The three years preceding the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide must be a time for the Armenian nation to redouble its efforts toward the realization of the Armenian Cause and the movement for the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide must be equally coupled with the pursuit of justice and demands for reparations and restitution for the Genocide.
The Turkish government has accelerated its continued denial of the Genocide, and will stop at nothing and spare no expense to advance a policy that trumpets its skewed version of history. At the same time, other governments, especially the United States, are becoming more and more entrenched in the Turkish campaign and are becoming pawns in Ankara’s ploys and as a result broadening their complicity in the crime.
The agenda for the Armenian nation is simple yet complicated at the same time. Simple, because it is the reiteration of the decades-long call for justice; complicated, because the imperative to launch a multi-pronged approach to the just resolution of our national aspirations will require will and determination from the entire Armenian nation.
The government of Armenia, which kicked off the centennial efforts by hosting a large-scale conference in Yerevan last year, should become a more active in the field and utilize its position as a world player to pursue the international recognition of the Genocide. After all, this matter is etched into Armenia’s Constitution and whoever ascends to the leadership of the country, must make this a priority. In the past we’ve seen the Turkish government apparatus completely involved in efforts to undermine Genocide recognition, be that in the US Congress for the French legislature, while the Armenian government has sat on the margins. The centennial must serve as a call to action for the government to work in concert with advocacy groups and movements in the Diaspora and advance the cause of justice.
By the same token, the push by the Diaspora for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide should take on renewed impetus and be based on the logic that reparations and restitution for the Genocide go hand-in-hand with its recognition. Individual efforts to mount law suits for survivor claims should be coordinated so that they are not class-action suits that merely scratch the surface of what is actually owed to the descendents of the Genocide. The pressure must be placed on the Turkish government to take responsibility not only of its history but the consequences of the Genocide.
The Armenian youth have an important and historic role to play in the realization of our national agenda. It is the youth who will be marshalling the cause. The activism demonstrated by the youth in the past several year is encouraging and, in some cases, contagious. It is imperative to reinvigorate the methodology and modality of the pursuit of Hai-Tahd and the new generation must be front and center in leading that effort. There are plenty of examples in the world today of how the youth have taken the mantle for justice and mobilized masses toward victory.
The challenges we face as a nation are manifold. Aside the fight for recognition and reparations for the Genocide, there is the equally important element of working to advance and strengthen Armenia, fighting for the self-determination of people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh) and the well-being of the Armenian population in Javakhk. All those are links to the same chain. All those are intertwined with the ultimate fate of the Armenian nation.
To paraphrase the famous Armenian author, our nation’s salvation lies in its collective strength. The imperative to demonstrate that strength is NOW.