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29.2.12

Sarkozy Asks Government to Re-Draft Genocide Denial Law

French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked the government to prepare a new law on criminalizing genocide denial. The call came less than an hour after the French Constitutional Council issued a statement on February 28, 2012, considering the bill penalizing the denial of genocides unconstitutional with the argument that it curbs freedom of speech.
The bill would have rendered punishable the denial of genocides France has officially recognized, like the Armenian Genocide. France already has a law in place penalizing Holocaust denial.
Turkey welcomed the ruling of the Constitutional Council. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the cabinet would meet to consider restarting contacts with France, which were frozen after the French parliament passed the bill on January 23, reported Reuters.
On February 1, Sarkozy vowed to redraft a law that criminalizes the denial of the Armenian Genocide, if the country’s highest judicial body finds an earlier version unconstitutional. While making the statement, Sarkozy reportedly criticized those in cabinet who had opposed the bill, saying they “did not see past the ends of their noses.”
He also said a rejection of the bill by the Constitutional Council could open the door to questioning a law that penalizes denial of the Holocaust.

25.2.12

Գիրքի մայրաքաղաք հռչակուած Երեւանի մէջ գիրքերը կրկնակի կը թանկանան

Ա. ՍԱՀԱԿԵԱՆ

 
Երեւանը համաշխարհային գիրքի մայրաքաղաք հռչակուելէ ետք չուշացուց իր անակնկալը եւ ըստ 2011 Դեկտեմբերին ընդունուած «Աւելացած արժէքի մասին ՀՀ օրէնքում փոփոխութիւններ եւ լրացումներ կատարելու մասին» օրէնքի, գիրքի գինին մէջ կը մուծուի յաւելեալ արժէքի հարկ (VAT), որուն արդիւնքով տպագիր հրատարակութիւններուն գիները կտրուկ կերպով կ՚աւելցնան։
Որոշ լաւատեսներ կը կարծէին, թե գիրքերը պիտի թանկանային մօտ 20 առ հարիւր համեմատութեամբ: Սակայն, զանոնք պիտի հիասթափեցնենք, քանի որ այսուհետեւ բազմաթիւ գիրքերու համար ընթերցողները ստիպուած պիտի ըլլան կրկնակի վճարել: Օրինակ, մայրաքաղաքի կեդրոնը գտնուող «Նոյեան Տապան» գրատունը արդէն հեղինակներուն խնդրած է գալ գրախանութ եւ նոր պայմանագրեր կնքել: Ըստ այդ թարմացումին, մինչեւ օրս 3000 դրամ արժող գիրքը այսուհետեւ կրնաք ձեռք բերել 6000 դրամով:
«Վերջին լուրեր» (verjinlurer.am), Փետրուար 24, 2012
(Արեւմտհայերէնի վերածուած) 

