Sanctions Proposed Against Armenia

That’s right. Sanctions – remedial punishment for perceived wrongdoing – against Armenia. Except it’s not another country proposing them: it’s Armenians. There is a not-so-impromptu effort to get people to stop donating to the All-Armenian Fund during its annual Thanksgiving Day Telethon, money from which will go to development projects in Armenia

As with most sanctions, they will affect not the governors that are ostensibly the source of contempt but regular people.

Behold a pernicious effort to divide a unifying force among Armenians that’s unfolding in our midst. At first it looks disjointed but it’s more coordinated than it seems.

Deftly timed to be released ahead of the All-Armenian Fund (called Armenia Fund in the U.S.) Annual Telethon which raises money for different projects throughout Armenia, the Policy Forum of Armenia released a report about its views on corruption in Armenia.

Ara Manoogian, a member of PFA and the creator of The Truth Must Be Told, has had a personal crusade, now at least a few years old, to assail the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and has urged people to not donate to the organization that completes humanitarian and strategic projects in Armenia.

Ara Manoogian - Fellow at the Policy Forum of Armenia
Ara Manoogian – Fellow at the Policy Forum of Armenia

It just so happens that the PFA promotes Manoogian on its facebook page and Manoogian uses the PFA report to dissuade people from donating. 

PFA facebook page
PFA facebook page
Manoogian on his local TV show (video below)
Manoogian on his local TV show (video below)

First, I’d like to note for the record that I’m not a big proponent of blindly donating money to Armenia. I think there are lots of other ways Armenians can and should help the homeland.

That said, I certainly recognize the immensely large impact the All-Armenian Fund has had on Armenia but, more than any other, its linking of the Republic of Armenia to the Republic of Artsakh and the development of the North-South Highway.

Second, I love criticism and critique. They are the exercises that allow our minds to expand, that require us to prove to ourselves the truths in which we believe, or change those beliefs altogether. That’s why I take such a dim view of what I’m going to discuss (and have before in this blog): poor, unsubstantiated criticism is not only worthless, it gives criticism a bad name.

If you’re going to tell me the “truth” because it “must be told,” you damn well better be able to prove it. 

Here are the most common arguments I’ve seen for not donating to the All-Armenian Fund:

1) Don’t Donate Because Armenia’s Government Is Corrupt.

PFA Armenia Fund 1-redacted

So, forget that the PFA doesn’t bother explaining how the government embezzles “more in a year than your combined donations,” they’re telling you to not donate to the All-Armenian Fund because of it.

That is, “government embezzles money -> don’t donate to the All-Armenian Fund.” Wait, what? Is that a logical leap or am I living in a different universe?

Oh, and if you want to know to whom you should donate, according to the last comment made by the PFA there, figure it out for yourself. This is called un-constructive criticism. Mostly because you’re not constructing anything to replace the destruction you’re attempting to wreak. 

2) Don’t Donate Because All-Armenian Fund Is Corrupt, Too.

Ohhhhhhhhh.

PFA Armenia Fund 3-redacted

So it’s not just the Armenian government, Diaspora individuals, Diaspora organizations, but the All-Armenian Fund is also corrupt. Got it. So, I’m guessing the only non-corrupt thing in the Armenian world is the Policy Forum of Armenia…and Ara Manoogian.

Protesting election of Serzh Sargsyan in front of US Rep. Adam Schiff's office. Ya, I don't know either.
Incorruptly protesting election of Serzh Sargsyan in front of US Rep. Adam Schiff’s office in Burbank, CA. Ya, I don’t know either.

And since the evidence for all this corruption is in plain sight, I guess they’re right. Except, no.

Well, there is this video where expert opinions are presented as evidence:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUA5XFXkC1A&w=560&h=315]

I didn’t know there were so many well-informed people ready to comment on Armenia’s economic situation at the Americana in Glendale, whose motto has recently been changed to, “Where you can shop till you drop and interview scholars on Armenia all in the same afternoon!”

I’ve also tried visiting TheTruthMustBeTold.com which is the website where the To Donate or Not To Donate? white paper by Ara Manoogian is contained. Unfortunately my computer won’t let me visit the site because my anti-virus detects a virus deemed a severe threat. Nevertheless, I found the white paper that Manoogian publicizes every chance he gets.

If anyone can extract something from that that actually proves endemic corruption in the All-Armenian Fund, please let it be known.

