Armenia faces a severe crisis of widespread violence against women and children. Due to the cultural and safety concerns of reporting violence, many women do not report violence and are often stigmatized for doing so. As a result, the Armenian government is able to deny the problem. Furthermore, Armenia currently has weak domestic violence laws and no law addressing sexual violence. Encouraging greater reporting and greater awareness of the problem is the first step to legislative advocacy and legal enforcement. (x)

101st Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Today, 101 years ago on April 24th, 1915, the planned extermination of 1.5 million Armenians  as perpetrated by the Turkish Imperial Ottoman Government was commenced. On this day, authorities loyal to the Ottoman collected and killed ~250 Armenian leaders, notable figures, and intellectuals. This collective murder was the beginning of what is known as the Armenian Genocide. 

The genocide was carried out in dual phases, during and after World War I, making the Armenian genocide of the very first genocides of the 20th century (following the first genocide of the Herero and Nama people in Namibia). 

The first phase of the Armenian genocide consisted of the routine extermination of Armenian men, and young boys. This phase was followed by mass collection and deportation of Armenian women and younger children, the physically disabled, and the elderly to embark on death marches towards the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula in Syria. The death marches were executed by forcing the Armenian people, regardless of physical condition, to walk steadfast towards the desert while deprived of food, water, and medical aid, effectively inducing the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians. Those unable to keep up were killed. Many portions of the death march were paused for the purpose of raping, killing, and abusing the Armenian prisoners. 

Though the second of its kind in the 20th century (following the genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia in 1904), the Armenian genocide remains hushed and rarely discussed at the mainstream level. Turkish government has refused, on countless occasions, to accept responsibility for the acts of the Imperial Government, and denies the occurrence of the genocide by limiting the death toll and removing any historical significance from various curriculums. 

Today, 101 years later, it is our responsibility to finally shed light on, and to remember, those so unjustly killed in the Armenian Genocide, and to make up for a century of dismissal, disrespect and disregard for the victims of this shameful atrocity. 


(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) 

Armenian woman in national costume, Artvin, ca. 1905, by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (in the Library of Congress).

As we mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, I’m remembering the terrible murders and exile but also celebrating the incredible strength and creativity of the Armenian community. I have fond memories of living near Watertown in Boston and stopping by Armenian bakeries for tahini bread. 

And yes, in case you’re wondering, they did do henna in Armenia!

Born in Alexandapol (present-day Gyumri), Armenia, Shushanik Kurghinian became a voice for the voiceless. Kurghinian was a feminist and socialist poet and writer, with her first published poem, Taraz, coming out in 1899. Later, she founded the first women’s political group in Alexandrapol. To escape arrests from the regime, she fled to Rostov-on-Don. Kurghinian was educated at an all-girls primary school before going to the Alexandrapol Arghutian Girl’s school. She continued to write poems throughout her adulthood, many of which have been published. Kurghinian passed away, due to her health, at the age of 51 in 1927. She is revered for being one of the founders of feminist and proletarian literature in Armenia. 

One of her poems:


I wanted to sing: they told me I could not,
I wove my own songs: quiet, you are a girl!
But when in this troubled world
an elegy I became,
I spoke to the hearts of many.
The more I sang:
the sooner she’ll get tired, they said.
The louder I sang:
the faster her voice will fail.
But I kept singing endlessly,
that’s when they started to cajole.


(from I Want To Live, AIWA Press, 2005)

(Image) (Information taken from Victoria Rowe’s “A History of Armenian Women’s Writing”)


1001 Knights - The Reference post.  

So, when creating my piece for 1001 Knights I decided to do something more on the serious side (compared to my commercial work for animation).  Because the theme was “Knights” with a skew towards feminism, the first thing that came to my mind was the legacy of women in my own life.  I wanted to create a piece that honored the women I’m related to that made me who I am but also the overarching history of women in my life and my cultural heritage.

My mother is Armenian and my great grand parents came to the United States fleeing genocide in Armenia.  For me, I have learned everything about my Armenian identity from my mother and relatives on her side of the family.  My mother’s great grandfather was a muralist in Armenia and Turkey and I can trace my artistic abilities from him, to my grandmother and eventually my own mother who is also an artist. It’s something very special to me to know that the talents in my family have come down through my mother’s relatives in Armenia. Growing up, it was my mother who taught me how to be an artist and encouraged me to pursue my career in art.  I strongly identify my artistic abilities with my mother and my Armenian heritage so it seemed like the perfect place to start for my piece.

