Our Roots Are Our Histories

The need for national unity as the main formula for the successful historical development of an independent Armenian state and statehood is quite significant.

Why is a Day of National Identity a thing now? It should have not only gained state status long ago but also be the primary Armenian national holiday.

After all, one such state-initiated holiday of “roots” is capable of playing a much stronger rallying role than any calls for unity or intellectual reasoning.

“I absolutely agree that we should celebrate the 4500th anniversary of Nahapet Hayk’s victory over Bel at the state level,” Ashot Melkonyan, the director of the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, thinks, “The Azerbaijanis write nonsense and fake, distorting history in their own interests, but we for some reason do not want to voice and present the world with what we have, preferring to remain silent about our roots. Why? Because we are afraid of a “nationalists’” label.”

If in the Soviet era the battle between Hayk and Bel on the shore of Lake Van in around 2492 BC was considered a myth, today, the latest discoveries of Armenian archaeologists, historians, and linguists might be able to prove its reality. ( See more about this: Genetic evidence for an origin of the Armenians from Bronze Age mixing of multiple populations )

There is no doubt that a civilization was established on the territory of the Armenian Highlands about 5000 years ago. It could function only in the presence of statehood. “Today, we are talking not about a myth but about historical truth,” Melkonyan said.

Of course, despite Movses Khorenatsi’s strong base of historical sources, the battle and victory of Hayk over Bel are not devoid of mythological elements, but in general, its historicity is proved.

For Armenians, it is extremely important to determine the starting point of the Armenian statehood at the official level.

“Our roots are our ancient history, and we should not hide them out of fear of being branded nationalists. As for Navasard being celebrated on August 11, it is logical that our ancestors considered the culmination of the harvest period to be the starting point of a new year.

At the beginning of a year, you harvest a crop that you will use during that year. Moreover, I am convinced that we, again, at the state level, should return the Armenian pagan holidays to the people. They are a part of history and national identity.

In its foundations, the Christian faith has many pagan elements. Khorenatsi also wrote about that. So why should we abandon them?”

Another question that, at first glance, may seem ridiculous and even absurd, is the origin of the word Armenia.

“I asked this question in my book on Mount Ararat,” Melkonyan said, “In Indo-European languages, “man” (or “men”) generally means “human”, and Armenia is a country of people of the so-called Aryan race.

In fact, the whole world calls us Armens, that is, Aryans, but since the “Aryan” is a word that evokes associations with Nazism, it’s not that worth talking about it. In the 19th century, anthropologists have already had the concept of “Armenoids” as a subtype of the Caucasian race with certain characteristic features.

The term “Armenoid” denotes not only a human subtype but nationality as well. Some authors even replace that term with “Asia Minor human type”. As you can see, the new name no longer has a name of an ethnos.”

Globalism dictates its rules. Today, there is nothing worse than being known as a nationalist. A river should merge into the sea and forget about its origins – an approach imposed on us by the West.  Today, the notion of “common humanity” is much more welcome than “national property”. But is that the right way?

“Scientists find, for example, the oldest shoes on the territory of Armenia, recognize that they are indeed the oldest, but God forbid anyone to even hint that they are Armenian,” Melkonyan notes, “It just becomes a “common human asset found in the territory of Armenia.” If any scientist talks about the nationality of the find, he or she won’t receive any grants.

I created an electronic textbook on the history of the Armenian people for the AGBU, and it interested our French colleagues. Some of them noted that despite the obvious merit of the textbook, the author approaches many issues from the standpoint of nationalism. Why did they think so? It turned out that it would be wrong to write “the enemy launched an offensive against Zeytun“, we must write “the opponent”.

They said you cannot write that the Turks had been enemies. A human cannot be an enemy to another human. As for the Armenian Genocide and telling about the atrocities of the Turkish government, it turns out, it was first necessary to write about those Turks who saved the Armenians and only then about those who committed the massacres.

Of course, I refused to accept the terms and change the text, and the French refused to buy the program. This happens all the time, and in the context of globalization, it is increasingly difficult to preserve our roots. This once again proves that a holiday like a Day of National Identity is needed for us like fresh air…”

Zara Gevorgyan – Historical information

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