1) Senate Appropriations Committee Adopts $75 Million for Armenia; $3 Million
for Karabagh
2) Turkish Coffee at Sourp Magar Monastery
3) AFSA Stands by Decision to Withdraw Evans' Award
4) Homenetmen Navasartian Games & Festival in Full-Force
5) ANC Praises Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo
6) Los Angeles County's Democratic Party Recognizes Ardashes Kassakhian
~QDemocrat of the Year~R
7) Critic's Forum
8) The Genocide Study Trap
9) Time Bomb Alright
11) Bush Clueless on Concept of Genocide
12) Badanee Educational Seminar Concludes with 23 New AYF Members

OUR NEXT POSTING: Due to the Independence Day holiday, our next issue will be
posted on Tuesday, July 5.

1) Senate Appropriations Committee Adopts $75 Million for Armenia; $3 Million
for Karabagh

US House Finalizes Approval of its Version of the Foreign Aid Bill

WASHINGTON, DC (ANCA)--The Senate and House continued consideration of the
Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 foreign aid bill this week with the Senate
Committee adopting on Thursday appropriations of $75 million for Armenia
and $3
million for Karabagh. The House adopted their version of the foreign aid bill
on Tuesday.
"We want to thank Senator McConnell for his leadership in securing a $75
million earmark for his Armenia, and to thank all our friends on the Foreign
Operations Subcommittee for their work on each of the provisions in this bill
that will contribute to the further strengthening US-Armenia ties," said Aram
Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "We look forward to supporting
Senators McConnell and Leahy as well as Representatives Kolbe, Knollenberg,
Lowey, Rothman and all the other conferees who will, in the coming weeks,
engage in the important work of reconciling the Senate and House versions of
this legislation."
Senate Appropriations Committee assistance levels for Armenia represent a $20
million increase over President Bush's budget request earlier this year, and
$7.5 million more than the House measure adopted earlier this week. The Senate
panel also approved over $6.4 million in military and security aid to Armenia,
including $5 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF), $750,000 in
International Military Education and Training (IMET), and $700,000 in
Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, De-mining and Related (NADR) assistance.
The House and Senate versions of the foreign aid bill differ in their overall
support levels for US assistance to the former Soviet States. The Senate
Appropriations Committee adopted an overall figure of $565 million for the
region, approximately $88 million more than their House Colleagues. As part of
that allocation, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $70.5 million
Georgia and $38 million for Azerbaijan. The Senate Committee report called on
the "State Department and USAID to more emphatically and publicly support
political process programming in Russia and Azerbaijan. Freedom is ill served
by excessive hand wringing over concerns with projecting political balance in
programming or of offending authoritarian host governments."
The House allocation of up to $5 million for Karabagh is $2 million more than
the amount set by the Senate panel. The Committee report accompanying the
measure noted that "in furtherance of a peaceful resolution to the
Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, and in support of the measures discussed at NATO
OSCE summits, the Committee strongly supports confidence-building measures
among the parties to the conflict. Such measures include strengthening
compliance with the cease-fire, studying post-conflict regional development
such as landmine removal, water management, transportation routes and
infrastructure, establishing a youth exchange program and other collaborative
and humanitarian initiatives to foster greater understanding among the parties
and reduce hostilities."
In a new development this year in the House bill, foreign military assistance
to Turkey was reduced sharply from $29.6 million in FY 2005 to just $4.4
million for FY 2006. While the Committee report was careful to state that the
reduction "is not a reflection of a lessening of the Committee's appreciation
for Turkey's support," it did note that "sufficient justification" was not
provided for the funds.
In a related matter, the House will take up a $975 million veterans
measure this evening, the funding for which comes from a $1.1 billion
rescission in foreign aid to Turkey that was part of the FY 2005 Iraq
supplemental assistance package.
"It is particularly fitting that $1 billion in US assistance, originally
slated for Turkey, should now go to help fund better healthcare for our
veterans here at home," noted Hamparian. "By Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's
own account, Turkey's refusal, in early 2003, to create a northern front in
Operation Iraqi Freedom contributed to the strength of the ongoing insurgency.
These much-needed funds to our nation's Veterans Hospitals can play a crucial
role in helping our veterans--including those who were made more vulnerable as
a result of Turkey's actions."

2) Turkish Coffee at Sourp Magar Monastery

By Simon Aynedjian

NICOSIA (Gibrahayer)--It is business as usual for the kiosk operating at Sourp
Magar Monastery. With the 2.5 km road from Halevka junction now open, and the
huge billboard inviting picnickers in the Pantataktylos mountain region, the
Sourp Magar monastery--now in ruins--has suddenly been transformed into a
popular picnic destination.
"Ermeni Manastiri" reads the sign leading to the ruins. There we came across
both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, enjoying traditional shish kebabs and playing
football with the members of their family in front of the monument erected in
1933 on the occasion of the visit of Catholicos Sahag of Cilicia.
It is business as usual for the kiosk operating at Sourp Magar Monastery
everything seems the same--that is only if you're very bad at mathematics.
Going back 30 years, you would have found a few scenes missing, but there are
certainly more than a few scenes missing now. One needs not to be an expert in
subtractions in order to grasp this new equation.
Missing are the few hundred Armenians who would have been in the Monastery on
a Sunday afternoon: the family christening their infant, my
Kouyoumdjian's--christening basin that he built for his grand children and for
the Armenian community of Cyprus.
Actually almost everything is missing except for the desecrated walls of the
The inconspicuous Cross on the Church-- also missing. So are the windows and
the doors in every room, the icons and the pictures, the candles and the
as well as most of the floors.
DANGER warns one sign! I wonder if the holes on the ground are in fact the
sole root of our problems...
The big room facing the sea, where we had our family get-togethers, is also
missing. The floor has simply vanished. I remember, during winter times, we
used to rush to the window, to witness with our naked eye, the first signs of
snow on the multiple peaks of the Tarsus Mountains.
From the same window one can meet the sea-path through which our own
grandparents entered Cyprus, fleeing the Genocide and the deportations carried
out by the Ottoman Turkish Government against the Armenians in 1915.
The same path was later used by the storming Turkish army who invaded the
island 30 years ago. What does that add up to now~E?

