I Am Afraid of Armenia

What do you do when the only Armenia you've ever known seems to have little in common with Armenia, the country?

A collection of the author’s memorabilia, playfully referred to as the apartment’s “Armenian Shrine” by his college roommates. (Photo: Samvel Chakmakjian)

It seems like every Sunday after church, I’m confronted by the same question: “How many times have you been to Armenia?” I never have a sufficient answer regardless of whether the question is posed by a five-year-old, or one of the Nenes [grandmothers].

At this point, there really is no excuse – Armenianness has brought me to California, Italy and France (twice each); but I have not yet stepped foot on Armenian soil. I’m a reluctant pilgrim.

After years of feebly trying to justify why I haven’t been, I think it’s time to come clean. I need to confess something I think many Armenians in the Diaspora feel—especially in older generations—but are ashamed to admit: I am afraid of Armenia.

“Armenia” has always been a concept to me, which manifests itself in various forms. Conceptually, Armenia is standing on the dock at an Armenian-American summer camp, listening to oud-and-clarinet kef music, dancing the Michigan Hop, and screaming System of a Down lyrics on the bus back from a seminar. For me, Armenia has always been located in the small plot of land in Franklin, Massachusetts that makes up Camp Haiastan; the few blocks in East Watertown that are inhabited primarily by Armenians; and individual houses scattered across the Boston area. Armenia is at the foot of the Altar of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church. It is on the field at AYF Olympics. It is in Stella’s Pizza on Mount Auburn Street during that half hour between Saturday School and Scouts.

But a few weeks ago, sitting in Donohue’s (the Irish Pub across from the Hairenik Building which headquarters the Armenian Weekly and Hairenik newspapers), I confided to some contemporaries that I have always assumed that I would visit Lebanon and Turkey before the Republic of Armenia.

“My understanding of being Armenian,” I explained, “and also my understanding of myself has always been contingent upon two critical experiences: living in Exile, and being a minority.”

The histories I inherited are that of a family of villagers making the crowded streets of Bolis [Istanbul] their new home; a refugee family maneuvering colonialism and ethnic war in Jerusalem and Amman; a girl sent alone from the Old Country to study theology in Chicago; and a locksmith renting a bed in Roxbury.

All of those histories revolve around being separated from a homeland, and existing as a minority in the country of residence.

So I worry about how I will mentally process the experience of visiting the only country in the world in which being Armenian does not make me a minority. When the youth-oriented opportunities to go to Armenia arise every summer, I habitually shrug them off. This year however, I finally rejected my gut instinct, and decided to go.

The author’s great-grandfather Khachadoor Hampartsoomian as a young man in Boston, circa 1917. (Photo: Samvel Chakmakjian)

I want to focus on my great-grandfather for a moment. I have no idea what was going through Khachadoor Hampartsoomian’s head when he arrived in Boston in 1911. Perhaps wonder? Apprehension? The story goes that after the Massacres, when he stopped receiving letters from Kharpert, he started to gather tools in hopes of going and helping build up the infant Republic of Armenia. Then the Soviets took over, barring the entrance of anyone who believed in a free and independent Armenia. The Diasporan fate was sealed in exile.

Now that I am about to make the trip to Armenia that Khachadoor was never able to, I can no longer tiptoe around my fear of the Republic of Armenia, and what it will do to my mental construction of “Armenia.”

I am afraid that I will not cry when I see Mount Ararat after so many years of staring at it on the wall in the dining room. I am afraid that the Western Armenian that I have spoken (against all odds) since infancy, and now teach, will be influenced, molded and confused by my first real encounter with Eastern Armenian. I am afraid of the Russian words I will hear in the places where I expect Turkish. I am afraid that I will be told I’m not really Armenian. I am afraid that I will be indifferent to this nation-state that I’ve been told for so many years is mine to love. Most of all, I am afraid of my entire sense of self being shaken at its core, when the two qualities I have always used to define myself and my Armenianness are no longer applicable: exile and minority.

For in truth, even if the Republic of Armenia is “not really where we’re from” as the adults in my family say, how can I call myself exiled if I have “returned” to a homeland? How can I call myself a minority when upwards of 98% of the population is the same azk, the same ethnicity as me?

In avoiding Armenia all of these years, I and many others have sought to protect the purity of our Armenia(s) and our Armenianness: our Western Armenian, our traditional spellings, the stories of our ancestral villages.

