It can be said that 2015 was a monumental year for the Armenian Nation. The much anticipated centennial of the Armenian Genocide dominated our national agenda for most of the year, while advancing the Armenian Cause in the international arena.
Each and every Armenians around the world came together to fittingly remember those who fell victim to the Genocide and demand justice for the unpunished crime. World leaders and foreign dignitaries converged on Dzidzernagapert and collectively urged Turkey to come to terms with its past and recognize the Armenian Genocide.
In all Diasporan communities, Armenians and non-Armenians alike vocally raised their fists to demand justice. Nowhere was this most evident than in the streets of Los Angeles, where 166,000 community members marched for justice, forever cementing the Western United States’ role as a critical component of our national reality.
The March for Justice in Los Angeles also demonstrated that Armenian organizations and individuals can work together toward a common goal and cause, and that years of activism in the political arena can ensure a cooperative environment in which our cause becomes the cause for an entire city, even if it is only for a succinct period of time.
The unity of the Armenian Nation caught Turkey by surprise, when its own efforts to undermine the Genocide anniversary became fodder for criticism by the international community.
The message on April 24, 2015 was loud and clear: Turkey must take responsibility for the crime of Genocide and the international community must play its role in advancing the issue of recognition for the Genocide. Interestingly, it was Turkey and the United States that were on the margins this year, with a groundswell of support for Genocide recognition echoing from the four corners of the world.
2015 was also a year of activism. We saw young Armenian coming together to demand justice. While some of those efforts were more successful than others, it was a critical expression of the collective will by a new generation that inspired hope for the future.
Yet the Karabakh conflict saw one its bloodiest years, with Azerbaijan’s unrelenting attacks on Armenian positions both in Armenia and Artsakh that resulted in the highest number of casualties in recent history. The international community’s insistence to remain silent and advance a policy of false parity further aggravated the situation on the frontline with no concrete signs for peace on the horizon.
While 2015 demonstrated that Armenian Nation’s collective will to fight for its just aspirations, 2016 will put that determination to the test as our nation’s security is being threatened with every Azerbaijani bullet, as international developments position Armenia in the eye of largest conflict in the region, and as our brethren in Syria continue to confront war and destruction.
As we celebrate the New Year and Christmas holidays, let us carry the lessons of 2015 into 2016 and let us resolve to continue in the same spirit, especially since our national priorities may require firm and swift action—both individually and collectively.
Happy New Year.