Conversations heard at a Yerevan fundraiser for a charity that finds and assists Armenian families in extreme poverty, in Armenia and Karabagh, proved quite interesting. First, a French Armenian, talking about the possible opening of the border between Armenia and Turkey, said, “You know, it might be a good idea. If the border opens, Turks will do the most menial jobs here, cleaning streets, doing garbage pickup, that sort of thing.” I answered him, saying that the less fortunate here need those jobs, that there’s no need to feel superior and say that Turks will work at menial jobs such as those he mentioned, that they have other plans, like opening factories, buying land, and other activities (like taking over Armenia without firing a shot) far more sophisticated than cleaning streets.
Then, as the fundraiser came to an end, the person in charge whispered in our ear that a foreign born Armenian who had donated a hall for the evening’s events had insisted on taking his “cut” from the night’s income, to “cover his expenses.” This led to several Hayastantsis condemning foreign born Armenians, saying that they come here only to make money, while saying they’re here “to help the homeland and its people.” The French Armenian responded that there are plenty of Hayastantsis with the same mentality, joking not only about the average person taking advantage of Armenian tourists, but about Armenian oligarchs bleeding the country dry.
In any event, life continues here, with the talk of border opening, Karabagh, the upcoming oppostion rally (to be held on Friday), the Armenians of Javakhk, lack of good employment, and similar topics dominating the political and everyday life of people here.
With all this in mind, the Yerevan Journal blog will take a temporary hiatus until approximately November 26, as Hasmik and I will be departing soon for San Francisco and Oregon for concerts featuring Hasmik and the Kitka Ensemble, not to mention an appearance at the World Music Festival in San Francisco, at which Hasmik will appear with the children’s choir from the Krouzian Zekarian School, performing songs of Komitas.