Updated: Armenia Admits More Syrian Refugees Than France, Italy, the UK, Spain, and Germany Combined

refugee-solidaritc3a4tsdemo_-_refugees_are_human_beings.jpg

UPDATED: 13 December 2013, 21:30

According to numbers in a report by Amnesty International and an article in The Economist magazine, Armenia has taken in nearly as many Syrian refugees as the European Union and more than France, Italy, the UK, Spain, and Germany combined.

The scathing Amnesty International report takes Europe to task for utterly failing to help during the worst refugee crisis “since Rwanda” and calling their response “pitiful.” The European Union (area: 4.38 million km²), according to the report, has admitted about 12,000 refugees from Syria. The bulk of them, 10,000, have gone to Germany.

The report cites the following figures:

  • Only 10 EU member states offered resettlement or humanitarian admission places to refugees from Syria.
  • Germany is by far the most generous – pledging to take 10,000 refugees or 80 per cent of total EU pledges.
  • Excluding Germany, the remaining 27 EU member states have offered to take a mere 2,340 refugees from Syria.
  • France offered just 500 places or 0.02 per cent of the total number of people who have fled Syria.
  • Spain agreed to take just 30 or 0.001 per cent of refugees from Syria.
  • Eighteen EU member states – including the UK and Italy – offered no places at all.

Armenia (area: 41,000 km²) has taken in approximately 11,000 refugees from Syria according to an Economist article.

The burning question: could it be that Armenia has more money to deal with this humanitarian crisis than the European Union? The staggering results surprised us and they might surprise you.

Armenia GDP: $19.649 billion

EU GDP: $16.214 trillion

Europe not only has a higher GDP; its GDP is higher by approximately 16.02 trillion dollars. That comes out to the EU grossing twice as much domestic product than Armenia every doggone day. 

So, Armenia, which has 0.93% of the EU’s landmass, 0.12% of Europe’s GDP, has taken in more Syrian refugees than Germany and almost as many as the entire European Union.

I'm shocked - Fry

I can’t believe that Europe, the giver of democracy, civilization, and Christianity to places like the whole world outside  of Western Europe could suddenly turn its back on a problem that it probably had a big hand in creating. That’s never happened before.

Europe, you’re a loser.

Armenia, you rock.

By: William Bairamian

Note: In the original post, I wrote that there were 10,000 Syrian refugees in Armenia according to The Economist article. In fact, according to the article, there are 11,000 refugees from Syria who have found safe haven in Armenia. The number of refugees admitted by the European Union according to Amnesty International, 12,000, was recorded correctly here. Thanks for the correction, buddy. 

A Declaration of War

The end is nigh. All hope is lost. Vultures await our death. Armenia and the Diaspora are on the cusp of disappearance.

At least that’s what you might think if you read any Armenian news or interact with Armenians in person or online.

And the time has come for me to make a confession: I’ve had it with everything Armenian sucking. Diasporans complain about their organizations. University students complain about their Armenian Student Associations. Everyone complains about Armenia.

Sometimes I think Armenians suffer from the first known case of perpetual national depression or, PND, as it’s been known ever since I coined it just now.

The despair is suffocating and, frankly, boring. For the uniqueness-seeking among you, it’s just unoriginal. A leftover of past generations’ incessant focus on slights against Armenians, real or perceived, now basking in an anachronistic rebirth. Positivity should be in vogue if only because it might be considered a rejection of societal norms.

Little is more disheartening than hearing a young person, hardly of age, repeating the loathsome banalities of their parents about hopelessness, annoyances, and resignation about their nation. Young adults and their slightly older brethren galvanized in their drear against any rationality may be the only thing worse.

If you want a reason to prove things are just falling apart like some Achebean hell, I’m sure you’ll find plenty – although it will only serve to prove your insistent myopia and pessimism than any reality.

First, the rotten apple of everyone’s eye: Armenia. It has problems, as we can all agree, but they’re not apocalyptic. And if they were, the last person I want solving the problem is someone wailing at the top of their lungs that the apocalypse is coming. Think asteroid and ask yourself the type of person you want figuring out how to handle the seemingly impending doom.

