On the Armenian Blogosphere

by Nathan Hamm on 12/21/2005 · 43 comments

As part of my duties over at Global Voices Online, I read a few hundred blogs from across the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe every day. Usually this is the kind of thing I’d just ignore, but it’s bugging me every single day lately, so I might as well come out with it…

With a few exceptions (some of which will be named shortly), Armenian blogs have been very painful to read of late. In fact, nothing has recently made me less sympathetic to or interested in Armenia or Armenian issues than a good chunk of the Armenian blogosphere (Diasporans, primarily).

There’s been a bit of pretty bad behavior on the part of the Azeri military lately in Nakhichevan that probably deserves more attention than it’s been getting. Heck, I’d even point out some of the blog posts about it if they didn’t read like White Nationalist sites ranting about the Zionist Occupied Government. It seems less like they’re trying to convince people of the truth of their arguments (and, despite being an obvious Turcophile, I’m inclined to side with them on quite a number of things) than they are trying to outdo each other in nasty denunciations of Azeris and Turks.

I was already well-acquainted with the divide in the Armenian blogosphere between those who think any criticism of Armenia is absolutely out of bounds (those with their own version of Reagan’s 11th commandment) and, well, the rest. But the racism is new to me. (And I’m sure they’d be quick to claim it’s all just self-defense and that they are the real victims.)

But hey, if you want to see the early development of the kind of vicious ideologies that took hold across Yugoslavia in the late 80s through the 90s, go seek out these blogs. Some are far worse than others, and some merely show brief flashes of what I’m talking about.

I understand the emotion. I really do. But to this outsider, it seems like it’s going way overboard.

I should mention the blogs I do particularly like though. Both Blogrel and Oneworld Multimedia are great Armenia blogs and each catches plenty of criticism for their troubles. The latter gets criticized for not being sunshiney and upbeat about Armenia at all times, and the former recently was criticized for being under the sway of the foolish notion that Armenia can be at peace with Azerbaijan. (I wonder if the author of that criticism is an advocate of exterminating Azeris.)

Hopefully the Armenian blogosphere will improve in the future, and I’m glad to see that Onnik Krikorian is keen on developing the Armenian blogosphere.

I’ve been trying to promote the development of blogging in Armenia among young individuals and civil society activists. Hopefully, 2006 will see the emergence of a real Armenian blogosphere by those working in areas of crucial importance to the development of the country, and by those with a stake in its future.

Even so, I would like to see more young individuals blog from Armenia. Until now, their voices have remained largely unheard by the outside world, and especially in the large Armenian Diaspora, so perhaps I should make it my New Year’s Resolution to change all of that.

I wish all the luck in the world to him. The Armenian blogosphere certainly could stand to get a little broader.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Onnik Krikorian December 26, 2005 at 11:04 am

Just found this post. Some good news. The Civil Society Institute (http://www.csi.am) may set up a blog by Armenians, Azerbaijanis and Georgians for its peacebuilding project (http://www.peacebuilding.am), and I have managed to find at least one new blogger in Armenia — and a citizen at that!


It’s by Zarchka:

Richard Elliott December 27, 2005 at 6:15 am

Nathan, I read all the Armenian-related blogs and with a few exceptions none could in any way be described as racist. To express outrage about the destruction of armenian khachkars (carved stone crosses)in Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan which happened this week is not racist!

You on the other hand seem to have a serious attitude problem as some kind of Great White Judge overseeing hundreds of blogs, deciding which meet with your approval and which dont.

I can tell you having reviewed your Armenian posts I am not impressed.

Nathan December 27, 2005 at 12:49 pm

No, expressing outrage isn’t racist. Saying nasty stuff about Turks and Azeris in passing all the time is. If there were loads of Azeri blogs saying the same things about Armenians, I’d mention them too.

And if you don’t like my opinions on them fine. The Diasporan blogs are a downer and remind me of Serb and Croat ideologues. Maybe if there were more actual Armenians who had a stronger stake in the country’s success blogging, it wouldn’t be quite like this.

I don’t do much Armenia coverage, so I could care less what you think of it. I leave it for people who do it better.

