Merry Or Not, It Will Arrive

BY HEGHINAR MELKOM MELKOMIAN

It‘s my last week. I have become restless for reasons unknown. By saying unknown I don’t literally mean unknown, but, you know, I don’t know which one of many reasons is stirring my emotions. I sleep very lightly and wake up very early – characteristics that would never have described me in the past. The New Year is literally around the corner and I still have so much to do, to at least feel like I did something, or achieved something in 2010. But all my attempts fail, just as they have done over the last 12 months.

I wake up on an ordinary Saturday morning with a very clear plan. It’s my last week and I need to buy presents; I need to buy some personal stuff, plan my last working week ahead of me and some other things I don’t even remember. I am a major music fan, but I don’t feel like listening to music and head to vernisage under the sound of people talking and the noise of the traffic.

Instead of hopping from one souvenir shop to another, I go straight to vernisage, knowing that the same stuff can be found all in one place. I see a very beautiful set of earrings and necklaces. Of course, this is my personal weakness and I enjoy finally seeing something new and very original in vernisage. The seller tells me the set is vintage and costs $30. Very cheap I must admit. I’m not sure about the vintage part, but it is very beautiful and original and definitely worth the price. However, I don’t buy it. The man asks, “What? Is it expensive?” I reply, “No. But nowadays everything seems expensive”, and walk away.

This momentary conversation sort of triggers the resurfacing of some of my unresolved issues. I have chosen to live in Armenia despite the many issues I face on a daily basis. Of course, I’d rather live in a country where rules are respected, where you don’t have to fight, struggle for almost everything every day, where your rights are protected, where government officials don’t abuse their positions all the time and so on. I have chosen to live here not in my old age, but in my youth: a time when you need more space to live and develop as a person, to build your future, to become moderately financially stable.

In a way I can’t imagine life without daily struggles, daily disappointments and daily aggravations. C’est la vie in Armenia. I do sometimes dream of a “better place”, but what is better than what belongs to you? They say the perception of pain is different for every person and this is how I view life in Armenia: it’s not everybody’s thing. Nevertheless, my expectations in Armenia, as Armenia is in reality, are also sometimes not met and that is when depression kicks in. That is when I become restless. That is when I want to move abroad, but hey, who am I kidding? I know that I can’t live anywhere else but here.

It’s been more than six years now that my then-boyfriend, later-fiancé and now-husband has not managed to find a job here—an issue, which has not been resolved in all this time. While juggling our jobs in two different countries, maintaining and building our relationship between 1,000 kilometers, constantly trying to build something in Armenia, we prepare ourselves to face yet another challenge—the birth of our first child. And this may be the reason why my anger over my homeland grows every day, parallel to my belly. Two more months and the belly will get back to the way it used to be, but the same won’t happen with my anger.

I think of the things I’ve achieved over these past 12 months and, to tell you the truth, there isn’t much to think about. In this sense 2010 is not that different from 2009. I think of the things I’ve achieved as a citizen of Armenia, through my participation. I recall a few events and evaluate their outcome. No progress again, only disappointment.

  1. The massive protest against the destruction of Moscow Cinema’s open air hall. This campaign started in the beginning of the year, however, to date the hall has not been included in the list of “State protected monuments”: a list, from which the hall had been removed arbitrarily. The only outcome – nobody discusses the reconstruction of St. Poghos Petros Church, at least out loud.
  2. The ongoing protest against the destruction of a part of the “Students’ park” adjacent to Victor Hambadzumian’s statue and the construction of a café. All efforts crumbled. The “We are the owners of this city” initiative expanded its mission and began trying to help save more green areas in our city. However, so far, everything has been in vain.
  3. The recent change in the maternity leave allowance. The Parliament ratified a decision to cut back on the maternity leave allowance of those women who receive a high salary, more than 150,000 drams ($410). After many protests, the Prime Minister promised to reconsider the amendment to the law. However, the amendment has not been repealed.

During the past week many government officials were fired. This, of course, does not mean things will necessarily change or improve. We just hope that those newly appointed have a sense of patriotism and are good ethical human beings. Hopefully instead of jeopardizing Armenia’s reputation and damaging the country, they will help Armenia prosper. I am not the only person in love with my motherland, willing to live here through thick or thin, saddened by so many injustices and recklessness. I am standing on the verge of 2010 and hoping for a better and brighter 2011. Not only for me, for my personal life and loved ones, but also for my one and only home: our homeland.

May Armenia truly prosper as much as is possible in 2011. May it be safe from wars and other external and internal clashes and troubles. May its lands and trees blossom and nourish us. May we learn to thank her for giving us a home, a place to belong. And may she love and appreciate our efforts more, because local or Diasporan, we don’t live here by chance, but by choice.

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to you, home.

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6 Comments

  1. Alen said:

    BRAVO!! Well said…Peace and Prosperity to our people and to our Fatherland!!!
    LONG LIVE ARMENIANS!!!
    LONG LIVE OUR ARMENIA!!!

    With love to everyone from Buenos Aires, Argentina!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

  2. Z said:

    Oh girl, I suppose you also went there for your man. Don’t fall in that trap, don’t buy that logic, where it’s good, there is my homeland!
    The best thing you could do for yourself, for your child is go settle elsewhere, Eu, US, Canada, Aussi.., there your child will get a good education, and hopefully become someone, achieve something, and not grow up 2 be jobless, poor, neglected…
    I wonder how your husband is surviving? No job, no income, how’s he surviving?