I’m open to being wrong and if someone can show me that there is proof of corruption in this video which is being circulated, tell me.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4KGbMbHwec&w=560&h=315]

3) Don’t Donate to All-Armenian Fund Because…Well, Just Because! Ufffff.

“And don’t ask me why because I’m so annoyed!”

Lara Aharonian, the founder of the Women’s Resource Center in Armenia, is also not a fan of donating to the All-Armenian Fund.

i.e. "It's so bad, I'm not going to bother proving it to you."
i.e. “It’s so bad, I’m not going to bother proving it to you.”

The WRC has an office in Shushi and I’m not sure how they would drive there from Yerevan if it wasn’t for the road built by the All-Armenian Fund (see below).

It also receives money from Counterpart International, an organization which receives funding from the U.S. government. But it’s really unclear what the WRC is using their money on. Actually, there is no publicly available report of how the funds at the WRC are spent. Is it unreasonable for taxpaying Armenian-Americans to ask how their money is being spent? 

More Ara Manoogian. Start, if you can bear it, at 33:18 and observe what “truth must be told.” If you want to skip ahead, take a look at 49:37.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/_AAH_-eND-U?t=33m18s]

If the All-Armenian Fund provides an annual report and audits of its work by an internationally reputed accounting organization because it wants to show that the money of donors is being spent for the uses for which it is intended, let’s require the same of Armenian organizations that are receiving money from the U.S. government.

In case you’re interested:

2012 All-Armenian Fund Annual Report

All-Armenian Fund Physical Audit Report performed by Grant Thornton

It’s rather audacious, and arrogant, for one to expect the assumption of good intentions about themselves while suspecting others of wrongdoing.

glass house - architecturaldigest.com

If the argument is that there is graft and that’s why people shouldn’t donate, could the same logic be applied to not paying taxes because there is terrific waste in government spending? Or perhaps we shouldn’t donate when natural disasters happen, as they so often do, because all the money doesn’t get to where it’s intended. Or maybe we shouldn’t donate at all. Is it really possible to be totally sure your money isn’t being used for something other than what you intended?

Actually, it almost certainly is. But that’s why you’re donating and not running the organization to which you’re donating in the first place. You entrust the people who are in charge to complete the task they’ve said they’re going to complete. You’re not supposed to manage

And you know what? Even part of the money being donated to the All-Armenian Fund is disappearing (of which there is no hard evidence, mind you – pesky thing that evidence), so be it. You know why? This is why:

Built by the All-Armenian Fund.
Built by the All-Armenian Fund
Built by the All-Armenian Fund
Built by the All-Armenian Fund

In my trade, highways are called “supply routes.” That is, if you need to get supplies, for example, to soldiers, that’s what you use. Without them, all the weapons that you have stored in various facilities throughout the land are worth squat.

Put more simply:

When this happens

explosion - flickr.com

And you have this

no road - flickr

Your

Armenia tank - 1280px-T-72B_-TankBiathlon2013-30 -

Might end up like

NoRoad0 - sperone.free.fr

Ջոկի՞ք:

Now, it’s one thing that to be annoyed at moronic attempts to get people to not donate to an organization that’s verifiably doing work, and good work at that. It’s quite another when someone suggests that that organization (the All-Armenian Fund) is doing wrong or shouldn’t be doing the work at all when that work is protecting Armenians from very real enemies.

If you don’t want to donate, don’t donate. But don’t lie to people when you can’t come up with a good reason for them to support you.

I’m going to donate $50, a paltry amount about which I am ashamed. If you’re able to donate more to make up for the boycott this year, you can follow the link here. If not, at least do Armenia this solid and don’t go around trying to convince others not to help.

I bid you a very Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll leave you with a final thought by the estimable Armenian hero, Garegin Njdeh, posted on the very cool blog People of Ar:

flyer 1.FH11

17 thoughts on “Sanctions Proposed Against Armenia”

  1. By sanctioning the Armenia Fund and supporting the movement that will secure the $750 million a year in leakage from the state budget, will benefit at least more than 37 times more. It will also be a big blow to corruption. Tomorrow starting at 8 a.m. (ending at 8 p.m.) on http://www.amga.tv you can live stream the alternative “tell-a-thon”, which will present facts in detail of why it is better for us to push very hard for proper governance as appose to donating to the fund. We will have guests via skype appearing from Armenia as well as other parts of the globe. If you live in Glendale/Burbank and surrounding areas, it will be broadcast on cable channel 380.