Richard Elliott December 27, 2005 at 1:32 pm

It’s difficult to know which blogs you object to since you dont specify them however your language is quite inflammatory and leads me to conclude that you have an agenda.

katy December 27, 2005 at 5:47 pm

Oh jeez.

Nathan December 27, 2005 at 10:32 pm

I don’t link them because I don’t want to send them traffic. The Artyom Reader is probably the worst offender. The folks at the Life in Armenia/Life in the Armenian Diaspora blogs tend to be pretty bad offenders when it comes to the “Armenia can do no wrong! Anyone who criticizes it is destroying it!” message.

And yes sir, I do have an agenda. I would love to see less of the Yugoslavia-style chauvinism that’s so common in the Armenian blogosphere, and if possible, more from natives of Armenia who, I surmise, have a stronger stake in Armenia’s success than does the diaspora.

Raffi Kojian December 28, 2005 at 4:46 am

All the complaining about Diaspora loggers saying “Armenia can do no wrong” just amazes me, since it’s so obviously not true. This goes for the Life in Armenia blogs – whose Diasporans have moved to Armenia and (ahem) have a pretty big stake in the future of Armenia.

I agree that a lot of “us” are sick of the pervasive negativism/pessimism about Armenia, at the cost of any balance or optimism…. but that is not at all the same as “Armenia can do no wrong”, or “Whoever criticizes Armenia is destroying it”. Come on. Let’s look at the posts showing on the “current page” and see if negative things are also being written about:

Dec 21 – big pyramid structure north of Yerevan will probably be turned into a casino (this is considered a negative by the poster)

Dec 19 – Yerevan is dead in the winter. Social awareness clips being prepared and aired by logger in order to fix (gasp!) problems!

Dec 17 – could easily be viewed as a complaint that there is no wireless internet in Armenia (certainly not free!)

Dec 13 – crowd of half a dozen did “absolutely nothing” to help old man who’d fallen on some steps

Dec 6 – “What you buy isn’t what you get”. Enough said.

Dec 5 – complaint about the fog/flights.

I think that’s pretty solid proof that anything bad is not automatically “hidden”… anyway, if you don’t like the logs, you don’t like them, but I do feel like the criticism that IS given just isn’t deserved.

Richard Elliott December 28, 2005 at 10:43 am

The blogs you mention have no racist content.

I have a concern about this insidious way of casting aspersions by using words like ‘racism’ and making comparisons with Yugoslavia. What your are really doing is betraying your own prejudices by belittling legitimate concerns. Perhaps because you are ‘an obvious Turcophile’ (sic).

Who could object to having more diversity amongst Armenian bloggers both diasporan and non-diasporan. Indeed we could do with more diversity amongst self-proclaimed editors and experts.

Nathan December 28, 2005 at 1:35 pm

Raffi, when I talk of complaints, I more specifically mean about the government. When Onnik has made complaints about corruption in the past, I’ve seen an unnecessary level of hostility and venom directed at him. Optimism shouldn’t be required of critics, especially if they don’t see much reason for it. I also think the demands for balance are somewhat phony as I’ve seen few explanations of what that’s supposed to mean beyond the suggestion that if there’s nothing nice to say, don’t say anything negative.

And I stand by saying they don’t have as much stake in the country as do native Armenian citizens who, after all, cannot leave should things get bad. Yes, they have a stake–and I’m sure to some it is quite large–but it’s not the same kind as the locals.

And Richard, if you can’t see the racism in some of them, then I’m not going to convince you it’s there. Artyom is far and away the worst. With many of the others, I could accept the argument from authors that it’s just a sign of frustration and emotion. Artyom, though he does not bluntly say “Azeris are this, that, and the other thing,” has in the past put Turks on moral par with child molesters (though he says that this is only to show what kind of depraved person their attorney is, it suggests to me he views Turks as equally undeserving of representation as child molesters) and has recently used ever-so-delightful racial scare tactics when talking about the cross-stones. And I stand by my reading of him being a wink-and-a-nod proponent of ethnic cleansing. He call this all defensive. And that’s where I get my Yugoslavia comparison. It’s an ideology in which all others are enemies and in which the state must be given a lot of leeway to do as it sees fit. It bodes ill for the future of the region.