When we obsess over any type of “purity”—linguistic, genetic, artistic or otherwise—we stunt our own progress, we finish the job the Ottoman authorities started at the turn of the century, and we effectively end our own story. A people that does not grow will not survive.

We as exiled Armenians must accept the Republic into our definition of Armenia, and the Republic must also accept the many versions of Armenia that we have been carrying and creating for 100 years.

I don’t know if I’m ready for a real, twenty-first century, “Europeanized,” non-Middle Eastern Armenia, but that is exactly why I must go.

Samvel Chakmakjian

Samvel Chakmakjian

Samuel Hagop Chakmakjian is a born-and-raised member of the Greater Boston Armenian community who teaches Armenian at St. Stephen’s Armenian Saturday School and sings in the choir at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church. He is a graduate of Brandeis University where he studied Linguistics and French/Francophone Studies. Most days, Chakmakjian can be found at at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center in Watertown at various community organization meetings after work. He is an avid reader, rower and runner.
Samvel Chakmakjian

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  1. I grew up in a western Armenian environment here in the states, and have traveled to Armenia. Armenia is a amalgamation of eastern and western (Russian, eastern and western). I can assure you, our western Armenia can be found there. It is more there than in present Western Armenia itself.

    • I am K. Duane Erickson, I am a life times Researcher into the Origin of Man. I would like to share my findings with the Armenian People. The reason is that of all the prople (Adam Man Family) on earth, the more pure of the Armenian People can trace their history back to the Ark Suvivors, who were Purelly from Adam. I have my genealogical record with three lines going back to Adam. I have all of this information verified, even have handled the actual records produced by the Ark Suvivors. which naturally would have to be the original Armenian people, even before they became Armenian, an the land was even given that name. I also have their written records as the migrated from where the Ark landed, and they started live over again, and finally migrated, beging prompted to move downhill to end up in Babylon, which was not developed by the Armenian or Ark Suvivor people. They were other people who survived the flood by reaching high places which all religion do not have this information. However, I have copies of their records, now translated into English that I can email to those who would like to study those histories. You see, the Promise Land of the Ark people, after the flood and the days of Peleg and the lands were seperated. their Promised Land was protected from the world, and in time have become identified. I know exactly where this and is today, using nundred of geological and geographical verifiecations. It is the Land where soon, the more pure worldwide of the Adam’s family are to soon gather. I have all of this verified information for those who would likt to know more positively who they are and what soon to take place (From their very records), Thank you, Respectfully, as I am part of that family and the coming gathering. derickson1(at)allwest.net.

  2. With the influx of Syrian Armenian immigrants to Armenia, I assure you that you will feel even more comforted in Armenia. It is different than what you are accustomed to– no doubt about that. This article was written beautifully. Good job and enjoy your time there, Samvel.

    Armenian Weekly Editors, please edit and proofread your submissions. Some of them are rife with grammatical and syntactical errors, making them cumbersome to read.

  3. A very thoughtful and honest commentary. All of the Armenian nation lives in Armenia. The nation is changing quickly , for example, as Armenians from Syrian bring their marvelous entrepreneurial skills and Western Armenian culture to the homeland. Your personal identity will quickly become subordinated to your desire to connect…to help..to become part of the nation building. Armenia’s future lies with it truly becoming a homeland for all Armenians….a place where the diaspora no longer feels in exile. Where the true capability of the Armenian people can be put to productive use.

  4. Don’t you be afraid of does speak the same language as you are they aren’t any different than you are. Since I emigrated to US back in 1984 this year first time I went back I couldn’t recognized capital of Armenia where I was born it very modernized city Yerevan. I like it so much I’m planning to go back again this year, I feel our heart and soul bling to that small nation we called Armenia

  5. Samuel thats my sons name too he speaks some w armenian born in nj.USA .he went to Armenia & loved it .Samuel I think u will love it too.please no doubts .welcome its All Armenians Armenia .

  6. Samvel, when are you planning to be there? You are experiencing almost same feeling that I had when I visited our homeland last year! All I can ay for now is, you do not need to worry about anything & let our homeland talk to you. Be aware that if you go one yme, you can notvstop going back! I am returnng this year as well.

  7. Dear Samvel,you can either write stories/confessions like this and continue to wander the “what if”, or you can just go, see for yourself and get over it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  8. Samvel jan, there is no difference: eastern or Western Armenian. We are All Armenian regardless of our location. Our small country alone maintains over 60 dialects and cultural nuances carried through centuries. Our diverse geography and background is a big advantage that can benefit each of us and our country. We like Wesrern Armenian – it’s understood, welcomed, and well perceived. We hosted our brothers and sisters from the Middle East. Some have left, others feel at home. I think, after the recent developments, our bond has tightened. You can easily maintain your family heritage, and at the same time, look at your identity in a broader way.

