Asbarez editor Apo Boghigian (left) with Beirut's Aztag daily editor Shahan Kandaharian at a press conference in Yerevan. (Photo: Photolur)
BY LENA BADEYAN
YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—Recent events in the Middle East suggest that motives and geopolitical goals have changed. The situation will inevitably affect the large Armenian communities formed in the Middle East in the last one hundred years since the Armenian Genocide. But all is not against Armenians, editor-in-chief of the Beirut-based Aztag daily newspaper Shahan Kandaharian and editor of Los Angeles-based Asbarez daily Apo Boghigian told reporters in Yerevan.
The ongoing instability and new developments in Middle East countries with large Armenian communities are of strategic importance for Armenians both in Armenia and the diaspora, they said.
According to Shahan Kandaharian, the trend of events has considerably changed and has grown into a struggle for resources.
"The Arab Spring has now changed its face, and the radical expressions of Islamism constitute the major threat today both for the region and the world," he said.
Kandaharian said the situation in Lebanon is relatively calm compared to its neighboring countries. He believes Lebanon will not engage in what he called a regional war. He considers, however, that difficult days are awaiting the Armenians of the Middle East. The question refers to the migration of Armenians, who are leaving mostly in two directions – Lebanon or Armenia. Whether they move permanently or temporarily is a different question, he added.
Speaking about the American Armenian Diaspora, Asbarez editor Apo Boghigian said: "We should create a situation where we can turn the loss into some gain. The US is an environment where there is an issue of survival. The problems of assimilation and maintenance of the Armenian organizations can no longer remain unsolved. We need to search for new ways, new methods."
Thus, the new situation is a challenge to Armenia, and particularly the Ministry of Diaspora. Major problems are the preservation of language and the availability of authentic information to avoid unnecessary panic. Apo Boghigian pointed to the Kessab events as an example of unsuccessful media coverage of an event.