Call for Unity: Ara Abrahamyan urges media to be a bridge for all Armenians

Armenia is in danger of losing its identity, and has already lost hope for its future.

The diasppointing assessment was made today (September 16) by World Armenian Congress founder and Russia-based businessman Ara Abrahamyan.

Arguably the most influential member of Armenia’s Russian Diaspora, Abrahamyan urged journalists to use their influence, reminding some 100 participants that, “it is not accidental that you are called the ‘fourth power’.”

Painting a bleak picture while characterizing himself as typically optimistic, Abrahamyan said there are ways to unite and empower Armenia and Diaspora, and the media are the source of that power.

The millionaire activist rhetorically asked his audience: “Who are your heroes?”, emphasizing what he sees as a lack of institutional preservation of national pride.

“During the (Karabakh) war, we were united. That is why we won,” Abrahamyan said. “But that spirit has been lost; our faith in the future has been lost.”

Before excusing himself to attend a meeting in Yerevan with President Robert Kocharyan, Abrahamyan stressed a need to build bridges between Diasporas, and urged media – brought to the conference at the expense of Abrahamyan’s organization – to be that bridge.

“If media (and other institutions) worked together, we could be 10 times more effective,” Abrahamyan said.

But he also calmly told the journalists that Armenian media “is in worse condition than any in the region”.

Part of the initiative of the three day conference, with some 130 registered participants, is to create a “pan-Armenian” council of Diaspora and Armenian media.

Abrahamyan used the experience of his own Diaspora organization to illustrate the need for a unifying source.

Following the first and second conclaves of his World Armenian Congress, Abrahamyan said, participants “went back to their homes and forgot about” the resolutions of the congress.

His gathering in the resort city of TV, radio, print and internet journalists is a step toward establishing media as a link between Armenia, Diaspora and leadership of each.

“It doesn’t matter what we do in the Diaspora,” Abrahamyan said, “we realize it is not possible to do anything without the assistance of the Government of Armenia.”

Abrahamyan also advocated the need for general strengthening of Diaspora effectiveness in Armenia.

“Diaspora-Armenia relations are at a low point,” he said. “Only 10 percent of Diaspora power is used here. Diaspora cannot be strong enough without Armenia’s assistance.”