Not to be outdone, the Armenian Diaspora also has its problems. Surprising, I know. But if you were waiting for Diasporan organizations to cater to you as if you were seated at the I Want To Do Something Armenian restaurant, worry not for you are in Elysium and you are already dead. Well, dead as a productive Armenian (thanks, Gladiator, for always pulling through).

Fact is, there is no restaurant; only a kitchen. If you want something, cook it up – you’ve got all the ingredients at your disposal. If it fails, try again if you have an actual desire for it to get better. But don’t spit on the other cooks or their dishes when you don’t like their food but aren’t willing to help or make your own. And if you can’t handle the heat, which in this case represents your overwhelming dejection and self-pity, you know what to do. And please don’t walk out banging pots and pans, causing a ruckus. I can assure you that nobody cares.

(If you think it was strenuous reading that metaphor, imagine writing it.)

There is seemingly no effort unscathed by naysayers ready to pounce on an opportunity to undermine. No proverbial good deed that goes unpunished. Some have even developed what can be called a regrettable talent of being able to extract negativity out of even the most positive news.

Thus, I am officially declaring war on the demoralizers of our nation. Those keen on sucking the joy out of being Armenian, intent on wickedly stealing the confidence and ambition and optimism of a people. The ferocity of Hayk and the Sassountsi and the heroes of Sardarabad and Artsakh will be unleashed to flood out your dastardly grief-mongering. (Curious how there is nary a myth or legend or history about the hopeless.)

Pre-mourners, what I’ll call those of you awash in the melancholy of a death expected but yet to occur: you are not needed. If it’s lamentation you crave, lament your own uselessness and not the impending downfall of the Armenian nation. Your campaign of despondence will be confronted with the fertilizers of strength and progress: encouragement, resolve, invigoration, principle, and love.

I know how difficult it is to remain devoted – I’ve been surrounded by you my whole life, after all. I know how much easier it is to curse and bemoan than to create and refine – I’m guilty of the former. But, despite my ongoing shortcomings, I’ve chosen the latter. It’s the least I can do to reciprocate the good fortune of being born Armenian and having an Armenia that I can love and cherish, till death – surely mine – do us part.

Neither Armenians nor Armenia are your whipping boy and they will not be. I just created an army of at least one to make sure they are not.

Հերիքա:

By: William Bairamian

Two Things I Love

The Armenia Tree Project and Sose and Allen’s Legacy Foundation have teamed up to plant a forest in memory of Sose and Allen in Armenia.

Each “Like” on the Armenia Tree Project’s Facebook page plants 5 trees. It really doesn’t get easier than that. If you have already “Liked” it, please repost so that others may do so, as well.

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

Sose and Allen were exemplary individuals and I encourage you to read their story.

Build a forest. Keep their memory alive. Do good.

Sose and Allen Forest ATP

LINKS

Armenia Tree Project

Facebook

Twitter

Website

Sose and Allen’s Legacy Foundation

Facebook

Twitter

Website

Hetq Editor Calls Diasporans “Rascals with Fat Bellies”

Hrant Gadarigian, the English-language editor for Hetq, posted a note on Facebook earlier today that read, “The Armenian communities of the Diaspora are dominated by shopkeepers, pseudo-intellectuals, and clergymen. A miscellaneous crew of rascals with fat bellies and swollen egos.”

The full text is in the image below.

Hrant Gadarigian - Diasporans shopkeepers

The post was subsequently deleted.

Hetq About Us Page - HG highlight crop
Hetq.am About Us page

Hey, good non-pseudo-intellectual take on Diasporan Armenians!

I forgot to mention that Gadarigian himself is an ex-Diasporan. But, like many who have moved to Armenia, is all too ready to disparage the Diaspora when the opportunity arises.

