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The largest circulation Armenian e-magazine, circulates every Thursday. Est. 1999

NO DEAR FRIENDS, WE ARE NOT ON
A DOWNHILL SLOPE TO DOOMSDAY

Editorial - Simon Aynedjian - Gibrahayer e-magazine - However hard the supporters of Antranik Ashdjian try to paint a gruesome picture of our community and however hard they shout from Cyprus TV channels that the community is divided and we are on a downhill slope to doomsday, our community knows better.
However hard they try to explain their unholy alliance and justify their candidature, some simple facts remain unchanged, that:

- Nareg school is on a steady move forward.
- the cultural life has never been more vibrant.
- we have never had so many printed and online media outlets and so much freedom of news, opinions and information.
- thanks to the efforts of our MP, our status as a community has never been stronger.
- the political contacts with MPs of Cyprus and Euro parliamentarians for the promotion of Hay Tad has never been smoother.
- unity and dialogue between Armenian Cypriot political parties has been elevated with important Hay Tad agendas like Hrant Dink, Voch campaign, April 24, being addressed and commemorated together.
- functions in community life have multiplied.
- Armenian youth and families have increasingly flocked Armenian centers and clubs.
- Armenian sports teams have multiplied and have come to important achievements.
- our image as a community to the citizens we live with has never been so positive and bright.
- countless problems in our community have been resolved.
- the multidimensional list of progress is long ... much too long.

Apparently some people in our community will even interpret the decades-long selfless and voluntary work of our community that have achieved wonders in our small community, as dark as their own dark agendas.
Let the voters decide whether we are on the right path and whether we need to stop this process of change that did not begin yesterday, but decades earlier.
This is the central question before voters this Sunday.
Simon Aynedjian - Chief Editor - Gibrahayer e-magazine

Chief Editor of Artsakank Arto Tavitian responds to Dr. Antranik Ashdjian

Sireli Antranik ...
Click
here to read it
 
Elections for the position of the Armenian MP in he Cyprus Parliament will take place on Sunday 22 May in all Nareg Schools in Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca , from 7:00-12:00 and from 13:00-18:30. Results will be announced soon after.
 

THE INAUGURATION OF
THE NEW NAREG HALL

For 88 images of the event click here

LARNACA WELCOMES SIPAN DANCERS IN YET ANOTHER IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE AT THE MUNICIPAL HALL

Gibrahayer e-magazine - Nicosia - The much anticipated annual performance of Sipan dance ensemble of the Hamazkayin Cultural and Educational Association Cyprus "Oshagan" Chapter took place at the Municipal Hall in Larnaca on Sunday May 15.
Director/Choreographer Felix Haroutunian, who has been teaching Hamazkayin dance ensemble in Beirut for almost two decades, has been working hard with the Cyprus chapter and just like it was for the performance in Nicosia last week, the Sipan dancers impressed the audience with a versatile and professional quality of bouquet of dances and songs.
It was the high quality of Sipan's performance that pushed the Managers of Hayasa Productions in Cyprus, Sevag and Saro Seropian to make a 2,500 euro contribution to Hamazkayin's SIPAN ensemble and the Hamazkayin committee are expected to receive similar contributions encouraged by the excellent performance of the group.
We congratulate the dancers, organisers, volunteers and supporters of the only cultural organisation in Cyprus. We wish them all the best and look forward for many more such performances that not only impress our community but also promote Armenian culture in the Cypriot audiences.

Images of the Larnaca performance: here
last week's images of the Nicosia performance here
166 images by Misho Ananikian of the SIPAN party that followed here

 

