Hard-Won Independence Should not be Compromised

Today marks the 91st anniversary of the establishment of the first Independent Republic of Armenia. Each year we reflect on the heroic battles that won the independence, the progressive institutions that are still in place and still serve as the foundations of some of the socio-economic platforms of modern-day Armenia, and, of course, the moral and political importance of emerging as a free and independent state barely having survived the Genocide.

At no other time than the present should the significance of this anniversary resonate more loudly in the minds of Armenians around the world. Politically Armenia and Armenians are embroiled in a regional chess game that, if not prudently played, could threaten the very foundations that ensured us victory 91 years ago.

Whether it is shortsighted policy-making by the current Armenian authorities or the persistence of foreign interests, or Turkey playing hard-ball, the so-called “roadmap” agreement, based on which Armenia and Turkey are going to allegedly move toward normalizing relations, jeopardizes the future of our nation.

In a very short time, after the Armenian authorities announced the agreement on the eve of the Genocide anniversary, the celebration or commemoration of all historic turning points have become more significant, since the impact of those events on today has been elevated to a point of directly influencing our future as a nation.

Turkey’s preconditions, which Armenian authorities insist are not driving the talks—establishment of a historic commission to assess the Genocide, the return of liberated territories around the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the acceptance of the current borders between the two countries—all are deeply rooted in the battles that were won 91 years ago, not to mention the victory 17 years ago in Shoushi and the tragedy that started it all 94 years ago in Western Armenia.

One of the more important legacies of the First Republic was that it brought the Armenian question to the international arena, and paved the way for the Treaty of Sevres, which resulted in the [Woodrow] Wilsonian map of Armenia.

So, 91 years later, the political inroads made then and significant advances in the Armenian Cause that have since been won through the determination and conviction of the Armenian people is being threatened because of a hasty three-paragraph announcement that has come to be know as the “roadmap” effort.

As we celebrate this historic turning point, we are fully aware that the heroism of yesteryear was not in vain. More importantly, however, we—as a nation—must ensure that, for the sake of the longevity of the Armenian nation, the ideals on which the First Republic was founded are not trampled on but are preserved at all cost.

A critical first step in guaranteeing the continued fight for justice is to participate in and contribute to Sunday’s ANCA Endowment Fund Telethon, which aims to educate and bolster new generations of Armenians with the tools to boldly continue the fight for our national aspirations and justice.

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