Before I begin, I want to say that I am extremely happy that I was born and raised in Sweden, and I am very appreciative of living in California. These two places have allowed me to learn and meet so many people, that I am very greatful for.
When we would go on long trips in Sweden, my dad would always play his tapes. One of his favorite artists was a man named Arthur Meschian. His songs are poems written to wake people up. They are about the meaning of life, about happiness and sadness, pain, and pride. He began in the 60's and during the 80's he was censored by the Soviet Union. Armenia was in control by the USSR at this time. So he moved to the United States and began working as an architect while he wrote songs about Armenia. He moved back to Armenia a few years ago where he works. He was retired from music. On Sunday, November 22, he came to Pasadena, California, and performed. It felt very unreal to me...a dream really. Who would have thought, that I, born in Sweden, listening to his songs, would one day, in California get to see him play. I have only seen my dad cry three times in my life, and one of the times was on Sunday. Meschian is concidered an Armenian hero, someone who even when his life was threatened, continued to send his message out. I am so proud of him. I am so proud that we have him. It is important to keep people like this close to your heart. It means a lot to me, since I was born in a country with no Armenians. His songs made me feel like I belonged somewhere as well.
My parents are both from Iran, though we are Armenian. Hundreds of years ago, the Persian king saw that Armenians had a rich culture and were flourishing with their builders and bankers, etc. So he forced a bunch of them to move to Iran, to help flourish his country. My parents' ancestors are the ones who were forced to move, so that is the reason why my parents were born in Iran. The day after they got married, they moved to Sweden to study.
While they were studying, they over came a lot of different things. First they had to learn a new language, and let me tell you, Swedish is nothing like Armenian or Persian. They then entered medical school shortly afterwards and went to school while working during the summers. They couldn't recieve any help from their parents, because the Iranian government was refusing to allow them to send money. So my parents were basically on their own, in an unfamiliar land. It is very scary, and only now, when I am older do I understand. It was easy for me, I was born into the culture. They struggled, however, and worst of all, they experienced a lot of hate. Racism was very strong. My parents would go to a super market, and people would yell at them "Go back to your own country." My parents used to work in the same clinic as dentists, but when I was seven, they split up and worked in different places. My sister and I had no clue, but a few years ago, my mom told me, that they had a Persian friend as a doctor, who had been killed by a man, who went around the country and killed immigrants who where doctors. They were afraid that if they worked in the same place, my sister and I would have no parents. So they split up, so in case the guy got one of them, the other would be able to be with us.
I grew up in a small town called Hallsberg. In school, it was very obvious that I was different. I didn't see it as a bad thing, but sometimes, I wished I had blonde hair, sometimes I wished my skin wasn't as dark. Sometimes I wished my name wasn't 'Lorik' cause it sounds so ugly the way they pronounced it. I knew I didn't fit in with the other girls. But thanks to my parents, who always spoke Armenian in the house, who cooked Armenian food for us, who taught us Armenian history, and who taught us to love ourselves, I was very proud of what I was, despite the fact that I did not fit in. And my lovely classmates always supported me. Always. There was once a guy who made fun of me, but years later apologized. That meant the world to me. When it was decided that we were gonna move to California, my friends threw me a small party in and they gave me small presents. One of the presents was a drawing of the Armenian flag. When I showed it to my mom, she cried and said that I am was lucky to have such good friends who understood how important my homeland and culture was to me.
I have never lived in Armenia. Neither have my parents or their parents. In 1915, during the beginning of WWI, 1.5 million Armenians were killed during the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks. Ever since then, we have been scattered around the world. But we all cherish Armenia in our hearts. It is important no matter where you live, to always cherish and remember your culture. It defines you. I am a Swedish (and American) citizen, but when you look at me, I don't have blonde and blue eyes. It is obvious that I am not a Swede really. I am an Armenian, born in Sweden, living in the United States. It sounds so funny to me sometimes, but I like it. I am a mix of different cultures and I appreciate all of them, because they define me.
There is was a Swedish singer/songwriter that my dad and I love. His name was Björn Afzelius. He sang about many of the same topics that Meschian does. They both remind me of eachother. I'm so happy that Sweden had a great singer and human being like him, and this is one of the many reasons I am happy that I was born there...I got to grow up with his music as well.
This is my favorite Meschian song. The name is 'Tapanagir', which translates into "Epitaph"
"If we lose the light of art, the darkness will drive us crazy..." - Arthur Meschian
I'm sorry if there are a lot of mistakes in the writing. I just sat down and wrote without looking back~ Thank you