This is a transcript of an interview with Alla, recorded in Yerevan, Armenia, on Feb. 21, 2011. You can listen to the interview (in Armenian) here:
My name is Alla; I’m 24 years old. It seems I work in journalism, if I’m not mistaken [jokingly]. I graduated from the Faculty of Journalism. I was born in Azerbaijan; [now] I live in Armenia, with my father. Before, my brother was with us too, now he’s married. I have brothers who don’t live in Armenia. My mother died in the summer of 1988; I wasn’t yet 2 years old. At that time, I was still in Azerbaijan. If I’m not mistaken, in 1989, when all that [i.e. the Nagorno-Karabakh War] started, we came to Armenia. We lived in the city of Kirovabad [present-day Ganja]. They also call that city Gandzak or Ganja. I knew it as Kirovabad; now I don’t what’s the right way to call it. Then everything started (the war with Azerbaijan, the joining with Armenia): In short, we were forced to come here. But my mother’s grave is there [in Azerbaijan]. We hadn’t brought anything with us. That is, the clothing we had on, me and my three brothers, and some other small items… that’s how we came; we left everything there. When we were already here, my father was able to go back there. He is an engineer by profession. And as far as I know he’s a great engineer. His old acquaintances, when they surface, describe how he left the impression of someone with a bright future. But it didn’t happen; life changed in the process. That second time when he went, he brought his professional books, he visited mother’s grave… A couple of documents, our birth certificates, two, three photos — that’s what we brought with us. And again he came back here.
My mother died from something absurd… If I’m not mistaken, it was while they were eating plums that the pit choked her. She was lying in the hospital for a few days, and then she died. In 1988, she was 34 years old. To say that I remember, no, I don’t remember, but there’s somewhat of an impression [of her death], that I remember… and also by recounting I know that at that time when mother died, well I clearly didn’t understand, I was small, but for a few days no one could get close to me, to be in contact, I was shouting, crying… I felt that something wasn’t right, that something wrong was happening. But I didn’t know what it was. I don’t remember that. My father was describing how it wasn’t possible to get near me then. We didn’t have many relatives here. My father’s sister was living here; she was married. If I’m not mistaken, we were living in a rental in Shengavit [a district of Yerevan]. But I don’t remember those years.
Father was working day and night. At that time, we slept at my aunt’s. My father then began to work in a factory as an engineer. And next to that factory were dormitories, where we moved. Some of the dormitories in that building were given as hotel suites, that is, for temporary stay, while the rest was given to the workers [of the factory]. There was another part for those who both worked at the factory and were refugees. At the time, there were around 15 families, now there are fewer. Some have moved abroad, but there are 9 or 10 families left. The building no longer belongs to the factory. All the families have to own those apartments [as they’re becoming privatized]. Some of these families have land or houses in the villages. But it’s obvious that the refugees have nothing other than the apartments. But now we’re waiting; there’s some program or another; they’re constructing buildings. Probably the government is doing that.
That is, it turns out that it [the apartment] doesn’t belong to you and you don’t know what will happen tomorrow. And you don’t have anything else. I don’t know how it will be, but they say that the issue has to be resolved in some way. You have to give some kind of pre-payment [presumably referring to bribery]. Some families have given it, while some families are still waiting. I know that other refugees have received apartments in other dormitories, but [I don’t know] when [our] turn will come — perhaps in a year, maybe in 2 years, 5 years… In 1993, I was in first grade, and I remember that apart from us, me, my three brothers and my father, living with us were also two other families, my father’s brothers’ families, wives and children — and apart from that, also our granddad and grandma. About 15 people, and only my father was working. That lasted for a long time. And only my father was working, day and night. He was doing drawing and writing work for different students; he was doing translations here and there… in short, he supported a few families like this.
My fathers’ brothers are now in Russia; my aunt too. My grandma is no longer [with us]. It’s the third year [since her death]. My granddad is in Russia; sometimes he comes here; he misses it here. He lived with my grandma in [Nagorno] Karabakh. They had their own house in the city of Shushi [Shusha]. It was the house of one of my uncles. My grandma became ill, she stayed in Russia, and there she died. They sold that house [in Karabakh]. My father sent the money to his brother. I have relatives in Karabakh: my cousin lives there; she’s married, has children. If I’m not mistaken, she lives in Shushi. We see each other, but she has 3 children; it’s hard to come and go. I’ve been to Shushi, but not often. I went twice, in the summers, but more often, granddad and grandma came here. We weren’t old enough to go alone. And my father was always working. Always. He went [to Karabakh] quite a lot for work, but more so they came.
The last time I was in Karabakh was in 2003, I was accepted [to university] in the summer and I went to my cousin’s wedding. And I can judge the changes there with those people who come from there; everyone complains.
