Thursday, November 30, 2006


Hakob Badalyan

Lragir, Armenia
Nov 29 2006

The annual telethon of Armenia Foundation made it clear that it is becoming crucial to unite the nation's potential and use it for the common goal. Perhaps, in this situation the question "who is to blame" is not as important as "what should be done to solve this problem". However, it is impossible to find an answer unless the group of people to blame are not exposed and isolated from the all-Armenian donations. Otherwise, no solution will work, because there will always be the "guilty" who have turned the national donations into a shield for their own careers. For instance, the NKR president believes and is trying to persuade everyone that donations are made for the reconstruction of Karabakh considering his personality. The executive director of Armenia Foundation Naira Melkumyan believes that the telethons have record high results especially in the period when she is the executive director. The president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan believes that under his office the Diaspora started trusting the Homeland more. If Armenia gains from this competition, it could be overlooked to let it "favor" Armenia: let everyone believe that the nation sets records on the pages of history of national donations thanks to them. After all, the thing that matters is to raise money for the reconstruction of Karabakh.

But is this competition helpful to raising money and is this money spent on the reconstruction of Karabakh? It would be wrong and unrealistic to state that there are no results in either aspects.

Money is certainly raised, and something is certainly reconstructed in Karabakh. However, it is seen by the naked eye that it is not adequate considering the nation's potential within the Armenia-Diaspora-Karabakh triangle. However, before getting down to the nation's potential it is very important to find out if the volume of reconstruction in Karabakh corresponds to at least the local potential - that of Armenia and Karabakh. If we consider the budgets of both countries, it is adequate. But when we consider the way of life and the financial possibilities of the leaderships of these two states, the presidents, the prime ministers and the ministers, we start to doubt that the potential of Armenia and Karabakh is used at full to reconstruct Karabakh. In this case, the question occurs whether the donations by the Armenians worldwide are helpful for the future of Karabakh or in reality, in its depth, these donations obstruct the formation of Karabakh and, why not, also Armenia as states.

What is the problem? When the leaderships of Armenia and Karabakh turn the local potential for reconstruction and development into personal wealth, the donations by Armenians worldwide become a shield and justification for this action. All that should be carried out with the local potential is carried out with the donations of the Diaspora, and whatever could be done on these donations is not done.

It appears that the telethon of Armenia Foundation is used to justify the failure of the governments of Armenia and Karabakh, serving the longevity of this government because if there were no progress thanks to these donations, the population of Karabakh would demand account from their own and also the Armenian government to some degree, but not from the Diaspora, of course. In that case, they would have to explain to people why they ride in cars that cost as much as the water pipeline or a school but cannot extinguish fire on the wheat field that inflicts immense losses on the farmers. Or why they live in castles that cost an entire village, whereas in villages people do not have basic conveniences. Either they have to explain or they have to quit quietly. Therefore, they prefer to leave for America and explain some military and patriotic things to the Diaspora. It is easier and more profitable. However, Diaspora seems to have stopped believing these patriotic travelers because the more money the developing Homeland-Diaspora relation promises, the better they know how and on what these people live in reality, who persuade them to open their purses during 12 hours of the live telethon and yet for the 11 months that precede it. They cannot understand that if they beg the Diaspora for money, they had better not show up during the telethon. In that case, there will be more donations. For instance, a Diasporan cannot give money to the Homeland as a national donation when he sees that an actor or a singer is speaking about national values, who was advertising a definite presidential candidate two years ago, forgetting about national values he confesses. The Diaspora would perhaps agree to give money to the Homeland if there was 12 hours of silence instead of 12 hours of hypocrisy, and I believe that in that case they might agree to pay for silence separately.

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