GLENDALE—At Sunday’s 119th anniversary celebration of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation its Western US, Central Committee Chairman Avedik Izmirlian said no Armenian government has the right to take decisions against the national interests of Armenians, referring to the current Armenia-Turkey protocols that endanger the national security and future of the Armenian nation.
Izmirlian added that whether or not the protocols are ratified, Armenia needs to be governed by a national agenda that is formulated through the participation of a cross-section of the Armenian people and that emphasizes the national interests and aspirations of the Armenian people around the world.
The more than 1,500 community members who had flocked to the Glendale High School auditorium witnessed a resurgence of the ARF’s commitment to fight for justice and the rights of the Armenian nation.
No where was that better articulated than remarks by Armenian Youth Federation Western US Central Executive Chairman Arek Santikian, who spoke of the critical role the youth should play in the pursuit of the Armenian Cause.
“Speaking on behalf of the youth today, I am here to reassure you that we realize the duty bestowed upon on us and we welcome the challenges put forth. Being mindful of the sacrifices of our ancestors throughout our rich history has instilled the passion that allows each of us to work tirelessly and willingly, for something far greater than any individual,” said Santikian.
“In order for us to succeed any further than we have throughout the years, we need to be the leaders that break down any wall that divides us as a people. We need to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters in Armenia, and fight for their rights, just as much as much as we fight for ours. We need to expose the fact that 95 percent of our country’s wealth is held by five percent of its people, and end this corruption,” added Santikian.
“Our manifesto states that we fight for a ‘free, independent, and united Armenia.’ So let us complete this mission and meet all its goals,” explained Santikian, pledging “…I can promise you that the youth today can be and will be the leaders that complete this mission in the future to come.”
As keynote speaker at the event, Armenian National Committee of America chairman Ken Hachikian outlined the threats facing the Armenian nation as a result of the Armenia-Turkey protocols and the imperative for Armenian unity in opposition of these dangerous documents.
“The need for a sober review – and thoughtful community dialogue – on the issues facing our nation is certainly in keeping with the best traditions of our organizational legacy, and reflects, in powerful ways, the remarkable spirit of service and sacrifice embodied by all of you,” said Hachikian.
“Ankara is using the Protocols’ “process” to manage the new Obama Administration and the growing tensions caused by its increasing independence from Washington in a way that both preserves its prerogatives to act against U.S. interests on Iran, Israel, Russia, and other issues while, at the same time, preventing the U.S. from recognizing the Armenian Genocide,” explained Hachikian.
“Armenia must develop a foreign policy that, rather then advancing the interests of elites and oligarchs, reflects the true interests of Armenia and embraces the national democratic aspirations of the Armenian people. Sadly, the current Foreign Ministry of Armenia has not demonstrated the ability to do so,” emphasized the ANCA chairman.
“We must, in the weeks and months ahead, grow larger and stronger – bringing an ever-increasing circle of Armenians into our work and the sacred cause of our proud and ancient nation,” said. Hachikian.
“We must, with our full resolve, reject the forces that would divide us and – with equal vigor – resist the temptation to endlessly chase the false unity that would require us to seek the consent of every opportunist or that would provide the lapdogs of foreign interests veto power over Armenian interests,” urged Hachikian. “We must, rather, seek the true unity of common purpose, of collective values, and of a common vision of our Armenian future.”
Armenia’s former ambassador to Canada and the director of the “Modus Vivendi” center in Armenia, Dr. Ara Papian, who was scheduled to present the event’s keynote address in Armenian, was unable to attend the celebration due to unforeseen reasons. Through a telephone message, Dr. Papian told the gathered about the importance of working together to derail the protocols process.
The celebration began with a flag procession led by the Homenetmen marching band and scouts. Under the banner of “United Armenia with All Armenians,” the program’s welcoming remarks were delivered by ARF Shant Student Association member Tro Krikorian.
A video presentation, mainly chronicling the ARF’s activities in response to the protocols, focused on the activities in the Western Region.
The cultural portion of the program featured performances from the Vardan and Siranoush Gevorkyan dance ensemble, recitation by Maral Varjabedian and songs by Anahit Nersesian.
The celebration concluded by performance of patriotic songs by Nersig Ispirian, Harout Pamboukjian and Hovih Krikorian, who were accompanied by the traditional “Knar” Armenian folk ensemble.