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Exclusive Interview with Raffi Hovannisian

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‘Armenians in our own country have to be liberated,’ says Heritage Party leader

YEREVAN, Armenia (A.W.)—It is the fifth day of Raffi Hovannisian’s hunger strike in Freedom Square. An Armenian American, he is a former foreign minister of the Republic of Armenia and is the leader of the Heritage political party, serving as one of its representatives in the National Assembly. His trademark mustache is gone and he has noticeably lost a considerable amount of weight, but he appears fit and serene, as if practicing meditation. There are 50 or so people loitering in the vicinity, chatting to one another about politics or other issues, every so often taking a glance in his direction to see how he is holding up. While perched on his park bench, with a knitted tricolor coverlet supporting his back, sipping bottled spring water, his supporters, famous folk musicians among them, approach to express their admiration. He is cordial to everyone who greets him, and rises from his seat to embrace those he knows intimately. Some of them tell him they did not ever wish to see him resort to his chosen form of protest. He responds, smiling, that the will of the Armenian people must be heard. For those living in Armenia, his convictions and aspirations for the Armenian state are commonly known and respected. Yet his message has not resonated quite loudly enough for Armenians living in the diaspora to perceive.

Raffi Hovannisian in Freedom Square (photo by Karen Minasyan).

The following interview with the Armenian Weekly was held on the site of protest at Freedom Square in the early afternoon of March 20, 2011.

***

Q: Why are you here?

A: The answer to that question lies in the wisdom of the people, which in its broad cross-sections already stated its demand nearly 20 years after Armenia’s declaration of independence to live in a country where rights rule, where the people form their government through free and fair elections not only in the Western way but in the Armenian way.

We all know that after 1991 there has been no transfer of authority through legitimate elections, and all of Armenia’s presidents have been elected against the will and the voice of the Armenian people. This is something that is not new, and everyone knows this.

The acting president using the presidential palace in a conflict of interest signed as a leader of a political party with two other political party leaders a memorandum, the ultimate essence of which was l’etat c’est moi—the state is me—and for the next seven years there will be no play against me because two years before the next presidential elections I’m announcing my candidacy, these parties are supporting me, and this failed domestic and foreign policy will continue.

This was a formalization of the challenge to the Armenian people, the brunt of which is that the Republic of Armenia is being transformed into the gusaksabedutyun, the two-party state of Armenia, and the parties who signed the memorandum said that in terms of ratios in parliament and elsewhere, they will increase their presence in the parliament at the expense of opposition seats. There is nobody except for the people of Armenia who have the right to make that determination.

And so the initial expectation of my fast for freedom is one that the leadership of Armenia, as illegitimate as it is,  has enough conscience and calculation to understand that we find ourselves in an emergency situation that requires emergency solutions. It is necessary to return the power to the people through pre-term elections and take other steps that will serve to resolve the legal political socioeconomic and other challenges that Armenia faces today.

Q: How realistic is it that snap elections will be called as a result of your actions here?

A: My citizens’ alarm to the authorities and the people of Armenia is not based on any fleeting consideration or a question and answer about realism. If we postpone to the next cycle of elections the resolution of the issues that face us today, we’ll find ourselves in front of a predetermined election, in other words the people will become more fatalistic than they are today. We talk about what is real in Armenia, which means do nothing or there’s a great danger of renewed violence because there’s a lot of pent-up frustration based on the injustice, inequality, and unlawfulness that reigns in the country today. So my one expectation is from the authorities, and the second expectation is from civil society, from the Armenian public, to find itself the master of the public agenda and not to wait for anybody, whether it’s the incumbent president or opposition parties, to tell it from rostrums and podiums and elsewhere what to do, to empower the Armenian public with the message that their rights are in their hands, that this square, the symbol of liberty, democracy, and liberation for Artsakh, belongs to all Armenians, and there’s no reason for Armenians to be displaced from this square, from their expression of their free will and different views. And I’m happy to report that thousands of people entered the square for the rally on Thursday [March 17] to express solidarity, to take back the square, and to exercise their constitutional rights to be the masters of the square. The important thing now is for the Armenian people to be the master of their own destiny and their own political agenda.

