A BETTER WAY TO AID CITIZENS OF ARMENIA
Editorial 6 December 2009
Many Diaspora Armenians who care for the future of the Republic of
Armenia (ROA), Artsakh, and that of the Armenian nation, have been
heaving on the horns of a dilemma in recent years, particularly since
the Armenia-Turkey Protocol controversy.
"We care for the welfare of Armenia but…"
The "but" stands for the incompetent at best, corrupt at worst ROA
governments which have mismanaged Armenia’s affairs since independence
almost two decades ago.
Should Diaspora Armenians continue to provide assistance–financial,
technical, educational, promotional, etc. when the country is run by
an incestuous cabal of mafia leeches and Armani-clad gangsters? Should
Diaspora Armenians send funds to the motherland when the oligarchs
skim a significant portion of that money? Will this complacent "cost
of doing business" continue interminably?
Some Diaspora Armenians have "resolved" the above quandary by choosing
diametrically opposite options. One group has decided not to assist
ROA so long as the country is run by Grade A hooligans. Others have
decided to continue to assist Armenia no matter what. The latter group
has made the case that the curtailment of Diaspora support would hurt,
above all, the ordinary citizens of Armenia who are already hurting
economically, politically, culturally… The same group of people also
maintains that it would be the height of irresponsibility to abandon
ROA at a time when its very existence is being threatened by Turkey and
Turkey Jr.–Azerbaijan. People who share the same stand also believe
in the concept of "trickle down" economy–even if the lion’s share
of the assistance is lifted by a corrupt administration–eventually
some of the money will reach the hands of those who need it most,
this group likes to believe.
Other voices–luckily a minority–preach a violent overthrow of the
government, possibly with the help of the army. "A bullet in the head
of Serzh Sargsyan" would solve the problem, these extremists say.
They, of course, have no clue that the "disease" in Armenia is not
confined to one man.
Is there a more sensible option than the above?
Since widespread corruption, lack of transparency and accountability
in the ROA government are not mere allegations but indisputable facts,
Diaspora Armenians should devise new ways to help their brethren in
The Diaspora should work with existing non-governmental officers
(NGOs), establish new NGO institutions, train individuals or groups of
individuals for specialties much needed in Armenia and the neighbouring
countries . Through these NGOs, Diaspora organizations should establish
employment, social services, welfare and skills-teaching offices to
directly assist needy families and individuals.
The Hamahaygagan fundraising organizations have the right idea, but
more needs to be done. Let’s by-pass the smooth-talking gangsters,
and let’s form a direct pipeline from Diaspora to the ordinary citizens
of Armenia, without the benefit of interference from the vultures.