Repat Warriors

BY MARIA TITIZIAN
Guest Columnist

“Produce great men, the rest follows.” Walt Whitman

Armenia’s demographic landscape is changing; modern-day warriors are emerging. These warriors are not engaged in battle or warfare but exemplify a different kind of courage and daring, one that demands unfaltering commitment and love to our collective concept of homeland.

When the impossible dream of independence unfolded before us we were forced to reinvent ourselves as a people and as a nation. Never before in our recent history had we been handed an opportunity so full of hope yet rife with so many pitfalls. The road that has led us to where we find ourselves today as a nation has been daunting – we have stumbled and erred.

When the gunfire subsided in Karabakh, we were left with a fragile peace. When the cold and dark years subsided we were left with its bitter aftertaste. When Armenians began leaving the country in unprecedented numbers, we were left with a crippled population. And when the ambitious call of Tebi Yergir didn’t materialize, we were left with a divide we didn’t know how to bridge.

We were and continue to be a nation divided by geography, culture, and even language.

Today, however, these new warriors are writing the new and living story of what it means to be an Armenian in an independent country. They are ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things, making small changes, which cumulatively can have a lasting and meaningful effect. They are the warriors who took up the call to arms and took that giant leap of faith; they are the modern-day repatriates.

For the past two decades Armenians from different continents, from diverse social and economic backgrounds have been making the final leg of their life’s journey to Armenia.

Their stories cannot be found in books or chronicles, there is very little written about their daily struggles, the challenges they must overcome and their personal and communal victories.

Whether they are helping to improve the lives of children or the disabled, or contributing to the empowerment of their country by elevating, with their education and knowledge, democratic governance, or unveiling cultural stigmas and corruption or whether they are simply working to get by, their very existence on the ground has a meaning, which we have yet to qualify and appreciate.

Some have come to reconnect with their lost heritage, some to volunteer for a few months, others have come for an adventure or perhaps to escape and start with a clean slate, but most have come with the promise, however idealistic that may be, to help create a new Armenia.

They are helping to bridge the existing disconnect between the Diaspora and the Homeland. They are the conduits of change and hope. They are in the unique position to simultaneously understand the dilemmas and challenges of what it means to be in a permanent state of displacement on the one hand and endlessly struggling to tear off decades of Soviet rule and influence, on the other.

It is true that these modern repatriates can often be found commiserating about the current state of affairs of the country. It is also true that they argue with customs officials, shudder at the thought of going to the passport office (OVIR), bristle with agitation at the lack of service in some business establishments, wonder why some people just can’t understand that laws are meant to be applied equally to everyone regardless of rank and stature, are embarrassed by some strange local customs and can even be found scratching their heads in frustration at the blatant absurdity floating all around them. But their complaints come with a sense of ownership and responsibility and entitlement.

They are not martyrs or heroes, either. They are not carving out the land with their bare hands to make it fertile. They are not building state institutions from the ground up. They are not living without the basic amenities. Their children are not suffering from poverty or hunger. While they struggle daily with issues related to health and education and endless traffic infractions, most are also living a privileged life. No one said you had to be a martyr or a hero to serve your country.

All that is required is the courage to love it enough.

Many of my repatriate friends are working on groundbreaking programs and initiatives. While they may sometimes be vocal, they are not concerned with self-promotion. Many have been working quietly, under the radar, for months and years on projects they believe in. Each has his or her own unique talent and ability and they are maximizing their potential to unbelievable new heights.

It is an honor and a privilege to know them. They are the pioneers of the movement to repatriate; they are the visionaries who are helping to enact policies that will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of their compatriots; they are builders, engineers, lawyers, environmental activists, businesspeople, political activists, farmers, advocates for women’s rights, for the disabled, for the poor. They instill hope and promise and they deliver.

There are the two Laras –  fearless women who moved to Armenia with their husbands, had babies in Armenian hospitals, who send their children to Armenian schools and live and work with passion, compassion and bravado. They are Diasporan women serving as examples to other women in the homeland who have lost their voice.

There are the Raffis –  the husbands of the Laras who are spearheading new programs, developing ideas and helping to create an environment where families can live and work and feel privileged.

There is Nigol and Zabelle and Silva and Kevork who have moved to the homeland, set up businesses and provided employment for people so that they may lead an honorable life by providing for their families.

There is Ivan and Shari, who are new to this roster of repatriates but are already working in different sectors of Armenian society, enacting fundamental change and sparking a new kind of hope.

There is Giro and Salpi and Alex who are not only brilliant but are helping to change the political and social landscape of this country, each in his or her own unique way.

