Opaque Bubbles and Life in Armenia

Opaque Bubbles and Life in Armenia

We all live in bubbles, don’t we? No matter who we are, where we are, we have our own circle of friends, family, community, work or school, maybe a club of this or an association of that. We create an immediate society around us, which forms part of society taken more broadly. I guess problems arise when the immediate circle becomes impervious – a more rigid, opaque bubble, divorced from broader society.

Living in Yerevan, I am very conscious of the bubble in which I find myself. It is often Diasporan, English-speaking, shared with people with disposable income. Not exclusively so, but more often than not that is the case. Spending free time in cafés and shopping malls, it is not hard to pretend to be in some other part of the world. Even though I find this to be expected – and, in fact, I am happy to note this kind of development in the country – I also find it bothersome to sense that I am at a remove from broader society in Armenia.

More than One April 24, 2015, in Istanbul

More than One April 24, 2015, in Istanbul

It was the evening of April 24, 2015, and I was sitting on the street in Istanbul, right near where Istiklal Avenue starts off from Taksim Square. The area had been closed off especially for us—a part of town usually bustling (bursting, really) with people. Those around me were holding placards, mostly of the Armenians who had been placed under arrest that day 100 years earlier. I got a placard with one Hagop Terzian on it. “I must look him up,” I thought, somewhat ashamed of the fact that I had not heard of him before, one of the many whose memory was being honored that evening.

The atmosphere was that of a quiet crowd. There was some music, some speeches. I thought it odd that my feet were crossed on the ground next to the tracks over which the tramway ferries tourists and locals from one end of this long, touristy shopping street to the other. The tramway incessantly rings its bell as a warning because, again, Istiklal Avenue is always teeming with people. (I had earlier noticed a favorite game of one of the unfortunate newcomers to this part of the world—young refugee children from Syria, hopping on and off the protruding parts of the tramway wagon. No ringing bell ever dissuades them.) I made a mental note of exactly where I was on the street, trying to figure out a line joining the track to the shops and buildings around me. Someday I would show off the specific spot where I was on the 24th of April, 2015.

Սահմանադրական փոփոխություններ. «Սատանան մանրամասների մեջ է»

Սահմանադրական փոփոխություններ. «Սատանան մանրամասների մեջ է»

Անգլերենով այսպիսի ասացվածք կա. «սատանան մանրամասնություններում է գտնվում» (“the devil is in the details”): Այսինքն՝ խոսքերը սիրուն են, բայց երբ բանը կա բուն գործին, ամեն ինչ կախված է այդ բուն գործը անելու ոճից: Ահավասիկ եւ այսպիսի հակազդեցություն Հայաստանի Հանրապետության սահմանադրական փոփոխությունների վերաբերյալ:

Նախ, ի՞նչ է սահմանադրություն կոչեցյալը: Շատ չխորանալով քաղաքական տեսությունների (սատանայական մանրամասնությունների՞) մեջ, երկու գլխավոր դրույթ նշեմ: Առաջինը՝ սահմանադրությունը իրենից «հասարակական պայմանագիր է ներկայացնում. ժողովուրդը ինքը ինչ-որ մի մեխանիզմով իր ընդհանուր կամքն է արտահայտում այդ փաստաթղթին միջոցով: Ոչ թե որեւէ մենապետ կամ այլ օժտյալ անձ է քաղաքական կարգ հաստատում ու քաղաքական որոշումներ կայացնում, այլ՝ ընդհանուր ժողովուրդը: Երկրորդ՝ սահմանադրություններ իշխանությունն են բաշխում. ոչ թե մի անհատ կամ խումբ՝ անգամ քվեարկությամբ ընտրված, ամբողջ իշխանությունն են ձեռք բերում, այլ զանազան գործակալություններ, զանազան պաշտոնական մարմիններ զանազան գործառույթներ են իրականացնում՝ մեկը մյուսին հակազդելով, մեկը մյուսին հակակշիռ հանդիսանալով: Այդպիսով, ոչ մի անհատ կամ խումբ չի կարող լայնածավալ ազդեցություն ունենալ:

Sources, Citation, APA Style: A Brief Introduction

Sources, Citation, APA Style: A Brief Introduction

Purdue University – Online Writing Lab
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01

American Psychological Association – APA Style
http://www.apastyle.org/

Jordan Pettigrew – APA Style Citation Tutorial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL2RrT6jFpQ

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Hello. Welcome to this brief video on a few basic aspects about sources, citation, and APA style.

Whenever you do research, you use sources of information to explore the question you have posed, to investigate the issue you have chosen. Continue reading

The shifting focus of the Armenian Cause

The shifting focus of the Armenian Cause

The issue of the Armenian Genocide did not manifest any regular political expression until the late 1960s. The Armenian Cause, as it has come to be known (Hai Tahd in Western Armenian; Hai Daht in Eastern Armenian), followed mass demonstrations in particular in 1965. That was the 50th year marking the arrest of notable Armenians in İstanbul on April 24, which heralded the massacres and deportations that followed Surprisingly, rallies took place in Yerevan in Soviet Armenia in 1965, running contrary to the anti-national policies of the USSR. It did not take long for communities within the organized Armenian diaspora to take on the mantle of genocide recognition as their primary raison d’être.

