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050302 - By Jean Ipdjian* THE REPRESENTATIVE

By Jean Ipdjian*

It would have given me so much pleasure and satisfaction if I could write today that the only problem, the Armenian community in Cyprus has, was the closure of the Melkonian Educational Institute.

Unfortunately, that I cannot do, since despite the apparent health and activity of the community, it has a host of underlying problems, which threaten its very existence and future well-being. Incidentally, this apparent health and well-being is only the result of the work of a handful of selfless people, who without pay or profit spend their free – and not so free - time serving their community. This cannot continue and will surely end one day when they also in turn burn out and cannot be replaced.

The yins (life –force) of a community are its churches, schools, political parties, clubs, cultural and social entities, and last but not least, its leaders.

Each of these has its role to play in the forging of the character, mind and spiritual world of our community. Each of these has its role in forging the Armenian of Diaspora, in the forging of individuals, who not only are good citizens of the countries they live in, but are good Armenians as well. Being a small nation, being a nation who has more people living in Diaspora than in the Mother country, the life of us, Armenians, has always been a continued battle against assimilation, a continued battle to retain our national character – our language, our culture, our church, a continued struggle for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the settlement of our national demands – the regaining our lost lands. So, it is essential that our different communal institutions work separately, and together, in order to fulfil these ambitions.

The Armenian community in Cyprus has a unique advantage. It has a person who carries the title of “House Representative”, who is elected by the community members during the parliamentary elections in a parallel election and who attends Parliament in a non-voting status. The uniqueness of this position is that the government considers him as being the official representative of the community and so prefers, for his own convenience, to deal only with him in all matters regarding the community. Although this position has only a nominal status, within the hands of an able person, it can be turned into a really useful tool.
That person can turn into the central peg of the community’s wheel, bringing together and coordinating the work of all the different factions, clubs, cultural organizations and institutions operating in the community. But in order to do that, the elected representative should have the courage and the will to, once elected, forget whose votes had elected him and work for the whole community without factional and other regards, without nepotism and favouritism. He should use all the means under his disposal for the good of all.

Unfortunately, our community has not been able to find the person, who has the required understanding, strength, nationalism and impartiality to resist the corruptive effects of power and succumb to the divisive pressures of one group or the other.

At a time when our community is faced with so many problems threatening its existence, at a time when our youth – both minors and seniors – are under the relentless pressures of modern society and assimilation, at a time when a historical institution like the Melkonian has already capitulated and sentenced to death, at a time when the secondary education of our children in an Armenian institution and atmosphere is denied to them, at a time when day by day the number of people going to our church is dwindling and the community is losing touch with our national church, at a time when our clubs are threatened to become just empty buildings, at a time when the organization of each cultural event is becoming a “golgotha” for its organisers, at a time when our community desperately needs a person with the vision and charisma of a real leader, our “Representative” together with his immediate entourage is content to do nothing and when they occasionally decide to do something, they do it either for the sake of appearances or with utter incompetence.

Unfortunately, - and that is the most painful – many members of our community instead of using their judgement and instead of giving priority to matters pertinent to the benefit of the whole community, still prefer and chose to continue being guided by factional gains. They still prefer and chose to continue to regard matters conservatively and still prefer and chose to continue to regard the name and person of the “representative” as their paramount and foremost concern.

Perhaps, in order to be rid of these malaise, we should start looking for and adopting new ways and methods when deciding the person of our “representative”. Perhaps we should first write a job description and accordingly look for the person who can fill the post rather than – as we now do – decide upon the person and adopt and amend the job description to fit him.

Whatever we finally decide to do, we must find the resolve to do it selflessly, to do it conscientiously, to do it right for our sake and more to the point, for the sake of the future generations of this community whom I – and I presume all of us too – would like to see remain and be true Armenians.

