Archive for July, 2006


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Qara Kelisa (Black Church) is surrounded by Iranian Christians' tents, in Chaldran, 510 miles (850 kilometers) northwest of the Irania capital Tehran, Saturday, July 29, 2006. Annually around 4,000 Iranian Christians, mostly Armenians, gather in a three-day ceremony marking the death anniversary of Saint Thaddaeus. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

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Iranian Christians pray and light candles in a ceremony at the Qara Kelisa (Black Church) in Chaldran, 510 miles (850 kilometers) northwest of the capital Tehran, Saturday, July 29, 2006. Annually arround 4,000 Iranian Christians, mostly Armenians, gather in a three-day ceremony marking the death anniversary of Saint Thaddaeus. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The Week's Quote

Here is a great quote by Prof. Dennis Papazian from Michigan (from a group e-mail sent on July 26, 2006):

Being Armenian does not give you a license to insult Armenians.

The quote is valid for every culture.

Iran bans Da Vinci Code

Iran bans Da Vinci Code, by the request of the Armenian church, although neither the book nor the movie is banned in Armenia. Apparently, the Armenian church has more power in Iran, than in Armenia.

Iran bans Da Vinci Code

July 27, 2006

Iran has banned the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code after protests from the country's Christian clergy, the culture ministry said yesterday, but the Persian translation is already in its eighth edition.

Iranian publishing thresholds have relaxed considerably in recent years and Tehran booksellers have noted an increased appetite for new age and spiritual titles.

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"Based on the request of three Christian clerics, yesterday we decided to ban its republication," said an official at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance who declined to be named.

Most of Iran's Christians belong to the Armenian church and number some 100,000. Although a small minority in a country of 69 million Muslims, the Armenians have two seats reserved for them in the 290-seat parliament.

The tiny Assyrian Christian community also has its own parliamentarian.

Many Christians have condemned Dan Brown's page-turner, saying the plot is offensive for arguing Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and that their descendants are alive today.

The Da Vinci Code has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and has been turned into a Hollywood film starring Tom Hanks. Although the film has not had a box office release in Iran, the pirated DVD is widely available.

Copies of the book were still on sale in Iran and will not be taken off bookshelves, but a ninth edition will not be printed, the official said.


More by Blogian: Da Vinci's Armenian Code
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Urartian Inscription "Disappeared"

While Iran is the only neighbor of Armenia where Armenian churches don't "disappear," an Urartian (ancient Armenian) inscription is gone in the Azerbaijani populated region of Iran. Don’t want to blame the Azeris right away, but experience has shown the opposite.

Ancient Urartian inscription disappears in Iran

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 – ©2005

LONDON, July 26 (IranMania) – An inscription of Urartian king Ishpuini (circa 830–810 BC) has disappeared from Baraghaneh Mountain, near Bukan in West Azarbaijan Province, the Persian service of CHN reported.

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A team of experts from the Language and Dialect Research Center of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization studying in the region recently discovered that the inscription was not in its place.

The director of the Cultural Heritage Guards of the province said that he had not been informed about the incident.

“The research center dispatched a group in order to film the position of the inscription,” research center director Rasul Bashshash said.

“The inscription had been discovered by a team of mountain climbers in 1997, but the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization was only informed about it in 2005,” he explained.

The inscription had been written in cuneiform.

Ishpuini was the son of Sarduri I (circa 840–830 BC). Only a few inscriptions about his reign remain in the ancient Urartian capital Tushpa (Turushpa), modern Van in Turkey.

Urartu was an ancient country of Southwest Asia centered in the mountainous region southeast of the Black Sea and southwest of the Caspian Sea.

Today the region is divided among Armenia, eastern Turkey, and northwestern Iran.

Mentioned in Assyrian sources from the early 13th century BC, Urartu enjoyed considerable political power in the Middle East in the 9th and 8th centuries BC. The Urartians were succeeded in the area in the 6th century BC by the Armenians.

Word from Lebanon

Finally Armen, the editor of Spurk Armenian publication of Lebanon, e-mailed me. I have lot's of families and friends in both Lebanon and Israel, but Armen is the only person I stay in touch via e-mail.

