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Hetq Investigative Journalists

Syrian-Armenians on the Auction Block

Of late, the topic of Syrian-Armenians has become a hot button issue for debate and discussion by the press in Armenia and a host of local civic organizations.

Sometimes this focus is a result of an interest spurred by national feelings, but more frequently at the root is the atmosphere of competition in the domestic press and simply due to the fact that the plight of Syrian-Armenians is “in fashion” and “breaking news”.

But this isn’t the issue at hand. The problem begins when these news outlets perform their work in a manner unbecoming their profession, in general, and specifically, when they approach the issue in a spotty manner.

In other words, a reporter in Armenia, who can barely point to Syria on the map, heads off to Zvartnots Airport in Yerevan to interview the Mrs. Dzovinar’s, Hayganoush’s or Uncle Sarkis who have just embarked from the plane flying from Aleppo about the unfolding situation in Syria. This is a serious problem.

Today, there isn’t one international news outlet worth its salt that doesn’t have a reporter in Syria, whether they entered the country legally or surreptitiously. True, each of them can have their own hidden agendas for being there and they can even be biased, however, at minimum, they are on the ground, close to the events taking place, and spare no efforts to present the situation from their vantage point.

Now I ask you. Is there even one Armenian reporter now in Syria to cover developments for the people back in Armenia?

A few days ago, I came upon some amateur videos on the internet shot by a Japanese photo-journalist. Do the Japanese have more connections to Syria or are they more interested in what’s taking place there that we Armenians?

Western media outlets claim that the Syrian authorities frequently do not allow the entry of foreign reporters. Even if this is true, taking into account the exceptional bilateral ties between Syria and Armenia, the chances of a reporter from Armenia being denied access is small. If there are reporters from America, France and other nations with strained relations in Syria today that have entered the country legally, consequently the chances that an Armenian reporter would be turned back at the border is nearly impossible.

But of course, the Zvartnots Airport appears closer to an Armenian reporter or news outlet…Not in terms of credibility but merely in terms of personal comfort.

Even before accusing the Ministry of the Diaspora for its indifference, Armavia Airlines for its price gauging, and others, we must think about this issue again, each in their own turn. If the society in Armenia is truly interested or concerned with events taking place in Syria, and because there is a large Armenian community there, how come not one Armenian reporter has yet to be sent there? This is an issue more imperative than any visit to Syria by Armenian experts, intellectuals, diplomats or politicians.

Thus, due to the shortcomings of reporters, we have seen a parade of self-titled experts, Arab studies specialists, Armenologists, national and political party leaders an others filling the vacuum. In a word, all those whose professions have nothing to do with gathering and disseminating the news; of keeping the people in Armenia informed.

Today, the pages of the press in Armenia are overflowing with the “conspiracy theories” of our Arab specialists and the dregs of Soviet Eastern Studies. On the other hand, various domestic civic organizations are calling for the “repatriation” of Syrian-Armenians, without even asking them about their desires and preferences.

As regards the political leaders, some of them hold completely different views. Recently, a well-known party leader who had visited Syria stated “We shared some great times with the Syrian people. Now we’ll share the bad times with them.” This was his message to the Syrian-Armenians. But he never specified when those “good times” were or if he was actually ready to share those “bad times”.

No matter…The list of examples is long but the patience to list them all is limited.

In a word, all this goes to show the wretched state of our attitude towards human, pan-Armenian, and frequently, issues internal to Armenia.

The article was translated into English from its original Armenian.


Original source: http://hetq.am/eng/news/17255/syrian-armenians-on-the-auction-block.html


About Harout Ekmanian

Journalist, lawyer, netizen and an observant gentleman.


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