A folk musician, while driving us to a hogihangist in Arinj, a village on the northern outskirts of Yerevan, became more and more angry as he talked:
“I feel like a foreigner in my own country,” he said. “I can no longer turn on the television. By the hour, these stations are getting worse. It used to be just a couple of stations with programs of rabiz music, but now all the stations are choking us with this garbage. The so-called singers are getting more low-grade by the day. Yesterday they gave a Movses Khorenatsi medal to a restaurant singer who they turned into a big star. I doubt she’s ever heard of Khorenatsi.
“And the comedy shows. They’re getting so desperate, they’re ridiculing Mesrop Mashtots, Vardan Mamigonian, and Vardanatz trying to get a laugh. They zoom the cameras in on people in the crowd and show them laughing their heads off, so we know what’s supposedly funny. These people are sick. I blame our government, our leaders. They have no taste. They’re the ones who are promoting all this degradation. If someone normal took power, all they’d have to do is say ‘stop’ and all would change. For now, one thing is clear: they’ve ruined an entire generation.
“Then there was the Armenian Music Awards. I don’t know how I made it the entire two hours. I don’t know what was more ridiculous, the hostess in her crazy blue dress, the horrible concert, or just what. Now I know why most of my friends watch Russian television.
“Those in the young generation with brains are disillusioned, and have their eyes elsewhere. I don’t blame them.
“If someone normal doesn’t come to power, someone with morals, we’re finished as a nation. What Genocide are we talking about? We’re watching another one, and nobody realizes it. If they did, in Armenia or in the Diaspora, why aren’t they talking? If we keep our mouths shut, as individuals or as political parties, we’re just as guilty.
“Yesterday I heard that one of the oligarchs took over ownnership of a restaurant that he wanted, strong arm style, pistols, threats. And we’re supposedly fighting corruption? Where are our leaders, who are definitely aware of this atmosphere in the country, the corruption, the rabiz culture, everything?”