News and Views (May 21, 2012)
News & Views is a weekly summary of some of the week’s most important stories, links and material of interest to Ararat readers.
— It was the morning of May 8 when two Iranian-Armenian brothers bombed DIY, a Yerevan bar. They were targeting its owner, Tsomak Oganesova, who is a pro-democracy activist and open about her homosexuality and her support for Armenia’s LGBT community. As a reaction to the bombing, many have painted swastikas on the bar’s remnants, comparing the homophobic hate crimes and the ideals of the criminals to that of Hitler’s fascist regime.
Unfortunately, the reaction of the government seems to be just as controversial as that of its people, as some officials, such as Artsvik Minasyan and Hrayr Karapetyan (both members of the ARF), for example, voiced their support for the two offenders. ”I consider [Oganesova’s] types — I don’t want to sound offensive — destructive to Armenian society,” stated Minasyan.
But the story doesn’t end there, and this week members of a neo-nationalist group in Armenia, called “neo-nazis” by one prominent blogger, disrupted a cultural diversity march in Yerevan, that was organized by PINK Armenia and the Women’s Resource Center.
— The Rhode Island House of Representatives passed a resolution that calls on the US President and Congress to recognize the independence of Karabakh Republic. In voicing his support for the resolution, Representative James Langevin stated:
“It is more important than ever that the United States maintain a principled stand for peace in this region, show that democracy can be born from conflict, and support Nagorno-Karabakh. It is my sincerest hope that Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination can be affirmed without further loss of life.”
The is a video clip on YouTube of Rep. John Cicilline’s words during the resolution debate.
— Shakespeare’s Globe, in celebration of Shakespeare, is putting on multilingual productions of different Shakespearean works at the London 2012 festival. On May 16 and 17, “King John” was put on in Armenian, the play’s own plot being highly adaptable, as Tom Birchenough states in his review at the arts desk:
“You might have wondered if, when Armenia was offered King John as part of the Globe to Globe season, they felt they’d drawn the short straw. Not a bit of it. Shakespeare’s early history play, the action of which pre-dates those for which he is better known by a century, may be rarely performed, but here, in what I suspect is a judiciously trimmed version, it brings out so much that genuinely crosses international lines, speaking Shakespeare’s story with the local accent of the producing nation.”
The Guardian newspaper also enjoyed the performance.
— Armenian Heritage Park in Boston has finally reached completion, serving not only as a commemoration of the lives lost during the Armenian Genocide, but also as a celebration of the immigrant experience, acknowledging the history of Boston as a port for immigrants worldwide.
The park, designed to engage both children and adults, contains two key features: the labyrinth and the abstract sculpture, a split dodecahedron. The dedication of Armenian Heritage Park will take place on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.
In Homs, Syria, the rebels have ransacked the Armenian school and church. The school is situated in a quarter of Hamidia that is largely populated by Christian Arabs; the forces are currently using the school as a hospital and rest center. It appears that the Syrian Army has not reacted to this takeover due to the large number of civilians in the surrounding area.
— The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is working with the Austrian Ministry of Finance in order to launch the Armenia Food Safety Improvement Project. The goal of the program is to improve the food safety practices of Armenian food producers, increasing the competitiveness among businesses, sales and exports of the nation. Such programs will potentially greatly improve the Armenian food quality, and in turn, the economy, which greatly relies on domestic agriculture for revenue.
— In the final results of the May 6 parliamentary elections, five parties and 1 bloc gained seats in Parliament. The Armenian Observer blog has posted a useful graphic by MediaMax that demonstrates the distribution of parliamentary seats by party.
With contributions by Nicole Ohanian
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.