Newsletter issue number 004 (April 2006)

Newsletter issue number 004 (April 2006)

Middle East Armenian Newsletter
Issue no. 4 14 April 2006

In this issue


Letter to the Grand Mufti of Syria

Mayda Saris tours Cyprus and Lebanon

Newsletter of the Armenian National Committee ? Middle East chapter

Iraqi pop band “Unknown to No One” reunited

Founders Day celebration in Calcutta (Kolkata)

Exercising the right of electing and being elected in Cyprus



Following is a list of announcements, links and informative material related to the commemoration of the 91st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

The list is updated daily until 30th April 2006

Armenians in the United Arab Emirates are also taking part in the worldwide Genocide commemoration activities.

On 20th April 2006 the children of the Sharjah Community School will paint and carve khatchkar samples in the schoolyard.

On 23rd April 2006, at 8:30 p.m., in the Sharjah Community Center, a discussion panel with the subject “The Armenian Genocide and the Youth” will follow the film “My Son Shall be Armenian” (a documentary by Canadian Armenian Hagop Goudsouzian)

On 26th April 2006 the Chairwoman of the European Armenian Federation Mrs. Hilda Choboyan will deliver a lecture on the occasion of the Armenian Genocide. The lecture will be followed by ceremony of laying wreath on the khatchkar in the churchyard.

Check the calendar of events periodically at the following link …



?Additional Links

Dear Azad-Hye subscriber

Our aim is to introduce the activities of the Armenians in the Middle East, where some 400 thousands of our compatriots live.

Although our focus is the Middle East, but we still have a wider perspective and try to cover some pan-Armenian subjects.

Armenians in the Middle East live in one geographical area, but still they do not know much about each other. The lack of information is evident especially in small communities, where the degree of assimilation is very high.

We would like to encourage our readers in the Middle East (broadly speaking from Libya to Thailand) to send their comments, correspondence and contribution.

We are looking forward to hear from our compatriots.

We would like to ask Armenians living in other locations (in the West, motherland Armenia, Russia, etc) to send any kind of contribution related to the Middle East Armenians.

We should not forget that our forefathers who were rescued from the Genocide, have first settled in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, etc., the countries that form the Eastern Mediterranean basin.

As we commemorate the 91st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we remember the path of pain and destruction that our forefathers walked from the Armenian highland and Anatolian cities to the Syrian desert and southern Mesopotamian marshes.


  • Letter to the Grand Mufti of Syria


    Syrian ?Al Thawra? daily published in its 10th March 2006 issue an open letter to the His Eminence Sheikh Ahmad Badr Eddine Hassoun, Grand Mufti of Syria, signed by Syrian Armenian scholar Dr. Nora Arissian.

    Below is the translation of parts of the message followed by the Arabic text:

    A letter to the Grand Mufti of Syria

    Friday, 10/3/2006

    By Dr. Nora Arissian
    I lived moments of pride when I was informed through the mass media about your call for issuing an international law prohibiting blasphemy of holy possessions of each nation and religion.

    While encouraging Europe to support this request, you asked for dialogue and respect among religions and nations, instead of giving way to conflicts, such as what happened upon the publication of the ill cited cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) in some European publications.

    It is heartening and soothing to notice that there is now certain interest in issuing a UN resolution dealing with the respect of religions ? The EU also is in the process of issuing ethical guidelines for the mass media in this context. There is also a draft Islamic decision in the UN which forbids the practice of non- acceptance of other religions.

    Read the rest of the message, where Dr. Arissian mentions the destruction of the Nakhichevan Armenian cross-stones …

  • Mayda Saris tours Cyprus and Lebanon


    Mayda Saris (maiden surname Yeretsian), art director of the Istanbul-based ?Agos? Armenian weekly and author of ?The Armenian Painting from the Beginning to the Present? visited Cyprus and Lebanon and promoted her recently published book.

    On 24th March 2006 she met the Cypriot Armenians in Utudjian Hall (Nicosia). On 28th March 2006 Mayda Saris lectured at Haigazian University Auditorium (Kantari, Beirut).

    Both events are organized by Hamazkayin Cultural and Educational Association. A slide presentation and book signing followed the lectures.

    In November 2005 Mayda Saris toured several cities in the United States and Canada (Detroit, Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Montreal), where she introduced her new book (originally published in Turkish and later translated into English).

    Read more about Mayda Saris and her contribution to Armenian culture …

  • Newsletter of the Armenian National Committee ? Middle East chapter


    After starting a website earlier this year, the Middle East chapter of the Armenian National Committee started to circulate a newsletter in Arabic language.

