Monday, December 31, 2007

Desmond Tutu.

Last Sunday I was watching Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. His guest was Thomas Cahill and they were discussing evil and cruelty. Follow the above link for the video and the transcript of the show. Near the end of the show, Moyers showed a portion of an interview with Desmond Tutu.

Desmond Tutu is a South African Anglican Archbishop that took part in liberating the citizens of African ancestry in that country from the apartheid and also resided upon the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission". It was because of him and people like him that when the apartheid was eliminated there was no bloodshed and revenge. His idea of forgiveness was that when the aggressor oppresses someone (or some nation) and thus gives the oppressed the RIGHT for revenge. This right, and the anger and hatred that result from this desire for revenge, continues to victimize the victim even after the abuse has stopped. Forgiveness, he says, gets rid of this anger and allows the victim to move on. He also says that the oppressor then would need to apologize in order to clear themselves, too.

Can we forgive Turkey for what they did to us? I would like nothing more than to live in harmony with that country and work towards prosperity of the Armenian nation. But I find it difficult to imagine forgiving that society for what they did to my nation and to my ancestors.

What comes first? The victim forgiving the murderers, rapists and thieves; or the apology?

Should we give up our right for justice? We have lost the majority of our nation to the genocide. We have lost our territory and our properties. We are being denied of our history and cultural heritage.

The worst thing is that the moment we lose our vigilance, they will do it again.

To see what has been going on, check these National Geographic articles:
October 1915 - this article was written before the main genocide events took place and there are pictures of Armenians who are still alive and living in Western Armenia.
August 1919 - this article, titled "between Massacres", is about the Armenians trying to defend themselves in Van with wooden swords and such.
November 1919 - this is the story of the countless refugees from Western Armenia.
June 1978 - the survivors are now spread all over the world.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Moon photography

Last night we ventured out and the moon was absolutely beautiful. It was rising at about 8 pm so it was till yellow and large. By the time I went home, grabbed the camera and drove to the nearest park, it had risen. It was not yet blinding white so I took a few pictures.

Here is one with quick shutter speed to show how nice it looked. Even at 1/60 shutter value it still came out elongated. I should have used 1600 ISO instead of 400.

Here is a somewhat normal picture.

Here is a high ISO picture. The stars came out nicely.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Estrakosha fiasco resolved.

During the late 1990-s Cyprus bought an S-300 missile defense system from Russia. At that time Cyprus was seeking support from Russia for the Turkish problem (the invasion and secession of the Northern half of the country by Turkey in 1974). The tourism industry was also in a slump and the Russians were seen as a great opportunity to remedy it. But in order to achieve that, they had to grease the Russian palms. The Russian defense industry was in a deep crisis at the time so they reached a win-win agreement to buy the S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

Well, as usual, not everything went as planned. Turkey raised a major stink and threatened to bomb Cyprus, and any vessels it suspected of carrying any S-300 missiles. Cyprus had already paid for the missiles and the return policies were not very generous. So they figured that the S-300 would be deployed on the Greek island of Crete and manned by a joint Greek-Cypriot force since Turkey cannot make threats to Greece like it could do with Cyprus.

This was a great fodder for everyone - the politicians who were on TV every day talking about the 'ESTRAGOSHA' (this is how S-300 is pronounced in Cypriot Greek), the journalists had plenty of material for the news, the TV stations who kept the public updated on the issue for nearly three years, and the people who were proud that they were about to kick some Turkish ass.

Well, after a decade, the fiasco is over. Cyprus Mail reports that the S-300 have been given to Greece in exchange for less powerful systems.

Cyprus hands S300s to Greece in arms swap
By Jean Christou
THE CONTROVERSIAL Russian S300 missiles, which caused a crisis for the government of Glafcos Clerides nearly a decade ago, have been given to Greece permanently under an agreement signed yesterday.

The missiles, stored in Crete for safekeeping in the wake of the December 1998 crisis, were swapped yesterday for two other systems, the TOR M1 and SUZANA.

Greece will now keep the surface-to-air defensive S300s under the deal signed by the Defence Minister Christodoulos Pashiardes, and his Greek counterpart Evangelos Meimarakis in Nicosia.

Pashiardes told reporters after signing the agreement that Cyprus was transferring ownership of the S300s to Greece in return for ownership of the two other missile systems.

“The agreement settles permanently an issue which has been pending for many years,” Pashiardes said.

Meimarakis said it was an important agreement in that it resolves a long standing issue which had troubled Athens and Nicosia for many years.

“The agreement reached today, with all interested parties, settles a pending issue and integrates the weaponry systems into our defences,” he said, adding that the systems were used to safeguard stability and peace in the broader region.

Asked if the S300 missiles would remain in Crete and if they were compatible Greece other weapons systems, the Greek Minister said they would be absorbed into the current structure, upgraded and used to help keep peace and stability in the region.

The missiles were moved to Crete after huge international pressure on Clerides that resulted in then coalition partner EDEK withdrawing from the government. Current EDEK leader Yiannkis Omirou was then Defence Minister.

Greece joined in the pressure and finally persuaded Clerides not to bring the S300s to Cyprus. Clerides, in his latest book launched yesterday, devotes a chapter to the missiles issue.

He said during a meeting in Greece with then Prime Minster Costas Simitis and his cabinet, he was told of the reasons why Greece was opposed to the deployment. It included pressure on Athens by foreign diplomats. The wisest decision Athens told Clerides was to send the missiles to Crete.

However the former President said the S300s were part of the Joint Defence Dogma with Greece. He said it was decided in 1993 that missiles with a range larger than those already in Cyprus should be acquired to create airfields with refuelling depos similar to those used by NATO, the creation of an navy base and the reinforcement of the national guard with armoured battle tanks APCs and mobile surface-to-air missiles.

“When we decided to create the missile umbrella we asked Greece to send experts to Cyprus to assess the situation before taking any decision on the system to be acquired. Greece sent two missile expert officers who concludes the S300 should be acquired,” Clerides said in his book.

He also described the whole missile saga as a ‘fuss’ not a crisis.

“Some describe it as a mistake and argue that a crisis could have been triggered. They overlooked the fact that while the case was pending, during this time we built the Andreas Papandreou air base in Paphos.”

US postal service.

It seems that the US post office has a grudge against my wife. Lately, quite a few of her parcels or envelopes, both Priority Mail and regular post, have arrived damaged. They usually are in a plastic bag saying 'we placed your mail in this plastic bag because we care for you'. Sometimes, like the envelope we were expecting from the UK, the mail is sent back to the sender.

My reaction is - if you care for your recipients, then don't destroy the post in the first place. It's not like they work for us for free - we support USPS through postage and taxpayer money.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Was browsing LiveJournal blogs and came across River Pilgrim's blog about his tour across China, mostly on river Yangtzi. Besides China, he's got quite a few photo stories about Russia as well.

There are quite a few pictures. Enjoy Beijing. I really miss that city.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's time to become a farmer.

As you may know, the crop prices are the highest in decades. Combine that with long standing subsidies and it's clear that being a large farmer is a good thing.

But wait, there is more! It's an election next year and the legislators of the banana republic are busy doling out cash. In an act of charity, our benevolent Senate is ready to inject some of the taxpayers' money into the farms. Fortunately, there is a limit - if the farmer's income is more than 2.5 million dollars then s/he is not eligible for a subsidy. it is so bad that the President, who himself has a very lax attitude towards the taxpayer money, calls the bill 'expensive'.

Xenophobia and a strange way of thinking.

Azg has an article by Nelly Matevosian, the head of "Periodical Cultural and Diaspora Press Division" at the Armenian FM in charge of Spyurq. It's about Armenian women marrying Arab men in the Middle East.

The article goes on about how these ladies are shunned by the Diasporan Armenians and even their own families and the only person who doesn't condemn them are their husbands.

So you think Ms. Matevosian would suggest for us to be more tolerant towards all the Armenians. I was expecting her to say that by rejecting our compatriots for making personal decisions is bad and helps to push them away and never look back.

Instead, in a bizarre twist, she urges women to instead marry Armenian men.

For crying out loud, she was a consul in Syria and now is a high ranking official in the Foreign Ministry. People like that are supposed to have more breadth of mind and have a longer term thinking.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


In the late 80-s, as part of their sabotage campaign against Armenia, the Azeris would send poisonous raw materials to the Armenian factories. Hundreds of ordinary people were exposed to unhealthy substances this way and ended up in hospitals.

A few days ago I came across an article titled "A confession 19 years later" in the Azerbaijani paper Echo. In that paper they claimed that it was us who sabotaged ourselves. Normally, propaganda pieces like that are not worthy of much scrutiny. But this time the hate piece was based on an article from the "Golos Armenii" Armenian paper.

At first I didn't believe it but it's always good to check these things out. Lo and behold, Echo was right. I found the article in Golos Armenii that said what the Azerbaijanis said it did.

Golos Armenii has always been full of hatred. They hated the idea of independence since day one; they have hated and still hate the Karabakh Movement. But they have crossed the line this time and what they have done is treason.

I care about freedom of press but Golos Armenii should be brought to justice for treason and for aiding and abetting the enemy. They have to answer for themselves and take responsibility for what they have done.

Banditocracy at work.

Today there as an explosion at the editorial offices of Chorrord Ishkhanutyun newspaper in Yerevan, Armenia. For those who don't know, Chorrod Ishkhanutyun is one of the few newspapers that is not complacent with the ruling banditocracy in the country. It has repeatedly exposed the crimes of the Kocharian-Sargsian duo; crimes including the numerous murders of government officials who did not condone their behavior, falsification of elections, bullying of opposition, the beatings and murder of ordinary citizens, etc.

Because of that, they have constantly been harassed by the police, secret services and the criminal elements (hit men, rapists, thieves, etc.) that are on the government payroll.

Here are a couple of photos from Regnum.Ru. There are more available here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rocket 88.

RIP, Ike.

Need to digitize some old photos.

I posted the Earthquake photo on December 7 and realized that I need to digitize the handful of photographs that I have left. Having led a semi-nomadic life since the early 90-s has not been kind to my photographs. You simply can't carry useless pieces of paper from one place to the other. The digital ones take no physical space as they sit somewhere on a server.

The pointlessness of blogs.

What's the point of blogs but a waste of one's time?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Shame on Azg newspaper.

Usually Azg is a normal newspaper. Despite the fact that it's the unofficial paper of HRAK party, which always sides with the ruling parties of Armenia, it delivers a healthy amount of fair and balanced news items.

That was until Samvel Babayan, another representative of the Karabakh Clan and a former disgraced general of the NKR army convicted of an assassination attempt on NKR President, became a member of HRAK. Samvel Babayan first expressed his unlimited devotion to Serj Sargsian. And now there is this unsigned item in Azg that Haylur would be proud of.

Here is a small excerpt of this masterpiece:
 1992   5-       ,           ,       :

Levon's speech is on line.

Levon's speech at the rally on December 8, 2007, is now online. here is one of my favorite excerpts:

...(on the accusations that he destroyed the economy of the Soviet Union) The Soviet economy was isolated from the world markets and was a closed, prison-like, or more precisely, a concentration-camp like system. Just like prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies, any isolated and closed system is capable of creating a more or less vibrant economy. From my personal experience, the best example is from my cell in Moscow's "Matrosskaya Tishina" prison. Within a short period of time, with the help of experienced prisoners, we created a wide industrial base and I became a participant in that as well. That ultra-modern industry would produce basic necessities for internal consumption:
- high quality glue for rolling cigarettes made from bread mixed with water;
- ornate and colorful playing cards made of cigarette packs;
- excellent chess pieces sculpted of bread;
- fuel, derived from plastic bags, to disinfect rotting salami;
- biscotti from bread dried on the heating panels;
- eye patch made from handkerchiefs;
- necktie made from a towel; etc.

According to my cell mates, the high security prisons had a more vibrant industry with better assortment of products.
This may sound crazy but the Soviet economy resembled the industry LTP describes.

The whole speech is available on

Friday, December 07, 2007

19 years ago today

This picture was made not long after the earthquake of 1988 in the QimGortzaran neighborhood of Vanadzor.

More than 25,000 of my compatriots, relatives among them, perished on December 7, 1988.


Thursday, December 06, 2007


ltp 151, originally uploaded by onewmphoto.

The authorities in Armenia have resumed their dirty tricks of suppressing freedom of speech. The fliers informing the public about the President's rally this Saturday have been confiscated by the tax authorities. If you remember, each time there is a rally, LTP's supporters are harassed. The last time they were beaten up by the police and detained for more than half a day.

The explanation for confiscation was as bizarre as the usual explanation of abuse by the RK and SS goons:

A spokeswoman for the STS (State Tax Authority), Alina Khudoyan, essentially confirmed the information, saying that the leaflets were “temporarily” confiscated because Van Arian (the publisher) did not input the Aylentrank order into its accounts in order to evade taxes. Khudoyan said the tax collection agency fined the company, rather that Arakelian. Speaking to RFE/RL, she could not say when the leaflets will be returned to Aylentrank.

The accounting rules are that the entries in the books are made when there is a transaction or when they close the books for the accruals. So if the publisher has not received a payment for the fliers or billed the buyer (generated an accounts receivable entry) they would not have an entry in their books.

Read more about this in Onnik's election monitor blog.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Thomas Goltz

There is this guy, Thomas Goltz, who lives in Azerbaijan. He's an American guy married to a Turkish lady and ended up in Azerbaijan in the early 90-s. He has a book out called 'Azerbaijan Diary: A Rogue Reporter's Adventures in an Oil-Rich, War-Torn, Post-Soviet Republic'.

In it, he reports some interesting details about the comings and goings in Azerbaijan during the first half of the 90-s. His recollections about the war are clearly biased but if you go beyond the Armenophobe rhetoric, they show the enemy's side of the events. One of the incidents that he reports is the Yeraskhavan clashes (I believe it was the January of 1990). Goltz says that the groups that fired on Sadarak, Nakhijevan, were members of Dashnaktsutyun.

As a self proclaimed reporter, he should have known that Dashnaktsutyun did not participate in the war effort - there were a handful of Spyurkahay volunteers that came to Karabakh based on their own accord (Monte, Sefilian, et. al.). In fact, Dashnaktsutyun did not establish itself until after the independence. Even after that they were busy with petty bickering and undermining the state with outfits like the Dro band. But they were in front of the line when it was time to take credit for the independence, and for the war.

The fighters that Goltz mentions were the volunteers from AIM (Paruyr Hairikian's party). It was where Movses Gorgisian, one of the first people in the Movement, was killed.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh-oh, just saw a half hour infomercial about Wal-Mart.

Looks like the predictions for a mediocre X-mas shopping season are not unfounded.