Q: It seems that most Armenians are not politically active, that they can’t be bothered with politics, the youth especially. I’m wondering if they expect regime change or want things to remain status quo, since people are dressing better than they used to, they are working to a certain extent, and so forth. What is your take on the general perception of society?

A: Well I don’t agree with that characterization. Yes, in the city center and the cafés they are better dressed, yes there is a certain fatalism that people don’t belong to the system, to Armenia, that it is impossible to effect change through political process, and that there is general alienation. At the same time, I don’t believe that most Armenian people are well dressed. I would say that at least half of them, my compatriots, are at the poverty line, they live in very difficult conditions. Economic inequality, inflation, and impunity continues to prevail as an epidemic in the country. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a proud citizen of Armenia to try, as long as God allows him, to find himself in the same predicament as the [other] 50 percent of Armenians.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the recent protests lead by Levon Ter-Petrosian. I read that you felt slighted when he and other leaders of the Armenian National Congress entered the square with the protesters on March 17 and did not greet you. Ter-Petrosian seems to have a cult of personality, where he addresses the people like he’s some sort of messiah and does so once every month, but lately more frequently. Does he have any clear-cut goals and is his message actually getting across to the people?

A: Well, it’s not really for me to comment on Armenia’s first president and his political activities. The information you gleaned from the press is incorrect—I was not slighted by anything, I had no expectations. The fact of the matter was that the days prior to the entry of the National Congress and demonstrators—our fellow citizens—into the square, we were in the square, we were proud to be here, and we feel that the return of the square to the people does not belong to any single individual—certainly not to me or for anybody from that podium over there. To say that thanks to him or them the people are back on the square is a disservice to the truth and the people. When they entered the square we welcomed the people, because those are our people, the people of Armenia, that is their right, and it was a political decision for the first president and his entourage not to express their solidarity to me but to rise up to the podium and immediately say that ‘this is an Armenian National Congress rally, and you must follow the commandments and the directives of the National Congress.’ My position is that the time of directives and commandments has passed, that the people themselves have to tell the National Congress, the Dashnaktsutiun, Heritage, and all the others, what their political agenda is. So it was his choice. I think a lot of people expected that expression of solidarity, but I doubt it was a lack of political culture; it was a political position, and all I can say is that from my reading of Armenian politics there is no rethinking in the opposition as to how they approach the issues of the current national crisis. If everybody tries to find a solution by pursuing his supremacy, then there will be no political result, and the Armenian people will stand before the next in a series of disillusionments.

Q: Has anyone ever told you that ‘the country’s not a country,’ and how do you respond?

A: ‘The country’s not a country’ is a reflection of a sense of desperation and fatalism that we find throughout Armenia. It is a call to do nothing, to live your

Raffi Hovannisian surrounded by supporters (photo by Karen Minasyan).

life and to die. And my background and upbringing, and my life in Armenia, are based on a different set of precepts that each of us, and especially all of us together, can change the country and transform the country even if in the last 20 years it has not met our expectations, in terms of domestic policy, rule of law, democracy, and national interests. So some come to me and inquire about my health, say ‘the country’s not a country, and your fast for freedom will fall on deaf ears.’ I understand and respect that point of view, but I will not allow us to be guided by that precept because in the last four days, with what has been taking place in this square—with people coming and going, debating, raising their voice, and expressing themselves—I think that has been a very important development. But a lot more has to be done so that this development is not only the beginning of liberty in Armenia and the return of the people to the square, but a true expression of a national quest to affect political change, not just a subsequent moral victory where people can be happy that they entered the square, the police allowed them, and they left two hours afterwards.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the confrontations protestors often have with the police. It seems that whenever there’s a protest there are police involved, and it’s sometimes hard to understand which side is provoking the confrontation. Most recently at a protest in front of the government building, your fellow parliamentarians were involved in a scuffle with police officers, and there were videos that appeared on the Internet showing what had transpired. Do you think these confrontations are effective at all? What point are people trying to prove by confronting the police?

