third time?
    Then the guy has a bad habit. So Kerry had a bad habit of getting injured in
    Vietnam. The man was a magnet for shrapnel or maybe he was clumsy and kept
    tripping over things. Others suggest that Kerry used certain loopholes in the
    system to earn himself an early ticket home after only four months in
    Vietnamthus proving that he is a liar and unfit to lead. But the important
    question here is how capable he is to lead in comparison to the current
    Commander in Chief. This seems like an appropriate time to remind Kerry's
    critics and anyone out there whose only source of news is Fox or CNN, that
    comparing Kerry's military record to Bush's makes absolutely no sense. Kerry
    actually went to Vietnam while Bush used his family influence to earn a sweet
    post on the Air National Guard. Kerry suffered either minor or serious
    which were either self inflicted or initiated in combat with hostile forces.
    Bush's most serious injury during his inconspicuous and forgettable service
    during Vietnam was suffering hangovers from partying too hard.
    All I have learned from these last two weeks is that the Purple Heart is a
    military medal which recognizes the sacrifices of combat when a soldier or
    officer has sustained a wound "from an outside force or agent." Just having
    through this absolutely boring and insignificant debate about Kerry's war
    record I think entitles the entire country to a Purple Heart. And looking at
    how President Bush is leading in the polls, I've also learned that the general
    public (or at least those who respond to polls) is comprised of people with
    collective IQ of a house plant. (My apologies if I insulted any house plants).
    By the way, last week I went on a tirade lambasting the Armenian Assembly of
    America (AAA) and its Executive Director for selling the community short in a
    recent "Ha'aretz" article. In the article, Nathan Guttman expressed his
    inaccurate view that the Armenian vote is insignificant in US elections. His
    assumptions were reinforced by a quote by AAA Exec. Director Ross Vartian, but
    last week, I screwed up. In copy editing my piece, I missed a tiny quotation
    mark, which apparently made Vartian's quote look worse than it was. Here's the
    excerpt from the article again with the proper quotation marks around
    statement. (I know I already printed this but people should read this
    over and over and wonder why this organization still receives donations from
    "So far, no Armenian group has voiced support for Bush. But the Armenian
    community's electoral power is not significant. There an currently an estimate
    1-1.5 million Americans of Armenian descent, but most are second, third, or
    fourth-generation immigrants and therefore, not all of them vote based on the
    candidates' views on faraway Armenia. 'There are those who base their decision
    on the Armenian issue, those who vote only based on their political views, and
    those who vote based on different reasons altogether,' explained Ross Vartian,
    the executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America."
    Now Vartian's quote may sound accurate and may seem as though it could have
    been harmless but when coupled with his statements to the Armenian press (see
    my column last week), it causes one to question whether the Assembly folks
    truly believe in the cause for which they are allegedly fighting.
    That's it for this week folks. Keep writing me angry emails and don't be
    afraid to say what's on your mind.

    Skeptik Sinikian received a paper cut while fulfilling his duties as an
    Asbarez guest columnist. He bled for his people and wants a Purple Heart. He
    can be reached at [email protected] or at

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