Re-Independence at 23: A Lamentation

Garen Yegparian

BY GAREN YEGPARIAN

Here we are, 23 years on. Really, a quarter century since the rebirth of a truly independent Armenian state was more than just the pipe dream among circles of die-hard believers who were mocked and smirked at.

But, boy, what a letdown!

Even by the interconnected, interdependent, standards of international relations today, the Republic of Armenia (RoA) is far too dependent.

Dependent on remittances from compatriots living/working/getting assimilated in Russia. These funds constitute 18% of the RoA’s GDP;

Dependent on remittances from other Diasporan communities, amounting to an aggregate 25% of GDP;

Dependent on fuel from Russia and Iran;

Dependent on Russia for security guarantees against very threatening neighbors to the east and west of the country; but with Russia simultaneously supporting those potential aggressors at different times;

Dependent on “leaders” who are anything but that;

Dependent on “leaders” who are occupied embezzling every penny they can get away with;

Dependent on “leaders” who are brought us the infamous “protocols” with Tukey, which are still hanging over our collective head, awaiting the day when the fractious Parliament of Turkey gets its act together and approves them, as did the RoA’s assembly of lackeys;

Dependent on “leaders” who are in turn dependent on external support for their legitimacy, rather than their own constituent citizens’ backing and confidence;

Then we have other ongoing, grinding, indignities foisted upon us.

The corruption that rots the country’s economy and drives proud Armenians away from their homeland;

The almost regular murder of Armenian soldiers by both Azerbaijan’s forces and internal abuses;

The free reign given to so-called oligarchs and government officials to surround themselves with “bodyguards” who behave more like a B-movie version of Chicago’s prohibition era thugs;

The abuse and exploitation of the conscience, nationalism, and good will held by Armenians the world over towards Armenia

Meanwhile, we have contrasting, and attractive, alternatives and options that draw out the natural urge in us to help better our societies and planet.

Changes occurring in Turkey have enabled people who have been covertly Armenian for two and three post-Genocide generations to come out with their identity, even if they are only a quarter Armenian. You are no doubt reading about these. I tear up almost every time, whether it’s when a picture-postcard showing Kevork Chavoosh’s widow is found hidden in a wall in Aintab, Islamized Armenians revert to Christianity, a few of these lost compatriots learn Armenian, a group of them visits the RoA, or Disaporans relate heart-rending responses to seeing their ancestral hometowns and meeting those of us who remained on our lands and suffered in silence for a century. While all these bits are arguably less significant than the state- and economy-building that we should be engaged in throughout the RoA, Artzakh, and Javakhk, how can you not be inspired by this progress and want to do something in Hajin, Hamshen, or Havav to incrementally restore our presence on Western Armenian lands?

While I even have trouble remembering that Armenia’s Re-Independence Day is September 21, I’m very aware of the massive climate mobilization scheduled for the same weekend in New York and elsewhere to save our planet from our own, human, worst excesses. Can you blame me? May 28, 1918’s independence was the product of immense labors of love and self-sacrifice, very inspiring stuff. The leadership then was starving with the people while today’s leaders are (figuratively) starving the people.

I think I’ll spend some time in the mountains and try to imagine being in the highlands of Armenia, specifically, in the Anti-Taurus Mountains, home to my great-grandfather’s (Missag Der Boghossian) birthplace, Hajin.

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9 Comments

  1. edward demian said:

    Exposure to information is the best thing for our nation in hiding . Whomever is exposed to the struggles and achievements of their ancestors, can’t help but regain their Armenian pride Small Gullen type schools all over Turkey, teaching kindergarten Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish. A small stipend to parents that send their children to those schools. Opportunities for those kids to continue their education in Armenia..That is the only way.

    • Armenian said:

      Why sugarcoat the truth if there’s not much to be proud of? The people who represent Armenia are a disgrace not just to their nation, but to humanity.

      • Armen said:

        What are you talking about? There is plenty to be proud of. Armenia humiliated a country four times it own size using nothing more than sheer determination and willpower. That country has received absolutely no help from anyone else and considering that it is a miracle that it continues to persevere. The actions of a few corrupt politicians do not negate the accomplishments of an entire nation.

        • Armenian said:

          Yeah, but that was done by the people and not by the government. The very people you talk about are all severely neglected by the Armenian government, many of whom cannot even collect pensions and have left to the US because this country is more likely to take better care of them than the very country they fought for.

          My comments are strictly related to the government, not the people. The Armenian government has little to be proud of. It is spineless, self-interested and totally unsympathetic to the needs and desires of the people. They’ve hardly achieved anything but become professional auctioneers, selling everything to the highest bigger. The people of Armenia are the future, which is why the government is desperately trying to get them out of there so that their plundering continues to go on uninterrupted.

          It’s one thing to win a war, and it’s another thing to hold onto your winnings. There is no doubt that Armenia has completely turned into an oblast over the last 20 years in everything but name, and that’s due to poor decision making and fear-mongers like Avetis who think the world revolves around Russia and that without it, there is no life.

          The people of Armenia and the government that claims to represent them are two very, very different things.

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