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Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan Brings Armenia With Him Wearing Number 22

Posted by addisethiopia on May 25, 2017

22 Christian children were sacrificed on the 22nd of May by a 22 year old Arab Muslim.

Mkhitaryan wearing number 22 scores the 2nd goal for Manchester United to win the Europa League

Now, this from the NY Times:

Mkhitaryan, the $34 million superstar, always spends hours on YouTube watching grainy coverage of dubious-quality soccer from his native Armenia.

There is a particular burden on high-profile athletes from low-profile countries; voluntarily or not, they are compelled to play the part of ambassador and evangelist for their nations, charged with presenting the country’s face to the world.

Mkhitaryan says he does not resent it; he would like to think victory against Ajax would not only provide him with a medal but also give others the chance “to find out what Armenia is, where it is.”

It is a subject that came up, again and again, last Friday when he sat in a changing room at Manchester United’s youth academy at Carrington, just south of the city. “Wherever Armenians go, they create a new Armenia” around themselves, he said. He has done just that in Manchester: As well as watching as much soccer from home as he can, he has found an Armenian Apostolic Church — “we were the first country to adopt Christianity, in 301 A.D.,” he points out, with the air of an earnest schoolteacher — although he has not yet had time to visit.

He has become a regular at the Armenian Taverna, sandwiched between a dry cleaner and a bank in the heart of the city. It has been there since 1968, but only since Mkhitaryan started popping in, once a week or so, has it started to attract the flashbulbs of the paparazzi. It is his little echo of home. “The new Armenia in Manchester is in the city center,” he said. “Near me.”

He seeks out other reminders, too. His last trip to the movies was to see “The Promise,” set in 1915, when as many as 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were killed in what historians have long accepted as a genocide.

It is a subject close to his heart, one he learned in school that remains “central” to the identity of all Armenians, he said. The film is not the usual cinematic fare for players — Mkhitaryan has not discussed it with his teammates, he said; he suspects they would not be interested — but it left him profoundly moved. “To watch it, I was sad in one way and proud in another,” he said.

That word recurs: proud. He is proud that he is, if not the world’s most famous Armenian — an honor that he would admit goes to Kim Kardashian — then at least a standard-bearer for his homeland on the world stage, in a social sense as much as a sporting one.

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