Goodbye, 2008

This year has been a most troublesome one for virtually the entire world. Political unrest, natural disaster and economic turmoil have just about depressed the hearts and minds of billions of people. It has also been a year of major achievements, most notably with the election of the first African-American president and a landmark breakthrough in Turkish-Armenian relations. Nevertheless I and countless others are truly relieved to see the year come to an end.

There perhaps is not a single person living in this country whose soul had not been damaged in the aftermath of the tragic incidents of March 1, save for the previous heartless, smug, and irrational Armenian president along with his cronies. For me personally and many others close to me the events were indeed traumatic, and for several weeks, at least through the end of the state of emergency, I was very shaken up. For the first time in several years I found myself smoking again, and although I quit again two months later I still felt unsettled, joining others in wondering where indeed Armenia was headed. Certainly civil liberties are indeed not respected, with the arrest of over 100 presumed conspirators to overthrow the government detained without being formally charged as a clear example. Although many have been released during the last 10 months about 70 remain in jail. Random beatings of journalists and dissidents continue. Free speech in the media is suppressed either by intimidation or state control. The judicial system continues to be steered by the executive branch and thus doesn’t serve the interests of the common citizen. Human rights continue to be violated. And now, the economy is taking a turn for the worse, with a reported drop in the growth rate.

Certainly no one will miss 2008. It was a year of strife, torment and terror worldwide. Unfortunately the terror will continue through the New Year in places like the Middle East with the raging battles between Hamas and the Israeli people, bitter enemies both on an ambitious path of mutual destruction.

Armenians in the coming year will need to muster the courage to speak out against injustice once and for all in a united voice to demand change they expect. The complaining and bitching amongst the masses need to stop. And given the ensuing state of affairs I think they will, to be replaced by progressive action. It’s time for all Armenians to wake up and collectively realize that things indeed can be a lot better for them if they work hard enough.

I wish everyone health, happiness, and good fortune in the coming year. Here’s hoping 2009 will be a year of real change that will bring peace and prosperity to the most turbulent regions of the world. I am confident that most Armenians will find the peace they seek as well.


Ani said…
You're right, Christian, 2008 truly stunk! But a lot of that smell was from rotten things that had been bottled up for a long time. When you open the jars the smell is overpowering, but at least you know what you've got; then you can work from there.

I share both your hopes and your concerns for 2009, so I wish you and all those who truly care about the PEOPLE a very HAPPY New Year!

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