14 years ago, I moved to Armenia from Canada. So many people had discouraged, or questioned our move, stating that Armenia is not only a corrupt state, but it is increasingly impossible to live in a country that has no opportunity, no rule of law, no care for the rights of its citizens. I have been questioned not only by Diaspora Armenians, but also by citizens of Armenia and Artsakh who incessantly state that the government’s intention is to suck the blood of its people by discouraging them to run a decent business or make a decent living, forcing them to migrate to countries where their rights are better protected.
Many people also questioned how I would want my children to go to school in Armenia where the level of education has decreased due to horrifyingly low wages of teachers who are pressured by school administrations to take bribes in order for them to keep their jobs. Others have told us that we put our children’s health in danger because there are no medical institutions or professionals qualified enough to provide qualified medical attention.
For years, people have been surprised to know that I was born and raised abroad and voluntarily moved to Armenia, let alone raising a family here – it may have been a ‘romantic’ move, but as the years went by, the ‘romanticism’ had fizzled and we too, began to live and feel the pessimism and cynicism of so many others. But I also knew that sooner or later, change would take place and I could be proud to have raised my children in a country that is founded on the values of equity, respect, growth and opportunity. I never thought, however, that this change would happen sooner than later.
The election of Nikol Pashinyan as the people’s candidate for Prime Minister is only the beginning of a new battle, and we all are conscientious of the fact that there is an enormous amount of work to be done, to dismantle the dark caves of the former regime, and to establish new institutions, with new pillars of justice, democracy and fairness.
This movement re-established the belief that the ‘strength of the people is indeed stronger than the people in power’. I will continue to roll up my sleeves and work hard to take part in our nation building not just for my own children but also for the future of my people. The oxygen in Armenia today feels cleaner, so my lungs, heart and spirit are ready to face all new challenges in Armenia and Artsakh with greater resilience and passion. Glory to the people in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora!
Lara Tcholakian Doudaklian