Motherland, my graveyard!

And why do people usually remember their motherland at the deathbed?

Two huge four stored houses were built in front of our building. I don’t want to talk about the gardens around my building which were destroyed and more houses were built at the place around it, which in the past was the only building block in all the surroundings. Now not a garden is left, even if anything is left the community administration is selling them to those who can afford buying those areas and cutting our air by building more houses some ten meters away from our building. Instead of the non-lucrative trees only some new not fitting for the area restaurants, beer-drinking places, not bars exactly, and more houses rise. Most of them are still empty for the second year, the restaurant place is on sale yet it is half constructed and the cosmetic repairing is not done at all, because just on the half of the way it dawned on some very clever businessman that this place doesn’t fit for any restaurant. Just a waste of a soil! And money?

It was so unexpected for us when some people came and said that they had bought the soil where we had a garden with pomegranate, quince, lentil trees and vine. The thing was that we tried to carry over the area long time ago and when we’d apply for ownership they would refuse us. Once money is played, everything is sorted…for them. Luckily due to some contacts we could preserve half of it, and the other half will serve as a basis for another house.

But let’s come to the question I asked at the very beginning. Most of those houses are built by diasporans, the houses are ready to be lived in and yet… they are emptying for the second year. So where are the owners? Or is it a duty, some kind of an obligation to have a property in the motherland with the hope to return when something goes wrong in their current living countries?

Hey, we were growing plants and trees on that soil, which had their little contribution to the global oxygen reserves and they were nice, what will the emptying huge buildings contribute to? To the country’s financial growth? I don’t mean not to have houses to live in, but…

On this point let me tell a joke:
A diasporan says: “Mernem pidi Hayastanum (I shall die in Armenia)”.
To which a native Armenian asks: “Pardon, you mean you will live in Armenia?”.
The diasporan gets angry: “Asatsi MERNEM PIDI Hayastanum (I said I shall die in Armenia)!!!!!”

I’m not denouncing, I just have a request. Could you please build your houses some 2-3 years before you feel like wanting to die in Armenia? By that time some 30-40 years would pass and we could enjoy the nature around us and not have the picture of the emptying houses, which incidentally block the view of Ararat, well…. you see…, we like it as well and I’d also like to see it through my window, ok? Oh, yeah, by the way, there are patriots in Armenia as well. Or you know there’s another option, the center is destroyed anyways, so you could buy a penthouse on Northern Avenue, anyways those buildings are built for diasporans mainly.

I don’t mean to be rude and I don’t have anything against anybody, just I’m fed up with this situation. Right, let’s just build stone blocks around us, the economy will probably rise, all Armenians will gather at one place and we will live happy ever after… Hey, but wait… I don’t see any dweller yet. So what’s the point of dying in your motherland, but living all of your life abroad. Sign of patriotism? Well, graveyards are much too much in Armenia, I suppose with such a trend soon they will occupy the areas we live in, no kidding. So, let’s better die where we have lived, and let the motherland decide whether we are worth being given to the mother soil or not.

4 Responses to “Motherland, my graveyard!”

  1. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    Speaking of the Diaspora, Groong published an interesting “wish list” for Armenia and the Diaspora. Here’s what it says with regards to the latter.

    First of all Armenian organizations have to realize that they are NOT as important to Armenia as they think they are. Certainly in larger context most of the Armenian organizations operating in all over the world have some usefulness but they are all stuck in a conundrum: How to be of help to Armenia while keeping their power base in the diasporas? Well unfortunately a solution of that conundrum is far from the ability of anyone to solve (even Santa’s) and hence it is better not to dwell on it. Of course if there were to be a solution to that duality, then the simple answer would be that diasporic organizations need to get their act together first, adapt themselves to changing times and realize that the environment that they are working in is not the same as the Caucasus in late 19th century, Egypt in the early 20th century, Middle East in the 1950s-70, nor is it the United States in the 1970s and early 80s. It seems that Armenian life outside of Armenia is stuck in a time capsule and most of the `leadership’ of the diasporic communities look to the past – rather than the now and the future – for answers.

