Saturday, 28 November 2009

"I received flowers today"... ("Այսոր ես ծաղիկներ ստացա"...)

*via Women's Resource Centre Youtube channel:

from the candle lighting ceremony on November 25 to end violence against women. Elvira Meliksetyan from the Women's Resource Center is reading a poem [in Armenian] on domestic violence by an unknown author. 

Friday, 27 November 2009

WTF?! - ‘Hayastanci: Anti-Russia’

After reading this IWPR report and glancing at this so called group’s so called website, my only reaction was - WTF?! They look like a group of hackers playing with others’ nerves, hoping for publicity and having fun. Mentally disturbed people with sick agenda.
A burst of anti-Russian [Unzipped: not only anti-Russian] emails and text messages, supposedly sent from an Armenian activist group [Unzipped: I do not think it’s an ‘Armenian activist group’], has left Armenians baffled as to who’s behind it and what their motives are.

The emails and text messages originate from an organisation calling itself Hayastanci: Anti-Russia, and thousands of Armenians have received them. More...

Armenia: Scandal of the Day - ‘party’ in prison - Picture of the Day

When I first looked at this picture, it never crossed my mind - until I read the accompanying text - that I am looking at prison here...

Armenia -- Artyom Khachatrian (R), editor of the pro-government ''Azatamtutyun'' daily, pictured with three men serving life sentences for politically motivated murders in Yerevan's Nubarashen prison on October 5, 2009. Photo courtesy of ''Haykakan Zhamanak. (RFE/RL)

Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian ordered an inquiry on Thursday after the publication of a revealing prison photograph that shows the editor of a pro-government newspaper in the company of three men serving life sentences for politically motivated murders.

The photo, which appeared on the front-page of the pro-opposition daily “Haykakan Zhamanak,” shows Artyom Khachatrian of the “Azatamtutyun” newspaper and one of his aides drinking coffee and soft drinks with the convicts at Yerevan’s Nubarashen prison.

All five men smiled as they had their picture taken by an unknown photographer. Two of them, Derenik Bejanian and Eduard Grigorian, were among the gunmen that had burst into Armenia’s parliament in October 1999, killing its speaker Karen Demirchian, Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian and six other officials. They share their prison cell with Arsen Ardzruni, a former member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation convicted of being a member of a death squad that had allegedly operated in the early 1990s.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” called the photograph scandalous, saying that Khachatrian’s joint appearance with the convicted assassins was a serious breach of prison regulations. “What common things do they have to discuss and to do?” it asked in a dig at the editor who is reputed to have close ties to the government. More...

Monday, 23 November 2009

Armenia: violence against women (posters, part 1)

For part 2 - see Unzipped: Gay Armenia

Look at these posters. Difficult, I know. Chilling, I know. ...But do not turn away. Let’s face up these real life stories of violence against women still happening in our society.

These posters will be translated into Armenian, and used throughout the country as part of the campaign by Women’s Resource Centre to stop violence against women.
On November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Women’s Resource Center in Yerevan will mobilize community members and other NGOs to protest gender violence. The events planned for November 25th will mark the beginning of 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls, which will include an exhibition and film screening at Kino Moscow in December. This will be the fourth year that the Women’s Resource Center has joined countries around the world in organizing events on November 25th to raise awareness about the issue of gender violence.

*posters by zArt - Araz Artinian

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Ghost Forest, Trafalgar square, London

Pretty surreal view in London's Trafalgar square this week (ends Sunday 22 November).

This is a project by Angela Palmer - Ghost Forest Art Project - "to raise public awareness of the connections between deforestation and climate change. It involves taking a series of 10 rainforest tree stumps, most with their buttress roots still attached, from a regulated, commercially logged tropical rainforest in Ghana."

The tree stumps - the installation of “ghost forest” - will then move to Copenhagen (7-18 December 2009) to coincide with the UN Cop15 Climate Change Conference in December.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Junior Eurovision 2009: The Netherlands won, Armenia did pretty good - No. 2-3

Was watching Junior Eurovision live on their official website. That was such a mistake. Well, I did not have much of the choice, really, as I am in London now, and they do not show it here. Commentators at Junior Eurovision website were so annoying. They were speaking, making their comments during children’s performance (!). For example, when Armenia entry was performing, they started interviewing Serbian children; then camera failed to show Luara’s actual performance on stage, but rather other parts of the auditorium under the accompaniment of her voice. How ridiculous. And this happened not only during Armenia entry but most of the other entries too. Anyway.