And as long as we’re being nitpicky Richard, I spelled “Turcophile” correctly. It has very little to do with Turkey, but with Turkic peoples. The c is used to avoid confusion with the word Turkophile, which would refer to Turkey, Turks, and Turkish culture.

Ararat December 28, 2005 at 4:29 pm

Who and what organization gave you the authority to judge all Armenian blog sites and call them racist?!? oh! the Great One?!? Like you said there are racist blogs all over the net. I have begun to see too many of you foreigners’ and some native collaborator’s blogs criticizing diaspora Armenians for not being against the Armenian gov’t, not rooting for a revolution etc etc.
Where did all this suddeen interest from foreigners in Armenia’s problems and diaspora-native relations come from, when did it start, what is the reason of their interest, it is not hard to deduce. In your little CLIA (Central Lack of Intelligence Agency) minds you are going to provoke a divide between diaspora and Armenian gov’t by bold and outrageous attacks on the diaspora, natives (who are poor and desperate) are going to believe “diaspora is not helping us, they are hurting us, Turks are in fact our friends” and attach diasporans, diaspora, as a reaction, is going to stop or minimize its aid, this will weaken the Armenian state, then you will come with your benevolent “economic aid” and take over… Sir, We Armenians have been around for 5000 years and we are waayyy to experienced to fall in your amateur traps. We are not immature like we were in the 19th cent and Thank God we have a state and Armed Forces. You and your owners should know that this phsycological warfare crap you and your cronies are trying to pull won’t work with us. So, go try to produce another revolution in some African or South American country…

katy December 28, 2005 at 4:44 pm

Woah Ararat… chill out! I don’t think that’s what Nathan implied at all.

Raffi Kojian December 28, 2005 at 4:50 pm

Nathan, I think you are confusing a few issues here.

First, you’re lumping the loggers of Cilicia with Artyom, whos logs I don’t read so I obviously won’t comment on. And then if you are saying he is by far the biggest example of this, why would you write such a lengthy complaint about Diaspora loggers, if he is your number 1 complaint? Either talk about him only or don’t generalize! And anyway, it’s just so easy just not to read him if you don’t like him.

Then you’re back on this imaginary restriction not to complain about the govt and corruption. Most of us have done it, if not all… If you read our logs you know that. It is also clear that we are not big fans of most of what the government does. But do you have to bitch about the government in every single log in order to prove that yes, you are not a fan? Is there a point in writing that 100th log about the traffic cop stopping you? Or do you write about it as it comes up, and write about other things you find interesting as well?

Frankly, I think the logs on Cilicia are right on the mark. They are about peoples lives and thoughts, and quite balanced in what they do like and what they don’t.

And finally, I suspect you don’t understand what is being lost (again) in Jugha… but will not try to impress it upon you. I will just say that it deserved to be a UNESCO world heritage site, and instead we are subjected to watching its destruction from across the river.

Richard Elliott December 28, 2005 at 4:58 pm

Nathan, you seem to be more upset about folks being upset about things like genocide denial and the physical destruction of property, than about the actual events.

Anyway you are certainly reading into one blog a lot more than I can see.

Onnik Krikorian December 28, 2005 at 5:40 pm

I’d really much rather this not turn into a personal attack on anyone. Thankfully, one of the most important points about blogs is that a multitude of opinions can be represented.

Sure, we can all disagree with each others point of view, and yes, I have not been happy about some attacks on me, but Raffi and I have resolved that, and it is no longer a problem.

I’d also like to add that I read cilicia.com, and while I haven’t agreed with a lot of stuff in the past (as no doubt the bloggers there haven’t agreed with me), I certainly can’t remember it being racist.

Maybe there was one reference once, which was unfortunate, but that was by a blogger on the Diaspora section of the site, and a one-off.

However, I generally agree with Nathan’s view that the Diaspora, or a vocal minority within, is too nationalistic to the point of being blinded by a dream, but there are some good blogs out there.

Ultimately, however, we all have the right to choose to read what we want, and that’s the point in the first place. I do think that it is unfortunate that this risks getting personal. There’s already been too much of this in the past.

