The Division

Once again the Armenian community is united through the commemoration of the atrocities that took place 102 years ago. United, but not completely.

This issue has been bothering me for quite some time now; the issue of seeing a huge line separating the diaspora and the people who grew up in this country. Obviously there are many differences among these two groups, yet the one that bothers me the most is the way they approach the topic of patriotism and Armenia overall.

Many probably noticed that the attitudes towards the issue of Armenian Genocide differ in these two groups. On one hand you see many people passionately pushing forward the issue while the other group is mostly “tired” of it. During the years I spent here I’ve been hearing so much about how we should “get over it.” Probably not the first thing that comes to persons mind whose family directly suffered from the genocide.

On all the events honoring the victims of the genocide there are much more Armenians from diaspora than from Armenia. During the torchlight march I’ve seen more Syrian/Lebanese Armenians than people who were born and grew up here.

Even Armenians who leave the country suddenly develop a sense of pride and automatically become more vocally patriotic. You can tell that one of your friends/relatives is in Los Angeles based on how fast their views on Armenia change. The people who spent hours talking about how horrible the country and the people within it are is all of a sudden flooding your timeline with nationalistic posts making you uncomfortable about your own views.

What is it about this country that makes people hate it while they’re here and miss it so much as they’re out?

I can’t find an answer, yet I can surely say I’m guilty of it. My whole family is guilty of it. When I was living abroad I felt more connected to my culture and ancestry than I feel now. The struggle we went through to keep using our language, to preserve our culture despite how weird it seemed for other people and to mourn our loses just seems to be useless now. As we stepped here, we forgot what we stood for and it might not be a bad thing. Who knows, it might even be a good thing, yet one thing remains clear: the line is there and some of us have crossed it.

-Armine Sahakyan


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