Tuesday, 20 August

Arto Tunçboyacıyan: “They should quietly pack their bags and leave for Mars”

Hetq sits down for a candid interview with musician, songwriter and performer Arto Tunçboyacıyan about Armenia, its present problems and future possibilities.

Arto, what’s your take on the situation on Armenia today? Do you follow the latest developments in the country?

If things continue like this, I do not hold out much hope. I have hope within me, but I have no intention of fighting dirty like they do; of putting my gun in my pocket, go out and kill, and then sit and eat pasta. Such ideas remain fantasy. The most dangerous thing is a hungry man without hope.

The authorities of this country must be cleverer than the people. For what does it mean to be clever?  Cleverness doesn’t mean deceiving people. Thos who deceive will wind up deceiving themselves. Only the Taliban and Armenians will be left following this approach, because all the people have a contract to go to Mars and live. I see no logic about the people governing us. It’s as if all they want to do is fill their pockets. But they should know that it will all turn into garbage. Money is like poisoned honey. If you don’t use it correctly, it will kill you one day.

 On TV, on a million occasions, I’ve told the government to collect one dollar from every Armenian. For example, they organized the recent Nune Yesayan concert in Yerevan. Zero-zero-zero. They spent all that money, around $150,000. They tricked the people and used play-back tracks. No one was actually singing. 

What has Nune Yesayan done for the arts during her life so that she should do something now with that space??

For years, I tried to establish a space for talented kids in Armenia, to help give them a push. But the tricked me and took my house. But I still back the idea. They can’t get ahead by killing me. There was no progress. On the contrary, they hindered us and gave Nune Yesayan a space. What does this mean? What has Nune Yesayan done for the arts during her life so that she should do something now with that space?

Things can’t continue like this. Why did they levy taxes from people like Cafesjian? He gave his whole life and millions for Armenia.

Where can young talent thrive in Armenia? It’s enough already. 22 years have passed. It’s a disgrace. We’ve had three presidents. There’s no space left in their asses to put money. 

The Conservatory doesn’t teach you music, but teaches you how to perform in another format. The director of the Conservatory once asked me, “What have you accomplished in your life? Do you have a diploma?” What can I tell that person? Collect all your diplomas and let’s see what you can play. Yes, I ride a bike, but that doesn’t mean I can become an airplane pilot.

For this reason, giving Nune Yesayan such an opportunity is the same as letting me teach Armenian. But one day, you won’t hear me say, I became president, so now I will teach Armenian. It’s disgraceful. The time has come. I must ask them to think intelligently a bit and to not make war with this people. It will turn out bad for them. Let them quietly go away.

I want to see a new generation with its own sound.

Arto, what have we lost during 22 years of independence?

You see what I see. It’s a shame. Sure, there are more cars now. But is that progress? Look at their faces, their clothes, their homes. But this nation…

I take pride and feel happiness that I am serving the people. There is nothing greater for me than a person who is happy. Money and toilet paper is the same thing for me. It’s unfortunate that we have become slaves of money. When avarice and lies unite, there is nothing more dangerous. That’s why I say that a hungry man without hope is capable of doing everything.

People are leaving the country…

But why should they leave? If they want to launder money, let them do it intelligently. I’ve been coming to Armenia for the past 15 years. They are dumping asphalt on the same roads. Hey guys, do it right the first time so that you can pave other roads. At least the city will improve. Go ahead and launder money, but not so stupidly.

When people see something wrong, they emigrate. They tricked Europe for all this time and now they are going to the Russians. Do we have that trait in us? Of kissing someone’s ass? What does this mean?

What does the name Armenia mean? The country of Armenians. I am also an Armenian. From time to time, you hear someone make a stupid comment like, “Who are these people (diaspora Armenians) who have come from the outside? What have they done for the country?” OK, but you have destroyed this place. We, at least, want to help a bit. Leave us alone and see what we can do in this country.

Do you see the threat of us losing this country?

