Rev. Paul Haidostian
Ph.D., President, Haigazian University, Beirut

The text is dynamic, educated, and interesting. It touches upon a very wide range of matters of history, civilization in general, scholarship, ethnography, strategy, and of course matters of the local and global economy. This makes the matter very rich but sometimes dilutes the discussion.

The authors’ perspectives are quite clear, and the passionate dedication to the future of Armenia and the Armenians comes through strongly, and clearly. I did not appreciate those statements, here and there, where generalizations are made about the Armenians, “we are” like this or like that. For me personally, they weaken the solid arguments.

Of course, the text is a pre-Pashinyan revolution perspective, and it would be interesting what the authors’ think is already being addressed by the new leadership or the new approach.

If there is one key word that caught my attention, and something I also think is absolutely critical, it is TRUST. The text addresses that nicely in many places, and trust is the secret behind so much, nationally, religiously, economically, relationally, etc.

I generally agreed with the various descriptions of the characteristics of the Armenians from the earliest history to modern days.  These characteristics, if maintained, can help Armenia prosper, and what I mean is matters of quality, reliability, hard work, capitalizing on the heritage of the past, etc.

The hope that Armenians would find much common ground amongst each other is a tall vision, but not a bad one, of course. As long as a number of key characteristics or topics keep our passion alive together, we will be all in conversation with each other. Joint ventures, projects, etc., are positive. We can all learn from them, especially if they are developmentally driven in a holistic way. The danger is that they could be seen as economically driven.

With all humility, I say that no matter how many scenarios for the future we may foresee, we should be always ready for surprises and reversals of phenomena as well. So, what the text projects for the future may be overturned in various ways. What remains valid, if the highest degree of preparedness as individuals, as government, as an ethnic group and its global institutions, that is all our assets of all sorts. One of our strengths should remain to be realistically and relatively distinct from the global poles, if we can. Also, we Armenians everywhere, should know that what one does in one country, may have an impact on the other Armenian in very far places, and on Armenia as a country as well.

On a relatively critical note, as I read the text, I ‘felt’ that the Near Eastern Armenian ethos is not in it and its conclusions. Just as an example, a high percentage of Armenians in our countries grow up with a strong national connection and ‘spiritual’ connection with Armenia as well. This has decreased a bit over time, but our youth still show high degrees of involvement emotionally.

Also, if I were to read the text with an Armenian Protestant lens, I would feel that the 19th century and all the developments in many of which the Protestants were vocal and instrumental and they would have enriched the discussion are absent. Some examples of what I have in mind are: the education of women; the higher education of the Armenians in various colleges; the sending of many Armenians to the USA for higher education and the return of a some of them, at least; the change in the way the regular person saw the Bible, that is its translation into the vernacular, and its distribution in the homes and the impact of all that developmentally.

So, those are some of my reflections, even though not systematic. I thank the authors for having shared this with me.


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