EDITORIAL: Independence Day

The Sardarabad monument (Photo by Garo Patagonia)

What the 1918 Independence represents is more than just our nation’s resilience to, in the face of Genocide, liberate the Armenian people after centuries of imperial rule. The Independent Republic of 1918 is also the reason why there is a Republic of Armenia today for if it were not for the heroic determination of Armenians 93 years ago, Armenia could have been swallowed by oppressive forces and could have ceased to exist.

In 1918, the fledgling Republic faced challenges far greater than the ones facing Armenia today, yet the imperative to rise and fight a battle for independence far outweighed any obstacle for it was the survival of the nation at stake.

The lessons of 1918 are far too great and have been catalogued for our readers to appreciate and for history to be recorded. However, as we celebrate the 93rd anniversary of Armenia’s independence, there seems to be resistance, or downright neglect, in embracing the lessons of 1918 and applying them to our modern-day republic.

The priority for the government of 1918 was to secure a future for the people of the republic and as such, it created institutions—social infrastructure—that could address the needs of the people and grow with the participation of the people.

The leadership then was not out to assert itself, by all means necessary, and to manipulate the laws of the land to secure its positions and in the process loot the country of the national wealth. It certainly would not have toyed with our national values—and security—for the sake of establishing relations with neighbors. After all, in 1918, the people fought tooth and nail to preserve our nation.

On the international front, the Armenian Republic’s leaders also worked hard to establish an image of Armenia in the international community. An image, which stemmed from pride and conviction and not one that is easily swayed by outside pressures and interests. What resulted was the signing of the Sevres Treaty and the mandate placed on the US, which produced the Wilsonian Arbitral Award to Armenia.

These are key elements that are not outdated or out of reach. They should become the driving force for the Armenian government today and rallying force for the Armenian people around the world as we prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Armenia’s independence in September.

For now, we bow our heads to the heroes of Bashabaran, Gharkiliseh and Sardarabad.

Happy Armenian Independence Day.

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10 Comments

  1. Stepan said:

    What was remembered discreetly in Armenia for decades and celebrated only by Dashnag leaning Armenians in the diaspora is now recognized as one of the defining moments in Armenian history. We all salute the heroes of 1918, who experienced the Avarayr of the 20th century, and saved our nationhood.
    As a second generation American-Armenian, I also salute the generation of my parents and grandparents who remembered , celebrated and taught us that there were two holidays for us during this time of the year…a memorial day to honor American solidiers and a day to honor those who saved Armenia from destruction. They gathered in church halls, clubs and home to not forget in the diaspora and they had a unique kinship with their breathren in Armenia who also did not forget.
    Today is a new day and thankfully we all embrace the tri-color and the heroes of 1918.

    • manooshag said:

      Stepan, yes I remember when Hiastan declared it freedom from the USSR, it was the Dashnags and our church who were the only ones who bore and carried the Armenian tricolor… and some Armenians had to ask to borrow our Armenia’s red, blue and orange… (they no longer had theirs). Too, we had to ‘rent’ a church to have our own religious services… once a month… still honoring the Etchmiadzin as our ours – even as we were persona non grata from our own religious sites. And all our memorials observed, as you said, and our greatest joy in the diaspora as we joined with our bretheren in Haiastan, freed of the USSR, to join in it efforts to advance and progress – with honest leaders – all worthy and due to our Armenian nation.

  2. Hrant K. said:

    Too, we also bow our heads to the new heroes of Shoushi, Zankelan, Djebrayil,

    Hadrouth, Fizuli, Aghri (former Aghdam), Mardagerd, Gulisdan, Murov Mountain,

    Karvadjar and all those who sacrified their lives for the sake of liberation and

    establishment of a.Free Armenian Artsakh Republic! God bless all of them! (7)

  3. sebouh nazarian of australia said:

    sirenk mioutuon, chanenk vadoutoun….misht parster bahenk ho he tu anoun!!!God bless the true tashnaks

  4. bk said:

    We need to remember that just like Jesus Christ was resurrected so was the Armenian Nation after the Genocide and after the glorious battles with the enemy a country reawakened. In 1991, after the Soviet Union, we awakened once again. How lucky we are to have our Armenia! My grandparents if alive would not believe it! To maintain and nourish our country we need to return to our Motherland. To live, to breathe, and to die for it if necessary for our real homeland. If we had the 6.6 million Armenians return from the Diaspora to our Motherland just like the other peoples in the Middle East that return to their land, we would secure a history for our country. Our enemies would be too frightened to attack us. God bless our nation!. One cause, one people, one nation. ARMENIA!

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