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Horse Latitudes in Yerevan

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Dikran Abrahamian, 14 July 2011
 
An Open Letter to My Friends

"In certain spots in the Atlantic Ocean, east of North America, there are micro-climates where there is no wind and few waves. In earlier times, when ships were caught in these still waters, horses were thrown overboard to make the vessels lighter and easier to sail. For that reason, these regions were called horse latitudes."

At the outset let me state that I think I am a forward-looking person, otherwise I can’t explain why I have made several leaps from one profession to another and gradually improved my lot over a span of 60-plus years. There is no explanation to why I joyfully fathered a half-a-dozen children, without fearing the financial burdens those decisions entailed. Was it luck or was I taking calculated risks? I think it’s the latter which has propelled me. In today’s jargon, I would probably be tagged as an individual with positive attitude.

Why do I start with this personal confession? Because what follows is far from being rosy and may be interpreted as the product of a disgruntled old man who in his sunset years is disposed to view life in dark tones. I tend to think of myself otherwise. On the other hand, there are “surprises” which pull you to the abyss, despite attempts to look at the brighter side of situations and events.

All the above words so as to tell you that I would like to write about my recent trip to Artsakh and Yerevan while my impressions are fresh and are not clouded by temptations to be politically correct or diplomatic.

I will not bother you with details on how friendly the people were; how wonderful the mountains and the forests felt; how the lakes and rivers made me hum here and there or recite a line or two from favorite poems. Likewise, I will not be a tour guide to the more attractive natural, historic or cultural sites. Google does a better job than I.

What was I looking for? Was it residents or how patriotic they are? Was it the land for which we have fought for millennia? By the latest count, some 6,000 people were killed, maimed and injured to liberate a slice of our motherland--Artsakh. What’s mind-boggling is how this region is defended. Are the mountains and the highlands our natural protectors? These were questions to which the people at large and officials could not provide credible answers.

Lebanon, home of the cedars, comparable in size to Artsakh, the sea as a natural defense on its west, a 20,000-strong army in peacetime (prior to the tragic civil war of the ‘70s) defended a little over 3-million citizens. Inflated numbers claim there are 160,000 people in Artsakh--a jurisdiction that has no significant economy and no tax-base to speak of. How can it defend itself? Who is providing this crucial function? The answer would simply be speculation.

Is it any wonder that two themes dominated my conversations with Artsakh citizens? There is talk of populating it with people from remote areas of the former Soviet Union, i.e. Hamshens (Muslim Armenians) families who have expressed a desire to move to Artsakh. However no one is willing to make a move for acutely uncomfortable reasons.

Who will provide the finances for such a migration? Are the millionaires in the inner Diaspora of Moscow or the ones in the West to foot the bill? Why invest in such a venture when there is talk of ceding portions of the land to Azerbaijan? Will the Hamshens be willing to fight in case of war? Will they integrate in their new environment? What if “transplanted” people have to be deported again to safer regions, in case hostilities resume? Couldn’t such a project open Pandora's Box in already complex international negotiations and provide Azerbaijan with new ammunition for propaganda– i.e. populating Artsakh with non-karabaghtsis, while Azeri refugees, former residents are “languishing” in Azerbaijan? One might add, “Why don’t the former Armenian Karabaghtsis come back to claim the land for good?"

The other recurrent theme of my conversations was the Republic of Armenia presidential election, scheduled within a year. It’s not uncommon to hear, “What if a non-karabaghtsi becomes the commander-in-chief? What will become of Artsakh?” There are no answers. The questions betray a legitimate anxiety. Other less frequently heard topics are the Himnatram and what a wonderful job the Diaspora has done. One wonders whether such glowing words come up because the listeners are from the Diaspora.

Yerevan? This is my third visit since the creation of the Third Republic. In a couple of months there will be celebrations commemorating the 20th anniversary of “independence”. Am I biased and is that the reason why I use a qualifying sign? You bet I am, and that’s because of the perspective that living as a student almost eight consecutive years in Armenia during the ‘70s and early ‘80s has supplied. That period provides me with some point of reference to compare the present with the past.

The views I hold of the present have minimal relation with the Marxist ideology that I profess. In the early ‘60s I was in a very small minority, within the staunchly pro-Soviet segment of the community, that was critical of the Soviet totalitarian socio-economic system. A number of friends and I paid dearly for our stance: we were terrorized and I was obliged to carry a concealed weapon for personal protection. Furthermore, during my studies in Armenia, a friend from Qamishli, Syria, and I were denied our elected positions in various student and compatriotic councils. We were to be expelled from Armenia for criticizing, during a semi-public gathering with officials, the bribery and corruption in educational institutions. A fellow Diasporan student accused us of being involved in hagabedagan (anti-state) activities in a subsequent “trial-by-colleagues”, i.e. by the student body of the institution where we were studying. That was reason enough for the Dean of Diaspora students to take action. To this day it’s not clear whose magic wand played a role in “sparing” us from expulsion.