Do they complain of the same things as here? Are the problems the same?
The same things. There’s no work; they complain of the price increases. There’s a woman whose children live and work in Moscow and her mother lives here; she’s our neighbor; they too are from Baku. Her husband works in Karabakh and she was saying that there’s a serious problem in Karabakh. There, the girls get married very early. My cousin too was 18 years old when she got married. Getting married is the purpose of very many: the earlier, the better. They graudate from school and that’s it, the next step is to get married.
Is that different from Yerevan? Or from the regions, villages in Armenia?
No, not to a great extent. Well imagine, they ask me how old I am, I’m 24 years old, it turns out I’m late [in getting married]. Or all of my attention has to be on that… Obviously, in Yerevan too it’s like that; it’s just that those who I’m in contact with are not like that. I simply don’t associate with people who think like that, but they are many. That woman was describing how in Karabakh it was something like a craze; the earlier you get married, the better. She has boys; that’s how she probably knew.
They marry off girls at a younger age than boys, right?
No, my cousin’s husband was 21 years old, which is very early for a guy.
And your being 24 years old is the same as a guy being 24 years old? Is there a difference?
Perhaps, yes, because it’s considered that a girl gets married a little bit earlier than a boy. And it turns out that a boy’s 24 is less than a girl’s 24. I don’t know why. Maybe with that, they want to compliment the girls. There are some who marry at 25 and that’s a good time for that person, it’s not early; for others, 30 is also [considered] early. Then there are people who don’t want to get married. It’s just a personal thing. I remember when I graduated from university in 2008, the next question posed to me when I was going to get married. If I have to get married less than a month after graduating, I could’ve gotten married while I was studying…
They constantly ask, are you married, when will you get married? Enough already. And when you get married, they ask when you’re going to have children. When they ask me when I’m getting married, I ask them what interests you specifically, perhaps there’s something else that interests you: you’re asking about marriage, but there are other things you want to know about my life. Maybe there are, but I’m not saying — it’s none of your business.
I wouldn’t say that these things are different in Karabakh and Armenia, no, it’s just clear that there are more people here, who are more sensible than in Karabakh. Though there are there too… I don’t know. Yerevan too is a village; it’s just that here there’s a group of people who are different.
These things occur more frequently in a small city or village.
Yes, it’s not that they force you to think this way, it’s just you can’t think another way; you’re like that and that’s that. Probably there are exceptions, but that person has to think so differently… you live in a society where you know from childhood, that this is how things are. However it is, that’s how you accept it.
When you arrived, you settled right away in Yerevan?
Yes, immediately in Yerevan. To tell the truth, father half-jokingly said—well he lived his entire life in Azerbaijan. Let me first say he was born in Karabakh, Martakert, but then they lived in Azerbaijan in Kazanbulak [village outside Ganja]. In short, he graduated from a Russian school but they lived in those areas where there were more Azerbaijanis, but there were also Armenians… my grandma and granddad speak Azeri comfortably, and my father knows Azeri very well, apart from Russian and Armenian. And he would say jokingly he came to Yerevan—clearly he regretted it because then and now he would want it to be better; at least for us to be outside of Armenia and probably later he thought it would be worth it to go somewhere else.
Jokingly, he was saying that he wanted to go to Yerevan because it seemed to him that he was a “wrong Armenian,” and you [he said to the kids] grew up in Armenia, it didn’t happen, you didn’t become that patriotic “Armenian.” I don’t know how it happened. Then, such is life; it passed by so fast. Now, when I think, those people came here when they were 35, 38 years old. And it seems they became 50 years old all of a sudden. They were deprived of an important, big part of life. It even seems to me that they didn’t feel how [the years] passed. It was the aim of getting the children on their feet; the children get older and you realize that 20 years passed.
Sometimes I think of the people who lived their life there [in Azerbaijan]; for example, my father, and our neighbor who lived in Baku who had a large, strong family. For her, everything took place in Baku. If for me it’s connected with Yerevan, well for her it’s connected with Azerbaijan, with Baku. And then suddenly it was cut [short]; they came here and it’s not always that here they welcomed them well. For example, they might say, why did you come; they’re not asking you [to come] here. And my neighbor said, actually you were inviting us [to come here]. At that time, we were receiving vouchers for getting bread. And when we went to stand in long lines, to wait, and when people noticed that the woman is from Baku, they said, aha, you came and that’s why everything started. They blamed [them].