A: Well on that day, there was a clear cause-effect relationship. There were mothers with sons they lost in the army, people who have been dispossessed, people demanding changes in socioeconomic conditions, drivers who are forced to pay exorbitant customs taxes, vendors who have been driven off the street without being allowed to tend to their families’ needs. They are there every Thursday, allowed to protest before the government meets, and Heritage as an active parliamentary group is always there to support its fellow citizens. On that Thursday the police had prepared an operation against the people. They did not allow the people to approach the government building; it was commanded from above. In my view it was in response to Heritage’s demarche on Feb. 28 in parliament on the issue of the coalition memorandum on the danger that Armenia will turn from a republic to a party state, if it hasn’t done so already. This was a punitive action by the police. So in response to the question of whether anyone gains something from this, of course not. But that’s something to be asked of the police bodies and those who instruct them to deprive Armenian citizens of their constitutional right to gather, to express and to deliver their protest to the powers that be. And so on that particular day it was clear to me that it was a predetermined police operation where they pushed around MPs and citizens who responded in kind. I hope it doesn’t repeat itself, but on that day the police were way out of order.

Q: What is Heritage’s relationship with the ARF-Dashnaktsutiun, and do you foresee as the leader of Heritage an alliance with the party?

A: I think there is great potential for cooperation, for closer coordinated political work in the future. I think we’re very far from reaching the capacity of that united work product. We cooperate very well together in parliament, especially after the ARF came out of the ruling coalition and joined the opposition. We welcomed that. It doesn’t concern us that there are those in the opposition field who are questioning the opposition credentials of the ARF because at one point it was in the coalition, and somewhat responsible for the ills that we see today. I think the ARF is making a transition, and it’s important that in addition to the foreign policy objections that we share, including the shameful Armenian-Turkish protocols, and Armenia’s approach to Artsakh, that democracy, rule of law, human rights, and civil rights, in other words Armenia’s domestic policy, also become the true second focal point of the ARF’s opposition policy. Dashnaktsutiun was founded not only with the aim of liberating Armenia, but with liberating Armenians, and today Armenians in our own country have a great need to be liberated. It is to be hoped that both the domestic and foreign policy agendas of Heritage and Dashnaktsutiun will become more in sync in the months and years ahead.

Q: The other day the Republican Party spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov said there is no way that snap elections will be held anytime soon. What is your response, and what would the people need to do to make the authorities understand that snap elections are expected?

A: Well, obviously if there is no great visit of wisdom into the minds and hearts of the Armenian authorities, then clearly a large show of strength on the part of the people will do that. After the coalition memorandum, if standing above internal divisions and past injustices, Dashnaktsutiun, Heritage, and the Congress stood together, hypothetically, in the same square, in the demand for justice and new elections, I think we would have had a new situation in the republic. That did not happen for reasons known to each of the parties and obvious to the public perhaps. But if we want political change, that’s what needed to happen.

In the current situation, there needs to be a strong political challenge and transformation in the country, and at this point no opposition force can do it alone—no opposition force. That’s why I welcome Dashnaktsutiun’s electoral initiative, I welcome when citizens attend Armenian National Congress rallies. When opposition parties and their leaders take a monopoly on the truth, when they consider themselves the absolute leaders of the opposition, that is the beginning of the end for civil society and political success. It is my hope that we will find a way to get into one square, in one venue. All of Armenia’s citizens who care for their country and want change, including the youth—and there have been a lot of young people coming here from university in the last couple of days—to get them empowered and to convey the message that if there’s no fundamental solution to our national crisis today, we are just postponing the inevitable, and that inevitable is an abyss and a potential violent situation in Armenia. So it’s up to us…in this square and elsewhere, we have to raise our voice.

Q: We’re seeing a few toddlers here playing. What is the future of Armenia for them when they reach adulthood? What will be Armenia at that time?

