Arsen Grigoryan-Mro: “Wherever I perform, I always sing Armenian songs since Armenia is in my soul”

Famous and beloved singer Arsen Grigoryan was one of the guests at the “Repatriates of Our Days: The Returnees” event hosted by the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia. During my interview with Arsen Grigoryan for Hayern Aysor, I was truly charmed by his answers, as well as the sincere feelings of patriotism that Arsen Grigoryan manages to express in the best way with his extremely impressive performances. During any patriotic event and any ceremony, Arsen performs a variety of folk, national and ethnographic songs that show what the singer feels deep down inside.

Karine Avagyan: Arsen, you are a repatriate, but you “became” an Armenian of Armenia such a long time ago and so quickly that we sometimes forget that you are a repatriate. Nevertheless, I must ask you when you repatriated and what you got out of repatriation?

Arsen Grigoryan: I think return is the important thing for any Armenian who was born outside of the Homeland against his or her will. Being aware of the fact that he was born in this or that country by cruel fate is still not the end. On the contrary, it is the start of a new life in the Homeland. The right path was the path of return that I chose in 1987. I started a family in Armenia. My wife is originally from Yerevan. My children were born here, and I grew here. I have been living and singing in Armenia, about Armenia and for Armenia for the past 30 years. Wherever I perform and succeed, I always sing Armenian songs since Armenia is in my soul. For me, living in Armenia and performing for Armenians is the greatest gift of all.

Karine Avagyan: You were born in Kamishli, Syria. Do you miss your hometown? Do you ever visit with the feeling of longing? Have you tried to follow the traces of your childhood?

Arsen Grigoryan: Yes, I miss my school, my friends, our district, our church and the strong and conventional Armenian community in which I received an Armenian upbringing. The Armenian community of Hasake was also very strong. We lived in Hasake as well. There were only sixty Armenian families, but they were very strong. It’s obvious that I miss it. I have visited my hometown twice or three times a year. I am thankful for my upbringing and the small Armenian community because the Armenian roots were very deeply-rooted, and everyone shared the same lifestyle. I preserve all that in my family today.

Karine Avagyan: Arsen, do you accept the fact that the Ministry of Diaspora is home within the home, that is, the Homeland?

Arsen Grigoryan: I highly appreciate the activities of the Ministry of Diaspora. I congratulate the Minister on being reappointed. She laid the first building block. Hranush Hakobyan was the one who led the newly established Ministry to success. I have told the Minister and am now suggesting calling the Ministry the “Ministry for Repatriation”. Only repatriation is what can make Armenians rise to their feet. The Ministry is a magnetic force within our home, the Homeland. We have to make sure Armenians abroad come, live here and make investments in the Homeland for the benefit of Armenia and not wait until something bad happens to them before the move. We need to work together in order to empower our Homeland. On occasions, I have said that repatriation can also help solve the issue of emigration.

Karine Avagyan: What does the Homeland mean to you?

Arsen Grigoryan: The Homeland is a moral and physical phenomenon. I try to make sure my children benefit from that and wake up to live for Armenia every day. I am originally from Sasun. There are Turks or Kurds living in Sasun, but that is not their home or Homeland. I want to live not only for myself, but also for my Homeland. For me, the Homeland is the unified and integral Armenia.

Karine Avagyan: Do you believe in the “future of roses” of Armenia, as a famous Armenian poet once said?

Arsen Grigoryan: Yes, I do. We Armenians have wonderful young people. The future is in their hands, and I believe in them. They are our soldiers who showed courage during the Four-Day Artsakh War in April and won with their spirit, even without good weapons. I definitely believe in the future of roses of a country and nation that has such young people.

Interview by Karine Avagyan

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