That woman once she couldn’t take it [anymore], she said, if you didn’t ask [us to come here], I wouldn’t come. We lived very well there. To a great extent, at that time there was a wrong attitude, now I don’t know, but there were such things: Bakuvian [from Baku], Karabakhtsy [from Karabakh]. I, for example, don’t know who I am. I know that my family is from Karabakh, I know that I was born in Azerbaijan, but to a great extent, what do I have to do with Azerbaijan, I grew up here [in Armenia]: I just know that they drove us away and so on. Now I live in Armenia but I also can’t say that it’s mine because—how should I say? When they ask me where I’m from, I say from Karabakh; I was born in Azerbaijan; I live in Armenia, Yerevan. I don’t know who I am. I’m human. All that is inside of me and recently I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be opposed to living somewhere else. Yes, I would miss [people/places/things]; all that is very hard, but what can you do?
I don’t know where — definitely far away from former Soviet countries. I’m not saying that I’m working toward this purpose, but it’s already the third year that I’ve had this thought. And the most serious reason for that is our former workplace.
My work had to do with politics; we were journalists; we were trying, according to us, to be objective and since that’s not well perceived in Armenia, they tried to have some sort of influence on us and everything collapsed, our editors resigned, and I became convinced that it’s not possible to do anything. There either has to be huge changes, in a global sense, in the country, which we have to work at for 5, 10, 15 years, or you have to just leave and go. I understand those people who go. Why not? If they have the chance to live somewhere else, why not?
When I say three years ago, I mean the presidential elections and the consequences, March 1, and so on [referring to March 1, 2008, when national police and military forces, called in to dispel the mass protests against alleged electoral fraud, used excessive force and violence that left 10 people dead and many more wounded]. I simply became convinced that it’s worth it to go. I was watching TV, then listening to the radio and I remember I was getting very angry and at one point it seemed that it was a hopeless situation that can’t be fixed. Or you simply have to detach yourself, go away, or go fight, kill or be killed. Maybe it’s something childish, but there was no other way out at the time. And when a year, a year and a half ago, that situation arose in my work place, little by little I became convinced there was no other way out.
And lately that they say it’s possible to have a revolution, based on Egypt’s example, and there are also people who bring up the example of March 1, that it didn’t happen… what do you think?
I wouldn’t say that March 1 happened like that. I wouldn’t say there were 10 dead [victims] because people went with force and they wanted to start a revolution. No. It’s clear and I’m convinced that they tried to disperse those people with force because they stayed too long in Liberty Square. They simply dispersed them and what happened happened.
As for Egypt, I don’t believe in Armenia’s population that much. I don’t believe that everyone can come out and demand — that on one hand. Second, I think about revolution. Let’s say it happens, and then? It’s a bit frightening. I’m not opposed to revolution, really, because very often I don’t see another option. I understand people who want to start a revolution. It’s just a bit frightening, to think, after revolution, who will come [to power] and how many years will drag on after the revolution, you don’t know… and I’m afraid of those people who would want to come into power. Forgive me, but [you don’t know] what bad people can appear. I think about disappointment. Because if again we are disappointed… I will be happy if people again continue to fight. It’s just that that’s a difficult process. I will be happy if people consistently continue the work.
But what’s more frightening is disappointment. If there’s disappointment, people say, ok, fine, again it didn’t work out. And really it doesn’t work out. Like that joke where on the Armenian airport wall it’s written, whoever’s the last one out, shut off the lights. Everyone is leaving Armenia. Now bit-by-bit we’re getting to that.
Probably there are other ways and people are able to get by in some way, little by little. But when I think about how they can live on 30,000 drams a month [approx. $82 US]… And again you’re surprised why they don’t leave. Really, the situation is very, very sad.
I’m not in that situation but it doesn’t mean that I can’t understand that. They’re people; they have children. And it’s much worse when they say to those who leave that they’re traitors, and what about patriotism? I would like to know from those [who say such things] how do they live. If they live well, good for them. But no one can decide for another who lives where and how. If I consider that it’s better for my family and me if we live abroad, that’s my business and my right.
There’s no patriotism and no preserving the nation in this. Here, unfortunately, there are words: when in Armenian language class they gave us compositions to write, the teachers very much liked beautiful [i.e. flowery] words. I never wrote like that and my teacher always gave me a 4, never a 5 [the highest possible grade]. I received a 5 only once from that teacher, for dictation — and once for reciting by heart. Namely, there is this superficial colloquy here, oh, I’ll do I don’t know what for my homeland… On one hand, she makes big dramatic gestures, while at the same time she goes into her neighbor’s pocket. I no longer know what patriotism is.
What do you think about neighboring countries?