Absolutely. I was always careful so that the Turks and others wouldn’t hear about what’s happening here. But we have now reached a danger point. If I die, it will be for these young people, not for the powerful. Why can’t they unite with me? Because they are all in the same shit. I won’t turn into shit. I won’t open another’s ass nor will I allow another to open mine.

You didn’t speak so bitterly and insulted in the past. What happened?

Because they made me this way. They seized the house I built with my money. We have an evil side. We kill and then make the killers heroes.

Do you really believe that the Azerbaijanis killed Monte Melkonian? I don’t believe it for a second. They hit anyone who is loved by the people. The people in power make the problems and then put on a show as if they are solving them.

Here, in this café, 7 out of 10 people know me. But I don’t even have a room to live here. (More than 10 years ago Arto purchased land in the Martuni village of Zolakar on which to build a house. He claims some powerful people demanded money so that he could build it. Arto says he handed over $17,000 and that his friend, Narekatsi Art Institute President Nareg Hartunian, gave another $6-7,000. He says they were both deceived.)

I’m disgusted already. When I come here I have to pay rent here and there, for hotels. Am I the only stupid one here, that I destroyed my family, I left and came here? I separated from my wife, left my kids and grandchild behind.

I joined up with the Voice of Armenia TV program. But what happened? They destroyed that too. They played games.

So, where are we headed?

Nowhere. We remain in the garbage. Can a bike rider ever become a pilot? That’s how we are today. There are many talented Armenians throughout the world, but why should they come here? To fill the pockets of these guys with faces like cows?

A hundred times from the stage I have said that they can drive me from here, but at least help the people living here. There are musicians who dream of going to Glendale, to at least play at a wedding and live comfortably. Do you know who these musicians are? They can represent the general concept of our nation. I have always said that we must turn this country into a center for artists and our nation into the sun of humanity. 

Arto, do you see a glimmer of hope?

What I am saying is that these people in power can’t do anything. If they really want to help our nation, they should quietly pack their bags and go to Mars, from where it’s impossible to return. Otherwise there will be a war. They turned religion into a business, God into a business.

Is it possible that you won’t want to come back to Armenia?

What have I been doing for 15 years? Do you think another stupid person like me will be found? We go to America and play and the audiences are flabbergasted. They are proud of us. But others boast about going to Glendale to play and come back saying, “We went to America”. Who are they kidding? Have you ever seen one of the greats, Mariah Carey, for example, saying “Let me make another Armenian CD.” But we Armenians, how we love to make another.

What is there to be proud of? Sure there was the Ararat team of the 70s. This and that. But man, are you dumb or what? That was 40 years ago.

Hasn’t our government appreciated you during the past 15 years?

Forget me, just let the people be happy…Get rid of me, I’ll leave in a second.

The villager, a person with a pure soul, they are degrading them. And they use that pureness for their dirty aims. They claim they have been elected. Are you kidding? We are kidding ourselves.  

Do you think the Americans don’t understand? We are of two faces today. For the past 4-5 years we have been talking to the Europeans and Americans, and at the last second, we make a u-turn to the Russians. There are words I can use here, but...

I did the Voice of Armenia program. It was Ok for the first year, bravo. But can’t we think of things to do ourselves? Are the Dutch the smart ones? What are all these guys (musicians) studying for? Because they have brains of cauliflower? If they had such brains it would be easy.

I stand beside the individual who does good for our nation, for humanity, and who doesn’t damage our environment.

