Archive for the 'Canada' Category

Canada: Genocide Book Pulled, Replaced by Denialist Literature

Globe and Mail from Canada reports that a nationalist Turkish group has succeeded in banning a recommended High School book on Genocide. The banned book, which included a chapter on the WWI extermination of Ottoman Armenians, has been replaced by works of two genocide deniers.

A book about genocide has been pulled from the recommended reading list of a new Toronto public school course because of objections from the Turkish-Canadian community, the author says.

Barbara Coloroso’s Extraordinary Evil: A Brief History of Genocide was originally part of a resource list for the Grade 11 history course, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, set to launch across the Toronto District School Board this fall.

The book examines the Holocaust, which exterminated six million Jews in the Second World War; the Rwandan slaughter of nearly one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994, and the massacres of more than a million Armenians in 1895, 1909 and 1915.


Ms. Coloroso, a best-selling author of parenting books, said she wasn’t surprised her work was removed, given that “ever since the book came out, the Turks have mounted a worldwide campaign objecting to it, which is not surprising because of the denial of the genocide.”

She said what upset her was not so much that her book had been pulled, but that it was replaced by works by Bernard Lewis and Guenter Lewy, whom she refers to as deniers of the Armenian genocide.

“I knew when I wrote Extraordinary Evil that I would anger some genocide deniers,” she wrote to Ms. Connelly. “I am disappointed that a small group of people can bully an entire committee. …”


Canadian Buttle Wins World Figure Skating Championship Performing to Armenian Music

My Canadian-Armenian friend Artin Boghossian just brought to my attention that Canada’s Jeffrey Buttle has won his first men’s title at the world figure skating championship performing to the soundtrack of the Canadian movie Ararat (about the Armenian genocide) and wearing a costume with Armenian motives. The soundtrack includes the famous Armenian song “Groong” and Zurna music.

That’s because one of his coaches is Armenian. The winning performance is posted at

Stone Time Touch

Today I watched yet another ‘unknown’ Armenian film and encourage everyone seeing it.

My friends and I went to to see Stone Time Touch (2007), which is being shown in Colorado as part of the 30th Denver Film Festival.

A summary of the film at The New York Times states:

Award-winning Canadian filmmaker Gariné Torossian interweaves memory, loss, and expectation in this experimental documentary, which follows actress Arsinée Khanjian through an Armenia that seems half-real and half-imagined. During her time spent filming director Atom Egoyan‘s Calendar in Armenia, Khanjian was treated to numerous stories of filmmaker Torossian‘s distant homeland. But so much can change over time, and now as these two curious souls explore a land rich in religious iconography and haunted by history viewers will bear witness to a decidedly nontraditional study in identity, home, and place.

Having born and lived in Armenia for over 16 years, I actually saw many things in the film that I didn’t know much about.  Instead of showing the developed side of Armenia, it takes you to the homes of the most oppressed people and makes you hear their stories.

A short reference to human trafficking almost brings one to tears, and yet the passage fails to explain what trafficking is and how it actually works.

The most interesting point of the film is the attempt to explain the connection of Armenians to their sacred stones.  And it’s a difficult task.  Although the film doesn’t articulate it, Armenian connection to historic churches is more than Christianity.  The stones give them sense of identity and are a sort of time travel to the days when Armenia was defining its identity.  It sounds like earth worshiping – closer to the way Native Americans honor the nature and mountains.

This film is a MUST see.

Toronto reportings

Upon insistence of of my girlfriend, I am posting a summary of my recent talk in Toronto by one of the organizers of the event.  I have the cold. 🙁

This is me and Hon. Jim Karygiannis, a Toronto MP (like the national Canadian representative) who joined us at the end of the lecture.  I had e-mailed him a few days before the talk and he made the commitment to attend.  I am shocked with the accessibility of Canadian elected officials.  My own American representative, the Tom Tancredo, would never attend such a meeting even though he has paid tribute to me in the U.S. House a few years ago.  Wow, a lesson for us Americans to learn.

Simon Maghakyan, a 20 year old student at the University of Colorado, flew to Toronto and in the span of three days, he participated in an Armenian Genocide related Workshop in Montreal over the weekend, then gave an excellent talk on the destruction and vandalism of Djulfa khatchars.  His talk took place on Monday, March 19, 2007, at 8:00pm, in the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in Toronto.  Without the help of Rev. Arch Father Zareh Zargarian, the pastor of the Church, this event would not have taken place.

Simon began his presentation with his 5-minute film – “The New Tears of Araxes” – that documents the destruction of thousands of khatchkars.  The film was followed by his talk on the destruction discussing its connection to oil, politics and cultural rights.  At the end, his PowerPoint presentation showed satellite images of the Djulfa cemetery before its 2005 final destruction. These images had not been shown to the public before

Simon’s talk was enthusiastically received by the audience, as evidenced by the lively question and answer period at the end.  Here is a comment from one of the attendees.

Simon’s lecture was enlightening and he inspired hope in our new generation. God bless him and hope it will inspire other youth to go  in his footsteps. We the grown ups should keep an eye on these youth, help them every which way, so they will be encouraged.”

The Toronto Armenian youth was conspicuous by its absence.  Perhaps this was due to excusable circumstances, such as bad timing, late advertising, etc.  Here are some other comments from other members of the audience.

  …he [Simon] has all the qualities to become a scholar.  We thank all those who helped organize the special event.

Just wanted to say that I enjoyed Simon Maghakyan’s lecture yesterday, he had strong and energetic presentation skills at that young age with the knowledge of someone twice his age, a very bright young man, and he wasn’t shy at all, may he have a very successful future, my heartiest congratulations to him. I just wish that this lecture was advertised sooner.. as I believe there would’ve been a larger audience attending.

Thank you Simon.

Artin Boghossian, Toronto