Astarjian: National Schizophrenia; the Grey Genocide

A vicious virus, covertly infesting the Armenian nation, has created a full-blown entity that could be defined as the “Grey Genocide.”

Unlike the “Red Genocide” where blood is spilled, and the “White Genocide” where the individual is alienated from his ethnicity, the Grey Genocide assumes the characteristics of schizophrenia. This term is used in two ways: In literature and in common parlance, it is used to describe a state of “split personality”; in medicine, it means a mental condition characterized by “thought disorder.” As a nation, we suffer from both. And this is the hidden price we have been paying, and still do, for the genocide inflicted upon us by the Turks. It is schizophrenia, the Grey Genocide.

A certain feeling of dual loyalty prevails in the diaspora’s psyche and thinking. Granting variables from country to country, the Armenian Diaspora is torn between its civic loyalty to its adopted countries, and its emotional, spiritual loyalty to Hayasdan (Armenia). Security, prosperity, and the privileges of citizenship, provided us by some countries like the United States, enhance that split. This reality is a recipe for disaster. It befits the colloquial term for schizophrenia—split personality. We are not unique in this dilemma; there are the Irish, the Jews, the Indians, and others who share the dilemma. I leave their situation to the reader’s interpretations.

In the Armenian Diaspora, we have managed to defray the cost of personal sacrifice needed to make Armenia viable and sturdy, by paying guilt money, and sometimes humanitarian services, in lieu of populating the homeland with our presence.

Two major factors have led us to this schizophrenic state: For three generations, the post-genocide community, hemorrhaging with poverty and disease, could barely find itself. Land had shifted from under their feet, moving them from Der Zor to Aleppo to Beirut to Marseille to New York. Their primary task, like today’s Haitian earthquake victims, was to find their children and relatives, to settle in their host countries, and to earn a living.

After nearly a century of setting roots in the diaspora, transplanting these communities to settle in Armenia is a difficult if not impossible task. We know it from experience: Right after World War II, Soviet Armenia, with the Soviet Union’s blessings of course, arranged for the famous Nerkakht (immigration) to the motherland, which had lost a half million or so of its population to the war. Tens of thousands of families, mostly from the Middle East, answered the call. They uprooted their families yet again, to migrate to the promise land, pursuing the preservation of ethnic identity, language, and culture for the budding generation. Economy was not a motivating factor, for they had done well in the Arab land; victimization to the White Genocide was.

In their own motherland, the immigrants thought that they had escaped the Grey Genocide, until schizophrenia set in. They faced discrimination, alienation, alienation of affection, and a big cultural chasm with the natives, whose thinking and way of life juxtaposed with theirs. In essence, there was a clash of Russian and Ottoman civilizations on the land of Armenia. The newcomers felt they had followed the pied piper to the abyss, and the natives “welcomed” the newcomers calling them akhper (meaning brothers, but also meaning trash).

Those who were skeptical about the move and had stayed behind asked their relatives to send them photos—standing up if they were happy, sitting down if they were not. The pictures came with the immigrants lying down.

The diaspora is not yet ready for another move, even to its motherland. It is not ready to sacrifice and build their motherland the way the Jews did. It would be like a self-inflicting wound to leave their comforts and freedoms behind and move to a country where they would be second-class citizens.

This constitutes the first set of factors leading to schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia, indeed!

A second major factor is the behavior of official Armenia. The short of it is that they want our money, but not us. They consider us a pollutant to their society, culture, and way of life. They consider our input in issues concerning the Armenian nation as interference in their affairs. They consider the pursuit of Diasporan Armenian issues a burden on their shoulders. And they consider issues related to Western Armenia a threat to their existence. Their indifference to issues concerning the diaspora, whose lands were confiscated by ethnic cleansing, is evident from their sneaky way of formulating the Armenian-Turkish protocols, then sending their president to BS us and insult the intelligence of our community by holding meetings in New York, LA, Beirut, and Paris, to convince us that the snake oil is good for our arthritis. The diaspora rejected them and their ideas after verbal and sometimes physical confrontations. In Paris, the demonstrations limited Sarkisian’s visit to the Gomidas monument to a couple of minutes, after which he left in disgrace. They called him, and justifiably so, tavajan (traitor). The flame extended to LA and other cities.

The president’s support in the diaspora came mainly from the Armenian Assembly and AGBU, who follow Sarkisian’s lead in bowing to the new sultans of Turkey: “Padishahim chock yasha” (“Me lord live long”).

With such cockeyed reasoning, the government of Armenia and the supporters of the protocols suffer from thought disorder—schizophrenia. Their irrational approach to Armenian-Turkish relations is an example of that. Their stance is not new. The disassembled Armenian Assembly and the AGBU have a track record of mental serfdom; they were the proponents of TARC (the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission), about which I have written extensively, condemning it. These two organizations have become the tools of the reactionary minds that control the Turkey desk in the State Department, implementing, directly or indirectly, their dirty work. Their thinking is schizophrenic: They work for the recognition of the genocide, yet they support the protocols that seek to deny the genocide. They indeed suffer from thought disorder.

