Self-interview – monologue
According to his profession Gagik Karapetyan is a manual-physiotherapist. Born in Gyumri, educated in Yerevan and then in Moscow, he worked in Russia, France, Mexico, US, Dubai, now he works and lives in Yerevan
He is the author of numerous articles and a participant of radio and TV programs. His poem “The Hell” devoted to the victims of December 7 1988 earthquake performed by honored actor Vladimir Abajyan was included in the ‘’Gold Fund’ of the national radio. A shocking picture of a human destiny is the author’s another story “Gugo”, a reflection of destructive events of December 1988, a story “A Meeting” and others.
“Love and Riot’’ collection is the author’s fragile and sensitive inner world expression of his lyrics; mild and dreaming.
The patients. including outstanding scholars from Armenia and Armenian societies from abroad, write about him with endless gratitude and acclaim. ‘The heeling poet” Aramais Sahakyan named him like that.
‘’Where have your hands found such strength, tightness, energy and mind. It seems your hands can think, speak, feel and heel.”, writes Ruben Terteryan.
“Doctor-Artist Gagik Karapetyan is a really extraordinary phenomenon in our society. He decorates our life by his existence, his knowledge, and his skills. By his devotedness he feels and cures our people’s pain, and as a reward he gets the people’s blessing on implementing their wishes.(Verjine Svazyan)
The presented self-interview – monologue is the author’s speculations with anxiety about his birthplace Gumri, current morals and manners of Armenian society, reality and future.
Perspired all over I jumped out of sleep: a familiar fear covered my body – which time the same man died in my arms. But why, for 23 years I have been dreaming about the same thing, and always at the end of November, nearing the 7th of December. Is it by some order? After all, so many people had died in my arms in those days…
Why the same nameless face has been branded in my brain folds and by no means is driven away, after even 23 years. Why the fear comes over me? Why, during the earthquake I was the most unshakeable rescuer and I took, now seeming horrible to me, decisions: to save this or that seeking for help stranger.
I got up at midnight, took a sip of water recalling my granny’s words “Give a kid a mouthful of cold water, he is scared”. My grandma had an experience of such nightmarish emotional states, and she talked out of her head saying “Don’t know before the shake it was or after…”, and we laughed as she mixed up the events and our names.
And now when we have grown up
When rise or sit or laugh
While telling something to our children
We silently contemplate
Before the shake or after?
The earthquake in Van like a cold shower, refreshed our memories and took our minds to the deadly terrifying days of December 7,1988. The visions, the startled eyes of people , psychological stresses, grief and wailing are the same. People all over the world express their feelings in the same way, but each person tolerates the consequences of calamity uniquely. I got a lot of inquiry-letters on the Face book in those days, our people were very anxious, and frightened of 7.3 magnitude, our share was 3-5 magnitude tremors. One of the newspaper editors asked “Mr. Karapetyan, does the earthquake affect the humans’ health?” – Yes, it does. After it the earth loses the power of gravity for a long time due to which the human body can hardly recover, the tremors disrupt the vestibular apparatus of the human causing sickness, dizziness, loss of coordination, then the body is covered by perspiration of fear, then starts the depression. The person is taken aback, even not realizing what is going on underneath the earth. I have described this phenomenon in my poem “The Hell’’, and this part was acclaimed as the best description at the Paris literary conference and was translated into 5 languages.
Suddenly and unnoticeably
Dark black clouds came down and down
Piling up on the forehead of the bright town
And the black wind touched the cloud
Black-winged cloud brought and spread
A certain sickness….
. And the ground cracked with tears and sobbed
With fierce sound howled a horrible shudder
With gurgle black manna seemed to boil
The earth rose wave after wave
With great noise going forward
And coming back
Cleared and destroyed
Myriads of dreams
The town’s pupil widened in horror
The heart gave a crack…
Moreover, human’s health gets more” baffled” when one already undergoes psychological horror and the loss of material values. At one of the scientific conferences the doctor in Chief of Gumri Maternity hospital Felix Grigoryan mentioned that the scientific researches 10 years after the earthquake have shown that the majority of children are born with low intelligence. These are the consequences of diseases derived from great disasters.
Today, serious health consequences have been reported after a terrible earthquake in Japan, too. According to scientific researches, the Spitak earthquake was the first to have diverse tremors in quantity, and we again boast, that we were the first at least in the matter of disasters, just as people argued about the 1915 genocide: some said 1.5 million Armenians were murdered, others said – no 2 millions, the third said – 3 millions and so on … the more the better… They put to shame a whole nation… because to be massacred is a very bad thing.
Is it possible to bring up generations with the psychology of victims, fear, hatred, vengeance? According to energy medicine rules these feelings remain for a long time in human’s sub- consciousness causing this or that kind of diseases, mainly of nervous character which make a person inferior, and feeble.
