Knarik Grigoryan: “Armenia is my home, my birthplace, the only place in the world that will always be mine, in my heart, in my soul and on my lips!”

During my interview with Knarik Grigoryan, a 23-year-old patriotic Armenian woman from Madrid at the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia, perhaps the thing that interested me the most was her excitement about her current activities and future plans. Hayern Aysor presents the interview with Knarik Grigoryan.

Karine Avagyan: Knarik, what do you do in Madrid?

Knarik Grigoryan: I work as an organizer and in the field of information for the newly created Música en Vena (Music is in the Veins) Charitable Association, and I work by my profession since I graduated from the Department of Advertising and Performing Arts of the Ren Juan Caros University of Madrid.

Karine Avagyan:  What kinds of pro-national activities do you carry out in order to preserve the Armenian identity?

Knarik Grigoryan: I sing in a church choir. The local Catholic church allows us to conduct our masses on two Sundays every month. I teach Armenian children Armenian and participate in various pro-national events. We recently opened an Armenian Sunday school. The lessons are held within the building of the Armenian embassy.

Karine Avagyan: Knarik, how many students are there? Are there non-Armenians who attend the lessons at the Armenian school?

Knarik Grigoryan: We currently have 45 pupils, most of whom are Armenian. A Spanish girl by the name of Laura attends our lessons. There are also children born from mixed marriages in which one of the parents is Armenian. We mainly teach Armenian, the Armenian alphabet and how to read and write in Armenian. The pupils also paint, learn Armenian songs and dances and are introduced to Armenian history and geography a little since they are still very little. The children attend lessons with pleasure and interest. They really want to see Armenia.

Karine Avagyan: Do the young Armenians of Madrid know each other? Do they interact? Are they active in carrying out pro-national activities aimed at preserving the Armenian identity?

Knarik Grigoryan: Yes, we interact and organize events. There are many active young people. On the occasion of the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we organized an event and presented the ethereal pages of our history and photos to the Spanish attendees. The songs of Komitas were played during the event. All the local Armenians obviously know about the Genocide, but not all Spanish citizens are aware of the Armenian Genocide. So, our goal is to present it to foreigners. Before that, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we had prepared 100 flyers in English and Spanish to present what happened 100 years ago and would hand them to passers-by on the streets. What was interesting was that we met a Turkish girl who talked about the Armenian Genocide with so much pain and would look at us with a feeling of guilt. I can’t tell you how many times she apologized to us on behalf of her nation.

Karine Avagyan: How are the relations of the Armenians with other nations and communities in Madrid?

Knarik Grigoryan: We have friendly relations. The Armenian community was established only about 15 to 20 years ago, but it has a good reputation. As far as the citizens of Spain are concerned, they have a very friendly attitude towards the Armenians. They love the Armenians and the Armenians love them. They like it when you acknowledge and appreciate their customs, culture and history and learn their language, and they respect the customs, history and language of the Armenians. They are very fiery like the Armenians. It is no wonder that people say the relations between Hispanics and Armenians traces back to centuries.

Karine Avagyan: Haven’t the Azerbaijanis shown a negative attitude towards the Armenians of Spain with their actions and provocations?

Knarik Grigoryan: They have taken some actions, but those actions are always taken during major events. This past winter, we participated in an annual tourism exhibition where every organization or representative was presenting its respective country and tourist attractions. A travel agency from Artsakh was represented next to Armenia. The Armenian embassy had previously warned law-enforcement authorities to evade any possible provocation. There was a precondition for a provocation when the Azerbaijanis stood with their national flags and anti-Armenian and anti-Artsakh statements.

Karine Avagyan: I believe you participated in one of the programs of the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia many years ago in Armenia…

Knarik Grigoryan: Yes, I participated in the first youth forum entitled “Create Armenia Together”. I will gladly participate in any interesting event, forum or course that Armenia organizes for young Armenians.

Karine Avagyan: Knarik, what does the Homeland mean to you?

Knarik Grigoryan: I left Armenia 14 years ago when I was only 9 years old…Every year, I visit Armenia and ask myself what makes me want to come, and I can’t find the answer. I think there is one answer, and I will formulate it right now-Armenia is my home, my birthplace, the only place in the world that will always be mine, in my heart, in my soul and on my lips!

Interview by Karine Avagyan

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