The following message will be delivered by John Kossakian on behalf of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) at the 19th annual Armenia Fund Telethon, which will be taking place on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24). The message, which will be delivered in Armenian, was translated by the Armenian Weekly.
In the course of our history, the Armenian nation has experienced several occasions where it was on the brink of extinction, but then miraculously survived and grew even stronger than before. A prime example is when the Armenian people were able to achieve their independence in 1918, only three years following the Armenian Genocide in 1915.
Therefore, the last 25 years have been very significant.
-The 1988 earthquake took the lives of 25,000 Armenians and left half a million people homeless;
-The rise in anti-Armenian persecution in Azerbaijan led to the displacement of over 300,000 Armenians in 1988;
-The Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh/NKR) War of 1988-1994 resulted in thousands of martyrs losing their lives;
-The collapse of the Soviet Union that led to Armenia’s economic breakdown, and Turkey and Azerbaijan’s blockade of Armenia;
-A damaged economy has led to the emigration of more than a million Armenians.
Any of these hardships could have been enough to wipe out Armenia from the face of the earth. However, the survival instinct of the Armenian people caused them to fight against these tragedies and to eventually regain their independence in 1991.
One of the most important features of this survival was the value of helping each other. If one Armenian was experiencing difficulty, groups of Armenians would always reach out to help. This is evident in our recent efforts in aiding our communities in the Middle East. Through different programs created by the Armenian diaspora, we were able to overcome the impact of the devastating earthquake; we were able to provide assistance to Artsakh during the struggle of liberation; and we helped improve the socioeconomic situation in Armenia.
Presently, several issues seem to still affect Armenia. With their wealth and excess in natural resources, Azerbaijan continues to strengthen its military forces, in order to attack Artsakh—and this military aggression has been highly encouraged by Turkey.
This past April’s Four-Day-War displayed the military strengths of Azerbaijan and its supporting partners. These weapons of mass destruction are serving the same goal the Ottoman Empire over a century ago, which was to destroy the Armenian people and take their lands.
However, the Armenian Armed Forces bravely defended our frontlines. Unfortunately, the Armenian army did experience the loss of many martyrs.
Soldiers who served in the Artsakh war in the 1990’s, army veterans, and even young Armenians, rushed to the trenches in order to defend their homeland. The Armenian people were ready to build a new Sardarabad.
Dear fellow Armenians,
The enemy seeks to increase its military power and continues to efficiently strengthen its armed forces in order to attack and threaten the peaceful population of Artsakh. We have to understand that during the next war, we will not be dependent on how strong our borders are or how well prepared our soldiers are. Instead, it will be dependent on the will and support of the global Armenian community. We must be prepared to work towards the safety and defense of our homeland, regardless of which corner of the world we live in.
Individually and collectively, we must take initiative and assist our homeland in the various areas and sectors it needs us in. These include lobbying in the political arena, implementing economic projects, providing medical assistance, and even helping in the defense of our country.
On this Thanksgiving Day, when every family is preparing to join together for dinner, let us remember to help our fellow Armenian soldier and to renew our oath to serving our motherland.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation has great expectations from every individual and the community. Let us first do our best to donate to the Armenia Fund, a charitable organization that has been financially contributing to the progress of Armenia in the last two decades. Then, in addition to providing financial assistance, let us remain faithful to our oath of service to our homeland and work towards progress for the Armenian Cause.
On behalf of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, we would like to wish the best of luck to the Armenia Fund for their 2016 Telethon and we hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.
Long live Artsakh, Armenia, and the Armenian people.
A live webcast of Armenia Fund’s Telethon 2016 will be available at www.armeniafund.org on U.S. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24.