Why this long-winded sub-introduction following my statements about Artsakh? It's intended to demonstrate where my bias is rooted. Secondly, to put at ease acquaintances in Artsakh and Yerevan who confided in me and told some ugly stories.

On my previous two visits I had returned home depressed. This time, I was not--probably because I was “immunized” against what to expect. I feel re-energized ... to tell and retell what's happening in the Motherland, until somebody listens for the sake of our land(s), for the sake of our people(s) in Artsakh, in Armenia and in Diaspora.

It's a no-brainer to any social studies student that a country without a sound and independent economy of whatever type (capitalist, welfare state, managed economy) there can’t be political independence, especially when the levers of production and distribution are owned and managed by foreign investors. The main sectors of Armenian economy are now owned by foreigners. There is no need to elaborate on the oligarchs collaborating with foreign interests and about whom people--the homemaker, taxi driver, server in the restaurant, reporter, editor, publisher, educator, doctor, professor and academician--have little positive to say. The country is in worse economic shape than many Third World countries I visited in the late ‘60s and the early ‘70s.

There is much talk about construction and beautification but it’s limited to Yerevan and primarily to its centre. There is a semblance of clusters of residential mini-skyscrapers. Try to rent an apartment in this putative high-rises? No way! How can a family with a monthly income of $150 to $200 dollars afford the exorbitant rents? These buildings are in areas from where people were forcibly vacated and were offered peanuts in compensation. How did the price of older apartments, close to the centre, which were priced at $15,000 to $20,000 ten years ago now fetch $100,000 to $150,000?

Yes, the new buildings have provided a modern look to the city. Outwardly, they are comparable to downtown apartments in small cities in the West. But at what cost? In addition to cheating previous owners of the lands and in erecting new buildings on the same lands, the developers have compromised the eco-system. German experts have condemned the constructions as non-eco friendly. It appears that Alexander Tamanyan, the principal architect of the “old” city, knew a thing or two about the movements of air and pollution. The present architects, nearly a century later, display utter ignorance in favor of beauty.

Let’s be fair. The highways converging to the city centre have made a difference in normalizing traffic and providing much needed arteries to various outlying neighborhoods. Moreover, they have made it easier for the innumerable BMWs, SUVs and the sleek, new Mercedes look-alike Volgas to maneuver. Who owns them though? Most are bought through borrowed money at 10-12%, adding a further burden on a country drowned in debt.

What about culture? It was off-season and thus concerts, the opera and other cultural activities were not on. To compensate, I listened to street violin players, to piano, and to guitar-based groups at the café-restaurants around the Opera House and along the Teryan Boulevard. I thought it would be pleasurable during late evenings--following days of 41, 43, 45 degree Celsius. I wish I had not ventured. I heard more Russian songs than during the Soviet era. Mind you, I like all types of music and all kinds of songs, irrespective of language, but the dominance of one particular language irked me, to say the least. And to add insult to injury the melodies did not resemble the popular Russian music. They were fake-jazz. Who do the performers think they are kidding?

I can’t refrain from commenting on the servers. They were eye-catching, sensuous beauties who lacked the basic skills of trained professionals. Having once been a server myself in the mountain resorts of Lebanon and a “flying-waiter” in the Middle East Airlines, I couldn’t help noticing a lack of decency and common courtesy. Am I exaggerating? A relative told me that they were very low-paid, untrained employees, and I had been too demanding in my expectations. Some people made the remark that I should have attended the gala-dinner at Harsnaqar Restaurant, following the 3rd International Medical Congress of Armenia closing ceremonies, instead of rabiz places to observe a high quality service and not be disappointed. May be they were right, but there is a but… Having heard that the said restaurant allegedly belonged to an oligarch, and it would have cost 25,000 drams per person (around CDN$65) to attend, I couldn’t bring myself to the notion of further enriching a crook. For the same reason, I regret staying at Aviatrans Hotel. I should add though, the employees at that lodge were excellent.

Another point to ponder about: Doesn’t rabiz music, behaviour, “culture” represent the average Joe in any society, and isn’t the “common” citizen a part of the majority in any country? I was interested in that!

I repeat my initial expression of regret for another reason. The centre of evening enjoyment and unfortunately one of the best parts of Yerevan, is not for families. I write in no disrespect to people in the villages and towns surrounding the city. Poverty and lack of employment has driven the young to Yerevan. What better trade is there without monetary capital than exposing one's flesh? That’s what I observed around me in the café-restaurants.

Incidentally, I noticed the monument dedicated to the victims of the Jewish Holocaust at the Teryan park. Though small in construction, it was very tastefully done and awe-inspiring. But I could not figure out why it was positioned in a location dedicated to the poet? Why the late human rights activist Sakharov had his own square with a bust, but just a corner was devoted to a whole people subjected to holocaust?

