News and Views (July 9, 2012)
News & Views is a weekly summary of some of the week’s most important stories, links and material of interest to Ararat readers.
— As we reported on June 25, France and Turkey intended to restore all diplomatic ties, which has now been done. This was in response to France’s constitutional court striking down a draft law which would have criminalized the denial of the Armenian Genocide in France, a law introduced by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. As we also noted, this placed the new French President, Francois Hollande in an awkward position as he had promised during his election campaign to draft a new bill if elected.
— Well the BBC has reported that the new French President plans to introduce a new law which would punish the denial of the Armenian Genocide in France. According to the report, President Hollande will meet with an Armenian organization soon to discuss the proposed law:
“Francois Hollande has again expressed his willingness to propose a bill designed to curb the denial of the Armenian genocide, as he had said during his campaign and even before,” the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organisations of France (CCAF) told the AFP news agency. A delegation from the CCAF will meet Mr Hollande before the end of the month to discuss what form the new law would take, French media reports say.”
However the report also notes that only recently the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, indicated that the issue could not be taken up again:
“On Thursday, remarks by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart appeared to indicate that the Constitutional Council’s ruling would make it impossible to take up the issue again”.
— It has been reported by Armenian Liberty that the Armenian Armed Forces have resumed their participation in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. Thirty-five Armenian soldiers were farewelled on Friday by officials, including U.S. ambassador John Heffern. Armenian soldiers were first deployed in 2004 and perform various duties as part of the peace-keeping force. The report mentions:
“‘The Armenian peacekeepers will be responsible for carrying out patrol service, ensuring the security of checkpoints, dealing with mass disturbances, managing crowds and escorting convoys,’ read a ministry statement.”
— In the past few days, the Krasnodar region in Russia has been devastated by flash floods. According to the BBC, at least 171 people have been killed. However it was reported by Armenia Now that two Armenian nationals are among the dead.
“The Ministry of Emergency Situations reported on Sunday that among the victims were also two Armenians, who were residents of the Russian city of Novorossiysk. They were identified as Lidya S. Shahbazyan and Hovhannes G. Shahbazyan. No further details were reported”.
— Egypt Independent has published a fascinating article about the history of Egypt’s once thriving Armenian population and the prominent place that Armenians have had in Egyptian history.
— In a very encouraging piece published in the Huffington Post, Armenia has been touted as a model for future energy policy in the United States. Raymond J. Learsy, author of Oil and Finance: The Epic Corruption Continues, argues that Armenia is leading the world in terms of widespread use of natural gas, as opposed to gasoline:
“Consider Armenia! What you ask, and why Armenia? Barely known to most everyone, Armenia leads the world. 75% of its automobile and truck fleet is propelled by compressed natural gas (CNG). An amazing accomplishment for a country hardly in the forefront of public discourse … Let’s show Armenia we can do it too!”
— For the past two weeks, we have recommended a new travel series by Sigrid Lupieri, a Chicago based Italian-American journalist who is spending two months in Armenia. This week she has a new post about her experiences in interviewing people in Armenia:
“In my third interview, an elderly woman, her hair held back by a white plastic headband, smiled benignly at me. ‘I hope you find a good husband and may you have many, many children,’ she said as our conversation came to an end. She hesitated, wondering how to further hone her prediction of connubial bliss. ‘And may your husband not be an alcoholic,’ she beamed as she left the room.”
— Serj Tankian, front man for the hugely popular Armenian-American rock band System of a Down, has revealed his “creative urges” in an interview with the New Zealand Herald:
As the frontman of System of a Down, the Lebanese-born Armenian American has become a high-profile mouthpiece for Armenians wanting official recognition of genocide committed by Turkey during World War I. The historic issue has shaped his world view and his music, whether with SOAD, one of mainstream rock’s heaviest outfits, or on his solo forays.
“I think my activism and politicisation came from the hypocrisy of the denial in the US of the Armenian genocide — and then realising how many other causes, be it human rights or environmentally oriented causes, are suppressed for political capital and gain,” he says on the phone from Los Angeles.
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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.