A flag riffing off California's official flag was created by a "fan" of Glen Bearian, a bear with an Armenian name, who has been found poke around the largely Armenian-inhabited city of Glendale. The bear has garnered a lot of media attention and even has a Twitter account with over 25,000 followers / image via flickr.com/scottlowe

News and Views (July 16, 2012)

by | July 16th, 2012 | 0 comments
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News & Views is a weekly summary of some of the week’s most important stories, links and material of interest to Ararat readers.

— The Independent has published a touching obituary about the death of the last Armenian Genocide survivor in Britain. Astrid Aghajanian, who passed away in May of this year, led a truly remarkable and difficult life. After surviving the Genocide, she was forced to flee fighting in the British Mandate of Palestine in 1948 and after settling in Cyprus was again forced to flee in 1974 due to the Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus:

“Astrid was fond of comparing her turbulent life to that of spiders: ‘You may destroy the spider’s home, but he will always build it again.’ Astrid will be remembered for her generous hospitality, her creativity, her indomitable spirit and above all for her incredible resilience in the face of adversity”.

— It was also reported by Asbarez that Yelena Abrahamyan, an artist and Genocide survivor, also passed away this week. She was born in Kars, in Eastern Turkey, and fled to what is now the Armenian city of Gyumri. She was believed to be 102 or 103 years old and was the oldest member of the Armenia’s Artists’ Union.

— As we have already reported in recent weeks, the fatal beating of Armenian military doctor Vahe Avetyan has provoked a large response in Armenia with several protests and demonstrations. Asbarez has reported that these protests have spread to Los Angeles with a small demonstration outside the Armenian Consulate. The protesters, including Vahe Avetyan’s cousin, presented a list of demands including an impartial investigation into the murder.

— The 9th annual Golden Apricot film festival kicked off this week in Armenia. The festival was first established in 2004. According to Armenia Now, this years festival boasts hundreds of films:

“Golden Apricot, launched last Sunday, is one of the most important cultural events in Yerevan, a week long annual festival that gathers filmmakers, film masters and simply film fans throughout the world for the ninth year … The film festival is presenting a total of 170 feature, short feature films and documentaries, with 65 of them included in the competition program”.

— However the festival was not without complaint. In a strongly worded piece published on Hetq, Liana Sayadyan savaged this years festival citing issues with subtitles and the accurate timing of sessions:

“Such faults were pardonable in the early days of the festival when financing was tight and the organizers were a group of enthusiastic film buffs with little experience in putting on such an event. But this was the 9th festival which is sponsored by the Armenian government and companies like VivaCell. It’s high time to expect some professionalism and accountability.”

— The New York Times has published a review this week of Almayass, Manhattan’s first and only Armenian restaurant in over a decade. The reviewer, Pete Wells, ponders the lack of Armenian restaurants in New York today:

“Another question: Where have Armenian restaurants gone? A fixture of the city’s dining scene 50 years ago, they had all but vanished by the end of the last century. Ever since, certain New Yorkers have nursed longings for subereg, a labor-intensive lasagna variant, and basterma, considered by some cured-meat connoisseurs the highest form to which pastrami can aspire.”

Although the review is not without its criticisms, it does suggest that Almayass provides the quintessential Armenian dining experience:

“Yet sooner or later the table would be spread with food, and sometimes that is enough, especially when the flavors are ones you don’t taste every day. That’s definitely the case at Almayass, where the Alexandrians punch up Lebanese dishes with Armenian accents like lemony grains of crushed red sumac berries and flecks of Aleppo pepper that offer more robust flavor than fiery heat. The restaurant even stages a Manhattan comeback for some Armenian classics.”

— And as I said on June 25, everyone loves a story out of Glendale, particularly when there’s an Armenian twist. ABC news reported this week that an infamous black bear roaming Glendale has been tranquilized and relocated back to the forest. Why is this significant? The bear has been named “Glen Berian” in light of the large local Armenian American population. “Glen Berian” even has his own Twitter account which posed a challenge to another well known Armenian American celebrity:

“Kim Kardashian announced on Khloe & Lamar in April that she wants to run for mayor of Glendale. The half-Armenian plans to work her heritage to her advantage. But now, Kim might have some competition that is also playing the minority card. Glen Bearian announced on Twitter that he may run for Glendale mayor as well.”

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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.