I didn't visit Dzidzernagapert and other significant commemorative markers anew. Moreover, the majority, like the monuments at Sardarabad and Musa Ler were erected during the Soviet period and I had paid my respects, time and again, in the past.

Yerevan is floating in horse latitudes. There is a palpable stagnant atmosphere in politics. Nothing moves. While people in Karabagh are “concerned” in the identity of the next president, in Yerevan they complain about how long they have to “support” their brothers in the Artsakh highlands. Overall, it appears they are tired of unending protests that have led matters nowhere. A minority is hopeful that the proposed “dialogue” between the government and the opposition may lead to some “accommodation”.

 
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Comments

Positive in Armenia

We should not just look at a small segment of the society, mainly in Yerevan, but to people in outlying regions who have or are attempting to overcome a tendency, born out of 70 years of Soviet state bureaucracy and authoritarianism, to circumvent the laws of the land or be co-opted by the powers that be, and instead write a new playbook, written and enforced by average citizens and civil associations that represent their interests.

I forgot who said "All politics is local," but in Armenia this is the reality and the only potential locomotive for sustainable and substantial change. Political gamesmanship, as now being witnessed between the HAk and the regime, offers little in terms of educating and training people to stand up and be counted in defense of their rights and interests. I would also say you can find this new mentality of civic activism in some youth circles as well.

However, these developments tend to be transitory. They need our support. The Diaspora should seriously consider providing assistance to these fledgling LOCAL civic and student groups for the long haul. Organizations like Civilitas just don't cut it and come with loads of baggage (i.e. Oskanian and foreign donors.)

Horse latitudes in Yerevan

Dear Dikran,

Your comments were so close to my heart that I wish I could write as well as you do and describe situations so clearly.

I have visited Armenia and Artsakh 4 times in the last 12 years, and I keep reminding myself not to compare the country to Australia and just Love it because it is our motherland...and I do, however unless they know that we say what we say because we simply CARE and wish for things to be appropriate, doesn't mean that we are looking at a glass half empty, but young 20 year old Armenia should have by now learnt to start helping itself! All the assistance that has gone to our homeland should have at least effected the wellbeing of our fellow Armenians.

Thank you for a very enjoyable read & hope to witness some changes be that in Armenia and or Artsakh.

Dikran, Ara and of Horses

I have not visited Armenia for decades, but I hope to visit sooner than later circumstances permitting. Consequently I do not speak out of the personal knowledge Ara or Dikran have. However, I found Ara advising readers of Dikran’s article to “adjust their activity accordingly” self-evident. Individuals do act according to their beliefs or interests no matter what. Advising them to do what they naturally and instinctively do, carries implication that are moot, well beyond being a bona fide advice.
 
Even though I have not been in Armenia over the past two decades, I have also come to conclude that Armenia has serious economic, social, problems and Yerevan is an island onto itself. Decades ago I was in Atlantic City with my wife and son, a toddler then, for my wife to take her Nursing exams. Early in morning while she was taking the exams, I rented a tricycle with a side seat and peddled with my son outside the famous Boardwalk into the city itself and faced the contrast of dilapidated inner city against the lush of Boardwalk nearby so unnerving that literally fear crept in me and I paddled back soon. I have often imagined Yerevan and the Armenian countryside to be similar.
 
The thing that I look for those who visit Armenia is an expression of their gut feeling but not advice because I will do that and I do not need to be reminded. All I want to hear or read is an expression of their gut - “How will they adjust their (own) activity” having seen and experienced what they saw and experienced. That is what I found lacking in Dikran’s article and Ara’s comment reinforced it.
 

Adjust their (own) activity:

Parev Vahe,

This is the correct advice, expression, perhaps, so that benefactors, after their contribution to Armenia and possible disappointments will not blame reporters for wrong information and advices.

However, although I have not been yet in Armenia, I will bring my smallest contribution if I believe that it is important and good, even if I will be the looser, without disappointment, Եւ առանց զղջումի.

Our contributions, I believe will not be totally lost.

This will be my adjusted activity. The advice is good.

What I worry, once the frontiers with Turkey are open, then the Turks will be in big numbers to buy. Who will stop them? I see the danger there.

 This is  to Vahe

This is  to Vahe,

I have done as  you have  opined, but  I am not certain if it will see the light  of day/rather print, being published  here.

best rgds

Gaytzag, sorry I can't understand

Gaytzag, sorry I can't understand what you are writing about, even if it's addressed to Vahe.  Comments like this should not even be published on keghart.

Ref> This is to vahe -re-visited

 As  you see  dear  Vahe,Mr. Dikran  Aprahamian  did  not oblige  and publish  my article  that  provides  more  info  and RA.My last  visit, the 13th . He is rather  capricious,which makes  one  wonder how come  he directs a  supposedly  impartial unbiased  site.