As far as where the strength and honor of a knight comes in, my mom was the strongest, and bravest person I knew growing up.  She raised me, my 3 brothers and sister together for as a single mom before remarrying and becoming a mother to twin girls at the age of 42.  Throughout the years she remained a source of strength for my family, unselfishly sacrificing her time for all of 7 of us plus my two step-brothers. These days she is still the matriarch of the family.  Her home is the center of holidays and important family events and all 6 of her grandkids admire and adore her.  She is also so experienced as a mother that the younger moms in my family go to her for advice in raising their own kids.

Now, I can see her legacy being passed on to her own daughters and daughters-in-law as they raise their daughters in the same loving and sacrificial way. Seeing this unfold over my lifetime has been a true blessing and has really impacted me.  And within the larger story of the other women in my family, it only seemed fitting that I honor these modern day women warriors with a piece of their own.

You will see that I was strongly influenced by some of my favorite artists including a direct quote of Gustav Klimt’s piece Palas Atenea.  I’ve also paid homage to Henri Matisse as well as beautiful Armenian rugs, folk art and traditional costume.  Yes, I threw it all in there. :D

Now you know a bit more about the many layered meaning of this very special piece for the 1001 Knights anthology.  You only have a few more days to contribute and get your copy before it’s gone, so hurry!



“Ben, tüm yaşamı ve ruhu çile dolu olan bir kulum” 

Sayat Nova - Narın Rengi

Görsel :  A documentary “Grandma’s Tattoos” by Suzanne Khardalian -  This haunting portrait of an Armenian woman with tattoos on her face, which indicate that she was ‘owned’ by someone as a forced wife and sex-slave during the years of the Armenian Genocide. “Grandma’s Tattoos” unveils the story of the Armenian women driven out of Ottoman Turkey during the First World War-Armenian Genocide.

Born in Armenia in 1989, Nareh Arghamanyan began playing the piano when she was five years old.  Three years later, she began her studies with Alexander Gurgenov at the Tchaikovsky Music School for Talented Children in Yerevan.  In 2004 she was the youngest student to be admitted to the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where she studied with Heinz Medjimorec, and chamber music with Avedis Kouyoumdjian. Currently she continues her studies with Arie Vardi in Hannover and with Avedis Kouyoumdjian in Vienna. Nareh Arghamanyan is a laureate of more than 18 piano competitions including the 1st Prize at the 2008 Montreal International Music Competition, 1st Prize at the 2007 Piano Campus International Competition in Pontoise, and the 2005 Josef Dichler Piano Competition in Vienna.

(Image and biography taken from the Arts Management Group’s website)


She Won!!! Conchita our darling Queen - Winning for all of us who believe in alternate lifestyles!!!

Bearded Transvestite Drag artist Conchita Wurst will perform power ballad ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’.

Conchita; real name Tom Neuwirth, is preparing to take to the stage in Copenhagen next month with power ballad “Rise Like A Phoenix”.

But conservative protesters in Russia, Armenia and Belarus are battling to see Wurst’s performance banned.

“Austria will be represented in Eurovision 2014 by the transvestite contestant Conchita Wurst, who leads the lifestyle inapplicable for Russians [sic],” the All-Russian Parent Meeting petition read.

“The popular international competition that our children will be watching has become a hotbed of sodomy at the initiation of the European liberals.”

“Russia is one of the only European countries that has managed to maintain normal and healthy family values based on love and mutual support between men and women.”

Armenian favourite Aram MP3 has joined the anti-trans voices, claiming that his competitor’s lifestyle is “not natural” and that Wurst should “eventually decide whether she is a woman or a man”.

Wurst responded: “The beard is a statement to say that you can achieve anything, no matter who you are or how you look. If you have problems understanding that, then I would be happy to sit down with you and explain it to you in more detail.”

Wurst’s debut Eurovision appearance will be at the second semi-final on 8 May before the grand final two days later, if successful.

