Archive for December, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all Blogian readers!  May all of your dreams come true if they are universally good and don’t harm others.

Welcome, 2008!

Recreating the Bamiyan Buddhas in Laser Images

Afghanistan’s famed Bamiyan Buddhas, reduced to dust by the Taliban in 2001, may be returning in a few years.

Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata, according to Bamiyan Laser, is working on a project that in June of 2012 will display Buddha images at the site where the sacred monuments were destroyed by Islamic militants.

According to Yamagata’s website:

Over 250 laser systems installed 500m,1km and 5km in distance from the Bamiyan hills will project multiple layers of original Yamagata Buddha images drawn in striking colors.
The laser images will be projected for 1 hour after sundown, 6 days without friday.
The laser systems built specifically for this installation will shoot long range green beams and short range multiple color beams, designed to create a striking contrast to the purplish red hue of the Bamiyan sunset and the black mountain shadows.

The energy used by the laser systems will be produced by environmental friendly windmills and solar power plants. The power produced is also meant to provide light and electricity for the people of Bamiyan.

Although the Buddhas will be visible only at certain times of the year, the project is said to be sustainable and permanent:

The original Bamiyan Buddhas were created approximately 1500 years ago, as one of the most significant historical monuments of mankind. 

My artistic concept is to create original images of Buddha and project them with the most unique,powerful and cutting edge laser technology of today onto the site where once the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas stood.  Thus we will be able to revive the great creative spirit of mankind which produced the Great Buddha of Bamiyan centuries ago. A collaboration of ancient and new art will become a cultural icon of revived civilization in Afghanistan.
By permanently creating an artwork of laser system installation in Bamiyan, we intend to stimulate both the land and the people of Bamiyan.


But instead of the handful Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban, the laser project will have 160-240 Buddhas.  The figure gives hope that destroyed historic sites with hundreds of monuments can be “recreated” through laser imaging as well.  A similar project could be put together to memorialize the largest medieval Armenian cemetery reduced to dust in Azerbaijan in 2005.

What about “recreating” the New York Twin Towers with laser?

Image: UNESCO delegates looking at a new Azerbaijani military camp in September of 2007 where the Djulfa cemetery existed before December of 2005.  This site could become the world’s largest laser-powered museum with thousands of recreated tombstones

The cemetery should be recreated – whether on Azeri or Armenian territory – before the 10th anniversary of the destruction of Djulfa.  So there is much work to do until 2015.  Interestingly, that is also the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.  History repeats?

New Theme, Same Spirit and a Cemetery Never Forgotten

As we are about to enter 2008, Blogian is transforming to the 21st century with a professionally-designed theme (courtesy of, merged archives and new plans.

A few months ago, when I was upset with constant hacks by Azeri and/or Turkish hackers against Blogian, the webmaster of offered to hire a designer for Blogian (I guess Armen wanted to cheer me up).  As part of the design, the archives from Blogian’s good old days – available at another link – were merged to the current website so that it is all in once place.

The design is perhaps obvious to most Armenians – mount Ararat, the national symbol, on the top and Blogian written with a pomegranate, another Armenian symbol.  

At the very bottom of the website you will find two separated “animals” – an actual design from a Djulfa tombstone that is now forever gone.  Hence, the name of the new theme – Djulfa.

I have become a sort of self-proclaimed ambassador of the vanished Djulfa cemetery and after the recent article in History Today and widely featured at Britannica Encyclopedia I have not stop – and NEVER WILL – the awareness work for the largest Armenian historic artifact that was reduced to dust two years ago. 

I can’t tell you the latest project at this time but I will announce it very soon. 

 THANK YOU to and A_Mina for the wonderful design.

Traditional Ceramic Figures

Loosavor, an art blog from Armenia, posts traditional ceramic figures made by Aram Hunanyan, “the cultural ambassador of Yerevan.”


My favorite one is the third female figure (from left) holding what seems to be her husband’s head.

Bush Receives Ahmadinejad Denial Prize

Via Life Around Me from Bendib

untitled copy

Creative Democratization in Armenia

When the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) – a political party in Armenia – held an open-to-all pre-election vote to decide which of their leaders should run for presidency in 2008, I jokingly told my sister this was the first transparent and democratic presidential election in Armenia’s entire history. 

It is quite funny and somewhat ironic, but the nationalist ARF or Dashnak party is introducing democracy in Armenia through very creative and unique ways. 

The Armenian Observer informs of the newest ARF method to gain votes:

[T]he party now has printed out 400,000 ‘contracts’ with Vahan Hovhannisyan – the ARF candidate [decided by the open-to-all vote].