DIALOGUE WITH AN EX-UNGER

Sireli ex-unger Antranik,

I could not leave so many issues unanswered. We have been family friends, friends and comrades. But these elections have nothing to do with that. I have been hurt by the way you suddenly betrayed your friends, club and party. The bad thing is that you feel WE have betrayed you.
You say you can bring hamerashkhoutioun. How do you expect members of the community to trust you again? Hamerashkhoutioun can be achieved by a person who inspires trust.
Doubting the number of attendants of Vartkes Mahdessian’s election gathering at Occhio will get you nowhere. You called it a “panayiri” in Gibrosi Tzayn issue No.3. There was an employee of Occhio standing at the door, counting the people getting in with a discreet counter in one hand. After 9pm when Vartkes announced the number present (650), many more arrived. Occhio capacity IS 550 as you mention. But last Wednesday, Occhio was overflowing! The photos speak for themselves. And I am sure the person you sent there told you that. You tried to downplay the number saying there were Greeks present. There were. Only a few. Some of them have the right to vote, you know. And you keep alienating them with such comments. There were youngsters under the age of 18. Again, very few. And some Armenians who don’t vote.
SO WHAT? Should we have asked for voting cards at the entrance?
You also accuse two editors for downplaying numbers attending your election meeting. It’s all there in facebook photos. Count the attendants. That’s what we did!
Does the Editor of “Gibrosi Tzayn” have a name? Or the people writing articles and letters? (except one of course). Having worked very closely with you in Artsakank for 15 years, and being aware of your skills in page-making, I can just about imagine the percentage of your input in Gibrosi Tzayn.
It is very clear from the 3rd issue of Gibrosi Tzayn that you have been shocked by the overwhelming acceptance Vartkes Mahdessian and his campaign have accumulated. And you have been shooting left, right and centre in that issue.
You keep calling Mahdessian the “out-going Representative”. True as that might be, I believe, like many many others, he is also the “in-coming” one on Sunday night.
As for the letter from a group of MEI Alumni, they hope Gibrosi Tzayn will not shift to one side. Do they feel it is a balanced newsletter? How come there is no reference or coverage of the other candidate?
I never realised that MEI Alumni was working for Vartkes Mahdessian’s candidacy in 2006 (as this group claims), even though we were both in his campaign committee. And I am quite sure you didn’t mention anything like that back then!
As for the letter from the Armenians from Armenia residing in Cyprus, claiming that Vartkes Mahdessian has not been accessible to them, from what I know, the Representative’s office has always been open and accessible to all, and for your information, in the last 5 years, has dealt with hundreds of different cases.
As for things getting back to normal after 22nd May (as you claim they will), I very much doubt it. You cannot go through all this and expect the community to forget it like nothing happened.
Your ex-unger,
Vahan Aynedjian

LONDON PHILARMONIC ORCHESTRA
CONDUCTED BY VARTAN MELKONIAN

Vartan's casual PictureBMG Foundation’s 15th Anniversary of the GGC Polo Match, historically attended by HM the Queen, will take place on Wednesday 15th June 2011 at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor. Although normally a private affair, this year it is open to the general public.
As part of the celebration, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vartan Melkonian, will give a special Favourite Classics Concert at Central Hall Westminster On Thursday 16th June 2011.
The programme will include Beethoven’s 6th, Mozart’s 40th, Elgar’s Chanson De Matin and the World Premier of a new work “Amwaj – Water Symphony”, composed by the Conductor in the time-honoured traditional style.
“Amwaj – Water Symphony” is the first serious symphonic work written for over 300 years about water since Handle’s Water Music was first performed in 1717.

TURKEY: STUDENTS TAKING EXAMS FORCED TO DENY ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

Panorama - May 16 2011 - According to Ermenihaber.am website, an exam questionnaire at the Faculty of History at Dicle University of Turkey includes a question sowing hatred towards Armenians and denying the Armenian Genocide. The question is as follows:
"No Armenian Genocide occurred in the Ottoman Empire. Some of Armenians cooperating with Russians and hitting the Ottoman army from behind died due to betrayal, some emigrated from the country at the suggestion of Germans and died of hunger, diseases and cold, so the Armenian population in Turkey decreased."

Answer:
a) correct
b) incorrect
The students who answer "no" lose a point.
The lecturer who compiled the questionnaire said he sees nothing extraordinary about this question and added: "I don't tell them to go and kill Armenians. I also have Armenian students who oppose this viewpoint. They think so, and we can't help it."

LIFE IN THE ARMENIAN QUARTER

Written by Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra - Nostalgic memories from Armenian-Cypriots who grew up in the small district of the walled Nicosia.