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He says Spurk's office is mostly closed since there is no internet available there after the Israeli attacks. The Armenian quarters are safe so far, Armen says. No injuries or deaths among ethnic Armenian citizens of Lebanon as of July 24, 2006. Most Armenian citizens (of Armenia) have evacuated to the motherland, and some Lebananese Armenian families are doing the same.

Armen has to stay with his old parents and take care of them. He has no plans to evacuate yet. Good luck to all civilians everywhere in avoiding the killing bombs. Make love, not war.

NPR interview with Shafak

National Public Radio (interview) with Elif Shafak is available at Ms. Shafak is on trial for "insulting Turkishness" (aka referring to the Armenian genocide in her newest novel).

A Letter from Lebanon

A letter from Lebanon, written by Sarine Khatchikian, a member of the 120-thousand Armenian community. via [email protected].

Hear Our Cry! Enough Is Enough!

I am a citizen of Lebanon living in this biblical land. Currently being one of those who is living and witnessing the ongoing horror in my beautiful country, I am enraged, angered, sad, distressed and confused as to what to do. I am sick and tired of people taking advantage of my country, carrying out their own wars on my land, cleaning up their dirty laundry at the cost of my fellow citizens. I am not a supporter of any political party; I am with the land of “Milk and Honey” as the Bible states. My rage is against Israel, Hezbollah, Bush’s USA, Iran, Syria and the previous Lebanese government.

How dare they, under selfish pretexts, which I do not even wish to discern, exploit our country to settle their horrendous accounts.

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Saida, LEBANON: Lebanese boy Ali Ghraieb, 09, who lost his right eye during the Israeli attack on the civil defence center in Tyre, lies in his hospital bed at Hammoud hospital in the southern coastal city of Saida, 22 July 2006. With Israel massing thousands of soldiers near the Lebanese border in apparent preparation for an invasion, diehard residents of southern Lebanon who had been defiantly staying put were finally joining the exodus north. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO

Hezbollah claims to be defending its land. I used to admire that group during the years when Israel had occupied the South, being the only ones to defend the land. After the occupation, they should have joined the Lebanese Army if they really intended to defend this land. They have no right to compel the people of Lebanon to pay the price for their selfish moves!

Bush (yes, Bush, not even Mr. Bush!) has declared himself as nothing short of the next Messiah who has taken under his ‘wings’ the duty of bringing justice to the world, stopping terror from the globe!!! What a noble and kindred spirit! Shame on him! What right does he have to violate the privacies of other countries? Before meddling internationally, one should clean up the national disorder. What about the homeless in the USA? What about the educational standards in a number of public schools? What about the crime rates in the states? What about substance abuse rates? What about tempered rights of children? What about the youth landing home in coffins from Iraq?

Israel! Shame on you for using “God’s Chosen People” as a slogan for every inhumane action in the world! God’s chosen people should be setting examples for the rest of the world, not violating every single humanitarian decree! What will you tell God about the innocent children whose lifeless bodies are hanging out from their parents’ cars as they are fleeing your bombs? What will you tell the children whose parents are lying dead in front of them with their intestines bulging out of their bodies in front of their tiny innocent eyes? What will you tell students when they find their schools completely destroyed and leveled to the ground? How can you justify bombing ambulances and humanitarian workers when they are selflessly and nobly trying to fulfill their missions of evacuating people and caring for the wounded? How can you hit
homes and not allow people to remove their dead from under the rubble? THEIR DEAD! You took their lives, at least leave their dead bodies to their families!

Syria and Iran! It pains my heart to see those two beautiful countries who have throughout the history of mankind been pioneers in almost every aspect of existence (long before the Western world had even woken up) now taking a back seat in the vehicle of modernizing the world. There exist noble people in those countries who have now been classified as terrorists because of the dark leadership ruling them. If that is the way they want their countries governed, they have every right to do so! But keep Lebanon out of it!

We are not savages, we are not beasts! We are a civilized nation. We do not accept to have others recklessly run our country. It is time that we have a strong governing body that prioritizes the needs of its nation above others.