* Jean Ipdjian is a Melkonian graduate and the Editor of Artsagang monthly newspaper. You can contact him direct on


Dear Mr Simon Aynedjian /Editor in Chief.
Please find the communiqué herewith attached related to the international issue of the Melkonian Institute . We think that the contents of this communiqué is an information belonging to the public domain of the Mass Media.
With the compliments of Pro Educatio,
Sincerely Yours,
Dr. Vartan Ozinian
It is regrettable that you have transformed your originally gallant endeavour into an AGBU bashing instrument. But then what is new... If we as Armenians had spent more time fighting the common enemy than ourselves, we might not be in the diaspora.
I thought things had changed in Cyprus over the past 20 years, but alas that does not appear to be the case. Please "unsubscribe" me.
Hagop Keoshkerian - California

Dear Hagop,
Despite the severe battering the AGBU is receiving globally I would like to think that Gibrahayer e-magazine is not an AGBU bashing instrument.
At a time when a lot of issues regarding the quality of our community life (not only of Melkonian) are being put under the microscope (perhaps a little too late) your statement is a little superficial.
In their frustration my friends at the Melkonian Alumni, or the perhaps sometimes go over the limit in their characterizations of the AGBU. However it is not up to this e-magazine to decide that level. I simply provide the forum for interested parties to point out their views.through the pages of this weekly update.
I have denied no one that right.

Sireli tasengeres...
You are thousands of miles away living in the Americas and you have the luxury to "unsubscribe", and turn a deaf ear to these issues.
I would like to think that all the "bashing" that is taking place in our community is done, in order to create the conditions for a better tomorrow. At the same time, I know that for some, this is not the case.
But don't we all wish now that we could take the clock back a few decades and perform a gang-bashing on the decision makers both in the Central Executive of the AGBU and their "leaders" in Cyprus who collectively buried Melkonian?
If there was more transparency then..
If there was more monetary control, checks and balances then...
If the decision making process was more school-fit and less politically motivated, we would all be doing a little less of "bashing" and moaning now.

But you know what Hagop?
You are right, we shouldn't be "bashing" the AGBU, not because they have taken a wrong decision (which they have) but because it is too little too late.
The Melkonian game was lost collectively during the last two decades because local successive administrators were happy cashing in on the multi dimensional benefits and leverages that the Melkonian was providing for them, and were hoping that this privileged status would continue forever, for their benefit of the in-crowd.
The Melkonian game was lost because no one cared to introduce changes in a seemingly winning formula.
The Melkonian game was lost because introducing changes by anyone would perhaps eliminate them from the benefit-full formula.
And finally the Melkonian was lost because the money-driven AGBU were presented by the perfect opportunity by incompetent group of people, to cash in on funds.

If you want to label my views as AGBU bashing, that is your choice and you are entitled to it.
If you want to unsubscribe, that is your privilege too.
Simon Aynedjian - Nicosia


All political directions in life should stay parallel, and existent at all times as equally valuable and necessary poles for different human attitudes. It is only when one or the other becomes severely dominant, crippling the other, that dangerous imbalance in life occurs.
Perhaps it is a law of nature that dictates we can only be one thing, think and act one way at any given time. But, perhaps it is also an innate weakness in humanity. We are not as broad-minded or broad-based as we like to think. And, perhaps it is that during more disturbed times, when established values are crumbling, our uneasiness gives rise to fanaticism, forcing us to cling ferociously to a single belief, thought, action or way.
Charles Darwin said "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change." in order to guarantee the survival of your fond dreams you might want to keep transforming yourself...!
Tatiana Ferahian - Limassol
Please note that firewalls and storage limitations may sometimes disrupt smooth delivery of our e-magazine to you. Please adjust your settings accordingly to ensure you receive Gibrahayer. Alternately, you can read the last five issues by going to the Archives section of the above link.

