Online Forums (Issue number 002 / July 2007)

Online Forums (Issue number 002 / July 2007)

UAE Armenians
Online Forums


Issue number 002 / July 2007

Comments by …
Nishan Basmajian
Hovig Manjikian
Ara Pierre Keusseyan
Ara Pierre Keusseyan
Socrates Arakelyan
Socrates Arakelyan


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Socrates Arakelyan / Dubai

Socrates Arakelyan 


Read what Socrates has to say in the forum:


Iraqi Armenians: living in a dangerous place

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 Azad-Hye Forums 


During the past two months the community was relatively active. The newly appointed National Council (Azkayin Varchoutyoun) made its presence felt by inviting into duty several caretaking commitees (related to the Church, School, etc.).


Today we received an annoucement about an upcoming youth gathering (see the details in the Events Calendar), the language of which was completely (and surprisingly) new. It showed an attempt to outreach and communicate with the youth.


Some may argue that it is too late. Already our youth are communicating with each other through online social groupings (facebook etc.) or through actual get togethers and parties (see 2nd Hye Lounge gathering). But we believe the Council has a lot to offer, provided that it opens its arms wide. It is not possible to fly high with shortened arms.



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Posted at the following forum:


Nishan BasmajianComment by Nishan Basmajian

With great joy I read the National Council's circular where it was announced about Armenian language grammar course starting from 9 July 2007.


I had not entirely lost my hope, but frankly speaking, I was thinking that the YEAR OF THE ARMENIAN LANGUAGE was hardly going to be marked in our community. I am happy that my guess proved to be wrong. Of course the final evaluation will be based on the results that will be achieved from this course.


I congratulate the National Council for this unprecedented step.


As a word of precaution (which should not be taken for instructions) I would like to underline a trait in our national character, according to which we are determined to be loyal to our values. Therefore when we come face to face to new phenomena, especially like the idea of this serious and useful course, we either get excited (instantly) or look into the matter with bemusement and carry on with our normal life. I think there is a need in this case for “marketing” efforts in order to spread this idea, something that cannot be achieved solely by sending circulars. There are many ways to attract and invite our sisters and brothers to this beautiful idea and see how it will be materialized. 


On the other hand, I do not have any doubts that Azad-Hye, which has not been to this date passive to such events, will respond positively to the call of the National Council and will offer its share of “marketing” in a serious manner.


On the occasion of this announcement I would like to congratulate all those who are concerned with the Armenian language and wish them all the best.


Nishan Basmajian

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Posted at the following forum:


The Armeian grammar lessons attracted a second comment, this time by Hovig Manjikian.

Bravo!! For our community varchoutun.

I really appreciate the people who put effort, organizing the Armenian grammar lessons. I hope that our people will know the value of this opportunity, to improve their knowledge in our native language.

I was very proud with a shameful feeling inwardly, when I was reading a book of the Greek philosopher G.I. Gurdjieff, who preferred the Armenian language to any other language even to his native language, for his writings.

I felt proud of our Armenian language, ashamed for I make mistakes “ESVAV / ESVETSAV”, ashamed for the majority of us don't know the value of this language.

These lessons are important for our community, and it may save an elemental part of our culture, it is a small soldier against the blind globalization which has a great influence at this country.

I'm very optimistic; hope the lessons will succeed and have good results.

Hovig Manjikian

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Posted at the following forum:


From Hye Lounge 2nd gathering in Dubai

For the first time in many years youth related issues are occupying the attention of the readers and the commentators as well. Below is a comment by Serjei:


I know many of you will read this and go on or might think its another catalyst to start a fiasco.. No it isn't. Put your senses together and let's make a difference. Its not through Hye Lounge or via the National Council that were going to make this difference; but within our OWN SELVES, next with people we interact with and finally that will arrive to the collective group who will function with a single spirit, instead of separate paths leading to no where.

Chepadian-If 'rebellion' is what counts to you so-called-Chepadian- this is not how delicate issues are discussed. Your style of communication and addressing people must be altered in order for you to comprehend others and make yourself understood by others.

You are not lurking around to discuss or to point fingers. Instead we should all try to bring out the voice within all of us to better the situation and put an end to a fiasco created by short minded people.

Why cant you all for once let go of this Armenian ego and live your everyday life? individualism is not going to win over collectivism. Is this how all of you live domestically and professionally? always promote your own self and forgetting about others? Its past time we all come out of our hard shells and think realistic instead of personalized idealistic.

We all know it and we are all open and able to see how this egoism is pulling everyone down. But yet practice it.

