We Are Our MountainsBy: Albert Ajemian | Posted on: 11.07.2012
By definition, a community centre is a place where people of the same religion, race or organization come together for events or meetings to accomplish a certain goal. In the case of our Armenian community centres, they are places for Armenians of all ages to come together, socialize and share the various aspects of our culture.
We have established strong Armenian community centres across the globe with dedicated volunteers, whose mission is the preservation of our rich history, culture and heritage. Although these centres actively hold many cultural events,one thing that has become a norm is that during the organization of dinner-dances or festivals, different organizations invite artists, who may or may not be from Armenian descent, and whose performances, consciously or subconsciously, turn into shows displaying other languages (Arabic being the most popular of these languages).
In my belief, it is the community centre’s responsibility not to lose sight of its common mission, and to promote, within its walls, events that showcase our heritage, language and culture at all times. It is true that we live in a society in which people communicate in various different languages, and it is a fact that as human beings, each of our musical preferences may be different. However, within the walls of our centres, performances in any other language other than Armenian should not be acceptable. Armenian music is rich, our instruments are unique, and we should find every possible way to portray this correctly, especially to our youth. These events are an opportunity to engage the interest of our youth, and bring them closer to our heritage.
We live in a globalized society and certain boundaries are quickly disappearing. The time is now to bring Armenia into our community centres and introduce our nation’s new and prominent artists at these events. Our youth should experience true Armenian music and not associate dancing to Arabic songs with being Armenian.
Our Diaspora performers should also be active in their “Armenianism” and must promote themselves as Armenian artists. Performing in other languages may be second nature to these artists; however they should refrain from doing so, especially during our community events.
Keep in mind that other cultures do not promote the Armenian language or culture at their events and within their community centres. Why then should we make that exception? We have a mission, and that is to keep our heritage and culture alive, and to pass it onto future generations. After all… «ՄԵՆՔ ԵՆՔ ՄԵՐ ՍԱՐԵՐԸ» (“We are our mountains”).