There were 2 Armenians in this year's Junior Eurovision: Luara Hayrapetyan from Armenia and Andranik Alexanyan from Ukraine.

Just watched some of the performances on YouTube (as I said above, the online broadcast I was following was horrible).

Luara is such a cool girl. I am not a big fan of that particular song (song-wise I preferred Ukraine one) but Luara did really a great job performance-wise. I quite liked the Netherlands (the winner), Belgium and Russia too.

Oh, and I loved "Bari ereko, Hayastan" greeting at the very start of Junior Eurovision. Sounded cute :)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Armenian Genocide themed film at Kurdish Film Festival in London

21 November 2009, Birkbeck Cinema, London
Director: Nicolas Tackian
France / 2009 / 60mins/ French with English Subtitles / PG
Cast: Jacques HERLIN, Virgile BRAMLY, Alexandra BIENVENU, Jacky NERCESSIAN, Anne SUAREZ

6th London Kurdish Film Festival takes place 20-30 November at various venues in London. Within the programme of the festival, there is also this new (2009) award winning Armenian Genocide themed film “Azad” (made in France; written and directed by Nicolas Tackian). It will be shown at the Birkbeck Cinema this Saturday 21 November at 3pm.

Mayak is a young Armenian man and part of the underground cartoon world. He dedicates himself to creating a graphic novel: 'Azad' (which means freedom both in Armenian and Kurdish), a project that looks back to 1915 when his grandfather tried to escape the Armenian genocide. He puts together this project by listening to his grandfather’s memories and it becomes a chance for him to get back in touch with his roots and build a better relationship with his family. However when Mina, a young Kurdish girl enters his life, he is forced to question his beliefs. Mayak convinces himself that she is denying the memory of the Armenian people and accusing the Kurds for also taking part in the Armenian genocide. This leads to a crisis of identity. (LKFF)
Named for the Armenian term for liberty, ‘Azad’ concerns a grandfather’s recollection of the genocide of 1915 to his illustrator grandson, Mayak. Set in Paris, it manages to be light-hearted, yet sombre, dealing with Mayak’s discovery of his roots and reconnection with his family. However, when Mina, a Kurdish woman moves in, Mayak is forced to question his own identity. (by Sabrina Bangladesh, Time Out London)

Azerbaijan cultural weekend in London

This weekend-long festival “Azerbaijan: an untapped cultural melting-pot” is organised by The European Azerbaijan Society.

Below is a quote from the festival’s leaflet:

“Located on the threshold of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan, formerly part of the Silk Road, has an unique heritage, taking influences from both Persian and Russian Empires, Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The Azerbaijani Cultural Weekend is your opportunity to explore the many facets of this vibrant and diverse culture.”

The events will take place at London’s Cadogan Hall on 21-22 November 2009. Full programme: Day 1; Day 2.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Tasteless promotion of violent games by HMV store in London

HMV is the largest chain store in the UK selling CDs/DVDs/games etc. Here is how they promote the very recent release of a reportedly very violent game. Tasteless.

*Life size mannequin of heavily armed soldier, at the entrance of HMV store, Oxford street, London

Arshile Gorky in London, Tate Modern 10 Feb - 3 May 2010

*Thanks to Dave for passing this info:

Cool - the Arshile Gorky Restrospective is coming to the Tate Modern in Feb - Extraordinary Armenian artist

Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective

10 February  –  3 May 2010

This exhibition celebrates the extraordinary life and work of Arshile Gorky (c.1904-1948). Along with Rothko, Pollock and de Kooning, Gorky was one of the most powerful American painters of the twentieth century, and a seminal figure in the formation of Abstract Expressionism. The exhibition includes paintings and drawings from across his career, and a handful of rarely seen sculptures.

