Preserving national identity is a national ideology itself
Hovik Musayelyan’s interlocution with the RA Public Council Chairman Vazgen Manukyan takes us back to the Soviet times, to the environment of youth longing for independence. The breakthrough of the Kharabakh movement turning into all-Armenian movement was no accident – from 1965, it had been a secret dream of the Armenian youth to rebel. In Vazgen Manukyan’s biography, it had been a conscientious activity, and finally he became the ideology leader of the movement, thereupon, the first Premier of the Independent Armenia, a candidate to President, an active politician, not standing aside but still proactive and doing his utmost for the improvement of the social life.
Hovik Musayelyan – Our meeting is dedicated to the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, but I would like to go 50 years back, to 1965, when the Communist Party of Soviet Armenia decides that an event dedicated to 50 years of the Armenian Genocide should be held in the opera hall. As far as I remember, not many people knew about the massacre. Today, the situation is totally different. Seems like a newborn already knows what a genocide is. Nevertheless, although 90% of the population did not know about this, a miracle happened in a few days – flyers were distributed, people went out and a meeting happened. Nowadays, it is not that difficult to arrange a demonstration and probably people won’t adequately assess this breakthrough and the risks that this brave demonstration implied. Since you personally participated in this historical demonstration, and following this, a group of dissidents was formed, you were one of those… Let us go 50 years back…
Vazgen Manukyan – If we go 50 years back, we will definitely appear in a very good period from the age perspective. I would not say the citizens, but most of the youth hardly knew about the genocide. The elderly ones of course knew, but told nothing to their families as a rule – nothing compromising safety should have been disclosed to children during those days. The genocide topic was one of those. I was slightly aware, since on our way to the kindergarten my grandpa was telling me about the genocide, religion, Bible; however, nor could I imagine the real scope of the tragedy. Now I think it was good that we did not know about the genocide, knowing about it would be a huge stress. Realizing that you have lost your land and people is a not that easy. It may sound surprising, but I think it was good to an extent that the youth did not know about the genocide. Forbidding for decades to speak about the genocide, the Soviet Union, in fact, helped and enabled us to meet the 50th anniversary more recovered. From this perspective, we differed from the diaspora also. Their sense of patriotism was stronger thanks to the instillation, but we were healthier. It was at that time that the youth understood what had happened. Continue reading →