  9. What a touching, brave and emotional article. It woke my parental feelings wanting to come hold your hand and walk you through Armenia, just to show you how friendly, accepting and YOURS it is going to feel. my host-mom (A Beyroot Armenian who lived most of her life in Waltham) said that her illnesses stopped, she had the easiest breathing and could not stop feeling the excitement because around her “amen mart hye eh”… I am a Yerevantsi, lived almost all my life here. no matter what you think now, when you set foot here, it will resonate with your genes and heart and you won’t need to think anymore. I will be happy to treat you to coffee and ice-cream at my usual coffee spot on Cascade (Charles). That is if you have a minute! Let me know!

  10. I went to Armenia for the first time last month. I too, like you, was the only person I thought in Los Angeles that had not been to Armenia. I am glad you are real, because I too was thinking the same thing, “what If I don’t cry, when I step on Հայրենի Հող?5 what if I don’t get emotional, like many confess to have been. I can assure you this though. when I got there, I felt home, I didn’t feel emotional at all, but it was a peaceful, more comforting feeling, it felt like mine, and as if I knew this place… I didn’t go site seeing, or visiting every single church it had, because like I said, I felt local, the city gave me that comfort, as if in my head I was thinking, “why ruch go site seeing in these short 15 days, I will be here again and again, and I can take my time to do elaborate visits everywhere…” I hope this helps. Nevertheless, enjoy your visit, it is indeed a beautiful country, lush landscaping, beautiful green, fresh and delicious water from the fountain, extremely friendly people, and a culture that is advancing rapidly, especially in the IT sector.

    • Disagree –it’s a title which catches the reader to continue reading! All titles particularly in newspaper writing do not have to spell out the total article — this is a good one!!!

  11. Great reflection, Samvel. Do not be afraid and look at it beyond generations, language, dialect, influence and borders. Those are temporary and always changing. Having born, raised and lived in Armenia for 25 years, and now working overseas for the past 15, Armenia apears to me, as foreign and scarry, as it probably does to you. Believe me or not, at times, I am afraid of it as well. Your forefathers found their Armenia in the States and called it home. You have a great responsibility for it to prosper and make the world a better place for all human beings. – That’s what being Armenian (or human) means to me. I found my peace and keep building Armenia around me.

  12. Samvel, thanks for putting into words what many second and third generations of “diasporan” Armenians probably feel about their homeland. First, we should get rid of that term “diasporan”, and for that matter “Western Armenian”, “Eastern Armenian”, and any other term that simply creates divisions between us. There aren’t many of us in this world, and we should focus on what unites us, not what divides us. And there are MANY things that unite us—first and foremost, a shared love of our history, culture, our Christianity, our heroes, our language. You will finally feel at home, and realize that thats immeasurably better than feeling like a minority or in exile.

    Now, about the fear part. I assume that as you participate in church, you’re a Jesus follower. So you should know that when fear comes knocking at your door, just let faith answer. There IS one thing that you should be afraid of though: that you will love Armenia so much you won’t want to go back. Which is as it should be. With the recent political developments, all of us Armenians living abroad need to start thinking about what we can do to contribute to the building of our great nation. Together we can do some incredible things!! See you in Armenia.

    • Good one Jacob. Love the Moon Struck quote. I know this will not get printed, but I pretty much felt this was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. Before I went to Haiastan for the first time, I wondered how I could place my foot on the sacred soil I had dreamt of my whole life.

    • Your excellent article highlights our dual nationality – we are Armenians but also in my case a Cypriot as I was born in Cyprus. I went to Armenia in 2000 and it was emotional when I thought of my parents who dreamt of going to Armenia but never able to do so and I cried openly when in Echmiadzen. I did not feel I had come home but felt at last I knew what Armenia was in reality – a beautiful country populated by incredible nation who wants to survive. I shall continue being a Cypriot Armenian is diaspora.

  13. Well done Samuel. I have thought this for years and have never been able to release myself from an identity of separation. I experience the “homeland” Armenia mostly through my Armenian clients who were born in Armenia or Russia. Thank you for the reflection and making the reconnection.

  14. Blood trumps dialect, period. I don’t speak a lick of Armenian, Western or Eastern. However, Im here living in Yerevan, by the grace of God, in place of my ancestors who never could but dreamed that one day…I would.

