Two hands

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People walking in the square of Yerevan

“Anna, do you hear me?”

“Yes. I've done my part. People have closed the road.”

“Great! I'll spread the message via Instagram and encourage to go on strike.”

“Ok then, Anahit. Good luck!”

The whole nation, full of enthusiasm and hope, was walking and singing. People were marching towards a brighter future. They were marching against injustice. And finally, on May 3, 2018, victory was ours…

 

With two huge ponytails on both sides of my head, with a bright smile shining on my face, and with eyes half-full of tears, I was walking insecurely while holding firmly my mother's hand. The narrow streets of Yerevan were taking me to the place that would determine my future. Multifarious emotions showed on my six-year-old face while I entered the building. This was the moment I'd been waiting for – my first day at school. My first teacher led us into the classroom. She proposed the pupils to say or sing something that would ''impress'' the others. While everyone recited something simple, I stood up and said by heart, a long patriotic poem consisting of two pages and full of complex ideas. I received loud applause, and from that point on my teacher perceived me as someone outstanding, hard-working, and ambitious.

I started my school years with immense curiosity and enthusiasm to learn, and easily became the pride of my school due to my accomplishments. I adored all the subjects at school (especially mathematics) and studied them meticulously. But… later I started to feel something strange. Something I'd never felt before.

What was it?

I noticed how two hands were continuously dragging me down and trying to break me.

But whose hands were they?

I couldn't find the answer until I became fifteen. At that point in my life I discovered the appalling and devastating truth. Those hands were always around me. They were breaking and defacing everything in their path and leaving me, my family, my friends, and finally my country hopeless.

How could I not have seen them before?

Those were the hands of CORRUPTION.

I felt heartbroken. Every time when a teacher gave me a wrong mark to make another student shine, my mother would come to school and complain about it, but the principal would look into our eyes and say nothing. There was no institution we could go to and complain about this, as the system itself was thoroughly corrupt on account of a government that prioritized money and influence over national interest.

The world became empty to me. I realized the fact that no matter how high my dreams would be and how hard I would try to achieve them, there would always be those hands preventing me from realizing my goals. Many times I candidly shared my feelings with my father hoping that he, being older and stronger than me, would help me to shake off the hands that were dragging me down. But the truth was that he couldn't find any remedy to alleviate the symptoms of that scourge, as he had also been suffering from it. The only person who wasn't frustrated (or at least wasn't showing it openly) was my grandfather, who would encourage me by saying that “even though money can buy everything, there are certain doors for which the key is knowledge and only knowledge.”

Although the reality I faced every day was different from my grandfather's words, I finally made my decision. I would not give up. I would stay resilient, I would do my best to grow intellectually; I would wage a war against the scourge that was eating and parasitizing my country. No student should meet that sort of obstacles when trying to better themselves, or while contributing in some way to the development of humanity. Yes, I'll make my stride. And although I do understand how difficult that will be,

 “When there is LIFE, there is HOPE.” (S.W. Hawking)

 

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