Plenty of people made happy calls on Face book pages in connection with Van earthquake, felt exultant even being unaware that 90 percent of victims were the Kurds and there might be Armenians as well. But, how do we differ from them? But why, they did the same, and we do just like them?… I cannot write many things, many people are not mature, I am scared. But we are very ancient, civilized, advanced…
Even 23 years afterwards we were unable to create a non-disastrous region out of a disastrous one. One should, certainly, admit that the main streets in Gumri became a bit more beautiful, and just these streets the authorities show to visitors . And what about out of eyes, off places? No authority ever says – let’s go and see the back part of the building. If they pass and see the impassable street-trenches, they will hardly find the way back, such places would not be found even in the most backward countries. But why, we are a nation of builders. But contrary to us those ‘unmerciful” Japanese discovered that no builder in the world could have built such poor quality houses for their nation, a family man would have never built a house to have it fall on the heads of his relatives. Is it possible that a nation of builders would construct such cities, towns, roads? The latter are repaired every year preserving the same holes in the same places. Look attentively at any yard, at haphazard constructions, come in any unmaintained house entrance, and look at flowerless and treeless streets. Everything is littered with dirt, mud and rubbish.
“Shameless” are also the Germans. How could they sit and calculate the amount of aid given to Armenia? The “Spiegel” magazine claimed that if the whole aid given to Armenia had been distributed equally among Armenian families, each family would have received approximately 140-160 thousand soviet rubles. Did you notice, they don’t say to distribute among disastrous families, but each Armenian family, they would have 3-4 storied houses and 4-5 automobiles.
People of Gumri have always been considered hardworking and wealthy, and it was really so – after the disaster the town was robbed, and we, under our noses, did not find our property and money, with which we could have recovered more quickly, and the material compensation – the money – became worthless converted into small change. And then people’s spiritual qualities dispersed and became valueless. After the earthquake great countries offered their help which completely killed people’s hardworking ability, destroyed the economy as it was lawless to use the money of the aid for constructing factories, and the unemployment increased. The plunder started in the country, material values created during the soviets were sold to neighboring countries, and the major role was played by the management of the country in cooperation with the criminal authorities. Values of strategy importance were sold to the Turks, such as gold, colored metals, copper. Having smelled the loot the Turks calmly opened the boarder – the railroad Yerevan – Kars was operating. The people were on the verge, the authorities seemed to enjoy all the curses addressed to them.
The officials together with criminals made billions on people’ blood, and the disastrous zone was abandoned: men left trying to find jobs abroad, women, children and elderly people remained in dingy huts, many of which still exist up to now. Jull Verne said: “Those country hosts who cannot support their elderly people are forever condemned to damnation”. Alexander the Great of Macedonia begged before his death to be buried on the top of the hill with his arms outstretched, as a see to everybody – the lord of the world doesn’t take anything with him from this world. Neither has Saddam Hussein taken, Kaddafi who bought weapons with their own money and poured them on their people’ head.
They say that intelligent people learn on others’ mistakes, but Armenians are different. They should constantly slip and not to learn any lesson and that will go on.
Our country is small; 1.5 million of Armenians remain in the area. To prevent the corruption a lot of money has been invested. All in vain. In any kindergarten it is known who is engaged in the corruption, how much material values are taken from the country to Switzerland and so on. If we do not know it, or know it not for certain, the most powerful secret service knows, believe me.
As to the poorest region of Shirak, I must say, that not having home is a very bad thing, and the psychology of such people is different, on saying “where the ties are cut…” they take risks, and together with their families, leave the country. It is in the nature of Armenians to protest like that: without struggle, silent and offended leave the country. Though, one of my patients in Glendale said “Blessings to Levon Ter-Petrosyan, if we had not escaped from Armenia we would not have become so rich”. Many of my friends left the country, we could not keep them back, but see, years later we justified their deeds –they all have became rich and lead a wealthy life, and even perform charity acts. It is a paradox: a person in his own country cannot become rich- he is not allowed, but he is allowed in other countries, among other nations, because they need talented and hardworking people to make their country flourishing and they really do that; they are not all officials, inspectors or policemen. After the Soviets only these hugely inflated offices did not change, they still increase and will increase and obstruct until incorruptible, their country loving people set things going.
I and others like me will not leave the country, we love our country, the code of our soil and water are in our blood, wherever we go – we are immigrants. Patriotism has a wide meaning. It is not limited by some voracious presidents and authorities, who are passable and oblivious, but the country is eternal. My poem “The Hell” is completed so.
And the light will be, will be
The Light of God for every home
Gumri will speak again Eternally, with the eternal, Eternally…