What happened to the media perception after the 2020 war is very difficult to explain. Defeat in war and an uncertain future gave rise to a wave of terrible despair, where hate speech and aggression reached unimaginable levels.
Journalist, publicist Lusine Hovhannisyan, who is also a psychologist by education, notices that we are experiencing serious public trauma without trusting what anyone says. During this crisis of trust, messages of the most disgusting style and content appear on the surface of the media. According to Lusine, the national rudeness shines with all its charm.
Now we seem to be silently waiting for the development of the worst scenarios. You do not know if you should speak, be silent, or even what to say. It seems that nothing is in your hands.
When we lost and the reaction from the very next week was very passive, I thought that it could be explained by a very simple psychological state, denial. Man does not want to perceive that which is terrible (he doesn’t and that’s it) and denies what he has seen.
But in psychology, if denial lasts for more than a month, then the problem switches to the psychiatric field. And now, months later, a situation is formed and emphasized, we immediately deny the bad and horrible news that we have read mere seconds ago.
And we have been living in that denial for seven months already.
Are you crazy? No. Because we soberly understand what we should do in everyday life, for example, we maintain hygiene, we think about money and so on. That is, we are not mentally ill.
Most likely, during the last twenty-five years, people have lived very calmly and no one wanted a fight. Nobody even wants to look at the fight, thinking that the fight is no longer theirs.
The situation was different in the 1990s. The Soviet years were relatively peaceful, we lived from the abstract war, Turkey was a myth for us. But then all our expectations and mythical features condensed and many went to Karabakh to fight voluntarily, thinking that we are all soldiers.
They went to fight wholeheartedly. And they won.
I have been thinking for a long time in recent years. If there is a war, who will be that heartfelt soldier? These children, who live happily in an independent country without imagining what war and statelessness are? Those who want to get rid of isms and think about human happiness and freedom. Why should those children want to go to war? Someone has already fought for them and brought victory.
Why should a child who thinks about human freedoms want to go to war and maybe die? He wants to live.
Moreover, during the last, most difficult days of the war, a high-ranking military man told me that this generation had lived well for so long that it did not want to die. And he brought an example of how during the first Karabakh war 13-14-year-old children were delivering fuel, water and food. No one ran away from the village, even during the most difficult days. In winter, small children loaded oil and food on donkeys with frozen hands and brought them to the positions.
During the Second World War, these children were quickly evacuated to a safer place. Of course, it should be so. But then, the children wanted to come to help, and now they are part of the population to be evacuated.
I have spoken to many people, done interviews, and everyone mentions that our 18-year-old soldiers fought wonderfully.
In other words, the generation that grew up in good and peaceful conditions, which did not want to go to the army to fight (let’s be honest, no boy wants to go to the army, the state conscripts him, goes), fought bravely, was dedicated to his friends, commander. But by and large, what could he do? To fight with a rifle against Bayraktar?
And the next generations will also ask that question.
Is the reason for not being ready the ideology that concealed the reality?
I have tried so much to clear my brain of unnecessary, abstract and beautiful ideas because during this war I was already a mother of a generation of soldiers. I want to free my brain from everything and reach the backbone of what happened to us.
You can be ready to die for the country if you love that country very much. And you love the country only in one case: if you live well there.
When you aren’t holding your breath against injustice, when the court ensures you against unfair court decisions, when the school is taught not by hysterical and rude women but by people you respect and in whose presence it is warm, when you go to the doctor you do not meet someone who chews gum indifferently etc.
I want to speak very clearly, without patriotic references to the sacred land of our ancestors.
These are abstract things because no ancestral hand will protect you from the burning Bayraktar. At that moment, nothing helps. Even God won’t help you if you are a believer.
There is a heavy burden of silence (I do not mean the noise of the media). Many of us were silent during the war because we did not know what to say. We are still silent because we do not know what will happen.
It seems to me that immediately after the war only mentally unburdened and superficial people spoke because it was such a shock and failure that the thinking person lost the ability to speak. It was a stupor with all its depth.
You think that after all, you are the generation that allowed the murder of four thousand children.
And it does not matter that it was not by your order, that you were not the General, the Chief of Staff and the Prime Minister. The important thing is that you are the generation during which four thousand children died.
So silence was natural. You are silent when you are in a difficult situation. You have not lost enough, you also do not know what else will come to your mind. The thinking person, of course, feels guilty.
Maybe you are also silent because you see, mainly those who have clear interests speak and express themselves extremely aggressively and vulgarly.
Of course, if there was complete silence and everyone was silent, an intelligent person would start talking. But now the smart man does not speak, because everyone speaks – the scoundrel, the thief, the immoral, the bribe-taker…
Everyone criticizes what they have done, but they see it only in someone else. And yes, in that situation you are still silent.
You are so silent that you become a silent mole. And when you speak, you feel that you are not saying the most important thing, but some derivative things.
Sometimes I think that if someone reads my social network statuses, they will imagine that I am a networker. I keep silent, think for hours and at the end of the day write something insignificant about a memory. And it turns out that most series of notes is a small episode of inflated, full of thoughts.