Until December 1963, within the walled Nicosia there was the Armenian district, which could be defined as follows: to the north of Paphos Gate, to the east of the moat, to the south of the fountain of Zahra street and to the west of the virtual line that formed the extension of Athanasios Diakos street towards Mula bastion. Although the majority of the residents were Armenian-Cypriots, the Armenian Quarter was far from monochrome, as many Turkish-Cypriots, as well as some Greek-Cypriots, Maronite-Cypriots, Latin-Cypriots and British used to live there. In fact, until the first years of the British Era, the area was also known as the Latin Quarter; later on it was split between the Karaman Zade and Arab Ahmed quarters.
On a March morning, I met with five Armenian-Cypriot ladies - Anahid Eskidjian, Rosemary Jamgotchian, Sirvart Kouyoumdjian, Annig Tourian and Elsie Utidjian - who recounted to me their nostalgic memories from the "colourful", polyglot, multiethnic and full of smells Armenian Quarter.
«How was life for the Armenians in the Armenian Quarter»? From this question we got to everything else. «We used to wake up in the morning by the sound of our church bell», says Mrs Sirvart, «the grown-ups would go to their jobs, while before going to school, we used to pass by the church, where we lit a candle before the miraculous icon of Saint George, to which the Greek-Cypriots also brought oblations». Mrs Elsie intervenes here: «We stayed at school until 12:30, we went home until 2 and then back to school until 4».
«What did the stay-at-home women do»? Mrs Annig smiling replies: «The everyday chores my son: knitting, cooking, washing-up, cleaning etc». With the exception of Mrs Elsie, whose mother was a local Armenian, the families of the others were Genocide refugees, which is why they usually rented the houses in which they lived in. «Cooking was done with diesel, not gas», remembers Mrs Sirvart, while Mrs Annig notes that «electricity in our homes was added around 1935 and this was for lighting only...» As a refrigerator was a luxury, the foods would be kept in a big armoire with wires and meat be bought on Saturday afternoon. The food and the sweets were plentiful, whereas each celebrating house would offer dishes to the neighbours too. The ladies say that most Armenian foods are similar to the Cypriot ones, their mode of preparation being the main differentiation.

The small forest
Mrs Elsie, whose house was located on Tanzimat street, facing the moat, makes particular reference to the small forest on Roccas bastion, the so-called «andar», from the Armenian word for forest. Mrs Rosemary remembers that «we used to go there after school and on the weekends to rest», while the rest of the ladies miss the small picnics they used to have there with school.
All of them remember that, when walking the neighbourhoods, «you could hear Armenian almost everywhere», which is not the case today, as Armenian-Cypriots are scattered across Nicosia. I too remember, from conversations I had in the past with the dear friend and ex-Headmaster of Nareg Armenian Schools, Mr Artin Aivazian, that even the Greek-Cypriot grocer of Victoria street, Mr Costas, had Learnt Armenian.

Armenian-Cypriot associations
Several Armenian-Cypriot associations operated in the area: the «Armenian Club» (established in 1902), which had mainly local Armenians as members; the AGBU, which acquired a house in 1957, was in favour of Soviet Armenia; the short-lived, yet active, «Friends of Armenia Association» (Paregamats, 1944-1948); but mainly AYMA, established in 1934 and ever since the centre of Armenian-Cypriot social life, organising
a multitude of social, athletic and entertaining events. Mrs Annig reminds us that «Hamazkayin» (established in 1949), active today within the grounds of AYMA, was between 1938 and 1949 a separate women's association called «Armenian Women of Cilicia Association». Mrs Sirvart adds the «Armenian Poor Body», which was established around 1935.

Colourful people
The dear Armenian-Cypriot solicitor John Matossian, living in London since 1973, has written the wonderful book «My Father's House, an Armenian Boyhood in Nicosia» (2005), in which the Armenian-Cypriot microcosm of Nicosia is recorded. Below, we quote a few words he wrote to us himself, on the occasion of this reportage:
«Ours was a small community composed of the old local Armenians and the Genocide refugees. Our quarter became Armenian around 1567, when the Venetians rounded up the Nicosia walls and almost 400 years afterwards, in 1963, the descendants of the Ottomans drove us out. The diversity was bewildering: scholars, dentists, labourers, mirror-makers, lawyers, hatters, merchants, taxi drivers, musicians, chefs, photographers etc. Looking back, I remember how colourful they were and I wonder how far the old traumas of the Genocide contributed to their gaiety…
Armenian-Cypriot life revolved around the church of the Virgin Mary on Victoria street, built in 1308 as a Benedictine abbey, which is why enchanting Crusader tombstones were found there. In my memories stand out the street vendors’ shouts, the housewives’ chatter from open doorways and the tired cars finding it hard to go through the narrow alleys. Victoria street itself started from the Latin church, later on we found the Armenian-Orthodox church, while at the end was the Arab Ahmed mosque; the Armenian Evangelical church was found on its extension. At times, the voice of the priest, the pastor and the muezzin would overlap.
The Armenian Quarter was cramped with houses with Ottoman kiosks and their characteristic shutters, with few pavements and even fewer trees, while on the lamp-posts I remember the plastered funeral announcements. Our houses had secret gardens (inner yard). My road, Tanzimat street, was a mixed one (Armenian-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots), with houses made of sandstone, on which other than the respectable families lived some rouged ladies …»

