2016 “Ari Tun” Program: “We have new memories and have new feelings every day”

The “Ari Tun” Program of the RA Ministry of Diaspora continues to gather young Diaspora Armenians in the homeland. Through the program, they learn, see the nature of Armenia and, most importantly, meet each other, become friends and establish sincere and friendly relations that they maintain even when the “Ari Tun” Program ends. Each of the participants understands that the homeland is truly his home and that one day he will pay heed to the call “Ari Tun” (Come Home) and settle in the homeland.

Serli, Shoushan, Jenny and Margarita have traveled to the homeland from Syria and Lebanon. Shoushan and Jenny and their families have already settled in the homeland. When I asked them if they would want to return to Syria after the war ends, they immediately interrupted me before I finished my question and said the following: “We miss Aleppo, but we will always stay here. We will never go back. Armenia is our homeland. We have come to live and study in our homeland and be good Armenians in Armenia.”

Shoushan and Jenny already have close friends, Lebanese-Armenians Serli and Margarita. “True, we don’t know each other well, but we are getting to know each other better through the “Ari Tun” Program every second. There is a famous saying, “if you want to get to know a person, take a trip with him and eat together”. We travel across Armenia and eat together almost every day. We are getting to know each other better every day, and this is helping us establish stronger bonds,” Serli Markarian stated in an interview with Hayern Aysor. “Yes, we have new memories and new feelings every day, but the first thing that connects us is the homeland. We Diaspora Armenians have a different understanding of the homeland. For us Armenians, the homeland is our home, our most beloved place in this world, Ararat and Artsakh. Sometimes we say “Armenian world”. This is a very in-depth formulation,” Margarita Kodjamanian said as she joined the conversation. Living far away from the homeland, she tries to dispel the longing by dancing Armenian dances that she loves the most.

Like most of the members of the Armenian communities in the Near East, the Armenian girls also stand out with their great knowledge of Western Armenian. Armenian is their native language, which they speak fluently and with pleasure. They speak Armenian with the conviction that that is the way it was supposed to be. They say there is only one native language and that the soul and language must communicate in Armenian when they are in the homeland. Shoushan and Jenny already have the luck of living, growing up, receiving an education in the homeland and having opportunities in Armenia. The “Ari Tun” Program also serves as a link that will help them become more strongly attached to the native land.

After the program is over, Serli and Margarita will return to Beirut where they will continue to live and grow up as Armenians within the small homeland that they have created for themselves. “True, we are far away from Armenia, but we feel fully Armenian. We feel the air of Armenia at our Armenian school, our families preserve every national tradition, and we preserve those traditions with pleasure. We know that we are Armenian, that our roots trace back to Armenia, that our forefathers have lived here, and that binds us to be dignified Armenians,” Serli and Margarita mentioned.

As they left for the centuries-old Geghard Monastery after the interview, they promised to pray for the future of their homeland that will eventually gather all Armenians around the world.

Amalya Karapetyan

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