Being Armenian This Weekend
We’ve all heard it before: it’s hard to be Armenian. Too much historical baggage. It’s true. More than that, I’d say, is the fact that we’re small and weak. No-one has ever heard of us, and no-one seems to care about us. Not even we seem to care at times, as lately, the divisions within the Armenians have been manifesting much more clearly.
Ever since this whole protocols thing got started, I’ve been confused. I understand the government’s point of view and, in fact, I share in the principle of neighbourliness, of surmounting the paradoxical, complex relationship that our country and Turkey have borne over the past two decades. At the same time, the arguments against the protocols as they are have been more than convincing. Add to that – and this, I maintain, is the most crucial factor – the ineptitude and abysmal legitimacy of those in power in Yerevan, and surely the scales fall on the side of, at the very least, caution on the part of the Armenians with regards to this process.
This past week saw visits by the Armenian president that were too little, too late. Certainly too late. And now I’m feeling not only bad for being a part of a small, insignificant people, but also of one that is spiralling itself towards its own doom…
Am I exaggerating? Sometimes I feel that I am. I remind myself that there is such a great deal more to being Armenian than being merely another in a handful of a dispersed people, with a country that’s getting by, just getting by. We are one of the most ancient people on the planet, after all, proudly holding on to an identity that has survived the grandest tests of time, for perhaps the longest time. Our history and culture is so rich and vivid. Our language, our church, our land… truly beautiful. All of this, in absolutely objective terms.
And yet… Is all that enough to sustain a people, a nation? I would like to believe so. But today we have a greater challenge: sustaining a state. And, again, it seems to me that our performance there is far, very far from satisfactory.
I’m still confused, and I am dreading this weekend. I sense it might turn out to be one of national shame for the Armenians.