Tuesday, 07 July 2020

E Editorial

What is Missing in Armenian Society?

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A nation’s degree of advancement is reflected in its capacity for social consolidation in times of danger or anxiety.  It is during such periods that a public’s sense of solidarity, mutual respect, and responsibility become apparent.  In Armenia, as in many other countries, a state of emergency has been declared.

One can expect that in the future, when the coronavirus is a thing of the past, sociologists will conduct interesting studies on how various communities behaved at times of emergencies.  China showed an exceptional example of an organized state, which is difficult to say in the case of Western democratic countries.  Korea and Vietnam also stood out with their organizational skills.

Many are now discussing the superiority of the Asian race with respect to cohesion and taking on responsibility, as well as the benefits of a strong state--as opposed to Western democracies.  In such situations, the role of the centralized state is especially important.  For the Italians, the complicated situation was the opportunity to show solidarity through singing.  Italians are known for their national and mostly individual affinity for art.

In the United States, increase in food production has been paralleled with increase in arms sales.  That too has its explanation.  In a state of general panic, Americans think of self-defense, which is also typical of a people who stay loyal to the slogan “My home is my castle.” The Germans, as always, are meticulously reasoned, disciplined, and organized.  These have been indispensable features of the German nation’s behavior for centuries. Our history of the past thirty years shows that in times of danger, as it was during the days of the Artsakh war and the four-day war in April 2016, we have shown brilliant examples of a national clenched fist.  The large-scale demonstrations of 1996, 2008, 2013, and 2018 are also evidence of the ability to consolidate and self-organize, which also bear clear testimony to the potential of Armenian unity.  But now we seem to have run out of our erstwhile reserves of unity and harmony.  What is the reason?

In the state of emergency declared in connection with the coronavirus, our society, unfortunately, does not show solidarity and expressions of responsibility and respect for one another, as in the times mentioned above.  The sense of danger is especially characteristic of small nations.  Small communities are easier to unite and have a stronger instinct for self-defense.  Such qualities have always been characteristic of our nation.

But there are times when societies split.  We seem to be living in such a time.  We cannot overcome the phase of dichotomy that began during the 2018 power shift, and the reason for the separation is not between the “old” and the “new.”  The “old ones” can be only a few hundred people, but the dividing lines are in the tens of thousands.  From 2018 onwards we are unable to come to a social and political agreement, which is manifested by continuing accusations of hostility, hatred and malice, especially on social networks.

The political nation must and can agree on the rules of the game acceptable to all parties and a common value system.  It seems that this is what the Armenian society is missing today.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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