    Back in the days my grandparents were promised lands, home and work if they returned to Armenia, they swapped Alepo/Damaskos for Yerevan. They were fooled. They won’t fool the next generations, I’m not going back there. Never.

  3. Ruben Malayan said:

    I know it’s hard, but don’t give up on your home, the same thing I tell to myself, even though the situation right now leaves very little space for maneuvering. Its been 2 month since I arrived and I have to say that it hasn’t been easy for me either, even though I was born here and this is my city. Lets hope that the worst years are behind us and this 2011 will bring about a real change. And by not leaving, we will contribute to that, I am sure.

  4. Sasountsi Davit said:

    Dear Heghinar,
    The world at large is going through a crisis. Jobs have become scarce and humanity as we knew it to be is changing its direction.
    Until the old communist thinking is removed from our country, until the bribery, thievery and corruption is stopped, until the bigwigs decide to work for the best interest of the people instead of their own, Armenia shall remain mired in mediocracy.
    There are more people in the diaspora than there are in our homeland because many people, such as myself, went there and tried to assist and instead was slapped around until we said ‘enough!’
    Until a president is elected that has no strings attached with the old system, until officials in high places stop filling their coffers and not caring about the average Armenian, until the police and the military stop taking advantage of their badges and treat everyone equally most of us shall remain outside the borders and pray for the changes.
    Armenia can be a place where all our future generations can return someday. But that will not happen till these changes occur.
    Your observations are valid, but your determination to stay shall have a profound affect on your children and our future generations.
    The best way to stop these bullies, is to shrink their dominance across a large swat of population. The lesser the population, the weaker their dominance shall be. The lesser the population the lesser the bribe money they could garner.
    Maybe 2020 will be the year for the return for most of our diaspora.

  5. manooshag said:

    Hye, having read the letters which appear above my response – I cry for our Armenia… It seems the Turks/Azeris, lying, barbaric leaders whose existence on the planet earth assures that these leaerss have not the capability to lead even their own peoples honestly… rather. their lies to the world, too, lies as they educate their own students AND, lies to themselves – EVEN believing their own lies! Sadly these are the immediate erratic neighbors of Armenia – not able to lead their own nations honestly – nor to deal with honesty with other nations. So, the creation/advances of the fledling nation of Armenia is attacked – both ways – from within, and from without, include the leadership of the USA who are incapable of speaking up and thus recognizing that the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation happened!!
    From the beginning with the misdirected mentality of a Der Bedrossian, the first leader of our nation, and too, the worst of all the leaders… for he set the example that the best he could do would be to steal from his own nation… his own people… lie and steal assets that belonged to the nation… and then to come back as if he, a mental misfit is worthy of being in government AGAIN!! Hevant mart eh!! All the leaders of Hiasatan have followed his example – to steal from their own citizens, to fill their own pockets and to hell with the Armenian nation, stealing all belonging to our Armenian citizens and our Armenian nation – as if they were still living in the communistic mentality of the USSR.
    An Aram Manougian, had only two years as our leader, two years of honesty and love for our Haiastan. Today, 20 years, and the patriots have not yet been found – have not been ”allowed” to lead our Haiastan.
    Instead, Haiastan is governed by the inept and incapable – erring/making mistakes .. Haiastans police are as the communitic mentality. Dishonesty reigns in all levels of governments, and too, Yerevan is as messed up as if there not Armenians living there – only strangers, who know not to be as Armenians – proud and honest – pahytz Hai!!

  6. manooshag said:

    Hye, I cry for our Armenia… It seems the Turks/Azeris, lying, barbaric leaders whose existence on the planet earth assures that these leaders have not the capability to lead even their own peoples honestly… rather. their lies to the world, too, lies as they educate their own students AND, lies to themselves – EVEN believing their own lies! Sadly these are the immediate erratic neighbors of Armenia – not able to lead their own nations honestly – nor to deal with honesty with other nations. So, the creation/advances of the fledling nation of Armenia is attacked – both ways – from within, and from without, include the leadership of the USA who are incapable of speaking up and thus recognizing that the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation happened!!
    Armenia, beginning with the misdirected mentality of a Der Bedrossian, the first leader of our nation, and too, the worst of all the leaders… for he set the example that the best he could do would be to steal from his own nation… his own people… lie and steal assets that belonged to the nation… and now, return, as if he, a mental misfit is worthy of being in government AGAIN!! Hevant mart eh!! OR he has speent all his monies and needs more!! All eaders of Hiasatan have followed his example – stealing from their own citizens, fill ing their own pockets and to hell with the young Armenian nation, stealing all that belongs to our Armenian citizens and our Armenian nation – taking, taking, taking, as if they were still living in the communistic mentality of the USSR.
    An Aram Manougian, had only two years as our leader, two years of honesty and love for our Haiastan. Today, 20 years, and patriots have not yet been found – OR, have not been ”allowed” to lead our Haiastan.
    Instead, Haiastan is governed by the inept and incapable – erring/making mistakes .. Haiastans police are still as of the communitic mentality. Dishonesty reigns in all levels of governments, and too, Yerevan is as messed up as if there not Armenians living there – only strangers, who know not to be as Armenians – proud and honest – pahytz Hai!!
    Historically, our Christian Armenians do not deserve to be governed as are the Turks/Azeris citizens.

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