An Ordinary Citizen’s Wishes in Armenia for The Year 2011


By Edmond Y. Azadian

The time machine grinds its way to eternity, while humankind tries to saddle the time in its Lilliputian and desperate struggle to give a sense to its beginning and the end which defines his life.

The New Year is a benchmark invented byman, tomeasure his existence on the planet.

As we descend from the grander scheme of things to the level of our individual lives, we all have ambitions as vast as our universe. But come next New Year, we find ourselves in the same position, with our long list of unaccomplished wishes, and we once again ride on the back of the stallions of our hope.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity becomes comprehensible to the individual, as he/she compares his/her New Year’s wish list with those of less fortunate people. Our wishes are commensurate with our needs. We dream of fulfilling our wishes during the next calendar year and we are more sanguine about the wishes especially at the threshold of a New Year.

As I sat pondering about my wishes for the coming year, I came across a sobering article in the daily Azg published in Yerevan, by one of the regular contributors to the paper, Marietta Khatchatryan. And before engaging in ambitious dreams, I found out that simple things, which we take for granted in our lives, have a lasting impact on the lives of the ordinary citizens in Armenia.

The writer has taken up a reverse view of what she does not wish to happen in the year 2011, so that life may become more bearable in Armenia.

I would like to present, in broader terms, what Khatchatryan wished for the country as an ordinary citizen:

If it is unavoidable that the evil will come again, let’s take a break and dream as if nothing vile would come. Dreaming is healthy; our people like to dream, to believe in empty talk, especially when they drink and say “cheers.”

Here is what I wish not to happen in the coming year.

I wish that we would be spared from nature’s blind and elemental catastrophes. That, of course, is in God’s hands. I wish that war does not break out. And that is in the hands of our neighboring country. I wish that we don’t see an escalation of prices, and that is in the hands of our oligarchs. The council for competitive prices has been ineffective in curbing the rise in prices, because our oligarchs are as powerful as Gods.

I wish to wake up on the morning of the first day of the New Year, and not see people scavenging in garbage cans. I wish for the woman sitting in the alley next to the Dance Theater, in her tired look and wearing a old overcoats and waiting for people to drop some alms in her palms, to disappear. I do not wish to disturb the homeless people in their sleep in makeshift cardboard beds in that alley. I do hope that next year they all have a roof over their heads.

During the New Year, I don’t wish to hear empty talk, especially in our nation’s parliament. For God’s sake, talk some sense, without ulteriormotives, such as boasting about your eloquence the next day!

I wish that the primitive and rude jargon would be eliminated from our daily conversations and that we would be spared the profusion of news about “settling scores” (razborga) and stabbing each other in the back.

I wish that no cadavers of lonely old people would be discovered in abandoned homes, whose children are in foreign lands, unable to be with their loved ones at the end.

I wish that my minister of agriculture would not be on the level of my next-door butcher. If we wish to improve life in this country, we need more decent people to run the state affairs.

During the New Year, I wish that people would be appreciated for their merit and work ethic, and not for their boisterous behavior.

I also wish that ordinary men would not be dragged to the courts or humiliated at government offices. I wish that the government officials serve the citizens and not vice versa, as prescribed in our constitution.

I wish that the benefactor would help the needy with dignity rather than fishing for gratitude publicly.

I wish that nobody would be scared of the law any more, and that the representatives of the law who come to collect bills for the garbage and electricity.

I wish that no one would hold ready 10,000 drams (approximately $22) in hand to bribe the traffic cop to save his neck.

I see that I wish for too many things not to happen during the next year.

I wish that my words reach from my mouth to God’s ear and I wish that next year something good comes our way.

Here ends the list of reverse wishes of the ordinary citizen in Armenia.

As we listen to the plight of the people in that part of the world, we are humbled and we begin to count our blessings, also we revise our personal wishes to empathize with our brothers and sisters who are in the homeland and who struggle for a better future.