*Disclaimer: The following may deviate slightly from the general theme of this blog. But its my blog. So I can do whatever I want.

There is a really amusing trend I’ve noticed over here among some repatriates in good ole’ Yerevan as of late. That trend is Diaspora-shaming. Now, before you scratch your head in utter bewilderment as you try to make sense of why on earth REPATRIATES (as in, Armenians who have at one point lived in the Diaspora) are making negative remarks towards that same Diaspora, let me save you some time. It doesn’t.

More and more it seems that some in the repatriate community deem it appropriate, necessary even, to belittle, bemoan and berate “The Diaspora.” (Yes. “The Diaspora.” Because, obvs, its one entity.) This has most frequently taken form in an “I have moved to Armenia, therefore I am more committed to Armenia and know exactly how one should engage with Armenia and you are clearly doing it wrong, Diaspora. Move here and engage in the way I outline to be correct engagement practices”-way. This statement is usually followed by how all Diasporans equate Armenia with Ararat and pretty pictures of noor.

First and foremost I would like to clear up a misconception. Moving to Armenia does not make one a better person. Take my word for it. I moved to Armenia in January and I’m still one of the worst people I know. Conversely, some of the best and most dedicated people I know are currently residing in the Diaspora. Also, even if some diasporans do have unrealistic or idealistic images of Armenia, it is merely a starting point. If a young and interested person comes to Armenia for the first time and is captivated by what may otherwise be seen as a banality, why is that a negative?  It is only problematic if it stays that way.  I defy anyone who has an invested interest in Armenia today to tell me that they did not start off by musing on the ethereal beauty of a bag of ripe, delicious apricots.  Instead of ridiculing another Armenian for what may very well be excessively romantic portrayals of Armenia, it may be more effective to simply talk about the everyday realities of the country and to encourage the development of that interest. As in, you know, just being a mature, non-condescending adult.

This is not to say that I have gone astray from my fundamental belief that any person who considers being Armenian a factor in their identity should, at the very least, view Armenia as a more complex place than we have come to see it in the past generation. (https://notyourgrandmasarmenia.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/repeat-after-me/) I also still wholeheartedly believe that certain leading organizations in the Diaspora must include repatriation within their agenda and that shifts need to occur within this framework. (http://www.armenianweekly.com/2013/09/14/letter-repatriation-absent-in-arf-discourse/)

However, I see absolutely no point in being condescending and self-righteous towards the people whose mentality you are trying to change and whose group you once were a member of. All this does is emphasize the imaginary divide between the Diaspora and Armenia and create more problems. We don’t need more problems. We have a mustachioed, unintentionally hilarious, social-media loving dictator who is already trying to create more problems as is. As such, everyone can have a role to play in the development of this country. But alienating those who may even become repatriates one day does nothing more than get you likes on Facebook from your like-minded friends.

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