Monte: “The most important thing is to understand the people and to be one of them”

What follows is an abridged version of an article written by Monte Melkonian’s wife Seda on the anniversary of Monte’s death on June 12, 1993.

Another anniversary of Monte’s passing is upon us and once again I search for some of his messages to share with the public who came to love him.

There are many types of people who love him. Sometimes they shape their histories to correspond to his desires that do not necessarily have anything to do with reality. Moreover, they begin to understand Monte in a way that they believe he should have been.

We must remember one thing – that sometimes our most beloved individuals can sometimes possess things that are not natural or close for us. We will have only corrupted the character when we impart things that aren’t correct.

Monte would have considered such an approach as a slap in the face because it is a lie and a falsehood.

Lately, the focus of our people is set on things that should be at the top of our list of priorities. Those that should be at the top of the scale are fated to being neglected.

About ten days ago I saw yet more evidence of the destruction of Yerevan. They were pictures of the collapse of the Pak Shouka (Covered Market) on Mashtots Street. They were troubling images. We, individuals who long for the Yerevan of old, were so happy regarding the preservation of Mashtots Park.

However, this wheel of the city’s destruction doesn’t seem to want to come to a stop. The pile of 100 year or even 500 year lease permits signed in willy-nilly fashion by Vane Siradeghyan in the 1990s has grown even larger.

Based on what moral right have these sites been granted to private individuals? I cannot say. I only know that many of these private citizens could have purchased private homes or lands, but they fixed their gaze on lands owned by the people and they succeeded in grabbing them. Sadly, the list of such sites is long.

Perhaps our heroes who came out during the Diversity Day march can direct their patriotic marches towards such issues instead?

Monte once stated the following – I never will say that the Armenian people are better than any others. No, such talk is not correct. Such an issue doesn’t even exist. Simply stated, each people possess their characteristics and the type of these characteristics leads to a variety that enriches world humanity. Thus, it’s only natural that you and I and the rest of the Armenians should be tied to our qualities and culture. Our culture is one part of the richness of the humankind in general. We must protect and develop that culture.

Each of us has a duty to demand that we have a proper country and that our youth serve in an army that is well organized and considerate. And remember that ensuring good army conditions is a task not only to be shouldered by a minister. A minister isn’t a miracle worker. If all of us do not work towards this end, if we dolt demand it of the government and don’t raise decent children, those kids will end up serving in the army under terrible conditions, they will try to bully the weak and even kill them. They will have done the enemy’s bidding.

We can solve our problems only if all of us work together.

Monte believed that “the most important thing was to understand the people and to be one of them. Only in this way can you do the right thing for them.”

Having lived with a person who served as an example of such patriotism, it is extremely difficult for me to understand the alleged patriotism we are witnessing today.

I am talking about the patriotism that destroys a historical monument, that turns his fellow countryman out on the street in the name of hollow and lewd personal ambition, and that demolishes the few green spaces and trees that give a bit of fresh air to our city.

We all want to have a beautiful and clean city but while at the same time preserving its character.

Whose interests are served by those high-rise buildings, rife with violations, erected in the earthquake zone? They merely fill the pockets of a few rich individuals.

A person who truly loves the homeland and its people wouldn’t express his patriotism in such a manner. A person who disrespects the will of the people in such a manner isn’t worthy of respect.

And this exoneration from punishment just goes on and on.

Seda Gbranian-Melkonian

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