Armond Tahmazian and Artemis Gregorian
"If we are living, that means the Karabakh issue is resolved."

| From Esfahan,Iran - Sydney, Australia | Moved in 1999

Many of the families in Karabakh are diaspora who have come, confirmed, and drawn their roots in Karabakh. Among those are Armond Tahmazian, an Iranian Armenian, and Artemis Gregorian, an Australian Armenian, and their families, whose children speak the Karabakh dialect as well as the locals. An ARF member and a jeweler by occupation, Armond Tahmazian, was born and raised in Iran, but, as he says, he has always had the desire to come to Karabakh, especially during the war. Even though the thought of moving was always on his mind, it was impossible for him to come to Artsakh. Luckily, the ARF Central Committee needed experts to come and work with young individuals and, “the first hand that was raised was mine in 1999. I thought that I would come for a temporary time to see how it is, but when I came and saw that everything was good, I stayed.”

Armond tells us that, at first, he and his colleague, who later became his wife, thought that to live in Karabakh they needed to initiate and create “Nreni” (a souvenir store). “Then we thought it would be better to start a family and get married and 'Nreni' is not just a random name, but a new beginning because not only was Karabakh beginning a new life, but so were we.”

The store displayed not only the masters’ work, but also their students’ work. Armond says that some of the work is shipped abroad. His work is displayed in the store, too, but the main goal here is to bring up new artist and advertise their work. “Nothing in the store is there just by chance.We are not businessmen, but we do use trade. Every job has its own local experts and masters. If something does not get fixed and there is no other hope of having it fixed, we bring it from Yerevan. I became a craftsman at a young age. I had very good masters and my very own store, but I could never put a stone on another and make it bigger. When I was coming to Karabakh, I didn’t know very well where I was coming to, but I came and stayed. There was a magnetic field here. I stayed and until today I thank God because I am happy here and as the kids get older, I get even happier.” Armond emphasizes that there was a longing for his homeland in his and his wife’s heart and Karabakh fulfilled that, “It’s a different sort of thing, especially if I take a bit of an ideological approach, this longing bothers you and so I was interrupted and restored for future success.”

Armond does not agree with the approach that the state ought to help everybody, “It is a new state and if we are coming, we have to give something, not receive something, but if you need to receive something, then you need to give back. I don’t put my trust in the government or anyone else, we use our own strength to live and start a community.”

I have interest in knowing if with that small business, if he is going to have a normal salary and he says employees aren’t humbled here, they can handle a little financial deficiency, especially since the country is still at a war. There is little communication with the outside and because of that there is no sense of expectation, “There is seasonal income, 4-5 months a year, we can make money. It would be difficult if we were to only count on that, but we do other work on the side and have great relatives that sometimes help us survive.”

Instead of earning a great income Armond gets great satisfaction by advertising on behalf of Artsakh in his store, he tries to advertise Artsakh not only on internet sites, but also, being nice, to his connections abroad by giving gifts and giving them for inexpensive prices. Armond emphasizes that he has the opportunity to live abroad, but prefers to live here, which according to him, is not  a reason to boast, but it is encouraging to most. In  his opinion, Karabakh is one of those countries where you could raise your child right. “My child, from 4-5 years of age went to school, came back home, and rode buses, you can’t go anywhere without them. We saw and tried life in Australia. You have a huge income and you spent huge amounts of money, but you are still worried because if the child leaves the house, they are not yours anymore. Here, the children are raised right. God knows what will happen, but we don’t plan on moving from Karabakh. This is our last destination. Many say that the Karabakh issue needs to be solved, but for me, this Karabakh issue has already been solved. If we are living, we already solved it,” he says and adds that, nevertheless, 1-2 families’ resettling isn’t going to solve the issue. This is an issue on a state and national level.

Armond and his family do not live in fear, but are always prepared, “At home, I tell my wife that a war is just like an earthquake. We have to know where our documents and our warm clothes are. That is why we always have to be ready, but if you ask me if there’s fear, I will tell you that there is no fear.”

 

Source: Hraparak.am

Photo Source: Armond Tahmazyan’s personal Facebook page

Translation: Anahit Petrosian

Editing: Alice Ananian

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