Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Return to the Blogosphere: Dusting Off Armenia

I stopped blogging many years ago after a long run of what I think was productive blogging on cilicia.com. I guess I didn't think I had so much to say that was worth publicizing to the world. I was finally living in Armenia, and I was simply living life happily. End of times, nothing to report, right? Far from it. I haven't stopped having opinions about things around me and there are critical issues that do matter and need to be discussed on a global platform.

Only when I see a properly functioning society all around me can I say we've reached the end of times, and I haven't seen anything remotely close to functionality. My views may not be as politically driven as they were before, but they are just as important. So here we go again...

A daily conversation in Armenia often turns to the visual changes in recent years, both in commercial development (not necessarily progressive) and the brain drain of Armenia. It's clear to all of us why people are leaving, wether we want to accept it or not. Es aprelu tegh chi (This isn't a place to live) is what they all say. But my question to those people is this: where in the world is a place to live without problems, and why are we as a people not strong enough to face those problems?

I understand the struggle, I'm not a cold-hearted ignorant fool. I've seen first hand what people have gone through, especially this last winter. Thousands lost their jobs, corruption has extended it's arms deeper into our pockets, and prices have inflated drastically across the board. But what we've been doing until now isn't working, so maybe it's time for a change in our approach.

I'm not telling everyone to suck it up, rather dust yourselves off and stand tall. Progress and potential exist around every corner. No, it's not easy and yes a lot is at stake, but even more is at stake if we sit back and watch things deteriorate.

I wrote my book in the aftermath of the March 8 riots and struggled with the ending because I felt defeated after this dark time in Armenia. The entire book was written except for the last couple paragraphs. I didn't know how to end without such a negative outlook. But I was finally inspired and this is what I ended up writing. This is now my outlook on every day in Armenia (my apologies for quoting my own book, but I didn't know how to say the same thing twice):
This ancient culture of three thousand years is now face-to-face with a new era. Crime and violence are just as real today as potential and hope. Ambitions, both good and bad, exist everywhere and those who are ready to endure all the obstacles will be the ones who prevail in defining Armenia’s future. Though independence was born of a shattered nation, Armenia has seen rapid growth, seemingly without regulation. We are often our own enemy, but as I’ve seen throughout my life, comfortable complacency is the cause of apathy. We have a long road ahead to weed out the cancers of our society, and as history tells us, we always answer to the calling. Each new-born child with a fresh start to life, each diasporan I see walking on their land for the first time, shine light on new hope and potential for a modern age. I believe the best pages of Armenian history have yet to be written, as a nation and our impact on the world.
I'm done with sitting back as an observer. Let's get our hands dirty.