Another Drop that Became an Ocean

By Karen Mkrtchyan, New Delhi, 24 October 2011

By Karen Mkrtchyan, New Delhi, 24 October 2011

Karen Mkrtchyan is a native of Armenia studying in India. The below is his second submission to His interest in Armenian affairs is a reminder that our youth is not indifferent to our national affairs. We should listen to their voices, encourage and nurture them, and provide them with the tools to express themselves.- Editor

By Karen Mkrtchyan, New Delhi, 24 October 2011

By Karen Mkrtchyan, New Delhi, 24 October 2011

Karen Mkrtchyan is a native of Armenia studying in India. The below is his second submission to His interest in Armenian affairs is a reminder that our youth is not indifferent to our national affairs. We should listen to their voices, encourage and nurture them, and provide them with the tools to express themselves.- Editor

I read both Benon Sevan’s and Ara Manoogian’s articles with interest, and I must say both sides have points I agree with. However, I thought Sevan’s article was somewhat boring. Not that I want to sound disrespectful but rather am a bit skeptical about his intentions. Why is it always the same? Whenever people complain, there is always someone who seems to be satisfied and comes out in public to say that he is happy and that we should not protest. Why do some people like being the odd man out? We all know how much Armenia has developed, not that we are blind. Neither are we ungrateful.

Sevan claims he understands Armenia has achieved a great deal in a short time, but we don’t. Well, we all do. If necessity is the mother of invention, dissatisfaction is the mother of complaints (or agitations, if you like). Nobody is groaning about what we have achieved. But we do need to and are justified to object about the things we didn’t achieve when we could have done so. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Is Mr. Sevan suggesting that we ignore the corruption we see around, the financial problems of the people, the Armenian government’s utter disregard of the various problems faced by citizens, the number of migrants who leave as if to earn a livelihood but land in more poverty and sometimes even in jail? Has anyone noted the rise in prostitution in Armenia? Why are young mothers taking to the age-old trade as means of feeding their children and educating them? Why are so many Armenians joining other faiths? By faiths I don’t mean recognized religions but Jehovah’s Witnesses or whatever they are called? Why are there so many disgraceful cases in the army? Why is there a sudden hike in the number of suicides? Why is the Armenian Church neglecting our old churches and is busy building a new seat for his "holiness" in Yerevan? Or why are our soldiers, who fought in the Karabagh war of which all of us seem to be proud of left neglected? Why? Is it because we achieved so much?

Have you watched elections in Armenia? Have you seen the oligarchs demanding and bribing the population to vote for them? I know what my mother goes through at every election. I know how many of her friends were kicked out of work for not voting for the owner of the company where she works. Is this what we have achieved? Or do we ignore these because we seem to have achieved a lot in mere 20-year independence? How many questions do I have to ask to realize that we have achieved so little?

I agree that we shouldn’t only complain. But we shouldn’t blindly praise either, or act like the only satisfied person. Anyone can blindly praise the government, but we do not live in the Stalin era. Is it the duty of the government to address all the issues? If you claim it can’t, then I’ll affirm it’s not capable of running the affairs of the county and should resign.

We all are to blame. We elect the government and then we complain. Levon Ter-Petrossian runs again for elections. He has no chance, but even if the people–the same people who seem to have forgotten his tenure and who kicked him out–elect him president, within a week protests will start to flow. We love complaining. We need more democracy and less of mafia rule and less of oligarchy. And let the Church remember God sometimes. That’s what we want.

As to how much Armenia or rather Yerevan has developed, we all can see…Yerevan is developing. Are the Armenians of Armenia?

  1. Wow!

    Is Mr. Benon Sevan listening? Are Benon Sevans listening? I urge him and others to hear the voice of this young Armenian who has nothing to lose but his shirt.

    Bravo Karen(s), wherever you are, in India or Armenia, in Lebanon or California. You, the young, are our future. You are the ones to be entrusted in finding the way to get out of this impasse. It seems the gray hairs that we carry are useful only to weave rags.

  2. Very smart person you are

    Very smart person you are, Karen.  I like the way you explain things. It’s all common sense and logical.  Wish we have more people like you as leaders!

    People represent a country. Quoting you, "Yerevan is developing. Are the Armenians of Armenia?". It says all.