24.2.12

"Save Teghut" Redefines Environmental Activism in Armenia

Mary Matosian
 
Young Armenians concerned with environmental threats in Armenia created the Save Teghut civic initiative in Nov. 2007. Many participated in successful actions to save Kacharan, in the Syunik region, from harmful mining and Trchkan waterfall from destruction. These activists are not affiliated with any organization or political party and they insist on covering their expenses either through their own means or donations from the general public. While they started with about 20 activists, today Save Teghut has over 6,000 followers on Facebook, and many more supporters in the regions of Armenia without internet access. Groups who support the Save Teghut movement have so far been established in Moscow, Germany, and Los Angeles.
Save Teghut addresses the disastrous environmental situation in Armenia. It aims to raise awareness among Armenians of the environmental dangers looming over our country, as well as the irresponsible, illegal, and secret activities of mining companies in collaboration with the oligarchic system in Armenia. The group works to protect the ecosystem and promote public health by ensuring that Armenia’s water, air, and land are clean. In the Teghut forest, specifically, the civic initiative demands the end of the mining project.
Unfortunately, environmental restrictions are not enforced in Armenia for most of the major mining operations, which results in damages to the ecosystem of the surrounding areas. Often corruption originates at the stage of issuing licenses and acquiring permits. Corruption in the forest sector is widely believed to be associated with businesses sponsored by high-level government officials. The government’s actions have been insufficient to stop the destruction of Armenia’s forests as a result of illegal logging. In addition, the government has recently reclassified many forest areas without due justification, and has allocated them to local communities or private individuals.
The Armenian Copper Program (ACP), whose majority shareholder is the Vallex F.M. corporation, has been awarded a 25-year exploitation license by the Armenian government to extract the copper and molybdenum ore buried in the Teghut mountains. ACP is in the process of developing an open pit mine. The amount of forested land the company plans to clear cut is around 1,500 hectares (approximately 650 football fields). Several rivers will be polluted or dry up. It takes around 200 years for a forest to recover. Armenia has lost 7-12 percent of its forests since 1998.
Furthermore, villagers relate that they received miserable remuneration. One villager stated that he applied to the mining company for a job and was offered a salary of 60,000 AMD ($155) per month for very hard work, and had to decline the job offer. He complained that parcels of lands were announced as eminent domain and were bought by the mining company for 38 AMD ($0.9 cents) per 1 square meter. No effort has been made by the government to develop agriculture or to invest in the area.
Since November 2007, environmentalists have tried to halt the further development of copper and molybdenum processing near the village of Teghut in the Lori province, which, they say, will irrevocably damage the ecology and surrounding villages. Twenty-five years from now, when the Vallex Corporation finishes mining in the region, the arable and surrounding land will no longer be fertile or usable.
The health risks of mining are quite apparent, especially in Armenia where no regulations, safety standards, and monitoring are implemented. Irresponsible mining in Armenia has created devastating health problems for the population, including unnaturally high rates of birth defects, developmental defects, and chromosomal disorders accompanied by increased respiratory diseases, allergies, and other health problems.
Many environmental problems in Armenia—including those related to water resources, mining, forests, and protected areas—are closely associated with corruption. The exploitation of natural resources takes place without due justification of decisions and with restricted public access to information. Furthermore, decisions can typically be traced to special interest groups and are made without due attention to the declared long-term sustainable development goals of the government.
The Zhoghovurd Daily, for example, reported that a 148-hectare forest was allocated to Arab Sheikh Mohammed Musallam by Armenian Nature Protection Minister Aram Harutyunyan, but in return for what, it asked.
The construction of the ore processing plant, as another example, and the exploitation of the copper-molybdenum mine in Teghut will ostensibly result in a breach of 77 Armenian laws and a range of international conventions signed and ratified by the Republic of Armenia, such as the UN Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee. In 2009, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ACCC/C/2009/43) condemned the decisions of the government of Armenia regarding its exploitation of the mine in Teghut and adjacent territory since it does not comply with the Aarhus Convention.
The 44 members of the UN Economic Commission for Europe have strongly condemned Armenia’s continuing violations of international obligations and demand that all decisions regarding the Teghut mining exploitation be considered invalid. On Jan. 25, 2012, the members also signed a declaration condemning the flagrant human rights violations associated with the exploitation, and demanded a stop to mining in Teghut forest.
Armenia’s laws do not allow the exploitation of areas populated by endangered species, nor do they allow damage to archeological sites. Teghut forest houses 19 animal and plant species that are part of Armenia’s Red Book of Endangered Species, and an archeological team from Armenia’s Academy of Sciences uncovered many artifacts dating back to the Bronze Age and many other Christian-era monuments. If mining continues, these will be completely lost.
Activists, energized by the results from Trchkan and Kacharan, have undertaken the defense of the Teghut forest. On Jan. 15, around 250 people visited the area in a hiking action initiative to familiarize people with the issue. Media coverage was significant, and the Teghut issue was featured in articles, TV interviews, and YouTube clips. The country has finally taken notice of the damage created by the ACP/Vallex group and the environmental dangers awaiting us. Irreversible environmental damage, unfortunately, has already resulted from the lack of strict mining regulations, coupled with barbaric exploitation and corruption, as government and interested parties have proved they are only concerned with making a profit.
Activists were able to energize the Armenian youth in Moscow and many have extended their support. The Save Teghut movement is proud of this achievement and is in the process of involving diasporan youth into the civic movement in Armenia. The “Shant” AYF Western U.S. Region has already been active in supporting the movement, raising awareness among diasporans, and extending various skills to support the group. Save Teghut activists have contacted German environmental activists and groups and are working in unison to raise awareness in international organizations about the ecological and environmental disasters in Armenia.
The young activists ask that Armenians in the diaspora create support groups and pressure the Armenian government to obey the laws and environmental conventions it has signed, and to condemn its harmful mining policy. Soon, Save Teghut will launch its website and an online petition. Donations to the group are helpful to organize future initiatives and disseminate information. The group is also appealing to businesses in the diaspora to look into investment options in the Teghut region, so that they can help protect the ecosystem of the forest and the fundamental rights of the local population to live in a healthy and safe environment.
"The Armenian Weekly," February 21, 2012

