Tag Archives: Armenian

Standing Up for Their Rights: The Rise of #ElectricArmenia

The streets have been ringing with calls of miatsoum (Join us!) and alive with the excitement of the people who once again show hope in seeing a better future for days now. The hearts are beating, the eyes alight with a fire to see things change, and change for the good. This is no revolution, not in the sense that both Russian and Western media make it out to be. This is a call to those living in the country to stand up and show their own strength, for once feeling like they hold the power… and all of it done legally, peacefully, with heads held high and pride surging through their veins. The youth have awoken, this time coming to the streets better prepared to protest against a hike in electricity prices that essentially would make the poor even less likely to live a standard of life they are entitled to. As I see the crowds gathering in waves, waning during the peak times of day and the dead of night only to be bolstered with newcomers as the dawn breaks and dusk sets in, I hear myself singing a rather fitting song from Les Miserables:

Do you hear the people sing!
Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

I most definitely am hearing the people sing, and dance as well! The unity among the people, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the MP and the waitress, the writer and the butcher – this is what Armenia is truly about. This is what #ElectricArmenia is about.

Armenians may divide among themselves, but as Gevorg Emin so aptly stated, when there is a threat, particularly from the outside, they will come together and fight alongside one another. In this case, the governing parties are not seen as one of the people; they are seen as enemies more so sometimes than Azerbaijan. While there are those uninformed who may call it an anti-Russian rally, or one which seems to take on the style of the Ukrainian revolution, the truth is that this is merely the local population grasping at an opportunity to make its voice heard, struggling for control over the way the people “elected” into power use the reigns given to them. After all, absolute power corrupts absolutely, they say. When the authorities begin to abuse their places, exploiting what is in their power for their own gains, or so it appears, those who initially dropped in their ballots will certainly rise to the occasion and remind said individuals that their power is truly not as absolute as they may think. In the meantime, they will certainly enjoy themselves to the maximum, including dancing Kochari in the middle of Baghramyan Street, sleeping on the hot asphalt, and playing chess while being cheered on by total strangers who feel suddenly like close family.

Raffi Suzy

Water Us and We Will Sprout and Grow

In response to the only show of violence seen throughout this protest, the 2.5 thousand became 10, and now we see ever increasing numbers on Baghramyan street, with new waves flowing in from Freedom Square. The diaspora stands in solidarity with those living in Armenia, raising its own voice to match the strength found in the boom that resonates throughout the country, beginning the hashtags of #ElectricYerevan, #ElectricGyumri, and #ElectricArmenia.

Of course, in response to the water cannons used to disperse the population camping out on the streets on June 23, those gathering on the 24th came in with their own precautions and entirely Armenian humour:

Setting the Record Straight

Ara

While we in Armenia know the truth, it appears that the police were indeed correct in stating that there are provocateurs among us in the crowds. These people include “journalists” spreading false propaganda:

Lilya

Russian media is abuzz with the false information being transmitted, not only by apparent Armenians who are only Armenian in name, but also Ukrainians and Russians themselves who are warping the stories to present the appearance of an Armenian Maidan, while Turks and Azeris are using the propaganda machine for their own interests, some even stating their stance of solidarity in the “fight against the Armenian government.”

Of course, there are images which have us amused to no end as well, as spread by Russian sources. Apparently our Dear Kanye West is a Western provocateur here to encourage unrest. I doubt I’ve ever seen anyone so happy to be arrested though!

Of course, no “revolution” would be complete without love blooming – whether we are talking about the sudden revolt in Vancouver when Canada lost a game or the love of comrades in Les Miserables, the love the spurs the fight against the English for Braveheart or any of the other love stories that have captured the hearts of freedom-loving individuals everywhere.

Strong images from the past few days include:

               Celebrating Birthdays While Protesting – © Narek Aleksanyan

This brings to mind another of Emin’s incredible works, the Dance of Sassoun. “As Sassoun danced, the world was enthralled; as Sassoun danced, the world understood that this is no dance, but a country’s history where even the losses count as prideful victory; where nothing can defeat this ancient people, who with their efforts and with their wills know how to dance…”

Պարեց Սասունն, ու ողջ աշխարը հիացավ,
Պարեց Սասունն, ու ողջ աշխարը հասկացավ,
Որ պար չէ սա, այլ մի երկրի քաջ պատմություն,
ՈՒր պարտությունն անգամ ունի հպարտություն,
Եվ չի հաղթի ոչինչ այն հին ժողովրդին,
Որ այս ջանքով,
ՈՒ այս կամքով
Պարել գիտի…
Հասկացան ու ասին ի լուր ողջ աշխարի,
-Հալալ է քեզ,
Սասուն, պարի…

Made in Armenia Product Review: Shampoo to Prevent Hair Loss

Since Armenia is so full of imported products, I figure it would be a good idea to offer proper product reviews about their Made in Armenia alternatives. For some strange reason, foreign goods always seem to appear more appealing even if the locally produced are higher in quality and cheaper in price to some extent. Of course, it may even be very much worth paying a higher sum so long as you know that money goes to pay a local employer and employee, keeping the money within Armenia and spurring on local businesses. After all, how do you expect any Armenian business to thrive or even simply survive if we don’t all support them wholeheartedly. Just like it is the healthier option to take the stairs instead of the elevator, just look for the Armenian version of whatever it is you want to buy.