There is Der Ktrij and Yerestgin Paula who help administer our spirits and rekindle our souls.

There is Shakeh who is so brave that her very presence can move you to tears.

And then there are our children, who on a daily basis bear witness to the empowerment of the Motherland.

There are more of us. But there are even more of you. What are you waiting for?

Maria Titizian is a writer and editor, and a repatriate from Canada, who holds the seat of Vice President of Socialist International.

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54 Comments

  1. Papken Hartunian said:

    Thank you for your article! In my opinion the worst Armenian living in Armenia is more valuable Armenian than the best Armenian living in diaspora! That also applies to me.

  2. Nareg Seferian said:

    Very well put, Maria. There are all those individuals you mentioned, and there are even more.

    Apart from repatriation, there is another phenomenon that has gained note of late, and not just in our context, namely “brain circulation”, as opposed to a “brain drain”. The idea is to have Diasporas serve as a bridge, with one in foot in the country, and the other abroad.

    For example, there is a large contingent of Armenians from Iran who either now live and work in the Homeland, or come and go, each time bringing with them something materially and spiritually worthwhile for Armenia. And there are certainly plenty of those who used to live in Armenia moving back to the Homeland, those who were forced to leave over the course of the past three decades.

    It is indeed valuable to showcase these exemplary people and families, and to inspire all those who can to emulate them.

  3. Hagop Varoujian said:

    Bravo,bravo! Maria Titizian!
    What an excellent article titled “Repat warriors” it is so uplifting to hear someone making some positive comments about our Hayrenik for a change! Let us all adopt this attitude and instead of constantly nagging and complaining, let us follow the example of the brave Raffis, Shakehs , Giros and Salpies. As Maria says: “what are we waiting for?”

  4. Meline' Karakashian, PhD said:

    Abris Maria!  This is a wonderful article, very clearly written, full of positive energy and hope for the future.  I can not express my appreciation enough times. 

    You present the reality of today.  I am so glad to read that the expat contributions to Armenia which started in 1988 with the Earthquake, are continuing so well.  Being involved in psychological crisis intervention work then and later in education, I am often confronted by friends in the US who doubt that any contribution to the rebuilding of Armenia is worthwhile, that my intentions are good, or my time is well spent.  They view Armenia and Armenians living in Armenia as all corrupt and deviant.

    I am glad to read that a young Canadian-Armenian feels differently, in fact feels like me that we should continue to share our knowledge and expertise toward improving our country.  Margaret Mead, the great anthropologist referred to “the responsibility of priviledge.”  Your coverage demonstrates that and bravo again! 

    • Gayane said:

      I am 100% with you Meline…

      People like yourself, Maria, Papken and many more will make alot of Armenians’ dream come true of having a country where their children can grow up being the true Armenian with true Armenian values and we will have a homeland to return to..

      Reading Maria’s article brought tears to my eyes.. it was that moving and emotional because I am one of those people who wants to do everything i can no matter how small it is, to contribute to our country and our well being. Little droplets combined together will create a huge waves…and people who do great work behind the doors are those people who will create hugs waves to bring our country to where it should be.

      God bless these people…

  5. Sonya Varoujian said:

    Well written Maria – and refreshing to read the encouragement. Repatriating to Armenia was by far one of the most fufilling things that I have done in my life – and as you said I have observed corrupt elections, deal with daily issues that may seem coarse to someone who has lived in Europe and America most of their lives. However, the more negative things I see the more I am convinced that we need to be here – on the ground to make a difference. Furthermore, living here has allowed me to understand the psychology of my fellow Armenians who have lived in Armenia their entire lives. The cries of the diasporans who have not lived or worked here, although with good intention, do not always take into consideration the mindset of those who live here. Therefore, I believe that repatriating is yet another way to bridge the gap between the culture and language divides within us. It is by far one of the most powerful statements we can make as diasporans and for those of us whose presence is not necessary abroad, who are not lobbying in Washington or financing foreign led nonprofit projects and fueling important agendas, repatriating is surely the most effective and rewarding choice.

  6. manooshag said:

    Hye Maria, abress…
    Would that I could,  but yet, my life, my families’ lives have since the Genocide been dedicated to azad, anghat Haiastan, as it has been for generations from our Suvivors, until today. 
    Would that your message would be translated into all the languages of our world-wide diaporas, and Armenian, and even English to the Congress of the United States of America for all to learn, to know, of the character of the Armenian peoples (excluding Serge and cohorts – pimples in our road)  for we shall succeed, despite these errants.  I wish for you great success in all your endeavors – as well to our patriots of  today.  And, allow me, for   I feel our patriots from  Armenian history proudly waiting/watching our Armenian patriots  of today. Manooshag

  7. Rev. Joanne Gulezian Hartunian said:

    Thank you for your article.   I appreciate that you have raised people’s awareness of the potential of their individual effectiveness!  Each of us has a gift, our “gintz”, which we were blessed with at birth.   What we do with it, is our gift to God. 

