Nominal Landing At Zvartnots Airport

Karen Avetisyan

Journalist, film critique

Perhaps in the most fresh jokes the rabbit walking in the woods for a moment raises his gaze to an eagle which is flying on its back.

The rabbit says,

– Eagle, hey eagle, how are you able to fly upside down like that

The eagle proudly answers with smile

– The situation has changed

The rabbit gets excited and thinks that if that is the case he can walk backwards. And so walking backwards like that he reaches the wolf’s mouth and shouts in disappointment

– But I thought the situation has changed!

And the wolf said before eating it

– The situation is changing above, down here everything is the same.

And no matter how counter-counter-revolutionary we are, we all realize it’s not only the counter-revolutionaries who laugh or reflect on this joke, as it is clear that the vulnerable side of the “new situation” is hence in its superficiality and the populist which struggles in every aspect but who did not lose their relevance, that is to say, the cosmetic side.

And since the populist discourse is mutually beneficial, the “people” do not fall behind the authorities.

The authorities can through a topic on social media, which will be discussed actively and emotionally and create a situation (not a new one) when emotions will replace meaning.

The most recent example is the appeal for renaming Zvartnots Airport, which is regularly circulated in social media.

Recently, everyone talked about and discussed the airport’s name on social networks. This was one of those unique cases that truly everyone did.

And though the RA Ministry of Culture, to the joy of many, gave a negative opinion, it remained that public discussions are continuing, and the ball will eventually appear back in the government’s field sooner or later.

And what decision will the authorities make if the majority of the public wants to place two feet in one shoe, that planes land not in Zvartnots but in Charles Aznavour airport? And that it be supported by Aznavour’s earnings, and the ministry accept it as the majority public opinion?

The people in the cultural field cannot be as competent as in the economic processes of subsidizing the price of transport, and as in the rest of spheres which require precision, the people’s opinion in cultural policy may be whimsical, but not expertly reasoned.

No matter how sweet and respectful the tendency  to name such an important object in the name of Charles is, it remains that, unfortunately, it falls under the same cosmetic and superficial logic.

It is known that the name, like a sponge, absorbs specific accumulative energy and a unique sensory flow which is lost even with a good renaming.

Such examples are numerous, one more evident than the other.

Despite the kind intentions in naming the street after King Vramshapuh, despite the patriarchal character of the king, it continued to be dependent on the above-mentioned energy, i.e. to exist as the street named after a Baku street commissar, Arsen Amiryan.

The Armenification of “Ayrarat” Cinema was neglected and it remained as “Rossia.”

As in everyday thinking, the nice sounding and Armenian word “zrutsaran” will never take on the role of “besedka,” similarly even the great Charles is powerless in changing neither “Kinomoskva” nor “Zvartnots.”

Of course, it is possible to speak about the historical and cultural merits of the “Zvartnots” phenomenon and the need to improve its branding for a long time. You could also talk about the problem in a semiotic and semantic linguistic context, but the problem is much more earthly, primitive, saying that the word is about collective laziness, which brings such compromising suggestions.

We prefer to take an already prepared, wonderful thing and immediately rename it with Charles’ names, and enjoy La Boheme proudly with our legs crossed seated at a cafe, or profess our love towards Charles on social networks, meanwhile not understanding that the respectful thing to do in Charles’ memory would be to create something new, to rethink the old, but never to resort to artificially renaming with cheap adulation.

In the case of renaming it, the carrier of the new name will need to recharge it with energy and information and it will take a long time and a “change of situations” in order for it to make sense to be identified as such. In the short run, it’s almost impossible.

Said conditionally, Erebuni can one day become meaningful as Yerevan, but not, let’s say, “Erebuni” Airport.

So now, regardless of relevance or the dictates of the moment, Zvartnots Airport cannot become “Charles Azavour,” as even Aznavour himself could not even after long years of getting energetic value was unable to become Aznavourian even if he really wanted to.

Karen Avetisyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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