What we are facing today is Hurricane Katrina and the last Tsunami combined and then multiplied! Yes modern world, that is what we have! There are around half a million refugees all around Lebanon having taken shelter in schools, and yes, even on so-called safe “streets” sleeping on sidewalks. Do we really understand what that means? 500,000 people sleeping on the icy ground, with no blankets, no mattresses, nothing to eat but a bite of bread once a day! Do we really know what it means to have 200 people use 4 toilets and not have a single drop of water to flush it? Do we? Let’s just face the bare facts for a moment. We read and hear the media say “war” and “refugees”. Now, picture one of our local schools with your entire family in it, with your newborn baby crying for milk, with your young son shaking from fear not grasping why he is sitting on the floor while his father or mother is bleeding to death in front of him and the ambulance is not coming!

What would you do? Wouldn’t you spit at the face of this unjust world?

Enough is enough! The Lebanese are a proud and noble nation, who after 30 years of destructive war caught up with the rest of the world and proved to everybody that they can be the best in any professional domain.

Let us be, let us help the world with our potentials, allow us to our basic human rights so we can live and be able to welcome you on our biblical land and share with you the “Milk and Honey” that God has bestowed upon us.

Sarine Khatchikian
School Director


This blog is based at, the largest and most popular Armenian portal in the Net.

Security Lab informed on July 18, 2006 (in Russian) that "the hacker group of" has hacked the website of an Azerbaijani opposition party. The "leftover" note (attached below) said that others Azerbaijani websites were going to be attacked by

I shared the news (which I received from Armenia and was asked whether I had my "investment" in hacking the site – although I am very unsavy) with the administration and moderators, and some of them were surprised by the news. HAYASTAN.COM has NOT hacked this website. It is a black PR against the most popular Armenian website. Ironically, would not hack such a website, since it is not a governmental or propagandistic website of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani hackers brake Armenian websites often (and leave the popular "hacked and fucked by Azerbaijan note"), while Armenian hackers are very calm (a member from Moscow, who also runs a blog, even wrote an article at Azg ones calling on Armenian hackers to attack back. But I guess Armenian websites have more important things to do – and I agree with this policy). Anyhow, is not responsible for hacking An official press release may follow.

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The Bastard of Istanbul

As the Los Angeles Times wrote last week, "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU refer to Turkey's 1915-1923 genocide of Armenians, accurately, as 'genocide'? In Turkey, you face a possible three-year jail term, even if it wasn't you using the term but a character in your novel."

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Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak, the Turkish novelist, is on trial for "insulting Turkishness." Another Turkish professor, Fatma Gocek, has forwarded the quotes from Shafak's "The Bastard of Istanbul" that made her go on trial. Below are the quotes. Thanks to Profs. Gocek and Shafak for sharing the excerpts via [email protected].

1. p. 3 Zeliha walks on the street:

Yet, there she was on this first Friday of July, walking on a sidewalk that flowed next to hopelessly clogged traffic; rushing to an appointment she was now late for, swearing like a trooper, hissing one profanity after another at the broken pavement stones, at her high-heels, at the man stalking her, at each and every driver who honked frantically when it was an urban fact that clamor had no effect on unclogging traffic, at the whole Ottoman dynasty for once upon a time conquering the city of Constantinople, and then sticking by its mistake, and yes, at the rain… this damn summer rain.

2. p.54 Dikran Stamboulian’s words:

“What will that innocent lamb tell her friends when she grows up? My father is Barsam Tchakhmakhchian, my great-uncle is Dikran Stamboulian, his father is Varvant Istanboluian, my name is Armanoush Tchakhmakhchian, all my family tree has been Something Somethingian, and I am the grandchild of genocide survivors who lost all their relatives in the hands of Turkish butchers in 1915, but I myself have been brainwashed to deny the genocide because I was raised by some Turk named Mustapha! What kind of a joke is that…Ah, marnim khalasim!”

3. p. 56 Auntie Varsenig's words:

Auntie Varsenig continued, “Tell me how many Turks ever learned Armenian. None! Why did our mothers learn their language and not vice versa? Isn’t it clear who has dominated whom? Only a handful of Turks come from Central Asia, right, and then the next thing you know they are everywhere! What happened to the millions of Armenians who were already there? Assimilated! Massacred! Orphaned! Deported! And then forgotten! How can you give your flesh and blood daughter to those who are responsible for our being so few and in so much pain today? Mesrop Mashtots would turn in his grave!”