Pues...a  nice  spanish word, or  puis  en francais..I believe  he is one  of the persons  that  is a hard liner  ,either a traditional  leftis  or rightist.For  these are the people  amongst  us  that do not bear  those  who are like self,non partisan-many friends insist  you are Tashnag  they say,I tell them  NOOOOOO,then  Ramgavaragan,  again I replyu  NOOOOOO 

See what  the above  writ  reads .It  says, comment you are replying  to does  not exist   A  BIG  LIE, it was published  5 days ago....here  in this forum

Editor's note for clarification:

Below is what was received from Mr. Gaydzag Palandjian (July 14, 2011) which is addressed back to himself, and the assumption is that he might have sent to many friends under bcc which do not appear. The second communication (July 17, 2011) was simultaneously sent to several people (media outlets, organizations, and forums). Hopefully one of them has published it.  Ed.


-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Fwd:
Date: Sun, 17 Jul 2011 04:31:28 -0400
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

f
-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Sent: Thu, Jul 14, 2011 2:11 pm

 
ԴԵՄ ԱՌ ԴԵՄ
ԱՌԱՐԿԱՅԱԿԱՆ ՓՈՓՈԽՈՒԹՅՈՒՆՆԵՐԻ,ԿԱՄ ՏԵՂՔԱՅԼ ԵՎ ԿԱՄ ՎԱՅՐԵՋՔ
 
Հայրենիքում եմ կրկին 13-րդ անգամ սկսյալ 1979-ից:Անցյալ երկու շաբաթներում հասցրել եմ մասնակցել 3 սիպոզիում-հրավեր հավաքների:Առաջինը`հունիս 7-ին Անի Պլազա,հրավիրված Սիվիլիթաս հիմնադրամից,ուր բանախոսեց արդարադատության նոր նախարարը: Երկրորդը` Հայաստանի Ամերիկյան համալսարան, ուր ելույթ ունեցավ պարոն Աֆթանդիլյանը ԱՄՆ-ից`վեր առնելով Վահան Քարդաշյանի  (Քարտաշյանի) ջանքերը առաջին անգամ սկզբնավորելով Հայկ.Լոբբի-ինգը Վաշինգտոնում:
Երրորդը` կրկին Անի Պլազա,Սիվիլիթասից կազմակերպված մի ֆորում,ուր օտար տեղեկ. գործակալությունների ներկայացուցիչներ ելույթ ունեցան:Բոլոր էլ հետաքրքիր,ուսումնասիրելի:
Միջանկյալ,աչքի զարնող,ոչ կարևոր փոփոխություններ,որ վկայել են,իբր նորույթներ,եթե կարելի է այդ ասել:Ավելի ճիշտը եղածների բազմացում:Այն է`հանդերձավորման խանութների,օդային սպասարկ. տոմս ծախողների և զանազան ճաշարանների:Ինչու չէ,երևեկության մի երկու նոր կամուրջների ավելացում ևն:
Իսկ այնինչ առնչվում է հետևյալ կարևոր փոփոխություններին, ինչպիսիք են առաջին հերթին Հայաստան-Սփյուռք կապերի ավելի սերտեցման, զբոսաշրջիկության ոլորտի զարգացման և ինչու չէ նոր արտադրությունների բազմացման, շատ դանդաղ առաջխաղացում:
Բնականաբար,կառավարության` վերոհիշյալ ոլորտներին օժանդակումը անհրաժեշտ է,եթե ոչ հրամայական:Բայց ի նկատ առնելով, որ վերջինս ունի ավելի հրատապ հարցեր,ինչպիսին առաջին հերթին բանակի հզորացումը, ծանր և միջին ճարտարարվեստի խթանումը կարելի է որոշ չափով արդարացնել նախապես հիշված ոլորտների ինչ-որ չափ թերացումը:
  Ահա այստեղ է ,որ հարգելի հայրենի կառավարությունը չուզեց հասկանալ և դեռ համարում է ավելի ուշադրություն դարձնելու իր իսկ սեփականատեր ընկերությունների, անհատների ներքաշման այդ ուղղությամբ, նամանավանդ,Սփյուռքի հար և նման գործակիցների հետ սերտեցման սատարումը:
  Սկսենք հիմա կառավարության և հանրության ուշադրությանն ներկայացնել որոշակի  <<suggestion>>-ներ ,ցավոք չունոնք հոմանիշը հայերեն այս հեզ և ճկուն բառի, այն է մեջտեղ է դրվում որևէ մի գաղափար,կվերցվի կամ ոչ, այլ հարց է…
  Շատ ցանկալի է,եթե արդեն իսկ ստեղծված Սփյուռքի նախարարությունը հրավիրի մեր հինգ գլխավոր գաղութներից` Հյուսիսային Ամերիկա,Հարավային Ամերիկա,Եվրոմիություն,ՌԴ և Միջին Արևելքից, մեկական իբր մնայուն  ներկայացուցիչներ, նույնի նախարարությունում:
Քանզի հիշյալներ տարբերվում են մեկը մյուսից ու նաև հայրենիքից, թե մտածելակերպով, թե լեզվի-մշակույթի, քաղաքական և տնտեսական զանազանությամբ: Եվ ավելի կարևորը հայրենիքից: Մինչդեռ, օր առ օր շփման մեջ լինելով զիրարու հետ, շատ ավելի դյուրությամբ կկարողանան հարցեր լուծել:Ավելին, նույներ Սփյուռքի նախարարության հետ կսկսեն զարգացնել մեխանիզմ, որ թույլ կտա ներքո 15 մասնագիտությանս մարզերի կօլեգաների(ընկերակցությունների) նախ ստեղծումը թե երկրում և թե արտերկրի բոլոր գաղութներում:Սրանցից 5 հետևյալները արդեն ստեղծված` առողջ բժշկության,ինժիներնեի գիտությանց, իրավաբանների, ոսկերիչների (ընդլայնելով հանդերձավորման),5-րդ`սպորտի, մնում են հիմնվելու 6.տրանսպորտի- տուրիզմի, 7.դրամատնային-ֆինանսական, 8.հանքային-ճարտարարվեստի, 9.ուսուցման-մշակույթի, 10.սննդի-մատակարարման,11.անտառապահության-մթնոլորտի,
