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Bathroom, boys’/girls’/men’s/women’s room, can, crapper, head, john, latrine, lavatory, loo, outhouse, potty, powder room, washroom, WC, ardaknotz, bedkaran, cordzaran, lvatzaran, zookaran… With so many words for it, you’d think these places would be ubiquitous, easily available.

It turns out, they’re not. At least not in the Republic of Armenia (RoA), and not where they’re most needed.

This stinky situation came up last night at a program with Edik Baghdasarian, of Hetq— the investigative journalism organization in Armenia.

An expert in tourism, a man who has been in the travel industry for decades, broached this subject. He said he’d raised this issue with the relevant authorities, and his entreaties and proposals had gone unheeded.

Tellingly, Edik cringed as he described dreading “the question” when he had visiting friends with him at touristic sites in Armenia. He noted that neither our greatest churches nor other touristic attractions have conveniently located facilities for when his guests needed to go. He also said they’d addressed this issue in Hetq. Finally, he suggested starting a campaign for toilets in Armenia.

So here it is…the first odoriferous salvo in the great toilet war. Please, start telling the Armenia Fund, church leaders, enemies, friends, government officials, hosts, hotels, organizations, parliamentarians, political parties, relatives, and basically anybody else that will listen “we want toilets.”

For a country that is betting on tourism as one of the drivers of its economic growth, the absence of toilets is inconceivable. It’s high time the Front for Armenia’s Respectable Toilets (FART) was established!

Of course, we all know that every joke has its kernel of seriousness, so despite the humorous way this piece is written in (hopefully you agree), I am very serious that we must act on this issue and bring it to a positive, beneficial, bathroom-building conclusion.

Let’s do this folks. Let’s embarrass the RoA’s leaders into doing the right thing for the country, its tourist industry’s visitors, and all our bowels and bladders.

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