Uprooting of 231 families
This was the sort of life at the Armenian Quarter, this beautiful neighbourhood of old Nicosia. «It was very different from our present life», says Mrs. Rosemary. This carelessness was interrupted for ever, when during the 1963-1964 Turkish-Cypriot mutiny, 231 Armenian-Cypriot families became victims to the Turks. Some families fled for 2-3 days to the grounds of the Melikian-Ouzounian school and the Virgin Mary church, until these places were also captured, while other families stayed for a longer period of time at the grounds of the Melkonian Educational Institute. «We the scouts set up temporary tents for them», remembers well-known painter and architect John Guevherian, at the time a student at the Melkonian.
After the partial lifting of restrictions in movement by the occupying regime, in April 2003, Mrs Sirvart and Mrs Rosemary visited their house almost immediately. Mrs Anahid visited it when she went with the Prelate to see the church. Mrs Annig hasn’t gone yet, but she would like to see her house and the family shop. Mrs Elsie states: «l don't want to go there and see my home neglected, untended and a wreck». In October 2010 she was deeply moved when I gave her two photographs of her house, an old and a new one, and she commended on the bad condition of the front door.
Most Armenian-Cypriots express their regret for what happened during the 1963-1964 period. They would like to see the church of the Virgin Mary operate again (as of October 2009 it is being restored by UNDP), they state that «we miss our neighbours», but at the same time they acknowledge, with sorrow and with a heavy heart, that those times are irrevocably gone…

VIDEO Links of the week:
Sharounagenk Miasin: 87 images of the election gathering at OCCHIO Lounge of Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian: here
Magaravank Pilgrimage: here
Pera Khorio and Nisou Gymnasium April 24 event images: here
Genocide commemoration in Turkey: here

News in Brief by Sevag Devletian

  • On the evening of Thurs., May 12, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Young Professionals (YP) of Boston and the ARF Dashnaktsoutiun
    “Sartarabad” Gomideh collaborated to co-sponsor a symposium entitled, “Genocide Recognition: The Road Ahead.” Chris Mensoian of the AGBU YP Boston and Jirayr Beugekian of ARF Dashnaktsoutiun “Sartarabad” Gomideh served as event chairs.
  • Turkey sold weapons and munitions worth $20 million to Azerbaijan in January-April this year, says the report issued by the Central Anatolian Exporters Union. Turkish companies exported weapons and munitions worth $20 million to Saudi Arabia and munitions worth $10 million to the US in the first quarter of this year. Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and US are in the top three in the list of export of weapons and munitions, they are followed by Lebanon, Russia, Belgium, Pakistan, Italy, United Arab Emirates and Portugal.
  • In an interview with Moscow News daily Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan said no reconciliation with Turkey is possible unless it recognizes the World War I-era mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as Genocide. He said those who are trying to portray attempts to establish relations with Turkey as reconciliation efforts are wrong. 'Real reconciliation can be achieved only after repentance," he said.
  • Historical communities of Islamisized (Hamshen) Armenians, who live on the Black Sea coast in northeastern Turkey, are getting ready to found a new political party, according to Hurriyet Daily News. The party’s founder, Ismet Shahin, is a former deputy candidate from Istanbul’s second region who ran on the ranks of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, until he was left out of the candidate list. The new party’s name will be publicly announced following the general elections on June 12. A total of seven Turkish-Armenians ran for seats in the parliament with the AKP, the CHP and the BDP, but all of them were left off the candidate list.
  • After examining the lawsuit filed by three descendants of Armenians who lost their property during Armenian Genocide against the Turkish government and two Turkish banks, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey and T.C. Ziraat Bankasi, U.S. court gave 21 days to defendants to respond to the claim, Hayots Ashkharh newspaper reports. Vartkes Yeghiayan, the Glendale attorney who spearheaded the lawsuit, said residents of Los Angeles Rita Mahtesyan and Anais Harutyunyan, as well as Alex Bakalyan from Washington demand return of more than $64 m for territory which also includes the Incirlik Air Base.

Gibrahayer Calendar Events

  • Thursday 19 May at 8:30 pm - at K-CINEPLEX Hall 2 - Strovolos, screening of the documentary THE ARMENIANS OF CYPRUS. The documentary has been made possible by the initiative and efforts of the Office of the Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian. ENTRANCE FREE.
  • Sunday 22 May - Parliamentary elections for the new House of Representatives, including elections for the seat of the Armenian MP.
  • Friday 27 May at 8:30 pm at PASYDY Hall - MAY 28 celebrations in Cyprus - 93rd anniversary of Armenian independence organised by the ARF Dashnaktsoutiun Cyprus Gomideh and affiliate organisations. Keynote speaker: Dr. Hovhannes Taslakian. After the event, there will be a khrakhjank at HMEM/AYMA. For reservations contact Alice Terzian 22 662558 or Vartan Gostanian 99 423190. Entrance for khrakhjank 12 euros.
  • Saturday 28 May - Champions League Final Night at HMEM/AYMA to watch Barcelona against Manchester United. Details to follow.
  • Thursday June 2 at 7.30pm: Photo Exhibition - The Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation and the Cyprus Photographic Society are organising the "International Exhibition of Digital Photography" at Famagusta Gate, Nicosia, with the winning entries in the categories of "Experimental Photography" and "Photojournalism" dedicated to two photographer legends, George Lanitis and Georges der Parthogh. A selection of significant photographs by the two men will also be exhibited. The exhibition will remain open until June 8. The Politis newspaper's XPONIKO magazine will also dedicate a special edition.
  • Saturday 4 June – watch the Russia against Armenia match at HMEM/AYMA.
  • 13th to 31st July - Khalkidiki Camp of the Armenian Relief Society (HOM) of Greek Macedonia and Thrace Greece: Arrival in Thessaloniki 13/7: Departure from Thessaloniki 31/07. Age of participants: 10-14. Last date of participation: 23 June. For more information and reservations you can contact the Cyprus Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society (HOM) by calling Louise Aynedjian on 99533684.
Direct to Yerevan

Armenian Sports by Sevag Devletian

  • WEIGHTLIFTING: Youth Olympic Games bronze winner Gor Minasyan (+94kg), 17, won gold at the World Youth Weightlifting Championships in Lima, Peru, exceeding his rivals both in the snatch and clean and jerk. Minasyan lifted 174kg in the snatch and 205kg in the clean and jerk to win the champion’s title with a combined total of 379kg. Earlier, Andranik Karapetyan (62kg) and Mher Mikaelyan (85kg) won bronze and silver medals respectively. Gor Minasyan won gold at the World Youth Weightlifting Championships.
  • TENNIS: The Armenian men’s tennis team celebrated 2:1 victory over Iceland in its last match of Davis Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group III in Skopje. Thus, Armenia will continue participating in Group III in 2012.
  • ARMWRESTLING: Armenian sportsman Vladimir Mnatsakanyan won European Armwrestling Championship in 70 kg weight category. In the team event, Armenia gained the 12th position with 18 points to its score. Russian team won the championship with 392 points, followed by Ukraine and Turkey (171 and 169 points respectively).
  • CHESS: Armenian grandmaster Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian won Sao Paulo-hosted blitz chess tournament with top Brazilian chess players participating.
  • SAMBO: 2010 world champion Vachik Vardanyan (68kg) won gold in combat sambo tournaments of Sofia-hosted European Championships. Armenian wrestlers won five medals. Earlier, Ruzanna Sargsyan (48kg), Tigran Kirakosyan (52kg) and Ashot Danielyan (74kg) won bronze at the tournament.
  • BOXING: On May 14, in Carson, California, Arthur Abraham (32-3, 26 KOs) saw his dreams go up in smoke when he was dominated over twelve rounds by WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs).
  • CHESS: Armenia’s Elina Danielyan tied her 9th round game against Russia’s Tatiana Kosintseva at the European Individual Women Chess Championship to drop to the 5th line with 6.5 points.
New development project overlooking Larnaca Salt Lake, by three young Armenian professionals of our community. Click here

Gibrahay Sports by Sevag Devletian

  • There are no Gibrahay sports for this week. We suggest you walk or jog to the ballot box. Either way, please make sure you vote and participate in the election process.
 
We have IDed Jeronimo
 

 
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