Photo: by rockpaperscissors

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Comments (35)
1. Suren18:04 - 8 October, 2013
Wow, I almost couldn't believe it was Arto saying this but I'm not shocked. The authorities have to go but democratically. This Nune thing is deeper than you think. Some others made money off it.
2. Tlkatintsi18:11 - 8 October, 2013
They will never go peacefully....They have to be shoved out on their asses! These bastards will cling to power until the very last. They need to fear the wrath of the people breathing down their worthless necks. But people here in Hayastan don't have the will nor the gumption.
3. Rosie 19:11 - 8 October, 2013
Wow ! We love you we love your music, (not nune or silicon )my kids adore you ...
4. ar20:13 - 8 October, 2013
Արրրտոոոսսսս, ոնց եմ քեզ սիրում
5. Armen_yan20:22 - 8 October, 2013
They, they, they...they who dump asphalt, they who took his house, they who killed Monte....Everyone's they for Arto. When someone's starts blaming whole world for his misfortunes and starts believing in conspiracy theories like Monte's killing by "them" then you shouldn't go that far to find the cause of the problems. Life is hard in Armenia and it's much harder if your not smart. So, either get smarter or just be happy. Negativism and bitterness doesn't solve your problems nor it makes you happy.
6. Gurgen20:43 - 8 October, 2013
Funny how whenever someone dislikes the message they go after the messenger. The statement "life is hard in Armenia" is like saying climbing Everest is a cake walk. Most people here in Armenia would love to chip in and purchase a one way ticket to Mars for the bums in government and their businessmen cronies now running the country. Are they all conspiracy theorists as well? Deceiving one's fellow Armenian is sadly a part of the social fabric here in Armenia. Some commentators appear to accept this as a normal way of life...talk about national values going down the shit hole.
7. hasmik21:10 - 8 October, 2013
Arto, karces im crtic es xosum, shnorhakalutjun hamarzakutjand hamar
8. henri23:30 - 8 October, 2013
Aysbes glla isgagan Marte yev Haye,Voski sirdov dgha ! Hokit sirem Arto
9. BolsaHay23:46 - 8 October, 2013
Bravo Arto, shat lav hosetzir . Abris jan!! We need more people like you. An artist who thinks for his country, who speaks to the people like it should be "Without ass kissing " Stop the corrupt government!! Stop the corrupt justice, corrupt policeman who is not even able to find stolen money of your house. I am a Diaspora Armenian too, with lots of Ideas and good heart to help this country. I'm coming for the 4th time to Armenia. The first year was wonderful ...more a religious discovery of the country with all the monasteries from the past ... I mean Wow man AMEN Then the second year with the family and approximately the same ... going out of Yerevan to nice places, villages and chasing another Church in hidden areas. Out of Yerevan looks okey, but dammm whats going on with the people in Yerevan It starts already with the corrupt rude TAXI drivers! Unsafe cars with inexistent safety belts.. and being impolite to crossing people in the streets and on the other hand an example... I am in front of a huge crossing, it is RED for walking people, where a mum with 3 children explains " girls it is RED and lets count down together until it gets Green " and right on that moment 3 idiot young man with large face covered sun glasses are crossing the street ..... How can you teach the children if the adults are not behaving themselves, where the cars are driving impatiently from point A to B WTF why cant you drive slowly and respect the road rules and "DONT't push to THE HORN " every 5 sec I think we need an undercover documentary of Michael More to show our nation " Look to who you vote for it and how peaceful we are "
10. Ed00:08 - 9 October, 2013
Armen-yan, what in the world are you talking about? Arto specifically mentioned that the ruling class is behind all the misfortune in Armenia. "So, either get smarter or jst be happy" ...really?
11. Arto00:31 - 9 October, 2013
bravo Arto jan ...apsos Hajastanin . haj jorovrdin vor Arto uni , Mergelyan u Hambarcumyan .Xachatryan u Quchak u himaikva poric molorvac kazino xaracor mijakutjunnery
12. Emil06:19 - 9 October, 2013
If "they" do go to Mars, "they" will become bigger heroes than Ararat-73. Love Arto's music and can relate to his feelings, but didnt appreciate insinuations about Melkonian and Cafesjian.
13. Evelina 17:25 - 9 October, 2013
ՄԵԾՆ ԱՐՏՈ Թ. համաձայն եմ Ձեզ հետ դուք հրաշք երաժիշտ եք:
14. armine18:00 - 9 October, 2013
