Subtle panic over Arab dust in Yerevan

Yellow dust in YerevanAir in Yerevan was polluted with strange yellow dust today. It was very unpleasant with no air to breathe. The dust mingled with slight morning moisture and stuck to the car’s front window, as I drove my son to school.

As the day drew to midday, Armenia’s ever-concerned Facebook community (Ֆեյսբուկահայություն) invented horror stories about an environmental disaster. Some went so far as to say there’s been a blast at Armenia’s nuclear power plant and the dust was radioactive.

Ecolur environmental news agency asked state officials for clarifications and a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environmental Protection said this is dust came from Arabic deserts.

By the close of business day yellow rain came down and the air felt cleaner. And no need to panic at all. Thank God!


20 thoughts on “Subtle panic over Arab dust in Yerevan

    • I’m starting to imagine what the opposition will say abou the dust on April 28th’s rally.

      E.g. “Even Arab dust comes to Armenia, so will the wave of Arab revolutions”

      • And Ode to Joy in the beginning of rally must be changed with the arabic translation of Scorpions’ “Wind of Change”.

  1. Me too – I thought this was a metaphor for the winds of change emerging from the Arab Spring revolutions… insha’allah :-)

  2. Yep, and that’s the fun of it. People are so much into silly conspiracy theories, I’m amazed! Karen noted the same thing in this Buzz

  3. The belief in conspiracy theories could be inversely proportional to the amount of trust, yet the amount of trust has no releations to how truthful the authorities are.

    • Mike, I have to disagree with you. What do you mean ” the amount of trust has no releations to how truthful the authorities are”

      Can you illustrate it with an example? While waiting for it, here’s an example to the opposite effect. When our PM Tigran Sargsian said that the Global Economic meltdown won’t affect Armenia, but it did affect us big time, he lost all the trust he had, even though many hoped that being an educated man and trusted by international organizations like IMF, Tigran Sargsian would be a pretty good PM.

  4. I am not sure what PM meant — maybe he said it during initial stages when the problem was limited to large banks who had sub-prime mortgages and the revailing thought was that the problem would not spread beyond that sector — and Armenia, being so isolated from the world economy would not suffer as much. I am not going to justify his blundered prediction — I’ll leave it up to him. :) What is real to me is the last talk coming out of his office about the need for reforming the notaries — and that is a positive for me. Anybody who ever needed their service would attest to that.

    My point is this: if we are to find a factor for the people’s disbelief in government, there could be a hundred. I could list a few for you:

    1) How untruthful previous governments have been :)
    2) How well the rumor mill is working. I would be suprised if Turkey has not invested a few million in Armenia with the aim of manufacturing/controlling false rumors.
    3) How politically gullible/mature the population is.
    4) How skillful/media savy the government is.

    I could go on. As cynical as it may sound, the truthfullness of the current government probably is not the biggest factor. It might not even be a positively correlated factor — who knows? :)

    The underlying reason for my disagreeing with the post was that any time we senselessly blame the government, it becomes a call to stop acting. As if government is comprised of a single individual. If everyone stopped blaming the government and took the responsibily upon themselves, things would immediately improve.

    • The 4 points above are all valid. Thanks for that. However, all of those factors become insignificant, if:
      1. The media are free and responsible and people trust what they say
      2. The government is truthful and able to deliver

      On another note, yes, I would be surprised, if along with the very powerful Russian and American spy networks, Turkey didn’t have its spies.

      As for blaming the government, I hold the firm belief, that the Armenian government is led by a single individual, controlled by 1 person – Serzh Sargsian. So blaming the government as if it were comprised of a single individual wouldn’t be that far off the mark.

  5. What does “dust from the Arabian deserts” mean…?! Since when has something like that happened in Yerevan? How would dust storms from miles and miles to the south of the country traverse all that distance – crossing rivers, lakes, and mountains – to land in Armenia? Were there similar incidents recorded in Kurdistan, Turkey, Nakhichevan, Iranian Azerbaijan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Syria…?

    Ի միջի այլոց, «Ֆեյսբուկահայություն» արտայայտութիւնը շատ սիրեցի: Շատոնց է որ ուզում եմ «Ֆէյսբուք»-ը թարգմանել որպէս «Դիմագիրք»: Կարծում եմ լաւ է հնչում Հայերէնով՝ չնայած վստահ չեմ «Դիմագրահայեր»-ը ոնց կը ստացուի:

    Սակայն… բոլորս էլ դիմանում ենք, գրում ենք, ու դիմագրաւում էլ ենք երբեմներն: Perhaps it is more apt than I thought.

  6. A similar dust was seen two years ago and a smaller cloud came last year. Similar dust was noted also in Tbilisi, Georgia.

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