The Trailer of Robert Guediguian’s L’Armée du crime

Here is a  trailer of Robert Guediguian’s upcoming new film L’Armée du crime about the Missak Manouchian led resistance against the Nazi occupation of Paris during the World War II. Looks really good. Hopefully it will be released in the States.

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm  Comments (1)  

Armenian-American Legendary Jazz Producer Profiled in WSJ

George Avakian probably has done more to influence the way jazz has
been heard over the past 70 years than anyone else alive. Mr. Avakian,
who celebrated his 90th birthday in March, may not have single-handedly
invented the jazz album, but in 1939 and 1940 he got the concept off
the ground. He is responsible for essential albums by Louis Armstrong,
Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and other jazz greats — a
list much too long for this column. And he ran the first jazz reissue

Born in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide, Mr. Avakian arrived
in New York in 1923. The first jazz record he distinctly remembers
hearing was of the Casa Loma Orchestra in 1933, when he was 14, and the
first jazz star he remembers seeing in person is Lucky Millinder, at a
theater in New York’s Washington Heights, the part of upper Manhattan
where Mr. Avakian grew up. He got hooked on jazz via the radio, hearing
Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and others. By 1936, when
attending the Horace Mann School in the Bronx’s Riverdale neighborhood,
he contrived to interview Benny Goodman for the school paper; in 1962,
Mr. Avakian accompanied Goodman on his ground-breaking tour of Russia. LINK

Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 6:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Orhan Pamuk and Double Jeopardy

Reuters is reporting that the celebrated Turkish novelist and Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk is to stand for trial the second time for his remarks about the massacres of the Armenians in Turkey at the turn of the twentieth century.

Orhan Pamuk, Turkey’s Nobel Prize-winning author, said he may face
new compensation claims for remarks he made about the World War One-era
killing of Armenians, despite an earlier acquittal in a criminal trial,
the Anatolian news ageny said on Saturday.

Turkey’s Court of Appeals this week overturned a lower court
decision that had dismissed the claims of personal damages against
Pamuk, 56, paving the way for a new case. LINK

Published in: on May 17, 2009 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Charles Aznavour in Karabakh

Russian online newspaper is reporting that Charles Aznavour was in Karabakh where his daughter Seta Aznavour also performed in the main square in Stepanakert. Paging Baku.

Published in: on May 17, 2009 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Azerbaijan and Military Industry

Here is an article in Russian on the prospects of the newly formed military industry cooperation between South Africa and Azerbaijan. The gist of the article basically states that the prospect of the cooperation is basically dim for the following reasons: Azerbaijan and SAR are hoping to provide post-soviet armies in the region, excepting Armenia of course with whom Azerbaijan has a ton of unresolved issues, with light military transportation vehicles for waging mobile combats. The problem is that the cost benefit margin will be such that the armies of the region will still have to buy Russian military hardware since Russia is going to heavily discount comparable vehicles for countries it is in alliance with through the newly formed military umbrella structure of the CSTO. LINK in Russian

Published in: on May 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Great Music


One of the most anticipated allbums of the year and one of the best albums to come out this year by far. An incredibly visionary collaboration between Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and … David Lynch is now freely available for your listening pleasure on NPR at this link.

Published in: on May 17, 2009 at 1:21 am  Leave a Comment  

The European Court of Human Rights to Consider Case of Destroyed Armenian Khachkars

The Caucasian knot is reporting that the EU Court of Human Rights is to consider the destruction of the Armenian khachkars in Nakhijevan:

The European Court for Human Rights has accepted to consideration the claim against Azerbaijan demanding to find the state guilty of destroying Armenian khachkars in Staraya Dzhuga (Nakhichevan). The claim against the government of Azerbaijan was filed by the organization named “The Board West-Armenian Armenians”.

According to Samvel Karapetyan, coordinator of the Yerevan-based office of the “Organization for Studying Armenian Architecture”, a mass destruction of Armenian khachkars (stone crosses) was registered in 1998 in the Armenian cemetery in Staraya Dzhuga. Many khachkars were buried under earth, the remaining were destroyed and thrown into the Araks River.

Link to the full report here.

Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 9:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Remembering Jugha

Recently I finished reading Robert Bevan’s captivating if sad work The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War, a somber meditation into the nature of ethnic conflicts but on a level rarely discussed in the literature on ethnic conflicts. His work is primarily dealing with the destruction of age old (usually) architectural edifices as a method of erasing the very historical memory of an unwanted ethnic group with previous existence in those lands. The book was part of a class I teach at a Texas university on nationalism and ethno-political conflicts. What makes however the book special and gripping is the author’s background. Bevan is a trained architect who writes for popular architecture related magazines in English speaking countries about … well, architecture. His passion about buildings and all things architectural brings to bear on his scholarship. Where a sociologist or a historian looking at ethnic conflicts would simply mention the destruction of this or that building as part of an ethnic conflict or war Bevan sees the destruction of buildings, apart from the destruction of human lives, as an end in itself for the destroyer, a deliberate rather than a collateral damage. Bevan argues that the destruction of human lives in wars and ethnic conflicts either is preceded by or follows the destruction of their architectural and broader cultural heritage, and in many cases it both precedes and concludes an ethnic conflict. Why destroy buildings and other cultural artifacts? The simple answer is that they are symbols and communicate a certain message about the culture a product of which these buildings and artifacts are, an uncomfortable reminder to the “triumphant victors” of their victims and their culture, both naturally deemed hostile. But lamentably, this symbolization and subsequent destruction have been the part and parcel of ethnic conflicts since time immemorial, inseparable from the human experience.

