Monday, September 1, 2008

#66 -The Other Side of the World - Pashinyan

ՆԻԿՈԼ ՓԱՇԻՆՅԱՆ. ԵՐԿՐԻ ՀԱԿԱՌԱԿ ԿՈՂՄԸ
66. սարերից իջան...

Մինչ Նովոսիբիրսկ հասնելը Պավելը ինձնից խոսք վերցրեց, որ ես երկու-երեք օր նվիրելու եմ իրեն, այսինքն, որ այդ օրերը Նովոսիբիրսկում իրար հետ ենք անցկացնելու:

The Other side of the world - N. Pashinyan

66. They came down the Mountains…

Before we reached Novosibirsk Pavel made me promise that I would give him two or three days of my time, meaning that we would spend those days in Novosibirsk together. At first I didn’t make a promise but he reminded me that he had promised to make my dream come true and said that he had to be a man of his word. To tell you the truth, despite the enormous abyss between our worldviews we had gotten to know each other, were comfortable with each other, criticized each other, even screamed at each other.

And the fact that we were honest with each other and didn’t need to be formal made the relationship interesting. I was wondering how the ideals of freedom could be so alien in a country many of whose classical figures had been the most avid defenders of those ideas. Pavel criticized the classical Russian figures and blamed them for all the misfortunes of the Russian empire. They exposed the dirt on all the elite of the Russian empire and Pavel thought that they were the ones who organized the mob, as he put it, and shot Tsar Nikolai. I asked him why tsar Nikolai II had mercilessly shot the citizens on a peaceful march. His answer surprised even me:

“Those demonstrators were German spies, Jewish-Masonic scum,” answered Pavel. For a moment I thought I was listening to Hyelour.”

Those who didn’t submit to the tsar were spies. This is the ideology of the contemporary ruling Russian elite. But this ideology has internal problems and dilemmas. The same elite have not made the right decision as far as Lenin was concerned. Now, did he save or destroy the empire. If he destroyed it why do the Russians remember the Soviet Union with such nostalgia? If he saved it, how can one explain his assassination? They also worship Stalin, but equally secretly. When Solzhenitsyn died, they wanted to show that they were really mourning. But it didn’t really work. And if Solzhenitsyn had not been so well-known and extolled in the West, they would have buried him secretly, without much fuss. They didn’t like Solzhenitsyn because he preached against Stalin with hatred; the same Stalin who humiliated the Jewish-Masons in Russia, who humiliated Europe, humiliated America. As far as the millions of massacred citizens is concerned, well, the citizen is there to be slaughtered because the citizen is the property of the tsar. Why is the citizen essential, anyway? The important things is whether Russia can bring others to their knees or not?”

“Let’s go to any village and ask any ‘moujig,’ if he would agree to live on all fours if, in the end, America and all others will kneel before Russia,” explained Pavel.

“But why not leave the ‘moujik’ alone and not make his dignified life conditional on bringing America on its knees,” I was asked.

“But that can’t be, because America wants to destroy Russia,” explained Pavel and added, “The likes of you destroyed Yugoslavia.”

When we reached Novosibirsk, we spent the night at a hotel. That day, we drank. The next morning after breakfast we left for a Russian ‘glubinga,’ a village not far from the shore of the Op River, on a pathfinder jeep.

The well-paved road ended soon, and we found ourselves on a road which wasn’t clear if it had always been that way.

But I had detached myself from reality. I didn’t notice my companion, I didn’t notice the road; I was enchanted by the open fields—enchanted. You looked ahead, and you saw boundless space. You looked right, it was boundless space; you looked left, it was boundless space; you looked back, and it was boundless. If someone were to disappear by the magician’s rod and then reappear in this place unexpectedly, with a cellphone in his hand, he couldn’t explain to his family, to those who are looking for him, where he is at that moment. He couldn’t describe anything. He couldn’t say that there was such and such mountain, such and such valley. There was nothing; there was only the horizon here. Here, you looked and understood what space meant. Anyone who found himself here unexpectedly would, I think, understand that he was in Russia. But this was little consolation. It was the same as explaining to yourself, to those looking for you, that you were on the earth. I mean, it would be like saying ‘don’t look for me on Jupiter; I’m here, on Earth.’

