Artur Bakhtamyan
TV journalist

Dear authors, thank you for sharing with me this meaningful and multifaceted work. I spent the best hours of the 2019 New Year holidays devoting myself to reading, mental dialogues, disagreeing with some views, editing, reconsidering and refining my own thoughts and desires, to get rid of the nightmare of annual identical thoughts, vague wishes of good things, and of an exhausted triangle of dishes for the season’s celebrations. I would especially like to mention the competent and intelligible Armenian translation of the paper.

Overall, this work is a very important landmark, a beacon that has never been illustrated with such solid milestones. The Armenian millennial civilization has been limited to the personal achievements of individuals (starting with the Empire of Tigran the Great and ending with the Armenian capitalists, and of course your favorite network traders), whose work was not continued by even their sons. The dreams were limited to becoming a military commander, minister, courtier in an empire. And even the Armenian dynasty seated on the Byzantine throne was anti-Armenian. Here also let’s remember the not so distant past and the high-ranking Armenian officials of the Soviet Union.

Now we are not talking about them, but about the ways to get out of that repetitive cycle, to ‘infect’ with persistence and ideas and to attract new people. By the way, the main process of Armenian everyday life mindset is limited to the existence of grandchildren: mature, experienced people are isolating themselves saying, “Now, I am bringing up my grandkids”. In fact, the joy of this bliss is a deceptive retreat, a victory of the marginal thinking. How to make your approaches effective, I will suggest at the end of my review, now I would like to draw attention to some editorial slips in the work. 

Page 13: while comparing the populations of Anatolia and Rome, I think by saying Rome one should understand not the city but the Roman Empire, especially when the mentioned source itself refers to the empire. 

Page 20: In the name list of the increasing cities of Armenian communities in the Diaspora, it would be desirable to mention Constantinople instead of Istanbul, or both together, the latter one in brackets.

Page 72: Also Artem Alikhanyan (Yerevan Physics Institute) and Viktor Hambardzumyan (Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory) were prominent locomotives of the technological advancements in Soviet Armenia. I mention this not as a fact but as a testimony to the reality that becoming a physicist back then used to be a dream; many young people even from remote mountainous areas of Armenia saw their secure future in this sphere. A huge engineering and technical potential has been formed over the decades. Today, that potential has been dispersed, institutions are inactive, and regional communities have been deprived of their dream. Once many Armenians went to the Lazarian Seminary in Moscow to get an education, but few of them returned, and the returnees could not “find” themselves in the province of the empire.

Page 143: Here you point out the Armenian cuisine (ghavurma, basturma and so on) as an expression of the survival mode of the Armenian people. I think this is not just a survival mode, but also a creative approach, the ability to reproduce, to get something new from one product. In my opinion, if one could come to the idea of the car’s internal combustion engine logically, then besides imagination, we could hardly find logic in the invention of making a tasty preserve from the unripe and bitter walnuts. If Columbus didn’t have a large amount of jamon on his ships, it would be difficult to cross the Atlantic Ocean. During the expeditions, the Mongols were drying horse meat under the saddles, which allowed them to feed themselves on horseback and ride hundreds of kilometers without interrupting the invasions. And many believe that the success of the British Navy was not only thanks to the latest light cannons, but also due to the main ingredient in the sailors’ meal – oatmeal porridge. From this we can make a conclusion that success depends on what issues are in the nations’ focus. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, many of the ideas discussed in the work are against yesterday’s and today’s Armenian stereotypes, the dogmas of national mentality, the unwillingness to build the future on their own, and the expectation from the God, a godfather or a kind master. Those who are not free are always looking for the one to blame, ranging from the geographical location to the unfavorable weather. Our nation that strives for education has never stood out as a leader and has survived successfully on the network of the established systems without a long-term action plan. 

A counter example is Colonel Mustafa Kemal, who appeared on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century and declared a clear blueprint for a future Turkey. We were satisfied with the leftovers thrown by the Soviet Empire and named the new districts of Yerevan after the names of our historical Homeland: Arabkir, Zeytun, Marash, Cilicia, Aresh... And what do you think? Have we become closer to our Homeland? I think we turned away. 
We do not read, we do not analyze, our general education and university system is a poor copy of the European ones, non-competitive and useless. The consequence is the revolutionary generation of the new millennium (the millennials), who are still unable to formulate their vision of the future.

– To make this work reach its target quickly, to create a short question and answer section on the internet platform, Q & A.
– The questions raised in the work should be addressed by experts of different nationalities in different languages (it is clear that translation is to be provided).
– Involve the broader public in the platform.
– I am ready to lead this process so that the dream does not become a constant frustration again.

P. S. There are several quotations in your work from Gostan Zarian, one of the rare Armenians known in the world literature of the 20th century. In his novel “The Traveller and His Road” he writes: “We have sought Armenia like a moth seeks the light that will incinerate it”. 

I think there is no one left to burn.


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