Monthly Archives: May 2009

Sunni people are in danger in Azerbaijan

Religious intolerance in Azerbaijan worries local Sunni muslims

Mosque demolitions in Baku undermine tolerance claims and lead some to accuse the government of clinging onto the Soviet system of keeping a tight rein on believers, Leyla Amirova reports for IWPR.

Great banners across Baku’s streets celebrate the city’s role as “Islamic Culture Capital 2009”, but away from the gaze of visiting delegates, Azerbaijan’s authorities have taken a tough stance on Muslims who dare to worship without their permission.

On 11 May, Salman Aliev, a 50-year-old oil worker, said he was witness to the destruction of a mosque on the Oil Rocks, an offshore drilling settlement built on stilts and rock where 5,000 men work surrounded by the Caspian Sea.

“In the morning I heard this loud noise of machines from the direction of the mosque. When I got there, I saw how the wall of the mosque was being destroyed with a crane,” he said.

The mosque had been a well-built two-storey structure, with a minaret, a dome and air-conditioning but, while Aliev watched, the workers reduced it to a pile of rubble.

“They were not doing this because they wanted to. There was an order from the management, and so as to not lose their jobs they did this,” he said.

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Next US President : A Republic Day Speech

My fellow Armenians!

Ninety-one years ago your nation has reestablished a long-cherished statehood in the territory of “Sev Jandam”. The courage of the passionate visionaries who stood up for the patriotic “chmoyutyun” should live on in our hearts just as it lives on in the hearts of Armenians.

My dear fellows, many of you may think I have totally “qaqmej”-ed your expectations on April 24. Let me yell a “No” to those people. I have been in long consultation both with your Government and your opposition, who appeared to be rather “esh kerats esh metsatsats” professionals and must assure you that we are on the right track.   

The people of America and the President will continue to “qtsel” the US nationals of Armenian origin. You have been devoted citizens to this country and unique patriots in building prosperous and proud United States. We should always remember your “tiroj maman” in building our foreign strategies. Yes, we can!

My friends… Today I stand with you and Armenians everywhere with a sense of solidarity, “tqats unem”ism and “paxaq stuts”ism.

God Bless America!

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Eurovision scandals:Armenia Azerbaijan and Karabakh

Eurovision 2009 – Georgia, Putin, Azerbaijan and Iran …

The 54th Eurovision Song Contest is just over in Moscow. As one of the unexpected aspects of Eurovision – World’s largest musical contest – the observers mention its growing political background. Using popularity and huge worldwide audience of Eurovision, some countries use this song contest to promote political goals.

The next example was the clip “Always” by AySel & Arash presented by Azerbaijan. In decorations and haircut of the actress, who presented Azerbaijan, the image-makers from Baku used images of Poets’ Mausoleum in Tabriz in Iran as an illustration of Azeri-Türk culture. The observers consider this to be a promotion of ideas of unification of Northern Azerbaijan (Baku) and Southern Azerbaijan (Tabriz).

Interestingly, the organizers of Eurovision 2009 allowed the Iran-related decorations used by Azerbaijan, although they did not allow Armenia to use a photo of the Armenian Grandmother and Grandfather monument just because it is on the territory of Nagorno Karabakh. Azerbaijan accepts that Grandmother and Grandfather is an Armenian monument, but did not allow Eurovision to display it because they argue it would be promotion of the Armenian approach to the Karabakh conflict. And in Azerbaijan the phone number to vote for Armenia was blocked, at all.
More pictures here

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Inga and Anush Arshakyan in final stage of Eurovision-2009. Vote for N9


Inga and Anush Arshakyan

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Brave FM Nalbandian

My colleague Khatchig Mouradian, the editor of the Armenian Weekly, reported Wednesday that requests to interview Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian while he was in Washington were denied.

This is most troubling, especially at a time when flow of information from official Yerevan is so little, that we, in the business, are forced to decipher through propaganda-laced news reports from Turkey and Azerbaijan to make sense of this so-called “roadmap” to normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia.

By shutting out interview requests, Nalbandian missed a golden opportunity to discuss this critically important matter and shed much-needed light on whether this roadmap is more than just an agreement to negotiate or does it come with detrimental strings attached for Armenia. It would have also served as a way for Armenia to lay to rest the speculations and disinformation surrounding this matter and, once and for all, lifting the veil of secrecy that has shrouded the talks-especially from the Armenian government.

Now, more than ever, the need for transparency and frankness with the Armenian people is of utmost importance.

Nalbandian’s refusal to discuss with the Armenian press this and other matters of interest to our readers calls into serious question the strategy being pursued by the Armenian authorities and further clouds the already murky atmosphere created after the April 22 announcement of the “roadmap” deal.

Aside from the three burning questions on whether there’s been an agreement to establish a historical commission to discuss the Genocide, Armenia’s recognition of the Kars treaty and a parallel resolution to the Karabakh conflict, Mouradian probably had a series of other related and important questions for Nalbandian.

Here are a few examples:
If the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a stated priority in Armenia’s foreign policy, how then can Armenia’s president tell the Wall Street Journal that he was not asking President Obama to recognize the Genocide?

Did President Obama, in fact, use his campaign pledge as a bargaining chip to ensure that US interests were realized?

What role does the foreign ministry envision the Diaspora playing in this “roadmap” process?

Will the appointment of a new foreign minister in Turkey impact the talks?

How is the foreign ministry dealing with the vocal opposition by Karabakh Armenians to this effort and are their concerns being taken into account during the-called “fruitful” discussions with Clinton and others?

Why the secrecy?

Since the press was shut out of this process and any semblance of frank dialogue was denied, it leaves us to wonder about these and other questions that are related to the “roadmap.”

What would you ask Eduard Nalbandian if you had a chance to interview him? Feel free to comment!


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