15. Varouj18:53 - 9 October, 2013
You sound so angry, your expectations must have been very unrealistic.. So many small ex soviet and communist countries are having the same exact problems as Armenia. Some not so bad, but most are just as bad. Perhaps if you appreciated what we are up against you would have more faith as opposed to bitterness
16. Varouj18:58 - 9 October, 2013
Hello Hetq, in in business school will learn to focus on three things, what's not working? what's working?, and what could we do differently in the future? I've noticed that your magazine is great at focusing on what's not working, but in order for people to learn how to improve they also need to see what is working, and also suggestions for what we could do differently in the future. In order to give people hope and direction you have to also look for stories other than, what's not working!
17. Hetq19:30 - 9 October, 2013
Hello Varouj, You seem to be mixing apples and oranges. Hetq isn't a business school and it isn't in the business of heaping praise on the government. They take care of that quite nicely themselves. Evidently, you do not follow Hetq on a regular basis, otherwise you would notice the myriad of stories covering good works by organizations and average individuals committed to the future progress of Armenia. But, when it comes to the power elites in Armenia, the government and business classes, we have never, nor will never, back away from pointing out what is wrong and needs to be fixed. The government, allegedly elected by the people, has assumed a responsibility to work in the nation's best interests. When the facts show differently, Hetq will be there to expose the contradictions. Funny, but one would never write to the New York Times or the Guardian, requesting that they back off from publishing news that sheds a negative light on the countries in which they operate. So why the double standard when it comes to Armenia?
18. ZhenyaKhudaverdyan 19:58 - 9 October, 2013
Ardo we love your music . I know you are disappointed but you are not only one in this situation. This is not going to last forever, hopefully the government will be crushed soon
19. Ed20:16 - 9 October, 2013
Varouj, seems you live in a fool's paradise.
20. Rafi Ekmekian21:52 - 9 October, 2013
Generation after generation we dreamt and hoped and wished for an independent and free homeland, now that we have it (although a fraction of what it used to be), it seems like our leaders are doing everything they can to destroy it, their greedy self fulfilling policies have depleted our country not only of its resources and infrastructures, but also of its most important element, its talents, its artists, its farmers, its intellectuals, its janitors, its doctors, its mechanics, its people really. What for the love of God is gonna take for our nation to have a government who actually gives a damn about its country's and its people's future, progress, well being and survival? Are we doomed as a people to forever live the life of gypsies?
21. Hayk23:03 - 9 October, 2013
Arto you speak from my heart. Our country and people are slaves and hostages of current government. I can't believe what I see now in Armenia. All diaspora Armenians must stop helping Serge and his evil party. Unfortunately Russian oligarch Armenians are same criminals as Serzik and they support him by opening businesses, schools, malls and all making Serzik look good. They must instead support opposition to free up our country from EVIL. Hayk from USA
22. samo00:20 - 10 October, 2013
The ‘ass’ seems to be repeating team in this interview. ‘There’s no space left in their asses to put money’, you are thinking positive, where an ass even a big one has size and can be measured , man’s lust is more like a bottomless pit. No limit or end to it, until you find yourself in it one day. Tribulation means that you are doing something right. If you need vacation I got great hiding spot in Oregon please visit us.
23. Varujan00:21 - 10 October, 2013
Armenia has been hijacked by a gang of vicious criminals with Armenian names. Look at their faces, look at the way they behave. Do you see any civility, any morality? I share the deep frustration that Arto is feeling, as an Armenian who lived early part of my life in fascist Turkey. I can only hope that, the day we unite as a nation in every corner of the world to clear our homeland from these rats will come soon.
24. Shushan03:34 - 10 October, 2013
Amen bare irakan e u galis e nra maqur hoguts u nkaragrum mer dajan irakanautyune!!! Stapveq mardik.................
25. THE TRUTH14:59 - 10 October, 2013