The Armenian-born artist first arrived in the US in 1920 fleeing persecution in his home country. He adopted the name Arshile Gorky with reference to the Russian writer Maxim Gorky. First in Boston and, after 1924, then in New York, he studied the Modern European masters in books and galleries, teaching himself art by combining this with art classes. His early still-lives show his reliance upon the examples of Cezanne, Picasso and others, but his portraits in the 1920s and 1930s, especially the two versions of The Artist and His Mother, show how Gorky was able to pour his personal experiences and his studies into a highly individual realism.

During the 1940s Gorky encountered Surrealists exiled from wartime Europe. Stimulated by their ideas of free flowing, automatic painting, he rapidly developed the style for which he became famous. Works such as Waterfall 1943 are evocative, layered, and translucent, with a liquid glowing quality. Gorky's characteristic paintings of this final period include biomorphic forms in strong colours, shifting abstract elements and the energetic line that he developed in his drawings. They capture a sensual enjoyment of landscape as well as the mood and memories that the subjects can evoke. Just as he came to be seen as a leading figure in Abstract Expressionism, his career was cut short by a series of personal tragedies, which ended with him committing suicide in 1948.

Organised with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles

*picture: Arshile Gorky, Waterfall  1943, Tate © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2010

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Ara Darzi and Larry Gagosian among London's 1000 most influential people in 2009

London's Evening Standard puiblished its list of 1000 most influential people in Britain's capital in 2009. At least two of them, prominent representatives of medical profession and art, are of Armenian origin.

Lord Darzi - Imperial College, professor of surgery
Shocked Westminster by quitting as health minister and “GOAT” — member of Gordon Brown's government of all the talents. Darzi wanted to return to his first love, surgery, which he performs while listening to Pink Floyd. (read also - here)

Larry Gagosian - Art dealer
Legendary Manhattan art figure who launched two galleries in King's Cross and Mayfair in past five years. Now spending more time back in Big Apple, he still has fingers in London market. Has been dubbed “the art world's greatest businessman”. (read also - here)

*pictures - via Evening Standard and BBC

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Song of the moment - Muse: “Uprising”

"They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious"

Bloggers and youth activists Emin and Adnan jailed in Azerbaijan

Azeri bloggers and youth activists Emin and Adnan received jail sentences of 2.5 and 2 years, respectively. (here and here)

Live blogging from the court hearings and the reactions to that spread via Twitter under the #EminAdnan hashtag.

Sadly, this yet another sign of a total deterioration of human rights in Azerbaijan will probably generate an overall muted reaction by the international community. Oil rules…

I am not convinced by the World Blogging Forum’s statement either. Not strong enough.

*picture - via RFE/RL

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

They say Armenia is “prepared” to face a possible swine flu outburst. I do not think so

This is beyond my understanding. How on earth Armenian health officials can state they are “prepared” for dealing with the swine flu cases, if they cannot even diagnose it in Armenia? I am not even going into other aspects of "preparedness". We have 3 suspected cases of swine flu, as officially reported. However, to confirm the diagnosis, analyses were sent to London, and will come back in 20-25 days (!!) Truly, a sign of ‘great preparedness’ in the face of possible outburst.

P.S... and in Ukraine

*pictures - (1) by Photolur, via; (2) by AFP/GETTY, via Telegraph

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Alexander Agadzhanov 60th birthday tribute in London

*Alexander Agadzhanov (left), in conversation with Julian Gallant (right), director of Pushkin House in London 

