September 21, 2006

Some Random Thoughts On The 3rd Armenian-Diaspora Conference....

OK - So another one of these conferences has come and gone. Another meeting of the minds, if you like, between two realities...that of Armenia and the diaspora. Based on the results, or lack thereof, of the first two, what can we reasonably expect to see emanating from this one? While it may be too early to jump to any rational conclusions, SASSNA DZRER would like to throw out some observations that might serve as a basis for future debate and analysis....

1985 People Attended The Conference: Mostly From The Diaspora

Who are these people? Who and what interests do they represent? Why should they be trusted to do the right thing? Have they ever expressed any thoughts at all regarding the Armenia-diaspora dialectic? What are their views regarding participatory democratic institutions and the role of the individual citizen in a developing civil society??

Where is their critique of what has transpired during the last 15 years since Armenia's nominal independence? Do they see the diaspora and its traditional institutions sharing some responsibility for the continuing malaise and mistrust that percolate within large segments of Armenia's citizenry when it comes to dealing with official institutions of any kind, whether local Armenian power structures or diasporan benevolent organizations.

What Will Armenia Look Like in the Year 2020?

This innocuous question was put to some of the more "prominent" speakers at the Conference. Here is what a Mr Tom Samuelian, lawyer, linguist and representative from the Armenian University of America offered as an answer:

1) Armenian Genocide Will Be Recognized
2) Karabakh Conflict Will Be Resolved
3) Armenian Language Will Be Unified
4)Turkey Might Hand Over Our Lands
5) Thousands in the Diaspora Will Be Granted Dual Armenian Citizenship

We ask you - Is this the best one of our so-called intellectuals can come up with??
If so, then one can only imagine the level of discourse and analysis that flowed within the ranks of the other 1984 conference attendees!!!!

Foreign Minister Asks For More Money From Diaspora..But No Accountability...

Check out this platitude from Armenia's Foreign Minister - "If Artsakh, Armenia and the Diaspora unite, you will see what wonders we'll accomplish. I'm sure the 21st century will be ours."

Doesn't he realize that Armenians in the diaspora are wary of sending more money to Armenia when the funds already sent have been mismanaged, misappropriated and misused?? Do the ruling elites in Armenia believe that "Business as Usual" is the name of the game?? Why don't they address these issues?? Where is the self-criticism and long sought for promises of transparency and accountability!!!

Please - No More Speeches and Empty Rhetoric. Let us build some real and practical bridges between the people of Armenia and the Diaspora!!

When Armenians from the diaspora visit Armenia they should visiting local schools, health clinics, community centers - not abandoned churches, monastery ruins or local cafes. Meetings and discussion groups designed to bring together ordinary people from Armenian and the diaspora need to be organized. Such contact and interaction is the true and democratic basis for mutual understanding that remains lacking till today.

We can only hope that some of those who attended the Conference will come away with a real understanding of what needs to be done for the true potential of the Armenian people, both in Armenia and the Diaspora, to be realized!


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