About Gallup Polls, Kazakhstan and William Saroyan

According to polls conducted between 2010 and 2012 by the Gallup World Institute in twelve countries of the former USSR, 40% of the population of Armenia want to leave permanently their country, while in the case of Kirghizstan, Kazakhstan, Tadjikistan and Ouzbekistam, that percentage would be reduced respectively to 16%, 13%, 11% et 5%. 

Not only objectively, but even with a maximum of pessimism, bad faith – or even downright armeniaphobia –  possible and imaginable, comparing the current conditions of life and the perspectives of the future between Armenia and those other countries, the excessive disproportion between the above-stated results cannot be explained, rationally. It is therefore necessary to study this phenomenon from another angle. 

Armenians, in a large majority, do not have the sense of Homeland. 

Why is it so ? The answer is simple. In the whole History, on a territorial and statehood level, Armenians had a homeland during approximately 24 years only. Including 1918-20. In the whole History of the world and humanity, that is, since the beginning of times… 

A total of hardly 24 years, over a period of at least 3000 years. 

During the period when Armenia existed under its name, there never was any central Armenian State, nor any pan-armenian national consciousness, identifying itself with regard to any such supreme and unique authority. Until the Kingdom of Cilicia, Armenia was an arrangement of various sub-countries, based on a radical feudalistic system. Not only the multiple princedoms did not entertain any relation of belonging – let alone subordination – towards the country of the King, but most of the time, they were literally at war against the latter. Each princedom was also internally fractioned by its own feuds, mainly for family issues. 

The Kingdom of Cilicia constitutes a fundamental dissociation, in the territorial and geographic sense of the word, with what could have been the homeland of Armenians. But even that did not work… 

During the subsequent five and a half centuries, Armenia disappeared totally, as a distinct country. In this interval, even on an abstract or conceptual level, the divisions continued though. Between Persian Armenia, Western Armenia and Caucasian Armenia – none of which being, nor even being actually called, Armenia -, Armenians did not have neither a real country, nor a unique homeland, nor any common national identity. 

At the beginning or the middle of the 19th century, the Movement of National Liberation started, aspiring to change the situation. The idea of “one Nation, one People, one Homeland, one State” was establish, and resulted in 1918, for better or for worse, to the genesis of a residual country. But before things could really take shape, the soviet episode occurred. The latter ended with the re-emerging of this country of Armenia at a foetal state, this embryonic State. In the interim, though, the Diaspora became a distinct entity by itself. 

Thus, during the whole history of the world, Armenians existed, lasted, and even sometimes evolved, without any country, any homeland, any Statehood. 

Accordingly, they came to the conclusion that… they do not need any homeland. 

They even massively convinced themselves that a country, a homeland or a State is rather a deplorable obstacle to their preservation, their development and their future. 

This is why, today, Armenians living in other countries do not consider Armenia as their homeland, and Armenians who live in Armenia are not interested in remaining there. 

William Saroyan has a famous text, which we often find nicely framed and hung in the living room of Armenians. He says that, whenever two Armenians meet, anywhere and even by chance, they instantly build their own Armenia there, even by the mere fact of having met. 

Today, Saroyan could have gone further. Because nowadays, even one Armenian is sufficient to create his/her Armenia, the way he/she wants it. Sometimes, one Armenian can even invent several Armenias, and not only at different stages of his/her life, but often all of them at the same time. 

But here’s the problem. By continually creating and re-creating, to infinity, all those multiple and innumerable Armenias, the only Armenia that Armenians do not recognize anymore, the only one to which they do not relate, the one that they consider unreal, useless and without any future, is – yes, you guessed it ! – : Armenia. 

Under these circumstances, the 40% mentioned at the beginning of this status report is probably less then what the reality is, certain respondents having chosen to contain themselves, by some kind of shyness. 

Also, the Poll in question should be completed with another one, in order to confirm formally that 99% of Armenians outside of Armenia not only do not want to move there, but that a staggering percentage of them have not even visited it, not once. What for, since they already have their own multiple Armenias ?  Each of them his/hers, even several ones. 

But let us conclude by reminding that, also at all times, it is always a minority of Armenians who have insured the survival, the preservation – and from time to time, the progression –  of this strange nation. Consequently, 60% of Armenians not wanting to permanently leave Armenia, that is already too enormous. Come to think of it, it is even suspicious, as a poll result…

Haytoug Chamlian

Canada, April 07, 2013

Return to the Main Page