BY MADELEINE MEZAGOPIAN
More than a century after the first genocide of the 20th Century, the memory of the massacre of more than 1.5 million Armenians reemerges amid sudden and constant echoing of claims of genocide, through various media outlets, in relation to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. A development which will not be allowed to eclipse the memory of the Armenian genocide.
Although the genocide took place 107 years ago, the Armenian population of Artsakh is targeted by the Azerbaijani government on a daily basis. Armenians continue to be displaced from their native lands, while advocates of human rights and justice, as well as the international community, continue to remain silent and indifferent.
Spearheaded by Turkey, Azerbaijan’s attempt to destroy Armenian cultural sites in territories under Azeri occupation is cultural genocide. They do so with one aim: to physically and culturally uproot Armenians from their native lands, and to destroy any and all connections between the two.
Armenians in both Artsakh and the Homeland are currently fighting an existential battle. A battle with outcomes that might reward or punish the sacrifices of our past and current martyrs, especially with the ongoing compromise if not dismissal of the memory of this recent genocide by some Armenian officials who are betraying the victims and their families.
Today, Armenians worldwide cannot afford to dedicate any more time to mourning while this genocide is still ongoing. A somehow passive dedication which will allow not only for the sacrifices of the millions of massacred and persecuted Armenians to go in vain, but will also allow our enemies into Armenia proper where they can freely persecute us.
Today, with our peace-oriented spirit and culture, we continue to fight to survive our existential struggle through all available, civilized, and peaceful means. Solidarity between the Armenian Diaspora and in the Homeland is the key to this survival.
Our struggle to survive includes trying to keep the memory of our ancestors alive — the memory of Armenians past and present, their history and culture, with its strong pillars of faith and language. Our strongest weapon, which we will use to survive and regain usurped territories, will be to preserve our culture and educate our youth.
Reclaiming and preserving our past and present by equipping Armenians worldwide with comprehensive and diverse knowledge and education is necessary in order to produce a new generation of professionals, including: scientists, craftsmen, environmentalists, strategists, politicians (academics/practitioners), geologists, doctors, lawyers, judges, and military experts.
Once properly educated, Armenians worldwide will be able to contribute to the preservation of the Armenian nation from extinction through remaining loyal to the memory of their martyrs, keeping their memory alive, having the genocide internationally recognized, promoting Armenia’s interests in each of the countries they reside in, and building solid bridges with the Homeland through investing their intellectual and professional wealth in serving the nation.
This can be materialized once Armenians are globally and apolitically united, only by their compassion for their Homeland. Diasporan Armenians with solid links to the Homeland, with the key mission of enhancing the interests of Armenia foremost through acting as a watchdog that secures the right person and occupies the right position. The right person who combines relevant professionalism and loyalty to the memory of our past and current martyrs and to the national interests of Armenia.
Only through building this global Armenian network and implementing its mission with already existing efforts can Armenia survive. We are entitled to kneel with great humility and pride and address our past and current martyrs of the truth and tell them, “Your sacrifices will be rewarded.”
Madeleine Mezagopian is a scholar and an academician based in Amman, Jordan.