OPINION: Can today’s Republic of Armenia claim it is independent, sovereign and democratic and celebrate the May 28, 1918 day of victory and pride with an equal sense of victory and pride?
By Madeleine Mezagopian
Amid domestic, regional and global turbulences, on May 28th the Armenian nation in Diaspora and in Motherland Armenia celebrated the painful however glorious birth of the First Armenian Republic in 1918.
Given the surrounding existence threatening circumstances, this year’s celebration transformed into solemn contemplation on how to remain loyal to the sacrifices preceding and following the first Republic of Armenia through carefully dealing with the immediate challenges that may very well threaten the current Republic of Armenia itself.
The ongoing Russian-Ukraine war with its still ambiguous causes and outcomes is surely reconfiguring the world order and with it, political and military alliances. Certain actors like Turkey and Azerbaijan, despite their despicable record of human rights, are gaining an upper free hand in fulfilling expansionist schemes.
Turkey and Azerbaijan, two countries presented with Armenian territories in the aftermath of the First Republic of Armenia, through antagonizing Russia and taking advantage of their association with the US, are threatening anew the destiny of the current Republic of Armenia and of what is left of Armenian Artsakh.
These developments surely warrant not only to remember but to reproduce the Armenia of 1918 when Armenians vigorously and faithfully fought to keep the Armenian nation alive and prevent Ottoman rulers from committing further Armenian genocide.
Armenian Americans are a vital part of the fabric of the United States. They make our nation stronger and more dynamic, even as they continue to carry with them the tragic knowledge of what their ancestors endured. We recognize their pain and honor their story.
– Statement by U.S. President Joe Biden on Armenian Remembrance Day, April 24, 2022
Today, the fate of the Armenian Nation and of Motherland Armenia is vulnerable. However, it can be salvaged and the glorious memory of the First Armenian Republic can be proudly celebrated even repeated. An ambitious however doable national aspiration can be materialized through the efforts of Armenians worldwide and in Motherland Armenia concerted towards the arrival of a salvation government comprising loyal Armenian elites, ruling Armenia peacefully, without territorial and democratic compromises, and foremost serving the national interests of United Armenia.
The domestic anger and frustration of the Armenian people in diaspora and in Motherland Armenia are intensified by the policies of the current government which reflect a betrayal to the memory of May 28 of 1918 and to the memory of millions of Armenian martyrs of past and recent history. The prescription for the current Republic of Armenia to survive with dignity and without further loss of territories is through adopting neutral policies, providing humanitarian services to those truly seeking safety and security, while simultaneously involving and interacting with its people rather than suppressing and persecuting them.
Further, for the current Republic of Armenia to survive with dignity and pride necessitates remaining faithful to the sacrifices of the heroes of the battles of Sardarabad, Bash Abaran and Karakilisa* through resisting unconditional normalization with Turkey and Azerbaijan and the further surrender of territories of Armenian Artsakh, redrawing the borders of Armenia resulting in further concessions.
The Republic of Armenia must advance and invest all available diplomatic tools to regain the Republic of Armenia of 1918. Only then can Armenia claim being independent, sovereign and democratic and entitled to celebrate May 28th with a true sense of dignity, victory and pride.
[* The Ottoman defeats at Sardarabad, Bash Abaran and Karakilisa staved off the annihilation of the Armenian nation, and the victories were instrumental in allowing the Armenian National Council to declare the independence of the First Republic of Armenia on May 30, 1918 (retroactive to May 28)].
Madeleine Mezagopian, for LIMA CHARLIE WORLD
[Edits by Anthony A. LoPresti]
[Original Main Photo: Vahram Baghdasaryan]
Madeleine M. R. Mezagopian is a published author and the holder of the Swedish Royal Medal of the North Star (Kungliga Nordstjärnemedaljen) and the Shield of the University of Jordan. She is a researcher, adviser and analyst and has served as the Executive Director at Al Arab Al Yawm (English) newspaper. Mezagopian is also a member of the General Assembly of Al-Hussein Society–Jordan Centre for Training and Inclusion.
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