    1. Wishful thinking at best, self serving showmanship at worst. Armenians ought to watch the 2013 All0Armenia Fund Telethon and give generously.

    2. I’m waiting for the Manoogian Fund to build the roads necessary for Arstahk’s defense. waiting….waiting…. Ara, there is a definition in psychology that perfectally describes you, and your “efforts.”

      Idiot [id-ee-uht] : ‘psychology;’ (no longer in technical use; considered offensive – but we’ll use it here): a person of the lowest order in a former and discarded classification of mental retardation, having a mental age of less than three years old and an intelligence quotient under 25.

    3. Great News Mr. Manoogian:

      largely thanks to your proselytizing _against_ ArmeniaFund, patriotic Armenians worldwide pledged a record amount this year:

      $22.6 Million (!) [in 2012 it was $21.4 million].

      We urge you to continue your efforts: they are most entertaining and by some unknown psychological process actually spur Armenians to give more, despite you asking them not to.

      (I think most Armenians, the Silent Majority, don’t like your Anti-RoA and Anti-NKR campaigns.)
      (they are doing the exact opposite to spite you. just a guess though: I am no psychologist).

      We greatly appreciate your support Mr. Manoogian.

      Happy Thanksgiving.

    4. Ara Manoogian, you did not respond to the blog posting at all.

      When someone attacks your argument, you introduce straw-men arguments. In this case, you argue that one should not donate to the Armenia Fund because of supposed Republic of Armenia tax leakage. Your argument is ridiculous. First of all, every country has tax leakage. Do you really think the B’Nai Brith is going to stop donating to Israel because there is tax leakage in Israel? Second, tax leakage in a country should not have a basis in donating to a cause. Armenia Fund has helped Artsakh build roads, build hospitals, and helped the population to improve access to drinking water. These are tangible results. Your argument basically advocates that progression of these tangible results should be halted because there is tax leakage in Armenia, [which, coincidentally, is a separate country than Artsakh].

      But of course, I guess you are justified in being illogical. Your arguments end with a discussion of who you are (or think you are) by your supposed ancestry or buffoonish antics. You justify your poor arguments by first asserting (or supposing) that your maternal grandmother was a direct descendant of the Bagratuni Dynasty. Then, you try to steal Soghomon Tehlirian’s thunder by bragging about how your grandpa, basically planned a hit on Taalat Pasha [in other words, you grandpa got someone else to do the dirty work, someone else to take all the risks while your grandpa sat back]. Finally, you pretend to be a human rights activist by going around like an attention whore trying to get Obama’s attention with a nonsensical hunger strike.

      1. Sorry Boghos, I don’t reply to verbal diarrhea.

        Ps. If you are interested in seeing with your own eyes the work of the All-Armenian Fund, join us on our audit trip to Armenia next summer. Armenia Fund, Inc. is paying for our airline tickets.

      2. {“..join us on our audit trip to Armenia next summer. Armenia Fund, Inc. is paying for our airline tickets.”}
        [“Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund U.S. Western Region Sponsors Audit Trip]

        The claim that Armenia Fund is sponsoring some kind of a quote, ‘audit’ trip, is clearly inaccurate and deliberately misleading.
        Armenia Fund is not sponsoring anything. Armenia Fund is not paying for anything.
        Mr. Baghdassarian, as a private individual, offered to purchase an airplane ticket for someone, plus a concrete ‘expert’ to go and examine the strength of the cement.

        Not an accountant. Not an ‘audit’.

        It would be interesting to see what kind of Court in California can legally force Mr. Baghdassarian to purchase any tickets for anyone, based on a verbal ‘promise’ made during a TV interview.
        Let alone for Mr. Manoogian.
        Let alone 50 of his friends.
        Mr. Baghdassarian’s attorneys will have a field day.
        (Maybe Mark Geragos will take it on pro-bono: will be a lot of fun).