3) AFSA Stands by Decision to Withdraw Evans' Award

Many Suspicious about Interaction, Motives of State Department, AFSA

By Jenny Kiljian

Following what it said were concerns raised by the State Department, last
the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) announced that it had awarded
and subsequently withdrawn its Christian A. Herter award for "Constructive
Dissent" from US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, on the grounds that his
nomination had not met the selection criteria.
Evans was nominated for the award for his February remarks in which he
characterized the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire
from 1915 to 1918 as genocide. His comments created a diplomatic debacle,
which the State Department forced Evans not only to retract his remarks, but
also later to clarify his retraction.
Despite overwhelming criticism, AFSA officials stand by their decision. "I
a lot of messages saying the American Foreign Service Association doesn't look
good," said AFSA president John W. Limbert. "My response was 'I agree.' But
there are some times when other things are important, other than looking good.
The awards committee found itself with two bad choices: either continue in a
course of action it now considered a mistake, or rescind the award. Neither
is very good."Association officials said that the decision was based on AFSA
criteria for the awards; the historical facts of the Armenian genocide were
part of the committee's discussion or subsequent decision, according to AFSA.
"What was never debated was the historical issue. In other words, what
happened during World War I to the Armenians," said Limbert. "The issue was an
AFSA process issue. Simple question was does this award meet our dissent award
AFSA has, however, apparently left this question unanswered several times in
the past. "The award wasn't for dissent. I received it because as a
[junior officer] I spent six months as acting deputy chief of the
[non-immigrant visa] section," said an anonymous source in an article titled
"Is there Life after Dissent," from the June 2002 issue of the Foreign Service
In 1981, Ambassador L. Bruce Laingen and other former hostages were
"corporately awarded" the Christian A. Herter Award, the William R. Rivkin
Award, and the W. Averell Harriman Award, according to Foreign Service Journal
articles from June 1981 and June 2002. Laingen was the charge d'affairs in
Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis.
"My colleagues and I were given the award on returning," said Laingen,
disagreeing with the comparison between the Evans decision and his
receiving of
the award. "I don't think they're analogous. It was given to us under very
unusual circumstances."
Laingen served as the chairman of the committee that considered Evans'
"I'm in no position to make judgment whether it was genocide or not, so I
don't use the term. I think we can all agree that the event was surrounded by
all kinds of tragedies, particularly for Armenians," said Laingen. "Whatever
degree it was, everyone can agree it's a tragedy. But it's over. It's part of
history now, and we know how both governments, both peoples feel and how
governments feel and have reacted to it. But as I recall, the Turkish Armenian
Reconciliation Commission--the little language I can remember--was looking for
reconciliation on that issue. And I would hope to God they can. I haven't read
the report of TARC, but I get the impression that that's what the TARC people
were trying to doto encourage reconciliation. Everyone knows the facts, but to
look at it in light of history and the passage of time, and move forward.
"But, the AFSA committee wasn't there to make a decision on those kind of
things. We were looking at it in the context of our criteria. We all have
respect for what John Evans was trying to do, what he said and why he said it.
But, let's look ahead."
AFSA and State Department officials may not have to look much furthera
resolution calling for the US recognition of the Armenian genocide was brought
before Congress this week. Rep. Frank Pallone, an original co-signer of the
resolutions, made highly critical remarks about the AFSA decision last week on
the House floor.
"Mr. Speaker, Ambassador Evans has been penalized for telling the truth. The
American Foreign Service Association has set a terrible example by retracting
Ambassador Evans' award. I guess even in America the Turkish Government is
able to stifle debate," said Pallone. "I find the timing of the decision
peculiar. The sharp turnaround came right before Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Washington for a meeting with President Bush. Based
on past history, it's clear that the State Department, the Bush
and the powerful pro-Turkish lobby pressured AFSA to withdraw Ambassador Evans

Jenny Kiljian is the editor of the Armenian Weekly

4) Homenetmen Navasartian Games & Festival in Full-Force

VAN NUYS--Thursday kicked-off the 30th anniversary of the Navasartian Games
Festival, a weekend celebration dedicated to the organization's 7,000 scouts,
athletes, volunteers, and of course, the Armenian-American community.
Closing celebrations began on June 30 with fireworks and performances by
internationally-known singers, and will continue throughout the weekend with
the largest celebration on Monday, July 4, as members, supporters, and
government officials gather for the Closing Ceremonies and Parade.
The Games and Festival is expected to draw over 30,000 spectators throughout
the weekend as athletes from the organization's 18 chapters in the Western
region, along with guest teams from around the country, compete for
championships in basketball, soccer, ping-pong, karate, swimming, track and
field, chess, and volleyball. The championship Games and Festival will be held
at Birmingham High School--located at 17000 Haynes Ave. Van Nuys, CA 91406.
After three decades, the Navasartian Games have become more than just a
Homenetmen event, and hold a special place in the heart of the community.
"Renewed civic pride, a massive surge in volunteerism, and the enthusiasm
surround the Navasartian Games are the force behind our hard work and
says committee member Pattyl Aposhian Kasparian. "When the last medal is
awarded and our athletes and scouts join family and friends for the closing of
the ceremonies, who can ignore the dynamism and spirit that the games leave

Weekend Festival Hours:

Friday: 5:00 p.m.- midnight
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-midnight
Sunday: 9:00 a.m.- midnight
Monday: 9:00 a.m.- midnight

