We’ll bring the time

by Erik Vardanyan

It is the last days of 2013, everyone was summing up the year, remembering good and bad days of the previous year. By remembering the previous, everyone gets filled with positive feelings, with new wishes and hopes that will come true in the coming year. The festive mood for me was created at the very end of the year. I also felt new expectations as everybody, set new destinations which should be reached in 2014. According to my nature universal needs – the fight against hunger and poverty, the wish for peace – are more important for me than my personal wishes. Fortunately there’re many people who can see that in me, for which I’m very happy.

And because my country is in a state of a cease-fire, first of all, I want the whole world to be in peace in the New Year. I want blood not to drip into it, I want no child to cry, I want no child to say those words the dying Syrian child said, “I’ll complain to God about you, I’ll tell everything about you”. Every time I think about this devil’s war, I wonder “Why can’t we live without it, in peace as we used too?”

***

There were many times when I asked my grandma and granddad about Azerbaijanis and Turks. And any time the answer was the same, “They’re people like we, they’re living, working and studying”. The answer was so clear, and I never asked them about the cause of the war. I only know what I studied from my book of history at school. But there is a fact which can disagree with that – we can live together under a peaceful sky. I know many cases when Armenians, Turks and Azerbaijanis live near each other in peace for a long time. A few days ago that list grew bigger with one more fact when one of my friends added a video in Facebook about the village Mirzoevka in Georgia where more than 1 century Armenians, Assyrian, Azerbaijanis, Georgians and Greeks live near each other. And the local Armenian school is visited by Azerbaijanis as well; they are studying Armenian and in fact Armenian is their mother language. There are many unbelievable examples like this one, when Armenians and Azerbaijanis live together and help each other when it’s necessary.

***

When I was a little child, the word “turk” was associated with the word “vandal”, in spite of the fact that I had never seen any anti-Turkish movements neither at home, nor at school. The picture changed when our dance ensemble went to Turkey for tours in 2008. At the hotel where we were staying, there were also other groups of participants from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland and so on. From the beginning, the communication between Azerbaijanis and us was impossible, not for the reason that it was not allowed, but for the reason that both they and we had false apprehension about each other. With Turks the picture was different as they were hosts; they first approached us and purposed their help in any problem.

Of course it confused my friends and me, but the ice was going to melt. Very often at breakfast we gathered together around the same table and tried to communicate in half-Russian or half-English. And this was a great achievement for a 13-year-old boy. To communicate with people whom you consider to be vandals from the day of your birth and to accept them as friends? Perfect!

But the communication with Azerbaijanis began in the end, and it’s a pity for both of us (in any case, it’s my own opinion). We had been doing rehearsals for already two days of the Festival. We were going to present one contemporary dance, apart from the national one. We began our national dance under the music of duduk, zurna and dhol. It is no secret that for a lot of reasons the ownership of duduk is disputed. I think the behavior of Azerbaijanis was because of that during our national dance. They left during our national dance and returned when we finished which I can’t say about our contemporary dance. The song of our dance was “Qele-qele” which was popular in Europe from the Eurovision Song Contest at that time. During that dance everyone regardless of nationality and age, was applauding, singing and dancing with us. It was after the first dance, when an Azerbaijani boy by the name Abdul approached me and said, “You know, you rocked it!”

After that we began greeting every time we saw each other, and even talking to each other. While talking, we forgot about everything – about war, about nationality, and even about the fact that we were hardly able to explain what we wanted to say. On the day of the festival, we went to the place of the contest in 2 buses. It was very funny in the bus. All of us were singing our national songs, without any conflicts. Finally the festival begun. During the performance of the Azerbaijanis, we were preparing, but it was very interesting to know how they had danced because during the rehearsals they were dancing quite well. The turn was ours. The first one was our contemporary dance, then the second one was the national dance. Those were magic moments on the stage. It was the first time I was having a performance for a foreign audience. I remember all of that as one instant, but there is a moment which seems to be immortal. At the end of the performance, when we shouted “Heee” as it usual is in our national dances, and I noticed Abdul standing not so far from the stage; he was applauding and shouting “Молодцы” [meaning, “Well done!”]. Remembering that moment, I miss them, but…

Any time remembering him, I’m getting nervous and ask myself, “Why can’t we live in peace, together, because in the end, all we want is just that!” I know that the time is near, when in our relations and in history there will be no dirty diplomatic games, the day will come, when we’ll live in peace… I know, because we’ll bring those times ourselves.

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