The latest of their dirty work is their efforts to exclude a 100-year-old humanitarian organization like the ARS from participating in official Washington meetings.

This kind of behavior is not new; remember AGBU’s conduct in Paris in 1919 where Armenia’s fate was being discussed by the League of Nations. There were two competing Armenian delegations; the AGBU’s founder, Boghos Nubar Pasha, opposed Armenia’s representative, Avedis Aharonian, from participating in the League’s proceedings. The League denied the participation of both parties.

So here we are. Ethnically one, yet physically and mentally shattered like broken crystal, suffering from social schizophrenia, and medical schizophrenia. It is the Grey Genocide!

Dr. Henry Astarjian

Dr. Henry Astarjian

Dr. Henry Astarjian was born in Kirkuk, Iraq. In 1958, he graduated from the Royal College of Medicine and went on to serve as an army medical officer in Iraqi Kurdistan. He continued his medical education in Scotland and England. In 1966, he emigrated to the U.S. In 1992, he served as a New Hampshire delegate to the Republication National Convention in Houston, Texas. For three years Astarjian addressed the Kurdish Parliament in Exile in Brussels, defending Armenian rights to Western Armenia. For three consecutive years, he addressed the American Kurds in California and Maryland. He is the author of The Struggle for Kirkuk, published by Preager and Preager International Securities.
Dr. Henry Astarjian

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  1. Thanks for the writing. It’s  a very accurate description of the state of affairs in the Diaspora. I have relatives who took part in the Nerkakht in the late 1940’s yet some of that family now ended up in Australia…that is after the collaps of the USSR and the formation of todays RA.
    While I would love to consider living in Armenia…I can’t see being treated as a second class citizen any comfort.
     From what I have read corruption is rampant and diasporan Armenians are not treated fairly at all.

    At my age (65) not much matters either. A visit to Armenia, as a tourist may be all I can hope for?

  2. Someone who knows please explain:

    Why were the post-WW 2 immigrants to Soviet Armenia looked down upon by some natives?
    Were they all looked down upon?
    Was this, instead, jealousy?   An inferiority complex?
    Was this because some of the immigrants were communist believers?
    Or because the natives thought anyone who moved to Soviet Armenia had to be crazy?

    Stalin certainly persecuted the newcomers, but why would that have caused natives to look down upon them?

    Finally, I am not at all sure that Armenians in Armenia resent the Diaspora.   I think they prize the Diaspora in many cases because they see that the Diaspora has tried to help them. It is the tavajans – as Astarjian refers to them – in the highest levels of the Armenian government and society who do not like the Diaspora for one main reason: The Diaspora does not like tavajans and does not like seeing these tavajans filling their pockets with Diaspora cash that is  intended for the people.

    As for the use of the word “aghper” (brother) by some natives to mean trash when referring to the post WW 2 immigrants, I myself believe that many of the present “leaders” of Armenia are trash. I think we should start referring to them as such. I recall that in his old columns years ago Astarjian used to derisively refer to LTP as “Baron Nakhakhar”  (“Mr. President”).  Perhaps we should start using the word trash when referring to Armenian leaders.   If the shoe fits, wear it.

  3. Dear Astarjian,

    Your holier than thou article combined with pseudo psychoanalysis is a greater disservice to Armenians overall and a service to the pashas in Turkey that you disdain.

    First you exaggerate the contributions of the Diaspora, monetarily or otherwise. Yes lot’s of well meaning benefactors and benevolent acts, but proportionally not that significant! You write as if Armenia should have a debt of gratitude for the Diaspora’s magnanimity. Today there is even a bigger and more recent Armenian Diaspora in Russia who far outstrip in their contributions to their homeland.

    Then you bring up the ugly side of the repatriation, as if to rub salt in old wounds, which, once again I would consider intentionally unhelpful. You seem to be desperately seeking structural arguments, or fundamental reasons for disparaging Armenia. As if there is a fundamental chasm between the dualities that can only be solved by further alienation.  And in fact your article serves uniquely to alienate.
    As a third generation diasporan I am thoroughly ashamed when I hear such attitudes expressed by the haughty diasporans. As if by living a few decades in the USA, Canada you can lay claim to their democratic traditions. Just remember what countries you originated from. They were no better than Armenia and possibly much much worse.
    And finally! Please, please, before you start slapping the schizophrenia epithet on Armenians as a whole, consider how ill thought out your thesis is.

  4. Dan,
    Some of what you write is based in truth but exaggerated.
    I am fully aware of the corruption of Armenia. But I am even more distressed by Diaspora Armenians (I am one) who dispose of Armenia with shrill anger and a dismissive brush stroke.

