Sahagian: The Next 100 Years

Special for the Armenian Weekly

And where do we go now? The storm of the Armenian Genocide Centennial has passed. The nation came out in full force in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora. We saw and felt a unity that was unfelt and unseen since the days of Artsakh’s liberation. But where does that unity go now? Does it remain intact or does it go into retreat until the next occasion of national importance?

I came by some commentary about the day after April 24, 2015, with some stating that we’d lose our common identity with the passing of the big date; people would now go about their own struggles and would not find a common ground for a broader national struggle of any kind.

If your Armenian identity is wholly and only anchored in the genocide, then you are delusional about your own heritage. Armenian History 101 is a must for you to realize that 5 years of butchery does not overshadow 6,000 years of great history and the open vastness that is the future of this nation.

And if you thought that the struggle for genocide recognition—and more importantly, compensation—was only about Turkey coming to terms with its past, then you are once again mistaken. It is also about securing Armenia’s rightful position in the Caucasus politically and economically. The acknowledgment by our enemies of their past barbarity would go some way in safeguarding the development of the Republic of Armenia regionally. And if that in itself is not a common ground for a broader national struggle to somehow keep the identity intact, then I fear the potential of the next 100 years will be lost in stalemate.

A strong republic that is appreciated for its worth on the international stage and by its neighbors is the most effective platform from which to assert and exercise our inalienable rights in the lands of Western Armenia, Cilicia, Pokr Hayk (Lesser Armenia); bring the Hamshen Armenians back into the national fold; and find a just solution to the national rights of the Armenians in Javakhk.

If this past Centennial marked our rebirth as a nation, then let the next 100 years mark our consolidation as a nation with a republic that even our ancient monarchs would be envious of.

But that all starts with ridding ourselves of petty delusions and misplaced arrogance. It’s time to concentrate on the ills within our society.

…if you thought that the struggle for genocide recognition—and more importantly, compensation—was only about Turkey coming to terms with its past, then you are once again mistaken. It is also about securing Armenia’s rightful position in the Caucasus politically and economically. The acknowledgment by our enemies of their past barbarity would go some way in safeguarding the development of the Republic of Armenia regionally.

In today’s socio-political reality in Armenia, the government has carved out a state where its affiliates plunder the nation’s riches and feed into its corruption.

If Siamanto were alive today, he’d revise: “Ov Hayots artarutyun, togh tknem ko jagadin” (O, Armenian justice, let me spit in your face).

And if some of you do not find common identity in this struggle for the soul of the republic, then your usefulness ended on April 24, 2015.

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Apo Sahagian

Apo Sahagian is a Jerusalemite-Armenian musician and writer.
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9 Comments

  1. Good article Mr. Sahagian.

    But it is a little hard to take you seriously.
    You, Sir, are on record stating you have turned your back on Armenia.

    In our Armenian Nation’s struggle, we will again encounter many disappointments, despite the incredible success we registered this year with the 100th.
    Sorry to have to say this, but it is pretty hard to trust and rely on someone in pursuit of our sacred Cause who will turn his back on his people when things get a little rough.

    You either love Armenia unconditionally – warts ‘n all – or you don’t: there is no in between.

    • I remembered that article, about Sahagian walking away, and thought of pointing it out too, but you know Avery, I’d like to think we all make mistakes and have our down moments. There are so many ‘Armenians’ out there which are in fact completely useless to our culture and in fact would be better if they changed their names and disappeared in my opinion, even though we can’t afford to lose anyone.

      I wish that article would have been as a commentary somewhere though instead of an article, since official articles have somewhat of a ‘permanency’ to them. Anyway, maybe he feels differently now and just suffered from a hiccup previously.

  2. I believe that the beacon, the guiding light or the pole that our national compass directs us to is the survival and strengthening of Armenia and not the Genocide recognition. The Genocide did happen and it needs to be recognized but it cannot serve as the sole issue that guides our national agenda and life; our future history.

    Like you say, Armenians have had a long history on this earth, 5000-6000 years old, and we need to think in terms of next 1000 years, what legacy are we leaving the future generations. We have gained and lost kingdoms and republics throughout our long history. In the future history books, the Genocide will be one chapter, not the whole book. Frankly, it is just one incident in the history of Armenians, albeit a significant one, but one incident nevertheless.

    The survival and strengthening of Armenia is what must serve as our nation’s moral compass, the Genocide recognition must be of lower priority, not much lower, but lower nevertheless.

  3. The Genocide is important because Turkey still threatens the survival of Armenia TODAY. Turkey will commit genocide again if it can.

    I wish people would make that connection between past and present more often.

    • Our wait for Turkey’s acknowledgment before moving forward enslaves us to Turkey’s whims and manipulation, it binds us to them, takes away our freedom of decision-making for the NOW – and by NOW I mean what confronts us in today’s reality and world.

      There are better, smarter ways of making Turkey face her past deeds, for example, by making Armenia stronger and more of a regional and international player which I think is possible with correct strategic policies and maneuverings.

  4. I agree with amb and Vahe. Our statehood is essential, and as long as Turkey does not acknowledge and atone for 1915, and of course 1895 and 1909, our state is always under threat.

    • Does Turkey really threaten Armenia today? Where did you receive that information from? There is a famous saying which states “generate idea without having information”

    • {“ Does Turkey really threaten Armenia today?”}

      What is your time reference for quote “today” ?
      Will past several years do ?

      Clearly, with the Russian base in Gyumri, Turkey cannot attack Armenia directly.
      (about 20 years ago, in 1993, Turkey massed an invasion army at the border of RoA: I’d say that was “really threaten”, wouldn’t you? CIS told Tansu Çiller she is facing WW3 if Turks cross the RoA border, so Turks hurried back to their barracks:)

      So Turkey attacks Armenians by other means:
       About a year ago Turkey sent radical Islamist terrorists to invade and massacre Armenians in Kessab. Fortunately, the invasion preparation was detected in time to evacuate most of Kessab’s residents to safer areas. Some elderly Armenians who could not make it and were left behind were kidnapped and taken to Turkey. They were later released.
       Last year and most of this year, groups of specially trained kill-teams of Azerbaijani (Oghuz Turk) commandos trained in Turkey by Turks were sent to kill Armenians. All the attempts failed with large losses to the invaders, but several of our young men were also killed. In one of those attacks a Turk instructor (from Turkey) was also killed. The idea is to demoralize Armenian civilians into abandoning the border villages, so Caucasus Turks can creep deeper into Armenian lands over time.
       Turkey’s worldwide campaign of AG denial continues unabated: Yes, Turkey’s official denial of the AG is an existential threat to RoA, NKR, and the worldwide Armenian Nation. It is a threat, because if unrepentant Turks had the ability, they would do it again. Witness Turks’ campaign past 30 years to erase the name and existence of Kurds from Turkey: the only reason Turks are talking to Kurds today is because Kurds grew too numerous too fast for Turks to exterminate them: Turks want to do it, but can’t.

      There is a famous saying: “If it walks like a genocidal Anti-Armenian Turkey, it talks like a genocidal Anti-Armenian Turkey, it _is_ a genocidal Anti-Armenian Turkey”.

  5. I think it is not made due to the fact the generation is far removed or should I say further removed and idealistic

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