Perhaps we can all agree to disagree?

Mr. E December 28, 2005 at 8:18 pm

“Hi, I’m Nathan. Because I’ve read a few Armenian diasporan blogs, I’ve come to the conclusion that all Armenians are chetniks.”

Nathan, look a bit closer, there’s plenty of criticism on those blogs. Try not to be petty, mmkay?

Nathan December 28, 2005 at 8:28 pm

Raffi, I’ll admit that some of the problem is that I avoided naming names in the post or linking to particular things that got me riled up. I did that for a reason, but it weakens my argument. To be honest, this is something that’s built up for a while now but that I’ve only now mentioned. I’ll also readily admit that the way I’ve gone about this has made it difficult to distinguish the shades of gray out there. Cilicia certainly is different, and I do think it’s improved from when I started reading it. As someone who is on the outside and is, to be quite honest, mostly reading these blogs for work, it’s also kind of difficult to distinguish some of the finer distinctions between what look to me to be fairly similar types of criticisms. But, in the end, this post should be taken just as venting.

As for what’s being lost in Jugha, I do understand. Part of my point is that the rhetoric in the diaspora that I’ve seen has diminished my interest. Despite being a Turcophile, I do generally take Armenia’s side on conflicts with Turks and Azeris. But it’s hard to want to take a side the way the message is being sent. Something I was loathe to bring up, but that I think is worth doing at this point is that I feel much the same way about the hardcore Jewish diaspora. There’s no active dislike or hostility on my part, but there is some degree of impatience.

Richard, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I am bothered by the events. At risk of pissing folks off even more, I would be more concerned about genocide recognition if I could see how it would make anyone’s life better. I am bothered by Azeri behavior as well. But I do think rhetoric is critically important because it dramatically impacts the chances for conflict resolution and how potential future conflicts will be fought. There are ways to express outrage without saying Turks are in the same class as child molesters or resorting to Serb-style defensive racism. I see parallels to some of this, as I have heard other do.

Serbs are exposed to the hatred that all Yugoslav people have toward them. Hatred toward Serbs is a dominant theme in the writings of Serbian intellectuals, expressed in many different ways. Each Yugoslav nation has its own distinct hatred toward Serbs. For instance: “Macedonian Communists have simply `Macedonized’ Serbs (i.e., they have committed ethnocide against Serbs in their republic).” And so it goes for each nation. This theme in Serbian ressentiment contends that the republic had to endure “the unequal and humiliating position of the Serbian people in the present-day Yugoslavia under the rule of an anti-Serb coalition, especially of `Serbophobia,’ which in the last decades has grabbed wide layers of Slovenian, Croatian, Albanian peoples, and some parts of the Macedonian intelligentsia and Moslems. . . . The Albanian national minority for longer than two decades from its motherland hounds the most populous Yugoslav people.”82 The Serbian nation is “surrounded by hatred, which made its peace more tormenting than the war.”83

Serbs are exposed to genocide, again perpetuated by their enemies’ enduring and immutable anti-Serb policies.84 The motive of Serbia’s leaders in provoking fear and ethnic clashes was to remind Serbs of genocide’s ever-present proximity and to prevent a new genocidal campaign against Serbs. This theme was renewed in a variety of ways, but mainly through the display of photographs and accounts of Ustashe atrocities against Serbs in all of the republic’s major newspapers and on television programs.85 An exhibit devoted to Serbian genocide traveled around Serbia for months.
Orthodox priests demanded that they be allowed to take Serbian victims murdered in World War II out of mass graves and to rebury them with dignity.86 Exhuming mass graves and the reburial of remains has a symbolic role of defining the borders of the Serbian state: Where there are Serbian graves, there are also Serbian borders. The number of past genocide victims increased every day during this particular Serbian nationalist campaign, which led to disputes with Croatia over the exact number of Serbs murdered. The number of victims was, in fact, overstated in order to force the Croats to publicly deny the inflated numbers. In such a fashion, the Serbs could conclude that Croats wanted to hide their genocidal crimes against Serbs in order to deflect attention from preparations for another future campaign: “It seems to me that that which disrupts relations between Serbs and Croats now is connected to the genocide which was perpetrated against the Serbian people by [the Croatian Ustashe regime]. . . . We can conclude that this hiding of genocide represents an appeal to history for a repeat. . . .”87 Thus, “Serbs are the people who are constantly exposed to genocide.”88