  15. My wife Mary and I went to Armenia last year for the first time. We are contemplating going again next year. We felt like being home there and made many lasting friendships. I collaborated with an Armenian physicist before we went to
    Armenia and we published an article in the Physical Review, whom we met in Yerevan for the first time. My parents are not from that Armenia but I would not feel at home in Harput, Turkey were my parents were born. I would encourage people to go to Armenia. They need our help. Remember we are a nation again they could not destroy us! We even went to Artsakh!

  16. Dear Samvel, as an Armenian U.S citizenn of decades I can tell you Hayastan is a “sweet home” if you have the financial resources to live here. There is plenty of culture (science, art) and stimulus here.

  17. Dear Samvel,
    Thank you for being so candid with your thoughts and feelings. The sense of pride that one feels being in Armenia will overwhelm all other concerns that one may have once in the country. In my opinion, it’s our duty to support the growth and development of Armenia even of that means just a visit to the country least once in one’s lifetime. If Armenia does not prosper, that will be the slow demise of Armenian people, language, and culture – whether it’s literature, the arts, music, theatre, etc. We don’t need to look too far. Look at what happened with the once large Italian Diaspora in the US? It s basically about pizza and pasta along with Italian sounding last names. That’s about it for the most part. They have assimilated. Over time, the Armenia Diaspora will assimilate as well (I.e. 100 – 200 years) especially now that most of the population resides in host nations that are Christian. All the large communities of the Middle East have downsized significantly as all Christian in that part of the world are under siege. Hence, slow extinction outside our homeland, in my opinion, is the unfortunate reality and one we must embrace and think long term. I hope going to Armenia will be a life altering experience for you and create a bond that will be with you forever. It was for me.

  18. I’m a non-Armenian American who spent considerable time there, taken there as part of my career in development, utterly unintentional on my part. I had known nothing about Armenia, not even where it was geographically, besides having had an Armenian-American colleague at work in a previous job, and the short stories of William Saroyan. I loved it, the country, the people. A unique, elevating experience, that greatly improved my understanding of the complexities as well as the beauty of that world and the world.

  19. The author, Samvel, is being honest.
    Even many people who have been to Armenia feel pretty much the same way, and it’s not just that Armenia now is “eastern Armenia” and we are from “Western Armenia”.

    The present Republic of Armenia has not, in general, been welcoming of Western Armenians. The authorities want our money to do things such as build schools that they are entirely capable of but don’t because so many of them are criminals. “Criminals” is too nice a name for them. If I used the words I should use, this would not be posted.
    It’s the Soviet mentality in Armenia. 70 years of Communism made many Armenians just plain sick. Look at the Armenians from Armenia in prison in California. What’s up with that? It’s bizarre. It’s a disgrace. Sorry, I know we’re not supposed to talk about it.

    I am not smearing all Armenians in or from present-day Armenia.

    Hopefully, the new government in Armenia will be more welcoming.
    And don’t tell me that Armenia has so many problems that it can’t care about the Western Diaspora. That’s nonsense. It’s an excuse.

    Thank goodness the woman who used to head the Diaspora Ministry is gone.

    Now let’s see if we can soon say the same of Armenia’s Soviet mentality.

  20. I am from Eastern Armenia. Lived their the first half of my life, the other half in NY City. Have a Master’s degree from the State University of Yerevan, majoring in philology, Armenian language and literature. Was a teacher of Armenian language 3 years in Soviet Armenia. Here was a teacher of Armenian language and songs in many summer camps, Saturday schools in NY and CA. NYS certified teacher in Armenian. Worked as a music teacher in NYC public schools 13 years. Disagree with many things you wrote, understand you, of course. My grandfather, who raised me, was from city Van, Western Armenia. Escaped the genocide, when he was 11 years old. Established in Yerevan in 1915. Their is not one family in modern Republic of Armenia , who does not have a bit of Western Armenian blood. Holy Ejmiatsin was their, since the 4 th century, is their and will be their for all Armenians. Armenia was never a middle east. It is a crossroad between west and east. Always was. South Eastern Europe? May be. We have ancient Greek style temple Garni (we had many). We had well known connections with the ancient Rome. Armenian language belongs to the Indo European languages. Language is always changing…..that’s natural. Why be afraid????? It’s the same nation. East and west were mixed after the 1915. Eastern Armenia is a home to ALL Armenians. Just like the last kingdom of Cilicia, all of us consider our last statehood, which we lost in 14th century. Fear is not a good thing.