5) ANC Praises Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo

LOS ANGELES--The State of California's largest and most influential
Armenian-American public affairs organization, the Armenian National Committee
of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR), issued a statement praising the work of
Los Angeles City Attorney, Rocky Delgadillo. Since his election to office in
June of 2001, Delgadillo has established a healthy working relationship with
the Armenian-American community and has actively worked to attract a number of
talented Armenian-American attorneys to his office.
"Rocky Delgadillo's tenure as City Attorney for Los Angeles has been
marked by
a profound dedication to improving the quality of life for all Angelenos,"
remarked ANCA-WR Government Relations Director, Armen Carapetian. "From
launching a Neighborhood Prosecutor Program that keeps our streets safe, to
work in reaching out to the Armenian-American community, Rocky Delgadillo's
commitment to public service has made our neighborhoods a healthier place to
live, work, and play," Carapetian added.
This past April, Delgadillo hosted a celebration of Armenian art, culture,
heritage at Los Angeles City Hall by featuring a photography exhibit of images
from Armenia--taken by his close aide Sara Anjargolian who previously
worked in
Armenia on a Fulbright scholarship. At the exhibit, the City Attorney welcomed
members of the community to City Hall and said, "Armenian-Americans have
enriched every aspect of life in our city, and across the country--from
contributions in science and technology, to business and commerce, to law and
politics, and of course the arts. And, for the first time, Armenian-Americans
hold a majority on the Glendale City Council. You have been fighting for
recognition of the Armenian Genocide, with this month marking the 90th
anniversary of the deaths of 1.5 million of your ancestors at the hands of
Ottoman Turkey. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your
persistent struggle. By keeping the memory of the Armenian Genocide alive, you
remind all of us of our collective responsibility to insure that such horrors
are never repeated again."
Sara Anjargolian, Rocky's main contact on Armenian issues, currently
serves as
a policy advisor and deputy city attorney. She graduated summa cum laude from
UCLA with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Public Policy and then
went on to receive her law degree from UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law.
After admission to the California Bar, and before heading back to Los Angeles,
Sara served as a trial lawyer for the Justice Department in Washington, DC.
Most recently, Delgadillo hired a talented, up and coming attorney, Sandy
Bedrosian, to serve as a deputy city attorney in the Central Trials Division.
Sandy received her undergraduate degree in both Political Science and History
from USC and went on to graduate from Pepperdine Law School last year. Sandy
gained valuable legal experience and skills while clerking for Federal
Court Judge Dickran Tevrizian. Sandy is currently putting these legal
skills to
good use for the benefit of the people of Los Angeles.
In addition to meeting with members of the Armenian clergy--including
Archbishop Hovnan Derderian earlier this year--Delgadillo spoke at an event
held at the United Armenian Congregational Church (UACC) on February 1, 2005.
During the event, hosted by the Men's Fellowship, the City Attorney spoke
the three major issues he has tackled during his tenure: public safety,
education, and an economy driven by entrepreneurship. Rocky's meetings with
Armenian clergy and members of the church community were facilitated by yet
another talented Armenian-American on his staff, Deputy City Attorney Raffy
A native of the Eastside of Los Angeles, Rocky Delgadillo earned a
to Harvard University, graduated with honors, and received his law degree from
Columbia University in New York City. Delgadillo became the highest-ranking
Latino to win citywide office in more than 100 years when he was elected Los
Angeles City Attorney on June 5, 2001. Running unopposed, he was re-elected in
March 2005 to a second four-year term. Rocky is currently seeking the
Democratic nomination for California Attorney General, and has already raised
more than $1 million in his first 100 days of campaigning.

6) Los Angeles County's Democratic Party Recognizes Ardashes Kassakhian
~QDemocrat of the Year~R

LOS ANGELES--On Sunday, June 26, over 700 community activists, public
officials, and Democratic Party leaders gathered at the Hollywood Palladium in
Los Angeles, California to honor Los Angeles County Democratic Party's top
activists for 2004-2005. Honorees were nominated by their local Assembly
District Democratic clubs and local leaders for outstanding service and
leadership within the Democratic Party.
Over 23 other Assembly Districts were represented at the awards with two
honorees from each district.
Newly elected City Clerk of Glendale, Ardashes "Ardy" Kassakhian was selected
as the Democrat of the Year for Los Angeles County's 43rd Assembly District,
which includes the areas of Burbank, Glendale, and Los Angeles (Griffith Park,
Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Toluca Lake). Kassakhian received the Frank and
Eleanor Roosevelt Award along with acknowledgments and recognitions from
federal, state, and local officials for his work in registering and educating
Armenian-American voters as well as for fighting for official US reaffirmation
of the Armenian Genocide.
Kassakhian is widely recognized as a leading voice for political activism
amongst Armenian-Americans, particularly the Armenian youth. His passion for
activism harkens back to his days as a student at University of California,
Angeles where while he studied History and Near Eastern Cultures he served as
the President of the UCLA Armenian Students Association. He was at the
forefront of the community wide effort to stop the Turkish Government's
to establish a Chair of Modern Turkish History at UCLA.
Kassakhian went on to work on local campaigns for both state and federal
elections not only in California, but in Washington, DC as well. While at
he participated in the University's Center for American Politics and Public
Policy Program in Washington, DC. During the program, Kassakhian interned in
Congress for both Republican and Democratic members' offices and worked on his
thesis outlining the successes and failures of the Armenian lobby in securing
recognition for the Armenian Genocide.
On April 5, 2005, Kassakhian became the youngest Armenian-American elected to
public office in the US when he was elected City Clerk of Glendale, California
with an overwhelming majority of the votes in a 9 person race. Prior to
for office, Kassakhian served as the Executive Director of the Armenian
National Committee of America-Western Region, a position he held for three
years. While at the ANCA, he worked closely with members of the state
legislature and members of the US Senate and Congress on passing such bills as
California Senate Bill 165, which set to establish the California-Armenia
office and California Assembly Bill 2003 that will enhance the human rights
curriculum for California public school teachers' regards on the subject of
genocide awareness.