    I hope you realise that not many countries are less corrupt than Armenia. Even in the most developed part of the world we have prime ministers on the take, presidents stealing elections.
    Armenia is far from perfect, but it also is not impossible to improve.  I am afraid too many diasporans have the same defeatist attitude.
    Another advice. Do not believe the statistics by world bodies when they come out with their corruption indexes. Many of the countries rated higher than Armenia are far more corrupt. Just please tell me why should Israel or Turkey  be considered less corrupt than Armenia ?
    Coming to the repatriation of the 40s, many were mistreated, and even sent to gulags or to Siberia after immigrating into Armenia. They also probably had high economic expectations of Armenia and felt deceived when faced with the reality. So, the attitudes and the competition for economic well being just after the devastation of the war probably manifested itself as resentment against the newcomers.
    Again! Don’t search for reasons to denigrate and write-off on Armenia, if you wish to be truly helpful you would lo0k beyond the negatives and accentuate the positive.

  5. Pourquoi?  I was being sincere.  Those are some very good Hayastantsi words of affection.  And also, I wanted to point out that the derogatory word is not “akpher” — that is the correct slang word for ‘brother.’  Instead, it is “akhpar.”  Western Armenians are called “akhpars” — not “akhpers.”  Notice the A and the E.

  6. Henry,

    First off,

    Ak-pher, doesn’t mean anything, you meant Akh-per.

    Secondly your choice of the vernacular “tsavet tanem” has a hint of mockery, followed by the very connotative Akhper. 

    I am in no position to  question your sincerity, although it is doubtful for the reasons I have just given.

    btw. If you needed to know where I am writing from you just had to ask rather than traceing my IP.

  7. Haha what?  I don’t even know how to trace an IP?  Or even what to do with it otherwise.
    Anyway, being a Hayastantsi and all — I can tell you as a matter of fact “tsavet tanem” is NOT mockery in any way.  And this bit about Ak-pher and akhper is a typo =).  Clearly.  I don’t know why i wrote it like that!  Silly me.  If I were to say, for example, “apres jigyaris mernem kyankit” maybe that would be a little weird.  But akhpers and what not is very legitimate non-homoerotic vernacular for young Hayastantsi Armenian men.

  8. Johnny, I don’t know what your politics are but I appreciate your sober and objective perspective concerning our fledgling homeland. I totally agree with your comments. Sadly, I seldom see diasporan Armenians expressing the kind of humble wisdom you just expressed. Armenia and Hayastantsis deserve much more credit than we big talking diasporans are willing to give them. And, yes, I’m a diasporan. I think we have way too many “Dan”  types in our diasporan communities.

  9. Johnny, thank you. I was going to write something similar with my limited English, but you’ve saved my efforts. I also I think this article is not helpful for anything, just causes anger. And the problems of post-WW 2 immigrantion are so outdated and old that we should not even compare with todays situation. Today almost every family in Armenia has a close relative who is an immigrant. And there are far less cultural differences and discriminations between different groups. Corruption is big problem. But we should fight it together, not blame on each other.
    I left Armenia 20 years ago when it was still USSR. I couldn’t event think back then that it will become independent one day. I fill guilty, but I can’t go back now.  And I’m worried a lot about the next generation. That’s to me is the biggest problem. The assimilation is happening slowly, but it’s happening. And by the time we  realize  it it will be too late. If my grandfather and hundreds of thousands of like him would not have left his comfortable life in Marseille 60 or so year ago and come to post war Armenia, where there was famine and Stalinism, we wouldn’t even have independent Armenia today, since Armenians might have been in minority there.
    And by the way I never felt any discrimination or discomfort in Armenia. Only, in other countries, after I’ve left.

  10. Avetis — You know, approximately half of the Artsakh Veterans organizations support Levon Terpetrostein.  Maybe they’re wrong — but I don’t think such a wide coalition of people, especially our Fidayis, deserve what you seem to be implying: they’re davachans.
    Ba akhpers, kervokh tkherkel kan mer kokhmits — gutse irenk dzer chap kan?