  3. A Drop as Big as an Ocean

    Obviously you are an intelligent and articulate student from Armenia studying in India. It is your privilege to complain but it is not my or Mr. Benon Sevan’s privilege to complain the way you do for we have seen change and believe that better days will come with constructive criticism and determined patience to bring about change.
    You may not realize, for us you present the very bright spot that Benon Sevon is advocating. You are an ocean like drop, if you will, when a mere some twenty years ago it was the drought that prevailed. We all know about the corruption, prostitution, unemployment; you name it we know or have read about it. However, amidst all the darkness, you are the few shining examples we should not only ignore but also be inspired and patiently strive to better things, as you are patiently endeavoring towards your career. Of course and I believe deep down you know it as well that Benon Sevan is in no way suggesting to turn a blind eye to corruption. In my view, he is advocating to accentuate the positive and patience to bring about much needed change. Let me explain.
    You are studying in India which means you were legally permitted to leave Armenia and someone is footing you bill. If it is your parents, then they are the beneficiaries of the new order that would not be there for them under the Soviet regime. If it is a NGO that is sponsoring you, then you are a beneficiary of an open society that was closed in Soviet era. If it is the Armenian government that is sponsoring you, then kudos to them as well. You are free to articulate your mind without fearing of any repercussion to you when you or should you return or to your parents presently living in Armenia. A student like you would have been drumbeating in praise of the prevailing corrupt order during the Soviet era.
    Some forty years ago as university student on tour to Soviet Union, I gave up shopping in Yerevan for a decent gift to the sister of my classmate. Few years later we were married. I cite this to make a point of how desperate I was to purchase the gift she had wanted to have, a camera and some crystal glassware. When I complained of my inability to find the items to our relatives, he told me that I could not shop in Yerevan and that he would procure me all I needed. The word was then “dagets”, i.e under the table and indeed he procured the camera along with crystal ware. And when I toured Yerevan in a public bus I saw that all the passengers paid their dues, but the driver gave passes only to some and the inspector later never bothered to question those who had no tickets. My host told me that the passengers are bribing. At the end of the day all on the take, the driver to the minister of transportation would be accountable for X number of tickets when many more passengers had taken the ride and would pocket the difference. Our elderly relatives praised my parents for procuring them documents of their employment in Syria or Lebanon before their repatriation to Armenia in 1947 enabling them to qualify to receive social security in Armenia. Yet they pointed out to me that they needed to pay a percentage of their pension to the postman otherwise the voucher will not be delivered to them in the mail and there would be no one to complain for the postman, postmaster and all were on the take. I can cite more examples of the rampant corruption I became aware in the few days I stayed in Armenia. Such was the order of the day then.

     I believe Armenia has come along way since those dark days and much is more amenable for change; and as I pointed out you are a shining example of the change I would like to accentuate. However, regretfully we read more of the corruptors than we read of the likes of you. 

  4. Karen, I commend your critique

    I commend  your critique. First attend to repairs, renovations of Monasteries in RA/Artsakh then go over to Anadolu (western Armenia).

    But then please let’s understand  how our intelligentsia´s  mindset  works. They think and believe  they can outwit Mr. Erdogan and his clique´s diplomacy.

    What’s being implrmented is the old Ottoman policy with a new face. Repair a few Armenian churches and thus blow dust  into the eyes  of the Euro-American public, demonstrating to the world community that great Turkey is indeed on the right path to DEMOCRACY. So, do please let  us into the EU! Thanks for already voting  Azerbaijan as a non-permanent  member of the Security Council at  the UN. Also many many thanks for previously putting  Mr. Chavoushoghlu at the head of the August Council of Europe, even though we are not a member.

    This tells it all; but can you try to make our Paremid Pilgrims understand  that  the whole thing is STAGED?

    I wrote in another site  how hard  I tried  to have  our monasteries  in RA repaired through organizing  3  Day Fairs by the name of each Monastery; but in yerevan there are  people  who do not wish  that  to happen. The scheme  was to have Fairs on Church/Monastery compounds, neighboring villagers  bringing  their handicraft to sell, paying daily nominal rent like at vernissage and some 20% for repair  expenses and renovation of monasteries and the rest  for themselves. This would have been a self-supporting program and without delving into government’s or St. Etchmiadzin’s coffers….but  an aid of a top Lady in Yerevan vehemently opposed  it saying it is impossible to do that, and the historian  preferred to go visit Anadolu relics instead of joining up to try to realize this project at HOME TURF.

    Go figure  out our  mindset!

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