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2.2.12

Just doom and gloom?

Vartan Matiossian
An anonymous writer who disseminates articles and commentaries hiding behind the moniker "Arevagal" has sent a piece with his comments about a "doom and gloom film" (his label) on Armenia shot by an Austrian. Some of these comments are worthy of reflection (underlining is from the original):

1) "I'd like to point out that anyone with a video camera can document more-or-less the same exact thing in vast majority of nations on earth today; it's all a matter of perception, context, angle or political twist. Generally speaking, Armenia's internal problems today are being discussed way beyond their useful or healthful or helpful purpose. It has gotten to such a troubling point that the only thing we now see, read or hear about the county is negative, often times bordering on catastrophic."
One wonders whether all those people living their daily life in Armenia and who are neither political commentators nor "Western agent[s]," but mostly simply concerned citizens are just expressing their worries "beyond their useful or healthful or helpful purpose." Don't they have the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"? Or this is just wishful thinking invented by the Founding Fathers of the United States for their exclusive use?

2) "This situation is taking a heavy toll of the Armenian psyche. And it is essentially because of this condition that I sometimes have to consciously stop myself from thinking about simply disappearing from the Armenian scene. To be honest, I have found myself periodically flirting with such an idea ever since the tragic events of March 1, 2008, when our self-destructive peasantry took up arms against our government in the name of thugs, criminal and foreign agents that had already once raped and pillaged the nation throughout the 1990s. After all, there is only so much stupidity, self-destructive behavior, hopelessness, pain and misery a simple human-being such as myself can tolerate. Thus far, however, my ideological conviction and steadfast nationalism has helped me weather the storm I'm constantly being subjected to. Too bad I cant claim the same for countless other diasporans who have in fact given up on Armenia and are only able to express hostility towards the nation and its people..."
It is incredibly self-hating to label "self-destructive peasantry" those people who were exerting their peaceful right to protest in February 2008, after the umpteenth fraudulent election in Armenia, and accuse them of "taking up arms" on behalf of whoever they did it. Are not there "thugs, criminal and foreign agents" who were raping and pillaging the nation throughout the 2000s and are continuing the same in the 2010s? One wonders, again, about what kind of "steadfast nationalism" is discussed here. The one that divides the world into the few select "us" and the overwhelming majority of "scum"?

3) "The featured documentary on Armenia (and there are countless like it) is exactly the kind of poison our self-destructive people today enthusiastically disseminates - foolishly thinking they are in fact helping Armenia. The nastier/uglier the news is about Armenia these days, the more excited our nation's sons and daughters get about spreading it around. For many Armenians today, reveling in catastrophic news about Armenia has become a sadomasochistic sport. I personally want no part of it. But all this hysteria is taking its toll on the nation's spirit. The Armenian spirit that once was legendary is gradually being degraded. The Armenian lion has been systematically turned into a hyena."
Whether the Armenian spirit was "legendary" and now is "degraded," as any other issue that borders metaphysics, is just a disputable matter. What it is plainly wrong is the assumption that whoever spreads negative news about Armenia is just engaged in "sadomasochistic sport." This is the same brainwashing argument that was repeated in times not so removed from us every time that someone doubted of the wonders of the "Soviet paradise." Armenians in the Diaspora just needed to believe that manna was falling from the skies...

4) "When Armenians wake-up from their fantasies of bringing Western style "freedom and democracy" to a backward former Soviet nation like Armenia, they may just realize that doing such a thing as per Washingtonian demands may in fact destroy the fledgling and embattled nation. We have seen Washington style freedom and democracy brought to places like Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran and Georgia. No thank you. When our foolish compatriots wake-up from their fantasies they may also realize that the doom&gloom type reporting on Armenia is precisely the reason why Armenia has been depopulating in recent years."
Are freedom and democracy only "Western-style"? As far as we know, the concepts were invented in a country that until the early twentieth century was part of the Orient, called Greece. They're extremely imperfect, even in the West (including the "most advanced democracy in the world"), but still they may give more benefits to some of those places, if paired with a sincere effort to reform and educate those societies (since when Syria and Iran have received "Washington style freedom and democracy"?). And the "doom and gloom type reporting" is not the reason for Armenia's depopulation. Don't put the cart before the oxen. Opposition newspapers there may have a run of up to 3,000-5,000 copies and TV stations are essentially in the hand of the government or close allies. Do Armenian citizens need the newspapers to tell them what they see in everyday life?