A: Well, that’s really not for me to say. When the youth approach me, some express their solidarity, but many ask questions—what this is about, what can they do. I ask them, ‘What is your vision of Armenia in 20 years, and how do you expect to get there?’ I had a press conference yesterday and I said that for Armenia’s future, politically, economically, legally, and societally, we have to seek outside the triangle of Armenia’s three presidents. The new alternative for the new Armenia has to come from without that triangle. One journalist close to one of the presidents said there’s no alternative, and I said that for anybody to say in government or opposition that there’s no alternative, the nation-state is damned. You almost always must have an alternative, and in my view the alternative for this movement, for the next elections, and for Armenia’s future in general is the youth and to get them engaged in the Armenian political scene, in the NGOs, in civil society, and ultimately to bring together economists, environmentalists, civil society activists and legal defense of human rights initiatives into one plane and understand locally that we can register this or that little achievement, but we will not have a quantum leap to Armenia’s transformation unless the youth get involved.

Neither revolution nor evolution have proven themselves effective in Armenia, so we have to find a special formula for Armenia’s transformation, and it is the youth that will ultimately have to give you an answer to your question in fact and in deed.

17 Comments on Exclusive Interview with Raffi Hovannisian

  1. avatar Gregory H. Arabian // March 21, 2011 at 10:23 am // Reply

    The Armenian American Community, and the ARF in particular, fought a long, hard battle to gain the independence and freedom of the Armenians and the Armenian State that was decimated by both Rusia and Turkey by the infamous Treaty of Lausanne. Although Armenia gained its independence of the Russian portion, Armenia has not gained its independence from the Turkish Portion of the takeover and is now being blockaded by Turkey onthe east and Azerbaijan on the west. In addition, it was the American Armenians who succeeded in getting the U.S. Congress to give Armenia over $90 million every year since its existence, which is something that goes unacknowledged. Sadley, however, Diasporan Armenians were and are being told to refrain from “interfering” in the internal affairs of the Armenian State and the Armenian Political System, cannot obtain dual citizenship without paying an exhobitant price and are excluded from Armenia’s political and economic life.  Thus, those of us who fought for what Armenia now is and has, are told to “buzz off” because swe are not needed. No wonder that Armenians both within and without are turned off and turned away from Armenia’s troubles. So Armenia continues to suffer, its people are turned inward, and its Diasora are turned off. The dilemma continues.

  2. avatar Give me a break! // March 21, 2011 at 10:59 am // Reply

    Many thanks to the Armenian Weekly and Christian Garbis for an insightful interview.
    One question that never seems to be asked in interviews such as these is “How can Levon Ter-Petrosyan be seriously considered a reform leader when it was he who rigged the presidential election in 1996 – stealing the election from Vazgen Manukyan – and subsequently was forced to resign when he was ready to sign away Karabakh’s right to self-determination?
    No question that the Armenian people deserve better than the current regime.  No question that a popular, united call for change, by the people can eventually bring about that change.  But if that change is to bring back Levon Ter Petrosyan – a dictator that banned political parties, closed newspapers, rigged elections and ultimately was ready to sell out Karabakh – then aren’t we going from the frying pan straight into the fire?
    My best wishes to Raffi in this latest effort to bring about change in Armenia – but giving legitimacy to fake reformers like Levon Ter Petrosyan as part of that effort seems blatantly counter-productive.

  3. Mr. Arabian: I have a lot of respect for you, for you allow your name to be posted (as opposed to a pseudonym). I agree with a lot of what you write, but wish to suggest two points:
    1) While it is true that the US has been allocating $ 90 millions annually to Armenia, and they have done good work with that money, this is a pittance compared to what makes Armenia survive at this time (remittances from ex-patriate Armenian workers);
    2) It costs “nothing” for any of us to obtain Armenian citizenship which opens the right to vote in Armenian elections. You may be mistakenly refering to the 10 years special residency passport, which requires the payment of a $ 400 fee, and allows diasporans to live and own land in Armenia, but does not give us the right to vote.
    Respectfully 

  4. avatar gaytzag palandjian // March 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm // Reply

    I wrote  twice  here on this forum w/rgd to dear Raffi´s Hunger Strike.Quite a few words of both priase to him as well as what  he stands  for etc., First  one disappeared,did  not go through.
    2nd one  also  pulled  the disappearing act..
    So right now  this a is test.if it goes through I shall follow more at length,next.

