HERE IS A THREAD FOR YOU ALL ABOUT WHAT ARMENIA MEANS TO ME, AN OTAR:
Beginning in 2008, I invested my energy into learning about a small country in the Caucasus I have never heard about before: The Republic of Armenia - I was in the 7th/8th grade. I’m now a senior in college.
Want to know where I first heard the word “Armenia” ... watching Eurovision!! Their entry performed and being the nerd I always was, I said omg why have I never heard of this place... what IS Armenia. So I began my research
Thanks @SirushoOfficial for your song Qele Qele, because that’s what catapulted me, a non-Armenian, into becoming a person widely and openly accepted into the Armenian community of the USA & Hayastan itself.
When I google’d Armenia, here’s what I noticed immediately: “Oh wow, their cuisine is similar to my own!” “What a unique alphabet this is” and most memorable, “....... oh my G- .. these pictures... what have the Ottomans done, & why didn’t I know this”
Freshmen year of high school. The US holds a National History Day Competition all students had to participate in. You could do a tri-fold board, write an essay, or do a documentary. I thought editing a video would be most fun
The theme was “Debate & Diplomacy in History” (2011) - PERFECT! The Armenian Genocide is debated worldwide (as is it’s recognition in most countries) and these people deserve JUSTICE. My topic was chosen.
My thorough research began. The more I unfolded, the more invested I became in human rights as a whole. I was interested. It was here I decided I’d work in foreign affairs one day. It was education that revealed human atrocities to me. I found a passion
This “passion” made my documentary KILLER. I included the history of the genocide, both sides of the debate including political interferences, and an interview of the curator at the Armenian Library & Museum of America outside of Boston, MA.
I knew so many facts! I breezed right through my presentations in front of the judges. I won 1st place in the state of Massachusetts. I got money, a trophy, and an award. But mostly, I got to shed light upon the event to people who had never heard of it.
I liked Armenia lol. So I bought books and CDs to learn the language. I got a pen pal in Armenia. We exchanged info about our own cultures and mailed each other cute packages. I listened to Armenian music. I learned how to Armenian dance.
I joined the Armenian Students Association (ASA) of my university. Made Armenian friends. Helped at the local Armenian church (meals & cleaning the khachkars). Attended Armenian language leasons. Organized annual Genocide commemoration events
Fun Fact: OSU hosts a “Taste of OSU” event every spring semester. All the ethnic clubs make their traditional foods & whoever sells the most tickets wins. We won FIRST PLACE all 3 times since I’ve been here!! :-)
Now I study International Relations & Diplomacy with an area focus on Eastern Europe. My minor is Russian. Every time we choose a topic for a class project or paper, I will ALWAYS relate it to Armenia to spread awareness & educate myself further in all areas
I’ve wrote about the 4-day war in Artsakh, Armenian-Russian foreign policy, interviewed Armenians to record & compile their family’s genocide story, and read countless books on survivors of the Armenian Genocide
Then in summer 2016 I volunteered in the village of Gomk, Armenia of the Syunik Province. Lived with a host family. We did agricultural work. I extended my stay to tour the entire country. No better way to emerge myself than talking to locals and seeing for myself, right?
I worked 2 jobs to save up money for this dream trip of mine. I saw Yerevan, Etchmiadzin, Jermuk, Tatev, Noravank, Gyumri, Yegheghnadzor, Goris, the entire Syunik Province, museums, monasteries, memorials.. you name it, I went there
Returned and became Vice President of ASA. We invite guest speakers, such as Anna Astvatsaturova, to present at our university. I try my best! I’ve attended the Armenian Genocide march every year in April in Boston as well. I make signs for Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians
I got an internship for 3 months this upcoming summer in Yerevan. Going to live with a new host family and do foreign policy work. More Armenian language lessons available to me for free!
I appreciate all the LOVE and compliments I receive from Armenian-Americans. I’ve made great friends and feel welcomed by you all. Such a warm, kind-hearted group of people. Armenian hospitality is incomparable. Your encouraging words keep me going
LONG STORY SHORT: I will never stop fighting for the Armenian cause. I support recognition of the Armenian Genocide. I am #ArtsakhStrong. I will continue to teach my American peers about the tiny, wonderful country that stole my heart
Disclaimer: I am not Armenian. I do not lie and say, nor do I claim, that I am of Armenian heritage. Years ago a friend once told me, “you’re not Armenian by blood, you’re Armenian by heart”
Now someone get xorovats going & invite me to their cookout LOL