[] 36 ambassadors to Turkey together with their wives spent a weekend at historic places of Kars, upon the invitation of Kars Mayor Naif Alibeyoglu.
[] AGBU President Berge Setrakian, on a visit to Jerusalem on February 3rd and 4th, met with the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, and discussed matters of mutual interest.
[] Germany's main opposition parties, which oppose Turkey's bid to join the European Union, plan to submit a motion to parliament calling on Turkey to acknowledge responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in 1915.
[] The Singapore Armenian Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator and the Armenian residents of Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong, have decided to honour the 170th anniversary of the construction of the Church with a series of events.
[] Armenia's 46-member member non-combat platoon, which left for its peacekeeping mission in Iraq on January 18, has begun the implementation of its duties in Iraq.
[] Armenian servicemen have confirmed that they have captured three Azerbaijani servicemen, who crossed the front-line, at 5.20 p.m. on February 15, 2005
[] The Shushi Foundation, a non-governmental charity, is planning to launch archaeological excavations in about 200 ancient cemeteries dating to the Bronze age.
[] 36-year-old former Monaco, Paris St Germain, Internazionale, Kaiserslautern, Bolton and Blackburn striker Youri Djorkaeff is joining US Soccer New York/New Jersey Metrostars.
[] Thousands of citizens, along with political figures paid their respects on Monday to the victims of pogroms against Armenians in the Azeri city of Sumgait in 1988.

g i b r a h a y c a l e n d a r

Lecture series dedicated to clergymen that were killed in the Armenian Genocide of 1915 will continue every Wednesday after Hsgoum throughout Medz Bak with the following schedule.
* Wednesday 2 March 2005 - Souren Dz.Vart.Kalemian (1884 - 1915) is presented
by Dr.Antranik Ashdjian
* Wednesday 9 March 2005 - Nerses Yebisgobos Tanielian (1868 - 1915) is presented
by Anahid Eskidjian
* Wednesday 16 March 2005 - Shavarsh Dz.Vart.Sahagian (1881 - 1915) is presented by Elsy Utudjian
Annual Traditional Michink Dinner at AYMA organised by The Armenian Relief Society "Sosse" Cyprus Chapter on Wednesday March 2, 2005 at 8:30 pm at AYMA.
Tsunami Relief Aid Concert March 2, 2005 at 7:30 p.m., MEI Auditorium, organised by the AGBU Melkonian Educational Institute with the participation of Melkonian Students.
Two Day celebrations in Cyprus for the 75th Anniversary celebrations of the Cilician Seminary and the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of Catholicos Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia. Main event on Saturday March 5, 2005 at 8:00 pm at the Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church in Nicosia where Shnorhali Choir from Beirut under Der Bartev Vartabed Guelimian will perform. Speakers at the same event: His Holiness Catholicos Aram I. Sebouh Tavitian and Vartan Tashdjian.
Holy Mass on Sunday March 6, 2005. Karoz by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I followed by a Luncheon at Makedonitissa Palace at 1:00 pm organised by the Temagan and Varchakan Joghov.
Carnival Party organised by the Parent's Association of Nareg Schools. March 9, 2005 at The Hall of Nareg School in Nicosia, from 4:00 - 6:00 pm. Entrance: £4.00 for adults and £3.00 for children.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of martyrdom of ARF Dashnaktsoutiun founder Christapor Mikaelian the following commemorative events have been planned: Symposium at 10 & 11 March, with the participation of various political figures and academics in Sofia. Pilgrimage to Christapor Mikaelian's grave at Sophia Cemetery on March 11. All wishing to take part in the pilgrimage, should contact ARF Dashnaktsoutiun Cyprus.
Armenian Cultural Event – Dance & Poetry April 8, 2005 at 7:30 p.m., MEI Auditorium. Organised by the AGBU – Melkonian Educational Institute with the participation of Melkonian Students.
The "Sipan" Dance Group of Hamazkayin Cultural and Educational Association of Cyprus will be presenting the Musical Performance of Toumanyian "Famous Children's Stories" on Sunday April 10, 2005 at 8:30 pm at PASIDY Auditorium.
Armenian Cypriot artist Nanor Tashdjian will be exhibiting her works in Cardiff from April 12 - April 21, 2005 at the Temple of Peace, Cathays Park. The exhibition, entitled "The Battle Field" is partly a reflection by Nanor on her background. She was born during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The exhibition will be held in the foyer of the entrance to the Temple of Peace, from April 12 -21 from 9.00 a.m. till 5.00p.m.(not the weekend).The exhibition will culminate in a Commemorative meeting at The Temple of Peace (upstairs Council Committee room) at 7.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 20th April. Taking part will Caerphilly Labour Councillor and Human Rights campaigner Ray Davies, and the well-known poet Mike Jenkins of Merthyr. He will read his poem "Komitas".
The "Timag" Theater Company of Hamazkayin Cultural and Educational Association of Cyprus is getting ready for its annual performance which will take place on Saturday May 7, 2005 at 8:30 pm
Armenian musical duo of Jean Davidian and Marie Louise Kouyoumdjian perform at Champs every Friday at 9:30 pm. Reservations on 22 873888.
Arevakal and Hsgoum ceremonies begin from Wednesday 9 February, 2005 as follows: Every Wednesday and Friday - Arevakal 7:40 am and Hsgoum at 6:00 pm
Opening of a Painting Exhibition of Armenian Cypriot Artists, organised by The Hamazkayin Cultural and Educational Association Cyprus Chapter at The Utudjian Hall of The Armenian Prelature, on Friday 18 March, 2005 at 7:30 pm. The Exhibition will remain open until the 20th of March, 2005.