*Students of Alexander Agadzhanov (back of the picture) were also present

Thanks to Pushkin House in London, I made yet another discovery for myself of a talented Armenian with a colourful career in ballet. I am amazed that I have not heard of him before. Last Thursday (5 November 2009), they organised a 60th birthday tribute evening (although his actual birthday, if I remember right, in May) during which Alexander Agadzhanov talked about his career in ballet. There were also excerpts of his work with some of the greatest dancers of our age. Over the last 25 years, Agadzhanov lives and work in London, at the Royal Opera House.
Alexander Agadzhanov – has been Senior Teacher and Répétiteur to the Principal Artists at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for over 25 years.
Born in Mary, USSR, he studied with Alexander Zaitsev, Margarita Nazarova and Genrikh Maiorov in Kiev and joined Moscow Ballet Theatre as a Soloist in 1969, becoming a Principal in 1972. He danced leading roles as a guest Soloist in New York, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and at Deutsche Oper Ballet, Berlin, and as a Principal with Bonn Opera Ballet. He taught at The Royal Ballet School (1985-1988): his pupils have included Sergiu Pobereznic, Stuart Cassidy, Michael Nunn, William Trevitt and Tetsuya Kumakawa. He was Ballet Master/teacher at La Scala Ballet, Milan (1988-1989). Since 1989 he has taught and coached Royal Ballet Principals. He has also been guest Ballet Master/teacher at Scottish Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and Teatro di San Carlo, Naples, among others. He has worked with such choreographers as Serge Lifar, Alvin Ailey, Flemming Flindt, Yuri Grigorovich, Kenneth MacMillan, Rudolf Nureyev and Roland Petit.
Just want to add few points from his biography which you won't normally find elsewhere. His father is Armenian, mother - Russian. He was born in Turkmenistan where his family immigrated to after the Armenian Genocide. He then grew up in Ukraine. He performed with many great world class ballet dancers. He is greatly influenced by Rudolf Nuriyev.

He has not been in Armenia yet...

Friday, 6 November 2009

My respects to Aravot daily and Everyone in Armenia and Diaspora should read this

There were times in recent past that popular Armenian Aravot daily was known for its homophobic publications. When it was the case, I made it very clear on a number of my posts of what I think of it, with the hope that change will come. I have to say, that over the last few months, Aravot daily changed significantly, and for better, much better, posting number of neutral to positive reflections on sexuality, sexual orientation, gay people. Yesterday’s publication by Aravot on sexual orientation, with the use of correct terminology and calls to respect diversity, based on publication, gives me hope that change did come, indeed. Let's hope, this trend will be sustainable. When praise is due, praise is due. I hope that Armenian media will follow suit.

Everyone, absolutely everyone in Armenia and Diaspora should read this. My thumbs up to website for its highly professional and invaluable educational role.

Սեռական կողմնորոշվածության տեսակները

Սեռական կողմնորոշվածությունը բնորոշվում է մշտական հուզական, զգայական, զգացմունքային և սեքսուալ հակումներով որոշակի սեռի անձանց հանդեպ: Գոյություն ունեն սեռական կողմնորոշվածության երեք տեսակներ՝ տարասեռական, նույնասեռական և երկսեռական:

Տարասեռականը բնորոշվում է անձի սեքսուալ հակումով դեպի հակառակ սեռի ներկայացուցիչը: Տարասեռական կողմնորոշվածություն ունեցողները բավականություն են ստանում միայն հակառակ սեռի ներկայացուցիչների հետ կենակցելուց:

Նույնասեռականը բնորոշվում է անձի սեքսուալ հակումով դեպի նույն սեռի ներկայացուցիչները: Նույնասեռական կողմնորոշվածություն ունեցողները բավականություն են ստանում իրենց իսկ սեռին պատկանող ներկայացուցիչների հետ կենակցելուց:

Երկսեռականը բնորոշվում է անձի սեքսուալ հակումով դեպի և՛ իր սեռի, և՛ հակառակ սեռի ներկայացուցիչը: Երկսեռական կողմնորոշվածություն ունեցողները բավականություն են ստանում և՛ տղամարդու, և՛ կնոջ հետ կենակցելուց:

Մարդու սեռականության ամբողջական պատկերը ստանալու հարցում կարևոր դեր են խաղում անձի հոգեբանական և սոցիալական սեռերի բնութագրումը: Անհրաժեշտ է սեռական կողմնորոշվածությունը տարանջատել սեռական վարքագծից: Ինչպես սեռական կողմնորոշվածությունը, այնպես էլ սեռական վարքագիծը կարող է լինել տարասեռական, նույնասեռական և երկսեռական: Հարկ է ընդգծել, որ եթե անձը ցուցաբերում է այնպիսի սեռական վարքագիծ, որը միանգամայն տարբերվում է իր սեռական կողմնորոշվածությունից, ապա տվյալ անձի մոտ բացակայում են սեռական կողմնորոշվածությանը բնորոշ հակումները: Օրինակ, բոլոր տարասեռական կողմնորոշվածություն ունեցող անձինք, հայտնվելով այնպիսի միջավայրում, ուր բացակայում են հակառակ սեռի ներկայացուցիչներ (կալանավայրեր, բանակ), կամ զուտ կենսափորձի նպատակով, երբեմն էլ՝ ալկոհոլի, թմրամիջոցների կամ այլ ազդակների ազդեցության տակ, նրանք կարող են ունենալ պատահական սեռական հարաբերություններ նույն սեռի ներկայացուցչի հետ: Այլ ազդակների բացակայության դեպքում տարասեռականները կամ չեն կիրառում նույնասեռական վարքագիծ, կամ էլ կիրառում են՝ որոշակի շահադիտական նկատառումներից ելնելով (օրինակ՝ մարմնավաճառները փող վաստակելու նպատակով): Այս դեպքում արդեն տարասեռականը հանդես է բերում նույնասեռական վարքագիծ:

Այսօր դեռևս գոյություն չունեն հստակ պարզաբանումներ մարդու սեռական կողմնորոշվածության ծագումնաբանության և պատճառաբանության վերաբերյալ՝ լինի այն տարասեռական, նույնասեռական, թե՝ երկսեռական: Գոյություն ունեցող բոլոր վարկածներն էլ թերի են և պահանջում են հետագա ուսումնասիրություն՝ դրանք ապացուցելու կամ հերքելու նպատակով:

Ինչպիսին էլ որ լինի մարդու սեռական կողմնորոշվածությունը, այն պահանջում է հարգալից, հանդուրժողական վերաբերմունք, ինչպես նաև սեռական բազմազանությունը որպես այդպիսին ընդունելու խրախուսում, իսկ որոշ դեպքերում՝ մասնագիտական խնամք և աջակցություն:

*picture - via

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Britain’s cynical foreign policy and media re the Armenian Genocide denial

Britain’s foreign policy has always been cynical. No doubts that the same approach has been applied to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. I recommend reading this article by the Guardian. However, I am disgusted that the Guardian journalist opened his post by saying “the so-called Armenian massacre of 1915”. This proves that not only the British foreign policy is cynical, but also the media does not go far away from the same approach, save the Independent, I guess.
Britain was accused of "genocide denial" today after the disclosure of Foreign Office documents revealing the government's refusal to recognise the so-called Armenian massacre of 1915, in which up to a million people died.

The documents, dating back over the last 15 years, say Anglo-Turkish relations are too important to be jeopardised by the issue because "Turkey is neuralgic and defensive about the charge of genocide".

One Foreign Office briefing for ministers conceded that the British government "is open to criticism in terms of the ethical dimension", but goes on to say: "The current line is the only feasible option" owing to "the importance of our relations (political, strategic and commercial) with Turkey". The 1999 briefing said: "Recognising the genocide would provide no practical benefit to the UK."
Britain's stance, stretching back over Labour and Tory administrations, was called a cynical "genocide denial" by Geoffrey Robertson, the QC who served as first president of the UN war crimes court for Sierra Leone. Robertson was commissioned by Armenian expatriate groups in London to review the foreign office files, obtained in heavily redacted form from freedom of information requests. He published a report today which says: "Parliament has been routinely misinformed by ministers who have recited FCO briefs without questioning their accuracy." [...]

Khloe Kardashian 'wedding': farce or reality?

They still did not formally legalise the marriage, and they got married only after a month (!) they actually started dating. This leads to speculations which question the motives behind the ‘wedding’ considering it a part of the ongoing reality show Kardashian & co.

Anyway, here is a brief reflection with video by Huffington Post. (picture via Huff Post)

Khloe Kardashian's Wedding Video: Veil Woes And A Major Tonguing (VIDEO)

Khloe Kardashian's 'wedding' to LA Laker Lamar Odom will air on E! this Sunday night (they are still not legally married) and E! has released a 2:15 video clip of the special, seen below. In the video viewers see guests arriving, the Kardashians prepping and Khloe saying she looks like a beekeeper in her veil.

Most memorable is 2:00 in when the couple share their first kiss as (still not legal) man and wife.