7) Critic's Forum

By Hovig Tchalian

Perhaps the best way of inaugurating our series on art and literature in the
Armenian diaspora is by looking back.
In April of 2004, Riverhead Books published The Daydreaming Boy, the second
book by Micheline Aharonian Marcom, a Saudi-born Armenian writer raised in Los
Angeles. The book went on to garner critical acclaim, winning Best Book of the
Year honors from the Los Angeles Times, as well as the San Francisco
Marcom's first novel, Three Apples Feel from Heaven, first published in 2001,
had also won praise from critics and readers alike. The author is reportedly
planning a trilogy, of which these two novels make up the first and second
installment, respectively.
Marcom's two novels depict the various aftermaths of the Armenian
genocide--its toll on lives, relationships, and the psyche of a scattered
nation. As such, the novels portray in fiction what would normally be
doomed to
fail in fact, the attempt to reverse the unmentionable event itself, to start
over. This gesture of looking back, then, provides the most appropriate
metaphor with which to begin this article and this series.
The later of the two novels, The Daydreaming Boy, tells the fictional
story of
Vahe, an orphan and survivor of the Genocide transplanted to Lebanon. The
leads us through various events in his life in 1960's Beirut while moving
us in
and out of his daydreams and wild hallucinations. We catch glimpses of his
slowly disintegrating marriage to a woman named Juliana, the relentless
memories of his brutal youth at the orphanage, and his own self-destructive
The story opens as the orphans land on the shores of the Mediterranean:
We are naked like Adam and the blue wide band now becomes what it is, the
sea rises before us, the notfish become what they too are, so that we see:
water; white-capped waves stretched out into infinity; but not salt, warm,
Clothes stripped and bodies for the sun and sea and we run like the djinn,
thousands of boys running to the Mediterranean, saying, we thirst, we thirst
and we drink the water and we laugh and gag, a gaggle of orphans loaded onto
the boxcars at Eregli and unloaded in the Lebanon by the sea's edge.
The novel starts by moving back as far back as the historical imagination
allow, to the Biblical Eden. But Marcom invokes the moment just after the
after Adam's recognition of his own nakedness. As such, the fleeting innocence
in the scene is quickly dispelled in the profane reference to the children as
"djinn," Arabic for demons. Marcom will later remind us of this scene in
describing the children of Vahe's orphanage as "Adams in the wasteland, eating
the bread made from the sweat of their brow" (87). The word "notfish," which
seems to be Marcom's own, will also be echoed ominously throughout the novel:
when Vahe grows up and finds himself in a loveless marriage, he will
"notlisten" to his wife, and while answering her say that "it is not me
listening" (7-8).
Marcom folds many other elements of this first scene skillfully back into the
novel. She repeatedly evokes the Mediterranean described in the novel's first
scene, as an emblem of both loss and renewal: though occasionally in the novel
people will look hopefully out of their windows at the sea, Vahe will suggest
more enigmatically that "the sea has always been a solace, his haven, and she
is sadder than you know and dangerous; beautiful" (72).
We discover quickly that the "wide band" of the Mediterranean has already
closed in on Vahe's childhood friend, Vostanig, who we are told drowned
in it. Later still, Vahe's own search for his past will echo the "thirst" of
the children in the first scene. He will describe himself as unable to quench
his thirst, and yet unable to end his life in the sea inside himself. He will
eventually die at gunpoint while looking longingly at the Mediterranean.
As this brief overview suggests, Marcom's novel is full of moments that are
poignant and yet brutal, so graphic that they are sometimes difficult to read.
Reading the novel, in fact, produces the peculiar feeling of having lived
through much of what is being described in it. That feeling is surely a
testament to Marcom's writing ability, of her ability to describe in fiction
what is difficult to confront in fact. But it is equally a testament to the
enormity of the Genocide itself, whose shadow falls across every page of the
novel. To draw a perhaps inappropriate analogy, we might consider how much of
the laughter produced by an "ethnic joke" told among members of the same
community has to do with the teller's gift and how much is the result of the
uncanny sense of recognition produced by the joke itself.
The novel alludes to this strange commingling of fact and fiction in its
pages. Vahe asks a question that the reader of the novel, the historian of
Genocide, and the enemy of Genocide recognition might all ask, though for
different reasons. Addressing the "invisible history stories" told in his own
tale, Vahe asks: "how do I know something occurred, if I myself have not been
witness to it?" (200). The curse of the novel, and this one in particular, is
that in returning to the tragic events it describes, it must come perilously
close to recreating their brutality. About a third of the way through the
novel, we see Vahe and the rest of the orphans walking in file on the long
to the orphanage after landing on the shore of the Mediterranean. This is
clearly a new beginning of sorts, at least in Vahe's memory: "My memory begins
here," he says. "I can pinpoint the beginning of what I remember" (65). But
the "new beginning" follows a recollection of another sort immediately
preceding it, of Vahe's mother, whose husband was killed mercilessly on
long trek, the one through Der-el-Zor, and who later gave up Vahe for money.
Perhaps the two most brutal moments in the novel grow out of this strange
juxtaposition of scenes and the inability, both Vahe's and the novel's, to
re-imagine or re-invent the past. We find out that Vahe is the product of his
mother's rape by a Turkish soldier, which sends Vahe into fits of violence and
the repeated desire to kill her. (We have been told earlier that Vahe and his
wife are unable to bear children.) This brutality culminates in one of the
scenes in the novel, in which Vahe rapes a servant girl, described in terms
identical to his mother's rape by the soldier. Vahe's final babblings tell a
disturbing tale: "The sooth flesh I required to get a little bit of it back, a
small immeasurable ineffable return: inside that girl's flesh I was (say
it!Says): home" (205-6).
The impossibility of starting over is a favorite theme of modern literature
and criticism. And its application to an event such as the Genocide is a
reasonable one. Despite that fact, however, and though Marcom's novel
represents much more than a literary exercise, the novel's attempt to rescue
the Genocide from history proves ultimately less than gratifying. The novel
remains trapped in the irony of its own enterprise: the fictional retelling of
historical events not yet accepted as fact simply redoubles the difficulty of
the effort. The novel ends fittingly, just as the Lebanese Civil War
begins, in
effect as history intrudes to push Vahe's adopted country to the brink of
destruction. We are left as readers to ponder the larger fate of the diasporan
communities created by the Genocide, whose attempts at starting over create
possibility of yet other homelands to leave behind. This kernel of historical
truth alone survives Marcom's novel--we might even say despite it.

