Desperation Trendified

“Awakening,” oil painting by artist/sculptor Hagop Hagopian (Photo used with permission)

In the midst of our 44-day war, social media warriors all across Armenia and the diaspora began the cavalcade of “raising awareness” campaigns for Artsakh, shoulder-to-shoulder with reposted images and videos framed in neat, graphically minimalist squares and rectangles with simple logos, either highlighting a slew of human rights violations or calling for donations with the occasional “I came to Armenia to help and so should you” holier than thou statements.

Two years later, there’s the same cacophony for Armenia with, unsurprisingly, the same result. We are alone. We are broken. We are dying. Yet, we wail at indifference.

Random prominent Armenian organization: “We strongly urge [insert country of influential stature] to condemn the actions of Turkey/Azerbaijan.”

Random influential country: “We condemn the actions of Turkey/Azerbaijan and are monitoring the situation closely.”

Random blue check marked entity: “We are with Armenia! #StopTheWar #StopAzeriAggression”

And we, at the slightest whiff of an international treaty, clamor with seal-like stupor at the perceived solidarity of said powers that be.

Post, share and tweet #StandWithArmenia. Please. How many of us will admit to their exact whereabouts when we decide to share said posts? Waiting in line at the local coffee shop? At the post office? At the bank? We don’t really stand with Armenia. We sit with her at our own leisure, not urgency, because these campaigns are exactly thatan exercise in alarmism. The dissemination of postmodernist, emotion-imbued statements that fit into our newly-found national victimhood ethos — a conscionable futility. And it is precisely futile because we are rummaging in an ecosystem of echo chambers that censors and purges anything that doesn’t pertain to their message, and make no mistake, it is their message, not ours.

Any mention of Monte Melkonian, our hero, a contemporary Armenian symbol for victory, is firmly censored and removed for being deemed against the community guidelines of these technocratic agoras. Again, do we foolishly dare to think that any message centered around national cohesion and self-determination will have a lasting impact, let alone the opportunity to impact anything?

Post, share, tweet as Ursula von der Leyen shakes hands with Aliyev.

Post, share, tweet as Israel sends weapons to Azerbaijan.

Post, share, tweet as Nancy Pelosi produces a Michelin-starred word salad, invoking democracy and security, whilst defining neither.

“Aliyev STOP bombing civilians,” read one of the banners at the protest outside the gates of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Washington, DC. Dear, dear protesters, to what end? Are you in all seriousness expecting an “okay?” A country that is a part of a pan-Turkish current, which operates with a “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is also mine” philosophy will not be merciful nor remorseful.

“Is the massacre of our people not trendy enough for you? Your silence is deafening!”

“Armenian Lives Matter!”

“You don’t care because we don’t have blonde hair and blue eyes!”

The trendification of pain at the expense of our salvation in the name of an absent humanity!


Enough with this myopia engendered by Americanized optics that disarrays our collective Armenian identity, equalizing us with the pain of others when the nature of our pain is fundamentally different. We are not your flavor of the month.

Be it in-person or virtually, this type of activism leads only to internalizing our suffering, allowing it to fester, until it is excreted in a tantrum-like manner, effectively turning us into kids on the international stage, or more accurately, showing the world the kids that we are: playing chess with UNO cards.

Do some people help? Of course they do, and you know who they are. Yet, we allow ourselves to ignore the contrast in efficacy between them and the useless, clumping everyone together, leading our masses into a like-induced apathetic recluse with a dopamine-fueled frenzy that, paradoxically, stills us.

300,000 + 1,500,000 + 6,000 + 5,000 + 207 = 1,811,207 million lost souls and counting. But please, by all means, do change your profile picture. Add our little flag too; it helps.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I know that this isn’t it.

Kegham Balian

Kegham Balian

Kegham Balian is the production and marketing manager at Balian - Armenian Ceramics of Jerusalem, more than a century old family-business. He also writes for This Week in Palestine and additionally translates Armenian literature into English, hoping to extract and display pertinent lores that seek to highlight the depth of our 5000 year old culture.
Kegham Balian

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    • Excellent article! Thank you Kegham.
      1909 Adana 30.000 was omitted in the calculation
      of the lost souls.

  1. I agree that social media and public demonstration are simply ways of venting one’s frustration. They do not stop billions of dollars worth of tanks, rocket launchers and drones attacking Armenia. The answer lies in mobilization: Armenia society in Armenia and Diaspora must be in a constant state of mobilization to build up self reliance and state capacity. Armenian history and geography does not allow it to be like any other nation. For that to happen, Armenian society needs leaders who understand the real dangers and not pacify it with “Russian defense treaty”, CSTO or for that matter help from the US , France or even Iran. Alliances are useful but no substitute for self defense. Self defense is expensive and requires sacrifice by all Armenians. Effective leaders can harness the power of eight million Armenians around the world; that requires inscrutable wisdom

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