A question by a Diaspora Armenian as to when Armenians in Armenia might rise up and protest against the various injustices faced in the country today prompted me to ask two different Hayastantsis what they thought. “We protested, demonstrated, and marched to close Metsamor, and then, about Karabagh,” one said. “We know how to protest, to rise up. What happened then? We faced the Dark Years, no electricity, people, young and old especially, sick and dying. Many, up to a million, understandably left the country. To a point, at least, our back was broken. I’d like to see what would happen in the West if they had to face even a week, a month, of no electricity with the temperatures at -20, -30, or worse. We faced this for several winters.”
The other Hayastantsi continued: “After the war, unity prevailed, and nobody thought about being Karabaghtsi or Hayastantsi. We were all Armenian. Then, Karabaghtsis took over the government. With the help of certain oligarchs, they stole everything, made it hard for the small guy to make it, and were proud, sat back and smiled about it all. I won’t even mention how Karabaghtsis started getting most all the good jobs...anyway, all of this together created a situation to where it’s hard to be patriotic, or even think of protesting against this or that injustice. Like after the last presidential election. People protested, took to the streets. And what happened? Our Karabaghtsi leaders took care of everything, if you know what I mean. Several of our fighters, our patriots, are in prison. When you imprison leaders, it’s hard to organize protests and the like. The Turks did the same thing in 1915.
“And we demonstrated, by the thousands, a year after the flawed presidential elections,” he continued. “Our so-called leaders did their best to keep people uninformed, so they wouldn’t find out about the demonstrations. Not only that, they stopped transportation to and from the regions, so people couldn’t come to Yerevan and take part. ‘Administrative resources,’ they call it...”
“Who is going to protest?” the other continued. “Armenia is full of Karabaghtsis. For sure, they won’t protest. And there are lots of Diaspora Armenians here now. This is fine on one hand, but are they going to take to the streets against injustice? No way, not more than a few. They all have money, or are at least comfortable, and comfortable people don’t protest, they just talk. Remember the rich Armenians of Van, of Istanbul? They thought because they had money nothing could happen to them. Then, they found out...”