– I personally don't find Hye Lounge that much of a big step for the Armenian Youth, or the Armenian community.

-It will always attract the same people and the curious ones who want to witness change…with no proper objective. Gatherings shouldn't be made to just have a good time and period. Its forgotten.

– What is the purpose of such a “gathering tool” if we are not going to feel were Armenian. Life or being Armenian is not about meeting new people and exchanging business cards…is this the objective of this organization??? Why not discuss Armenian issues? Armenian issues (understood 'bluntly' as political or colors by many of you) can be anything Armenian activities or issues practiced or done elsewhere, whether its historic or modern. It can be a discussion of evolution of alphabets, our rich art culture, language, recent endeavors and so on.

-Next, these Hye Lounge organizers should do a bit of more research about the community, its interests, past activities, and most important the rules of this country. I'm sure none of you consulted any legal authority or asked those National Council members of such issues. If any suspicious activity is made, the National Council will stand to protect you.

Hopefully, sensibly we will be able to do something for the best of everyone. I will not engage in any back and forth bickering- this comment is a one time thing to put across a thought many of us ignore… I felt someone should bring out these concerns of our “own selves”, instead of criticizing one another.




Rafi (from the Hye Lounge Team) and Robert Matossian have posted comments on the same subjects. Click here to read their response.



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Posted at the following forum:


Dear fellow Armenians,

I think there is more to say on top of what was said above.

I can comment from an informed point of view because; with the help of people in my employ, Mrs. Eliza Bedrossian (the Church's secretary at the time) and a couple of other talents; I have prepared the last 2 Shepors myself.  One has been published and the other has not; as the news were already stale by the time the publication was ready to go to press (for lack of helping hands who master the Armenian language).

If my recollection is correct, the old Shepor which Mr. Basmadjian is referring to, was suffering from the same sickness Azad-Hye is. A lack of sustained interest (70 postings a year), a lot of distributed copies ending in the Church's forecourt dustbin or just outside for the more polite recipients of the publication.

On two rounds, I have tried to recruit talent but for some reason the call of my shepor (Armenian musical instrument) fell on deaf ears. However, in spite of having a very limited team, I have tried to revive it by making an easier to read, pictorial, bilingual and well presented publication; with coloured glazed paper and filing rings to encourage people to keep it. For good measure, I have also made it a financially self sustained proposition as the ads in it (my company ads by the way) were covering the printing costs.

The reasons this was done:

– To revive interest in the publication
– To capture a larger audience with the bilingual characteristic
– To capture the interest of would be editorial contributors
– To encourage sponsors to come forward

How I wish that the encouragement received was half of the “pampasank” that echoed back to me. Shepor would have been elsewhere today.

Nishan, I beg to differ with you.

Wishful thinking and liquid courage will not cut through the chase. To function properly, a trilingual electronic information tool needs DEPENDABLE PEOPLE, therefore professionals. You need to raise the money and you need pay people to do the job. However, if the proposition cannot be economically self sustaining, then it is either a bad one or it has not enough supporters.

Kind regards,

Ara Pierre Keusseyan

See other comments on the same topic here.

Posted at the following forum:


Ohannessian Armenian School in Sharjah

Ara Keusseyan is a frequent writer in our forums. He has an experience of many years of community life. We hope those who have similar experience to contribute their views and not to keep their books closed.

Dear All,

Opening an Armenian school in Sharjah or Dubai is of course a feasable proposition. However, to make the project financially self sustainable and ensure an educational quality that opens the doors of higher education in reputable institutions for our children; we must ensure the following:

– To raise the seed money that the initial setup period will consume. (I think this is possible).

– To ensure the enrollment of an academic population of 400 to 500 students (which seems to be the financial breakeven point for quality schools)

– To have parents accept paying between AED 15,000 to 18,000 as annual tuition fees (in 2007 AED equivalent).

– To have parents and pupils accept lengthy bus transit times between Dubai and Sharjah or vice versa if critical mass cannot be achieved with pupils from 1 Emirate only.

Other problems to resolve would of course be whether to teach western or eastern Armenian, whether to follow an international curriculum or Lebanese, Syrian, Armenian etc.., whether to teach Arabic, English, French or Russian as a second language…

Yours truly,

Ara Pierre Keusseyan


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Socrates Arakelyan writes on Community issues

It is always interesting to have Socrates view on public issues.
The following comment was posted in response to Panos Balian (Abu Dhabi), who wrote with obvious bitterness about his past experience with 2002 Temagan Elections and the need for a new blood.