Is there a concern that no matter what you write, there will always be some pole that will use it? For example, they will be spread by the people and the media, next to which you would not want to appear in any case.
What is happening now in our media field and social networks can be called basic national rudeness, for which the war became a provocative occasion.
Now the national rudeness has been revealed with all its charm.
And when I read what is written with such an opening, I immediately see the writers’ mothers, the way they sit, eat, throw garbage, swear, their kitchen, fight with a woman on the phone, addressing their daughter-in-law with ugly words …
I see all this because a person’s mother can not be educated if a person can speak with such swear words even about the President he does not like, the ugliest Prime Minister or the worst reality. A person simply cannot come to the square with such an expression.
Sometimes I think about how good it was during Serzh Sargsyan’s time because I did not feel any responsibility. It seemed that I had nothing to do with the ugliness that took place because of the state and the government. I was just living my life. After 2018, many of us already saw that connection, we wanted a revolution (Nikol Pashinyan was not important here at all).
And we also felt responsible for the new people who came to power.
For example, I was tense over their every word, as if your child had taken the stage on alphabet day and now he has to speak, and you tell him from the hall, you can, do not get excited, do not forget, everything will work out, you know what to do. And every time I saw that they said something stupid and made a mistake, I understood that now they are going to be attacked.
But when I saw that the mistakes were so many and intolerable that I could not resist, I started to withdraw again, thinking that I had nothing to do with what had happened.
And again I came to the state that the connection with the state was cut off, and I entered my snail shell.
Are we getting used to it?
Probably it is not so much connected with the war, but rather with folklore, which is our birth certificate. If in the folklore of a people there is the saying “O donkey, I am a saddle,”,it is already a sign of tragedy.
Yes, most people, perhaps 80%, think that they are too small to do or change anything.
Man decides that he is small and can not influence decisions. And targeted political news affects them first of all because a slightly more literate person understands what interests and manipulations there are behind this or that website or headline.
And it is used well by different political poles.
It seems that no one is talking just for the sake of it now.
There are interesting Facebook statistics: one half accuses the other of being agents working with Turkish money. The other half accuses them of being agents with Russian money. And if we accept that half are Turkish and the other half are Russian agents, there is nothing left.
Big capital circulates money through news and that, of course, affects the very 80% who always say “I am a small person.”
We say that we are a smart nation, but many of us do not bother to understand who, for example, is the website or person who spreads such news. Meanwhile, even school-level logic is a job that requires elementary literacy.
Public television could have become a source of quality information, but it did not happen. What does it look like now?
Public TV is like an old and expired product, tied with a new ribbon.
And if at that time they said, well, they do not allow the news to be good from above, and now everyone understands that they do not allow it from above again, because if you want to know news, you definitely do not connect to Public TV. And that is already a criterion.
If something important is happening in the country and you do not connect to Public TV, then that channel is not suitable.
In the most tense moments, when, say, there were rumors that there were clashes at the border, the Azerbaijanis were already in Sevan, they had almost reached Shorzha, I turned on Public TV by inertia to see what the first channel was reporting anyway.
When I turned on that channel, I always saw Hrachuhi Utmazyan with her jacket on her shoulders. I do not know what a coincidence it is, but a piece of bad news is spreading in our country, Hrachuhi Utmazyan is on Public TV, who asks her guests about the motto of life or tries to be original, asking with whom the guest is silent.
There was no new and fresh breath in Public TV, although we were waiting for it after the revolution. We were waiting for the people who went there.
A vital question: How do we know what is happening?
As we learned what happened during the war, it can be considered a piece of textbook, encyclopedic material.
Immediately after the four-day war in 2016, I was in Talish and had a good idea of the place and the situation (we had made a lot of videos as well). And when I read in the first days of the 2020 war that the Azerbaijanis were already in Talish and walking near the monument of the fallen Armenian soldiers, I, as a literate and knowledgeable journalist who knows Talish well, looked at the Azerbaijani videos and said that such a thing could not happen. They are definitely lying. Because I did not want to believe that it was so.
In other words, I saw, I knew, but I did not want to believe.
During the war, it seemed like a big blacking out of the brain. Then we realized that the Azerbaijanis really are doing what they say.
Now, whatever they say from our state platforms, I will not believe it. How can you believe it? This kind of deception has never happened under any government. Of course, they always hid, tried to present the information incompletely and softer, but there was no deception of such volume and quality. To look into the eyes of the people and deceive?
Extraordinary elections are taking place because these authorities have failed and lost the war, with a large number of casualties and a loss of large areas.
How can this government be running for election again? Elections are absurd because a force that caused the need for them cannot participate in them.
Probably the only way out would be to create a coalition force because everyone has a certain knowledge, potential, opportunities, and finally, grace, which they can use for the benefit of the state.
Now, whoever has whatever, must bring it. We are in that condition.
Interview by Nune Hakhverdyan
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