‘Hai Tahd? Can you explain what that is?’

By Dalita Getzoyan

A few months ago, I was at a Providence Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Juniors meeting. At a certain point during the meeting, the Seniors were asked to introduce themselves and say what they do in the AYF. When it was my turn, I introduced myself as a member of the Central Executive whose primary interest is in Hai Tahd. I invited the Juniors to come talk to me if Hai Tahd was something they were interested in.

Realizing that these young kids may not know what Hai Tahd is, my fellow Senior members asked me to explain it. Put on the spot, I rambled off some words about politics, the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and a “free, united, and independent Armenia.” I was wholly disappointed in myself and my lack of ability to explain what I feel is one of the most important aspects of the AYF. I was sure I had confused the young minds even more, and possibly decreased their interest in Hai Tahd.

After this experience, the question of “What is Hai Tahd?” continued to plague me. I have heard it described with many words: the “Armenian Cause,” politics, culture, activism, recognition, reparations, working towards basic human rights for all Armenians, etc. None of these words are satisfying to me, because they are non-specific. They are general goals, and yet hardly say anything about what we are truly fighting for.

I finally came to realize the difficulty in defining Hai Tahd and why I have never been fully satisfied with any definition. To me, Hai Tahd is not simply a theory or a principle; it is action. Therefore, we should not be trying to define Hai Tahd solely in ideologies, which offer a guide, but do not give specific instruction on how to achieve our goals. In order to have a complete picture of Hai Tahd, we must engage in actions that directly reflect our principles.

These are some examples of how I would define Hai Tahd:

  • Educating yourself and others about the current news in Armenia, Artsakh (Karabagh), Western Armenia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and other areas of the world in which Armenians live
  • Becoming part of an Armenian Diasporan community
  • Going to an Armenian church
  • Learning about Armenian culture, music, and dances
  • Joining the AYF, ARS, ARF, or any other organization that has programs in place to help Armenia
  • Contributing new ideas and programs to these organizations
  • Putting pressure on local, national, and international governments to support human rights issues that concern both Armenians and the entire world we live in (examples include issues of justice, domestic violence, battling corrupt governments, etc.)
  • Becoming friends with people who will support our goals
  • Learning the Armenian language (I am continually working on this myself, and I know it is difficult because we live in a country that speaks a different language. However, this is essential if we want to achieve the ultimate goal of helping Armenia.)
  • Visiting Armenia
  • Working in Armenia
  • Moving to Armenia

I am not saying this list is the limit of what Hai Tahd is. These are only examples, and not everyone can do all of them. What we need to realize is that there is room for all of these actions, and more, in the realm of Hai Tahd. If we engage in these activities and others, then we will be working towards the real goal of Hai Tahd, which is to preserve our country and our culture despite the difficulties we have faced. Anything that supports this goal can and should be considered as Hai Tahd.

Another consideration is that Hai Tahd is continuously changing. Armenia is a society, and societies change and progress over time. Sometimes, these changes come unexpectedly. It is important to note that involvement in Hai Tahd means being flexible and accommodating of the most recent issues at hand in the country and in the diaspora. If we change and adapt with current events, we can begin to progress towards a brighter future as a society.

I now ask you to answer: What is Hai Tahd for you?

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. I will frame it shortly HAI TAHD is the proud sensation of being Armenian. THANKS for your article.

  2. For me Hai Tahd is correcting the wrongs that have been done to us as a people and a nation.

    The guilty parties are not limited to Turkey, but also include Europe – France, England and Germany in particular. I would throw in the Soviet Union in there too, but it does not exist anymore as a political force.

    -Germany enabled the Turks to commit the Genocide.

    -France gave Armenian Cilicia to Turkey on purpose but created “Syria” and “Lebanon” without so much as a hiccup.

    -England meddled in Armenia’s self determination and also caused Turkey and Azerbaijan to artificially be in possession of Armenia’s lands.

    -The Soviet Union armed the Turks so they could both invade Armenia to prevent Armenia from becoming a self-sustaining and free nation.

    We are such a lucky bunch, aren’t we?

    Our will for honesty did us in.

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