  11. I am very pleased at Johnny Marsbedian’s comments (Feb. 19, 3:09 pm). I think he is very articulate and to the point. I don’t know who Henry Astarjian is, but I would go one step further and say it looks like he is suffering from delusions of grandeur. Before Astarjian engages in his next venomous article to the delight of some, perhaps he should carefully read every word and every sentence of  Marsbedian’s comments. This doesn’t mean he should stop writing, however, au contraire, his articles are indeed welcome, but may be he should express his thoughts in a more constructive, cohesive manner.
    A few years ago I spent almost a year in Yerevan, and I was in daily contact with locals of all levels, both financial and intellectual. In two occasions I was rightly told to basically ‘get lost’ because I was inordinately critical. The diasporan Armenian proudly expects excellence in his historical homeland, and at times his comments sound harsh and sarcastic to locals. But how many times have we heard “love it or leave it,” or “why don’t you go back to where you came from”? I am putting this to you, Astarjian; how many times have you heard it? Why is it that you smile when you hear these comments, but you frown when they call you ‘akhper’? Incidentally, the word ‘akhper’ is an endearing, sincere expression very similar to the word ‘brother’ commonly used by American Blacks; it is not, I repeat not, derogatory or pejorative. Similar endearing words are usually followed by ‘jan’ thus, akhper-jan or qur-jan or mayrik-jan. I believe Astarjian exhibited his total ignorance of the Armenian language and its delicate intricacies. In the Western Armenian dialect (forgive me if I am calling it a dialect. There is only one Armenian language; that what is written and spoken in Armenia, There are, of course, many dialects, but this is whole ‘nother topic. And no, I am not from Armenia.). So in the Western Armenian dialect there is strong tendency to pronounce several consonants as if they were one. As best I can illustrate is the three D sounding consonants: D, T, (sharp)t, that the Western Armenian pronounces D for all three. B, (sharp)b, and P are pronounced P, etc. KH and GH are pronounced GH by the Western Armenian, therefore Astarjian’s grave mistake in mixing things up and declaring, the locals call the diasporans ‘aghb,’ meaning ‘garbage.’ They do not! Astarjian, Astarjian, “tsavet tanem,” please, don’t be so divisive. Don’t push hatred. If you can’t say something positive, then shut up. There were good reasons for discontent among repatriating Armenians of the late 30’s and the 40’s and the local population. And there are good reasons now for discontent among recent repatriates. Again, go read Marsbedian’s comments about “haughty diasporans,” those that arrived during ‘Nergaght’ in Parisian outfits and white gloves with their caustic remarks when the locals were having one heck of a time putting bread on the table.
    Let’s stop biting each other.
    As to the very common Yerevan expression ‘tsavet tanem,’ Marsbedian missed the point and got all hepped-up for no reason. It is another endearing, friendly, sincere expression, loosely translating to ‘let me bear your pain,’ which means ‘I don’t want you to feel bad’, or ‘don’t worry’, or … well, I admit it is quite difficult to exactly translate colloquial expressions. Henry Dumanian’s “Yes ku tsavet tanem Johnny Marsbedian jan.  Apres AKPHERES” was a genuinely proud, tender, most beautiful expression of his admiration for Marsbedian. (Incidentally, Marsbed means border-guard, an honorable title, and it is more correct to spell it with a Z, Marzbetian. But it is a personal choice.)
    As the old bard puts it, Astarjian-jan, “I do not chastise thee because I have thee in hatred, I chastise thee because I love thee.” (I hope I am correct in the quote.)
    Let’s say nice things about Armenia.

  12. Only those who decided to leave Armenia after living their whole lives in that little country, have the right to criticize it.
    Mr. Tourists, it’s much better you feel the hardship of 90’s on your skin, before you’d ever try to say that you are not treated as equal.
    Western comfort is much better, for sure. I come to realize it myself, but only AFTER you have seen and experienced all happening in Armenia by yourself. Stop reading! Take the plane.
    Sincerely yours,

  13. Henrik jan, “krvogh tgheki” hamar razmadash e harkavor – votch qaghaqakan bem… Jogir axpers?
    Hamenayndebs “krvogh tgheki” mech lik@ “zibil” ga…

  14. Apres Aramazd. Diasporans do indeed tend to suffer from delusions of grandeur. I far as I’m concerned, those who express sentiments like the ones you and Johnny  just did are the real Armenians of today – regardless of where you were born. Too bad not enough Armenians share our Armenia-centric ideology.
    and the homeland suffers from a lack of exposure.

    Dr. Astarjian, Thank You again for great analysis. But why are You using the Pronoun “WE.” I am of course willing to get together into that “WE” with You, with Mr. Stepan Demirjyan, with Davit Shahnazaryan, with Gagik Jhangiryan, with Levon Ter Petrosyan, the first Armenian Prssident. But I feel anxiously terrified, when I think that I can enter the same category with Mr. Sarksyan, de-jure the illegal Armenian President and de facto, an international terrorist, or with Mr. Aghvan Hovsepyan, de-jure, Prosecutor-General, de-facto a European terrorist, or Mr. Radik Martorosyan, de-jure a scientist, de- facto a cheap terrorist, etc. I fear these people more than Turks themselves!

  16. Sireli “Me” and fellow posters:

    Skhaladz ek yete ge gardzek vor miyayin zirenk vor Hayasdan abrer en iravunk ounin Hairenikin vijagin yev garavaroutiunin kunatadel. 

    You are mistaken is you think that only those who have lived in Armenia have a right to criticize the conditions and the government in Armenia.


  17. You know, the first thing I thought of was to write a letter to the editor when I read this article.  But since so many of you have offered such thoughtful responses — somebody else should pen something as a reply.  We need to combat this type of thinking as often and as strongly as we can.

  18. I agree with you, Henrik. But we would be fighting a losing battle. Sentiments in this article closely reflect the average diasporan mindset today.

