Օտար Լեզուով Դպրոցներ (Երիզաներկայացում)

Գարեգին Չուքասզյան, 22 Դեկտեմբեր 2010

Գարեգին Չուքասզյան, 22 Դեկտեմբեր 2010

11 comments
  1. Garig Tchoukasezian

    Garig Tchoukasezian belongs to a very special class of Armenians. 

    He belongs to a group that I have called, on my blog, the true guardians of Armenia. Those who are on the ground, in the field and on the barricades, both intellectually and physically in defense of what being Armenian is about.

    He was one of a handful of thinkers who relentlessly challenged the Kotcharian regime’s shameless sell-off of the Madenataran heritage and succeeded in reversing the decision (where our millennial copyright was essentially given away to an American university in exchange for digitization of manuscripts and for a lump sum payment which had mysteriously disappeared). He has unmasked numerous such assaults against our culture, and also has worked to implement marvelous technological solutions to the dissemination of our heritage.

    He is erudte, dedicated, technologically savvy, a visionary with the right purpose, well-versed in global issues, and has a great network of admirers and supporters around the world.

    The video posted by Keghart is a testimony of the above. There are very few, if any, who can talk about the topic with such substance. In my view, he should be minister of culture and/or education in Armenia. Supporting him and his colleagues is doing a great service to ourselves as a people.

    Viken L. Attarian

  2. Turkahay?

    In this interview, Garaegen Tchoukasezian uses the word Turkahay (i.e. Turkish Armenians) when referring to repatriated Diaspora Armenians.

    During the last telethon, the same word was also used by the emcee when referencing to Diaspora Armenians. I emailed the telethon organizers, asking them to use the word Spurkahay instead of Turkahay henceforth.
     

    It seems the use of the word Turkahay is widespread across all segment of the society in Armenia. I believe we should make a concentrated effort in putting an end to the use of the word, unless, of course, when reference is made to Armenians living in Turkey. Spurkahay (Diaspora Armenians) is a more accurate descriptive word of us living in Diaspora.
    1. Turkahay is a relatively young anachronism

      Sireli Vahe

      You are right in pointing out that this is an anachronism and it must be removed from our daily vocabulary.

      Its historical roots however were still alive during our own lifetime.  For centuries, Armenians have been referring to each other as Turkahays and Russahays, instead of Arevmdahays and Arevelahays.  The former has been a political division, due the occupation of our lands by Russian and Ottoman Empires, and hence references to the Armenians as citizens of those empires.  The latter is a linguistic and cultural division and in my view is the more correct one as it includes the Iranian Armenians as Arevelahays etc.

      Armenians, even Western Armenians, have been referring to themselves as Turkahays and Western Armenia as Turkahayasdan well into the fifties of the twentieth century and even into the sixties.  I have at least two historical books in my library published in that period that make such references.  Today though, Turkahays only makes sense when referring to Armenians living in Turkey.

      The very short-lived first republic and its Sovietization had brought forth Armenia as a separate political entity,  but they had remained as the country of Russahays.  The first republic was led by former Russahays and the Soviet Empire was essentially a continuation of the Russian one, albeit with differing policies; hence the nomenclature.  Russahays today has taken on a completely different meaning referring to the two million Armenians living in the Russian Diaspora.

      Forgive me for this lesson in history.  But context is important.  Garig Tchoukasezian is simply betraying his age and educational upbringing during the Soviet period which used the above references extensively.  I am confident that he is broadminded enough to readily accept the criticism and switch to the use of the new terms.

      This does not diminish from the fact that both nomenclatures are anachronisms and we must help them disappear, except for the specific references to Armenians living in Turkey and Russia repsectively.

      Paregamoren

      Viken L. Attarian

      1. Spurk and Spurkahay

        Viken, I thank you for your prompt responses and clarifications for both of my comments. Personally I prefer exchanges along such topics that transcend political considerations brewing in Armenia yet again are vital to establish good communications between Armenia and Diaspora. I hope we can address the issue of language on Keghart.com as well.
        There is a disconnect in the proper use of the words in question in Armenia. Armenia, since its Soviet Armenia days, has correctly and rightly addressed to the physical entities beyond Armenia’s border as Spurk (Diaspora). They have gone to the extent of coining the word Nergen Spurk (inner Diaspora) regarding the territorial entities within the former Soviet Union but outside Armenia. However, it’s the naming of the Armenians who live within these entities, is where the fault lies.
        It is a matter of common usage rather than age I believe. The emcee who excelled in his capacity as the master of the ceremonies during the telethon was rather a relatively young man. You can tell from their – Garaegen and the emcee’s- expressions that they do not think much of it when addressing Diaspora Armenians as Turkahays. They absolutely have no ill intent. However, its wrong and we need to alert them. It is an expression that does not sit well Diaspora Armenians, even though I am personalizing the issue. We should alert them to correct themselves. If 25 years constitute a generation, we are 4 generations away from our martyred predecessors.
         