If an editor at Hetq is writing something like this publicly, might it be safe to assume that there are others who feel similarly but who aren’t as brash as Gadarigian? Might we assume that Gadarigian’s mentality has influenced his work or those who have come in contact with it?

Hetq logo.
Hetq logo.

Fortunately, Gadarigian seems to represents the remnants of a fading need – nagging urge even – to blindly undercut fellow Armenians. Unfortunately, he has a soapbox in Hetq where he is able to publish content skewed by his vision. Indeed, his mentality is echoed by some much younger than him who are anxious to continue such libelous rhetoric instead of being builders and leaders. Then there are those – and I like to believe they are more numerous – who reject the poisonous and corrosive mentality put on display by him.

Thus, Armenian youth, behold this example set for you by a member of a generation past. Know that you must be better and know that when you are, so too is your nation.

By: William Bairamian

[twitter-follow screen_name=’bairamian’]

Anti-Putin Protests: What’s The Point?

Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, visited Armenia on December 2, 2013. His visit inspired a rancorous response in some circles.

Below is a translation (mine) of a status posted on Facebook by Sedrak Mkrtchyan in response to a photograph of a nightgown hanging from a highway overpass. The nightgown symbolized the outrage over Russian treatment of Artsakh war veteran Hrachya Harutyunyan who was dressed in a woman’s nightgown to appear in court after being involved in a vehicular accident where several people died in Russia.

The succinct text below by Mkrtchyan lends a perspective to the protests that seems to be absent from the discourse about Armenia’s closeness to Russia. It might be surmised but I’ll state clearly that I agree with the ideas presented here.

Whatever is found in brackets are either my notes or my elucidations of something implied in the Armenian-language text from which this is translated. 

Mkrtchyan is a journalist from Armenia.

Credit: emedia.am
Credit: emedia.am

By: Sedrak Mkrtchyan

[twitter-follow screen_name=’517design’]

What’s the objective? What’s the point? I don’t understand…

Taking into consideration those who do not want Armenia to associate with Russia, let me propose the following scenario:

1) Russia announces that it is against Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union and the path toward association with the European Union is open,

2) Russia removes its armed forces from Armenia,

3) Armenia is forced to defend its borders with Turkey and Iran with solely its own armed forces, necessitating an increase in the size of the military by at least 30%, which is impossible for Armenia to do because of a lack of resources,

4) The price of natural gas rises,

5) The price of purchasing guns and artillery from Russia rises,

6) In the case of war started by Azerbaijan, there is no help from Russia nor from the Collective Treaty Security Organization (CSTO). The number of people and amount of land lost in Artsakh and Armenia in the ensuing meat grinder is anyone’s guess,

7) A potential Turkish military expansion, the extent of which is impossible to predict.

How might the European Union help with all of this [if Armenia “chose” Europe at the expense of Russia]?

1) Military assistance by the EU is excluded. They have one little problem with Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus and they are unable to do anything about getting it back for an official member of the European Union [Cyprus],

2) Any member country of NATO is excluded [from helping Armenia] so long as Turkey, Europe’s largest and strongest armed forces, has shared interests with Azerbaijan [note: Turkey indeed has the largest military in Europe but the strongest is likely the United Kingdom]; they could swallow Armenia up and not pay it a second thought,

3) Exports to the EU increase, some business grow, some businesses are enriched. Armenia’s long-term economic situation is improved.

It’s being curiously presented these days that if Armenia signs the EU Association Agreement, people in Armenia will become beautiful, tall, and their hair color will get a little lighter; fashionistas from the pages of monthly magazines will be walking on Armenia’s streets, red double-decker buses will be making the rounds, and the names of all cities and villages might see the addition of the word “New” before them.

I cannot stand Russians – and the more I immerse myself in the study of history, the more that is the case. But before hanging a nightgown [in protest], it’s imperative to look at the issue a bit more [deeply], beyond the most basic level.

[end text by Mkrtchyan]

We might benefit from Mr. Mkrtchyan’s advice to think more deeply about this issue. Other issues even. Who knows, it might even help with freeing Armenia from Russia’s yoke.