An eerie scene from Stepanakert on October 2, 2020 after intense shelling (Photo: Government of Armenia/Areg Balayan and Karapet Sahakyan)

What do you do when everything feels futile?

When your day consists of emails and deadlines and “what’s for lunch” – but your countrymen are fighting for their lives in your homeland to protect what’s YOURS…

What do you do to reel in the rage? You heard your grandparents’ stories, you saw the tears in their eyes, you felt the pain in their voice…

100 years of demanding justice, 100 years of demanding recognition. 

What if enough is enough? 

What if you’re tired of the protests? What if you want more?

They tried to eradicate us once.

Now they’re doing it again

My grandchildren will NOT chant “2020 never again!”

How do you control the anger?

You’re one click away from “screw this deadline – my people are under attack!”

“My brothers and sisters are at war, don’t you see?”

Do you pack up your bags and join them?  

Your social media feed is exploding with content – you’re proud of our unity, our call to action.

You post, you donate, you learn, and you teach…

You fight.

But when you lay your head on your pillow at night, the thoughts swarm in – 

Have you done enough?

You wake up the next morning and the knot in the pit of your stomach is still there.

More deaths, more buildings destroyed, more children forced out of their homes…

How do you take your dog for a walk and smile at your neighbor?

Somehow. You smile.

You find yourself standing under the clear sky – just you – and nature – 

and peace.

Don’t your people deserve this peace?

No gunfire in the distance, no bombs shaking the earth…

Living and working and loving without the fear of being persecuted.

Is there a fight – more worth fighting?

How do you reconcile this burning desire to be on the front lines, alongside your people – with the reality – that you won’t?

Do you relent?

When everything feels futile.

Do you resign?

Or do you wake up the next morning – 

and fight.

Nareen Melkonian Touloumdjian

Nareen Melkonian Touloumdjian

Nareen Melkonian Touloumdjian was born in Baghdad, Iraq and raised in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in the tight knit Armenian community of the San Fernando Valley, where she was an active member of the Armenian Youth Federation and remained close to her Armenian roots and heritage. Nareen has had a passion for writing from a young age. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a Writing Emphasis from Loyola Marymount University, she went on to obtain her law degree from Loyola Law School. Today, she uses her passion for writing to advocate for her injured clients as a civil litigation attorney at The Homampour Law Firm.
Nareen Melkonian Touloumdjian

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  1. Thought provoking poem. As the Armenian saying goes- chga charik ananz barik- i.e every negative phenomenon has a positive aspect to it.

    “My brothers and sisters are at war, don’t you see?” Yes the world does see, but Western Europe and the new world have always preferred Turks over Armenians. Their inaction at these critical times will highlight this. So one could say the barik from this war is that Armenians are again reminded that Europe and the west would readily watch Armenia get invaded by Turks.

    “Don’t your people deserve this peace?”

    Unfortunately peace can be a double-edged sword. Most of Western Europe has had peace for 50 or so years. There are around 200,000 Turks living in Austria today. Maybe if Turks had repeatedly attacked Austria after the battle of Vienna in 1683, Austrians wouldn’t take too kindly to that many Turks living their now. Maybe if Armenia wasn’t attacked in 2020 by Azerbaijan, more Armenians would chant that we are all human and shouldn’t discriminate against Turks, Armenia should be more tolerant and multicultural so open the borders and let them in like Austria has. Ask yourself, do you want Armenia to have the demographics that Austria has ?

  2. You have encapsulated everything i am feeling. Thank you for this. I think the Azeris and Turks have no idea how galvanized we have become. I know we will persevere. Thank you!

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