        I often time wander, how do the native Armenians in Armenia address Iranian Armenians. They are Spurkahays much like the rest of us living outside Turkey.
  3. Foreign Language Schools: What’s the Issue?

    Foreign language schools in Armenia have become a polarizing issue. As a Diaspora Armenian interested in the issue, I accepted an invitation, in Facebook, to join and voice by objection to foreign language schools in Armenia. Since then I have been getting posts almost daily.
     
    I do not know what is it that makes foreign language schools in Armenia so polarizing. After all, as Diaspora-born and -bred Armenian, I have been beneficiary of “foreign language school” in Lebanon. Armenian is not the native language of Lebanon or Syria. Yet these governments have allowed the Armenian community to have its own language schools. That does not mean Armenian schools in Lebanon or Syria are exempt from meeting the basic requirements of the ministry of education in both countries. Will the foreign language schools in Armenia be exempt of regulations that pertain to the teaching of the Armenian language in Armenia? Is there not a core Armenian language curriculum required for any school in Armenia? Is teaching of math and science in a foreign language in Armenia the issue? What is the issue?
     
    When an issue such as the above is presented without sufficient understanding of the complexity of the matter, it tends to create suspicion and lends to innuendos. The case in point being Sossi in the U.S. who obviously is from Armenia. In her comment Sossi alleges that officials of the Serj Sarkissian government are devoid of national feelings ("abazgain") and act very much like Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. By Sossi’s implication, these officials are selling the country to foreigners by letting them run schools in their own languages in Armenia.
     
    Whenever complex and important issues, such as the language issue, are presented in Keghart, it’s essential to have an authoritative presentation of the matter. For example, Keghart.com can ask the Minister of the Diaspora to explain to us the matter here on Keghart so that we can have an informed discussion. Much like the slogan of a well-known local clothing store–"An educated customer is our best customer”–an educated commenter is Keghart’s best commenter.  
    1. The Issues are As Follows
      Dear Vahe

      You are right in suggesting that we need a good understanding of the issue and your comments about Armenian schools in the Middle East are very pertinent, however please realize the following:

      – All Armenian schools in the Middle East and almost everywhere else are PRIVATE educational institutions.  As such, they are not funded by the citizenry of those countries nor by their governments. The legislative issue in Armenia is to change the law to allow for PUBLICLY funded pure foreign language primary and secondary educational institutions.  In fact, there is no similar example like that anywhere in the world.

      – All PRIVATE educational insitutions whose language of instruction is different than the official language of a country, MUST meet minimum curriculum requirements of the specific country in teaching specific topics (as you rightfully suggest), otherwise their permit would be revoked.  These minimum requirements usually relate to the teaching of the official language of the country, its literature, its history and its geography.  Hence for example, Armenian schools in Lebanon MUST, even though they are PRIVATE schools,  at a minimum teach history, language and literature in Arabic.  The issue in Armenia is that what was proposed and what has been enacted as legislation is that such foreign language institutions should NOT be obliged to teach anything in Armenian whatsoever.  Again there is NO precedent of anything like it anywhere in the world.

      Technically, given the current legislation, there is no stopping the opening of a fully Turkish only school in Armenia that would teach history, language and any other topics based on Turkish school texts in Turkey.  And such an insitution would be funded by Armenian citizens. Again, while this might sound absurd and it is, there would be nothing stoppping it from happening. But one must be able to carry the argument to the extreme conclusion to realize the abusrdity of the situation.

      For anyone studying education and identity issues, there are literally thousands, tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of books, research material, theses, papers and so on that have been authored over the past two centuries that demonstrate the interrelatedness of identity, language education and teaching of many disciplines in one’s maternal tongue.  There is not one single piece of publication or even an article that demonstrates the opposite.  To claim that the language of instruction is irrelevant and hinders the educational advancement if subjects are not taught in languages deemed modern (like English, Russian, French etc.) is in fact the modern equivalent of believing in a flat earth.

      I cannot claim to know who the powers that be are serving in Armenia.  But I do not need to be a rocket scientist to know that such a legislation does not serve Armenian citizens.
       