        Let us see some of the possibilities.
        1. Did he promise to buy a ticket for a particular date ? No. Two tickets will be bought for a trip in December 2014 -January 2015, timeframe. In the dead of the Winter. Good luck.
        2. Is Mr. Baghdassarian guaranteeing that NKR Authorities will allow anyone to go and see any construction on site ? Of course not. There is a police record of Mr. Manoogian having allegedly – allegedly – threatened NKR authorities in a hotel in Glendale CA. It is a matter of public record that GPD officers told Mr. Manoogian that he would be arrested if he did not leave the Hilton Hotel. NKR Authorities will be fully in their legal rights to refuse entry to anyone to NKR who was involved in some kind of an incident with one or more of their representatives. Since NKR is not recognized, there is no legal recourse. They can allow or not allow anyone. Case closed.

        This is nothing more than a publicity stunt: Mr Manoogian will claim some time in the future that his so-called ‘audit’ trip did not take place, because Armenia Fund is “hiding something”. It will have the same effect on the fundraising during Telethon 2014 it had on Telethon 2013: Zero.

    5. Ara Manoogian,

      Who is going on this audit? Is it Deloitte & Touche? Ernst & Young?

      I am assuming you are going on an audit. What are your qualifications to go as an auditor? What formal education do you have? Have you graduated from university? Are you a Certified Public Accountant?

      After searching you on google, I found out that you are a lock-shop owner, which was purchased by your father. In your youtube videos where you go on hunger strike, your dad purchased your recent vehicle, which you called “democracy on wheels.” Does this mean that you are financially dependent on your parents in order to carry out your “advocacy” missions, like going on a hunger strike?

      Can you be trusted to tell the truth? On your lock shop company website, you claim to be a patent holder. However, in the spirit of you supposedly telling the truth [your website is called “the must be told”], you are not a registered patent holder. Why is there such a glaring discrepancy between what you claim, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office?

      If you cannot adequately answer these questions, it would be idiotic of Armenia Fund to take you on any auditing trip. In an irony of ironies, Armenia Fund taking YOU on an auditing trip would be an example of Armenia Fund wasting its resources. Armenia Fund could be spending those funds on CONTINUING to build roads, hospitals, etc., rather than paying for your vacation and an opportunity for you to spew more toxicity.

      1. Boghos, you seem to be using a different internet than the rest of us.

        https://www.google.com/#q=ara+manoogian&tbm=pts

        Boghos, how do you figure that my father purchased my lock shop for me? Please provide the link to that information.

        BTW, where do you live. If you want to sit down and discuss your concerns, I would be willing to do so, but not in this forum or not until I meet you face to face to make sure your not a troll like Sarkis Kotanjian of the Armenia Fund.

    6. Ara Manoogian,

      Thank-you for showing that you patented a safety lock to a Seismic gas shut-off valve. (It is interesting to note that the owner of the patent [assignee] was your father, Khatchig Evan Manoogian). Now, please answer the other questions on your qualifications to conduct an audit of the Armenia Fund. In particular, what formal education do you have? Have you graduated from university? Are you a Certified Public Accountant? What special auditing skills did you garner by patenting a safety lock to a shut-off valve?

      Currently, I cannot find links that your father purchased your lock shop. How about you tell us right now whether he did purchase your lock shop or not. It is interesting you did not dispute that your father purchased the RV, which you called “democracy on wheels.”

      As to meeting you in person, that is not possible. For one, I do not live in Burbank, and I do not have unlimited funds from my parents to purchase an RV to drive to Burbank. Second, I have seen how you dragged Professor Papazian’s good name through the mud, for a gain I cannot ascertain at this moment (http://www.keghart.com/Editorial-Catholicos?page=3). As such, it is best that we communicate in an open forum. This should be amenable to you. As a person who supposedly believes in truth and transparency, a public forum should not impede you from such discussion.

      Finally, what are your thoughts about someone authoring a white paper on your grandfather, who tries to steal Soghomon Tehlirian’s thunder by bragging about how your grandpa, basically planned a hit on Taalat Pasha [in other words, you grandpa got someone else to do the dirty work, someone else to take all the risks while your grandpa sat back]? Or how about authoring a white paper on your deceased uncle, Torkom Manoogian, (the former Jerusalem Patriarch) his time in Jerusalem, and the proclivities he was inclined to indulge in, whatever they may be? In particular, should we get Etchmiadzhin to author Torkom’s white paper? You should probably encourage white papers be commissioned on the aforementioned topics. After all, the truth must be told!

      Paregamoren,

      Boghos

  2. [Boycott Armenia Fund]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AAH_-eND-U#t=2108
    49:37 “I am still in shock”….
    “this is in Glendale”….
    “Hellloooo, Glendale California ?”…..
    “This goes on, this is not Yerevan”….