But c’mon, the wheat fields can’t be boundless. I asked Pavel to stop. I got off the car and looked at the wheat fields. My mind was saying this couldn’t be boundless. I realized that this had to have an end. But I felt that this field, this wheat field, could be as large as Armenia. But you can’t get lost in Armenia; there are houses in Armenia where the people living in them are lost.

But this is just a wheat field. This is not an ocean; it’s land. But wherever you looked, you saw the horizon. There is no horizon in Armenia. There are no open fields in Armenia. You can’t cast your glance as far as possible in Armenia. In Armenia, you think you’re seeing a lot because wherever you look, you see something. In Armenia, there’s only one direction where you can see infinity—at the sky above. But that unlimited space doesn’t seem real to you because you can’t move toward that unlimited space; you can’t find out where that unlimited space ends up. The feeling of unlimited space becomes real when you know approximately where it ends.

I remembered Agdam. My children were running around among the ruined houses; my wife and I stood on a hill and looked to the East. This was a strange feeling. We were standing on land where the Armenian soldier reigns and the land is flat, really flat and from there you can see boundless space. We looked to the East, and it seemed to me that my glance met the Pamir Mountains. And I am ashamed that I had not taken part in that war.

My wife and I were thinking the same thing but didn’t dare say it out loud. Finally, being more daring, she said:

“How can these lands be returned to Azerbaijan?”

In our newspaper we criticize the hard-liners, but on Saturday and Sunday we, too, say, not a single inch to the enemy. What is this, hypocrisy? Actually it’s a battle between mind and heart.

The heart wishes, wishes to own the flat lands; it wishes to see the Pamir mountains crumble before its gaze. But the brain says you can’t endanger the whole for a part and one should at least proclaim, and loudly, that we don’t need those fields, that we’re ready to return those lands for the sake of peace.

We were returning; the fields were over; Armenia was beginning.

At seven o’clock every morning the red bus would leave the market at Ichevan toward Khazakh. On Sundays my father and I would go to Khazakh to fish in the reservoir. That’s where Soviet Armenia ended and Soviet Azerbaijan began. I still don’t understand how you can bend nature to boundaries drawn by men. How can there be a different nature on one side of the boundary, and another one on the other side. Boundaries are set by men; but nature doesn’t recognize any boundaries. Then you begin to understand from the conversations of the villagers that it’s not that nature has been bent to the boundaries, but it is us who have bent before nature: ‘whoever has extended his feet, we’ve pushed its mountains,’ say the elderly villagers. And they do with without qualms, easily, as if that’s how it should have been. In fact, this Armenia is not a fatherland but a place to hide, to be sheltered. That’s why here people live with secrecy, they are sheltered, and speak differently in their homes.

And what about Agdam? How did Agdam happen? The answer to this question seems very simple and clear. In Armenia people came out of their houses. For a moment, for a few years people stopped hiding; and then they had the space where their gaze met infinity.

On the morning of March 1 I was running away from Freedom Square. Freedom Square seemed like Agdam to me. The flatlands ended on Bagramyan Street, giving way to the ascent toward the mountain. And then someone tried to scare us, and we started running toward the mountain. This is not an Armenian-Turkish issue—not at all. This is about rights; it is about illegitimacy, about ceding to brute impudence, about standing firm, about the ability to sand firm, about sacrifice and the willingness to sacrifice.

On March 1 we came back and we stood firm. We stood as long as it was necessary to show that we can stand firm. On March 1 the Armenian people didn’t run away; on March 1, the Armenian people had something to prove. They proved it and then went home. They could have proven more, but facing them was a stranger, though not the enemy; a brother, though foreign. On March 1, it wasn’t the person before you who was the stranger, but the thought that was propelling him to kill you.

The enemy of March 1 was invisible. That enemy was within us, and we overcame that enemy.

****

I now read about it and am surprised. I read that we were controlled by America; I read that we were controlled by Europe; I read that we were controlled by the Jewish-Masonic powers, by Soros. I read it and I smash the glass in my hand against the wall:

“S***** your America, s******* your Europe, in general and by country; s*** Russia; s*** your Jewish-Masons, and Soros, too. Who is the lucky one who can to control us?”

1 comment:

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