By saying neighbor countries, we most likely mean Azerbaijanis and Turks. I haven’t been to Georgia, but I like it. I’ll go one day, I know. I could’ve hated Azerbaijan. I, the consquences of all that, what happened with us, I feel it in me. But I don’t have hatred, that hatred which teachers, schools, TV monitors, the radio inject us with. I don’t have it, but they have it. I don’t know from where. I don’t know how they accept this. When teachers said such things, I don’t know why, but I complained, I argued with them, and they got mad at me. And at home they didn’t tell me that you have to love Azerbaijanis. I simply understood that an Azerbaijani is not one person. Like us Armenians… I don’t like that: the Azerbaijanis, the Japanese. There’s no such thing. There are people who are very much alike. And we have problems with Azerbaijanis because we are very much alike. That’s all. And when we are alike, we are alike in the bad things. Whatever bad thing there is, we learn from each other and do it. They say, well how will the issue be resolved? It won’t.
When they say that the peoples don’t want to be at war [with each other]… everyone wants to be at war and to kill each other. How could they not? There’s so much aggression in people… Well, if you want, go and get killed. I don’t want it. Yes, a lot has happened, we understand, but how much longer? And I’m supposed to live, have a child and think that my child has to go and fight. I don’t want my child to fight. I want my child to live well. I want that my brothers, you, we, I, everyone to live normally, comfortably. I don’t want anyone to go and fight. My life is not for that. And that’s why I say that I understand that people quietly go, live someplace else. Why not?
But they teach me that I have enemies outside of the country. I have many enemies in my country. All of us, as citizens, have enemies, problems in the country. But they tell me that there’s this bad man outside Armenia’s borders; he’s the one that’s dangerous. But it’s not the man outside who raises the prices, for example. When soldiers are killed not by snipers from Azerbaijan, but here [referring to non-combat deaths in the army], when I don’t want anyone at all to go to the army because my brother went to the army in the 90s and I know how it is, I cannot respect the army and want anyone to go there. I get happy when someone arranges it and doesn’t go serve in the military. They’ve either given money [i.e. a bribe] or they’ve found an acquaintance. If you’re patriotic, become a normal human being. If you know what the consequences are, you wouldn’t want there to be war. But if you know [what the consequences are] and you still want [war], it seems to me that you’re abnormal.
You have to first ask yourself why they are teaching you. People think that they are free: “I say and think what I want.” No, you think that which they teach you. If it seems to you that you’re patriotic, you watch random concerts on television, listen to songs, and that’s patriotism, they’re simply teaching you to be a slave so it’s easier to govern you. So you won’t take to the streets. And when people come out to the street and they say they have their rights, they say, “Oh, where did you come from? How is it that we didn’t ‘inject’ you on time?” [laughs]
Society is very ill. And it’s the same thing as everyone is in a hole and one person has an opportunity to get out, and the others [instead of helping him] pull him by they feet and say, “Come back here; you’re going to stay in the hole too.” Society is like this. The way I’m saying it it seems that it’s something scary. But really it is scary. You have to think like everyone else, be like everyone else, speak like everyone else, and move like everyone else. You have to listen to the same songs, wear the same clothes and have the same opinion [as everyone else].
And do you have any optimistic thoughts about the future?
For me, optimism begins when you see that there are people that are very actively engaged. They’re singers or journalists or writers. Probably it was through work and also from my surroundings that I met such people. If I only watched TV like many, many others, I wouldn’t even know about them. Though you can find out about them through the Internet, but it’s obvious that not everyone writes about them or features them. And very few make use of the Internet. I think, we’re human, perhaps something will change; perhaps the efforts of so many people won’t be in vain.
Do you have some kind of hope from your circle of friends and these people?
Without hope, I would’ve either gone and hung myself or gathered money and went somewhere else. Well, going too is a hard thing. You have to know from the beginning where you’re going and why. It’s sad, but whatever we have is this. I live here. I don’t know what homeland is, but if it’s the place where you grew up and the place where everything is connected with that country, well for me that’s Armenia. It turned out like this. I don’t have anywhere else.
My brothers are abroad. They were young when they went. At age 16, one of them decided he had to go and he went. But it worked out for him; he’s already married; he has a child. He’s in the Ukraine. He’s now 31 years old. And he’s very independent: he’s travelled to different cities, he worked, and so on and so on. Now everything is normal. The older one went later, with a few cousins, after [serving in] the army. They still live there. Sometimes he talks about coming here. He’s in Russia and it’s clear he might not like it there, the life and so on, but I’m not convinced that here is better than Russia. Knowing what the situation is like here, I can’t tell him, yes, come. Come where? If I myself am considering leaving, how can I tell him to come?
I myself never think about living in Russia or the Ukraine. Definitely no. Everything that I complain about here is the same or worse over there. Obviously a larger country can provide more opportunities, but if I were to go, I wouldn’t go to Russia. I don’t know why but it’s better I go to Europe or America. But there are so many Armenians in America that I don’t want to go [laughs]. I’m not against Armenians. My classmates who’ve gone to America are those typical Armenians. I’m embarassed for people to know that I too am Armenian and to think that I’m also like that.
