Editor-in-Chief of The Analyticon
The question used as a header is not new for Armenians at all; we have tried to determine our geographic and civilization place at least for ourselves since ancient times. The opinions have crossed as swords both in the past and now, leaving us in quite an undetermined state of mind, just like in the well-known joke: “with one of our feet we are in the Socialism and with the other one – in the Communism” …So we have been in such a “discomfort” pose for quite a long time. It seems that our desire is to move toward Europe (at least, our enlightened heads are longing for it), but our bodies (our real ways and traditions) stubbornly do not want to follow our brains. And we live and hold discussions just in such an uncomfortable and even indecent pose. In addition to the geographically uncomfortable pose, we are now in some psychological turmoil.
I think that it is senseless to argue on this matter, as it is senseless to try answering these questions from the position of “we”, meanwhile such questions are mostly (and not only) decided by the countries, peoples, states and authorities, but rather … by an individual, individual citizen, mind and spirit, i.e. by “I”. “I” should not hide oneself behind “we,” even more, it is dangerous, because it is “I”’s choice that determines where the country, nation, state will find itself as a result – in Europe or in Asia.
I have to provide some clarifications. In the Europe-Asia contraposition we are guided by the accepted stereotype, insisting that Europe is an enlightened and civilized place, meanwhile Asia is not so much, to put it mildly. Undoubtedly, there are some grounds for such a conclusion, but we should not forget that such a notion has some relativity in itself: Japan with its rich history and modernized present is also Asia. Thus it is rather the system of values that is meant here and that should be taken into consideration, not the geographic location.
Anyway, what does “I” choose in Artsakh, what are we offered, what are we put up with, or what does “I” himself/ herself suggest? I would discuss here only one fragment.
During the years of presidency of the current head of the Karabakh state, the key positions were mostly occupied by the persons, who worked in the force structures. The authorities refuted the existence of such regularity quite a long time, but in the end stopped it and tried finding some justifications to that. Recently one high-ranking official has just given a straightforward comment on the matter. He said that priority is given to such personnel, because they are more disciplined and have a pro-statehood stance, as a rule.
It is said quite definitely, unequivocal, and what is most important, sincerely and without any coquetry. Probably, it is the only positive side of this statement. Why the only one? Because it seems to me that the given statement has been made … from Asia. I would try to explain.
The main factor when any person is assigned is the expectations regarding that person and the tasks that will be put before him. And as far as they speak about the discipline (I would not mention the pro-statehoodness, because the authorities should be blamed for the fact that the Artsakh society started to identify the authority with a state, which has inflicted the most significant damage to the public self-consciousness), then … executors are needed. Not the thinking partners, full of initiative and not hiding themselves behind “we,” but the deaf and dumb executors. It is just these deaf and obedient executors and the need in them that reduces the compatibility of our country. Such a type of people and officials is preferable in the army (although thinking and active people should be welcome in the army as well), but in the civil life this type is absolutely unacceptable and dangerous. It kills any sprout, any thought uproot.
The need in the deaf and obedient people also means that the public accepts “directive” from the above as an axiom that the president, speaker of the parliament and prime-minister, ministers, the highest leadership as a whole are the cleverest people in the country. Meanwhile, there is no civilized country where the high-ranking officials are the most clever people there; and they are not such and must not be, as far as the elections are not held in the Academy of Sciences, but in the multi-level society. However, the authorities know and must know where the cleverest people live, they should prepare the fertile soil for the need in the intellect and creativity. You know, they need it, because they are clever enough. To the contrary, the deaf obedience means that the orders from above will be executed at any cost, because they are the cleverest and correct in advance. And the execution of those orders first needs … switching the brains off. That is a “mutually advantageous” cooperation.
Why is the “mutual advantageousness” put in quotes? Because it is advantageous only for the deaf and obedient. Even not for the authority. The authorities do not understand that having such needs they plunge themselves into a hole. In the end, the deaf obedience is far from being a conscious modesty. No, thousand times no. It is a deliberate selfishness, as far as the deaf obedience means first of all the escape from responsibility. They are not responsible, they just execute the orders. And they have no any desire to take the responsibility.
Do the authorities understand such nuances? Is it possible that they have forgotten the old examples, when after the resignation people would suddenly find themselves in a complete loneliness, because their disciplined and pro-governmental subordinates not only stopped noticing them, but also (what a miracle) started criticizing them. They are not responsible for their own policy, because they only executed orders, i.e. they were unreliable friends and partners. Now they are executing some others’ orders. I cannot forget the surprise of a former official, who kept complaining that not a single “son of a bitch” wants to approach and speak with him. Well, one must reap as one has sown.
So, does your “I” accept such a state of affairs? It is nothing but a display of the Europe-or-Asia dilemma and the vital question that requires an answer from you. Each person decides where he or she is: in Europe or in Asia. It is possible to live in Europe, being Asiatic, in the worst meaning of this word. It is also possible to live in Asia, being a European.
We live in our own country on different continents and even planets. And we have different systems of values, so we have to answer the same question – Europe or Asia – in every step. We are forced to make a choice.
Thus it will depend on our choice, whether orders will be let down on our heads, or we will asked to express our opinion.