Making the Best of a Death

Sure we’re organizing events, holding vigils, writing articles, pushing through legislation, hitting the streets, and generally keeping the issue alive through various publicity-oriented actions. And yeah, I get e-mails from a few different people reminding me of them. But… There’s no real buzz. People aren’t fired up. They’re not fulminating incoherently. Everyone’s tame and polite. No one is calling for bloody vengeance. The broader, non-Armenian, public opinion also seems devoid of awareness of this unsettling passing. Of course I’m talking about Hrant Dink’s death. Aside from the fact that some otherwise treacherous and unscrupulous Armenia’s and groups are taking advantage of his demise to whitewash themselves, generally, I think everyone’s been doing the right things. Even those among us who have eschewed "politics" seem to have reentered the public arena. Yet, it’s not happening. Somehow critical mass has not been achieved. The intensity and drive that should attend this opportunity are absent. Why? I suspect it’s the result of a lack of preparation, a lack of imagination, a lack of organization, and a lack of political awareness. So many of us are busy chasing the almighty buck in the extreme that we’ve forgotten the importance of other aspects of our lives, especially in the collective arena. Many are so distrustful of our institutions that it affects their spirit, their conscience, keeping them out of the fray. This comes as a fallout of the Soviet era and insufficient openness to change and growth among Diasporan institutions. Life in the West has been shifting too, making it more difficult for people to engage in their communities and fulfilling the latter’s needs. The middle class is putting in far more time at work and less at home and neighborhood. Couple this with the generational decline in civic participation and the quasi-isolation engendered by the ever-growing cyberworld, and you have a vicious whirlpool sucking our national existence into the abyss. We’ve got to shake ourselves awake from this torpor and get to work. More of us have to become engaged in our struggle and communities. Hrant Dink’s murder is, tragically, a golden opportunity to make progress on our national issues. Let’s not waste it. United Armenia beckons.


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