  21. I did not read the entire article but will. I stopped at the picture of your great grandfather. He appeared to be a ‘twin’ of my father (Hovaness ‘John’ Emerzian) who was from Kharpert…also sitting on a chair looking handsome in his nice suit. I believe he arrived in the USA in 1923, living in Chicago, IL and then moving to Los Angeles, CA in 1946.

  22. I think you’re overthinking this and also that you probably haven’t spoken to people who have visited the place, as they almost unanimously and strongly recommend the visit.

    I say, just go there without any preconceived notions and soak it all in. After all, you’re only mission would be to be a tourist. So, just start from there and see where it takes you.

    I myself, by the way, have yet to visit.

  23. What a beautiful, honest, intelligent and exceptionally well written piece. Simply bravo!
    As to your anticipated pilgrimage to Armenia, I assure you, you’ll be glad you did it.

  24. I understand how you feel as I feel the same whenever I’ve thought about one day visiting Armenia. However in my case, although I was brought up with many aspects of being Armenian, learning the language was not one of them. Quite honestly, that is the one most embarrassing thing about visiting Armenia or even when I meet other Armenians here in the states—not speaking or understanding Armenian enough to carry on a conversation. Living in the South as I do now, there are no Armenians near me; in fact, most people have still never heard of us! I wonder how many other Armenian-Americans are in the same shoes as I?

    • I am in the same kind situation, not speaking enough for conversation or understanding etc. was chastised for the inability by a fellow Armenian. My father was an orphan in 1917 Istanbul turkey, was born in adapazari turkey, sent to Corfu Greece, issued a Greek visa transfered to Canada, where I grew up. Always reminded that I had Armenian roots. Well long story short had my DNA done guess what I’m 64% Armenian Greek, my sisters DNA came back 72% Greek Armenian. No wonder when we went to Greece we felt at home, like we belonged. I doubt my father had any idea he was as much or more Greek than Armenian? Anyone of you had your DNA done? Might be in for a big surprise!

  25. It’s the place in the world! Just pack your things and go confidently!! The Diaspora gatherings and camps are not comparable to real Armenia! It’s so much more better and different!!

  26. Dear Samvel you should realize that pretty much most of the people in current day Armenia are descendants of the orphans of the Genocide, and hence there’s a deep bond between the Armenians in Armenia and those in diaspora. For example I was born and raised in Armenia and both my paternal grandma, paternal grandpa and maternal grandpa were orphans of the Genocide and spoke Western Armenians. I have relatives that settled in Lebonon and Syria instead of Armenia. So we’re really all the same, despite the different dialects. Also as one other comment said, Armenia has numerous dialects, particularly the Gyumri and Artsakh dialects which are quite different and unique, but they’re obviously like Western Armenian, all part of the same language family. Have a wonderful trip and enjoy Armenia! I know you will feel Armenian hospitality and come back with warm memories

  27. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article and the comments that followed.
    I visited Armenia for the very first time, three years ago.
    I hope to return in the next couple of years.

  28. I do not understand why you would be afraid of going to Armenia. It is an insult to title your article with that word “afraid” as though you were visiting an outer space and an unknown galaxy. I paid my first visit to Armenia only one week ago and can’t wait to go back. I was received with open arms as a Western Armenian; they loved my accent and so did I theirs. I was understood by them all. I felt so much at home and there was not a site or a memorial that did not bring tears to my eyes. I came back with a huge sense of pride and will go back again. I felt very, very sad on my last day. This is the Homeland that we had been taught about; the culture; the history; the people, because I am telling you, we will never feel at home anywhere else – even in our adopted countries in the West except in Armenia where they ALL speak the same language – something we in the Disapora are not used to. Cherish the feeling of being there and forget this ‘fear’ bullshit.

  29. shad paragin mi nayir. You are part of our beautiful nation either way. I would much rather you do come. I moved here 18 years ago from Lebanon and I have seen many fellow Armenians come and go and connect. You don’t need to move here. But you will connect to the mother ship, and that is really worth it. I would be happy to share from my disillusionment and rediscovered faith and rebirth of my Armenianness in Yerevan. Lunch is on me. In Yerevan.

  30. I understand exactly how you feel. I haven’t been to Armenia either and I am not likely to go. Sometimes the reality of something you love spoils the dream.

    • may I ask why you are not likely to go? I do not want to be judgemental or anything just curious why. Please write.