Մեկ ազգ, քանի՞ մշակութային ոլորտ. հայկական բազմազանություն | One Nation, How Many Aspects of Culture? Armenian Diversity

Մեկ ազգ, քանի՞ մշակութային ոլորտ. հայկական բազմազանություն

Վերջերս «էլ-փոստային կռիվ» ունեցա մի անծանոթի հետ: Դրան «կռիվ» կոչելը չափազանցություն կլինի: Ավելի ճիշտ, բուռն քննարկում ունեցանք էլ-փոստեր ստանալով ու ուղարկելով:Իրար գտել էինք ընդհանուր ծանոթի միջոցով, ով խոհեմ գտնվեց ու խոսակցությունից զերծ մնաց:

Խնդիրը Արեւելահայերենի ու Արեւմտահայերենի շուրջ էր, մասնավորապես՝ եթե կան երկու առանձին Հայերեն լեզուներ, կամ եթե երկուսն էլ մի լեզվի մասնիկներն են: Ուրիշ տարբերակներ էլ կան, եւ նաեւ կարելի է, որ մարդ Արեւելահայերենին ու Արեւմտահայերենին միառժամանակ տարբեր բնորոշումներ տա: Նամակակիցս ինքնավստահորեն պնդում էր, որ կա միայն մեկ Հայոց Լեզու: Իմ դիրքորոշումն այն է, որ դրանք «քույր լեզուներ» են:

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One Nation, How Many Aspects of Culture? Armenian Diversity

Not too long ago, I had an “e-mail fight” with someone I don’t know. To call it a “fight” would be an exaggeration. Rather, we had a heated discussion back and forth via e-mail, having found each other through a mutual acquaintance who wisely slipped out of the conversation.

The issue was Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian – specifically, whether or not there are two separate Armenian languages, or whether they are both versions of one language. There are other possibilities, and it could be the case that one may characterise Eastern and Western Armenian in more than one way at the same time. My correspondent was very confident toinsist that there is only one Armenian language. My own position is to refer to the two as “sister languages”.

… … …

Turkey’s Post-Post-Modern Coup and U.S. Foreign Policy

Turkey’s Post-Post-Modern Coup and U.S. Foreign Policy

Turkey is no stranger to changes in regime. The administration in Ankara has seen fundamental, abrupt shifts a number of times since the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923. Following the death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1938, the military perceived itself as the guardian of the secular, republican order established by one of its own. With that in mind, the army stepped in on three separate occasions—in 1960, in 1971, and in 1980—to remove certain elements from power. Turkey returned to democracy each time.

Why Diplomacy and International Law Matter

Why Diplomacy and International Law Matter

The ongoing dispute over Crimea has led more than one person around me to welcome power politics and decisiveness in the use of force internationally, as opposed to negotiations. My own education leads me to believe that diplomacy and respect for international legal frameworks are not only highly valuable as such, they are the only means for stability and security in the long term. Here’s why.

Guns are important. They are very important, in fact. But no state would be willing to use them unless absolutely necessary. Troops are expensive, and every life counts, especially in those countries where there is accountability and free and fair elections: no-one is going to vote you back in power if you caused someone close to them to die. Ever since 1945, international use of force has been outlawed, except if approved by the UN Security Council, and in self-defence until the Security Council takes up the matter. Humanitarian intervention (the “Responsibility to Protect” or “R2P”) is a new category that has been slow to gain currency internationally, as opinions vary widely on recent cases, such as Libya. States as sovereign entities have thus agreed to ban the use of force by adopting the UN Charter. What is more, there is no provision to leave the UN in its charter. Almost all states signed on to this agreement after the Second World War, and new states ever since have been quick to join the UN. Statehood and UN membership are more or less synonymous today. Therefore, use of force has ceased to be a value in international affairs. War is no longer a glorious, patriotic undertaking, the way it was portrayed in centuries past.

Reflections on ‘Depat’ Armenians

Reflections on ‘Depat’ Armenians

I am a member of the Facebook group that the Repat Armenia Foundation maintains. I am, in fact, a fan of that organization, which provides assistance to Armenians who wish to move to the Homeland, whether in terms of technical or legal information, employment, or some guidance on housing. It’s the sort of function that one would have wished the state to perform, that one might have expected the Ministry of the Diaspora to take on, via Armenian embassies or otherwise. To be fair, we are talking about a big deal, highly resource-heavy in realization, and also ideologically and philosophically heavy in its own right.

The issue of moving to Armenia has been in focus in recent years, even celebrated, both because of the alarming numbers of emigrants from Armenia, and also because of the influx of Armenian refugees from Syria. The latter group has indeed been given some support both by the state and otherwise, but a significant part has moved on to a third country, or has returned to Syria.