    The first issue of the newsletter, dated 21 March 2006, has already reached the mailbox of thousands of individuals in Arabic countries. It aims at updating Arabic language speakers about the developments related to Armenia and the Armenians, especially the course of the Genocide recognition worldwide. The publication is important also for certain number of Armenians living in the Middle East, who use Arabic as mode of communication.

    The Arab public who has witnessed the arrival of the Armenians into the Middle East and has shared with them decades of political, social and economic experience, needs to know more about this group of people, who are struggling for full acknowledgment of their plight. The Arabs, who are in majority Muslims, have welcomed the Armenian refugees during WWI. This is an important indication that the Genocide against the Armenians did not have religious motivation.

    The first issue of the newsletter has 4 pages, half of which is devoted to the unfortunate news of the destruction of the Julfa Armenian historical cemetery in Nakhichevan (Azerbaijan).

    Other subjects in the newsletter …

  • Iraqi pop band “Unknown to No One” reunited


    Our website was one of the first to write about this pioneering Iraqi pop group. Originally the band was formed in 2000 during the last years of the rule of Saddam Hussein. The five boys of the group: Nadeem Hamid, Art Haroutounian, Shant Gharabedian, Hassan Ali and Diyar Dulay came together and began ?producing? English pop songs in Baghdad. The band was called ?Unknown to No One?.

    The group had a mixed religious and ethnical background: Nadeem and Hassan are Shiite Muslims, Diyar is a Kurdish Sunni, Art and Shant are Armenians. They somehow represent the diversity of Iraq. “We are all brothers here,” says Art Haroutounian, who writes the band's songs. “There is no racism. No civil war”. The band was originally formed by Art Haroutounian and Shant Gharabedian. They advertised for vocalists and recruited the other three into the band.

    During the post-war era they used to compose music on a keyboard, which they left in the trunk of their Volkswagen Passat. The vehicle was also their rehearsal stage, where they used to sing, especially when there was no one from the secret police following their actions. Promoting an English-singing band under such a regime was a risky thing. The group could not get any of their songs to air on Iraqi radio unless they sang for the Big Brother. So Art Haroutounian wrote a piece praising Saddam on his birthday. The song was aired for many times on the ?Voice of Youth? radio program, but their original hit piece was aired only once.

    During 2003 and immediately after the invasion of Iraq by the coalition forces, the band was featured on many TV news programs and achieved some kind of stardom. A British talent searcher called Peter Whitehead promised to promote their music, but he failed to secure visa for the group to travel to England. The boys experienced bitter disappointment.

    Find out more about the band and their recent achievements …

  • Founders Day celebration in Calcutta (Kolkata)


    Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy (ACPA)

    Founders Day celebration in Calcutta (2nd April 2006)

    The 185th Founders Day of the ACPA was celebrated on 2nd April 2006. A church service was conducted at the Armenian Church of St. Nazareth, followed by a requiem service in the church compound, at the grave of Astvatsatour Mourdkhanian, a Julfa Armenian, the benefactor of the college.

    In his sermon Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian spoke about the history of the college and emphasised the important role the institution has played in the life of the Armenians. Rev. Father said that the administration of the ACPA was placed under the authority of Holy Etchmiadzin at a critical moment in time, when the faith of this ancient and noble institution was uncertain. By handing over the administration of the college to the Mother see, its perpetuation is guaranteed.

    The service was attended by the Armenian Ambassador to India, His Excellency Ashot Kocharian, members of the Calcutta Armenian Church Committee, Indian Armenians and guests.

    After the church service a Founders Day gathering, dedicated to the 185th Anniversary of the ACPA, was organised at the college auditorium. The audience collectively sung the ?Lord?s prayer?, followed by the national anthems of India and Armenia.

    Administrator of the ACPA, Deacon Tigran Baghumyan read the letter of blessing written by His Holiness Garegin II, on the occasion of the Founders Day …

    Deacon Tigran read the following for Vehapar?s letter of blessing;

    Read the rest of the report …

  • Exercising the right of electing and being elected in Cyprus


    In a country where the Armenian community enjoys the status of officially recognized minority, the Armenians are trying to exercise the right for voting and being elected into an official post, such as Representative of the Armenian Community (elected by the Armenian voters) or Member of Parliament (elected through mainstream Cypriot political parties).

    Marios Garoyan

    Marios Garoyan (photo) is hoping to write history and become the first Cypriot Armenian to be elected Member of the Parliament.

    Garoyan, a graduate of Political Sciences, has been actively involved in the Cypriot political arena for more than 25 years. With his calm and analytical manners, he is respected not only within his own political party (DHKO) but by his opponents as well.

    The Democratic Party (DHKO), which was founded by Spyros Kyprianou in 1976, fills the centre of the Cypriot political stage. He is married and has two children.

    Read about the other two Cypriot Armenian personalities mentioned in this report …



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