Armenia and Diaspora have intensified cooperation

Eva Medzorian:

Armenia and Diaspora have intensified cooperation

PanARMENIAN.Net - In April, Armenia hosted the concerts of American singer of Armenian descent Eva Medzorian. The concert earnings were given to Armenian families and children as charitable contribution. This woman knows Armenia and its problems not by hearsay. She has had time to study them as chairwoman of various charitable organizations, associations and Armenian schools, and also thanks to her ability to listen to others but verify everything herself. For several years spouses Jack and Eva Medzorian have been engaged in charity work in Armenia. Eva Medzorian established a medical fund which in the years of need supplied Armenian hospitals with latest equipment. With the help of this fund Eva was able to assemble 1.5 million dollars in support of the victims of the 1988 Spitak earthquake.

She was the principal of the Armenian school Sahak Mesrop in Watertown, the biggest Armenian school where 150 pupils studied. Thanks to her, the school came to organize trainings of students and teachers. She also chaired the Cambridge-Yerevan Sister City Association (CYSCA), during which time the association was actively involved in the establishment of intercultural relations between the two cities. In 1988, Eva Medzorian was in charge of New England district committee office of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and established two new offices of AGBU. She also founded and headed the Armenian International Women's Association, which in Armenia is directed by Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan. Eva Medzorian shared with PanARMENIAN.Net her thoughts on charity, the Armenia-Diaspora relations and future plans on cooperation.

Mrs. Medzorian, do you think it is harder or easier to work for charitable purposes these days?

Today it is easier to make charitable contributions. Under the Soviet rule it was much more difficult, and when charity came to be taxed, many people simply stopped doing charity work.

My husband and I started doing charity work five years ago and are determined to continue, since we have very little time and still so much to do. In our small country I see a great number of poor people. Poverty exists everywhere in the world, but there mustn’t be so many poor people in our country. Very few people in Armenia belong to the middle class, and that mustn’t be tolerated. You cannot live peacefully knowing that someone goes to bed hungry and does not know where he will get food tomorrow. Can this be normal? If we want a prosperous country, each citizen of it must be treated individually.

Twenty years has passed since the Spitak earthquake but the situation in the disaster zone is still the same. I also see the miracle of the revival of Yerevan, and every time I visit it I find it even more beautiful and richer, and I am extremely happy for it. However, once you drive out of the capital, you are faced with poverty. Unfortunately poverty can be observed even inside the capital, in the outskirts of the city. And I would like representatives of the diaspora to see the situation themselves. They only need to dress more simply and visit the border villages of Armenia, speak to the local residents trying not to scare them off, and ask what problems they have. However, many people prefer to hole up from problems and believe that problems do not exist. They hide in their cars with darkened windows, protecting themselves from the problems around. It’s quite a different thing when a man needs protection, but this is not the case.

Do you think cooperation between Armenia and the Diaspora has intensified recently?

Cooperation has become much stronger. This was favored by the establishment of the Ministry of Diaspora of Armenia and appointment of Hranush Hakobyan as the Minister. She has extensive experience in this field and acts quite correctly.

Earlier, Armenia and the Diaspora were in cooperation too, but the earthquake and the liberation war united the people, making them understand that Armenia is their homeland and she is in need of them. After all, the diaspora is always in need of homeland and the homeland - in need of the diaspora.

Now, however, this relationship is being lost, because the youth do not believe in their strength. In order to restore this association it is necessary to hold joint meetings in Armenia and in the Diaspora, and exchange experience of the experts. I also suggest that the youth from Armenia and the Diaspora work together to carry out various projects, such as environmental, political, and many others. Most important is that teamwork be promoted.

We say that Armenia and the Diaspora are alienated, but the Diaspora itself is split. Armenians in the USA very poorly know and understand the Armenians in Syria and make a difference between them, dividing themselves into Armenians of Iran, Armenians of Istanbul, Armenians of Beirut. I’ve even noticed that Armenians of one country are proud of their knowing the Armenian language better than other Armenians, criticizing others for their ignorance. Sometimes it even becomes a reason for ridicule. I condemn this kind of attitude. You shouldn’t laugh at others: if you want to joke, make fun of yourself. Neither do I like the division within Armenia into Armenians from Aparan, Lori and Karabagh, etc. It hampers unification of our nation.

Another serious problem among young people is the disrespect for each other and for the old, but this problem exists not only in Armenia. It must be eradicated through education and television: programs, films and TV series, which, as I noticed, has been successfully performed in Armenia in recent years.

I would like to emphasize that now much more folk music is being broadcast on the Armenian television. Thus, the respect and love for such national values as music is now being restored. Music is one of the distinctive features of a nation: when I first heard the ballet “Gayane” by Aram Khachaturian, it took my breath away. There was something definitely native in it, but I did not know then who was the author of that wonderful piece of art. When I heard the surname Khachaturian, I said, “Wow, here is that special Armenian music!” Our music should have Armenian sensitivity and Armenian style, but we are on the verge of losing it. After independence the worst music of America came to be leading in the Armenian market.

Mrs. Medzorian, what do you think Armenia has to do for the Diaspora?

Of course, we must strengthen our Diaspora, but I support those people, Armenians and foreigners, who want to familiarize themselves with the Armenian culture, and in order to deepen this interest, more high-quality Armenian products should be made. Note that our children love and watch Russian cartoons because they are very colorful and interesting. So why should we not create our own cartoons, equal to the Russian ones in quality? And I think it is quite praiseworthy that foreign films are translated into the Armenian language now.

Does the Armenian Diaspora face the threat of merging with the nation in which it lives?

The threat of merging has always existed, but now there is less probability than before. We cannot yet say that all is well, but at the same time, we should not be afraid of anything and should not experience fear. We should live in peace and friendship, learn how to solve problems in our family and share them with others. If we do not have respect, envy and greed will settle in us. One of the worst vices of man is greed, and it is especially terrible when greed becomes a norm for the human-being. Then he begins to live like an animal.

We must remember that we are all one family, and should not be divided into "you" and "I". This, I think, should be promoted by priests, who must walk in the streets and preach peace and love, as Christ once did it. Then it is quite possible that miracles may happen, as it was at the time of Christ.

In conclusion, what future plans do you have?

I'm not going to stop at what I have accomplished. I’m not afraid to voice my age. I'm 75 years old, and I have got the future before me. I pity those who at the age of 40 feel that their life has ended. I'm going to continue helping people, because by helping others, you make yourself happier. And because I've seen a lot in my life, I can judge happiness.

Mane Amirjanyan / PanARMENIAN News