    Analyze Ourselves

    Why do we speak about ourselves.
    While others don’t speak about themselves?
    Are we better than others to guess-speak?
    Perhaps say immeasurable things!
    How can we know ourselves?
    The base is impossible to fi nd.
    Who are we? Hence, what do we know?
    What have we haven’t done or will do?
    How intelligent we think; hence we praise.
    Still we do many mistakes.
    We analyze others unfairly in endless ways,
    Pretend in understanding the human eternal grace.
    Even if we study cultures of different races.
    Still we’re unable to understand human darkness.
    Can be changeable, horrible, favorable, agreeable!
    Many manners, every day we’re tired to face.

    The best advice, “Leave the unexplained in thy space.”
    Mercy on people who can’t explain themselves.
    In life: there are endless genes and unmapped races.
    It is impossible to analyze each case!

    September 13, 2007

    From Poetry Collections, “Sons Take My Heart & Transplant”

  20. The most dangerous and damaging attitude we Armenians can express toward Armenia is the attitude of blind support where we only “accentuate the positive”.  Why is Armenia beyond criticism by Armenians if we see it heading in the wrong direction, maybe even off a cliff?  Why should we give it the benefit of the doubt all the time?  How long should we wait before we say anything critical?  Five more years?  Ten more years?  We don’t live under an Article 301 as the Turks do and most of us in our daily lives are proud to have independent and critical opinions about almost everything.  So why should we be afraid to criticize Armenia or the way Armenians do things?   We’re not so fragile that we can’t take the criticism!

    And why should we assume that the Armenians of Hayastan are the only Armenians in the world who have a right to have a say in how Armenia develops or what happens to the Genocide issue?  I am a diasporan Armenian precisely because of the Genocide, just as many of you are.  What the Republic of Armenia does with this issue makes a difference to me as it does to you because the world accepts Armenia’s decisions as our own, whether we like it or not.  Should we not be concerned about the Protocols and what they do to the veracity of the Genocide and how they position Armenia diplomatically vis-a-vis Turkey and Azerbaijan?  How can we show any concern if we are supposed to only “accentuate the positive”?

  21. Other cultures around the world take great pride in the various dialects and accents used by their compatriots….they cherish them….while Armenians seem to always insist that one is more correct and proper than any other…and that theirs is closest to the ‘real’ Armenian. It’s amusing entertainment for a little while, but please folks…grow up. Russian has now eclipsed Turkish as the invasive language, due to historical trends. That means, fewer and fewer of us will be exposed to the language of our grandmothers, with its distinctive Turko-Armenian twang, only to be replaced by the truly foreign tones of the Slavic tongue and local phrases and pronounciations of Caucasian Armenians.   

  22. Efendi Karekin,

    I’ll take the “Slavic twang” over the disgusting Turkic-Islamic-Semitic language our ancestors spoke any day. The fact of the matter is, when spoken properly, in other words real Armenian and not the bastardizes crap we Western Armenians were raised on, Armenian is a close relative of Slavic languages.

    Also for your information, the most “invasive language” in Armenia today is not Russian but English, the language of the destructive forces of globalism.

    Dr. Astarjian*: (astar and not a star)
    Are you turning against your beloveds?
    They had and have enough to think about.
    Do you want to cause them more pain?
    They had enough from Stalin and new rivals.
    And for what…!
    To make your self happy
    While your real brothers’… in cry.
    All ‘us’… will die.
    We’re nothing but standing woods.
    We will fall soon turning ashes.
    Please send to your brothers
    Flowery phrases and not insults!
    I don’t think you can remember me
    But I do remember you very well.
    I was half of your age when you entered medical.
    I was then only primary school student.
    Every Armenian was proud of you,
    But I felt even at that young age
    You were hubris* and now you are entering another stage.
    I think you can define your self, better than ‘I’!
    February 21, 2010
    *     Henry Astarjian, MD
    **   Hubris: tunelessly proud

  24. Comment to Vatche,

    You’re quite right about not falling in the trap of “blind support”. I say, criticise all you can as long as it is constructive.  My messages were directed at the negative and pestilential repetition of tired platitudes and the accompanying attitudes, which do no service to us other than to drive a wedge between the “us and them” and eventually tear apart.
    You have some concerns and perhaps even anger stemming from the selling out of the key principles in our dealing with the Turks. I am no patsy for the current heads of government in Armenia.
    But to presume that you should have a say in how things are governed in Armenia, well it is simple, become a citizen, live there, and then you can have a say. I would except the genocide though. While land issues can be uniquely a RoA and Turkey issue, the genocide has broader implications, namely the victims who do not live in the RoA.

    But how do you get reasonable and democratic representation from a diaspora spread all over the world and torn by a wide array of differences from the petty to the less than petty ! I don’t have a good solution except to perhaps demand that RoA leadership collaborate and consult with the diaspora. But the leadership in the RoA do not even reflect the popular sentiment in Armenia to even aspire to honestly represent the diaspora. Yes brother! we are before a dilemma.

    However, seeing the issue of the protocols as an RoA versus diaspora struggle is the worst kind of trap we as a nation can fall in. (I am sure the Turks cannot stop laughing).  The fault lies in both parties, a diaspora that is too often represented by its most vociferous and militant element, and an RoA leadership that is corrupt, visionless and a docile citizenry who are unable to dispatch the criminals to their fate.

