CNN International has released an episode about Armenia as part of its “CNN On the Road” series. Even though I couldn’t find the official video on CNN’s website, the YouTube video embedded above is verifiably a CNN product.
The episode, which features a couple of my friends (here’s a shout to @ and @), draws a charming picture of Armenia as a country of technology, smart chess-playing kids, churches, traditions (like khash) and good-natured political satire. It gives a good measure of information about the Armenian Genocide and prominently features a sign reading the “Armenian Assembly of America” and an interview with Armenian President’s Chief of Staff Vigen Sargsyan who also happens to be the coordinator of Armenian Genocide commemoration events.
I totally liked the episode and was surprised to find people who criticized it, saying CNN showed too much of a glossy picture of Armenia and none of the country’s problems were reflected.
I think such criticism is misplaced: there are people who’re ready to criticize just about everything for the sake of being critical or because it looks cool on Facebook.
But if we dig deeper, it becomes clear that “CNN On the road” is not the right place to ‘reflect problems.’ According to its official page, the series “explores the culture, heritage and customs of countries across the world, it looks at the popular culture, art, design, cuisine, innovation and technology and tries to show the best of each country.”
Moreover, there’s an introduction to CNN’s Sponsorship policy right on the “CNN On the Road” page, making clear that this is a sponsored program.
PS: Why don’t we just sit back, watch and consider what picture of Armenia this CNN episode paints as we approach Armenian Genocide centennial. Without fear of looking ‘not so cool’ and ‘not critical enough’ on Facebook, I want to extend my compliments to all the Armenians who appeared in it and tried to paint the picture of Armenia that we all love and feel proud of so much. Armenia is a wonderful little country after all, even with all the big problems it has. Let’s love it with CNN or without it for a change.