12.հողագործության,13. .14.15
  Ցանկալի է հիշյալ ընկերակցությունները ստեղծվեն միաժամանակ թե հայրենիքում և թե հայ գաղութներում, քանզի ներկայիս հիշյալ ոլորտները զբաղեցնող անձինք մեր`եթե կուզեք, ճնիչ մեծամասնություն և իբր ողնաշար մասն են կազմում:Այլևս անցել է այն ժամանակաշրջանը, երբ հիշյալների փակցում էր, ցավոք, <<լուռ մեծամասնություն>> պիտկաը:
  Հարկ է ընդունել, որ մեր ներկա թե մարդկային ռեսուրսները,և թե նույներից (ստեղծվելիք) տնտեսական ուժը շատ մեծ դեր ունի ստանձելիք`սատարելու  Հ. Հանրապետության զարգացման, առաջացման` հենակ ունենալով նույներին: Չենք անտեսում ցարդ կատարված աշխատանքներին,որ իրականացրել են թե մեր կուսակցությունները, բարեգործական, հայրենակցական, հոգևոր և այլ հաստատություններ:Սակայն, մեզ անհրաժեշտ, էական և հրամայական է մի համահայկական ընդհանուր մոբիլիզացիա, շարժունակություն,զոր ձերք կբերվի հիշյալ մասնագիտ. մարզերի ընկ.-ի հաստատմամբ և նույներ կիրագործեն  իրենց իսկ միջոցավ <<Ազգային Ներդրման Թրսթ>> ֆոնդի ի Շվեցարիա, Ժնև:Վերջինս ,ինչպես հայտնի է, չեզոք, dուրքերից զերծ երկիր, կնպաստի թե Հայրենի, Արցախի, Ջավախքի և ինչու չե հարկ եղած պարագայեն որևէ հայ գաղութին :
  Ահա այս մասնագետ. մարզ. կոլեգաների ընկց. երկրի-արտերկրի կապակցելով `շատ մեծ աշատանք առաջ կտարվի :
Շարունակելի
Below  translation  of above  in very brief  format
Hardly much has been achieved  in Homeland ,as refers to re-structuring main structures  of a State,especially a New reborn State.
I would attribute  this  mainly to Government(s) therein so far   have  been more busy in issues  such as  Elections, inter-party give and take and mainly also enticed by the prevailing international trends to  such matters and  unfortunately  paid  little attention to and overlooked the issue above mentioned, that  of Re-structuring   industries etc..
Crucial indeed, is the Armenia-Diaspora relations enhancement. I had previously suggested that 5 permanent delegates from our main Diaspora communities, namely North America, South America, EU, RF and Middle East be appointed to cooperate at the Ministry, in situ. These communities  immensely differ from each other ,as well as all of them with the Motherland , as regards, culture, language, economy and a host  of other important peculiarities  of  each  of  them These  on the spot and on a daily basis can much better be resolved and many an important issue attended to. For  these I have SUGGESTED, the establishment  of the 10 more Professional Colleagues  Associations(5  on the scene already, The Health /Medical, The Engineers & Sciences, The Bar, the Sportive and the Jewelers, latter to encompass all furnishings, furnitures.To be added  to;. The Agricultural, The Transport & Travel, The Banking & Finance, The Mines and Industries, The Food & Catering, Education & Culture-amalgamation of all existing, The Environmental& Forestry, The Construction Field, The Communication IT, The Press& Advertising).
Above  fields  of Professions are  those  in which nowadays  the Great Majority of our people are working, whether in  the Homeland or Diaspora(s).Gone are the days  that some  would call these good people as ¨Silent Majority¨ These are our backbone  if you will ,rich and Human Resources as well as  Economy wise.
And with the advent  of  a globalization and –now Global Economic Crisis- these are our  vanguards for a New restructured  R.of Armenia /Artsakh ,who ca with the formation of  above  as Inter-Professional Colleagues Associations in all Armenian-dense townships strive to a Central Council of each community country and/or  in each  of our Homeland´s  10 Marz es-Provinces- come together to further Elect  their delegates to a Supreme Council  of  the Diaspora with 5 Departments. For if we believe in delegating assignments to different branches of such a structure, each with specific Assignments, the following are herewith suggested:-