    This brings up the core issue of democracy or rather the lack of it, afflicting both the RoA and organizations in the diaspora. Neither the Tashnaks nor any of the other purported representatives are very prone to democracy. If we don’t have a tradition of democracy, then as a nation we are due what we get. Your popular voice will be drowned out but the louder ringing of the cash in the ears of the few. Woe be the nation that breeds idolators !

    So Vatche and others, first you have to forsake the politics of anger, and then embark on a constructive endeavour of fostering openness, educating rather than lecturing, and hopefully we can inch a little closer to forming a more cohesive nation. Along the way we may even purge the parasites…

  25. Avedis…it sounds like you’ve never studied the history of languages.  If you had, you’d learn that Armenian is not a close relative of the Slavic languages…it is probably closest to proto-IndoEuropean from about 7000 years ago, and has loan words from many, including Urartian, Hittite and old Persian, yet occupies a very individual and unique place on the tree of languages. The fact that various communities adopted local words or developed a dialect is not and should not be a problem, since there is nothing ‘pure’ about any language, including Armenian, be it classical or colloquial.  Purity is a myth, just like Noah’s ark and the Easter bunny. It doesn’t exist.   

  26. Efendi Karekin, been there, done that; you don’t need to teach me about Indo-European languages… Deal with your Turkophile comments. Real/proper Armenian, not the Turco-Islamic crap Western Armenians speak today, in closer to Russian than it is to your hogeharazat Turkish.

  27. Let me put it this way. . . . . when the Berlin Wall came down, how many Berliners went East? Not as many as went West I would bet! Diaspora Armenians NEED their ‘West Berlin’ to move to. Only then can we integrate and live with our akhpers and laugh again at OUR truly regional differences rather than live as TWO psyches in ONE small body. FULL REPARATIONS NOW!!

  28. Avetis, look at yourself and deal w/ your own hateful, bigoted comments.  You seem to hate and demonize Armenians for all kinds of things…time for you to cut it out. In this day and age, no one needs to hear that kind of crap, especially here. So, shut your trap if you have nothing constructive to say. I’m sick of your mindset and your pathetic, stupid words. Stupid words come from stupid minds, and you’ve been kind enough to exhibit both for everyone to see.  If you want ‘proper’ Armenian, just try speaking krapar to someone on the street and see how far you get….maybe you should move into a church and never leave, that way you can hear all the ‘proper’ Armenian you want. 

  29. Efendi Karekin, how about just speak proper “Western” or “Eastern” Armenian? Or is that also too much to ask of a Russophobic Turcophile?

  30. Hye, arguing about dialects – how silly!  Of course there is ‘krapahr’, and then their are all the various dialects… and why not?  I had the most wonderful trip to Haiastan a few years ago.  Earlier I had visited and stayed in Yerevan (whilst Haiastan was part of the USSR).  This latest trip I visited Yerevan for two days and then had the ride of my life… The only way to see Haiastan!
    We were to visit ‘knamees’ who lived miles away from Yerevan – and were to drive to their family farm which is near to Kapan.  Well, this is when you really see our Haiastan.  All along the route were
    – the brooks of running waters (ayd bagh choor-eh, zoolal choor-eh) under bridges
    – the restaurants whose man-made pools contained fishes to be caught and served
    – the extraordinary sights of the rugged mountains all along the route
    – and then, the farm… where the family plants and reaps all their foods
    – as we stood under the mulberry tree with a sheet spread out – a boy shook the tree…
    – a farm where there were signs of an earthquake/home had to be built again
    So, it is these rugged mountains which I believe caused all these various dialects to be!
    Riding along we’d see the green mountains, the homes and the farms in its valleys
    Riding along we’d see the rocky, rugged formations as the earth had been shaken
      and nothing grew there – none lived there
    So, riding on, I pictured Haiastan, before all the high tech communications, 
    – who was able to travel from one mountain, passing rocky mountains?  and more
    So, there we have the reasons for all the various dialects…. no cars, phones, etc.
    So, and yet, these ‘mountains’ may have saved our nation – at various times.
    So, imagine, my father a Dikranagerdsi married my mom, frm Bursa… here in USA.
    The saddest part of this picture
    – so many of our people were forced to speak only in the turkish language 
    I’d met such years ago,
    good Armenians who could not speak our Armenian language – in any dialect.  Sadly. 

  31.  Dear Manoshag,
    Thanks many thanks for your nice letter,
    My parents were from Dikranagert
    So may be we’re relatives!
    Dekranagerd people are Clever and Kind
    And I am proud what I am 
    They have a special dialect
    Some Armenian jokes at them
    I have forgotten most of their lyrics
    As every one aged and left!