26. Սերգեյ19:14 - 10 October, 2013
Արտո ջան, դու գերազանց հայ ես և հրաշալի երաժիշտ-երգիչ։
27. Սերգեյ19:25 - 10 October, 2013
Արտո ջան, քո մտահոգությունները շատերի մտահոգությունն են։ ԵՍ-ը ընդամենը երկու տառ է, ՄԵՆՔ-ը՝ չորս։ Սակայն մեր երկու տառն ավելի զորեղ է, քան մնացած բոլորը... Թերևս սա է մեր բոլոր անհաջողությունների հիմքը։ Այ, երբ կարողանանք հասկանալ, որ ՄԵՆՔ-ը առավել է ԵՍ-ից, այդ ժամանակ էլ կկարողանանք ձերբազատվել անհաջողություններից։
28. Lusine02:47 - 12 October, 2013
Some people above say 'life is hard in Armenia and it's much harder if you're not smart...' Well, isn't THIS the problem in Armenia? That life is actually much easier in Armenia who are NOT smart? I totally agree with Arto who has had the courage to say what others would never dare to and who instead prefer a***kissing.
29. Lusine22:56 - 13 October, 2013
Respect to Arto!
30. GB01:47 - 15 October, 2013
Honey bees never leave the hive, until the Queen is dead!!
31. ara baliozian15:53 - 16 October, 2013
why is it that when a man speaks of honesty he is told he is being unrealistic, he is a daydreamer.
32. Vahe Avetian00:46 - 7 January, 2014
I love you Arto!
33. Harutik05:56 - 13 January, 2014
Stuff like this gets played out millions of times in Western countries (even with signed contracts) on a regular basis yet not a single one of them is turned into a major "political matter". Self-destructive Armenian natives, naive Diasporans (with major attitudes nonetheless) and Western funded propaganda outlets such as Hetq, Radio Liberty, Lragir and ArmeniaNow are turning these otherwise normal criminal matters into an issue of life and death. Guess what folks, every single one of Armenia's neighbors live just as bad if not worst than the average Armenian - yet it is only the Armenian that freaks out and seeks to abandon his homeland. Why is that? Could this be a genetic/cultural problem? Could this be a result of Western psy-ops? Perhaps both. We Armenians are not yet ready for full independence. Thank God we have a Russia to rely on. Nevertheless, the most revealing part of all in this story is that Arto got had by a Diasporan Armenian with ties to the ARF.
34. lucy02:46 - 2 February, 2014
Harutik jan u need a lot to solve the puzzle ....the ruling political party is killing its own people & where is the plan ? what's the future target of Armenia? if ur happy in this situation others are hungry & need work .......the young generation with all their diplomas need jobs in this country give them if u can stop talking ( ACT )..... we need a new Armenia, HZOR Armenia, 100 % independent ....i'm not defending ARF but see the diaspora is stronger than Armenia ...they built stronger Armenians with 100% Armenian bloods ....did u built something in Armenia? NO NO NO NO u didn't do anything ...........so learn something from ARF, S.T. HENJAK or AGBU people.......they have more experience than Sergio & his political party....
35. anush01:44 - 15 February, 2015
Rich Armenian Diaspora was too trusting to send so much money , I know they wanted to help their homeland but they also gave the hungry people in power the taste of money unfortunately... there is many layers of bribery in Armenia, The bribery is partly the fault of the people, a secretary is rudely complaining about filling out a form they give her 5000 she does it in a minute, i fill my own forms, and if they complain about a mistake I have made, I do it again, but armenian people are to ready to hand out the bribe (this is only an example of a lower lever bribery .After the earthquake the hospital workers , managers and nurses were all selling humanitarian aid that was sent to people directly affected by the earthquake... I have witnessed too much, I will never send a penny I don`t trust that my aid will reach the right people, and unless they can make money from it I guess they won`t be interested in the help you can offer. It is really sad, But People have lost you Arto, the officials won`t care. and people in a cease fire zone just want a peace and a bread and water. Dear Harutik, Armeni`s neighbours abandon their countries, you are misinformed, or ignorant. When one tries to open a small business and create a few jobs in a village, 20 different people try to inhibit the process (because you are paying fair wages, it doesn`t suit them) from another similar business owner to the gyuxapet, to the police chief, all telling you this is my territory you either have to pay me or take your legitimate business away, I talk of experience, until you are sick of it all and just leave.
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