Darkness of Heart

Written by David Garyan

03 December 2023

Photo by Arthur Ovanesian

Human rights is what we feel and do without reflexive verbs
—Oscar Wilde

The flag of Palestine.
The flag of Israel.
Flying on social media.
But there’s no wind.
Too perfect on our pages.
Even torn, bloody ones
no longer elicit response.
The screen is a filter for pain.
On the street, bang, bang, boom.
Behind the monitor, click, click, zoom.
Israel-Palestine: The Conflict.
A brand we all recognize.
Targets we all see.
Branded people we don’t care about.
Targeted lives we can’t reach.
Build fences out of hashtags.
Let doves of peace tweet,
but don’t allow them to fly.
The flag of Ukraine.
Flying on social media.
Again without wind.
But tons of engagement.
Engagement or engagement?
They’re not the same.
Soldiers engaged the enemy.
Why? Hate.
Couples got engaged.
Why? Love.
Users engaged with content.
Why? #SlavaUkraini.
Users also engaged with content.
Why? #Z.
Wars on the internet.
Fought by who?
Those who haven’t—
and never will—
fight in real life.
Russians and Ukrainians
getting engaged—to each other.
Is it still possible?
It’s possible but impossible.
Like Armenians marrying Turks.
The flag of Armenia.
Flying on social media.
No wind—
also no brand.
Less engagement than Ukraine,
almost none.
Yet, Russians
and Ukrainians
still engageArmenians—
in the romantic sense, that is.
But. Russians avoid engaging
Armenians engaged to Ukrainians.
But. Ukrainians avoid engaging
Armenians married to Russians.
Alas, love really is war,
but war is never love—
in the end it’s all
about engagement.
What does “engage” even mean?
And where is Armenia?
Did you say Romania?
No, not Dracula,
but Kim Kardashian.
Ah, Kim Kardashian!
She has brand.
She can engage anyone.
But she can’t and won’t
engage the enemy.
Won’t—because she can’t
marry a Turk.
Can’t—because she’ll
never pick up a weapon—
and no one should
ask her to.
That’s the power of trademark.
The world loves
Kim K.
It couldn’t care less
about Artsakh.
Pain only takes selfies.
Don’t expect others to do it.
“Can you please take
a picture of my agony?”
Your plight is yours.
Share it.
But don’t share anyone else’s.
Your digital temple—
worship in it,
but don’t bring
in the “other.”
Jews feel Jewish hurt.
Take selfie now. Share.
Ukrainians feel Ukrainian hurt.
Take selfie now. Share.
Armenians feel Armenian hurt.
Take selfie now. Share.
But you rarely see this.
“Armenian agony”
photo by [insert Jewish name].
“Jewish agony”
photo by [insert Armenian name].
Ethiopians slaughtered.
Only Ethiopians spoke up.
No engagement. No brand.
Less photoshoots.
More shooting.
Ethiopian blood—
not enough content.
So many hungry,
not one came to feed.
Keywords: boring,
generic, distant.
Turkey tells us
protect human rights:
“Rwanda was a genocide.
Hamas is a liberator.
Israel is an occupier.
We liberated Northern Cyprus.
China—Uyghur Genocide.
Turkey—No Armenian Genocide.”
Defend one justice
but not another.
What does it mean?
Protect your own interests
by protecting some human rights.
Equity defenders
equity salesmen.
Equity versus equity.
The classic war of ideologies.
We sell you defense.
We defend the market of justice.
The price of peace.
The price of war.
The price of oil.
The price of life—
those shares
have gone down.
Dump them now.
Invest in Kamikaze drones.
The market is self-regulating.
It never lies.
It always knows what’s right.
What’s hot is right.
What’s sexy is right.
What sells is right.
And the market says:
are neither sexy,
nor can they sell.”
Yet, Wall Street
keeps ignoring
the value of history.
1936: “It is us today.
It will be you tomorrow.”
The words of Haile Selassie.
Three years later,
Germany invaded Poland.
The chain, so far,
has carried.
Who will be next?


I’m deeply grateful to Arthur Ovanesian for his suggestions