A Tale of Two Countries

By Berge Minassian MD FRCP(C), Toronto, 4 November 2009

A colleague and I recently returned from an extensive work trip to Armenia and to Georgia where we taught neurology. During our visit we interacted with a wide cross section of society–from the highly educated to people on the street. The Armenia-Turkey Protocols were signed while we were in the area. Our visit to the two Caucasian countries brought to light many psychological differences between Armenia and Georgia.

Georgians are proud of their identity: they demonstrated a strong sense of ownership of their country and of their destiny. They are full of hope and enthusiasm. Corruption has been dramatically curtailed and the oligarchs reduced, removed or weakened.


By Berge Minassian MD FRCP(C), Toronto, 4 November 2009

A colleague and I recently returned from an extensive work trip to Armenia and to Georgia where we taught neurology. During our visit we interacted with a wide cross section of society–from the highly educated to people on the street. The Armenia-Turkey Protocols were signed while we were in the area. Our visit to the two Caucasian countries brought to light many psychological differences between Armenia and Georgia.

Georgians are proud of their identity: they demonstrated a strong sense of ownership of their country and of their destiny. They are full of hope and enthusiasm. Corruption has been dramatically curtailed and the oligarchs reduced, removed or weakened.

In addition to their visible patriotism, Georgians have a strong attachment to their church and venerate their spiritual leaders. Although they complain that Saakashvili is not doing enough, most Georgians support Georgia’s president. Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital is affluent and clean. However, it’s not as pretty as Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. A great deal of the Georgian development is due to financial aid from the United States.

Massive, perfectly constructed highways crisscross Georgia, including the road leading to Javahkh. In addition to the improved road network in the mostly Armenian-inhabited Javahkh, Georgia is extending other services to encourage Armenians to feel they are part of Georgia. However, Tbilisi has enacted new rules which are resented by Javahkh Armenians. For example, Javahkh Armenians used to go to Armenia to deliver their babies. Now they are not allowed to bring back the baby unless they obtain Armenian citizenship for the newborn.

At the Georgia-Armenia border Georgia’s customs buildings are large, clean and imposing, whereas the Armenian structures are small and look derelict.

South Ossetians, who have separated from Georgia, are said to be aware of the progress being made in Georgia. Since they have seen no similar improvement in their enclave, they are wondering which country they should belong to.

What’s the prevailing mood in Armenia? Citizens of Armenia do not trust their government or their church. They also have an immense disdain and hatred for the oligarchs. More significantly, they feel no ownership of their country or its future.

There was near complete disinterest in the Protocols. Not that Armenians did not have views about the Protocols: they felt their opinion did not matter. The consensus was that whatever the country’s oligarchs-political leadership decided would come to pass. Most Armenians feel no pride in their country and have little hope for the future. Their dreams of a progressive Armenia have been dashed. Since many, if not most, feel no commitment to building a progressive and democratic society, they have turned inward, toward personal rather than societal needs. Thus, it’s not surprising that many Armenians contemplate leaving their homeland.

 

 
5 comments
  1. What’s the point?

    Would the author care to explain as to the the point of this article?  OK, we understand, Georgians are great fascists and Armenians are corrupt, stupid and depressed.  Next point? 

    Let me remind the readers about the annecdote on Georgians, "those proud princes" who seem to all be princes, by the way.

    "When you meet a Georgian with whose wife you have had biblical knowledge, pretend that he doesn’t know that you know that he knows you have had such carnal knowledge with his wife.  Once you tell him the thing he always knows, only then he will feel insulted and lash out with his wine bong to crush your skull, only to find out that he can neither throw a worthwhile punch nor swing his wine guzzling horn.  But he sure as hell can dance tippy toe, whirling and twirling, sticking his chest out like a make pigeon, holding his breath till purple in the face until the audience has gone away."   

    Remember that in Addis Ababa’s history we have had only one Georgian, who was apparently a merchant and he too was a "Brinz."  All Georgians are "royalty."  In essence, every dod u takanak who owned a couple of hectares with serfs was a "brinz."  My maternal and paternal grandparents both were owners of many hectares before the genocide and exodus.  According to Georgian "standards," that must make me a "former super brinz, royalty extraordinaire." 

    Listen, Armenians are depressed because they know the mysery they are faced with.  Georgians are "proud" because frankly they can’t tell the difference. 

     

    1. Hagop, do you not see the
      Hagop,

      Don’t you see the point of my article?

      The point is that most Armenians rightly do not feel that they are in control of their destinies and the destiny of their country.  Many rightly see that sacrificing of themselves for the benefit of selfish rulers is not worth it.  Many are therefore temporarily suppressing their nationalism and focusing on how they can save and better the lot of their family even if they have to leave.  The democratic deficit in Armenia is seriously damaging Armenia.

      I hope you are very well.

      Berge

  2. Kartsiq
    Kecce Dzer  kayqn anhrajesht  nyuterov  voronc hnaravor che kardal  cucataxtakneri  patcharov. Syvorecreq kardal aranc cucataxtakneri:
    Mets hachuyqov skseci hayeren hodvatsn -cstacvec:
    Harganqnerov  Gegartin, tagandavor Tigran Abrahamyanin

  3. I’ll tell you how dense

    I’ll tell you how dense Georgians can be. Although their land is larger, more fertile, and they have access to the Black Sea, a Georgian I once met expressed jealousy that Armenia had a diaspora. The ignoramus didn’t realize that the diaspora is a result of the genocide and that it would have been much better for the Armenian nation had the overwhelming majority of Armenians been living in their homeland.

    Reversing gears slightly… while we have every reason not to be friendly, let alone admire Georgians as a people, we have to admit that it’s par for the course for nations to dislike their neighbours. If we could put the American foreign policy apart from this thesis, nations have conflicts with their neibours, and not a nation which is 10,000 miles away, just like the chance that a homeowner would have an argument with his neighbour is astronomically higher than having a similar disagreement with a homeowner living at the other end of town.

    It’s only in modern times (see Europe, North America) that nations and states have begun to reconcile to the proximity of the hated neighbour. 

  4. Two countries by Dr. Berj Minassian
    America has to wake up and refrain to be a false witness to the reality because it is against the ten commandments.  America is going to suffer for all it’s unbiblical acts.

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