Vartanants on Our Mind

Dr. Berge Minassian, Toronto, 2 March 2011

I think it's a new kind of time…Iranians rebelled against the Shah's oppression and his blatant act as an American puppet. Their revolution somehow evolved into theocracy where they remain today. However, the yearning for freedom burns eternal in peoples' souls, and is bubbling underneath to burst open soon. Similarly, Bolsheviks tried what appeared to be a brilliant and generous idea, communism. But now, it's clear almost everywhere, through the liberal access to information and through the internet, that the only model that makes sense is Democracy. It is a system where one's freedom and rights are respected and protected by the constitution.
 

Dr. Berge Minassian, Toronto, 2 March 2011

I think it's a new kind of time…Iranians rebelled against the Shah's oppression and his blatant act as an American puppet. Their revolution somehow evolved into theocracy where they remain today. However, the yearning for freedom burns eternal in peoples' souls, and is bubbling underneath to burst open soon. Similarly, Bolsheviks tried what appeared to be a brilliant and generous idea, communism. But now, it's clear almost everywhere, through the liberal access to information and through the internet, that the only model that makes sense is Democracy. It is a system where one's freedom and rights are respected and protected by the constitution.
 

The events in the Middle East are showing us the power of the wish, the need to be free, especially to be free of fear. No one saw this coming, otherwise Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton would not have played such gracious hosts to nitwit Ghadhafi just over a year ago.

I remember sitting one night on the beach in Lebanon with my girlfriend (my wife now) when Phalangist militiamen accosted us and gave us a hard time. Thankfully, it was nothing serious, but I recall my legs shook in fear at what they might have done. I remember my saintly father standing in line for bread, and some young thug with a gun pushing him out of the queue just for the heck of it. And we had to remain silent. All this in the free-est country in the Middle East, albeit during a civil war.

In Armenia today you cross a kleptocrat or a distant relative of one twice removed, and God help you. One of our doctor trainees, a superb young man, was sitting with us at a Yerevan cafe when his boss came by, surrounded by thick-necked mafiosi style retards, and this eminent future-of-our-nation had to jump to his feet and kowtow to the grand crook.

Why should it be so, and for how long? Are we to wait as long as the Egyptians and Libyans had to wait?

I am cognizant of the dangers of revolution, but I am just so frustrated. We deserve so much better. Our grandmothers walked the desert, we survived genocide, we thrived under Bolshevik totalitarianism. I just hate to see what fellow Armenians are doing to us.

Tomorrow is Vartanants. Our people may be the only nation that celebrates a defeat for 1,500 years! That is because we chose to be free then, and that is what we are celebrating tomorrow.
 

9 comments
  1. About Vartanantz

    Every year we celebrate this momentous historical event of Vartanantz. We are proud of our defeat  and our survival.

    Many years ago I had read an analysis of this  confrontation from strictly military point of view. The article was written by an American -Armenian colonel. According to studies and historical documents available at that time we were terrible in military tactics.

    The Armenians were at a higher ground than the Avarair, thus looking down on Persian forces who were not aware that Armenian forces were so close.

    They prepare for war for the next day and in order to overcome the Armenians they relax to recuperate the long march they had.

    It is known that Armenians prayed the whole night …..here is the crux of the matter….As Persians were not aware of the proximity of Armenian forces above and they were sleeping with few sentinels, had the Armenians , instead of praying the whole night , had come down upon them and surprised them sleeping the military victory would be ours…..One more time we were factual victims of religion, however we like to call it a victory

    Probably  whoever wrote our history of that time was thinking   of  "airatz serdi    k……mekhitarank"

    1. Vartanants in my View

      As far as I understand, when we celebrate Vartanants War, we do not celebrate our defeat in the battle of Avarayr per se to the exclusion of the outcome of the war.

      The battle of Avarayr was the major confrontation of a protracted war that continued for at least three more decades and ended up in the treaty of Nuwarsak that assured the Armenians the right to worship their religion – Christianity – having the Persians not only concede to them those rights but also have them remove their temples from Armenia. In essence the reason Armenia’s military confrontation with its archenemy started was resolved in favor of the Armenians.
       