You can reach Hovig Tchalian or future contributors to Critics' Forum at
[email protected]

8) The Genocide Study Trap

By David B. Boyajian

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently asked Armenia to
agree to
the creation of a Turkish and Armenian commission that would study the murder
of Armenians in 1915 to determine if it constituted genocide.
President Bush liked the idea. So did German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and
Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis.
The Turkish members of such a commission would, of course, never consent to a
finding of genocide. The result, therefore, would be a "hung jury," exactly
kind of ambiguity that Turkey is looking for.
Fortunately, at least for now, President Robert Kocharian turned Turkey down.
He suggested, instead, an "intergovernmental commission" that could discuss
"any issue."
What many individuals and countries are unaware of, or deliberately ignoring,
is that the mass killings of Armenians have already been the subject of a
number of studies conducted by third party organizations.

Verdict: Genocide

In 1985, the United Nations Sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination
Protection of Minorities issued a genocide study that is sometimes referred to
as the Whitaker report.
"The Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916," stated Paragraph 24 of the
report, is an example of "genocide." Furthermore, it "is corroborated by
reports in United States, German and British archives and of contemporary
diplomats in the Ottoman Empire."
The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, sitting in Paris in 1984, impaneled a
jury of
Nobel Prize recipients and distinguished experts in international law from
around the globe. Its conclusions, published in "A Crime of Silence: The
Armenian Genocide," sliced Turkey to pieces:
"The extermination of the Armenian[s]~Ethrough deportation and massacre
constitutes a crime of genocide...within the definition of the [UN Genocide
Treaty of] 1948."
Furthermore, "By virtue of general international law" and the UN's 1968
"Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutes of Limitations to War Crimes
and Crimes against Humanity", the jury determined, "no statute of limitations
can apply" to Turkey's crimes.
Nor can Turkey use "the pretext of any discontinuity in the [1915 vs. current
Turkish] state" and so "must recognize officially...the consequent damages
suffered by the Armenian people."
Another study, requested by the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission
(TARC), was released in 2003. TARC itself was, of course, controversial and
ill-fated. Nevertheless, the study, facilitated by the International Center
Transitional Justice (ICTJ), concluded that the 1915 murders "include all of
the elements of the crime of genocide as defined in the [UN Genocide Treaty of
(In view of TARC's US State Department sponsorship, it was to be expected
the report also alleged that the 1948 Genocide Treaty is not retroactive to
1915 and, consequently, Armenians cannot assert land or reparations claims
against Turkey. In any event, for the reasons cited by the 1984 Tribunal and
others, the report is wrong about Armenian claims and implicitly acknowledges
that, conceding that it did not consider " law").

Genocide Games

Were there to be another study, Turkey, the US, Europe, various business
interests, and perhaps Turkish friends such as Israel and Pakistan, would
covertly try to bring about a judgment of "no genocide" or "we are unable to
arrive at a decision." The study would also emulate the TARC report by trying
to relieve Turkey of liability.
The West, after all, wants to shield eastern Turkey from Armenia claims as
that territory is the only land bridge to the oil and gas rich Caspian Sea
basin that bypasses Russia and Iran.
Even during the Cold War, international political pressure corrupted a UN
report on genocide. The report's Paragraph 30, issued in 1973, had stated that
the Armenian "massacres" were considered "the first genocide of the 20th
Century." Turkey objected and was supported by the US, Austria, France, Iran,
Italy, Nigeria, Pakistan, and others. During the ensuing years, Paragraph 30
was removed.
Just last year, a United Nations report on the mass killings in Darfur, Sudan
decided they might not be "genocide." Even the US had, grudgingly, termed them
genocide. The report may have been the victim of clandestine international
Still, let's suppose that a new study were to reaffirm that Turkey committed

Turkish Tricks

Regardless of what it may promise now, Turkey will almost certainly reject a
verdict of genocide. It has, after all, brushed aside every previous study
affirmed the factuality of the Genocide.
Even if it were to accept such a verdict, Turkey would retreat to its
well-known fallback position: "Modern" Turkey bears no legal responsibility
the actions of "Ottoman" Turkey.
Turkey's pathetically obvious game is to keep asking for new studies until it
gets one that concludes there was no genocide. That would be bad news for
Armenians. Western nations would pronounce the Genocide issue dead.

The Diaspora's Job

Besides, should we be trading our dignity and rights for what is likely to
someday be an ambiguously-worded, half-hearted statement of guilt by the
Turkish government?
Even a sincere genocide acknowledgment's value is questionable as, by itself,
it is unlikely to heal Armenian wounds or change Turkish policy toward

Only restitution and the return of Armenian land will ultimately bring a
significant degree of satisfaction. Restitution means the recovery of, or in
some instances compensation for, homes, farms, stolen assets, schools,
property, and thousands of churches.
Quantifying the theft and material damage committed by Turkey is urgently
needed. A starting point is published studies from the Paris Peace Conference
of 1919 and more recent works by scholars such as the late Professor Kevork K.
Baghdjian. Last year's successful prosecution of the New York Life Insurance
Company by Armenians shows that headway can be made.
Geographic and demographic studies of eastern Turkey should also be
undertaken. Future territory must include a Black Sea coastline so that Turkey
and its friends can no longer block Armenian access to Europe and Russia.
We recognize that achieving all our goals right now is not realistic. In the
meantime, Armenia must at least avoid anything that would make the future
prosecution of claims more difficult.
Poor and preoccupied with Karabagh and the Turkish blockade, Armenia lacks
resources and public relations savvy to undertake a full defense of its rights
against Turkey. Diasporan think tanks and political parties must, therefore,
shoulder the burden. Is it not the job of political parties, after all, to
uphold national rights?
But, first, we must not yield to the temptation for yet another study to
confirm what we and the world have already proved: Turkey committed genocide
against Armenians.
Now, let's move on.