The Legal-Political  in Strasbourg-alongside RA delegation, not sitting together  but  in same town, The Executive  in  NY , next to RA ,permanent Delegation  to  UN, The Economic  in Geneva,CH, who will organize  the Economy and in the first  place, after  ¨The Investment Fund is established  to help start a real Repatriation to RA/Artsakh Javakhk. Then the Social Services and said repatriation organizing Dept. at Moscow-viz.near abroad, and the only one that we have at St. Etchmiadzin in conjunction with Great House of Cilicia as the Spiritual. We can then begin to cooperate in a much better fashion, sending in to Homeland groups of Professionals to coordinate work in RA/Artsakh together carving up a New Reborn twice Republic(s).
Otherwise as it has been so far, always hoping that the Government in RA will do this tremendous Assignment by itself or by some small injections from Diaspora, not much can be achieved. WE  need real participation and representation plus the ¨National  Investment Trust  Fund which this servant  of the Armenian people  has been advocating and Nucleus  of which Must be created by our 5/6 Magnates. For Confidence is an essential factor in creating such a huge National Fund. In as much as our present establishments are concerned, we only have our thanks to offer them and wish those best for their work. One more thing, in my thesis, dual membership is entered, but no political propaganda while working in the PCA¨S-Professional Colleagues Assoc. The essence of this Project/scheme lies in SOCIETIZATION, which nowadays in international circles is called Civil Societies. Armenians can achieve that as above indicated-suggested
Meanwhile, it is to be admitted that the Government(s) in RA/Artsakh have done as much as they could in strengthening the Defense of the republics, which in itself is the most important task. And if in some instances  they have fallen short ,as regards  further industrialization  and/or REVIVING  the industries left  by previous soviet regime-in some very unenviable situations- it can only be attributed to also some battle cries  of  neighboring Azerbaijan and her elder sister great Turkey, that does  not stop in declaring  officially their support to same. These are important to be taken into view when speaking/writing about achievements   there. We have lacked cooperation right from the beginning, also due to the lame Election System and a crave more felt there than any other country .It is to be lamented that the Diaspora itself is in a fragmented mode, has never been an organized one. We should pay more attention to this, as time does not stop and our two belligerent neighbors are there waiting for a slight error on our behalf to jump on the prey and have it done with. This is of the utmost importance and urgency. A few tries, in Paris, Moscow and L.A.  Have been rendered useless and without any results. All have had good intentions with no mechanism, save one that, even that one put the accent of Elections and people to be elected. Pretty much like the present Governments of the world   and their political parties that day in day out are after seats. They crave to be their on the helms of their respective countries without much thought to ameliorate the situation they all are in because, I´d say of that particular crave mainly. No one doubts that there are good statesmen in all countries thinking of their brethren and sisters, but few, compared to those, who are out there to grab positions and ISHKHEl.A very nasty word in Armenian. We do not need these we need Civil SERVANTS, WHO ARE WILLING TO SERVE THEIR COUNTRYMEN and their States. I believe all has been said, though not in a very eloquent fashion. Please bear  in mind I am neither a statesman, nor a politician, just an activist, trying to serve  my people  since 33 yrs .First time at the First World Armenian Congress in Paris,Sept.3/6, 1979,wherein by majority vote 7 of us were elected to the temporary  executive  board.
Hama Haigagani Siro
Presented by Gaytzag  Palandjian  
   

