Community Pays Tribute to Murdered Karabakh Soldiers at Navasartian Games

Photo by Helena Gregorian

VAN NUYS, CA–The Armenian Youth Federation paid tribute to the courage and  dedication of Karabakh’s defense forces on Saturday, July 3 with a memorial event to  honor the four Karabakh servicemen murdered last month during a late night attack by  Azeri forces.

On June 18, only hours after the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Saint  Petersburg for peace talks to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azeri soldiers  attacked a defense outpost in Karabakh’s Mardakert region, killing four Armenian  soldiers. The international community’s failed to condemn Azerbaijan for the attack.

The memorial demonstration was held minutes before Armenian music sensation Karnig  Sarkisian took to the stage to perform for thousands of Armenian-Americans at the  35th annual Navasartian Games and Festival. Standing alongside dozens of young boys  and girls holding Artsakh flags and candles, Santikian called observed a moment of  silence for the fallen soldiers and called on the community renew its commitment to  the Karabakh liberation struggle.

“Mnatsakan Gasparian, Araik Barseghian, Edward Manukian, and Paruir Melkonian were  added to a long list of brave soldiers unjustly and inhumanely killed since the 1994  cease-fire,” Santikian exclaimed, speaking to a crowd of more than 5000 festival  goers.


AYF Chairman Arek Santikian speaks to the crowd about the need to rally behind Artsakh. Photo by Helena Gregorian


The international community has been unwilling to condemn Azerbaijan for the deadly  attack, meanwhile the US, France, and Russia, which co-chair the OSCE Minsk group  mediating the Karabakh conflict issued a joint statement in late June calling on  Armenia to “withdraw from occupied territories.” Rather than blame Azerbaijan for  its ongoing war rhetoric and repeated use of force, the the presidents of the three  countries responded to the incident by again ignoring repeated demands to include  Karabakh in the peace negotiations and cornering Armenia into more concessions.

“We are here right now to show our brothers and sisters of Artsakh that we are here  for them, that we stand united with them today, and will stand by them tomorrow,”  Santikian said, speaking to the crowd. “We will do everything that we can to make  sure that a just and fair resolution is brought to end the violence in Artsakh so  our people can live on our land, free and peacefully.”

The Navasartian demonstration came a week after the Armenian Revolutionary  Federation “Nigol Aghbalian” Youth Organization protested against the Azeri assault  at the OSCE headquarters in Yerevan. The protesters presented a letter to an OSCE  representative at the headquarters and called on the pan-European organization to  punish Azerbaijan for repeatedly violating the 1994 cease-fire agreement.

With chapters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the  world, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) is the largest and most influential  Armenian American youth organization. Inspired by the past and motivated by the  needs of the future, the AYF actively strives to advance the social, political,  educational and cultural awareness of all Armenian youth.

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2 Comments

  1. ARN. SWEDEN. said:

    SEEMS AS THE ARMENIAN PEOPLE ARE FACING ALMOST THE SAME SITUATION AS ISRAEL,
    THE INDIFFERENCE – IGNORANCE AND HATE BY THE WORLD.

    ARMENIA AS A NATION AND THE ARMENIANS AS A PEOPLE,
    OUGHT THEREFORE,
    WHOLHEARTEDLY TURN TO GOD – YOUR MOST TRUE BENEFICIER AND LOVER.

    MAY GOD BLESS ARMENIA AND THE ARMENIANS ON THAT WAY.

    Arn.Sweden.

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