Ararat, fuck you, you’re done. I don’t care if people disagree with me or others who comment, but I do demand the respect I would expect if you were a guest in my home. And your “we’re 5,000 years old” crap is exactly what makes the rhetoric tiresome. Were it so special as to really be more than a point of pride, and if you really meant this “we” business when talking about Armenia, you’d probably be commenting from somewhere in Armenia and not a securities company in New Jersey. I normally don’t like to be such a prick, but accusing me of psychological warfare against Armenia is pretty fucking low. I would have hoped you would have come to understand that folks in this country can have opinions without being paid to have them.

Nathan December 28, 2005 at 8:34 pm

Mr. E, give me more blogs and I’ll read them. I’ve been reading them for months and telling you what I think about them. As I mentioned, I mostly read them because I get paid to do so, and I probably wouldn’t read some of them otherwise. I’m not seeing any serious criticism on them. (I don’t count complaints about weather or public rudeness to really be the kinds of criticism I’m talking about.) What I have seen is a lot of shooting the messenger and unelaborated demands for balance.

I think it’s fairly clear I don’t think ill of all Armenians. The blogs paint a pretty incomplete and unbalanced picture.

And in the future, try not to be a patronizing prick, mmkay?

Mr. E December 28, 2005 at 8:43 pm

You’re reading Armenian *diasporan* blogs and asking why they primarily focus on issues such as the destruction of khachkars by Azeris, the recognition of the Armenian genocide, etc., and why they’re not criticizing the Armenian government enough? Great thinking.

Thanks for the decorum in your last post, by the way.

Nathan December 28, 2005 at 8:52 pm

Thanks for yours too. You did it again.

I also want to thank you for commenting again as it tells me that putting you in the always moderate list didn’t work.

Just a note to everyone. I have one rule when it comes to commenting. The regulars around here will tell you I put up with quite a bit in the comments and stay fairly good-natured. This crowd seems to be the only one that doesn’t get it. So, I’ll explain again. I could care less if you want to disagree with me. All I ask is that you do so with respect. Act as if you were a guest in my home. Mr. E, had you acted so obnoxious to me in my living room, I’d most certainly have called you a prick and thrown you out.

Richard Elliott December 28, 2005 at 9:23 pm

Nathan, there is no question that it is important not to demonize the ‘other’ nor to get trapped by ‘victimhood’ or to use excessive rhetoric. The Serb analogy however is just not applicable.

Genocide recognition goes far beyond Armenia and its Diaspora – it is a universal human rights issue! Lives can be saved by recognizing what happened in the past to prevent it from happening in the future.

Paradoxically the debate over genocide recognition is pushing Turkey to open up and look at its history more critically. Finally, in every Armenian family in the Diaspora as well as in Armenia there is this living memory of near annihilation.

It is up to people of good will to recognize this.

Nathan December 28, 2005 at 9:40 pm

Richard, I think it’s kind of cheap to suggest that good will can be measured by one’s position on genocide recognition.

I think it’s great if the debate is causing Turkey to be more critical of its history. But having spent way too much time studying crimes against humany and responses to them, I’m fairly skeptical of the argument that recognizing the past prevents future genocide or ethnic cleansing. I’m also skeptical of the claims of victims’ co-nationals or descendents about why they try to highlight their suffering. I have a hard time buying that it’s particularly principled as groups (for understandable reasons to be sure), tend to be less concerned with genocide or ethnic cleansing in general so much as they are with getting their own particular suffering a high ranking in the pantheon of human suffering.

Sorry, but I’ve become quite the cynic about this kind of stuff.