  32. Hye Sylva,  some songs I recall,
    – Khuntzoreen tzareen dageh, yes eem yarus seeretzee, khuntzorrentzareen dageh
    – Yahr meh oonayee, eenk shad paree
      Tsanotz-onk ontzyal daree
      Enal areen tserkes dareen
     Agh yarus, shek mazehr-ov ehr
     Daree nehr-ov espasetsee, hazard darder tserk tsketsi
       En al areen tserkes dareen
       Agh, yarus, shek mazeh-ov ehr
       Garmeerdoon poosera, eech kan hamov ehr….
      Hayr-neh badjar….(he gave her in marriage to another)
      Agh yarus, shek mazerov-ehr..
    and of course,
    –  Ayd bagh choorh,eh  zoolal choor-eh
      vor kalees eh sarehr-en…
    Been fun recalling.  and all Dikranagerdsis were related… or khnamees.

  33. To Dan:  “Someone who knows please explain:”
    The short answer to this question is the lack of Armenian culture on the part of the post-WW 2 immigrants to Soviet Armenia. Most of them loved to speak the language of their previous country. They did practice this when they wanted to speak on the back of natives. I was personally looked upon down when I asked a woman to identify the name of the statute. It happened to be the statute of poet Charren. The native people speak pure Armenian versus the immigrants who mixed words from different languages and seemed to natives uneducated and in fact most of them  had no education. For example, I know more than 500 families that immigrated from Iran who were farmers with no education at all. However, all of their children graduated high school and some of them received higher education who had no chance to attend college in Iran due to their lack of financial means.
    Another reason is that most native Armenians were not member of the Communist party. Whereas most of the immigrants moved to Armenia because of their faith to communist regime.
    There is another factor. Most immigrants comparing natives had better manners and had respect for their spouses than the natives.

  34. Hye, I remember in discussions it was said that the Armenians of Artsakh/Karabagh were the purest
    bred of Armenians… the blood lines as well as their dialect – since they had not been overrun by the
    various conquerors etc.  Should be of interest as well for medical resources as well…. Manooshag

  35. Hello Mr. Harutunian; you probably know more than I about native Armenians vs. the new comers from Iran.  However from the Middle East; I know that most of the native Armenians before on or about WW2 and beyond were culturally more educated than the Armenians in the Middle East at least until and before the 1960’s.  The Armenians from the Middle East that emigrated to our homeland were mostly of Ramgavar Gusagtsutyun or “chezoks”.  The Ramgavar Azadagan Gusagtsutyun unfortunately were very much for Communist Armenia.  I don’t know why they thought and acted that way; but they were very much for the Communist regime who thought that all Armenians in Armenia were Communists.  So much that Housaper’s respectable editor Vahan Navasartian from Cairo, Egypt used to continuously tell them answering to the Arev Lerakir that was the organ of Ramgavar Gusagtsutyun to stay clearly away from their Communist talks and ways, but they never listened to reason nor to Navasartian’s reasonings.  ARF knew that Armenians in our Motherland were mostly NOT Communists, but deep rooted Armenian patritots who loved their country.  It’s a sheer shame; because that’s the path that the Ramgavar Gusagtsutyun took at the time and they pushed and geared the poor people in the Middle East to repatriate to Armenia when times were bad in our Republic and the people didn’t know how bad things were.  Tashnagtsagan leaders in the Middle East knew everything and they kept telling to the Ramgavars not to push the poor masses to repatriate but they didn’t listen.  Do not forget that the Diaspora was the remnants left from the Armenian Genocide and so in the Western Armenian Homeland, Armenians were not assymilated, they were the genuine Armenian people who mostly kept their Armenian roots, culture and their way of life.  Something that today’s Armenian Republic who was mostly under the Russian regime were not.  Later on the Communist regime made things much worse for our people in the Republic who lost their better manners towards women and their families, I believe they adopted the Russian ways (who unfortunately are drunken and women beaters).  Not all of course, but the Communist regime left it’s destructive marks on our people in the Republic, I’m afraid.  On the other hand in the Diaspora, the Middle Eastern Armenians in some areas adopted more Arabic culture, language, etc.  Europe and America is another matter.  Basically whether in the Armenian Republic, in the Middle East, in Iran, in Europe or in America; we all became a little more or a little less assymilated, for instance by using the language of our adopted country and their way of life too.  Personally, I love speaking Armenian all the time because I love my language and I believe it’s a unique and a beautiful rich language; I hope many continue to use our language and continue to feel proud of it even though we all live in the Diaspora and the pressures are there.

    I have also heard that Artsakhtsi Armenians are of pure bred as well as “katch” very heroic in nature.  On another note, my anscestors on one part of my family were from Nakhichevan.  When the Mongolian Turks and the Seljuks migrated from Mongolia in the 13 through the 15th centuries they attacked and annihilated most of the Armenians in Nakhichevan and so most of the Nakhichevantsis migrated to Smyrna, Poland and to southern parts of Armenia.  Today there is not a soul of Armenian left in Nakhichevan, but that luckily didn’t happen to the Artsakhtsis at those times anyway even thoughmArtsakh is more east of Nakhichevan.  Thank goodness that it didn’t happen then; but later on the Tatar pogroms didn’t even leave them alone. 