  31. I am an armenian born in iran and my granfathers and also their granfathers have not suffered Turks Genocide.I grow in iran for the first 12 years and after that in Italy.
    So having less familly connections with Armenia as you have.
    But after my first visit in Armenia I returned other 8 times and now planning to transfer there permanentley.
    All this becouse I think that the mother country (Hairenik) is the only place of the world where you really feel at your home; i am sure that will be the same for you . Don’t hesitate have a good time in Armenia then you will see if what I wrote was true (my escuses for bad english)

  32. My grandfather, Arakel H. Bozyan, migrated to the US around 1890-92, before the FIRST genocide, intending to return after learning the shoemaking trade; he never did. I visited a museum in Anakra, Turkey, in 1976, with some fellow AF pilots; On a wall relief map, I pointed out the village of Husinig(sp?), (which he took as a middle name and named one of his daughters!), a suburb of Harpoot(sp?) where my grandparents were BORN; a docent heard me and very excitedly told us that no such place ever existed, was never part of Armenia, had Always been Turkey!
    I am very disappointed that no US president has yet acknowledged the well documented Armenian Genocide! I have no interest in visiting Armenia unless my country would acknowledge it’s existence and history!

  33. Happy to see so many comments to this article. It had a strong impact on me also.

  34. wonderful article, made me cry….. don’t be afraid, take the trip, you’ll be glad you did…. best of luck to you!!!!
    armenia is a beautiful place, people are warm and hospitable and there is no reason to be afraid.

  35. Dear Samvel , I read your article, very well done! Good job! Let me tell you something, born in Beirut Lebanon, we grew up with the idea of free and independent Armenia. Visited Armenia in 2001, cried when I first saw Ararat! I was so impressed and moved to put your feet for the first time on earth of our motherland! No matter where you are born and raised, our roots are embedded in Armenia! The earth is so powerful, and makes you more stronger, rather than be afraid of! Go and do not be afraid of your heritage, we have so rich culture and heritage that you may be overwhelmed! My second visit was 2012, and always yearn to go back again and again! Embrace the experience live each moment to the fullest, as the moment spent will never come back again! Good luck!

  36. Wow, what an eloquently written editorial!abris !!!Bravo! I felt very much like you in many ways Samuel. I w as reluctant to go to Armenia. I traveled to Italy a million times and felt so at home there, I saw and recognized many parts of my Armenian heritage and culture in the Italian people. I went to Armenia and felt that I didn’t really fit in many ways. I looked like the people in Italy not like the people in Armenia. I visited every church I could through out Armenia and loved it! It was wonderful seeing Armenian letters posted on the shops. I recently did a DNA test ancestry.com and it turns out a majority of the Armenian diaspora have 30 percent Italian DNA because our roots come from that ancient Roman area. I would love to hear your experience about going to Armenia but I don’t think you should have any fear about your “Armenianness” being shaken because that’s within you, your blood, your DNA, your eyes, everything and it will live on through your family and future children. I think what you will realize from
    Your trip to Armenia is that we are survivors and in many forms and with many cultural influences from around the world we are still Armenian at the core and the Ararat Mountains and every other piece of culture that screams Armenian live within us forever.

  37. Samvel jan not everyone in Armenia speaks Eastern Armenian. You should visit Gyumri…

    Ամենինչ լավ կլինի, ապեր:


  38. Having just gotten back from 10 days in Armenia, even though out family is actually Persian Armenians, I found myself in a place where the language was that of relatives,(although I don’t speak Armenian). I felt relaxed and at home – and safe.

    As a member of the diaspora on a first trip to Armenia I was special to many people I met. But yes, I did feel a tug at times especially when I remembered our history. But all in all, I was energized and highly impressed with the accomplishments and abilities of our people in the face of really long odds.

    Do not be afraid – go and live. It is your heritage.

  39. This is one of the most interesting pieces I’ve read since I started following the Armenian press in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Thank you.

  40. Bro you disappoint me , your saying you don’t want to go to Armenia but you have no Choice. You probably want to go to Lebanon or Syria instead. Typical Western Armenian, you don’t conside Armenia your country. It’s because you were raised in Lebanon and other Arabic country you consider your self middle eastern. Your right if you go to Armenia your not gona find much of the Middle Eastern culture. We’re not arabes, were Armenians you probably forgot that. You think eastern Armenians dint notice how western are ? Man you spoke so much of how Armenia is without even going.


  42. Retreating to exile in the 21st century for Armenians is a cowardly cop out method. I get angry when I see it.
    You might go and it might not even be profound.

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