Panel on Western Armenia Held in Watertown

WATERTOWN, Mass.—On April 3, a panel discussion titled “Western Armenia: Our Lands, Our Rights” took place at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC) in Watertown. The event, which was hosted by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Boston “Sardarabad” Gomideh and the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Greater Boston “Nejdeh” chapter,  featured former ambassador of Armenia to Canada (2000-2006) and president of the Modus Vivendi Center Ara Papian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America Aram Suren Hamparian, and Armenian Weekly contributor George Aghjayan. Dr. Dikran Kaligian, author of Armenian Organization and Ideology under Ottoman Rule, 1908-1914, acted as moderator, while ANC Eastern Region Board Member Tamar Kanarian introduced the speakers.

(L-R) Dikran Kaligian, Ara Papian, George Aghjayan, and Aram Hamparian (Photo by Mikael Garabedian)
(L-R) Dikran Kaligian, Ara Papian, George Aghjayan, and Aram Hamparian (Photo by Mikael Garabedian)

Papian spoke about what President Woodrow Wilson had in mind when drawing the borders of Armenia after World War I. Wilson wanted to offer Armenians a land that would enable them to survive, and that included access to the sea. Papian also noted that during private exchanges with high ranking Turkish officials, it was acknowledged that the genocide was a “strategic mistake” on the part of the Turks, as Armenians and Kurds counterbalanced one another in terms of national aspirations, as they occupied the same lands.

Aghjayan, whose research focuses on the demography of Western Armenia, drew from his travels to Turkey, including a chance encounter with a descendant of Armenian Genocide survivors in his grandmother’s village of Uzunova—“we are two sides of the same coin,” he said. Aghjayan also reflected on the recent speech he gave in Ankara on “hidden Armenians,” on the 7th anniversary of Hrant Dink’s assassination in Istanbul. Aghjayan’s talk highlighted the importance of being on Western Armenian soil, to visit those lands, maintain the connection with the lands Armenians were uprooted from, and forge connections with the descendants of genocide survivors in Turkey.

Hamparian’s talk focused on waging the struggle for Armenian rights in the Diaspora. He noted that persistence is critical in the demand of rights. He offered as examples the case of ending U.S. support of apartheid in South Africa, the environmental movement and global warming, and the efforts of activists who fought to get large tobacco companies to admit the link between cancer and smoking. He cited some examples of ANCA initiatives, including the recent efforts to draw attention to the situation in Syria. Touching upon the theme of dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, Hamparian said that although observers think that genocide recognition and reconciliation take place on a horizontal platform, where both sides come to the table as equals, one must understand that the relationship is a vertical one where there is a clear perpetrator and a victim.

The event was followed by a question and answer period. ARF Boston “Sardarabad” Gomideh Chairperson Hovannes Janessian offered the closing remarks.


  1. Armenians without having super weapon systems in Armenia and Artsakh would have no future as a nation. We must gather in Armenia to create modern weapons to guarantee our future. Everything else is a wasting time.

  2. I especially approve of Mr. Hamparian´s remarks.Wellfurnished with examples.I only hope we can besides ¨arming to the teeth in RA, as Papken Hartunian above, writes¨,concentrate on Getting the Diaspora´s re-organization around a much more RAnk & File entity,rather than just a few politgical parties few small % ones.
    We need the thick of our People engaged in 16 main Professions into classification, then through these their Elite to take part in Diaspora´s efforts.Also through these-Human resources-strive for a NATIONAL INVESTMENT TRUST FOUNDATION ,without which we can not achieve much.For today´s world revolves around capital/finances…
    best hasgcoghin

  3. Panels like this – and pieces of worthless paper Papyan loves to talk about – are only good for wasting time and money, and keeping Armenians distracted and politically ignorant. As long as Armenians dont wake up – politically speaking – and rally behind the Armenian republic – unconditionally – Armenians wont even be able to defend let along liberate a small village like Kessab. The elephant in the room that none of the honorable panel participants want to speak about is the anti-Armenian nature of the Western world, the US in particular. The key to liberating Western Armenia (as well as Nakhijevan and Javakhq) lies in Moscow and the a lesser extent in Tehran. Everything else is a costly distraction.

    • I don’t think it’s a waste of time to talk about Wilsonian Armenia, and I think Ara Papyan does great work. Moscow cannot do anything to Turkey as long as the US is in the picture, unless it is looking to start WWIII. That is the story for the past 60+ years. Russia is of course the key to Armenia’s survival, but the US has significant importance for our cause and pursuit for justice.

      Certain Neocon elements in the US government have fooled the country into believing that “the US needs Turkey” when in fact the reverse is true. If we don’t act on correcting all the lies and disinformation in the western world, that could unpredictably damage both our people and nation in the future.

      Russia has not had a history of helping us while not helping itself at the same time. Relying solely on Russia is almost as dangerous as rejecting it. We must rely on ourselves while at the same time effectively using both Russia and the US. In regards to Europe, and especially France and the UK, I’m all for giving them the middle finger, but that’s more out of frustration than pragmatism.

  4. I think Turkey has gotten away with the crime of genocide since her illegal establishment in 1923 on the lands of the indigenous Armenians and other native Christians because she has been used as a pawn by the world’s superpowers and knowing her geopolitical importance in the region, despite having the blood of millions of Armenians on her hands, Turkey has in turn used and milked these two superpowers dry at deliberate and complete detriment to the Armenian nation.

    You can’t get justice in this materialistic world, in spite of all historical evidence, and are considered nothing but a liability if you have very little to offer to satisfy the large appetites of these wolves. If, on the other hand, you are deemed useful and an asset to the selfish schemes of the powers who rule this world then you can get away with murder and they will turn a blind eye on your crimes and to the demise of your victims.

    The world has changed in many respect and we are no longer living in the Cold War era when nations around the world were being used in chess games between the world superpowers. We need to use this opportunity to invest our energy and resources, as well as our diplomatic strength and influences around the world, in isolating and downgrading the mythical importance of Turkey in the region in order to put an end to Turkey’s cunning and deliberate evasion of accountability, through lies and history falsifications, to the Armenian nation as a whole and particularly to the descendants of the 1.5 million Armenians whose parents and grandparents they murdered in cold blood and whose ancestral homeland they confiscated.

    In the meantime, we need to continue to get stronger, militarily in particular, by making smart choices and wise alliances. Given the despicable nature of our enemies, we need to take our destiny into our own hands, as we did in the liberation of Artsakh, and use our combined and united front and determination in Artsakh as an example and a blueprint to achieve our national goals.

    Let’s face it, at the end of the day: Միայն զենքով կա հայոց փրկութիւն.

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