According to this contract, the presidential candidate promises to make social changes, maintain political stability, contribute to the unification of Armenians in the homeland, establish social solidarity, ensure free elections.

Everybody that reads and signs the agreement will receive a small card with the picture of Vahan Hovhannisyan and will join the movement “I am with Vahan”. […]


I have also heard rumours, that ARF are planning yet another major PR event, specifically targeting young people – Serj Tankian, the lead vocalist, keyboardist and rhythm guitarist of the alternative metal band System of a Down, will hold a concert in Yerevan in support of ARF-Dashnaktsutyun candidate.

I don’t think I’d vote for the ARF candidate if I lived in Armenia (in fact, I might boycott the elections), but I can’t hide my support for the healthy campaign they have been doing so far for the 2008 elections.  They are clearly introducing a culture of fair and fun politics in Armenia which supports the democratization and builds general trust for elections.

Despite many dark aspects of the ARF history, I think they are making history today by creating a culture of transparency and trust through simple campaign strategies. 

And it is not all about gaining power this time, it seems ARF is delivering a Ralph-Nader-kind of message.

Israel Apologizes for Massacre; Armenia Optimistic for More

During the same week when Israeli president Shimon Peres apologized for the Kafr Kassem massacre of Arab civilians in 1956, official Armenia expressed its optimism that Israel will soon recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Written by the same author who reported the recent vandalism of Armenia’s Holocaust Memorial, an article in the Jerusalem Post states that an adviser to Armenia’s president explains that Israel’s affirmation of the Armenian Genocide is not a matter of if but of when.

The government of Armenia is “very hopeful” that Israel will soon recognize the World War I-era massacre of Armenians by Turks as an “act of genocide,” a senior Armenian official told The Jerusalem Post last week.


“I am very hopeful that Israel, step by step, will recognize it as well… We are very hopeful and we are waiting for it,” Yeritsyan said.

Contacted by the Post, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.


Israel, an ally of the Republic of Turkey, has been avoiding the term “genocide” when talking about the extermination of the Armenians.  Furthermore, some Israeli leaders, including Shimon Peres, have been charged with genocide denial in their attempts to minimize the Armenian experience.  Peres, for instance, has been fiercely criticized for an earlier characterization of Armenian accounts of the Genocide as “meaningless.”  In his more recent refusal to refer to the Armenian Genocide as such, nonetheless, Peres has said it is up to Turkey and Armenia to solve the “issue.”

The fact that Peres has officially apologized for the Kafr Kassem massacre is very encouraging and should serve as an example to the Turkish government.

I am not talking about recognizing the Armenian Genocide tomorrow and placing plaques next to the “memorials” of the organizers of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey telling the truth.  Israel apologizes for killing 48 civilians; why doesn’t Turkey apologize for over a million death?

Let’s say that Turkey genuinely believes that “only” 300,000 Armenians were killed during World War I.  Isn’t that 300,000 lives to apologize for?  Let’s say Turkey genuinely thinks the term genocide cannot be applied to the Armenian case; why doesn’t it apologize for “the Armenian massacre” then?

The horrible truth is that the denial of the Armenian Genocide is not a simple refusal to apply the term genocide to the Armenian experience.  The denial of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey is refusal that any kind of crime has been committed against the Armenian people.  It is microdenial – an attempt to legitimize the extermination of the Armenian civilization from what is today’s Turkey.

The mainstream media religiously say that “Turkey refuses the word genocide” as though as the Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide only started after the word “genocide” was coined in 1944.

Years before anyone had word the term “genocide,” Turkey threatened to ban Hollywood movies if MGM produced a movie that dealt with resistance during the Armenian extermination based on a book banned by Hitler because of being written by a Jew.  After the State Department intervened, the movie was dropped.  Isn’t this absolute denial?

Some Djulfa Monuments in an Azerbaijani Museum?

In a post for the Djulfa blog, I raise the possibility that some monuments lacking inscriptions and Christian symbols from the famed Armenian cemetery of Djulfa – reduced to dust by Azerbaijan in December of 2005 – have been transferred to “The museum under opened heavens” in Nakhichevan City, Republic of Azerbaijan.

Hundreds of the Djulfa monuments were ram-shaped memorials that seem to originate in pagan Armenia.  Many of these didn’t have inscriptions on them, so it is likely that some of the Djulfa ram-shaped monuments have survived. 