    As we enter this period of Lent, we are called into atonement and accountability for the choices we make.    One person or organization cannot ‘fix’ or ‘help’ the entire country; but we can make a difference in one family, one apartment building, one school, one village, one person.    Not everyone has the financial means or enough savings to live in Armenia without a weekly salary and health care benefits; however, we can and should be creative in our use of vacations, school breaks, summer recess, alternative gift giving, and teaching sabaticals.   

    To your list of names I would like to add Lorig who in lieu of birthday gifts for her daughter’s first birthday, asked for donations to fund a workshop in Armenia for young girls on Human Trafficking.  Unable to go to Armenia herself at this time in her life, she was able to fund a project someone else wanted to do who didn’t have the funds to do so.

    For those who are ethnic Armenians living outside our Mother land, and for whom it is not an option to move to Armenia, there is still work to do be done to bring attention to the historical accuracy for Armenian people within public and private schools in the Diaspora; there are schools to adopt and programs to support in Armenia.  We cannot waste our ‘gintz’ by merely waving our hand away saying, “Tsk. I can’t move there, this doesn’t pertain to me.”

    The task each of us take in repairing Armenia is necessary.   That we do it, is what is important.  

    Rev. Joanne Gulezian Hartunian
    http://www.amarasonline.com


     

    • Gayane said:

      God Bless Lorig…

      What I have been doing lately, instead of giving gifts myself including Valentine’s, birthdays, ect.. i donate that money to Armenian Tree Project allowing them to plant cluster of trees to promote environmental awareness, to rebuild the lost forests and trees in the country during the worst days in the first 90’s.  Including other organizations who can benefit from my little money than spending it on gifts…

      If everyone chips in as you said, we can rebuild and have a country to be proud of.. even though some may not be able to return to live there forever, at least we will have a country to call our own ….

      God Bless All..

    • Charles Masraff said:

      ” for whom it is not an option to move to Armenia,”
      Why should it not be an option for anybody?It might not be easy,or convenient,or simple,or cosy,or soft but if you WANT to do it…you can do it!!

  8. Vache Thomassian said:

    The Tebi Yerkir idea has to be a mindset that brings to the hearts and minds of all Armenians towards Hayasdan. If we can move now, we should move, if it not feasible now, we should prepare and set the path…all the while we should do whatever we can from wherever we are to better our homeland. Ever person’s contribution counts, regardless of where they are.

    One thing that is clear, the battle of assimilation will never be won. It can only be slowed down and even then, its a losing battle. So our attention has to go tebi yerkir…

    We look forward to many more insightful pieces from Maria…Thank you

  9. Arek Santikian said:

    Great article. Everything in this piece is evidence as to why our people’s overall goal is (or should be) to live in our homeland. An Armenian Diaspora will continue to serve its purpose, but what is the point of a homeland if the Diaspora exceeds its population by more than 3 times? Armenia will only be stronger once the majority of the Armenian people begin to move back home.
    Thank you for the wonderful insight Maria.

  10. nazo said:

    Ask someone who moved to Armenia and doing buisness, it is hell on earth, not some organization and someone who comes here for few weeks or month than goes back, If the custom officials officials don’t get you, the hargayen will, if not the police, than some other goverment agency will, its a never ending circle, specialy for diaspora armenians, since they do not have connections, the past 6 months 4 families that I know of moved back to Syria, 6 families back to Lebanon 2 back to los angelos, and Mike is wating for his wifes papers to be completed at US embassy to go back to Los Angelos, All of us came here put money opened buisness bought homes but afther being harrassed, robbed, frustrated are going back one by one and tell our sorry stories to our friends and relatives, only an idiot will come here at present condition and do real buisness, not some charity work, ask any diaspora armenia here in armenia, who been here 2 years and engage in buisness, you get the real picture. MY ADVISE DO NOT COME HERE TO DO BUISNESS, UNLESS YOU ARE RETIRED OVER 65 AND ONLY FOR 6 MONTHS DURING SUMMER.

