The Spirit of ‘Tebi Yergir’

2011 Youth Corps paricipants


Too often we become complacent, and allow ourselves to fall into a state of indifference, finding it easier not to to care so much, not to get involved.

Sitting around at nonproductive meetings and criticizing what can be, or what should be, becomes a social pastime for some.

And yet, others hear the beat of drums..the drums that beckon us towards the homeland. The soft whispers from within that lure us back to where it all began.

We are once again invigorated with a new sense of determination and energy. Differences are set aside, and a sense of purpose takes on a new life of its own.
It is not about self- promotion or glory. It is about love of country and nation, with all its struggles and shortcomings.

On my most recent visit to Yerevan, I was able to feel and witness this positive energy. The Diasopran youth, working hand in hand with the locals, to bring about change and encourage many others to follow in their footsteps.

University students, as well as graduates, choosing to leave behind their comfortable lives to spend endless days, researching, organizing, networking for a better Armenia, not allowing negative or sensationalized headlines to deter them. Eager faces pouring into the “arrivals” area at Zvartnots airport, but soon to leave with heavy hearts as the bid their farewells to old friends and new.

The representatives of Armenian Youth Federation’s Youth Corps, Vache Thomassian and Vrej Harutounian worked diligently to ensure that we would have yet another successful year. They visited the sites at Gyumri and Stepankert, making sure that all was in place. Endless months of preparing with the rest of the “AYF Team” back home resulted in an overwhelming amount of participants this year.

Their enthusiasm is contagious! They never missed an opportunity to promote or offer solutions to existing problems. Every hurdle became a challenge that they tried to resolve. They worked collectively, as one unit, rolling up their sleeves and immersing themselves into the everyday life in Armenia.

It seems not too long ago that I was present at a standing-room-only auditorium, listening to Armenian Revolutionary Federation late Bureau Chairperson, Unger Hrair Maroukhian’s mesmerizing speech “Tebi Yergir.”

The spirit of Tebi Yergir has been resurrected by a dedicated group of young AYF members, along with several ARF members that embrace our homeland.
Their commitment and actions are their testimonial.

The whispers within grow louder and louder…


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  1. Hay said:

    >making sure that all was in place
    And? Was everything in place? It is hard to understand what exactly are the youth doing other than touristy stuff.
    Also, and the photo is characteristic of this, wouldn’t be bad in my opinion if the ‘youth’ dressed more conservatively, especially when visiting churches etc. You can recognize them as tourists easily when you travel in Yerevan with their absurd shorts and colorful T-shirts. Like they are in Glendale.

    • Aram said:

      In their defense they do run a free camp for underprivileged kids in Gyumri, though it is heavily Dashnak-centered rather than politics-free.

      I don’t mind what they do on their free time or what they wear, they’re doing something good for the local children.

  2. Edward Demian said:

    Even the Russians, contributed free transportation to Armenians wishing to repatriate to Armenia (nerkhaght) after WWII. There is nothing going on. Settlers should be oferred transportation for themselves and their personal properties. Tax exemptions for at least 5 years. Land for rural settlers, Vouchers for city settlers, enough to purchase a property suitable for their family. Retirees should be encouraged to come to Armenia, given housing and services. Every retiree receives over $700 to $ 1,400 monthly. That is enough for a retired person in Armenia or Artzach. Hardly enough here in the US. Imagine 10,000 people receiving that money every month. Thats about $ 10 million every month. $120,000,000 every year. Good cash inflow, and the Armenian government does not have to pay back anything. Also, America has a huge drug addiction problem. The drug recovery and rehabilitation programs are ineffective and very expensive. Most families can’t afford it. Typical rehabilitation program costs arount 40 to 50,000 dollars. Armenia could do it much cheaper and the rehabilitated Armenian kids would also experience reculturation into Armenian culture. Some of these kids would remain in the country. I wrote an e-mail to the church authorities about this. They did not even acnowledge receiving it.

    • Aram said:

      I’m sorry but are you serious? Armenians have to actually be bribed materialistically to come back home? Armenia’s economic situation and meager budget barely allows to take care of ethnic Armenians, let alone pay $700 to $1400 monthly to some expat pensioner who would be of no use to the country because of his/her old age. If anything Armenians living in the diaspora already have more than enough money to cover the costs of transportation and provide for a very comfortable life in Armenia, the Armenian government doesn’t have to pay them and provide free housing when it can’t even do that for the poor in Armenia right now. When did Armenia become Switzerland? Please come down from the clouds into the real world.

  3. zohrab said:

    very touching i say to young go back regularly our homeland is beautiful see it feel it

  4. Khachig Joukhajian said:

    Thank you for this inspiring article Nora! I have strong hope that the kids we’re working with out here will feel a sense of ownership in their homeland and become problem solvers that help change their lives and our country for the better. I just realized, you were one of my first truly inspiring teachers, and now I’m here doing the same thing, and hopefully to the same effect. I hope I see the continuation of this cycle.

  5. Khachig Joukhajian said:

    Aram, I had a quote I was saving for an article, but hey, who says I can’t use it twice. One of our ARF youth members from Artsakhk said something I found to be profound, because its so simple yet often overlooked. To paraphrase, she said, “When people hear ‘for the Tashnagtsootyoon’ they think we’re saying for the political party. No. For the Tashnagtsootyoon means through the Tashnagtsootyoon, for the people.” We’re not out here preaching a goosaktsootyoon, were out here trying to intstill an idea. If that doesn’t make sense, what I mean is that the Tashnagtsootyoon exists as both, and we’re here more for the latter than the former.