    The realignment of space-time continuum of the raison d’jtre of the organization is only the first wish that I have in my mind. Thus an even more important wish is that people who are in charge of these organizations stop thinking of these organizations as vessels to achieve their own goals (those goals being personal ones or their own vision of life). It’s unfortunate but true that in many cases the work of an organization is put on a back-burner in exchange for visibility of those who are doing the job. This wish is quite challenging to Santa because in most cases those people who are in charge of various organizations are usually inept in doing anything else. Don’t the masses realize that those who claim to lead them are usually individuals who cannot operate outside of the Armenian realm and subsequently their worldview remains confined to the narrow horizon of their own world. On the other hand of the spectrum there are leaders who have been successful individually and have financial independence (or super-independence) and they suddenly realize that having money automatically buys them intellect and that they could lead the various organizations – and through them the `nation’ – to a better status.

    Going to a more `manageable’ wish for the diasporic organizations is for them to realize that they are organizations in the diasporas and as such they need to take care of diasporas first. Of course this wish would render half the organizations useless but the truth of the matter remains that the organizations – with all their shortcomings, vanities and superiority complexes – have, in the last 15 years or so, neglected the communities that they claim they lead. It is true an Armenia-centered strategy should remain in the hearts and minds of Armenian but the challenge of `holding two watermelons with one hand’ (or 3 watermelons with both hands) will only make a mess since all the watermelons will fall and create very slippery floors on which the communities will not be able to walk. For this wish it is important for diasporans to realize that Armenia can survive on its own – after all it has done so in the past – while the diasporas need constant nourishment, care and attention to strengthen their chances for continuity.

    As a follow up to the above wishes, I wish that the diasporan media stops recycling old concepts and terminologies and starts critically addressing the problems that Armenians face. While the constant repetition that things are ok and would eventually make people believe that things really ARE ok, but it won’t MAKE things ok. The inability of most organizations and communities to adapt to changing circumstances will only make the disappearance of the diasporas a reality in a shorter period of time.

    Finally, diasporans, stop thinking that you know what is best for Armenia. There are as many opinions of what constitutes a `true Armenianness’ as there are organizations. However, there is no single organizations which has a messianic mission and the last time I checked with the gods (through official email inquiries) I was notified that none of the Armenian organizations were given authority to claim that they know the ultimate `truth’. So stop acting with a sense of self-importance and start really engaging the communities you work in to make things better for them and by extension eventually helping the state.

    The full list, which also includes wishes directed towards Armenia’s leadership, is here.

  2. Zarchka Says:

    It’s a tough task for Santa and if he’s also corrupted not much can be done there. Funnily we ask him mainly things which are unlikely to come true, or impossible at all. Although if everyone really minded their businesses we would give Santa a long vacation.

  3. Oneworld Multimedia :: The Diaspora(s) and Armenia :: January :: 2007 Says:

    […] in Armenia recently came up in two recent posts here and here on this site, as well as being the subject of one by Zarchka over at Life Around Me, it was interesting to receive a link to an article in part on this subject at the end of last […]

  4. Knarik O. Meneshian Says:

    Could it be that the diasporan who said “Mernem pidi Hayastanum” was actually someone/people who years ago had to leave their birthplace—not eagerly, not joyfully, but reluctantly and with a heavy sadness in their heart that would remain always? Living a life as a foreigner in a foreign country; struggling to learn new ways; laboring in factories despite the fact they were educated; struggling with a new language and customs; always feeling like an outsider and made to understand that they indeed were and that they would always be that, yet keeping the love of their Hairenik always and dreaming that someday they would return, even if just to die. As they struggled in their “new country” they never forgot their roots, they never forgot the taste of the “sweet water” that was the “finest and tastiest in the whole world.” They did not just remember, but they taught their children and their children’s children to love, to always remember “Mer Hairenikuh!’ by helping Her, by serving Her, by doing all that they could for Her. In other words, they passed on the Flaming Torch of Love for the Hairenik—Armenia—to the children of Armenia not born there, but most definitely of that land.

    Knarik O. Meneshian
    January 14, 2007

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