And as for the Serb comparison, I think it’s extremely applicable. It’s not at all an exact fit, but I do think there are parallels. And it’s not by any means to be limited to just Armenians. Just about every other nationalism in the area has some similarities to Yugoslav nationalisms. When one gets down into the nitty-gritty of recent Yugoslav history, the disproportionate suffering of Serbs at the hands of neighbors in the 20th century (they dished out a lot, but did suffer more than and at the hands of other Yugoslav nations during, for example, WWII), the belief that neighboring nations stand in the way to national aspirations, and territorial claims based on history (usually long-past) have some analogues in the Caucasus.

Gagik December 28, 2005 at 11:54 pm

Wow, I have not seen this. Some intense discussion is going on. Natahan seriously screwed some things here. First of all accusing Armenians of racism (I mean all Armenians) is a sign of pretty serious hatred. Sounds to me like publication in Turkish press. No really, I know we have a few hothead politicians and commentators that meet the definition of racist. But accusing a whole small nation? You should understand that small nation nationalism is a mean of survival, it has nothing to do with racism. For Diaspora it is even more urgent need to keep their identity. Look at the Armenian nation’s contribution to the world civilization. It is simple math, just divide the number of Armenians who’s contribution made difference in international science, art, culture, economy, sports etc, to the Armenian population in almost every country where they live and you’d see that Armenians are one of the most cosmopolitan people on this Earth.
Second, compare media and public opinion in Armenia and Turkey or Azerbaijan and you will see that our opponents have serious issues with racism. Every time I read publication in Turkish press I am appalled how much these people hate us. I mean they were one who tried to exterminate our Nation, we should be the one hating them. And we are in war! Do you realize that Turkish blockade of Armenian Republic is act of WAR? What do you want to hear from Armenians, little sissy niceties and neighborly expressions of love?
Do you think we are not self-critical? May be you don’t see much of it in the blogs. Go out to the streets of Yerevan or Glendale and the most frequent word you hear about our leaders is esh and srika. Needless to say that it is regardless of who the leaders are.
What you confuse for the lack of self criticism is the concern how to survive. Imagine you are in the bus that goes on a mountain narrow road. From one side is a deep canyon, on the other side a cliff with rocks rolling down at you. The driver is not the best one. He basically seized the wheel. Who was able jumped the bus and either saved themselves or broke their neck. Those in the bus, who are the most noisy about driver’s qualities barely can drive a bicycle themselves. The rest in the bus…they try to survive. Because they do ride this bus for last 5000 years and want to continue doing it. And they will, even if their survival thoughts sound rough and nasty to you.

Nathan December 29, 2005 at 12:05 am

Gagik, I didn’t accuse all Armenians of racism. I was talking about it in the blogosphere and said I thought it was something new. And I do think there are strong enough differences between Armenians and Diasporans as to treat them differently.

I do understand the importance of nationalism, and I don’t want Armenia to be namby-pamby. Like I have said here and elsewhere, I take Armenia’s side on many regional issue and I don’t think that it should back down on certain positions (Nagorno-Karabakh, for example) simply for the sake of peace. But not all nationalisms are the same. Some are positive and some carry dangers.

Onnik Krikorian December 29, 2005 at 2:35 am

The most vocal of Armenians, unfortunately, do have a insular view of the world. In that sense, the idea of an all-Armenian state, and how that manifests itself with regards to other nations and even minorities living within the Republic, is close to a Serbian mentality. Actually, the Azeris have it as well.

It was always there, but has beenmagnified by the war and a set of myths about ethnic superiority on both sides. There are plenty of Armenian and Azerbaijani web sites that illustrate that. I’d also add that when it comes to the blockade, this is a weird one.

On the one part, Armenians accuse Turkey of an act of hostility and an act of war against Armenia because the latter is engaged in a territorial dispute with Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karabakh. On the other hand, the same Armenians privately — and sometimes openly — resist any attempts to open the border.

For example, ANCA constantly lobbies the US government to force Turkey to open the border, but in reality it’s just to score political points. As ANCA is effectively a Dashnak organization, when there are attempts to resolve the issue, the ARF-D (Dashnaks) condemns and fights against it.

It’s not even about the blockade or about the war — it’s about history, Genocide recognition and territorial claims. The Turks also play the same game, while some very brave Turkish citizens stand up and call for regnition of the Genocide, while Kars (and Gyumri) desperately want that border open.

