I am half-Armenian from USA and was never raised to identify myself as Armenian, never learned to speak Armenian etc. A few years ago, I acutally went to Armenia, and lived and worked there for 4 months.
Despite being on my own and not having the best living conditions, etc. I actually had a great time and for the most part met some really nice people. I have unique "outsider's perspective" on Armenia and diasporans and would like to share my thoughts. I would like to hear if anyone here on hyeforum can express thier opinions, suggestions, and experiences on the subject.
1) I noticed that many diasporans, especially Armenian-Americans treat Armenia almost as a vacation spot. It seems like a place for them to enjoy cheap rent, food, drinks, etc due to the currency exchange. Some treat it like a vacation resort rather than a homeland in my opinion. This shocked me at first.
2) Speaking of homeland, I know some diasporans have tried moving to Armenia to actually live and work there. I have heard of Armenians that have 'repatriated'. In other words, Armenian-Americans mostly that have moved to Armenia to live and work. A small group has done it.
I was in Armenia on my own (althought many helped me in times of need), not knowing any Armenian, and lived in conditions most Armenians wouldn't live in. I bring the previous point up because I have heard of Armenian-Americans that have considered living and working in Armenia, and could not even last more than 2 months; I am referring to 100% ethnic Armenians, that are raised in Armenian households and speak Armenian. Typically they come to Armenia via certain diaspora programs and want to try to live in Armenia for a more long-term stay.
How could I live and work in conditions that they could not? Especially since they are raised to be Armenian, speak Armenian, etc.?
3) I have met many people in the months I was there, who now don't even live in Armenia anymore. Many have left because of economic reasons. Some don't even care about Armenia anymore, they don't see it as a homeland because they can't live well in it. Bear in mind that these people are Hayastanci, very sad indeed to see them leave and feel that way about Armenia.
My ultimate question and observation is this:
I can understand how some diasporans (especially Armenian-Americans) cannot live in Armenia. If they are raised in good communities and in good homes, with comfortable conditions with job opportunites, why would they be willing to sacrifice all that to live in Armenia, where things are not as easy. I hate to say it, but I found many Amerikahyes to be "spolied", Patriotic, but too spoiled to live in Armenia like most Armenians are forced to live.
Secondly, many Armenians don't have any care for thier own country and leave for economic reasons. I don't blame them for leaving, but to some it seems they don't understand the importance of a small ethnic group having a country, even a country on a map, whether it be corrupt or not. And that mentality is lethal to Armenian culture.
Where are the diasporans that actually care and are genuine enough to sacrifice and particiapate?
Where are the hayastanciner that understand the imporance of having a homeland?
Where are those whose minds have not been destroyed by the soviet union and demoralized beyond belief?
If patriotic Armenians have sacrificed to keep Armenian culture alive for so long, where are these kinds of Armenians today? Where do they connect and organize?