Wednesday, September 9, 2009

News reached the Armenian communities of the world that the Israeli government had decided to deport two seminarians from the Armenian monastery in Jerusalem for getting into a brawl with Jews who had spat on them during a procession to the Holy Sepulcher. This reminded me of the general atmosphere in Jerusalem, at least the atmosphere that reigned in 1984, when I stayed and studied at the monastery for several months. Although supposedly a city of brotherly love, representatives of the different religions were constantly at each other’s throats. One day Armenian deacons placed bats and pieces of wood in their boots before leaving on a procession, due to the possibility that day of something happening similar to what happened recently to the Armenian seminarians.

Also, in 1984, during a procession from the Armenian monastery to the Holy Sepulcher, the same thing happened to us...fundamental Jews spat on the seminarians. Luckily, Israeli police stepped between the Jews and the Armenians, preventing a scene that would no doubt have been the same as the recent altercation.

Due to the politics of the world, this event won’t make world headlines, as the destruction of Armenian khachkars by the Azeris was similarly barely mentioned in world press. One wonders if a filmmaker’s opinion was right when he said that “The Armenian army should have entered Nakhichevan when the Azeris started bulldozing our khachkars. If they knew we weren’t such cowards, and were going to fight for what’s ours, they wouldn’t have done this. If we were destroying Azeri monuments in Armenia, not that there are any, they wouldn’t have sat still like we did. We need to learn from the Turks, and be a little barbaric like them.”


Martin said...

You spent some time in the monestary?
Now that I would like to read about.

Andranik Michaelian said...

There is too much to tell. For now, all I can say is that I was lucky to meet and study under Patriarch Yeghishe Derderian, last of the old school patriarchs, a poet and patriot who lived on bread and onions during the difficult times of various Israeli/Arab upheavals in the 1940s and otherwise.

Michael said...

Many of us would love to hear more about this some time if you'd care to write about it.

Andranik Michaelian said...

I'd love to write more about it. I'll do that when I return to Armenia, in late November.