    • Khachig said:

      SUMMER IS 6 MONTHS NOW?! WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME?! The evidence of successful businesses in Armenia proves you wrong Nazo. Sorry you had such a bad experience, but ciaooo. =)

  11. Harout said:

    Thanks Nazo for being very transparent! We need to speak the truth even if our voice shakes, cause recognizing the truth is the only solution for our problems. I know many other “repat warriors” who moved out of Armenia for similar reasons…
    People need to see the complete picture. In the Google, Twitter, and Facebook era, emotional and short sighted articles like this fall short from representing the reality.

  12. Nareg Seferian said:

    I agree that things are far from perfect in Hayastan, and that there is a great deal of corruption and ineptitude which hinder business or humanitarian work. And I can understand that people with families to care for have a hard time of it very often, and certainly do appreciate why they would move back to Aleppo or Buenos Aires or Sydney or Los Angeles.

    However, those of us who have taken the risk, and those of us who have the luxury of affording it in whatever way one needs to afford it, have made that choice – and consciously so – of repatriating, and of contributing as much as we can to the Hayrenik, of trying to make some positive changes, little by little, ինչքան որ մեր կարողութիւնը մեզի կը ներէ:

    I cannot deny that the frustrations often outweigh the more encouraging aspects of life in Armenia, but, at the same time, I feel it appropriate and inspiring to celebrate those who have taken that decision.

    • Gayane said:

      Well said Nareg…

      Armenia is definintely not the piece of heaven all of us wished we can move into; however it is our land. where we were born and raised, where our forefathers worked hard without any reservations to make sure we have a land to call our own, we shed blood to protect the little piece of land, lost alot of young and old to give others to return to a homeland.. it is very hard to live in unliving conditions but that is why people like Maria was talking about in her article are the one who will change the course of things, who will force the corrupted people and situations disappear once and for all.. we can’t give up.. we WON”T give up..

      Have faith.. God Bless..

  13. Alex said:

    Living outside of one’s home environment is rewarding, for sure, and undoubtedly challenging. What strikes me most when I speak to people who have had a less-than-positive experience in Armenia, as tourists and/or long-term sojourners, is why they might come to Armenia expecting anything more (or less) than what they would expect should they be moving to another developing country. Maria lays out very clearly that those of us who have had the opportunity to make Armenia home for this particular time in our lives do in fact face grueling challenges–in the midst of great euphoria and at times down-in-the-dumps depression. These challenges, to be even clearer, are not unlike those that one may face in most Middle Eastern countries (have you ever tried setting up a business in Iran or Syria as a foreigner), and they’re not any more evasive or bothersome than daily challenges faced by many Europeans–have you seen what Europeans pay in income taxes, or Americans–have you been to a government agency recently in the US to resolve an issue. So, Nazo and Harout, your somewhat unfair characterization that Maria is somehow whitewashing the experience that is living in Armenia at this time and in this space of history, doesn’t hold water I’d argue, because before singing the praises of living in Armenia, she explains that none of it is for free, and yes, there is a heavy price in nerves, finances, and one’s own health, but the trade off does apparently make it worthwhile for at least those who do engage. So, black it isn’t, and white it definitely it is not, but man is it a rich gray, which makes our experience, yours and mine together, so absolutely and fabulously colorful. So, I hope that’s transparent enough in this day and age of social media and communication technology. And now I have to get back to my 14-hour-a-day job, before I get fired for spending too much time on the internet.

    • Gayane said:

      Wow.. Beautifully written Alex.. Bravo…

      I love the comparison about the rich gray and the colorful vision that we all can create if we do it together..

      And America is not too far from what ARmenia is except the freedom of few things ARmenia does not have..

      Working 60 hours a week on a very low salary to make ends meet is my day to day.. and still my parents don’t have health insurance because it is too costly, still can’t afford to buy a house because our family income relies on me and my dad.. Yes we definintely have it great … The honest, hard working and true people dont’ get to enjoy the riches living in American..of course alot of them do make it but some of us too busy trying to make our weekly salary to be able to pay the rent that increases every year.. no rent control in our neighborhood…

  14. raffi n said:

    Nazo, are you for real? just because you and a few others you name have failed and have not been able to figure out how to deal with local “business culture” – just because you claim that you have spent lots of money on personal investment and business – just because you claim that you don’t have connections does not give you the right to call us, who have been successful in our endeavors and have found a way to impose our ways and learn/teach local business ethics, idiots.
    I’ve been living here for over 7 years and have been operating my own business for the past 3 and half years , quite successfully, I might add. I am not saying it has been easy or even simple; but rewarding YES!
    So, let me rephrase that thought, whoever (Armenian Diasporans) does not realize that this land is theirs and does not make every effort to claim a piece of it is the real… well, you get what I mean!

