A Fresno Armenian had a few unkind, or, more like it, uneasy words about the political atmosphere in Armenia: “I already knew,” he said, “that businesses not under a mafia umbrella have a hard time operating here. But I didn’t know the fear people live in, especially those with a conscience, who believe in certain causes that might interfere with big business (oligarchs) and what they are doing. I just heard about a girl who was simply protesting what’s going on in Teghut, where they’re cutting trees and doing damage to the environment with their mining and all, and they’re charging her with all kinds of strange things, and might put her in prison for a few years. Everyone knows the charges are trumped, invented, but nobody can do anything about it. I hope the protests help, but I doubt it.
“They’re putting fear in people, like it was 1937. You mind your manners, they say silently, and you’re fine, but stay out of our business...But what I don’t appreciate is the way the political leaders here stay silent. Then again, that’s understandable, as most of them have connections with the oligarchs, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the position they are. What’s worse is the Diaspora Armenians, and here I mean the political people, who go on and on about Karabagh and Azerbaijan, but not a word from any of them...not the ANCA or the Ramgavars...about nature, the environment, Teghut, or people like the girl who might go to prison. In other words, nothing about the injustices people here face every day. And I know this is the main reason people move from Armenia.
“These Diaspora people have no reason to fear anything, like the locals here do, but they don’t say anything. Maybe they have connections here they don’t want to tell us about?”