Customarily, this would be the time to reflect not only on the past year, but the past decade and enumerate the events, people and places that have impacted the first decade of the 21st century. However, the reality facing our nation and our people perhaps does not afford us this time for reflection, except only to identify judiciously the important lessons that can be applied to guide our nation out of the quagmire and onto a more just path.
The Armenia-Turkey protocols forever changed Armenian politics and the process, which had begun in 2008, quickly developed into a high stakes game, the outcome of which is sure to have an indelible impact on every Armenian around the world.
The political developments indicate that next year will be equally, if not more, crucial as the nation prepared to mark the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the significance of this milestone on protocols ratification process.
Despite statements to the contrary by Armenian authorities, it is clear that the preconditions inherent in the protocols, will also critically impact the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process as well as the decades long efforts to garner international recognition for the Armenian Genocide.
There is, however, an upside. Perhaps, the greatest lesson—consequence—of the numerous disappointments of 2009 was the fact that as the challenges increased so did the resolve of the Armenian people. Nowhere was that more evident than during President Serzh Sarkisian’s Diaspora Tour, which he hoped would rally Armenians around his misguided policies.
From Paris to New York, to Los Angeles and Beirut and finally to Yerevan the shear number of people who rose up to protest the protocols and the process sent an important signal to not only the Armenian authorities but to those who are pulling the strings of this ill-conceived process, namely the US and other Western forces that architected this plan.
This persistence and drive can become the true compass that can guide our people’s fate and create a united front in the pursuit of our national aspirations and justice.
The task ahead is arduous and can seem daunting, but there is no alternative than pushing forward and increasing the potential of our collective strength.
The first months of the new-year will be critical. In January, Armenia’s Constitutional Court will weigh in on the protocols on the road to the ratification process. The OSCE Minsk Group has promised an updated set of the so-called “Madrid Principles,” based on which the peace is being negotiated. And, of course, with the 95th anniversary of the Genocide a new impetus should be given to the Congressional resolutions in the House and the Senate.
As we pause to celebrate the Christmas holiday and ring in the new year, we must do so with the knowledge that the new year will require more resilience and heightened determination.
We cannot help but hope that the whirlwind that was 2009, and its great lessons, will not be lost as we look forward to the challenges ahead in the coming year. Perhaps that hope is what we need to persevere.
First, and foremost, we would like to acknowledge and thank our valued and devoted readers. This year, Asbarez changed the way we bring the news to our readers. With our revamped Web site, asbarez.com, we were able to reach more people in a more timely manner and engaged them in the process that is the Armenian reality.
As much as events shaped the last year, so did our readers. Their comments on the news and opinion pieces propelled us to strive for greater coverage and more concise content. We hope that you will stay with us in the coming years as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Asbarez English Section in May.
Without our advertisers and supporters, Asbarez would not have been able to become the arena that it has. We look forward to strengthening our relations with our advertisers and invite businesses and organizations that have not worked with us, to join our team.
This year we introduced new columns, and brought back some old favorites. We thank all our contributors who have all volunteered their time and talents and made our publication better.
As for this special issue, under the guidance and leadership of our new business manager, Vicken Sosikian, our business department was able to surpass all expectations and, despite the weak economy, we were able to produce one of the more successful year-end special issues. Our office staff of Armig Daghlian and Sossy Atamian were joined by our sales team of Chake Ajemian and Hasmig Panossian to reach out to community organizations, individuals and businesses and invite them to become a part of this tradition. Our design and layout director, Armnie Zarifian made sure that our special looked great, while Harry Vorperian developed the cover art for all four sections. We applaud their efforts and thank them for their commitment.
This issue features a story on the economic impact of the protocols on Armenia, by looking at the disparities in wealth distribution. Serouj Aprahamian and Asbarez’s Allen Yekikan together probed this important issue. On the culutral front, new Asbarez contributor Lara Garibian met up with three women who are changing Hollywood through their new television show and online venture, Hollyscoop. Yekikan also takes s on a journey 15 years in the making with a look at the AYF Youth Corps program. Regular commentator Garen Yegparian provides an interesting perspective on matters of interest to the community, while new columnist Tamar Kevonian brings us a year-end “People and Places.” Our theater reviewer and regular contributor to the Critics’ Forum Aram Kouyoumdjian looks at the past year in theater and revisits the best of the best. And, finally, we were able to bring back a long-time favorite out of retirement. Skeptic Sinikian is back with a look back at the year and some sage advice for 2010.
We wholeheartedly thank these writers who have brightened the pages of this special issue. And, finally, to our colleagues in the Armenian Section and Horizon television, whose individual and collective contribution make this the best, and most trusted team for your news and information.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and see you in 2010.
Featured in this Year’s English Year-End Special: