|Photo credit: Seda Grigoryan|
"Tommy, don't you go fighten' em alone. They'll hunt you down like a coyote. Tommy, I got to thinkin' an' dreamin' an' wonderin'. They say there's a hun'red thousand of us shoved out. If we was all mad the same way, Tommy - they wouldn't hunt nobody down..."
The Grapes of Wrath
The matriarch of the Joad family in John Steinbeck's 1939 novel, "The Grapes of Wrath" said these words to her eldest son Tom after the family had been forced off their land. I read Steinbeck's novel when I was in high school at a time and place in my life where these words did not resonate or make an impression on my consciousness, or so I thought. I made my daughter read it one summer long ago and while looking for something to read recently, I picked it out of my library once again. The timing was auspicious in light of recent events in Armenia.
The intimidation, the attacks, the impunity and the ensuing simmering anger we all are feeling, the lack of unity against what most perceive as an oppressive ruling regime, the inclination to write statuses on Facebook that are suspended virtually and never transform into action to eradicate the unending abuse have left most of us feeling helpless against a regime that is becoming emboldened by the deafening silence.
Indeed, certain 'leaders' in Armenia have most of the characteristics of an abuser - they keeps tabs on what we do, seek to control our thoughts, beliefs and conduct, restrict our rights and freedoms, constantly accuse us of being unfaithful, punish us for breaking their rules or challenging their authority, control all our money, humiliate us in front of others, destroy our property and those things we care about, threaten to hurt us or our loved ones and then actually resort to physical violence.
The inherent mutual distrust is slowly eating away at the core of our country.
What we need to do is stop being victimized. It's time to get mad, really "mad the same way" so that we are not "hunted down like a coyote."