  15. Sevalley said:

    Very clearly Nazo has been burned bad in a way that we have all heard stories about, the Armenian government harassing and robbing “outsiders” who don’t have the right connections. I am no expert in running a business in Armenia, but I know I wouldn’t take my life savings and throw it at a business in a new democracy abroad. I’d barely be willing to invest in a small business here in the U.S.  This is what makes the success stories such as Raffi’s and those mentioned in this article and all the rest so much more impressive. Also, most of the repat warriors mentioned are not opening up businesses, but are working in Armenia as engineers, lawyers, artists, doctors and in other positions. I am sure if I lived in Armenia for a couple of years as a worker earning a regular wage first, I would slowly make those required connections, learn how things work there and be better suited to invest in property and business there. We all have an avenue through which we can contribute to help make Armenia a more successful country. Being aware of realistic risks by listening to stories such as Nazos, and being inspired by articles such as Maria’s will help guide us all in our own personal directions of how we can help Armenia in a meaningful and mutually beneficial manner.

  16. Aram said:

    Yes indeed, if it is feasable or you can afford it economically what is stopping you from living the dream of your ancestors and your dream growing up?.  Yes there is corruption. Yes our people are not very hospitable to new comers (Is anybody anywhere?). Yes part of the time we do not understand each other linguistically and socially. As a matter of fact we Diaspora Armenians are just as different from  each other as those Armenians in Hayastan  are from any of us.. Yes ,Hayastan is not a “Drakhdavayr’ but it is the birthright of every Armenian as is her improvement. Make your choice : Take this opportunity or be subjected to the “white genocide”.
    This was a challenging and timely article. Bravo to the author.

  17. Antranig Bedrossian said:

    There is many honest and patriotic people in Armenia who want change for the better, change for more democratic and socially just society. A field that many repats can do is to join hands with those native Armenians and their currents of thought to bring about change. Change from below, if we want to Armenia  from the current situation. Armenia needs a strong well organized social movement that with education and organized activism change the curent path of coruption, semi-dictatorship, and oligarchic criminal rule. Now is to save Armenia from the current political and economic ruling groups, who have userped the elite position and leading the country towards its downfall. The third Armenian republic is a failure, repats can help native Armenians to build the fourth republic on a more just, egalitarian and democratic republic. I’ill more explicit.  tomorrow`s Armenia must be put on the path of socialism of XXI century. Native Armenians and repats, hand in hand, can work for that future.

  18. Alex said:

    I don’t mean to be snide.  I really don’t.  But if Diasporans are supposed to go to Armenia and settle there, then why have a couple of million Armenians left Armenia to settle in places like LA?  One would think that the first people who should be dedicated to their own country and stay in Armenia are those who were already there (not that I am underestimating the lure of the west or questioning anyone’s patriotism).    More would leave Armenian permanently if they could.
    Yes, it is true that before and after the genocide, western Armenians in the Ottoman empire also left their lands and homes to move elsewhere. But they were forced by deadly circumstances to do so.  I do not think many of them would have left their own Armenia where they had the chance to rebuild.  I am asking people to explain the various facets of the thinking of present day Hayastantsis, including those who have already left.

  19. Levon B. said:

    Thanks for the article. This is the first time, in a long time, that I’ve read an article on Asbarez ’till the end, followed by comments. While I appreciate the call to arms, the “hang in there”, the “you shame us all to odar-ness” that’s prevalent in the article, I’d have liked to see a much more raw and complicated picture that is Armenia — or should I say Armenia for the repatriates.
    Neither wars are won by  khend (insert your favorite synonym for self-less) “warriors” nor countries are built anew by “repat warriors” — one who does not recognize this ugly and unappealing truth is gullible at best, and unintentionally deleterious at worst.
    But again, thanks.

  20. Henri said:

    How about creating an association of repatriates which could intervene to help the ones who are harassed by local corrupt officials? Such an association could make noise each time a repatriate is subjected to injustice, go complain at higher level of government of the behavior of customs or tax officials, send articles to the media, etc.

    Without that, every repatriate person is on his/her own, without connections, having to face an uphill battle. Solidarity between repatriates and between repatriates and Diasporan organizations could make a difference, create the network which repatriates need to survive and currently lack.

    • manooshag said:

      Hye Heni, your suggestion is great!  Of course, together, supporting one another,  as the saying goes:  ‘strengths in unity’  and together accomplish much.
      And yet, as there is corruption in government in fledgling Armenia – guess what, we too have corruption in governments here in the USA – too.  Manooshag

      • Vicken said:

        There is corruption everywhere, but that is not the issue here. Repatriates have to face corruption, bureaucracy and related problems in Armenia, this is why they need to come together in an association which hopefully will help them and prevent some of them of giving up and leaving Armenia.

