News and Views (May 8, 2012)
News & Views is a weekly summary of some of the week’s most important stories, links and material of interest to Ararat readers.
— The best Armenian news of the week is that yesterday the citizens of Armenia went to the polls and peacefully cast their ballots. While election monitors gave the event “mixed marks,” Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan’s ruling Republican party (unsurprisingly) won. Reuters reports:
The Republican Party won 44 percent of the vote decided under a party list system in Sunday’s election and won at least 28 seats contested by individual candidates, election officials said, giving it an overall majority in the 131-seat parliament.
— Writing for Azatutyun, Emil Danielyan has a look at Monday’s elections and reports this troubling fact:
In their preliminary findings that clearly fell short of the Armenian government’s expectations, the nearly 300 observers mostly deployed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) avoided stating whether the vote was democratic.
— Ditord has compiled a crowd-sourced map of possible voter irregularities, including voter fraud, and published the data on its blog. They registered 1,000+ alerts.
— Radio Liberty has gone as far as asking, “Was Armenia’s Presidential Elections a Step Backwards?” The writer presents some facts:
There were numerous reports of vote-buying by the HHK. Purportedly charitable activities by its coalition partner Prosperous Armenia (BH), including the distribution of some 500 tractors in rural areas by a company owned by BH chairman Gagik Tsarukian, were seen by international election monitors as incompatible with the new electoral code.
— Also of note is that last Friday, an accident at a Republican Party rally in Yerevan injured 144 people when a smoker lit up near promotional balloons that were decorated with the governing party’s election slogan “Let’s believe in change.” The next day, Armenia’s first lady visited those injured in the hospital.
— Today, we hear the disturbing news that Yerevan bar DIY, one of the only LGBT-friendly bars in Armenia, was bombed by what are believed to be two male suspects and “sources speculate it is a hate crime for nationalist fascist.” Ianyan has the story.
— New data on the Armenian/Azerbaijani conflict has emerged and suggests things have changed somewhat. 23% of Armenian citizens believe the conflict will never be resolved, while 24% of Azeribajiani citizens believe it will be resolved in 2–5 years. Also, Azerbaijanis are much more likely (33%) to see the territorial issues of Karabakh as the biggest issue facing their country, while the issue is a far smaller concern for Armenia’s citizens (3%).
— The Los Angeles Review of Books has published a review of Armenian America author Aris Janigian’s new novel, This Angelic Land, and explains its fascinating take on the infamous 1992 LA riots:
… This Angelic Land reframes the fires of 1992 not as an uprising against oppressive white institutions or through the doomed romanticism of gangsta gunmen or in the form of a metaphor for the tattered loyalties of the black bourgeoisie but as a historically conditioned collision of dispossessed tribes on a patch of contested ground. For contested ground is what Los Angeles has been since its capture by the U.S. Army in 1847.
— Armenian American TV reporter Taguhi Vardanyan interviews Charles Aznavour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The interview is on YouTube.
— And finally, Armenian film director Tigran Khzmalian’s film “The Genocide Photographer” (in Armenian) tells about Armin Theophil Wegner, a witness to the Armenian Genocide whose photographs documented one of the greatest crimes against humanity committed in the past century.
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News & Views is published every week. It is a summary of the week’s most interesting, provocatiove and thought-provoking links to articles, videos, photos and commentary of interest to the readers of Ararat.