Please re-blog this to try to get the message out there to anyone that can watch the Eurovision song contest & especially vote in the second Semi-final on Thursday needs to vote for Austria to support Conchita all we can & show that there are people out there who support all & any lifestyle choices.

Source (x)

Update: It’s tonight! I’m so looking forwards to watching Conchita as her song is gorgeous & so is she.

Update: OMG! Conchita was awesome & she totally rocked the arena - the crowd went bonkers - I hope this bodes well for her to go through *crosses fingers*.

Update:  YAAAAY! CONCHITA GOT THROUGH!! HURRAH!! She looked so very thankful when her name was called out as she was the last to get called -  See you on Saturday, Conchita!!!

If you haven’t watched Conchita yet - go watch the Eurovision you tube official page here.

tomarza  asked:

do you have any info about armenian henna? i know this is a blog about jewish henna but i saw a post and it's pretty cool!!! do you know what kind of patterns armenians might have drawn, or anything about the traditions? thanks so much!

Actually, as it turns out, I do! I had an earlier post about it, which linked to this article I wrote last year. Here are some highlights:

In his 1830 book The Armenians, Charles MacFarlane, a well-known Scottish travel writer, describes a 19th-century Armenian wedding in Pera, the Armenian quarter in Constantinople [today Istanbul]. The henna ceremony, which he spells khennagedje [probably Armenian hina-gisher = henna-night], took place on Sunday night, and he notes that henna “has always been deemed an essential ingredient in an Armenian marriage” (1830: 211).

Once the bride’s family had welcomed the groom’s family into the house, the yeretzgin, or wife of the priest (remember that priests can be married in Orthodox Christianity) was honoured with the henna application: “The Khenna… was produced with great solemnity, and it was part of the functions of the chief Armenian priest’s wife to die [sic] the bridal fingers” (1830: 213). After both hands were hennaed, the bride was given presents of clothes, slippers, and a large decorated candle…

Armenian scholar Florence Mazian writes that the henna party took place in the bride’s home the Thursday or Friday before the wedding, and that after the bride was hennaed with simple designs; the children were hennaed as well (1984: 6):
“The Henna Party took place at the home of the bride-to-be given by the women of her family and her friends. Henna was applied only to fingernails, and young women put henna designs (e.g. a crescent) on the back of their hands. On this evening, girls sang and danced… Henna was applied by older women to the fingers of young girls. Little boys’ hands were dyed for fun. In former days, the yeretzgin (the priest’s wife) usually applied the henna and was remunerated with a small amount of money for her services. However, this custom had slipped into disuse by 1914…”

A number of traditional henna songs were recorded by Armenian ethnomusicologist Mihran Toumajan in the 1920s and 30s; German choir Ensemble Karot transcribed them with notes for their album Traditional Wedding Songs of Armenia. You can listen to samples of them here.
Interestingly, the songs reference a custom of hennaing only one hand to leave the other free to do housework. I thought the whole point of doing henna was to get out of doing work!

Mek dzerkd hinaye (from Akn)
Color one hand with henna;
Don’t color the other,
To take the cares of your mother.
Color one hand with henna;
Don’t color the other,
To take the cares of your father-in-law.

Hinan ekav, shaghetsek (from Armtan)
The henna is here, mix it.
The henna is here, mix it.

Harsanekan yerg hinayi (from Akn)
This henna is not ordinary henna,
The boy [groom] who sends it is very handsome.

So in terms of Armenian henna: they definitely did it! It was an important part of the wedding ceremony but women also used it for beauty (and men used it to dye their beards!) during the year. In terms of designs it seems that traditionally they did simple designs that could be drawn with a stick or one’s fingers, but I don’t see why you couldn’t adapt designs from traditional Armenian folk — embroidery! Ceramics! Jewelry! Go wild.

Srpouhi Dussap (née Vahanian) was the first Armenian woman novelist and the first Armenian writer—male or female—to address the social struggles particular to Armenian women. Born in 1842 in Constantinople, Dussap came of age during a period of cultural reawakening for Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, during which women began to carve out a place for themselves in the public sphere. One of these pioneering women was Dussap’s mother, Nazli Vahan, a staunch advocate for women’s education and the founder of charitable and educational organizations to help Armenian girls.

(Read the rest of the article by Jennifer Manoukian here) (Image)