  36. This one is to Papken Hartunian. You will excuse me but you are all wet to the point that I think you have the same disease as Astarjian; you MUST pretend you are knowledgeable. Let’s go over your statements, one by one:
    1.   It is NOT  “the statute of poet Charren,” it is the statue of the poet CHARENTS.

    “The native people speak pure Armenian.” Not so, their everyday speech contains many Russian and Farsi [Iranian] words, UNLESS they are in a situation where they must speak proper Armenian.
    “I know more than 500 families that immigrated [sic] from Iran who were farmers with no education at all.” First of all how on earth can you KNOW 500 families? And then, in the era of WWII ‘Nergaght’ particularly from Iran, a sixth grade education was mandatory in Iran; everyone HAD to have a sixth grade certificate. So there could NOT have been ‘farmers’ with no education.
    [The children of  Iranian emigrants] “had no chance to attend college in Iran due to their lack of financial means.” I have no idea what made you come to this conclusion, but education was FREE in Iran, and most if not all Armenians insisted in their kids having at least twelve years of education. Finances, or lack thereof did not enter the picture. University level education was also FREE and those that were good enough entered the university by entrance examinations. Not every idiot would be admitted into the university. One had to be GOOD, not rich. So I doubt it if you knew 500 families and I doubt it if there was even one uneducated Armenian among those that emigrated to Armenia.

    The last two segments of your comments do not deserve attention because not every emigrant was enamored with communism, and your remark about spousal manners is plain absurd. Am I glad that the likes of you decided to go back to from where they went to Armenia. It wasn’t your place.
    (The correct spelling of your name is Babken Haroutiunian, not Papken Hartunian.)

  37. When you drop a culturally middle eastern population within a European state, same ethnicity or not, there are bound to be problems with integration.

  38. Once again, we can witness Armenians arguing vigorously about the width of a shaft of hair, while all the time totally ignoring the length, the color, or whether it is curly or straight, as if they don’t exist or don’t matter at all.   

  39. Hye, this is a P.S. to the ‘discussions’ above, about the various and diverse Armenian dialects – which we also  have had in the USA  with the English language with the:
    – the slow southern, almost slurred, speech of our southern citizens
    – the twangy, sort of, of our western citizens
    – the distinctly New England speech of our northern citizens
    – the only state where the speech was identifiable – New Jerseyans
    – Pennsylvania, the various German/Dutch influences…
    and so on…
    So, now, it all has come to be where we all speak and understand one another clearly… Why?

    Due to the TVs which came in our homes – and ZIP, now barely any dialects – almost… And so, given time,this may come to pass with the spoken Armenian language… technology shall bring us together – to understand one another – at least dialectly! 
    But don’t knock the diversiions which have served us over the generations… as I had said, our mountains, separating us (even in our unity) retaining  the various dialects, until today!

  40. Mr. Ashot Yerkat:
    My family owns an Armenian village in Iran. It is called Garagis. There used to live at 100 Armenian families.
    We also used to own real estate in Shirabad where there were living at least 50 Armenian families.
    Other villages such as, Garjaloo (with at least 50 families), Ikiaghaj (with at least 200 families), Gardabad (with at least 300 families), Rahav (with at least 30 families), Darbaroo (with at least 50 families), Sardaroo (with at least 50 families), and other nearby villages were populated also by Armenians.  Today, no Armenian lives in these villages. Most of them, whom I know them personally, have immigrated to Armenia. Five hundred families is very underestimated number.  These villages are located nearby Urumieh, Iran.
    With your permission, I am planning to visit Armenia in August. I will try to visit everyone of my former farmers and provide evidence to defend my claim in case you decided to take me to court for misinformation.
    Until 1970, there was no college or university in most of the Iranian cities. For example, there was no college or university in Urumieh where the above villages are located nearby.
    As to Armenian not being my place, I will take your advice under consideration.
    If you can be kind, please provide your reasoning about your correction of spelling my full name.
    Papken Hartunian

  41. Wow, there are a few points I’d like to critique about this article. It amuses me nonetheless.

    Schizophrenia is ill defined and contributes to a general misunderstanding of the mental illness and its label which is so loosely used. Polarity in behavior cannot be nudged into the schizophrenia category and you as an md should be prepared to defend your use of the term, especially if you use your doctoral title underneath the title of your article.
    I second the language issue that “Avetis” brings up. There is an overwhelming linguistic consensus that Armenian is an indo-european language bearing no more resemblance to balto-slavic languages than Sanskrit does to Greek.
    There are other people in this world who share your ethnic background but are less concerned with ideas and more concerned with their immediate reality. This is not schizophrenia, but perhaps a soberness that has not gotten a hold of you yet.
    I do agree, however, that there is a discord b/w the diaspora and ‘gagos’ that needs to me addressed. I look forward to you talking about this in the future.

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