Mount Ararat (Photo: Rupen Janbazian/The Armenian Weekly)

It always seems a little strange
When you say “I am Armenian.”
You often get a blank look,
Or a nervous laugh
Even a sophisticated smile, “How wonderful!”

No one recognizes
The depth, the warmth, the love
The shared pain of millions
The often unintentional, yet innate, pride

Alternatively: “Ayo, yes America-Hai em”
You will find some half smiles
Some wistfulness, some envy
Perhaps even derision
Certainly a little pity

One foot in the door, the American Dream
One foot outside, Repatriation
Azad ou Angagh Haiastan.

Who am I?
What am I?
Where am I?
Why am I here?

Was it good luck to be born in the “land of opportunity”?
Or has my opportunity to be truly Armenian passed?

How do you embrace your people’s 3,000-year history?
3,000 years of culture, 3,000 years of survival, 3,000 years of struggle
How do you find a future with a homeland under attack?
Beset with traitors, demagogues, genocidal dictators
How do you represent, honor, uphold the memory of the heroes of the past



Mer herosner

How can I smile? Knowing our state.
Where do I look? Knowing where we are.
Where do I become myself? Knowing what we have become.
Where do I go for our future? Knowing only uncertainty.

I think of the pain. I think of the suffering.
I think of Yerablur. I think of the 18 year old men, fighting for our existence.
But I also think of the beauty, the mountains, the people
I don’t want to lose it, but we may already have

And yet, there is still so much to lose

When a child smiles
With big black eyes
And a wide toothy grin
Full of innocence and love and pride
She is Armenian

That child is part of me
The shared me

I realize something.
Though I may straddle two worlds
Though I may never truly feel at home
I am Armenian.

I will always be Armenian.

Aram Balian

Aram Balian

Aram Balian is vice president of business development at Haverford Homes. He previously worked in investment banking and financial technology. Aram was formerly the executive director of the ANCA Eastern Region; he currently serves on the ANCA-ER board. Aram graduated cum laude with a BA in political science and psychology from Columbia University. He is an AYF alumnus and served as treasurer and vice-chair of the AYF Eastern Region Central Executive.
Aram Balian

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1 Comment

  1. Bravo for all your support for Armeni.Hyasdan needs bright & supportive men like you. Bravo! Wish u the best in all your endeavors. So proud of u,👍🏼

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