The February 18 presidential elections this year coincided with an important milestone for the Armenian nation. Twenty five years earlier, almost to the day, hundreds of thousands Armenians took to the streets in Yerevan and Stepanakert to demand the reunification of Artsakh with Armenia and set in motion a series of events that can be attributed to the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of our modern-day Republic of Armenia.
It was that will—unwavering and committed—that marshaled all Armenians around the world to rise up and envelop the people of Armenia to advance what eventually became the victorious Karabakh liberation movement and saw the birth of the independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The people’s right to self –determination prevailed.
The same cannot be said 25 years later. A popular movement that was sparked as a result of wide-spread voter fraud during the presidential elections became the rallying cry for the formerly silent majority of Armenia’s dwindling population who came out in droves to demand that their voice be heard—their will to determine the future of our nation prevail.
The 2013 popular movement can be deemed as the people of Armenia fearlessly shedding the heavy iron curtain of Soviet society and claiming their rights and demanding a better future for our nation.
The people of Armenia have spoken. Never in the past 20 years has there been a decisive voice of dissent and dissatisfaction from the people of Armenia. That voice cannot fall on deaf ears. That voice is the spark of true—and democratic—regime change. That voice is the free expression of the aspirations of the people. That voice must become a call to arms to all Armenians, in the homeland and the Diaspora, to join, nurture and advance this movement until Armenia is liberated from the chains of oppression that have been strangling its citizens.
The same Armenian nation that galvanized against 75-years of oppressive Soviet rule and WON, can–and must be able to–overcome a group of criminals that have, through intimidation, threats and fabrications forced themselves upon our people and wreaked havoc on our homeland.
As Armenians prepare to enter a new phase of this struggle for democracy, social justice and freedom, all community organizations in the Diaspora must rally around the people of Armenia and their just aspirations. At the same time, opposition forces in Armenia to must come together to embrace the will of the Armenian people and to work collectively toward concrete reforms.