Yes, there is a very closed mindset among some Armenians — the most nationalist who end up giving Armenians a bad name outside Armenia and who are generally based in the Diaspora — and there are also the same type of people in Turkey and Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, the closed border mentality of Armenia only adds to this.

Nevertheless, I think (I hope) that this is just a minority. The problem is that they are often the most vocal, and end up attacking, condemning and threatening anyone (especially other Armenians) if they depart just one millimeter from the most extreme-type concepts of nationalism.

TigranMetz December 29, 2005 at 10:34 am

You are not Armenian. You are Americans (et al) with Armenian heritage, give it a funking rest already. And here in Hayastan there are no Turks or Soviets, just a bunch of neaderthals strangling each other to see who can build the most rabiz piloon tune. The ‘mer hayastan’ bit gets old when all you see are people pissing all over it.

katy December 29, 2005 at 11:31 am

We can all agree that given the current situation in Armenia, genocide recognition is NOT the number one immediate concern for the health of current day Armenia.

Gagik December 29, 2005 at 12:01 pm

Yes there are simple minded and plain stupid Armenians who represent no human value themselves but brag on every corner of Armenian greatness. So what? There are also criminal Armenians, prostitutes and all other sorts of people who rise negative emotions. You people do not want to understand, or pretend not to understand that an Armenian nationalist is a very harmless animal, while Mr. Cheney for example, 200% sure about his and his “nation” (whatever goes there) superiority is deadly dangerous!!!!
And what about blockade? Yes there are Armenians who are worried of open border with Turkey. I am among them. There are some othners who oppose. BUT IT IS TURKEY THAT KEEPS BORDER CLOSE not ANCA! And by doing so, it does harm Armenian economy greatly. And it is act of WAR. What feelings we have about open borders is completely different question and has nothing to do with it.
And finally about number of Armenians in Armenia. If any of you lived in SOVIET UNION, you should be very well aware that there was no way of resisting central goverment to populate say Armenia with chukcha. Baltic republics are and always were much, much moore nationalistic, yet Russians flooded there. Armenia preserved relatively its demographic wholeness not because Armenians are so intolerant but because Armenia always been very competetive place. There was no need to bring in higher educated other nationals or skilled factory workers from elsewhere. Only in agriculture we had shortage of cheap labor and Azeris effectively were filling the gap. I traveled exstensively in Soviet Union and now in the world and I can assure you that Armenia was the least antisemit republic. Yet the number of jews in Armenia was always much lower than in other republics including Georgia. And it has nothing to do with nationalism. Armenians lived and live in great number of countries, including muslim and they do not seem to pose any nationalist danger, unless goverment after 1000 year of opression, decides to anihilate us.

Jeff Dunaway December 29, 2005 at 4:35 pm

Voch Me Ban goes quite for a couple of days and the entire Armenian blog community goes crazy. Part of this discussion is worth having but it is discouraging to see it become personal. As a former Peace Corps volunteer who spent two years in Armenia, I can tell you that it was frustrating to hear the diaspora only talk about genocide recognition and NK when people in Armenia dont have access to healthcare and pensions. There are new multi-million dollar churches being built in Alaverdi and Vanadzor but funding is short for SME development and education.

With so much self censorship going on in Armenia, the blog community can play a vital role in promoting positive change in the country. There is plenty of room for people to challenge Turkey on recognizing the genocide, plenty of room to challenge Azerbaijan on NK, and plenty of room to challenge Kocharian on reform.

The diaspora and Armenia both have their set of problems. Our time should be better spent pushing for positive change in the region instead of tearing each other down.

Artyom December 30, 2005 at 4:17 pm

Nathan you are obviously having some problems reading even in your own language. Perhaps you should start re-learning it by going back to the Beowulf. Accusing me of being racist simply because you are reading too much between the lines and not the lines themselves betrays your own prejudices in an hitherto unseen manner. Your belligerence is just apalling, and I still hope you will reconsider your verbal meanderings, yet again accusing me of putting the Turks on par with child molesters. It is a venomous lie and you know it, unless you have a charred conscience. I did comment on Silverglate’s choice of clients and not the Turks. My comments are as much indicative of my own subjective feelings regarding the desecration of Armenian churches and Armenian honor as they reflect reality. J’accuse! You have gone overboard and I hope you will stay there if you don’t stop your personal vicious, malicious and other -ous attacks. I do want to live in peace, I do want to live in prosperity but not being subjected to the will of the people you so much love. My goal is truth and justice and peaceful coexistence. And remember it was not us invading Iraq!