  5. Hye, Gregory, I agree.  We Armenians of the diaspora are not as other 
    natiionals who came to the USA for other reasons – but they were not fleeing from the Turks and their Turkish Genocide of our Armenian nation.  Our Haiastansi brethern must recognize and understand this – that our Survivors fled for their lives… they had not any other choice – but to flee to civilized nations, settled there, raised families there, and YET through all their pain of their memories of the horrors, raised families who have remained dedicated to Hai Tahd, now the 2nd, 3rd, 4th generations – nearly 100 years!! That in itself is amazing!!  Our ARF, in all their efforts (all their pluses and minuses) have remained strong, have carried our torch for our Haiastan. (A DerBedrossian’s position was against ARF formed in Haiastan to belong with the world-wide  ARF is of the mentality of those who are not patriots – are of communist mentality – of those who steal and take from Haiastan’s citizenry).  Haiastan has not had any patriots in their leaderships into today, 2011!! All these leaderships have ‘stolen/taken’ from the citizens of Haiastan.  Diasporan Armenians have been the ‘givers’ to Armenia!
    Our Haiastansi brethren must be made aware that the diasporan Armenians are not the enemy…
    Our Haiastansi brethren, especially the mislead leaderships to date, must know that although ‘hoghn vrahn chenk’ (we are not on our Armenian lands) our hearts, our minds and our efforts are for the success of the fledgling nation of Haiastan has never been questioned, never denied by the ARF and its followers.
    Again, diasporan Armenians are not the enemy of the citizens of Haiastan… it is  leaderships  of Haiastan who pursue this policy – THESE HAIASTANSI LEADERSHIPS ARE ENEMIES OF FLEDGLING HAIASTAN!! Manooshag

  6. avatar gaytzag palandjian // March 22, 2011 at 10:22 am // Reply

    I just wrote  on another forum re dear Rafi, whom I have met a few  times.last,when I was in Yerevan 2009 summer. He is a patriot with all the meaning of the word. 
    I wish he stops the hunger strike.Those  whose attn´he is trying to attract  do not deserve  his sacrifice. His stature cannot permit  him to go  on both physically and s`piritually.
    His health may be impaired.Not worth it to make that sacrifice  for those…..
    And one this  morning  on Armenian T.V.  H1 channel had the nerve to say¨what else does  he want ,we do all we can…¨ yes indeed.The  only way out to start a NEW MODE  of Work  by the people,which I advocate,alongside  theirs.For the people to have  that mode  of electoral system and Governance, I have suggested   and still maintain that our HUGE COLLECTIVITIES  of the professional Colleagues  Associations members can achieve  only through their TEAMWORK AND THEIR  YET TO BE CREATED  NATIONAL INVESTMENT TRUST  FUND.HOPE HERITAGE PAARTY DOES  THAT.THE ARF CANNOT, BECAUSE THEY ARE COMMITTED TO THEIR AGENDA,PERIOD. BUT I DO NOT THINK THEY WILL OPPOSE  TO THIS THESIS  OF MINE,BECAUSE IT IS NATION BLDG  NOT DESTROYING.SO  MUCH FOR NNOW

  7. Very true, but things has changed …. don’t you think it is time for you to go back to Armenia … and buid it with bricks not words.