In fact, the official website of Nakhichevan exclave’s Azerbaijani authorities mentionsthat in 2002, the year when Djulfa’s destruction was underway, a new museum was created where rock monuments were brought from different regions. 

The full post and a photograph from official Azerbaijani website of what appears to be a Djulfa monument is available here.

New Holocaust Memorial Vandalized in Armenia

A swastika has been painted on Yerevan’s new Holocaust memorial a year after the old and repeatedly vandalized memorial was replaced with this new monument that commemorates the Jewish and Armenian Genocides of the 20th century. 

According to the Jerusalem Post:

Unknown vandals defaced a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in central Yerevan last week, scrawling a swastika on the simple stone structure and splattering it with black paint.

The defaced memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in central Yerevan, Armenia. Photo: Michael Freund

Rabbi Gershon Burshtein, a Chabad emissary who serves as Chief Rabbi of the country’s tiny Jewish community, expressed shock upon discovering the vandalism while escorting visitors to the site on Wednesday.

After calling the police and local government officials to inform them of the incident, he said, “I just visited the memorial the other day and everything was fine. This is terrible, as there are excellent relations between Jews and Armenians.”

A senior adviser to Armenian President Robert Kocharian denounced the defacement as “a provocation”, and promised Rabbi Burshtein that it would be taken care of forthwith.

The monument has been defaced and toppled several times in the past few years. It is located in the city’s Aragast Park, a few blocks north of the centrally-located Republic Square, which is home to a number of government buildings.

The text inscribed in Hebrew on the stone reads, “To be or to forget: in memory of the victims of the Holocaust”.

Armenia’s Jewish population is estimated at between 300 and 500 people, most of whom live in the capital of Yerevan.

Photo from  The new Holocaust Memorial during its opening on October 27, 2006

It is interesting that the Jerusalem Post fails to mention that the Holocaust memorial doesn’t only commemorate the Jewish but also the Armenian Genocide.  The dual-commemoration was obviously done with the hope that anti-Semites in Armenia would not dare to vandalize a monument that also honors the Armenian Genocide. 

The new vandalism seen in the Jerusalem Post photo is quite minor compared to what was done to the old Holocaust memorial in Yerevan in early 2006.

While the vandalism on the former memorial was most likely organized by a group known as Armenian-Aryans (I remember reading in one of their 2002 or 2003 publications talking about the Holocaust Memorial as something immoral to exist in Armenia), the new vandalism seems to be a work of an individual anti-Semite given the “minor injuries” of the new memorial.

As I have written before, the head of the “Armenian-Aryans” was one of the speakers at the Holocaust denial conference a year ago in Iran.

‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’

Summarizing the death of a 17-year-old Armenian-American girl who was initially refused transplant by her health insurance company, filmmaker Michael Moore states on his website that “justice delayed is justice denied.”

The death of Nataline Sarkisyan from Glendale California has sparked national outrage and the Sarkisyan family’s celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos, another Armenian-American, says he wants the insurance company, Cigna, charged with manslaughter.

According to the Associated Press via Washington Post:


They took my daughter away from me,” said Nataline Sarkisyan’s father, Krikor, with tears in his eyes at a news conference at his lawyer’s office.

The Philadelphia-based insurer had initially refused to pay for the procedure, saying it was experimental. The company reversed the decision Thursday as about 150 nurses and community members rallied outside of its office in Glendale in suburban Los Angeles. Nataline died just hours later.

The insurer “maliciously killed” Nataline because it did not want to bear the expense of her transplant and aftercare, said family attorney Mark Geragos. He did not say when or in what court he would file the civil lawsuit.

Geragos also said he would ask the district attorney’s office to press murder or manslaughter charges against Cigna, an allegation that one legal expert described as difficult to prove and “a little bit of grandstanding.”


Few realize that the United States is the only western country without universalized health coverage.  But even those who have health coverage often become victims of privatized health insurance companies.  Michael Moore argues in his movie Sicko, that I watched last week, that insurance companies are like any other business.  They “lose money” every time they approve a medical procedure.

I myself had to get the approval of my insurance company couple of days ago to get an important health test.  Although the results are not too bad, had the insurance company not approved the test I’d not find out my situation and not get a treatment.  Why should an insurance company approve a medical test assigned by my doctor?

The issue of health care will become a major, if not the major, issue of the presidential elections.  It seems most Americans are over the “communistic” paranoia in regards to reformed health care.  I am not sure if universal health care is the solution, but there must be reforms.

On a not so important note, it is interesting that Moore’s film had a reference to another Armenian-American, Dr. Kevorkian, and that Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian’s famous music was played in the film.

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