02, 2009

Speech by President Serzh Sargsyan on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Hovhannes Toumanian

album picture
Dear Compatriots,

Today we celebrate the 140th birth anniversary of, as we all love to say, the All-Armenian poet. Jubilees of our greats are not only an exceptional occasion to remember them and pay tribute but also to reckon over their works and accomplishments, to find a new meaning in their patriotic ideas and legacy.

In this regard, Hovhannes Toumanian is an extraordinary phenomenon in our literature as well as in our social and political life.

I strongly believe that each generation of Armenians must not only read Toumanian and enjoy his literary genius but also learn from a man whose life is an example of the unconditional dedication to his own country and his own people, the example of sharing the pains of his country and of his people, and the example of finding cure for that pain. Such examples are contagious and every generation, particularly those Armenians growing now in Armenia and in the Diaspora, do need that kind of example.

Today is also Vardanants Day, and it is an interesting coincidence. I congratulate all of us on this occasion. Vardan’s and his army’s heroism and demeanor have also been encouraging our rising generations as a vivid example of placing national identity and freedom higher than life itself. Vardan and his army and their followers, Hovhannes Toumanian and his followers are the moral, spiritual and may be also political values of the modern as well as the future Armenia. The higher standards simply do not exist.

Toumanian shows us vigorous patriotism on one hand and pronounced respect toward other nations and their values on the other. On one hand we observe courage, personal valor, composure which excludes panic in the most extreme situations, and self-possession and love for peace on the other. It is not a coincidence that on different issues – literary, cultural, or political - whenever there was a need for an envoy or a negotiator, the Poet was the choice. He was revered by everyone and the main reason for that was his ability to conduct a dialogue with great wisdom and insight, whether his interlocutor was a Georgian intellectual, a Russian tsar’s official, a Moslem herdsman, a Bolshevik revolutionist, a member of the Armenian Government, or a simple Lori villager.

A look back into the depth of times reveals today that due to his political open-mindedness, Toumanian was standing out among his contemporaries. His confidence in our peoples’ inner abilities and in Armenia’s future was boundless and unwavering. His shining optimism was a source of vital strength for those who had weakened in their faith, and those whose hope had diminished. In 1915, and I invite your attention to that date, in 1915 at the most tragic time for the Armenian people, he was referring to this country as

The Land of Hope!

The Land of Light!

He stands in striking contrast with those who live and act today, and who are hundred times smaller than Toumanian, the so-called politicians who will lose no chance to damn their own young Republic, their own state.

Along with his contemporaries, Toumanian had lived also through the tragedy of the intellectual with no state, when at times he was forced to single-handedly to carry out the work of government structures and entire ministries. Certainly, it was not the most efficient way of serving the needs of the nation but the destiny left no choice for Toumanian and his contemporaries. The most efficient and the highest mode of organizing people is the establishment of the state and today it is the Armenian state that has taken over that mission and the resolution of all existing problems.

Dear Compatriots,

One year ago on this day, February 19, I was elected President of Armenia. My presence here today is symbolic. I consider it to be my duty to work and to make the entire state machine work in a way so that we all together can bring the day when we will call the Armenia of Hovhanness Toumanian’s dream and our dream

My New Motherland!

The Great Motherland!

← Back to list