GLENDALE–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation marked its 119th anniversary during a celebration event organized by the Central Committee of the ARF-Western USA. More than 1,500 community members flocked to the Glendale High School auditorium to witness 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 during remarks delivered 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, reassuring the community of the youth’s willingness and determination to be the vital force of change in the community, to hold true to the core values of the ARF, and to struggle for the Armenian nation.
Below are his remarks:
Sireli hayrenagitsner, I stand before you tonight, humbled to be able to speak during a day of celebration, for an organization that has lived for over a century, an organization, that throughout its existence, has been the defender of justice and the protector of truth.
I stand before you today, honored to be a part of this organization, to represent its youth, and to pay homage to its founders and leaders throughout history.
As a member of the Armenian Youth Federation, I am thankful for a leader that had the foresight to entrust the youth with the future of not only our organization, but our entire people.
Had it not been for Karekin Njdeh’s wisdom, our Diasporan youth would be non-existent, apathetic, and disconnected from our nation. And for that, I am thankful.
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.
The core values of selflessness and dedication upon which our organization was founded, coupled with being technologically advanced and globalized, have made the AYF into a powerful combination and has left us better situated to battle in today’s world, where things are so fast and so complex.
Take the “hunger for justice” as an example. The drive and passion of our youth spilled out onto the streets in front of the whole community as over 30 individuals starved themselves for an entire week.
Videos, articles, & pictures went up every day, highlighting the event as the news reached across America, into Canada, England, France, Syria, Lebanon, Australia, and Armenia.
And this is just one example of many.
However, one thing that we cannot forget as members of this organization is who we are fighting for and that no matter what, we can always do more for them.
Socrates once said: “there is nothing we can do better than seeking to become still better than we are.”
For as long as i can remember, there has been only one piece of the puzzle that we are still yet to find, and that piece, is unity.
Unity, not only among Armenians within the Diaspora, but among the Diaspora and our brothers and sisters within Armenia.
Our manifesto states that we fight for a “free, independent, and united Armenia.” So let us complete this mission and meet all its goals.
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.
We need to focus on the social issues that plague our country to this day
We need be the leaders that put an end to the poverty and hunger within our country because no Armenian man woman or child should go hungry on the streets.
We need to do these things because that is what a true socialist organization must do.
And I can promise you that the youth today can be and will be the leaders that complete this mission in the future to come.
Finally, I want to speak about the unique characteristics of a member of this organization; the unger.
The unger is humble, dedicated, and a person of integrity.
The unger does not seek power, fame, nor recognition as these things go against the socialist ideals that distinguish our organization from any other.
The unger is an organizational person, one who provides continuous input, and at times, questions the reasoning, but at the end of the day, does not deviate from their duty and responsibility.
And lastly, the unger is one that believes in our ideology, and holds the goals of the manifesto as their own.
Even though we have survived for over a century, we must make a conscious effort to uphold these simple characteristics that make up the true unger.
So let us celebrate the 119th anniversary of our beloved organization by honoring our forefathers, and upholding the core values and principles upon which our organization was built upon.