It has been a year since I started this Monologues. First my thanks goes to my ten year old grand daughter Hoqi Jan Հոգի ճան Teni Թենի Mouchian, who about two years ago asked me to write down many of the stories that I was telling her about my childhood in Kessab Syria where I was born. (Teni is an avid reader and for her age a good writer as well).
Since it is against the unwritten “law” for the grand parents never to say no to their grandchildren, I obeyed the “law ” and started writing and realized that when you have something to say you can write it too. Basically I wrote a lengthy “conversation” with my grand children that they will be able to read when they are grown up adults and by then their Bebo Պեպո, will be just a memory. (Bebo means grand father in Kessab Armenian dialect).
After finishing that part, I got “emboldened” to write this Monologues to comment on “Armenian social, political, and environmental issues (with the occasional rant, perhaps)”. They are basically conversations with myself, but I also find out that when you write about the issues you care about it helps to clarify them as well. In total there were sixty three Monologues beginning January 2 2016 with the title “Know Thyself Ծանիր (Ը)Զքեզ”
Judging from the titles, twenty six of the Monologues were about memories, attributes to “Worthy Honorees” Պատիւ Արժանաւորաց from the members of the Armenian community in Toronto, and travels to Armenian historical locations. Since my traveling days are over, and also due to my fading memory, I do not think there will be much more to write about this topics.
Nineteen of the Monologues were about Republic of Armenia. The two noteworthy events of the year were the new constitution “passed” by a rigged referendum on December 6 2015 without any meaningful public hearings and input from the citizens of Armenia. The other issue was the “four day war” in Artsakh (Karabagh) that Azerbaijan started on April first 2016.
Unfortunately the war proved Artsakh’ vulnerability. Although the Armenian/Artsakh Armies pushed back the aggressor that caused heavy casualties on both sides, but they could not inflict real heavy damage on Azerbaijan and capture some strategic positions as a deterrent for any such aggression in the future. (According to some reports Artsakh even lost about 800 hectares of land that has strategic importance).
There were three Monologues about “Armenians and Turks”. “TWO CLOSE PEOPLES TWO DISTANT NEIGHBOURS”. (This is the title of the ground breaking book that brave and outspoken Armenian intellectual and the editor of “AGOS” newspaper Hrant Dink wrote in Turkish language before he was assassinated in Istanbul Turkey on January 19 2007 in front of the AGOS office. The book was translated in English in 2014).
The relationship between this two countries with a long common border, and two people with a centuries old bloody history, will be dictated mainly by the initiatives and actions of the Governments of Turkey and Armenia. The Armenian Diaspora(s) might have a consultative role to play in this process, but the decision will be made by the government and the people of Armenia, whether Diaspora Armenians agree with it or not.
There were fifteen Monologues about Diaspora issues. Most of them were about the preservation of the Armenian Identity in Diaspora(s) specially in Canada and USA. Needless to say the preservation of the Armenian Identity need to be the first priority for all Diaspora(s). The solution has to be found locally by each community and according to the social and cultural norms of the host countries.
The recognition of the Armenian Genocide by German Parliament in June 2016 was a significant event for all Armenians specially so for Diaspora Armenians that were pursuing the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by foreign governments for over fifty years. The meaningful resolution not only recognized the Armenian Genocide but also acknowledged that Germany might have played a role in it as a war ally of Turkey. The resolution also recommended that further research be conducted through the German archives to find out the extent of Germany’ involvement.
It was also significant that many Members of the German Parliament with Turkish ancestry were vocal and voted for the resolution. This was a huge positive step and should lead to a positive dialogue between progressive Armenian intellectuals and their Turkish counterparts in Germany, not only to pursue the German involvement in the Armenian Genocide, but also set an example for other Turkish and Armenian communities in Diaspora(s) to start positive dialogues as well.
It is long overdue that the forward looking progressive intellectuals of both the Armenian and Turkish communities in Diaspora(s) start the difficult process of a positive dialogue and mutual understanding as citizens of the same country who share common education and values. It could probably succeed if it is initiated by individuals without being or perceived to represent the community as a whole. The confrontational and hateful politics by noisy nationalist elements on both sides is not an option anymore, if ever.
Needless to say I care about the above mentioned issues and probably will continue to write Monologues about them, but now it is time to take a break, and wish everyone who reads this Monologues a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR. ՇՆՈՐՀԱՎՈՐ ՆՈՐ ՏԱՐԻ եւ ՍՈՒՐԲ ԾՆՈՒՆԴ.
Zohrab Bebo Sarkissian.