By Nubar Dorian
After centuries of occupation, exile and the great Genocide of 1915, our survival was indeed a miracle. Armenians thought that Providence would smile on us and we were fortunate to declare the first independent Republic of Armenia in 1918. The event that we had prayed for, hoped for and died for was Providential and filled our hearts with gratitude and eyes with tears of joy.
Unfortunately our celebration was short lived and lasted only two years. Once more our land was occupied and we were forced to live under the communist regime. Decades-long Soviet life however, while difficult, at least had stopped our bloodshed. We were wrong to assume that Armenian misery would recede but a massive earthquake in 1988 killed more than 40,000 innocent souls, left close to a million Armenians homeless, helpless, devastated and ruined.
God however, had not forgotten the Armenian and in the whirlpool of poverty, sickness, hunger and pain and the demise of the Soviet Union we once again declared independence two decades ago and finally became free to become a real nation with our own flag and language as members of United Nations. We were free to live and love and grow and multiply. Our destiny was finally in our own hands and henceforth we would make our own history.
The chilling truth is that after some 20 years the history we wrote is in reality grim, unpromising and unfortunate. While some will disagree with this assessment and even consider one word of it too long and wrong, here are some thoughts to ponder: Armenia is independent yes, but people are unhappy, confused, perplexed and divided. More than a dozen political parties fight each other for influence, position and power. There seems to be no one to sound the alarm and demand unity, order and discipline. Bribery, cronyism, rigging of elections when possible are rampant. Somehow some people have become billionaires, leaving the majority of Armenians in poverty and still others in soup kitchen lines in order to survive. Those who still deny the situation in Armenia presently are either in a state of denial or are deaf to hear or blind to see.
Diaspora Armenians all across the universe have demonstrated unprecedented and exemplary love, generosity and caring for the homeland and continue to pour billions of dollars to alleviate the suffering of our loved ones. The governing body of Armenia however, takes all this largesse for granted, plays on our emotions and demands more and more help without consulting diaspora leadership on important decisions that they make. They invite some extremely generous donors to wine, dine and decorate with medals. Appointing a representative to be a liaison between the homeland and the diaspora they assume will satisfy everyone. On occasion they will declare a world Armenian conference with thousands of people and this showcase becomes a circus. They sent Diaspora Armenians a clear message: give money, not advice.