 

Really now!!  I can't take ...seriously

Really now!!  I can't take Gaytzag seriously. Does anyone understand what he is writing?  Come on, Keghart should have some kind of a policy to avoid such ridiculous posts.  It degrades keghart's reputation.

I understand and agree

I not only understand what Gaytzag has written, but believe that if implemented could counter some of the negative effects of policies of present corrupt self-appointed leaders of Armenia.  Armenia has many problems that need to be addressed and the time for the silent majority to stand on the sidelines for things to fix themselves is over. It's time for everyone to stand and be counted. Bravo Gaytzag, keep pushing forward.

We wish well to Mr. Gaytzag Palandjian

Mr. Palandjian is well known almost to all Armenian chatrooms. He is a patriot and his heart burns for Armenia and Armenians. His notes may be excellent material for brain-storming about various Armenians issues. However, he needs to write in a coherent and presentable manner, making clear where the head is and where the tail ends, so that his writings are taken for serious. Additionally he has to refrain from repeating himself ad hominum.

We wish well to Mr. Palandjian. Good luck!

Full of mistakes!

I couldn't finish reading Gaytzag's notes because of grammatical, spelling mistakes as well as a bad style of capitalization and wrong punctuations.  He might have great ideas but should have an editor correct the mistakes before sending to publishing.

He is also unfairly bad-mouthing keghart.com, don't know why keghart is publishing his posts.

I am interested to know if any of the other publications he had emailed ever published his writing.

 

Fix his mistakes

Then try to fix his mistakes. Gaydzag is an elderly man full of energy,  a patriot whose heart burns seeing the state of affairs Armenia is currently in.

Let's join our hands with him and make things come true.

Briefly, he calls for

- establishing a council for repatriation and resettlement
- establishing investment fund where people put money in and get profits back. The money is used to finance micro projects in Artsakh
- establishing a social structure of professionals that can help the process mentioned above

Would you fix it?

Exactly!  If you would like to help, I would suggest to "join your hands with him", 'fix' his valuable posts and then send it to online publishers.  Together with Ara Manougian you can be his editors and help him and this website to publish his valuable articles.
It's easy to say "fix the mistakes" to an online publisher who might be receiving 100's of comments/day.  Specially a long and convoluted post like that.  So, go ahead and help Gaytzag.

As you may have noticed, he had sent it to all the other Armenian publishers but I haven't seen his posts published anywhere except keghart.com, perhaps because of the huge amount of work involved...?

So, I am looking forward in seeing his posts and articles being published on keghart.com (forwarded by his team of helping hands).  Let's see who will put his time where his mouth is...

I Have No Time

I have no time to waste on corrections. Mr. Palandjian's idea is clear, despite syntax errors. I understand his message and do not see that it needs fixing. I hope that when I am 80 something I will still be able to use the computer.

Our effort is to organize ourselves so as to help the motherland, not with words but with actions. It's to furnish useful information for Armenians worldwide who wish to get engaged in Artsakh's development, because we consider it to be the cornerstone of all Armenia. We have to spare no effort to help.

While we speak, thousands of Armenians in Syria are begging to flee to their original homeland. Some of them have the means, others do not. The latter are the ones we are obligated to help.

The luxury of fantasizing on wonderful projects is way behind us, primarily because we did not act while Mr. Palandjian was screaming for years on how important it is to act immediately.

Years ago we lost the wonderful opportunity of bringing Armenians of Iraq back home. Now they are dispersed around the world and integrated into alien societies. We are witnessing the recurrence of the same scenario in Syria. The Diaspora is getting Armenian passports only in to flee to western countries and not to return to Armenia.

There are many urgent things that need to be done:

-- the establishment of refugee hosting centres is of the highest priority because incoming people don't have the means to stay in hotels for months. Bear in mind that winter is nearing in Syria and Armenia

- provide transport assistance for the emigrants to the homeland

- provide shelter and permanent housing

- provide credit and loans for business start-ups

- RoA can offer land and perhaps housing. The latter often need renovation. About $20,000 per house would be needed to upgrade them into livable conditions. Many families in the RoA are willing to sell their properties and with what they have they can put capital into new projects. As Armenian civil society, we can also assist with coordination, furnishing information, the collection of funds and so forth .. .

Nercess jan, how can we join hands and proceed with helping our motherland? What is your expertise, domain? Do you go to Armenia very often? Needless to say, the collection of funds is the most important effort.

For private correspondence please write to me at [email protected]

Thank You Aroutin And All

Thank you Aroutin and all others who showed interest in my posts.

For quite sometime I was absent from this site, mainly due to a tragic loss in my family: our late grandson was like a son. We are still mourning after a year-and-a-half.

Please commence to form professional colleagues associations. There already are five: health/medical, engineers/  science, lawyers, sportive and jewelers. Ten more are to be formed.