      Paregamoren

      Viken L. Attarian

  4. Presicely

    Both, Vahe’s well-posed question and Viken Attarian’s to the point clarifications are interesting and quite important pieces of commentary. Still there is nothing like reading the word of the law.
    Can Keghart quote the full text? Logically, there should be no legal barriers.  
    Or maybe just a link?
  5. Charter Schools

    After toiling for many years this year – 2010 – Gabriel Injejikian, who pioneered Armenian school in America as the founding Principal of the Ferrahian Armenian School in LA, spearheaded the opening of a charter school in California. The school has handful students now.
    Another example of charter school in America is the Alex Manougian School in Southfield, MI which at one time was a private Armenian school supported by the great benefactor Alex Manougian.
    Charter Schools in America are publically funded schools under private administration in exchange for academic excellence. However, these schools are not naturally meant to perpetuate an ethnic minority’s heritage and language with the tacit support of the America taxpayers.
    The reason I am bringing these examples to point out that such legislations are complex in their nature. I see some benefits of chartered foreign language schools in Armenia. They may facilitate the learning of foreign language in Armenia, be it English, French or Farsi and make land locked Armenia more competitive. Such schools may facilitate Armenian high school students in Diaspora to spend a year in Armenia knowing that the language instruction will not deprive him or her of academic progress. I am not of course advocating a foreign language at the expense of Armenian language, literature, and history. I can also foresee the possibility that such schools may become elitist for the well connected, instead of serving the public at large without regard the financial or social status of a prospective student’s family. But that is a different issue and is not linked to the principal of charting foreign language schools in Armenia
    As Arpriar Petrossian noted, it’s important to understand the law. It would be interesting to hear from a spokesperson of those who introduced and supported the legislation. I believe we are not being sufficiently educated in the Diaspora and the Armenian Diaspora Ministry is not doing much of a job to educate the Diaspora by presenting the two sides of the prevailing issues in Armenia without committing to any.
  6. Guardian of Armenian Values

    I have known Garegin Tchoukasezian since the late ’60s. He comes from a 100 percent intellectual family–well-educated and guardians of traditional Armenian values. His father (Babgen) was vice-president of Matenadaran; his mother (Vera) was a highly-respected professor of Russian language; his elder brother is one of the most respected experts of Armenian culture and miniature art–a walking encyclopedia.

    So when Garegin talks on the issue of Armenian/foreign schools and their impact on the educational system of Armenia, he knows what he is talking about. I am glad he is leading a campaign on the matter. I am asking Keghart.com and friends to invite him to Canada and U.S. to illuminate the minds of our fellow Armenians who seem to be confused about the issue.

    Minas Kojayan
    Teacher/Lecturer
    Los Angeles

  7. Armenian Student from Bangladesh, Yerevan

    By the latest count, 3,361 people on Facebook are against foreign-language schools in Armenia.

    I do not think the issue is black and white. At times I find that shades of gray are absent from our psyche and maybe be for good reason. The Armenian word for gray is mokhragiun/Mokhrakouyn, which means the colour of ash. Of course, you only get the colour ash after burning something. Who in his right mind would want to burn anything just to get the colour mokhragiun? Rather stick to sev (black) or jermag (white), instead of going  down as mokhragiun (gray).

    Unfortunately, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting or knowing Mr. Tchoukasezian. I have no doubt that he is knowledgeable. His knowledge of the matter pertaining to the foreign-language schools in Armenia is not the issue. The issue is my ignorance and understanding of the ramification of the law. With all due respect, Mr. Tchoukasezian’s stand against the law does not constitute a blanket position against the enacted law.

    After learning from Viken that the issue pertains to publically-funded schools, the question that popped in my mind is the following: "Should the Armenian taxpayers not make a public school available for this young, driven Armenian high school student of modest means from the Bangladesh quarter of Yerevan who wants to study Mandarin to become one day Armenia’s ambassador to China or further Sino-Armenian business interest? Neither Mr. Tchoukasezian nor Mr. Kojayan have provided an answer to forgo this young student’s drive to learn a foreign language.

    To my knowledge, there are two schools in the U.S. which are under "Armenian administration," if you will. I have yet to hear objections to the arrangement. The American taxpayers fund both schools. The laws enacted governing charter schools in U.S. must be complex by the nature of the endeavor. These two schools are not subject to some of the rules and regulations that govern public schools, even though they are publically funded. Some charter schools provide a curriculum that specializes in certain fields such as arts and mathematics. Could not a public school in Armenia charter foreign language?

    The Armenian Diaspora Ministry is, for all practical purposes, an idle entity. I have yet to read communications from the ministry in Diaspora papers, providing informed report of issues in Armenia so as to help us better understand and relate to the issues. In the absence of such informed communication, I will call the principal of the Alex Manougian Charter Armenian school in Southfield, Michigan and inquire about their chartered mission. In January, when I will be in California, I will ask Gabriel for the charter of the school he found there after many years of toil. I will report my finding to Kegart.com, to update interested readers to better understand the workings of publically- funded schools under private administration.

    Paraphrasing the slogan of Syms, the American clothing store, "An educated customer is Armenia’s best customer." Otherwise, we will regard every policy and every court decision in Armenia with suspicion and innuendo, and ascribe to it unwarranted political ramification, instead of having a meaningful discussion.
     
    In less than twelve hours, the New Year’s ball will come to rest on a pedestal at Times Square in New York.  Happy New Year– "Shnorhavoer Nor Dari."

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