4. p. 121 Lady Peacock/Siramark's words:

"What are you going to talk about with ordinary Turks? asked Lady Peacock/Siramark. “Look, even the well-educated are either nationalist or ignorant. Do you think ordinary people will be interested in accepting historical truths? Do you think they are going to say: oh yeah, we are sorry we massacred and deported you guys, and then contentedly denied it all. Why do you want to get yourself in trouble?”

4 Lebananese Armenians

If you are Lebananese Armenian, you can get a free visa to Armenia. Contact the Embassy of Armenia to Lebanon, Beirut: Rabieh, Mtaileb, Jasmin St., Beirut, Lebanon; Tel.: (961 4) 402952; Fax: (961 4) 418860 for more information.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the estimated number of Armenian citizens in Lebanon prior to the start of the recent campaign was 1,200. In addition, 80 to 120 thousand Lebanese-Armenians are believed to be residing in the country. No information is available on any casualties involving either Armenian citizens or Lebanese-Armenians.

Prior to the escalation of the situation into a full-scale air assault on the infrastructure of Lebanon and its naval blockade, the Armenian Government began evacuating its citizens by buses from Beirut to Damascus and further to Aleppo, from where they were airlifted to Yerevan on board chartered flights of an Airbus-319 of the Armavia Airlines. The Armenian Government, in cooperation with the Syrian and Lebanese Foreign Ministries, also ensured expedited processing of consular formalities for the evacuees at both the Lebanese-Syrian border, and the Aleppo Airport. There have been two Armavia Airlines flights from Aleppo to Yerevan evacuating 178 people, including both citizens of Armenia and foreign nationals of Armenian descent. The first flight transported 77 people, and the second – 101. Armavia is planning one more airlift from Aleppo this week.

On July 18, 2006 the Armenian Cabinet held an emergency session to address the crisis. A task force was formed including Ministers of Territorial Administration, Finance and Economy, Transport and Communications, Health, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heads of the National Security Service, Police, National Civil Aviation Agency, and relevant directorates of the executive staff of the Cabinet. The task force coordinates national emergency response, in the form of evacuation/airlifts, medical assistance/counseling, as well as consular, logistic and other support.

The Civil Aviation Agency is instructed to increase, as necessary, the number of flights to/from Aleppo, including emergency flights. Evacuees are transported free of charge. The cabinet has been considering sharing the cost of these flights that are otherwise conducted at the expense of Armavia Airlines.

The Ministry of Health is instructed to provide medical help and counseling to all evacuees upon their arrival in Armenia.

Effective July 18, Embassies of Armenia in Beirut and Damascus, and the Consulate General in Aleppo are mobilized into a round-the-clock duty regime. Armenian missions in Syria and Lebanon are enhanced by two additional Foreign Service officers, dispatched to coordinate airlifts and transportation of evacuees from Syria to Armenia, in addition to facilitating all other necessary procedures.

Armenia is issuing 3-month entry visas, free of charge, to all interested citizens of Lebanon of Armenian descent, as well as both affected foreign citizens in Lebanon and family members of citizens of Armenia in Lebanon who are willing to find accommodation in Armenia.

Armenian Foreign Ministry has established the following hotline for all related inquiries, requests and other communication: (+37410) 586-017, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Yerevan time (Eastern U.S. Daylight Saving Time + 9).

Following is contact information for Armenia’s diplomatic / consular missions in the region:

Embassy of Armenia to Lebanon, Beirut: Rabieh, Mtaileb, Jasmin St., Beirut, Lebanon; Tel.: (961 4) 402952; Fax: (961 4) 418860

Embassy of Armenia to Syria, Damascus: Malki, Ibrahim Hanano St., P.O. Box 33241, Damascus, Syria; Tel.: (963 11) 6133560; Fax: (963 11) 6130952

Consulate General of Armenia in Aleppo, Syria: Al-Kawakibi 4, Taha-Hussein 12, Aleppo; Tel: (963-21) 268-7240; Tel: (963-21) 268-7241; Fax: (963-21) 268-7291

via e-mail

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