There is a tradition of friction between the haves and the have-nots, most Armenians acknowledge. "The generation that grew up in the United States has a different perception of things by virtue of the fact that they were born here," says Paparian. "There has been a perception on the part of some from Armenia that those of us on this side are less patriotic because we don't speak Armenian every day in conversation or listen to Armenian music when we go to social events. I think that's a misconception."
If there is a silver lining to the disaster in Armenia, some Armenians said, it is that it has swept away such petty differences. "There has always been fragmentation," said Glendale immigration attorney Vartkes Yeghiyan. "What the natural disaster has done is to cause all people to coalesce, to work together."