  21. Haytoug Shamlian said:

    Սիրելի Մարիա,
    Որպէս վիպապաշտութեան եւ քնարերգութեան ուղղութեամբ շեշտակի հակումներ ունեցող պատահական գրող, կը գնահատեմ յօդուածիդ զգացական եւ յուզումնալից տարողութիւնը։ Նոյնիսկ, այդ գետնի վրայ, միակ հակազդեցութունս պիտի ըլլար` «ցաւդ տանեմ» մը։
     
    Սակայն քանի որ որոշած ես այսպէս հանրային կերպով արծարծել այս նիւթը, եւ զայն ներկայացնել այդ ձեւով, անհրաժեշտ է որ մի քանի նկատողութիւններ արտայայտեմ։ (Քանի որ իսկական յարգանք եւ համակրանք ունիմ Համբիկին, քու եւ ձեր ընտանիքին նկատմամբ, պիտի ջանամ ըլլալ կարելի եղածին չափ զուսպ եւ փափկանկատ, բայց կ’երեւի մանցեալը ձեւով փոխանակելու տարբեր առիթ կ’ունենանք։ )
     
    Իրողութիւնը այն է թէ, Սփիւռքէն Հայաստան տեղափոխուած հայերէն շատեր (ո՛չ բոլորը, բայց նորէն ալ շատեր), այդ քայլը առնելով, ոչ մէկ բան – կամ շատ բան – չզոհեցին իրենց կեանքէն։  Ընդհակառակն, վերջին հաշուով եւ հաշուեյարդարով, անոնք հիմնականօրէն բարելաւեցին իրենց վիճակը։ Հայաստան երթալը ասոնց համար, անձնական տեսանկիւնէն, եղաւ բախտաւոր եւ փրկարար պատեհութիւն:
     
    Այլ խօսքով, եւ յատկապէս գործի եւ ասպարէզի իմաստով, անոնք շատ բան չունէին կորսնցնելիք դուրսը, մինչ Հայաստանի մէջ գտան յաջողութիւն եւ բարգաւաճութիւն։ Հալա՛լ ըլլայ բոլորին, դժուարութիւններ դիմագրաւելով եւ ճակտի գրտինքով է որ տիրացան այդ անձնական արժանի յաջողութիւններուն, սակայն այտեղ եւս, նոյնանման դժուարութիւններ եւ նոյն քանակի քրտինքը իրենց Սփիւռքի մէջ պիտի չ’անահովէին – կամ արդէն չէին արտադրած – նոյն արդիւնքները։ Այս համեմատաբար մեծաթիւ հայրենադարձներուն համար, անձնական ու անհատական շահ ու նպաստ ունեցաւ ուրեմն իրենց բնակութեան հաստատումը Հայաստանի մէջ, առանց նոյն աստիճանի կամ յատկանշական կորուստի` դրսում։
     
    Այս իրողութիւնը նկատի ունենալով, նախընտրելի պիտի ըլլայ որ հայրենադարձութիւնը ինքն ին եւ մեքենաբար չգործածուի որպէս հայրենասիրութեան գերագոյն փաստ, բացարձակ չափանիշ, կամ ոչ իսկ – ոմանց պարագային – տարրական երաշխիք։
     
    Սակայն խնդիրը միայն ասով ալ չի վերջանար, դժբախտաբար։
     
    Ազգասիրութեան եւ ազգային օգտակարութեան իմաստով եւս, վիճելի է թէ ո՞ր չափով իւրաքանչիւր եւ ամէն մէկ Հայաստան տեղափուած անձ, անպայման գնահատելի կամ բաղձալի ներդրում ունի Հայրենիքի մէջ։
     
    Հայրենի հողի վրայ մնայուն ներկայութիւնը, առաջին հերթին եւ մակերեսային մակարդակի մը վրայ, իրօք ազգային դրական երեւոյթ է ինքն ին։ Սակայն անկէ անդին, ամբողջական, խմբային եւ երազային արժեւրումներ շնորհելէ առաջ Հայաստան հաստատուած ոեւէ եւ ամէն մէկ Սփիւռքահայի, հարկաւոր է վերլուծել եւ քննարկել թէ ան ո՞րքանով օգուտ կը բերէ Հայրենիքին։ Եւ նաեւ, կարգ մը պարագաներու, գոնէ քննարկել թէ, միայն ինք իրեն նպաստող եւ այլապէս ամուլ ներկայութենէ մը դեռ անդին, ոմանք արդեօք վնասակար իսկ չե՞ն Հայրենիքին, ազգային որոշ ըմբռնողութեան մը տեսակէտէն…
     
    Մէկ խօսքով եւ աւելի պարզօրէն` զուտ ազգային տեսանկիւնէն, մէկ ու միեւնոյն արժեւորումի տակ կարելի չէ զետեղել Սփիւռքէն Հայաստան փոխադրուած բոլոր անձիքը, անխտիր եւ առանց վերապահութեան։
     
    Ճիշտ նոյն տրամաբանութեամբ, նաեւ լաւ կը լինի որ անվերջ միեւնոյն ապականած տոպրակին մէջ չդրուին իրենց բնակութիւնն ու գործը Սփիւռքի մէջ պահող հայերը։
     
    Օտարութեան մէջ այսօր կան, այո, շատ մը հայեր որոնք բաւարար չափով յարգը չեն գիտեր հայրենիքին։ Այս ուղղութեամբ շատ գործ ունինք կատարելիք:
     
    Սակայն Սփիւռքի մէջ կան նաեւ ուրիշ հայեր, կամաւոր աքսորեալներ, որոնք խորապէս կը գիտակցին այն բոլոր հայրենասիրական նկատողութիւններուն զորս կը նշես յօդուածիդ մէջ, Մարիա ճան, եւ թոյլ տուր ըսեմ, դեռ աւելիին։ Եւ ճի’շտ այդ միեւնոյն պատճառներով եւ հասկացողութեամբ է որ անոնք աւելի օգտակար, պատասխանատու, կառուցողական եւ նպատակայարմար կը նկատեն պահել իրենց բնակութիւնը, գործը եւ կարողութիւնները Սփիւռքի մէջ, միաժամանակ անդադար աշխատելով, անվեհեր հաւատքով եւ ամենայն յանձնառութեամբ, յանուն Հայրենիքի վերականգնումին։
     
    Կ’երեւի մի քանի «մարտիկներ» մնացեր են նաեւ Սփիւռքի ճակատին վրայ։
     
    Որոնք ըստ երեւոյթին երկու կողմէն կրակի մէջ բռնուած են…
     
    Կարօտալի բարեւներով,
     
    Հայդուկ Շամլեան, Գանատա

  22. Alvin said:

    If Diasporans are supposed to go to Armenia and settle there, then why have a couple of
    of million Armenians left Armenia to settle in places like LA? One would
    think that the first people who should be dedicated to their own
    country and stay in Armenia are those who were already there (not that
    I am underestimating the lure of the west or questioning anyone’s
    patriotism). More would leave Armenian permanently if they could.
    Yes, it is true that before and after the genocide, western Armenians
    in the Ottoman empire also left their lands and homes to move
    elsewhere. But they were forced by deadly circumstances to do so. I do
    not think many of them would have left their own Armenia where they had
    the chance to rebuild. I am asking people to explain the various
    facets of the thinking of present day Hayastantsis, including those who
    have already left.

  23. Vahe Agopian said:

    All of you living in Armenia,are the heroes of our times.Life outside Armenia is not a breeze,real buisness opprtunities are far less.Accomplishing buisness ventures have different set of complexities than the ones mentioned above,yet the the challenges are similar.At the end everywhere is a struggle,at least in Armenia we have a higher purpose for it and all of you are winners in our eyes.

  24. raffi n said:

    Haytoug,
    Nobody is asking for the entire diaspora to move – not even half… but are you saying that we shouldn’t even attempt to have say 500 000 people make the move? I am not event asking for a million.
    Also, sure, we LOVE our life here… we never said we have sacrificed, you just assumed it. So, what is wrong with wanting others to live like us – happy, successful and in their motherland. If you feel your place is in the Diaspora, well… just stay there then and do what you think is best – but don’t say that we didn’t tell you so!

  25. raffi n said:

    Alvin, you know the expression “the grass always seems greener on the other side”? well, that’s my answer to the last decade’s emigration. most of those who left and have a far worst quality of life, write back claiming that they are now successful and live a wonderful life. many of those stories were revealed as untrue…

  26. Tsolin said:

    Thank you Maria and Asbarez, for giving readers a glimpse of how repatriates are faring in Armenia. Can you tell us more about our repatriates featured in this article and otherwise? If they are businesspeople, what do they do for a living? What do you think they have doneedifferently — from native Armenians and those Diasporans who failed in their repat attempts — to prosper in a down economy (and sometimes volatile environment)? Are they more atchkapatz and jarbig, are they better connected, do they have better heads for business, are they more courageous? How have the repats dealt with red tape, the mafia, or competition that would like to close their businesses down? Must the repats pay baksheesh? I guess I am trying to visualize how the repats will reconfigure the current business model and hopefully affect change over time. How much do repats have to compromise their way of doing business just to get a foot in the door and be players? I sincerely hope that over time, the system that the repats seek to reform doesn’t end up drastically changing the repats themselves.  About how many of the repatriates would you say secured jobs in Armenia with Western and Diasporan organizations?

  27. Araxi said:

    Thank you for this fanstastic article. So true…  May God help all the Armenians in the world to come together and deliver a truly independent Armenia.

  28. Nareg Seferian said:

    Raffi, I am sure Haytoug would love to have half or the entire Diaspora move back, but his point is that it is perhaps inaccurate to paint all repatriates with the same brush, to designate them all as “warriors”, as it were.

    Ոմանք իրենց կեանքին ընթացքին առիթը ունեցած են, եւ գործածած են այդ առիթը, որոշումը իրենք կատարած են, որ շատ յարգելի եւ գնահատելի է: No-one is disputing that. It’s just that we also have Armenians who have made the move quite by chance, or perhaps due to other, less-than-ideally-patriotic circumstances.

    Regardless, I do agree that every individual helps, some in less obvious ways than others. And, in truth, everyone – Armenian and odar – will indeed wish to move to Armenia when it becomes an inviting and attractive country. Meanwhile, we salute those who know what they are getting themselves into and have willingly gone for it.

  29. Vicken said:

    We Armenians love to talk, but do little constructive.

    The only constructive email in this exchange was that of Henri regarding the creation of an association of repatriates to Armenia.

    What is your opinion on this, those of you who have chosen to live there?

    Vicken

  30. Pingback: Repat Warriors | Asbarez Armenian News | armeniatoday

  31. Pingback: Repat Warriors | Asbarez Armenian News | armenia News Station

  32. Alex said:

    Just a quick note: there actually is an association for repatriates in Armenia. It’s called the Republic of Armenia. Join it. It does a soul good.

  33. dro said:

    why are you even debating whether Armenians should live in Armenia or not? Are Armenians some kind of permanently retarded people that they cannot build their own country and live in it? Is Armenia in any worse condition than Israel and Singapore were before becoming economic heavens with the right policies and ingenuity of only a few million inhabitants. For those multi millionaire Armenians living in America, what more in life do they want to achieve by living in there? Are buying bigger houses and fancier cars the end goal for Armenians in America? Why don’t they get their asses up and move here to invest in the country and rebuild Armenia? Making excuses is easy for petty people. The potential for Armenia is great but it’s more rewarding to be here to make it great.

  34. Hovnathan said:

    Our destiny

    Thee I see in the nightly voice of thought and calmness.
    It is merely a conversation of friends.
    Friends who have found the truth to live for in a destiny,
    They will walk oh yes they will, for the spirit of the mystery.

    The sound has risen from its darkness.
    It has risen in a friendship of two,
    To create build and live for the sake of thee,
    An Armenia they call, yet we call a home.

    It will, oh it will be yours if you see and live.
    It is life which gives life to thee and me.
    My tears are true as the drop of salvation,
    That will be a drop of your resurrection.

    A resurrection from the hopeless
    Yes, a resurrection of people strange yet true all around.
    Let them be how they are!
    Ours is Armenia and it will be…

    Hovnathan Spangenberg

  35. Haro Mherian, Ph.D. Mathematics, UCLA said:

    Մարիա ջան, սա հոյակապ արձակ է …
    Հարկ է աւելացնել Շամլեանի խօսքերին նաեւ որ՝ հայրենադարձները ոչ թէ միայն ամուր հայրենասէրներ են այլ նաեւ շատ խոհեմ անձնաւորութիւններ, որոնք գիտեն եւ տեսնում են որ Հայաստան դրախտի եւ Թորոնտօ կամ Լօս Անջելըս գործարանների միջեւ բնութեան գեղեցկութիւնների հսկայ տարբերութիւններ կան։ Որ դուք ասում էք ձեր տեսանիւթում «ընտանիք» հասկացութեան գաղտնիքը հէնց այս գեղեցկութեան պատճառով է որ նկատում էք։
    Հայ ժողովուրդը դեռ պիտի հասկանայ թէ ին՞չ է նա կորցրել երբ նա ապրել է արտերկրում։

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