While reading Bevan’s book I was inevitably reminded of the destruction of the medieval Armenian cemetery in Jugha, presently in Azerbaijan. Azeri soldiers at the command of their superiors without as much as blinking an eye would embark at destroying and erasing the last vestige of the Armenian civilization in that territory as if the Armenians had never as much as existed there, as if Armenians had never as much as created anything, something to celebrate their faith and commemorate their dead. I was also reminded of something that is much more actual – the destruction, perhaps not yet on a physical level but certainly on a metaphysical level, of Armenian churches in Georgia. These churches physically are there, but the spirit that indwells those churches has long been departed, exorcised by Georgian nationalists.

Published in: on December 11, 2008 at 7:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Georgia Accused of Committing War Crimes

BBC reports:

The BBC has discovered evidence that Georgia may have committed
war crimes in its attack on its breakaway region of South Ossetia in

Eyewitnesses have described how its tanks fired directly into an
apartment block, and how civilians were shot at as they tried to escape
the fighting.

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 3:43 am  Comments (1)  

Jockeying for Influence in the Caucasus. Democracy be damned

In a telling opinion peace written for the Wall Street Journal western analysts show their cards. To merge the serious and the funny, Leonard Cohen and Sacha Baron Cohen, aka Borat, “Democracy is coming to the Caucasus… pause, Not!”

Western attention has lately been focused on governance in Azerbaijan, with
election monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
giving Baku a balanced progress report on democratic development. The Oct. 15
election — which the incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev, won handily with over
90% of the vote — for the first time met most international standards and
marked a genuine improvement in election conduct. There were missing elements
too, namely the lack of a competitive campaigning climate. But Western
preoccupation with the election process misses the full picture of governance in
Azerbaijan and, more importantly, ignores the geopolitical imperatives of the

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 3:32 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: Banned in Turkey

First they came for Youtube, now for Blogger. down in Turkey by court order.

Turkey’s Diplomacy Wins UNSC Seat

And what has the Armenian diplomacy done? Can’t even form a public perception about Karabakh.

The election of five new non-permanent members to the United
Nations Security Council sent starkly different messages to two
neighboring Muslim nations in the Middle East.

Turkey, which last held a UNSC seat in 1961 and lobbied hard in the
months leading up to the election, secured 151 votes from the
192-member U.N. General Assembly, easily defeating its competition.
Iran, meanwhile, saw its hopes of holding a seat for the first time
since 1956 crushed, garnering just 32 votes in its bid for the Asian
seat against Japan, the U.N.’s second largest donor.

The results come as no surprise. While Turkey has been actively engaged
in settling regional disputes, Iran has fought U.N. sanctions over its
disputed nuclear program. Its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has
antagonized Israel, and is known for his repeated controversial remarks
about zionism, America and the Security Council’s overall effectiveness.

Turkish leaders hailed the victory as a reflection of their increasing
role in world affairs and vowed to use the seat to address issues in
the Caucasus,
Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Published in: on October 22, 2008 at 7:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Here is for your enjoyment. Learn disco the finnish way!


Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 9:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Armenian Genocide denial not an option in Switzerland

Swissinfo reports:

A Swiss district court has found three Turkish
defendants guilty of denying the Armenian holocaust during the Ottoman
Empire 90 years ago.

They were ordered to pay up to
SFr6,500 ($5,630) each for violating Swiss anti-racism legislation, but
part of the fine was suspended over three years according to a
statement by the Winterthur court on Tuesday.

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 11:42 am  Comments (1)  

Of coffee and civil wars

Slate asks: Will there be blood?

In a recent paper, economists Oeindrila Dube and Juan Vargas
use data on Colombia’s decades-old civil war to show that the stakes
may be much higher for resource-dependent economies, where the ups and
downs of commodity markets can literally mean the difference between
war and peace.

How are commodities prices connected to civil
strife? Poor farmers impoverished by lower crop prices may be eager
recruits for rebel groups who can promise a better livelihood from
stolen loot than what the soil can provide (not to mention protection
from pillaging, since unaligned farmers may be easy prey for either
rebels or government troops). A cheaper cup of joe may thus translate
into conflict in the coffee-growing world. (It has, in fact, been suggested
that the mass murder in 1994 of perhaps 1 million Tutsis in Rwanda was
triggered by the 50 percent fall in the price of Arabica beans, the
economic lifeblood of Rwanda’s poor farmers.) (ARTICLE)

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 1:15 am  Comments (1)