David B. Boyajian is an Armenian American freelance writer based in

9) Time Bomb Alright

By Garen Yegparian

Unbelievable! Fifteen days as of this writing, and not a peep out of us! NBC's
Dateline runs roughshod over Hai Tahd and one of our activists, and no one
or does anything.
On Tuesday, June 14, NBC Dateline ran the piece, "Time Bomb: Investigation
into Storage Locker Full of Explosives in Bedford, Ohio" about Mourad Topalian
and the investigation leading to his arrest.
The story presentation is pedantic, moralistic, and worst of all,
sensationalist. "Behave yourself or the government will get you, some day,
somewhere." This is starkly apparent in the interview the ATF [Justice
Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] agent who
worked the case.
It is great publicity for a bureau that had caused the bloodbath in Waco when
dealing with the Branch Davidians--the armed sect. This matter even comes
up in
the discussion.
The whole story is full of inappropriate comparisons to the mafia and
al-Qaeda. The agent is portrayed as a shining example of American diligence,
and an exemplary law enforcement officer who always gets his man. Phooey!
Meanwhile, Mourad and implicit unnamed 'others' are portrayed as evil
lurking in the wings, waiting to strike innocent bystanders. There's even
mention of what Mourad WAS NOT convicted of. Double Phooey!
The Genocide gets passing mention in the context of our 'hero' relating that
all of his Armenian sources (better known as rats, finks, and traitors) cited
it as their motivation for involvement in pursuing Armenian rights and
redressing of [national] grievances. A few background sentences even present
the Genocide as an "ethnic conflict" erupting from the "dispute between
Armenians and Turks." Triple Phooey!
Armenians are presented as being shady, dangerous--even criminal. Our cause
gets no just mention. Who gains from this? Dateline. NBC. ATF. Turkey.
Did anyone ask how Dateline was turned on to this story, eight years after
whole matter began, four years after the case concluded--and a year after
Mourad's release from prison? Who gave it to them? The ATF? I think it was
probably some Turkish agent--a lobbyist, a member of Turkey's diplomatic
or even some US-dwelling Turk still suffering the delusions imposed by his
ancestral government's pseudo-history.
What do I expect?
I expect that all hell would've broken loose over this one. It's worse than
Armenia being put on the list of terrorist-spawning countries by the Bush
regime in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq as a sop to the Turkish
government. Why? Because it is far more insidious. For the most part, only
Armenians knew of Armenia's placement on that list.
Those with insufficient historical awareness who watched this piece of trash
(i.e. 99.99% of the viewers), are left with impressions that are nothing short
of horrible. This is a building block of public opinion, in the court where
battle with Turkey is currently being waged.
While I despise doing this, a comparison with the Jewish community's
aggressive public relations approach is in order, for a change. I'll cite a
recent, almost identical time frame, case. In 1999, Jewish activist Irv Rubin
sued the City of Burbank, where I reside, for allowing sectarian prayer (i.e.
prayer that is overtly Christian or overtly any other faith) as the opening
invocation at its city council meetings. He won the case in September 2002,
couldn't enjoy the fruits of his efforts since he committed suicide two months
later while in custody awaiting trail for conspiracy to bomb a mosque and the
offices of Cong. Darrell Issa (who's of Lebanese descent).
You see, Irv Rubin was the National Chairman of the Jewish Defense League.
JDL is noted for its violent, even lethal, activities. Yet after the news
subsided, no one dredged up his story and vilified the whole Jewish community
through it. Anyone considering such a project would likely be quickly
from wasting their time. As it was, a hue-and-cry was raised by Rubin's
supporters who claimed he might have been murdered, that it really wasn't
suicide. All this plays in the court of public opinion and minimizes damage to
the Jewish image.
It's incumbent on us to make NBC know such activity is utterly unacceptable
and contemptible. We reacted when Armenians were portrayed as vicious killers
in some TV police show, yet we're silent when it comes to reality. Moreover,
whatever Mourad may have done, what he's gone through, and your personal
opinion and position about these, it was for our struggle. It's incumbent
on us
to stand up for our cause on all fronts, especially such public ones. Let's
show NBC & Dateline a time bomb they have triggered in the Armenian community.
More importantly, let's feed news show leads about the dirty doings of various
Turks and create a subtle linkage to Turkey--to further tarnish the image they
so dearly want to polish.


This column is not my best work. I'm warning you right now. I'm writing
this on
the back of a napkin at wedding somewhere in the Valley. It's 11 p.m. and they
just started serving dinner. I'm so hungry I tried to eat the centerpiece. (By
the way, orchids taste like raw, unripe almonds.) I'm nearly deaf from sitting
next to the DJ.
My editor told me I have an early deadline this week because of July 4, so
here it goes. At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney, I'm going to pick an
inane topic and beat it to death. I'm trying to sound less bitter or angry in
my columns but I can't help it. Criticizing is what I do best. And after a
marathon wedding/engagement/graduation weekend, I've decided to start a
petition to remove the month of June from the traditional calendar. I know I'm
not alone on this, but no one else seems to want to speak out.
Here's a basic rundown of what my weekends looked like this month.

First weekend of June:


Saturdaywedding/engagement (I double-booked because I knew I'd have more fun
at the engagement and the wedding was just one of those where I was invited
because of my parents and not because anyone really knew me)

Sundaygraduation party (this party might as well have been a weddingover 300
guests and just because of a graduation from high school.)

Second weekend of June:


SaturdayWedding/graduation/baptismthe Armenian community trifecta. Ok. I
you get the picture.

