Youth Activist Reflects as Her Homeland is Being Ripped at the Seams

LArfeature
The author, Lar Tabakian, at Sunday's March for Victory at the Turkish Consulate in L.A.

The author, Lar Tabakian, at Sunday’s March for Victory at the Turkish Consulate in L.A.

BY LAR TABAKIAN

I never heard the boom, but I felt it—from the voice quivering chants on Wilshire Blvd. to every held breath as I refreshed my Twitter feed.

With each bomb dropped on Artsakh’s capital city of Stepanakert, Armenians in every corner of the world felt it, deep in their core. Within the hearts of diasporans and natives alike, lives a sense of pain, anger, and loss that we know all too well. The recent attacks on Artsakh are not an isolated incident. This conflict is not every day international diplomacy, but rather, an attempt at the end result that Armenians have battled against for centuries: extermination. As young Armenian-Americans, we ask ourselves, with the events that took place over 105 years ago, “Why did the world stand by and watch? Why didn’t anyone do anything?” Today, we ask ourselves these same questions as we battle Azerbaijan and Turkey’s inhumane war crimes on civilians, churches and communities.

Isolated from our motherland, one cannot help but feel useless in the grand scheme of things. Local and national protests and rallies fall on deaf ears, call-to-action graphics on Instagram are left unshared and broken promises by empty politicians remain unfulfilled.

Seeing numbers rise every hour, not being able to walk alongside our brothers and sisters on the front lines, anything less than risking one’s life for the survival of our people, our country, seems somewhat trivial. But despite this overwhelming sense of despair, Armenians around the globe have come together, with a universal question: “What can I do?” The answer: a lot.

In light of these attacks, we have seen every Armenian, in every country, begin to do their part—blockading truckloads of Turkish weapons in Georgia, halting traffic on freeways in Los Angeles, camping out in front of the European Union building in Brussels. The fire that has been ignited in all of us has spurred endless forms of activism. With every handmade earring purchased, military backpack shipped, poncho delivered, and petition signed, we are beginning to be the change we seek. Armenians have discovered, after countless tragedies, that the common denominator to victory is ourselves. Above all else, we are united, we are passionate, and we are willing to fight in every way we can. Perhaps most of us will not pick up a gun and head to the trenches, but we will pick up a pen and write to our representatives, we will pick up a sign and join the picketing line, and we shall pick up our wallets and donate to the cause. With opportunities to get involved, raise awareness and take action abound, we as Armenians must harness the lessons of our past, and throw the full force of our support behind the young heroes living, crying and dying for the same cause our ancestors laid down their lives for.

This is our Sardarabad. This is our battle, and like our forefathers, Յաղթելու ենք:

Lar Tabakian is a senior at the Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School.

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