    “Now we have seen with our own eyes what this government is capable of”…..
    (Mr. Manoogian referring to Armenian government)

    Mr. Manoogian: watch the video below.

    Helloooooo, it is in Glendale, California.
    Hellloooo. GPD is telling a US Citizen to leave a PUBLIC Library, in Glendale, California, USA.

    Have you now seen what this government is capable of ?
    (I am referring of course to our US government and our laws.)

    [Mike Gatto Insists Journalist be Ejected from a Town Hall Meeting,]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqx9RPrqNMM#t=29

    time stamp 1:48
    Peter Musurlian is told by GPD to leave, or he will be Arrested (!): Glendale Public Library.

    You, Mr. Manoogian, are in a private establishment, Hilton Hotel.
    All of their property is Private property.
    You were asked to leave a Private property for some reason.
    Mr. Musurlian was told to leave a Public library, for no legitimate reason that I could in the video.
    The event is a public meeting in a public library, paid for and maintained at taxpayer expense, with a State Gov official, who is paid by and is serving taxpayers like Mr. Musurlian.

    And you pretend to be shocked, shocked at what happened to you in Glendale, California, and by some giant leap of illogic it is the doings of the Armenian government ? Is Mr. Gatto also a member of the Armenian government by any chance ?
    —–
    and it is quite interesting that you have all these video recordings of your encounters with various people at the Hilton, but you failed to record a single minute of your supposedly “friendly chat” with Mr. Robert Avetisyan: why is that ?
    —-
    Also quite interesting that instead of factually refuting Mr. Bairamian’s analysis, the best you can do is post links to your own propaganda.

  3. Thank you for the well thought out response to the few confused individuals hurting their own cause, as if we did not have enough natural enemies. I would love to say I wish your efforts were better spent, but it looks like they don’t amount to much anyway, so the Armenian Cause is not losing much. The most hilarious part to me is how little American-Armenians donate anyway. It amounts to nothing more than 2 million out of 22 million. Even if you succeeded in somehow convincing everyone in the Western US, it would still barely make a difference. Maybe if you refuse to listen to the arguments of this blog, at least that will convince you. Because I don’t know how many Russian-Armenian billionaire tycoons speak english, let alone surf youtube for the opinions of self acclaimed activists. For what its worth, the donations from Western US (the audiance you were targeting) INCREASED by 33% over last year. So if anything, please keep up the good work Mr. Manoogian.

  4. Which one of you have ever been to Armenia before ? And Who was in Armenia recently ? Who have seen the billages that are pipped for 24/7 water ? I bet noone except Ara and me.
    If you see the pain in eyes of people. If you can feel disappointment in the hearts of Armenians about Armenian Fund. If you live the live without a right to be happy, because of the criminal regime, you’d probably understand where all this is comming from. after all you do not have to be a football player to say that the pass was not given accurately.
    But we are talking facts here …

    3 facts I want to mention:
    1. Aremnian Fund is a great initiative.
    2. It’s controlled by Armenian Government.
    3. Building strategic roads in Armenia relying on diaspora’s donations is absolutelly stupid.
    You men that if diaspora did not donate money at all they will not build ao important strategic road ? Maybe you think that it’s just a beautyful idea to involve diaspora in building roads ?:)
    P.S. Question the trusted … you will be surprised.

  5. Mr. Bairamian, I was reading couple of your posts here, and have to say that I am surprised. Looks like you just do not like PFA and refuse anything they say, but let’ me tell you this:
    The report given by PFA about stealing 750M a year in fact does not need any proof. It’s a public knowledge (I am sorry for my poor English, hope you understand what I mean) and even 5 year old child knows it in Armenia.

    1. Ashot. I thought that no one could ever say anything as idiotic as what Manoogian vomits out on his “TV show,” but you have proven that wrong with your statement: ” The report given by PFA about stealing 750M a year in fact does not need any proof.” This is by far the dumbest thing I have ever read. I am surprised you even had the brain-power to learn English and construct that much of a statement to this well researched and thought-provoking article, since language does take some level of brain power to learn. It is unfortunate that you don’t know how things as simple as logic, evidence, and proof work to build a case in favor, or against something. Please tell us more about things that exist that don’t need proof like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

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