Artyom December 30, 2005 at 4:19 pm

Nathan you are obviously having some problems reading even in your own language. Perhaps you should start re-learning it by going back to the Beowulf. Accusing me of being racist simply because you are reading too much between the lines and not the lines themselves betrays your own prejudices in an hitherto unseen manner. Your belligerence is just apalling, and I still hope you will reconsider your verbal meanderings, yet again accusing me of putting the Turks on par with child molesters. It is a venomous lie and you know it, unless you have a charred conscience. I did comment on Silverglate’s choice of clients and not the clients themselves. My comments are as much indicative of my own subjective feelings regarding the desecration of Armenian churches and Armenian honor as they reflect reality. J’accuse! You have gone overboard and I hope you will stay there if you don’t stop your personal vicious, malicious and other -ious attacks. My goal is truth and justice and peaceful coexistence. And do remember it was not us invading Iraq!

Greg December 30, 2005 at 9:37 pm


You mentioned that you were getting paid to read the Armenian blogs. Who are you working for and what is your work for?

Nathan December 30, 2005 at 10:03 pm

Artyom, I know you’re commenting on Silverglate’s choice of clients. But in doing so, you put the two, if not on par, in the same class by saying “Look at the kind of people he represents!” And that’s the last I have to say on the matter.

Greg, I already said who pays me. It’s in the first sentence of the post. And it’s not just Armenian blogs. You can see what it’s for by visiting the link and looking at the posts in the East Europe, Russia, & Central Asia category or just by looking at the Armenia posts.

Greg December 31, 2005 at 9:26 am

Yea I read that, but who is Global Voices Online? From your understanding, is their funding from some government or some rich dude that wants to change the world for the better?

Nathan December 31, 2005 at 12:06 pm

Right now, it’s from Harvard University’s Berkman Center and Reuters.

Greg December 31, 2005 at 12:21 pm

And from what I would guess, the reason this is being done by Harvard and Reuters is to better understand what common people in the region are thinking and feeling?

So if this is a true statement, then you are doing reasearch and not to share your opinion or stir things up like you have.

I would also guess that the standard for what you are doing when things bug you is to ignore them and don’t let them get the best of you, unless as part of your “research,” you are supose to share your opinion to see what reaction you get, which is a standard practice used in “research” from the Department of State and other government orgs.

If you are in fact a reseracher, then you have made a mistake in sharing your opinion, that is unless you are finished with your “research” and are now ready to publish your findings.

Nathan December 31, 2005 at 2:08 pm

Greg, what I do here is my own business. GVO has nothing to do with it. I wouldn’t put something like this over there because it would be improper. And, again, I stress for all you children out there who can’t get this through your thick skulls, it is possible for people to have different opinions from your own without them being paid agents of governments.

GVO isn’t a research initiative. It is a blog to highlight discussions taking place on blogs around the world. Many of the Armenian blogs are actually on kind of a fine line between “locals blogging” and “outsiders looking in.” (Not that this is a bad thing. English language Central Asia blogs were dominated by westerners until recently.)

Greg December 31, 2005 at 6:53 pm

Sorry if I upset you Nathen. It’s clear that what you are doing here is your own business, since you sure have not really stated clearly what it is that you are doing.

I guess I also in your terms are researching, since I spend quite a bit of my time reading blogs.

So fellow researcher, enjoy your life and have a happy new year.

Nathan December 31, 2005 at 6:58 pm

Well, FWIW, I don’t really view it as research. To each his own.

What got me upset is the third paragraph of comment 36. Perhaps it was not your intent to suggest I’m doing what I do as part of some government mission. Others have said that. It’s silly, and I tire of it very quickly.

DEMI January 22, 2006 at 9:04 am

how about this,
is that ok?

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