I'll spare you the details of the rest of the month except to say that if I
ever have to step foot inside another Vegas-themed Armenian Banquet Hall again
in the next month, I'm going to snap and start throwing seafood salad and
hummus all over the dance floor and then punch out the DJ when he starts
playing Turkish/Arabic music!
Maybe I'm a cultural snob or maybe it's because I'm not married, but I can't
seem to understand the draw and allure of a) having a wedding or any
significant celebration in June and b) having 900 people you'll rarely see
again in your lifetime attend such a special day. The one that boggles my mind
the most is the wedding style graduation. That's when the family drops 15,000
dollars to rent a place that looks like Liberace's rumpus room
(<'t%20have% 20an%20active%20i
magination%20like%20mine/> in case you don't have an active
imagination like mine) and hire a DJ--all to celebrate a kid's graduation from
high school. They celebrate and party as if there were a doubt that the kid
might not graduate. They drink and dance like it's the kid's last day of
freedom before they send him or her off to jail to serve three back to back to
back life sentences. Meanwhile, the kid will probably continue living at home
for the next four to six years while they commute to Cal Sate Northridge or
Angeles. BUT MAN, WHAT A PARTY! RIGHT? Seriously though, people need to
grow up
and come back down to earth. Graduating from high school or college is a big
deal but not an earth shattering event that requires carved ice sculptures of
naked gymnasts holding bunches of grapes on each table! Maybe a pen. Maybe a
REALLY nice pen or a check to cover the cost of books during the first
or pay for the airplane ticket for a trip to Europe and Armenia. Like I
said--maybe I'm just a snob and I will never understand.
But here's a word of advice for anyone out there planning a wedding or any
other significant event and is considering doing it in June. Don't. Really, I
mean it. Don't do it. Unless you're a sadist, pick another month. For those
live in California, the land of eternal sunshine, it's not like your
wedding is
going to be snowed out. October is just as fine a month as June--maybe even
nicer. I'm begging all my readers to put a moratorium on all June weddings and
other similar parties, but I know that nobody will. The temptation to be like
everyone else is just too much for Armenians. God forbid we do something
different, what will people think? WHAT WILL THEY THINK?
That's what really drives all of these ridiculously expensive and pretentious
events. The "what will other people think" syndrome that has infected our
community. It's a mental affliction that manifests itself in the most
inappropriate ways and times. And the double standard that goes along with it
is also sad. Here's an example: It is ok for an overweight woman over the age
of 50 to wear a tight, bright, sequined dress and shake her flubber to the
tunes of Arabic crooners, but it's taboo to ask a band or a DJ to play only
Armenian music. Why? Because what will the other guests think! They won't have
fun! The armies of sequined and puffy-faced lushes need to reminisce about
their summers spent at the resort towns of Iran, Lebanon, or Turkey. Never
that each person attending is already costing the newlywed couple almost 100
And speaking of weddings and DJs, has anyone else noticed that there are no
female Armenian wedding singers? Why is that? Just an observation but one
Anyway, here's the bottom line. I'm not going to go to anymore June weddings,
even if it's my own. I'm not going to encourage anyone's kid by attending a
graduation party held anywhere other than someone's backyard. And finally, I'm
going to only write checks that cover the cost of my attendance for couples I
don't know very well.
Here's a word of advice for anyone who's inviting folks to a June wedding.
Have your wedding in early June because by the third week my bank account
like the Gross Domestic Product of a Third World African nation.
And my final word of advice--make sure there's more Armenian music than
Persian, Arabic, or Turkish. Otherwise, there's going to be a stop-payment on
that check and I don't care what anyone else thinks!

Skeptik Sinikian is planning to be married in the dead of winter in Las Vegas
by an Armenian Elvis impersonator. The reception to follow will be held at the
Liberace Home/Museum Banquet Hall. To RSVP, email [email protected] or
visit <>

11) Bush Clueless on Concept of Genocide

By Nanor Abkarian

The mass murder and human rights abuses connected to the crime of genocide
arguably perplexing and deeply troubling.
The international legal definition of genocide includes the mental element of
the act--"intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,
or religious group", and the physical element, which includes the killing,
causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group--as well the
deliberate inflicting of conditions in order to bring about their physical
destruction, in whole or in part.
Although straightforward, this definition--based on the 1948 Convention on
Prevention and Punishment of Genocide--appears to perplex President George
Bush, who has demonstrated his incapacity to grasp the term whether it applies
to the Armenian genocide at the beginning of the 20th century, or more
recently, the genocide in Darfur.
On June 1, President Bush expressed his concern for the genocide in
Darfur--marking only the second time Bush used "genocide" to describe the
crisis in Darfur; yet, an actual attempt to assist the citizens of Darfur
remains insufficient.
In early 2003, black Africans from Darfur rebelled against the country's Arab
Muslim leadership, demanding a power-sharing government. The government of
Sudan responded by sending in forces to suppress the rebellion, and sponsoring
the militia known as Janjaweed, who have been strategically slaughtering,
raping, and starving the citizens of the western region of Sudan, Darfur.
Approximately 400,000 people have died, and are dying because of violence,
starvation, and disease. Also, more than 2.5 million people have been
from their homes, and over 200,000 have fled across the border to refugee
in Chad.
During a meeting with the South African President Thabo Mbeki, Bush admitted,
"This is a serious situation, as you know; former Secretary of State Colin
Powell, with my concurrence, declared the situation a genocide." The Bush
administration has been supplying "logistical aid" through North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO) to Africa Union (AU) troops. However, according to
US Deputy Secretary of State, Robert Zoellick, the US government still shares
intelligence with the Sudanese government, which might explain why we haven't
made a real effort, considering the level of efficacy we actually withhold, to
help bring an end to the Genocide.
Mbeki believes the United States and other non-African countries should
not be
asked to deploy troops. "Our view has been that it's critically important that
the African continent should deal with these conflict situations on the
continent--and that includes Darfur." Though ideally Mbeki's opinion might
correct, it's not worth debating while more lives are at stake. Like the first
genocide of the 20th Centurythe Armenian genocidehas been renounced for nine
decades, the first genocide of the 21st Century is likewise being overlooked.
Hopefully, by the time we take action, Darfur won't be entirely cleansed.
In a true effort to stop the cycle of genocide throughout the world, the
Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has participated in many events,
zealously working to terminate the Darfur genocide.
Giving real meaning to the words "never again," the ANCA has protested
the Sudanese Embassy, spoken at genocide prevention conferences, and generated
support for Congressional legislation aimed at ending the slaughter in the
Darfur region.
"Genocide denial--of past atrocities or ongoing massacres--only serves to
encourage perpetrators, emboldening them with the knowledge that their crimes
can be committed with impunity," says Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of

