Song and dance moves to Armenia

Song and dance moves to Armenia

BOSTON – There has lately been some activity surrounding the cause of what’s called “repatriation”, of having Diasporan Armenians move to the Republic of Armenia or to Artsakh. Not that that cause is new by any means, it’s just that a couple of concerted efforts over the past months has highlighted some points that seem worthy of reflection.

A youth group in the Los Angeles area, for instance, held a seminar recently that brought together interested parties and organisations that do work in Armenia. Such activities are truly informative and helpful to the community out there. But the sort of effusive representation of life and times in Armenia that comes up and of “repatriation” can sometimes be a little over the top. Continue reading

Armenian Museum in Washington: Beyond Genocide

Armenian Museum in Washington: Beyond Genocide

WASHINGTON – I had the great pleasure and unique opportunity to visit the future site of the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial the other day. It is truly an amazing location and space whose value in its potential to reach out to the Armenian-American community, the US political establishment, and American society as such cannot be underestimated.

Of course the ongoing disputes and legal matters dogging the project have been disappointing and, frankly, embarrassing and shameful. More than that, however, even as this idea was made public a few years ago, I got the impression that the efforts may be better served to highlight Armenian history and culture generally, as opposed to a giant commemoration of the Armenian Genocide alone. Continue reading

The problem of co-ordinating Armenian efforts

The problem of co-ordinating Armenian efforts

SANTA FE, N.M. – There has been talk over the past year of creating a pan-Diaspora body for the Armenians, a representative organisation which would act as an umbrella group for the various political, cultural, educational, athletic, and perhaps even religious establishments of the organised Armenian Diaspora, taking on political and outreach activities as well as other efforts on a wider scale, alongside generally serving as a forum for the Armenian Diaspora and the world. Continue reading

De Waal introduces Caucasus to the world | Book of the Week: ‘The Caucasus: An Introduction’ by Thomas de Waal

De Waal introduces Caucasus to the world

SANTA FE, N.M. – As with Black Garden, Tom de Waal’s magnum opus on the Karabakh issue, The Caucasus is not going to please everybody in the Caucasus.

De Waal is currently a senior associate at the Russia-Eurasia program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank. His presentation is balanced and comprehensive, offering a well-rounded overview and some insights into the details of the histories of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, including their territorial disputes which remain unresolved.

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Book of the Week: ‘The Caucasus: An Introduction’ by Thomas de Waal

The Caucasus: An Introduction By Thomas de Waal. Oxford University Press, 2010

As with Black Garden, de Waal’s magnum opus on the Karabagh issue, The Caucasus is not going to please everybody.

Everybody in the Caucasus, that is.

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Exotic emotions

Exotic emotions

Every trip to the Homeland must necessarily be an emotional one for an Armenian of the Diaspora. But this time for me has been exceptionally remarkable, and I’ve only been here a couple of weeks.

The journey itself brought out highly conflicted feelings in me. It began weeks before I even boarded a plane. All that was on my mind was Armenia, Armenia, Armenia. My suitcases were on my floor maybe a month before the end of the academic year. I really wanted to leave St. John’s, Santa Fe, the States, and make it back to the Homeland for what I knew would be an exciting summer. Continue reading

More “dont’s” and “do’s” for Diasporans on tour of Homeland

More “dont’s” and “do’s” for Diasporans on tour of Homeland

SANTA FE, N.M. – If you are an Armenian of the Diaspora, and you are going to visit the Homeland for the first time, there are a few things you ought to know.

The sentimental expectations vis-à-vis Armenia are often left unfulfilled, especially for those of a very patriotic and traditional Armenian background. Be prepared for a general culture shock. Continue reading

UCLA event highlights Armenian heritage in Turkey

UCLA event highlights Armenian heritage in Turkey

Los Angeles – A one-day conference on the Armenian Communities of Asia Minor was held on Saturday, the 20th of March, 2010 at UCLA.

Organised by the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History, led by the indefatigable Richard Hovannisian, with the support of other departments at UCLA and the Southern California-based Organisation of Istanbul Armenians, the conference included ten papers and presentations on the Armenian presence in areas of Anatolia outside of Constantinople (Istanbul), and the more traditional and more often-cited Western Armenia and Cilicia homelands. Continue reading

The numbers game in Armenia

The numbers game in Armenia

YEREVAN – There are many odd, quirky, inexplicable, incomprehensible, and downright surreal aspects to life in Armenia, especially for those who are used to the things people in First-World countries take for granted. I’m not talking about conveniences like plumbing or electricity (which Armenia does have), or even lofty ideals such as human rights or the rule of law; it’s more the social dynamic that can take getting used to. Continue reading

Yerevan’s buzzing honeycomb, home of Tashkhala

Yerevan’s buzzing honeycomb, home of Tashkhala

YEREVANPetag. The word means “honeycomb” in Armenian, and one can immediately sense why upon entering the building. Yerevan’s answer to CostCo, it is a structure that probably used to be a real warehouse and wasn’t just designed to look like one. Two floors of “containers,” as they are referred to; shop upon shop, shop next to shop, shop within shop, selling everything from clothes to food, to stationery, sporting goods, and cutlery. You name it, they have it all, at low, low prices. Continue reading