At the end of every year I tend to be more pensive than usual, reviewing the events of the past twelve months, its successes and failures, and what I aspire to do or see change forthcoming. Below are a few wishes for Armenia in 2013.
1. I would like to see Armenians come together and collectively agree upon something that they value, whether it is justice, fair elections, environmental protection, competitive trade or anything else, and work towards achieving that. The citizenry has never been so fragmentized. Take the upcoming presidential elections. The three main opposition parties–ARF-Dashnaktsutyun, Armenian National Congress, and Prosperous Armenia–have refused to field their own candidates and will not rally around a single contender. They refuse to put aside their political differences and tone down their arrogance, citing an anticipated falsification of the vote as the reason to bow out. These are the same parties that complained about governmental corruption and regularly called for regime change. Their decision is a noble act of defeatism, nothing more. There is nothing honorable in refusing to take part in the democratic process. They are simply letting their people down. Unity in thought, actions and deeds is imperative.
2. Armenians need to be kinder to one another and respectful of personal space. I hear too much boisterous bickering, usually about nothing, through my closed windows. Whenever I walk down the street or roam in a market I often see two or more people carrying on about something, usually hollering at the top of their lungs. Some are intentionally antagonizing. There always seems to be a need to defend one’s honor or a matter of principle to uphold (I’ve fallen into this egocentric trap myself). Then you read about people harassing each other, even brutal beatings that unfortunately sometimes result in death as we saw earlier this year when an army doctor died at the hands of brainless thugs. Maybe it’s human nature, or the personality trait of the Armenian that can’t be undone. Regardless of the excuse, it’s time to cool down. It’s time for empathy.
3. To become more compassionate, Armenians need to have a better attitude about life, their surroundings and themselves. People have become too miserable and cynical. The “country’s not a country,” “there’s no justice” and “nothing to do but leave” slogans are sounding very stale; they’ve become meaningless when the people who repeat these words do nothing to reverse or prevent what they complain about. Perceptions about society must improve, people need to feel good about themselves and each other for society to thrive. Instead of pitying, they should be producing. The chronic negativism has to stop. I don’t want my son to grow up in a spiteful society, and I’m not alone.
Happy New Year. May 2013 bring you continued health, happiness and peace.
Graphic by Billy Alexander