Tuesday, August 15, 2006

DC stories

I came back from my two month internship in Washington DC this past week. I must say I'm not too thrilled with this blog not being updated, Arman isn't holding down the fort since he is swamped with classes/finals/midterms, no rest for the wicked eh Arman ;P.

So what do I have to say about DC? Eh... not my kind of town, but my internship was great. Working at the Armenian Embassy turned out to be a blessing, I learned so much about Armenia that I got a new perspective not only on Armenia's status, but in politics in general. The people at the Embassy were great to work with as well, and I am going to miss working there. But on to more politics..

The Lebanon Israeli conflict sets the background here for some interesting stories. Just two weeks before the fighting started, I was interning at the World Bank with ATHGO international, http://www.athgo.org/default.asp, where I heard the Lebanese Ambassador to the United States Farid Abboud speak. I later walked up and asked a quick question regarding Lebanese stability in regards to its sectarian politics. The Ambassador was very optimistic about Lebanon, stating that the country will manage. I told my mother this and we were both a bit skeptical about it. Soon after the fighting started, I call my mother and she jokingly tells me that I should go back to the Ambassador and sarcastically ask him how come Lebanon can't manage. How ironic.. but my Lebanese tails don't end...

One of our fellow interns turned 21, so to celebrate we went to a Lebanese restaurant. I later ask the waiter if he is Lebanese (knowing the answer would be yes) and tell him that my mother was born and raised in Beirut and then ask him what he thinks of the situation in Lebanon. He said Lebanon's hope is for the next generation to go back and proposes that I should do so, being under the impression that I was Lebanese. I tell him that I'm Armenian and he simply responded, "you should still go back, whether it's Armenia or Lebanon." Now back to the World Bank...

One of the moderators of the panel that was going on was the Economic attache to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in DC. I was later speaking with him and he reiterated was the Lebanese waiter said about the next generation going back.. that even though the opportunities are available in America for educated Armenians/Lebanese/Czechs/, the only way the homeland will be changed is if the younger generations go back.

So here I sit, in Los Angeles, the Mecca for Armenians leaving Armenia/Iran/Lebanon, and I was trying to put all of this together. With all the Armenians that left Armenia, how many of them will actually return permanently? My boss at the Embassy and I were both sure that at least half if not more will not return, and my boss replied, "Armenia doesn't need those that won't return, it's the other half that it needs." Ever since returning from Armenia I've been considering going to Armenia one day and living there, even though it won't happen for a very long time. Yet I'm sure that Armenia's troubles today can be overcome once the next generation of Armenians, whether they be from Los Angeles, Lebanon, or Armenia itself, will play an enormous role twenty to thirty years from now. So, here's to the next generation of Armenians :).