Friday, August 20, 2004

Leaving "Home" (August 2004)

As I write these final paragraphs I am struck with a feeling that I am about to leave home. I never had that feeling before. Maybe I didn’t know my ‘home’ well enough to experience separation anxiety. What has changed since the last time I was here to make me feel more at home? Definitely one thing is that I have given directions to some locals when they were lost (but of course being typical men they never admitted that they were lost, just that they were trying to get to a certain destination). One other reason is that my absence for a long time from Armenia made it possible for me to assess and reassess the ties that I might have with this quasi-third world, overly commercialized and car-overflowing country. Of course the fact that I have been able to look at the Diaspora from a different perspective and realize to what extent it has become self-absorbed and involved in petty politics also played an important factor in creating a stronger bond with Armenia.

Having said all these, I find myself more and more in the role of a character in the American science fiction series “The X-files”, where the character always repeats the motto ‘I want to believe.’ The analogy is about my skepticism that things have changed for the better. I do want to believe that the country has changed to the better over the past several years and in many ways it has. However being the pessimist self-hating Diaporan that I am, I keep choosing to observe only the worst in every development. Being a cynic thus is not always helpful and it makes it impossible for me to feel at home either in Armenia or the Diaspora. But after all, who am I? I’m just a person. What does a single person matter in the larger existence of a nation? Perhaps nothing. I just hope that over the past several weeks I have been able to share some of my experiences with some readers, who, according to them, shared similar experiences as well as with other readers who basically thought that I’m a nut case and deserved to be executed for betraying ‘national secrets.’

I already hear the cheers of those who were bored to tears when reading these series, but I also could imagine seeing the faces of those people who wrote to share their own experiences with me. For those whom I’ve entertained I say thank you for reading; for those who I’ve insulted, I apologize for them not being able to have an open mind to try to look at things from different perspectives.

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