The 44-day war of 2020 is a tragedy for the Armenian nation and at the same time was the monumental event which triggered my awakening as an Armenian. Being a de-jure Hayastantsi (from the Republic of Armenia), I've been a de-facto Spyurk (a diaspora) for the last twenty years. As such, deciding how to act in the aftermath of the disaster was an imperative for me - my country is under severe threat and my compatriots are expecting help from Spyurk. I travelled home in January to be with my family, friends and the people of Yerevan. While here, I've held conversations with people of various backgrounds, from a wide range of organizations and alumni. I attended a public demonstration on January 28th, seminars on topics of security, sat in coffee shops, chatted with taxi drivers and in the street markets, and participated in the Sunday Mass. The general impression is that: we are highly dissatisfied with the government and the politicians - current and former, expecting a savior to appear while being either shell-shocked inside apartments or endlessly talking about possible actions. There are signs of hope as well: individuals are creatively solving social problems, political discourse enlarges its audience, Spyurk is awoken, and importantly, the church is a place for spiritual uplifting not to show-off.
At the end of my trip, I concluded that we are intelligent, opinionated people who are finding it difficult to unite and work together. Since the challenges facing our nation are huge, I doubt any single person or even a group of highly intelligent people can overcome them. Therefore, I need to figure out a method which will allow me to join others, while holding my opinions. For this, I came up with the following principles for myself and would like to encourage others to either follow this method or find a different one which will allow us to unite.
First of all, I have to state my level of commitment to being an Armenian, the conditions for the claim to be "a proud Armenian". This declaration must be public and with measurable achievements, for it to be recognized by others in the community. Next, I have to state the guiding principles that I stand for, will sign under any declarations promoting them and will join in working on advancing them. Lastly, I should talk about the actual work that I'm either engaged or would like to engage in, to find partners or collaborators within the community. Thus here are my, Magda Aghababyan's, positions:
I will consider myself a proud Armenian, if:
1. I publicly declare and commit to being an Armenian
2. Being (staying) a citizen of the Republic
3. Be fluent in Armenian language
4. Know Armenian history and culture
5. Visit Armenia at least once a year (consider repatriating)
6. Volunteer to work for Armenia
7. Become a soldier in the Nation-Army (still to be defined)
8. Donate to the Armenian causes
9. Participate in the election (if government allows voting from abroad)
10. Pay a citizenship tax (if government imposes it on the citizens located abroad)
I stand for the following principles for the Republic of Armenia:
a. Armenia is a successor for the Historic Armenia
b. Armenia is a home for all Armenians, who commit to being "a proud Armenian"
c. Armenia is a "Garrison-State" with a "Nation-Army"
d. Armenia is to be a high-value-added economic power house
My wish list for engagement:
1. A movement which will promotes the above principles
2. A project(s) which will bring Spyurk closer to Armenia
3. A project(s) which will train, especially war affected people, for the high-value economy
You do not need to agree with everything above, but if you find one or two points that you agree with - reach out to me and let's see how to unite and move forward in achieving the objectives on those points. At the end of the day, if you and I want a strong Armenia for all of us and our children, we must figure out how to work together for that future.