By: Janet Shamilian
Is it acceptable that Arsen Galstyan represented Russia over Armenia?
On July 28, 2012, judoka Arsen Galstyan won the gold medal for Russia, securing the country’s first gold medal in judo after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This victory came within 41 short seconds into the final, a clear manifestation of Galstyan’s unparalleled talent in the men’s 60-kilogram weight class. Born in Armenia during the time of the Soviet Union, Galstyan stated, “I flew to London only for the gold and I’ve achieved my goal. What’s my next target? The next Olympics.” True Armenian confidence!
What should we make of Galstyan representing Russia instead of Armenia? This was a topic of debate within the Armenian community immediately following Galstyan’s monumental triumph. Undeniably, it would have been incredible if Galstyan represented Armenia. A gold medal for our homeland. However, just because he did not represent Armenia does not make him less of an Armenian. It surely does not give any members of the Armenian community any basis to deplore his achievement for Russia. This dissatisfying viewpoint does not allow one to appreciate the true magnitude of Galstyan’s success. After all, Galstyan, an Armenian was first to open Russia’s medal bank.
At the age of seven, Galstyan moved with his family to Giaginskaya, Adygea in Russia. Joining the Armenian diaspora, Galstyan was raised in Russia. Factoring that the country has better resources and supported Galstyan in his quest, it is understandable why he would represent the country that provided him with the adequate materials and means to such an accomplishment. Perhaps if he did not have the experiences and fortunes in Russia, he would have never been as exercised and ready to compete in the Olympics. For this, it is vital for him and other athletes to resort to means that will allow nourishment and growth towards their full potential. Instead of ostracizing him, we have to applaud his dedication and his vehement drive. His representation of Russia does not make Galstyan any less Armenian. Branching off this argument, the near seven million Armenians in the diaspora would have to be considered “less Armenian” since we are, indirectly, representing the country we have immigrated to every single day. If a diasporan Armenian succeeds in another country, then Armenians as a whole have succeeded. This power of unification is what we need within our community. We should rejoice over the fact that his talent has been recognized internationally. An ARMENIAN’s talent has been renowned.
This seeps into the importance of unification for Armenians all across the world. We should collectively be proud of him. Just because he did not win the gold medal for Armenia does not mean that merit is not extended to our country. He represented Armenia and Russia in his Olympic success. This is a victory for the Armenian diaspora and our Armenian nation.
Congratulations Arsen Galstyan! From all Armenians – you have made us incredibly proud. The glistening gold of your medal reflects your golden people. Thank you.
By: Zara Hovasapyan
The world’s oldest shoe (5,500 years old!) was discovered in Armenia. The shoe was very well preserved like a “sort of a Pompeii moment without burning.” In 79 AD, Pompeii was partially buried and preserved after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii, one of Italy’s prime tourist attractions, is near the city of Naples. The world’s best pizza can be tasted in Naples, where pizza was invented. Pizza first arrived to the United States from an influx of Italian immigrants coming to the United States in the 19th century. Immigration to the United States became commonplace and thus emerged the notion of a “melting pot.” Canada prefers the term “cultural mosaic” to describe its integrative system. Though a commonwealth of the United Kingdom, Canada, namely Eastern Canada, is influenced greatly by French Culture. French colonialism reached a cultural peak when they imposed their rule in Africa. Ethiopia, one of the few Christian countries in Africa, falls under the umbrella of Oriental Orthodoxy. There are six Oriental Orthodox churches. The Armenian Apostolic Church is one of the six. Frequently, the Armenian Apostolic Church is mistakenly believed to be part of Eastern Orthodox. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches broke apart in 1054 in an event known as the Great Schism. The Catholic Church was centered in Rome and the Eastern Orthodox Church established itself in Constantinople. Many Armenians lived in Constantinople and other parts of modern-day Turkey. Historically, Eastern Turkey has been Western Armenia. After the horrific events of the early 20th century (the Armenian Genocide), the surviving Armenians found a safer home across the world. South America welcomed Armenians in countries like Uruguay and Argentina. The tango originated in Argentina and Uruguay. The tango is one of the dances in Dancing with the Stars. So far, two half-Armenians have participated. Olympians like Shawn Johnson and Apollo Anton Ono have won the competition. This summer, the 2012 Olympics is hosted by London, England. At the 2008 Olympics, Armenia brought home 6 bronze medals—let’s hope for a bigger victory this year! The End.