5) "With their decades long anti-Armenia propaganda (starting in the 1960s and reaching a climax in recent years), they have managed to ruin the Armenian spirit. The Western media blitz and the homegrown hysteria over "corruption" in Armenia is so great now that even upper and middle class Armenians are seeking to leave the republic. Armenia today is a nation possessing great potential, but also a nation mired in total hopelessness as a result of our people's shortsighted and destructive obsessions and Western manipulations."
Whatever the West --and the "East," e.g. Russia, where Vladimir Putin, "one of the greatest leaders in history" ("Arevagal" dixit), is the ruler since 2000-- is looking for in Armenia, we may leave ít to political commentators and also to our politicians to deal with it, hopefully, in a responsible and organized matter. But is "corruption" in Armenia just a quote-unquote word? Granted, it is not a local phenomenon, you may find it everywhere in the world; even if you think that Transparency International is on the payroll of the U.S. State Department, how do you explain that art 65 of the Armenian Constitution (2005 reform), which forbids a member of the National Assembly to engage in business, is being so blatantly violated with no comment from the government? And do you want to make us believe that the oligarchs in Armenia (=upper class) are getting ready to leave the country? How come the "Western media blitz" doesn't fill the airports of Mother Russia, except... for those oligarchs who are opposed to the regime and are not inhabitants of a jail?



6) "The following is a simple concept our self-destructive but always well meaning sheeple needs to wrap its mind around: Armenia's wealthy filth, popularly known "oligarchs" with names such as Sashik, Muk, Dodi Gago, Nemets Rubo or Chorny Gago are NOT the main reason why Armenia is depopulating today. All nations on God's earth have their nasty monopolists and oligarchs. As a matter of fact, most nations today (nations in much better condition than Armenia) are in far worst shape than Armenia.

Armenia is depopulating today not because of its above mentioned wealthy-chobans, but because of the hysteria caused by the Western inspired/led information war to spread negativity, pessimism and hopelessness by relentlessly obsessing about the growing pains of the nation."
Everywhere there are "nasty monopolists and oligarchs," granted. (At least, you make us believe that you aren't a partisan of the "wealthy filth"). In some places there is also something called independent judicial power, which administers something called JUSTICE. In those places, even a former president (ask Jacques Chirac in France as the most recent example) may be condemned for corruption. Do you believe that the same applies to Armenia?
7) "Please don't get me wrong, I'm not sugarcoating the bad sociopolitical situation in Armenia by any means. I know of Armenia's numerous problems first hand. I also realize that Armenia is a nation that has a thousand years of damage to be fixed. This thousand year old damage, however, is not going to be fixed overnight regardless of how hard we try. After all, Rome wasn't built in a single day, so wasn't the American empire for that matter."
No rational person asks to have solutions in 20 years. You think that Armenia is the only nation that has a "thousand years of damage to be fixed." Have you heard of three tiny countries to the West of Russia called the Baltic States? Please check their history and see how many years of independence they had in the past millennium. Compare the centimeters in the newspaper of the last 20 years devoted to Armenia's internal issues and to those in Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania. And don't tell me that it's again the Western media blitz...

Conclusion
We do not need to wash all the dirty laundry in public. But some of it, yes. Checks and balances are not only a private issue among the three powers of the state. They are also a public issue for any concerned citizen, be it in the United States, Russia, Burkina Faso, or Armenia. And also, in our case, for concerned Diasporan Armenians (from the "old" Diaspora) living anywhere in the world.

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