Today was a very special day for me. No, I didn’t get married, neither did I give birth, the graduation is not the case either. “So what happened?” the reader would ask. My blindness is gone. And I am not talking about physical abilities here. What I am referring to is much bigger and more important, something that can’t be seen. What I am going to say is not something new, but if you have never experienced it, you might be shocked, get ready, I am going to announce it. Here it comes: the segregation still exists. My fingers tremble as I try to type these words. But this is the problem that needs to be addressed.
What made me realise the extent of the tragedy was a documentary on Martin Luther King’s life that I happened to see today. I must confess that the knowledge that I had before was pretty general, without any specific facts or details that one must possess, in order to fully appreciate and realise the magnitude of any public figure. The documentary showed the fragments from various speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. The energy and passion that he expressed for the ideas and beliefs was incredible. You will not be able to find a politician that could provoke such a strong reaction and response from the crowd, someone who could make so many people trust him. He literally revived the dead, he created something new for those in despair, he created hope. While I was watching the faces of those in the crowd I realised that they all adored Dr. King, they looked at him as if he was a saint. He dedicated his life to African-American civil rights movement. He was aware that every single day could be his last, but it didn’t stop him from doing what he believed in. The courage, passion, honesty, and strength made him one of the most prominent activists. He is not with us anymore, but his ideas will stay right here, and the contribution made by this man is immense. Yes, he was assassinated, but could the assassin make him quiet, could the assassin get rid of many successors that Martin Luther left, could the assassin destroy the enormous bridge of hope that was created by that unique person and the size of which is immeasurable. To this day I consider his 17-minute public speech “I have a dream” inspiring, extremely emotional and immortal.
So dear AEGEEans, I have a dream as well. I wish people would stop judging someone by the colour of their skin. I want to be able to travel to any part of the world, without feeling tension or being in danger because of my nationality. I don’t want to witness how human beings turn into animals and let their aggression lead to horrible deeds, soaked with hatred. If a person is able to express his odium towards the foreigners, nothing can guarantee that one day the same person won’t act alike to someone of his own religion, race, nationality. I wish we had a new subject at schools: “Tolerance”. I wish people would stop staring at someone who is different. I don’t want my children to live in a society where the words segregation and discrimination are still topical and urgent.
I am proud to be a part of AEGEE, a place where no one cares where you come from, you become a strong family, supportive of each member. As an organization we are destroying the boundaries, and we are building and deepening mutual understanding. Members of AEGEE all over Europe, you give me hope that one day my dreams will come true.
Written by Anna Barikyan, AEGEE-Yerevan