12) Badanee Educational Seminar Concludes with 23 New AYF Members

GLENDALE--After the educationals and test, 23 badanees were ready to join the
Armenian Youth Federation ranks on June 25 at AYF Camp.
On behalf of the Central Executive, Chairman of the AYF Western Region Shant
Baboujian stressed the importance of duty, responsibility, and service to
respective communities, as well as to the Armenian Cause.
Baboujian then invited AYF alumni and director of the camp, Karnig
to share their memories and experiences with the novices. After a short
question and answer session, Baboujian introduced ANCA Western Region Board
member Raffi Hamparian, who served as the "Gnkahayr" for the oath ceremony.
Prior to the oath ceremony, Melkon Melkonian spoke about AYF's progress
through the years. Hamparian also spoke of the AYF legacy and its continuous
growth and prosperity. As the oath ceremony finally began, Hamparian led the
youth in pledging to devote their energies toward achieving a free,
independent, and united Armenia.
"Before taking their oath, our newest members successfully completed the AYF
Educational Program, designed to educate them about Armenian history, the
Genocide, our struggles, and the organization in general," said Marita
Medzachian, Educational Central Council chairperson.
The Central Executive presented each new member with a symbolic gift, after
which the new members, past members, and ARF members had the opportunity to
interact, and sing songs around a camp fire accompanied by Karnig Sarkissian.
To become full fledged AYF member, applicants must complete an educational
program and take an oath during a formal ceremony. The Armenian Youth
Federation Western United States serves Armenian American communities west of
the Mississippi through education, athletics, political activism, cultural
activities and social settings. To learn more about the AYF please log on to

Two Novices Reflect on Their Road from Badanees to AYF

By Nora Injeyan

I had been waiting for what seemed to be forever to go to AYF camp, take my
oath, and pass the ranks from badanees to AYF. When the weekend began, Unger
Karnig Sarkissian was our director and all seemed good. However, we were met
with the most horrific, arduous task that could ever be asked of a novice--a
task that would make some of the weaker novices have second thoughts of
or not they were willing to join this organization: complete an entire mock
general meeting. It seemed as if it would not end, but when the meeting was
over, everyone was much more confident that they could enter the meeting and
could keep up with the best of them. That night, I was privileged to be given
the responsibility of being "bahag" to help protect the camp from bears. All I
have to say is that the flashlight was not turned off once that entire night
and that they could not have picked a "bahag" who was more terrified of her
As we were waiting in anticipation to take our AYF oath, the next part of the
weekend was our "personal oath." This was my favorite part of the weekend
and I
don't think many people would disagree. Everyone stood up and told their
ungers why they were joining AYF and what promises they would keep to
themselves once they were members. I had never been more convinced that the
future of the AYF is well taken care of then when I was in that room listening
to my fellow ungers. Many people were either on the verge of tears or already
there. There was so much emotion put into every word uttered that could not
have been faked or duplicated. Every single person was serious about joining
AYF and doing everything they possibly could to aid the everlasting struggle
for a free, independent and united Armenia. It was one of the greatest
things I
had ever experienced as a novice and as an Armenian and there is no way I
put all the emotion I felt into words on a piece of paper.
Finally, it was time to take our oath. It did not seem like it was happening,
but it did. I was ecstatic; everyone was just going around saying
congratulations and hugging. We were just so happy that we were officially
That night, after all the dancing, eating, and chilling camp stories, we
gathered round the camp fire and sang "heghapokhagan" songs. From "Kini Lits"
to "Revolution," to "Kezi Harkank" and to "Name That Tune," courtesy of Unger
Karnig, we sang them all.
And then, just like that our weekend was over. It happened way too quickly
after saying goodbye to all the new ungers, we headed home with a new found
respect for each other and the organization.
Now, for all my new ayf-agan ungers, lousapanagan harts, ter gam tem to that
weekend? I SAY TER!

By Sanan Shirinian

After being an ARF badanee for 5 years, it is only natural to move on to the
AYF ranks when I turned 16. However, one cannot be a member overnight. I took
the necessary educationals, studied hard for the test, and thankfully passed.
The last step was to attend the Novice camp and take my oath. This was, of
course, my favorite part of the entire process.
I expected camp to be like the hundreds of other camps I've been
too, but Novice camp was so much more than that--it was 3 days of
transformation. We arrived late Friday night and went for a hike. We
stopped at
a familiar location and stood in a circle. Each one of us got to say why we
wanted to join AYF. Standing there in the darkness of the woods, listening to
everyone's voice as they spoke, I realized that these people and I have a
future together.
On Saturday, we had a discussion about what we think AYF should be doing in 5
to 10 years. All of us struggled to answer that question, and since we were
kids that would be deciding the future of AYF in the following years, it was a
little scary not having a solid answer. Fortunately, ideas were slowly brought
up and discussed. There was even a heated debate between a fellow Novice and
myself. This discussion made me realize that there is always going to be
disagreements within the organization; however, we have to compromise because
at the end of the day we are all still ungers.
Before giving our oath that night, an older unger gave us a few inspirational
words. He said that love is the strongest human emotion, and without love, we
cannot accomplish anything to its fullest. If we have love for this
organization, and all of the work it carries out, then we can truly commit to
it. Even though we might not all agree with everything AYF does, we do not
up on it, and we do not turn our backs to it, because we have love for it as a
whole. As I listened to this unger speak, I could not help the smile on my
because I knew that that night was going to be the beginning of something that
will affect my life completely.
Finally, the time had come. All the novices were on one side of the campfire,
and the AYF-agans were on the other side. Our godfather, Raffi Hamparian, read
us the oath, and we repeated it. As we promised aloud to abide by the bylaws
and to be loyal members of the organization, I felt heaviness in the air. I
the older ungers nodding and welcoming us to the club. It was a surreal
I felt proud and incredibly lucky. The executive members stepped on our
side of
the campfire and placed necklaces on our necks, and one by one hugged and
congratulated us. This 10 minutes of my life seemed to have been in slow
motion. I enjoyed every second of it. In all honesty, I still can't comprehend
the fact that I am part of the greatest organization in the world. I am a
newborn of the greatest family in the world. That night, all of us sat around
the campfire.
From newly transferred members, to executives, to CC representatives, we sat
together and sang in unison. It was an image that I will never forget. And as
we all sat there singing together, fighting for the same cause, having a same
goal, I realized it was going to be a great 10 years.

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