But more work has to be done:
1. Help establish a National Investment Trust Fund nucleus by our six or seven magnates. Wealth encourages/inspires confidence. The fund is to be governed by a board that the magnates will empower by proxy or otherwise.
2.The National Investment Trust Fund would be for all.  
3. At first the investment will be to organize repatriation. Those who do so can receive against mortgaged property in Artsakh. The loans will be for 15 years or so at 3%.
4. New townships and villages, plus farms are to be built in areas such as between Yerevan and Gyumri so that our brothers and sisters will not be annoyed that the repatriates are taking their lands. In fact they would be providing with jobs.
5. The fund should be established in Geneva, tax-free, under a company act or NGO. Our international attorneys will suggest how to be tax exempt. The fund would be not only for RoA/Artsakh but for Armenians all over the globe and be a permanent, non-soluble fund. I believe I have said enough  in my previous posts.

Thank you for reading me.
Best to all Hayorties
Gaytzag Palandjian

 

Your Loss

Dear Gaydzag,
Please accept my condolences for your loss.

Condolences

Please accept my condolences at the loss of your grandson.


Berd Bears Project

I came across the Berd Bears project (berdbears.com)--homemade teddy bears crafted by women in Berd, Armenia. I thought some of Keghart readers may want to support this worthwhile project and show solidarity with our sisters in Berd.

By the way, a very good post Aroutin. Time for action not just words. There is no reason that we should not be able to buy thousands of these teddy bears and bring hope to Berd.

My son just came back from Armenia

My son just came back from Armenia and he loved it.  He loved it so much that he wants to go back.  Of course he is only 17 and he has different perspective.  I wish we were all 17 years old and see only good things (i.e. glass is half full rather than half empty).  Armenia is only 20 years old, that's like a toddler in human terms.  I think our expectations are too high. 

Given time, I think Armenia and Armenians will flourish.  We have done it before and we can do it again.  We have the ingenuity and intelligence to conquer all obstacles. It helps to have a positive attitude!

Balance or Optimism

Sometimes if we are too optimistic, we can hurt Armenia.  We need to have the courage to 'see' our faults and point them out so we can have them corrected.  Otherwise we will forever remain dreaming of a good and non-corrupt Armenia.

I enjoy seeing critical articles, which means that Armenia will become a better place soon.

Dear Nercess,I think you

Dear Nercess,

I think you misunderstood my comment.  I am always for constructive criticism as long as it offers a solution for the problem.  It is very easy to criticise but very difficult to provide/offer a solution.  We all know what the problem is and we don't have to keep on repeating it over and over again.  This will only hurt Armenia and not help it.  I have seen many articles that criticise Armenia or its Government but not a single one that describes/advertizes the good things about the country or the people.  This will discourage diaspora Armenians to visit or help Armenia.

The young have their own perspective

Dear John,

I hear you loud and clear. Yes, the young have their own perspective, and they should be encouraged in their quests and pursuits. My son too, three years ago decided to go back to Armenia after he had just returned from a trip of about three weeks in Artsakh and Armenia with his sisters. He's been there since then studying except for the summer vacations when he comes back home.

I'm sure he will read what my impressions were and he will provide his own opinion--may be privately. Obviously he sees matters differently and I respect that. He does not carry the "old" baggage that your and my generation have, something that I have referred to as "bias" in my piece.

Paregamoren,

Dikran

Armenia is Just as You Stated.

Great article. I could not have said any better. I would hope that those who read this valuable assessment of Armenia's condition will benefit from the information and adjust their activities accordingly.

Clarification Will Serve

Ara, 
Your conclusion that the readers of Keghart, as a result of having read Dikran's article, should "adjust their activities accordingly" is elusive. I'd appreciate it if you would elaborate. Honestly, I found a covert cautionary or “see I was right” type implication in your statement rather than of optimism. I admit that my thoughts are by association, as I read your articles about the telethon and your interview on Veratarz TV program in LA. That’s why elaborating your statement, I believe, will serve readers well.

Nothing elusive or covert

Dear Vahe,

Thank you for reading my white paper on the Armenian Fund and for watching the Veratarz interview.

I feel that Dickran's article speaks for itself and there really is nothing at this time that I could add to help the reader better understand the content and subject material.

It's quite obvious that there are problems in Armenia and that of the Armenian people in general, regardless of where they find themselves, that need to be addressed. For this reason I feel that people need to adjust their attitudes and approach to problem solving in order to help fix what is broken.

Very enjoyable read

Very enjoyable read, especially for someone like me who also studied in Soviet Armenia - the early 70's. Many of your insights are spot on but believe me, after a 35 years hiatus, it took me a good six months to get my "Yerevan compass" up and working. I've been here for 4 years now and see both signs of promise and pessimism.

Thank you Hrant

Dear Mr. Hrant Gadarigian,

Having a background of living in Armenia at various periods--like you--may provide some fairness and balance in trying to describe what's evolving. Most people in the Diaspora lack the opportunity that you have, and naturally are most of the time carried away by what others tell them.

We've heard a lot about the negative aspects. Could you please tell us in an outline form--if not expanded--what "signs of promise" there are. I am sure many people would appreciate your contribution to this aspect of the overall grey picture in Armenia.

Thanks in advance.

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