To start off my series of Made in Armenia product reviews, and I promise to have many from all types of different businesses here, I will start with my first ever locally produced product. I had a problem with excessive hair shedding for years before I came to Armenia. I had tried everything from baby shampoos to special organic rather expensive versions that would cost me $22.50 CAD per bottle. Nothing really seemed to work but I kept away from chemically induced shampoos in general. When I got to Armenia, 3 months in I was at a fair in Gyumri when I came across a line of shampoos and other interesting products that were mostly natural, paraben-free and looked rather intriguing. One of the items I picked up was this shampoo. It was in a bit of a different packaging then, but I love the simplicity of their labels to this day.

IMG_20150330_111958

The bottle cost me 2500 AMD, which is roughly $6.75 CAD. Now, it may seem like it isn’t quite affordable, but these are not made in China or manufactured by huge corporations. They are made by father and son here in Yerevan with lots of love. I have had the pleasure of meeting them and they are quite a lovely family. The best part? It worked like a charm! I won’t say that I don’t shed at all now, for it’s quite normal to have your hair replenished, but I can certainly say that I no longer stare at a handful; instead, it is a few strands that wrap themselves around my comb or fall around the house here and there. Other than that, my baby hairs have grown back in and the crown definitely appears fuller than it was when I got to Armenia. For a woman to be losing hair it is probably even more daunting than a man. Seeing your hairline fill right back up is an awesome moment. I have been using shampoos only from H Gardens at this point and could not have been happier with a hair product than I have been for the past 1.5 years. This is a brand that has fully earned my loyalty.

Finishing Off 2014 with a Bang: Armenian Achievements in the Last Month

Armenian cook Vera Hovhannisyan won a gold medal and a cup at the Culinary World Cup 2014 held in Luxemburg from November 22 to 26. The competition featured more than 1 000 cooks from 60 countries , as well as 105 national, regional and youth teams. Vera Hovhannisyan’s twin sister Rena Hovhannisyan also jointed her in the competitions. The sisters presented two works at the contest and both won gold medals.

During the Warsaw Cup 2014, in Poland, 15-year old, Anastasia Galustyan, representing Armenia won the SILVER Medal, amongst 18 European competitors.

Garnik Harutunyan scored another gold medal for Armenia during the international boxing tournament held in Riga: http://armenpress.am/eng/news/787374/armenian-boxer-scores-medal-at-international-tournament-in-riga.html

As part of Armenian team, Nagorno Karabakh-born Mavrik Nasibyan won a gold medal in 74kg weight category at the 2014 World Sambo Championships in Narita, Japan. http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/185040/

Armenian teams participated and took home 114 top prizes in all different types of sports during 2014, out of which 32 were gold….

Interesting Businesses in Armenia: RadiArt

In my pursuit to find businesses where products are made in Armenia, I came across a rather interesting startup called RadiArt: artistically designed radiators. Normally, radiators have simple designs and are more practical than praiseworthy. These pieces seem to be works of art on their own, and what better way to start a conversation at the table but by showing off an interesting radiator art collection? 

Business information can be found on the company’s Facebook page

Living in a Place I Love to Call Home

Perhaps I’m one of the lucky ones. Perhaps that’s how the Heavens ordained it. I have been living in Armenia for 1 year and 2 months now, exactly a year after I wrote the post referenced in Repat Armenia’s article. I would rewrite every sentiment I expressed there and more. 

You see, after a year of living in the place I love to call home, I am more in love with this country than ever before. I have not contemplated moving away from Armenia for even a moment, instead encouraging those who visit throughout the summer months to consider investing in our country, to moving even partially, to creating ties with our wonderful Armenia. After all, we are the ones who will keep this our home. If we all left, who would be left to till the soil, cultivate the land, bring in the foreigners or show them the beauty of an ancient civilization, however lost it may be in time.

I passed the 1st summer, I passed the winter and now the 2nd summer is almost over. I live and breathe Armenia. My aim? Help boost local production, encourage Made in Armenia products (for which I have a list here- Made in Armenia), and pretty much try to keep locals here while helping repatriates when and where I can. 

I’ve held multiple side jobs and continue to do so. Jobs exist in this country, though not enough for everyone it seems. Sometimes job requirements want much more than what the job itself demands, which can cause problems. 

Yet, how can one not be happy? The fact that the city is small means that I can walk everywhere. If I must go far or need to be there asap, public transportation costs less than 25 cents, while taxis will not exceed $2.50 – unless of course you leave Yerevan or go from one end to the other. Still, it costs $5.00 to get to the airport, even less from my place. 

How can I not be happy when there is constantly one festival after another? When random things are always occurring on Northern Avenue, around the Opera or Cascade? How can I not be happy when everywhere I go, I hear Armenian. I hear all dialects now, adding to the joy. The country is slower paced, each day is lived to its maximum and the quality of one’s life is so much better than that in Canada. It’s simple here. The fruit is eaten off the trees, people are often good and kind (even those with soviet-style harsh demeanors), and there isn’t a place in the world I’d rather be but in Armenia. 

After so long, I’m still a dreamer and ever the optimist. A realist optimist is what I would call myself and I see our country blossoming with our efforts. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is fully entrenched in Armenia’s mountainous terrain.