But, for example, the advantage to going to Russia or the former Soviet countries is that you know the language.
In terms of the language, yes.
Otherwise you have to learn a new language.
But for that reason to learn a language is worth it. I want to find the time and learn English. I started at one time and then I stopped. There are different programs, connected to language or study, it can start from there and that’s how I go. I’m not imagining going for a long time: for my father to be here while I’m somewhere else. No, I can’t imagine that. That’s why I’m thinking to go with my family. I haven’t spoken about it with my brother (the one that lives here) to be able to say whether he wants to come or not. But me and my father, for sure; initially like this.
And wouldn’t you want to go with your boyfriend?
No, not yet. Actually, it’s hard, I can be dating a guy then—maybe it’s me—I say no. When they start to talk about serious things like creating a family and so on, I can’t because—probably I’m too demanding. I have very clear requirements when it comes to family. I don’t mean in the way people in Armenian villages are, no. I’m disciplined. But I’m also quite free. I know that I have my freedom, that’s all. But those people with whom I’ve had contact [i.e. partners], when those relations were to become more serious, it frightened me. Sometimes it seems that a man wants to establish himself on my account. If you feel yourself to be a man, if you are so sure of yourself, then why do you want to establish yourself on my account, with my assistance? That is, [they say,] “It has to be like this, it has to be like that.” You’re not yet my husband and you’re already beginning to demand certain things of me. And I am amazed, because he should’ve known beforehand that he doesn’t have the right to tell me that. For example, knowing me, you know that it’s hard to oblige me [to do something]. If I respect someone’s right to do something or another, then he has to respect my right too. I don’t go to nightclubs; I don’t like to go out. I’m a homebody. I love [being at] home. But there are also things that I don’t like, when I feel some kind of obligation.
When a sentence begins with “My wife shouldn’t…”, that’s it. What does that mean “my wife shouldn’t…”? And in these cases, the rest of what he’s about to say doesn’t even interest me.
I have friendships with men and women. I’m someone who has no problem having contact with guys. But then, once I have a boyfriend, I can’t maintain the same friendships I had when I was single. And if someone calls me and my “fiance” (in quotation marks) is beside me, he asks who’s calling. If it’s a guy, the questions continue. I know a lot of girls have no problem with this; they respond to the questions. I know it’s not a bad question; I too could’ve asked if someone called him. Perhaps I’m jealous. I’m very jealous [as a person]. That’s another issue. But when regardless of who’s calling, they ask, “who called, why did they call,” I simply get up and say “bye-bye.” I don’t need someone who is so not sure of himself that he he has to establish himself through me. If it seems to him that his wife or girlfriend, when she sees male friends or acquaintances on the street, has to pretend that she hasn’t seen them and not even say hi, even to her neighbor… here the husband might get mad at the wife just for the reason that she greeted her neighbor. So you’re so small and insignificant that I don’t [want to] have anything to do with you. Why do I need you if I have to help you become a man?
Let me say something else: [Armenian] guys who’ve come from Russia who live here now… they see other things there. Well Armenian guys here think that the girls in Russia are freeer [more independent, also unchaste]. Well probably it’s like that. Though I have Russian girlfriends who are [not like that]. Take my energy for example — they’re calmer [demure]… But our Armenian guys who have lived there for many years are complaining that the Armenian girls by going and living in Russia change, they become more—being free is a good thing; I don’t want to say free because they don’t become free. The same thing happens as when you throw a villager into a city and he begins to do more unpleasant things than a city-dweller — become more vulgar, rough.
For example, my uncle’s daughters: when I see their photos, I see, yeah… it’s fine, I accept that they have the right to do whatever they want. If she wants to walk naked, wear it short — whatever she wants; get her photo taken and put it online, it’s fine. But she has to realize that others form a certain opinion about her. Also the way she lives.
And I understand those boys; they have a fear inside them, because if they don’t allow a girl to do something, that’s because if she does it, it ends up being better if they didn’t allow it. It’s probably from lack of exposure. Really. I don’t like to generalize, but having so many examples, I’m a bit —I understand why… I of course won’t allow myself for there to be such control over me, but on one hand I understand: because if you give a little bit of freedom, they deviate [from the norm]. It’s from lack of exposure. Because if someone dresses naked, fine, s/he’s like that, s/he feels him/herself to be like that. But you dress to get attention. But you do that with a dirty mind [for the wrong reasons], that’s why [it’s not good].
