Most of us will not give the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The reasons we give to not join the armed forces will vary in validity, but a time will always come when some of us are forced into physical conflict for the sake of others. During those sad and unfortunate times when might makes right, pens become less valuable and history is written in blood. Yet, the times after war and tragedy are precisely when great philosophies are forged, during the aftermath and digestion of what has occurred.
In all societies, the discrimination women experience during and after armed conflict stems from a traditional understanding of gender roles. The Armenian society, deeply entrenched in patriarchy, is no different. The perception of women as nurses, wives and mothers is the norm, whereas men are cast as aggressors and soldiers. Although women in the struggle for Artsakh’s liberation originally entered the war effort as nurses, it wasn’t long before many of them grew impatient of their limited roles and began to take up arms.
The Armenian Youth Federation has proclaimed 2012 as the Year of the Armenian Freedom Fighter. The AYF Western Region Chairperson, David Arakelyan, explains the reasons behind that decision and shares his experiences of interactions with azadamardiks in Armenia.
Throughout our history, the life of the Armenian soldier has been one of difficulty and resilience. From Avarayr to Sardarabad to Shushi, our heroes have fought and defended our very existence. They have fought with the ideal that no Armenian should be oppressed and no Armenian land should be occupied.
The voice is a human gift to be embraced and used. It is through speech that one may relay their most pertinent ideas and engage others with their vision. Yet, the spoken word is an obligation, viewed as an essential in the advocacy of any cause. But the ability to remain silent, constitutes a strength in and of itself, and allows each person to foster their power. We have created tactics and methods that aim to generate the greatest amount of noise, which have, nonetheless, proven to be successful in the past. Yet, we have passed over the notion of silence as a tool for the mass portrayal of a message as well as the increased consciousness of individuals.
Being an Armenian writer often implies that you are stereotyped into the vicinity of the Kardashians, praised for Cher’s comeback, and often eluded to William Saroyan. Some may even latch onto to the idea of Yerevan magazine to imply what it’s like for Armenians seeking journalism – if we are not writing for an Armenian publication, we must be writing about being Armenian, right?
Ever since I could remember, I’ve always been around the Armenian Genocide April 24th demonstrations staged in front of the Turkish Consulate in Jerusalem, shouting slogans for recognition, cursing the state denial of Turkey, and singing revolutionary songs knitted with the memories of the lost homeland. For me the demand for recognition by Turkey was inflamed by the hope that, once after recognition, Armenia and Turkey would sit around a table and discuss the issue of justice: “what now?”
There were two stacks of newspapers at any newsstand in the small, seaside town of La Vie. One was the La Vie Times and the other was the Press de Vie. On any given day, one newspaper outsold the other by a small number of copies. In large, this was due to the appeal of the articles written by each of the newspapers’ famous political columnists. The La Vie Times held in great regard their young writer Claude Dubois as equally as the Press de Vie held in regard their own columnist, Edouard Guillotine.
Local, diasporan, and even non-Armenian environmental activists have been hard at work in Armenia these past two months. Harnessing the organizing powers of social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, these activists are mobilizing people – especially the youth – to protest, demonstrate and occupy Teghut, the site of a controversial open-pit mining project in Northern Armenia, and Yerevan’s Mashtots Park, where the construction of a fashion boutique threatens one of the few remaining green areas in the city.
It’s hard learning Armenian. The obviousness of that statement is clear to anyone who knows the language. For students and speakers of the language alike, it’s indisputable. The ancient, convoluted pronunciation rules; the syntactical flexibility that allows you to say the same thing with five words 20 different ways and still get your point across; the myriad dialects suggestive of a much larger land than currently exists – which serves to remind of the vast lands Armenians once inhabited before successive onslaughts and submissions.