Population Plight

This summer the 9th Pan-Homenetmen Games took me to Armenia, where I participated in a structured and competitive tournament for the first time in my life. Surrounded by over 650 of my brothers and sisters from 18 countries across 6 continents, it was an incredible environment like no other. It’s worth noting that the level of organisation was highly commendable considering the overwhelming quantity of considerations required in order to realise the Games.

Events such as this not only bring Armenians together but, furthermore, they bring Armenians back home. It’s a reality whose significance should not be overlooked – we all hunger for our Fatherland, and so to greet it in the midst of competition, sportsmanship and brotherhood is the framework for an unforgettable experience. It’s true that in a sport there can be technically only one winner, but for Diasporan Armenians under Homenetmen’s flag it’s safe to say everybody felt a winner just being immersed in it. It is this feeling that embodies the purpose of the Games and, more widely, Homenetmen’s very existence as a whole: it serves to keep us Armenian; it serves to keep us connected to one another and to our homeland.

Though not my first time in Armenia, on this occasion my eyes were opened to something I’d been hearing in the media for a while but perhaps had refused to believe – or that I refused to believe quite the severity of the situation. An alarming amount of residents there wish, dream and are even in active pursuit of emigrating.

The number of taxi drivers, waiters and other locals with whom I got into discussions about my dream of repatriating someday who in turn told me they seek to get out was truly astounding. Yes the country is barely in its twenties and is suffering from many post-Soviet issues, but it saddens me hugely to know that there are so many people there who despise the living conditions so much and find hope for improvement to be pointless. The bells of those reports of Armenians emigrating from Armenia at a worrying rate finally rang deafeningly loudly in my head.

It’s been said many times before that Armenia needs our help. As we hunger for our Fatherland, it hungers equally for our assistance. This need not necessarily be financial: we can help in the capacity of our individual professions, through new business ventures, offering training or mentoring… anything that can help improve the circumstances of our compatriots who live, breathe and subsequently, by being physically present there, defend our lands: the lands we are infinitely proud to call ours.

It really is make or break time – now is the time for us all to think of how we can assist. Failure to materialise our hopes for Armenia’s prosperity in all likelihood spells the decline of our country’s population, and with it its wealth, appeal, brilliance and security. Imagine for a moment if Armenia literally cannot support the next event like the Pan-Homenetmen Games…

— Heros Jojaghaian

Since writing this article the ARF-D in Armenia has launched an anti-emigration campaign it calls “We Will Live In Our Country”. It is willing to cooperate with all parties in implementing this program. Read more → 

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