Arsen Galstyan of Russia takes judo gold medal at London Games.
Kind of hard to define what was my first impression of this news. An Armenian from Russia, representing clearly Russia at the Olympic Games, won a gold medal. So should I be happy for Armenia? I suppose that would be weird to, as it obviously does not have anything to do with the Republic of Armenia, nor (officially) its population. Then should I be happy maybe for some kind of Armenian spirit beyond any borders uniting millions of Armenians living in Diaspora? But is there any? Well, even if there is – it’s too vague to feel any connection with.
There is a small bunch of people around the world aware of what the ending “yan” in the last name stands for, the rest – does not care. For the world Arsen Galstyan represents Russia, and that is it.
So the only one who could be acknowledged for this victory is Russia. And I sincerely congratulate them, and I am sincerely glad for the family and friends of the outstanding sportsman. Oh, by the way, I also congratulate Brazil and I am very glad for Sarah Menezes’s family and friends. Hard work breeds success and appreciation! Kudos guys! And honestly I am very glad for all the outstanding sportsmen who will be taking medals from London back home. I do not feel proud of them though: either of Arsen Galstyan or Sarah Menezes or anyone else unless they represent Republic of Armenia on an international scene.
p.s. When the two Armenians (one representing Austria, another representing Armenia) took the second and the third places correspondingly at the Eurovision Young Musicians contest earlier this year, I was surely happy for both of them. But I felt deeply proud for Narek Ghazazyan only, who represents the country that I am coming from.
p. p.s. Migration kills. I wish I could be strong enough to take it easy. I am not, though, unfortunately.
“We could not even imagine that would never have a chance to return to Baku”, – says Elina, a 25-year-old PhD student and senior researcher at Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University. She was 2 years old when her family decided to move to Armenia in 1988. Although the Sumgait pogroms had already taken place by that time, no one in the family thought that shortly after Azerbaijan and Armenia would get involved into a full-scale military confrontation and the border would get closed for years. In 1988 Elina’s father was offered a good position in the field of oil and gas industry and an apartment for the whole family in Armenia. The new page in their life started and prolonged up to now in the town located in the west of Armenia with the population of around 34,000 named Hoktemberyan (now Armavir). Elina recalls her toys and bicycle “at home” and says that they left their apartment in the downtown not even making an attempt to sell it or exchange, having no idea that the clashes will grow into the war soon. The situation did not seem to get any better. Moreover by 1990, Elina’s grandparents and other relatives moved to Armenia, while people around were already talking about possibility of the war with Azerbaijan. Read more on the Neutral Zone
It has been almost a week since a small town was established at the Freedom Square in Yerevan, Armenia. The purpose of its founders and inhabitants (mostly members and supporters of the opposition Armenian National Congress) was to demonstrate their non-recognition of the current government, demand for the reforms, release of the political prisoners and call for the extraordinary parliamentary and presidential elections.
This non-violent ongoing demonstration indeed looks like a town full of tents, put up all around the Square, national flags and big posters. People stay here over days and nights. Opposition activists from other Armenian towns join them (sometimes passing the whole way to Yerevan on foot) with the same slogans and the same enthusiasm.
Besides an attempt to deliver their core message, demonstrators also created a civil platform for the people to discuss and demonstrate their civic stand on a number of issues related to the health care, education, science, culture, army, etc.
I am not a member of the Armenian National Congress, nor the follower of its leaders. But I support what civil activists are doing (regardless of their political preferences) since their enthusiasm is like an antiseptic vaccine against social stagnation. And it is paving the way to the civil society formation.
When I entered the Freedom Square I was shocked hearing loud Armenian folk music and seeing people dancing with the flags in their hands.
Hmmmm, is it a kind of singing revolution? Or a dancing one? Well, whatever you may call it, it’s obviously a peaceful event and that’s what makes it twice valuable.
One of the activists and a very good friend of mine, Lilit, said that she heard a little boy asking his grandfather why those people were dancing. The old man replied that they were happy. And the kid wondered what made them happy. Then his grandfather explained that free people are always happy.
I don’t know what exactly that wise man meant saying “free”. But what I know for sure is that freedom is not only about speech, confession, assembly and all that we are used to talk and hear about. People can also choose to be free from the stereotypes, from the penniless stability, laziness, fear and whatever else they have too short lives to afford.