Panos, having only lived in the UAE for more than a year and having read your article above, my fears have been confirmed that the internal divisions in the Armenian community are not only in the UK or any other part of the world but also in UAE.


I am not exactly sure as to what is causing this division within the community  nor do I know what issues the Armenian community of UAE faces today and what is being done to resolve those issues. If anyone can point me towards a right direction to get some unbiased information i.e. from an individual, organization which really represents the interests of the Armenian community in this region, I would greatly appreciate that. So far, me and those around are not fully aware of the root causes of, as you have rightly mentioned, polarization and disintegration. All I have heard so far is rumors, accusations and people blaming each other for certain things – it's to stop all the bickering and move on, try to work together with a positive attitude – which shouldn't be difficult for a community of our size.


Further to your article, I want to applaud the action (resignation) you took in 2002 for the sake of preserving the unity of the community. That takes courage and courtesy, an action which not many of us Armenians would be prepared to take. And this is evident in Armenia, where political parties are build around the wealth and political/business influence of certain individuals rather than true, democratically unified parties working towards a certain national goal. I think it's about time that everyone should realize that the strength of a nation or a community is in its unity and success can only be achieved when people are working together as a TEAM, diplomatically and logically, respecting each other views, whilst taking the positives and disagreeing with each other though constructive criticism –  rather than hot temper. If anyone is currently watching the Armenian Parliamentary Elections they would understand what you mean by 'Most of us run after own ambitions and pride, the well being of our society is our least interest.''


Comment posted following Azad-Hye report:

Posted by Sevag on Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gulizar Jonian and the rest of the team

All praise for Gulizar, at last someone from our community is doing the right thing.

The point is not taking couple of ladies to show Armenia, but indirectly helping Armenia, Armenians and the economy.

As I see the pictures, they had dinners, they shoped, toured.

But most of all Gulizar has done the job of any Armenian should do, to show what Armenia is about, its heritage, culture and civilization.

Imagine having many and many Gulizars, taking their friends, collegues to Armenia, passing them by Tzitzernagapert.

Good job Gulizar, vartzkd gadar, keep taking them!!

Comment posted following Azad-Hye report:

Clarissa Payne: The whole event just seemed like a logical thing to do

Posted by Socrat Arakelyan on Monday, June 25, 2007

Concert for Zatik Orphanage 


Dear All,

I want to commend Clarissa, her team and the British School on taking the initiative and organizing this event. Although I didn't make it on time as I was battling through Abu Dhabi traffic, I did manage to see last 3 acts performed by very talented people and also got a chance to speak to Clarrissa and find out more about her experience in Armenia and the objectives behind the fundraising.


I am certain that the target will be met and the children in Zatik will enjoy the benefits of the donation. Every dollar in Armenia counts and any amount raised, every penny contributed, will make a great difference in the lives of these children. Apart from the money raised, another positive outcome from the event and Clarissa's work was raising the awareness of community and wider international audience about the needs of Armenian orphanages. Although the number of Armenians was limited to a few at this event, the marketing efforts of Clarissa, Azad Hye, Varchutyun* and the Embassy  will hopefully generate greater interest and participation in such events in the near future.  


I will be traveling to Armenia next week and whilst I'm there I am planning to visit some orphanages with the view to establish a foundation to address the needs of children (whether materially or financially) in poverty, children of refugees and the work of Armenian orphanages. In particular, the foundation will be looking to work with representatives in the UK, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Armenia. The project is still in the early stages and if there is anyone interested to know more about this initiative, please contact me at [email protected]


Warm regards

Socrat Arakelyan


*Note from Azad-Hye: In this instance unfortunately the Council of the Armenians of Abu Dhabi (Varchoutyoun) did not provide any kind of help or assistance whatsoever, even on the level of simply informing the public.


It is said that economic progress is the base of social and community welfare. This is even more important for Armenian communities in the Middle East, where individual Armenians need to care about their and their families' own needs, without hoping much from the existing governments, as there are no welfare benefits waiting for them if they are unemployed or become unfit for work. Social Armenian organizations may provide some help, but this can have only a temporary nature. The burden thereafter falls on other family members.


On the other hand young Armenians seeking job opportunities in the Middle East could benefit from the accumulated experience of fellow Armenians who are in the market for long time. This is an important way of showing social cohesion. It applies to all categories of workers: skilled, semi-skilled and even non-skilled.


By discussing different job prospects, conditions, needs etc., and by posting job offerings, requests, announcements, etc., we aspire to provide a sort of soft landing for those who face workplace problems in this troubled part of the world. 


Do not hesitate to post your job offerings. It is the best way to meet talented Armenians.