Don't pass by and don't hurry: there is a problem, solve it!


Ashot Bleyan

The big advertising poster on the Sebastia-Bagratunyats intersection bridge which says “Do not pass by”, doesn’t seem to stop me. I am on my bicycle, speeding up I point to the right with my hand and ride on to Isakov Avenue. Here is the platform of the Russian church with green flower-covered slopes. What an amazing scene of Ararat!... I am not passing by, I stop, observe for a while, think over some problems and try to find solutions to them. I am not hurrying....

The idea of this advertising poster “Don’t pass by!” is still in my mind, and now it has become the title of today’s diary note, an appeal to my Sebastatsi colleagues, the heads of the Educomplex schools and school centers, all the organizers and educational staff… Don’t pass by! I don’t know what product that advertisement presents to my attention but I am telling you: see the problem, solve it! Stop, put other things aside if they are not urgent, but this problem of yours should be solved right now.  Don’t pass it by. Don’t be oblivious and indifferent to your environment. Yesterday the construction workmen, head of their group, head of the school and the gardener passed by a bent tree. They are all hurrying, passing by, they are too busy, and the tree will remain in the same position until a later time. I decided to order them all back: don’t pass by, solve this problem, be responsible for it and then walk past it. Don’t pass by, stop, take an action if there is disorder and settle it down.

Yesterday some learner journalists came up to me in the Marble Hall.

“When will you be able to give an interview?”

“Right now, in the center of the marble hall. Switch on your recorder. Read my diary note, the speech congratulations, worries, suggestion and request addressed to you. Listen, don’t miss it”…

“When will you be able to give an interview for the morning show of the TV studio Shant?”, asks the journalist.

“Right now, welcome to Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educomplex.”

“How can we change schools?”, I am asked.

“By opening them”, I answer, “By opening and unlocking what is closed or locked and isolated from people and by returning them to people, by publicizing what we call public education.”

“Excuse me, when can I come to you?”

My answer is the same whether I am standing riding my bicycle or walking, “Right now, you have already come to me.”

“Here, now?”

“Yes, here and now, don’t pass by!”

Whereas, I hear everywhere: “It is not the right place for it. We will talk about it later, when I have time, when I get free…”

It shouldn’t be so. Turn on the most operative mode, don’t pass by! Solve it now! Let the start of the new school year be smooth, with solutions.

We have arranged to make my birthday an opportunity to spend a day or two on the foot of Aragats in Byurakan-Amberd and then conquer the summit of Aragats. Now I am declaring the start of one of the projects “Conquering Summits” with the help of my friend Gevorg and Armine Topchyan. That will be my birthday present to you.

I accept the September 5 traditional procession as a long waited for present: I have got everything, I only need a festive day with its colors and specific noise. Can anything be a better present than a festival…? Yes, there is one thing. Don’t pass by. Solve a problem and send it to me. Rains are said to come only early in September, but now our green slopes and gardens need watering… 

The greensward covered slopes bring new working mode with them: showered water in the mornings and evenings and grass shearing every ten days, and the English lawns will appear round the school buildings of the Educomplex in the area where we work and live. They will become the color, substance and the form of our environment. Aren Shahnazaryan, an art teacher, rang me up from the greensward covered slopes of Art School at 7 last night, and Knarik Nersisyan, the head of the Art School, and then the head of the workmen who are laying the greensward on the slopes. We did a good job. We didn’t pass by. We didn’t asphalt or cover the ground with concrete or stone files. On the other hand, my colleague from the school opposite to ours has enclosed their green territory with a fence, painted it and asphalted the rest of the territory. Now I pass by their fence. But is it theirs?... I pass it by.   

Zara Arakelyan, the head of our School-garden, organized the August 30 general morning training in the nearby Bakhshyan Public Garden as we have removed all the fences around the school building and we consider ourselves to be part of the whole district. The idea that from now on our general morning trainings will be organized in the surrounding world: in the yards, gardens and squares, cheers me much. I had lost the ties. I used to pass by the areas adjacent to the school buildings of our Educomplex. Now I will not pass by irrespective of the fact whether I ride a bicycle or whether I walk. I will take part in the general morning trainings. Good morning, my surrounding world, Good morning, the South West district of Yerevan, and let this “Good” increase about Armenia and elsewhere in the world.     




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