21.2.12

Սիրիան քաոսի նախաշեմին

ՎԱՀԷ ԲՕՅԱՋԵԱՆ
 
Սիրիայում ընթացող զարգացումների համատեքստում սիրիահայ համայնքի եւ նրա առջեւ ծառացած մարտահրաւէրների հետազօտութեանն է նուիրուած վերջերս ՀՀ ԳԱԱ Արեւելագիտութեան ինստիտուտի եւ Սփիւռքի նախարարութեան համատեղ ջանքերով հրատարակուած «Սիրիայի հայ համայնքը. արդի հիմնախնդիրներ» ուսումնասիրութիւնը:
Գրքի հեղինակներն են Արեւելագիտութեան ինստիտուտի արաբական երկրների բաժնի գիտաշխատողներ պ.գ.թ. դոցենտ Արաքս Փաշայեանը եւ պ.գ.թ. դոցենտ Լիլիթ Յարութիւնեանը, որոնց հետ զրուցել ենք:  

12.2.12

Tel-Aviv debe ir mas alla de monopolizar el genocidio


Ara Khatchadourián
Traducción de Vartán Matiossián

Cuando el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, dijo que “los intentos de convertir los conflictos y masacres en Africa, Asia y los Balcanes en otro Holocausto son inaceptables” y que “desde su establecimiento, Israel se ha opuesto a la aplicación del término Holocausto a otra guerra o tragedia”, reveló una realidad fea e ignorante que ha guiado a ciertos líderes israelíes. (*)
Renacido de las cenizas del Holocausto, Israel debió haber sido el primer país en reconocer adecuadamente los acontecimientos de 1915 como genocidio. Sin embargo, así como Lieberman censura que “hoy los incidentes históricos se han convertido en disputas políticas; es por esto que no considero correcto que Israel trate este [el Genocidio Armenio] tema”, el gobierno israelí ha hecho parte de su política ignorar el Genocidio Armenio frente a sus intereses regionales POLITICOS, es decir, su alianza non-sancta con Turquía.

11.2.12

Պետրոս Դուրեանի մասունքը ամփոփուեցաւ Երեւանի Պանթէոնին մէջ

ՄԱՐԻԷՏԱ ՄԱԿԱՐԵԱՆ
 
Երէկ [Փետրուար 2], Կոմիտասի անուան այգիին մէջ մեր մեծերու Պանթէոնը մարդաշատ էր: Առիթը Պետրոս Դուրեանի մասունքներու սափորը յուշապատի մէջ ամփոփելու արարողութիւնն էր: «Ազգ»ը Յունուար 25ի համարին մէջ «Պետրոս Դուրեանի մասունքները կ՚ամփոփուեն Պանթէոնում» վերտառութեամբ յօդուածով մանրամասնօրէն ներկայացուցած է, թէ ինչպէս Պոլսոյ Սկիւտար թաղամասը ծնած 21ամեայ բանաստեղծը 1872ին կը թաղուի նոյն Սկիւտարի գերեզմանոցը, ու յետոյ անոր գանկի ոսկորները կը յանձնուին Երեւանի Չարենցի անուան Գրականության ու Արուեստի Թանգարանին ի պահ:

7.2.12

Archag & Anahid: Cultivating Armenian Literature in France

Jennifer Manoukian
With so much attention focused on the French-Armenian community in recent weeks, it is an excellent time to remember the role that France once played as the center of Armenian literary and cultural activity in the diaspora.

2.2.12

Just doom and gloom?

Vartan Matiossian
An anonymous writer who disseminates articles and commentaries hiding behind the moniker "Arevagal" has sent a piece with his comments about a "doom and gloom film" (his label) on Armenia shot by an Austrian. Some of these comments are worthy of reflection (underlining is from the original):