  8. avatar gaytzag palandjian // March 24, 2011 at 11:05 am // Reply

    If Aram is addressing to me  his ¨going back to Armenia  and build  with briks, etc., He is to be badly surprized.Me  and those  like me are doing plenty  from oversea.Supporting NGO´s,donating  CASH  many a time over to Hayastan, whether through AGBU-after earthquake,BEGGING ODAR  GIANT CORPORATIONS  RECEIVING   6 tons  of Food and Airlifting to leninakan ,again AND THEN MONTHLY CASH PAYMENTS  FOR 16 MONTHS, after quake etc., also even now as sponsor to a handicapped childrens´centre  and more  to come yet.Going to RA/Artsakh pertty sooooon,
    so go you grind your oxydated axe  elsewhere….
    May I ask what  have  you done or doing,if you are Armenian.As  here there aare turks and turco azeris on this forum evidently from such like posts  as  yours

  9. avatar gaytzag palandjian // March 24, 2011 at 11:26 am // Reply

    Right now  the Trukish Airways to sstart  VAN to Yerevan 2 twise  weekly  flights
    Aslo 5  Armenian churches  are  to be repaired  in Turkey, etc., etc.,
    Beware naiv  Armenians both in RA and Diaspora.What  they are trying to imply is COME WE LIVE  LIKE BROTHER AND SISTER  AGAIN ,DO NOT PURSUE  GENOCIDE RECOGNITION AND IN  EXTENSION—–RESTITUTION COMPENSATION  BLOOD  MONEY ETC.,
    T O WHICH I SAY O.K.  BUT FIRST LET  US SETTLE THE ACCOUNTS.
    ENOUGH   OF SUGAR COATESD  TURKISH DELIGHT OFFERINGS.WE  KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DRIVING AT. WE ARE  NO SIMPLETONS …
    LIKE THE ARMENIAN INTERLOCUTOR  ASKED  THIS AKTAY, WHAT  ABOUT  YOUR GOVT  TRYING  HARD TO DABALEL, CRUSH…ARMENIAN GENOCIDE  RECOGNITION?
    to this  the intellectual replied  we are trying to get  the public concilliate  on both sides.YOU …HOW CAN WE CONCILLIATE  WITHOUT YOUR PART BEGGING PARDON,MAKING COMPENSATIONS–
    WHAT  IS MORE  THEY ARE ALSO IMPLYING  IF THE  WESTERN ARMENIAN  SUPREME COUNCIL IN EUROPE  IS TRYING TO DO JUST  THAT  AND DECLARE WESTERN ARMENIAN GOVT. IN EXILE, WE   TURKEY  ,INSTEAD OFFER  YOU  TO COME LIVE WITH US BROTHERLY.
    INDEED WITHOUT SAYING UNDER  IF  NOT ATATURK , PHOTO UNDER TURKISH  FLAG  ….SAME AS  YOU  ARE SUPPORTIN AZERBASIJAN   AZERBABOONS TO DO, AS WOMAN HERE CALLS THEM …
    SO GO GRIND YOUR OXYDATED  AXE  ELSEWHERE..
    ARMENIANS  EVERYWHERE  BE  VERY CAUTIOUS, THEY ARE TRYING TO TAKE US IN AGAIN. THEIR  PROTOCOLS  DID  NOT SUCCEED  NETIHER  PREVIOUS   T  A  R  C,NOR ANY OTHER  SUCH  WILL SUCCEED. WE ARE  NOT  YOUR  RAYAS  ANYMORE!!!!!

  10. avatar Varaz Syuni in Amsterdam // March 24, 2011 at 10:55 pm // Reply

    Good and true answers from Raffi Hovannisian.

    1.Republic of Georgia gets some 2-3 billion dollar help per year from US.

      Some 40-50 million US aid to Armenia VERSUS 2-3 billion to Georgia.

    2. I hate to say this, but still I will: 

    Of course, there are Diasporan Armenians (Western Armenians) who are doing fantastic job in Armenia and Artsakh.  That’s true. But they are few. I am not talking about giving money in the first place.

    I do believe that MOST Diasporan/Western Armenians do not (politically) get involved in Armenia, because deep down in their heart they do NOT feel there are the SAME as/one with  Eastern Armenians in Armenia: different language, history,  habbits, etc.