      As far as I understand, the mass that the Armenian church performed on Thursday, March 3 was in celebration of securing those rights and in commemoration of those who died to secure our rights, notable among them the commander of the Armenian forces, Vartan Mamikonian in whose honor the protracted military confrontation came to be known as the Vartanants war. 
    2. Vartanants continued

      Serj,
       
      I forgot to convey for clarification the following as well, as I understand and know of Armenian History.
       
      The first mass performed in the Armenian Church regarding the resolution of Armenia’s long military confrontation with the Persians to secure their right to worship according to their own beliefs was in the Cathedral of Dvin after the signing of the peace treaty now known as the Treaty of Nuwarsak. The celebratory mass in the Cathedral was attended by the Catholicos of the day. The Armenian Church continues this celebratory mass (badarak) to this day.
       
      Historians, for all I know, do not let us know of any continued mass performed in the Armenian church after the defeat in the battle of Avarayr in 451 and before the Treaty of Nuwarsak that was signed in 484.
       
      2011 minus 451, 1560 (1559?) years have come and gone since the Battle of Avarayr. However, the celebratory mass in the Armenian Church has been held 2011 minus 484 for 1527 (1526?) years.
       
      Serj, you may shed more light and clarification regarding as to why and for how long the Armenian Church has been celebrating and also commemorating one of the most important military confrontations in the Armenian history to safeguard their rights to pursue their religion, now known as the Vartanants War.
        
      1. Vartanantz re dux
        Vahe,

        The point made by the Armenian-American colonel is analyzed from a military tactical point of view. The question is not how long the religious ceremonies have been taking place thru that time. The question is why Armenians did not attack Persians while they had the upper hand, because they were busy praying for a victory  the next morning. Had they attacked, most probably they would have decimated the sleeping Persians. It would have been one defeat less for us. What would have happened afterwards is anybody’s guess.
  2. Nice article Dr. Berge

    Nice article Dr. Berge, eloquently put. I wonder if you remember the name of the cafe you mentioned, perhaps it’s one I visit too.

  3. Vartanants

    Everybody, don’t forget to teach your children and grandchildren, wherever they are, to keep saying:

    Hayem yes, Hayem yes, kaj Vartanin torn em yes.

  4. Dr. Berge Minassian, Վարդանանց պատերազմը

    Հարգելի Պերճ,

    Սովորեք ճիշտ գնահատել պատմությունը: Վարդանանց պատերազմը հաղթություն բերեց Հայոց: 66000 հայ մարտիկներ այնպիսի ջարդ տվեցին  250,000–անոց պարսկական բանակին, որ շահն ինքը դիմեց հայերին իր մարդկանց չվոչնչացնել Հայաստանում ու համաձայնվեց ճանաչել Հայաստանի անկախությունը:

    Հետագայում Հայոց ամենամեծ թշնամին , ջհուդների գործիք «եկեղեցին», սպանեց Հայաստանի տաշանդավոր ղեկավարներին Հայաստանը ոչնչացնելու իր ծրագրով:

    Եղեք ուշիմ:

  5. I am not a history  or military expert

    I am not a history  or military expert; but what I recall, during the middle ages military actions started by daybreak. If there was no full eclipse of the moon nobody could have moved without being noticed by the enemy. Whatever mistakes Armenians have made that day we still owe them what we have and are now.

    Most of you writing on this blog have a copy of Asdvadzashounch or The Bible in multiple languages or editions; unfortunately very few of you have Khorenatsi’s Hayotz Badmoutyoun under your pillow.

    I mentioned only Khorenatsi; the list is longer. If Khorenatsi’s historical facts were wrong so were The Bible’s or Koraan’s.

     

  6. The Battle and the War

    It is wrong to think that the Armenians have been celebrating a self-serving moral victory of a lost war when commemorating Vartanants. 

    Vartanants is not the lost Battle of Avarayr (Ավարայրիճակատամարտ). The Battle that took place on the plains of Avarayr is mostly agreed to have taken place on May 26, 451, was the start of the protracted war that ended with the signing of the Treaty of Nuwarsak in 484. The Treaty assured the rights of the Armenians to worship their religion according to Christian rites and to have the fire altars removed. Those were the very objectives for the initiation of the war we call Vartanants War in honor of the commander of the Battle of Avarayr.

    The first mass was performed in the Cathedral of Dvin after the signing of the Treaty and after having achieved the objectives of the war and not after the Battle of Avarayr in a misguided attempt to console military loss as a moral victory.

     

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