For example, there was a girl that lived here who went to Moscow and began to change. Yes, there are nightclubs here in Armenia too; there’s everything, whoever wants can do anything. But if you’re like that, then be like that in Yerevan too. Why do you go do that in Russia? Or any other country. If I’m like this, I’m like this everywhere. I won’t go to Russia and begin to go to nightclubs. I don’t go in Armenia. That is, if Yerevan is smaller and they’re afraid of doing something because they know it’s bad. If she’s afraid of society’s opinion here, and she goes there where she can do that there, so she’s like that society. If I do something and I consider it right, I do it.
In Russia, the Armenian girls get upset with the Armenian boys that they hang out with Russian girls. And the boys say you’re like our sisters. How can I say this the right way? Again, I repeat, everyone has the right to live how s/he wants. But if to be like that s/he has to go to Russia… and it turns out, see how bad the Armenians are…
For example, my father was talking about weddings between different ethnicities in Azerbaijan and he was saying that it was very rare for Azerbaijani girls to marry Armenian boys, while the Armenian girls would marry just about anyone. I argued with my father. I said, “That’s normal, what’s the big deal? I don’t see a problem with that.” But now when I think about why my father felt bad.. because when he saw how Azerbaijani girls were and how the Armenians were, he saw that with Armenians it was again that “lack of exposure.” Yes, get married. But the way in which that happens; the way they carried themselves; the way they got married. They get married sometimes because something has happened [eg. unplanned pregnancy] and they get married to hide it. It’s not a love story, but because they have something to hide. I’m not saying that it was always like that. No. My father saw how Armenian girls were in one district where there were both Armenians and Azeris. I always fought with my dad; I said, “What difference if s/he is Armenian or Azerbaijani? Maybe they want to make a family; it’s normal.” But I understand what he means. The way one carries him/herself. It’s the same thing with those girls who go to Russia.
I consider it wrong to judge someone by his or her family. It’s the same issue of nations. The concep of Azerbaijanis doesn’t exist. There are specific people, specific names, and a specific way of thinking. That’s all. If we view everything like this, everything will be normal. Individual people — not by ethnicity. As a nation, all nations are crazy. Individual, separate people are all like each other. There was [an Armenian] singer recently, during a press conference; he said he listens to Azerbaijani music. Everyone lost it. All that man said was that he likes it. And why not? And at once: “How could you, ay, you traitor!” Everyone likes it too. For example, I don’t like Azerbaijani mugham, and that’s my taste. But there are some things [in Azerbaijani music] that are quite pleasant. They’re songs, after all. If you watch videos, they’re like our Armenian videos. It’s like it’s an Indian [i.e. Bollywood] film. In short, they’re quite alike. If that’s treachery, well forgive me; it’s so easy to betray you. One has to know why something’s being done. I don’t need to oppress another or think badly about another to feel good. It’s music —either you listen to it or you don’t. Music isn’t bad because it’s Armenian or Azerbaijani. It’s a matter of taste. There are some things that I might like; there are some things that I won’t like. It can be Spanish or it can be French. That’s all.