    Diasporans hepled a lot financially. That’s true and that is not forgotton. But I think it was/is , in the first place, some kind of buying of inner peace, to say/think: “Look, I gave X or Y amount of money (or this or that) to this and that”. So  you can sleep in your ARMENIAN bed at night well.

    I do think too that Diasporan Armenians (specially in US) are TOO MUCH concentrated on Genocide recognition. It’s become an identity and way of life.

    Genocide recognition is important, but it must be only a PART of life.

    I do understand the feelings. But right now there are liberated territories in Artsakh. Is THAT NOT a good compensation AT THIS MOMENT? It is RIGHT THERE, dear Diasporan Armenians.  So you are waiting for….?

    It is so easy to complain. Just go and make it YOURS.

    Armenia is not only downtown Yerevan.

  11. avatar gaytzag palandjian // March 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm // Reply

    Varaz Syuni,
    Are  you certain Georgia gets 2/3 billion dollars a year.I thought it did not surpass the One billion.How come? have you stopped to think WE HAVE GIVEN MORE  TO THE U.S. BY WAY OF MORE  THAN 10,000 SOLDIERS MARTYRED IN WWII.THEY SAY IN NORMANDY YOU CAN GO SEE  THOUSANDS  OF ARMENIAN NAME GRAVES…TO THE RUSSIAN, WE GAVE  MORE  THAN 200,000 YOUNG ARMENIANS LIVES,ALSO IN FRANCE FEWER BUT WE DID.ALWAYS ON TEH SIDE OF THE SO CALLED GOOD  GUYS–
    IS  THIS THE    R E  W  A  R  D  ?
    agood dashnag  friend when i told him 12 yrs ago that we brough billions  of dollars from middle east coutnries when had to leave  those war torn,civil, revolution etc.,he cut me short  and said also consider the sweat  we mixed  on these soils  working    and paying  taxes…what the HELL  HAVE THE GEORGIANS  DONE, TO PLEASE U.S.–
    SHALL  I SAY? i WILL INDEED, tHEY PRETEND THEY ARE GOING TO STOP big bear RUSSIA FROM BEING THE CAUCASUS….AND  PEOPLE  LIKE  a-bUSH GO FOR THAT…
    wHY DO i WRITE a-bUSH.tHIS IS  WHAT KATIA pELTEKIOAN CORRESPONDENT TO aRMENIAN groong  AGENCY USED  TO WRITE HIS  NAME.wHEN ASKED WHY THE …big  A…she said just take  that  - /hyphen  off and then read  it…
    SoTHIS IS WHAT WE GET  EH?
    never  mind we have also bright  minded  .One  in S.of France  has  written a book titled  ÉSH NAHADAG  HAY ZHOGHOVOURT..TRYING TO MAKE  US UNDERSTAND  THAT WHAT  n  a patriot  like    Njdeh  has written LONG AGO-I HAVE  HIS BOOKS, IS CORRECT. WE MUST  NOT PRAISE  OR WORK AND OR FIGHT FOR  O D A R S ,  ONLY FOR US

  12. avatar Avo@yahoo.com // March 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm // Reply

    They just announced Raffi’s theatrics is over. Thankfully, since Armenians are not sub-Saharan natives, most intelligent Armenians see through this political circus orchestrated from abroad. Armenia’s political opposition is a bad joke.

  13. Varaz Syuni in Amsterdam:

    Very insightful re Diaspora/Western Armenians vis-a-vis RoA/Eastern Armenians – and sadly true.

    Disagree about Genocide Recognition efforts: it HAS to continue, for a lot of strategic and tactical reasons.
    Although, you are right in that not nearly enough is being done on liberated, historic Armenian lands: AG Recognition should not take that much effort, and no reason there should be an Either/Or choice: it should ‘And’.

    Re Georgia and US$2- US$3 Billion: it would be almost impossible to get the real figure, because Georgia is a special ‘darling’ case for the NeoCon West: a lot military and non-military money is being pumped into it off-books – to keep it in the Western camp and use it to threaten Russia. It could be $1 Billion, $2-$3 Billion, or $5 Billion.

  14. Varaz Syuni, 
    You have not mentioned the illegal and dishonest leaderships of Haiastan who are most guilty of stealing from the citizens of Haiastan.  Too the strengths of our Armenian diasporans in their efforts for our Haiaastan.  When patriots replace this caliber, the communistic mentality of these self-centered, misdirected, and ill equipped leaders – then our Haiastan, a small nation, will stand tall amongst the civilized nations.
    Your comments reek of negatives:  you negate what the ARF and today the ANCA have accomplished – bringing and continuing our Haiastan, not within – but even outside of a Haiastan (USSR) all of these years.  Thus honoring our Survivors who fled to all the nations of the world.  Today we are MIASIN the world over – after nearly 100 years!!  How many nations, outside of their own lands, continue to exist?Today, based upon accomplishments outside of our homeland – has been the deciding factor, today, for the supports and strengths that are/will be there for our Haiastan when the misfits, these leaders to date who have stolen even from their own citizenry – AHMOT!  You throw up all your questions… For in ‘complaining’ you are not able to resolve or see that, historically, what has been accomplished today, the resurrection of our people via their ongoing efforts – together with  the  2nd, the 3rd and now the 4th generations – an accomplishment that is uniquely Armenian!!  Manooshag

  15. Genocide Recognition AND strengthening the RA.  Is there really a choice?  We need both!

  16. Gregory, ayoh!  I believe it is the leaderships, all of whom are of the communist mentality – who take/steal and to hell with the citizens of Haiastan!  Too, from the first president, DerBedrossian, until today with Serge and his cohorts… they have all been self seekers, and too, ill equipped mentally and politically to lead our homeland. Diasporan Armenians have offered much to Haiastan and too,  when patriots come into power, as historically, so many great dedicated and honest men who gave their all for the nation that they loved, for the citizens whom they loved… These misdirected, and unprepared, and actually not even the brightest have delayed the advancement and the progress that Haiastan is due and worthy of.
    Twenty years, of misfits, misleading our nation… One thing that impresses me is that the Armenian nation’s citizens are highly educated, aware that  their leaderships – have actually dishonestly ascended themselves to the presidency…  Armenia’s history, of brilliant, honest and dedicated leaders is now shamed by these who have come forth with their self centered concerns… and their idiotic policies while using the benefits derived from the diasporans.  Yet will not include the diasporans who have been – for all the years these leaders were within the USSR – the diasporans have learned and advanced in the realm of world politics… and more!  Todays leaders have been not patriots – they are as the Turks – using the mode of ‘controlling’ the citizens of the Haiastan and too diaspora who seek to raise Haiastan to join with the civilized nations of the world.
    Patriots, both men and women, so many who seek  to advance  Haiastan.  Too, I count the diasporans as patriots – carrying the torch for our  AZAD ANGAGH HAIASTAN… for nearly 100 years!
    Manooshag

  17. Hye Gregory, ayoh! It is the misdirected leaderships who these 20 years have been ‘receiving’ benefits for Haiastan – from the efforts of the diasporans in USA – who take and steal from their own nation and citizenry (atypical of those of the ‘communistic’ mentality). Too then have the GALL to assume the stance that the diasporans are not worthy to be considered as of Haiastan – these diaporans who give with their heart, mind and souls – which ALL these 20 year leaders lack.  These leaderships have been as harmful to our fledgling Haiastan as have been the Turks and their ongoing abuse of Armenians, until today, 2011. These same leaderships of Haiastan, too, are also the enemies of Haiastan.  Usually the enemy is from without – but our citizens of Haiastan, too, have their enemy from ‘within’… illegally self seekers, stealing from our Haiastan… not only ill equipped, not only inexperienced, but NONE PATRIOTS. Today, these leaderships, too, are they enemy of Hiastan – AHMOT!! Only men and women – patriots –  shall bring Haiastan to the levels it is worthy and deserving.  Too, then our Haiastan, a small nation, but it shall stand tall together with all the civilized nations of the world – ARSHANEE.  Manooshag

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