Commemoration of The Armenian Genocide – 90th Anniversary April 20, 2005 at 7:30 p.m., MEI Auditorium. Organised by the AGBU – Melkonian Educational Institute with the participation of Melkonian Students.
Lecture by Peter Balakian on Friday May 20, 2005 organised by The Hamazkayin Cultural and Educational Association Cyprus Chapter. Details to follow.
Cyprus Dart Championships. AYMA/HMEM is participating in the Cyprus Dart League with home matches being played every other Thursday at AYMA.
AYF Badanegan Mioutian get-togethers take place on Saturday at 3:30 pm at AYMA. Contact Vartoog Karageulian on 24-659245.
Practices of the "Sipan" Dance Group of Hamazkayin Cultural and Educational Association of Cyprus for the Musical Performance of Toumanyian "Famous Children's Stories" take place as follows: Every Friday and Sunday at 5:30 pm and every Saturday at 4:30 pm
AYMA/HMEM Chicco Football practices take place every Friday from 7:00 - 8:30 pm for children starting from the age of 7. Contact Krikor Mahdessian on 99650897.
AYMA/HMEM Table Tennis practices take place every Saturday from 5:30 pm under the guidance of ex-Cyprus Champion Sirvart Costanian. Classes for all ages.
AYF meetings every Wednesday at 9:00 pm at AYMA. This week's meeting is postponed because of three community events on March 2.
AYMA/HMEM Football team practices take place every Thursday at 7:30 pm.
For more details of the next Bible Study Class organised by the Armenian Prelature at the Vahram Utudjian Hall of The Armenian Prelature call Father Momik Habeshian direct on 99 307966 or at the Prelature Office on 22 493560 email
Armenian Radio Hour on The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation via real audio on . Broadcast 17:00-18:00 local Cyprus time (14:00-15:00 GMT)
The Armenian Prelature announces that the next permit for the Armenian Cemetery visitation at Ayios Dhometios on the Green line, is on Sunday March 13, 2005
Every Wednesday from 7-8 pm (Cyprus time + 2 GMT) on CyBC's Trito, Puzant Nadjarian presents the "History of the Blue". Internet edition on


. . . . . News . . . . . ANC hour . . . . . Song dedications . . . . . Youth discussions . . . . . Game Shows . . . Religious programs . . . . . Cultural programs . . . . . History . . . . .

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