By Nane Sevunts

Once upon a time there was an Armenian king. He had a beautiful daughter and he wanted to give her in marriage. A lot of princes wanted to be her husband but she said she would marry the one who would grow flowers from the seeds she gave them. The princes took the seeds and went away. After a year they came to the palace with beautiful flowers. Only one guy brought a flowerpot without any plants. The princess approached him and said “You are my chosen one. I have given thoroughly boiled seeds that could not give life to a flower.”

The Legend of the Honest Prince

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We all make choices. Choices that affect our lives but we make those choices when we are ready for them…

It seems life goes smoothly. I am here in Yerevan, the capital of ancient Armenia. I feel the lightness in the air and trees and the grass seems the greenest. The people are smiling and there is hope in their eyes. Hope for goodness… Hope that newness will come…

People are hopeful for the better but the space is full of anoroshutiun (uncertainty). After the political turmoil in the country we are waiting… We are waiting for the good to win… We are waiting for the evil to vanish….

Have you seen the start of a storm when the angry waves move in the middle of the sea and come and crash on heavy rocks? Waves that want to transform… Waves that will destroy anything on their way… That want to get out…

We were like that… The wave of revolution was like a storm in the ocean. Unprecedented energy that burst out. Years of lies, years of corruption and hatred accumulated in one single balloon that exploded because there was no more space for hatred. The waves cleaned out the lie, and a space for newness was created.

The sea calmed down. The waves relaxed and a phase of waiting started… We are waiting for the Newness to take shape. The energy of calmer waves is softer and we don’t see the results yet. And this makes us wonder. Are we going to build the country after creating the space?

Right now, we are in uncertainty. Everything, starting from employers, businesses and investors, is taking shape. We don’t know whether the new forces will be able to hold up against the Old. We don’t know whether we will manage to be firm in our beliefs and in our identity.

Everything, starting from voting to fair business, is in the air. It all needs a test.

We have a lot to be concerned about. We are concerned about the voter that sells votes for a candy bar. We are concerned about a shopkeeper who does not want to give change. We are concerned about the OLD GUY, the guy that is used to making money on the side.

The corruption is heavily rooted in the Soviet era. We need a shift in our way of thinking. Will it happen to a fifty-year-old guy who does not see the problem of selling an official document? Will it  happen to the traffic policeman who believes that taking money for a driving infraction is the right thing to do. Will it happen to the woman who believes that selling votes is okay?

We are going through a transition from old relations to something that has no name. I am afraid for the people in the country who will be astonished. 

We need new institutions, a fair judiciary, tax relief, pro-business policies, pro-investment legislation.

The wave of revolution has been sweeping, sweeping away everything that was old. It has been sweeping away old relations, the old mentality, and given me the right to dream, to dream of a country that…

Has no people below the poverty line

Has an outstanding education system

Has a strong army that no enemy can defeat

Has a healthy economy where people invest and harvest ripe fruits

Has fair taxation

Old age with dignity

Happy youth

Prosperous business

And fair governors.

I dream of this country and know that it will become a reality one day. I dream of the day when I will feel good about being a citizen of Armenia. I dream of relations where there is no cheating and hatred, where people live side by side and are good to each other.

I know that we have a long way to go… I know that there are internal and external forces that have their interests. I am aware of that. But I also know that I am a representative of a nation that has survived a lot of troublesome times. A nation that has been killed and repressed. A nation that nonetheless had the courage to go down a new path.

We will overcome the phase of uncertainty and will build the New World. A world where people work and share and prosper. A world where honesty is the highest virtue. A world where there is a place for compassion and love.

We have a long way to go until we get the country of our dreams. If you don’t achieve your goals, it means you still have a ways to go. It will not be easy… But it will eventually happen…

Nane Sevunts