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.