«Ես Ղարաբաղից եմ, ծնվել եմ Ադրբեջանում, ապրում եմ Հայաստանում: Չգիտեմ, թե ես ով եմ: Ես մարդ եմ:»
Անունս Ալլա է, 24 տարեկան եմ: Կարծես թե լրագրությամբ եմ զբաղվում, եթե չեմ սխալվում: Ծնվել եմ Ադրբեջանում, ապրում եմ Հայաստանում` հայրիկիս հետ: 1988թ. Ամռանը մայրս մահացել է, 2 տարեկան դեռ չկայի: Այդ ժամանակ դեռ Կիրովաբադում էինք ապրում` ներկայիս Գյանջայում: Մայրս անհեթեթ բանից է մահացել 34 տարեկան հասակում. դամբուլ ուտելիս շնչահեղձ է եղել կորիզի պատճառով: Պատմելով գիտեմ, որ այն ժամանակ, երբ մաման մահացավ, պարզ է, որ չէի հասկանում, փոքր էի, բայց մի քանի օր ինձ ոչ ոք չէր կարող մոտենալ, կոնտակտի մեջ մտնել, գոռում էի, լացում… Զգում էի, որ ինչ-որ բան այն չէր, որ ինչ-որ սխալ բան էր տեղի ունենում: Բայց չգիտեի, թե ինչ էր: Մորս գերեզմանն Ադրբեջանում է: Մենք ստիպված էինք Հայաստան գալ: Մեզ հետ ոչինչ չէինք բերել, բացառությամբ այն ամենի, ինչ մեր հագին կար: Մեկ-երկու փաստաթուղթ, մեր ծննդյան վկայականները, մի երկու-երեք նկար, ֆոտոներ…Այդ էինք բերել մեզ հետ:
Հայաստան տեղափոխվելուց հետո հայրս սկսեց ինժեներ աշխատել մի գործարանում: Սկզբում մենք ապրում էինք մեր 15 ազգականների հետ, և միայն հայրս էր աշխատում: Այդ գործարանի մոտ հանրակացարաններ կային, ուր տեղափոխվեցինք: Այդ շինության մի մասը տրված էր նրանց, ովքեր թե՛ աշխատում էին այդ գործարանում, թե՛ փախստականներ էին: Հիմա այդ շինության մեջ ընդամենը 9-10 ընտանիք է մնացել: Բնակարաններն իրավաբանորեն փախստականներին չեն պատկանում, իսկ այդ շինությունն այլևս չի պատկանում գործարանին: Հիմա սպասում ենք, որ տեսնենք, թե ինչ է լինելու: Գուցե մենք բնակարաններ ստանանք այլ հանրակացարաններում, բայց չգիտեմ, թե երբ: Գուցե մեկ տարուց, գուցե երկու, կամ գուցե հինգ:
Ղարաբաղում բարեկամներ ունեմ, եղել եմ Շուշիում: Բոլորն, ում ճանաչում եմ Ղարաբաղում, բողոքում են նույն բաներից, ինչից բողոքում են այստեղ` Հայաստանում: Աշխատանք չկա, կան թանկացումներ: Մի հարևան ինձ ասաց, որ Ղարաբաղում մի շատ լուրջ խնդիր կա: Այնտեղ աղջիկները շատ շուտ են ամուսնանում: Շատ մեծ մասի նպատակն է ամուսնանալը: Դպրոցն ավարտում են, ու վերջ, հաջորդ քայլն ամուսնանալն է: Ես 24 տարեկան եմ, և շատերի կարծիքով դա նշանակում է, որ ուշացել եմ ամուսնանալ: Պարզ է` Երևանում էլ է այդպես, ուղղակի այն մարդիկ, որոնց հետ ես շփվում եմ, այդպիսին չեն:
Հայրս իր ողջ կյանքն ապրել է Ադրբեջանում, ծնվել է Ղարաբաղում` Մարտակերտում, բայց հետո ապրել են Ադրբեջանում: Հայրս բացի ռուսերենից ու հայերենից շատ լավ գիտի նաև ադրբեջաներեն: Նա երևի հետո զղջաց, որ եկավ Երևան, ու հիմա էլ նա շատ կցանկանար, որ մենք գոնե լինեինք Հայաստանից դուրս: Հորս պես մարդիկ, որ եկել են այստեղ, այն ժամանակ 35-38 տարեկան են եղել: Ու նրանք զրկվել են կյանքի մի մեծ ու կարևոր մասից: Հիմա էլ 50 տարեկան են: Ինձ թվում է` նույնիսկ չզգացին, թե ինչպես ժամանակն անցավ: Ծնողների համար երեխաներին ոտքի կանգնեցնելու նպատակն էր, երեխաները մեծանում են, ու հանկարծակի հասկանում ես, որ անցավ 20 տարի: Միշտ չէ, որ Ադրբեջանի հայերին այստեղ լավ են ընդունում: Մեզ շատ խնդիրների համար էին մեղադրում:
Ես չեմ իմանում, թե ես ով եմ: Երբ ինձ հարցնում են, թե որտեղից եմ, ասում եմ, որ Ղարաբաղից եմ, ընտանիքս Ղարաբաղից է, ես ծնվել եմ Ադրբեջանում, ապրում եմ Հայաստանում: Ես մարդ եմ: Վերջերս մտածում եմ մի այլ տեղ ապրելու մասին: Չգիտեմ որտեղ, բայց նախկին ԽՍՀՄ-ի երկրներից հաստատ հեռու: Կամ պետք են շատ մեծ փոփոխություններ Հայաստանում, կամ մնում է ուղղակի թողնել ու գնալ: Բայց և չեմ հավատում, որ Հայաստանում հեղափոխություն տեղի կունենա:
Ես կարող էի Ադրբեջանն ատել: Ես այն ամենի հետևանքները, ինչ որ մեզ հետ եղել է, ինձ վրա զգում եմ: Բայց ես չունեմ ատելություն, այն ատելությունը, որին երեխաները սովորեցվում են դպրոցներում: Մենք ադրբեջանցիներին շատ նման ենք: Այդքան բան: Իսկ երբ մենք իրար նմանվում ենք, մենք վատ կողմերով էլ ենք իրար նմանվում: Ես չեմ ուզում, որ իմ ապագա երեխան կռվի: Ես ուզում եմ, որ իմ երեխան լավ ապրի: Իսկ ինձ սովորեցնում եմ, որ երկրից դուրս ինչ-որ թշնամիներ ունեմ: Ես իմ երկրում շատ թշնամիներ ունեմ: Գների բարձրացումներն այդ դրսի մարդը չի անում: Երբ բանակում զինվորներին սպանում են ոչ թե դիպուկահարները, այլ այստեղ` ոչ պատերազմական վիճակում, ես չեմ ուզում, որ որևէ մեկը գնա բանակ: Քանզի իմ եղբայրը 90-ականներին ծառայել է բանակում ու ես գիտեմ, թե դա ինչ է, ես չեմ կարող բանակը հարգել և ուզենալ, որ ինչ-որ մեկն այնտեղ գնա:
Ամեն մեկի թվում է, թե ինքն ազատ է, կարող է ազատ բաներ ասե ու անել: Ո՛չ, դու մտածում ես այն, ինչ քեզ սովորեցնում են: Եթե քեզ թվում է, որ դու հայրենասեր ես, անկապ համերգներ ես հեռուստացույցով դիտում, ու դա քեզ համար հայրենասիրություն է, քեզ ընդամենը սովորեցնում են, որ դու ստրուկ լինես, որ քեզ ավելի հեշտ լինի ղեկավարել, որ դուրս չգաս փողոց: Հասարակությունն անառողջ է, ինչը վախենալու է: Պետք է բոլորի պես մտածես, բոլորի պես լինես, բոլորի պես խոսես, բոլորի պես շարժվես:
Ինձ համար լավատեսությունը սկսվում է այն ժամանակ, երբ տեսնում եմ, որ կան մարդիկ, որոնք ակտիվ գործունեությամբ են զբաղված: Գործիս բերումով այնպես ստացվեց, որ ես ծանոթացա այդպիսի մարդկանց հետ: Եթե ես միայն հեռուստացույց դիտեի ուրիշ շատ-շատերի պես, ես նրանց մասին ոչ էլ կիմանայի:
Ես սիրած տղա չունեմ: Ես գիտեմ, որ ունեմ իմ ազատությունը: Ամեն անգամ, երբ հարաբերությունը պետք է լրջանար, ինձ դա վախեցնում էր: Երբեմն թվում է, թե տղամարդն ուզում է ինքնահաստատվել իմ հաշվին: Ասում են. «Սա պետք է այսպես լինի, սա պետք է այնպես լինի»: Նախ դու դեռ իմ ամուսինը չես, և արդեն սկսում ես ինչ-որ բաներ ինձանից պահանջել: Ինչիս ես պետք, եթե ես պետք է օգնեմ, որ դու տղամարդ դառնաս:
Երիտասարդ հայ տղաները, ովքեր երկար տարիներ Ռուսաստանում են եղել, բողոքում էին, որ Ռուսաստանում ապրող հայ աղջիկները փոխվում են, դառնում են ավելի…ազատ չէի ասի…Ազատ լինելը լավ բան է, այդ պատճառով չեմ ուզում ազատ բառն օգտագործել: Ավելի գռեհիկ, անամոթ են իրենց պահում: Բայց եթե դու այդպիսին ես, ապա Երևանում էլ այդպես վարվիր: Ինչու՞ ես գնում Ռուսաստանում կամ ցանկացած այլ երկրում դա անում: Եթե ես այսպիսին եմ, ես ամեն տեղ եմ այսպիսին: Ես չեմ գնա Ռուսաստան ու սկսեմ գնալ գիշերային ակումբներ: Ես Հայաստանում չեմ գնում:
Հայրս պատմում էր, որ ադրբեջանուհիները շատ քիչ էր պատահում, որ հայերի հետ ամուսնանային: Իսկ հայ աղջիկները ում հետ ասես ամուսնանում էին: Սկզբում վիճում էի հորս հետ, բայց հիմա հասկանում եմ, թե հայրս ինչու էր վատ զգում: Որովհետև երբ նա տեսնում էր, թե ինչպես էին իրենց ադրբեջանցիները պահում, ու ինչպես էին հայերն իրենց պահում, նա տեսնում էր, որ հայերի մոտ չտեսության դրսևորումներ կային:
Սխալ եմ համարում մարդու մասին ըստ իր ընտանիքի դատելը: Չկա «ադրբեջանցիներ» հասկացողություն: Կան կոնկրետ մարդիկ, կոնկրետ անուններ, կոնկրետ մտածելակերպ: Եթե բոլորին այդպես դիտարկենք` որպես անհատների, ոչ ազգությամբ, ամեն ինչ նորմալ կլինի: Որպես ազգ բոլոր ազգերն էլ խփնված են: Առանձին-առանձին մարդիկ բոլորն էլ իրար նման են: Այդքանը: