‘Okhtuh Khach:’ Seven Crosses to Bear


In the local, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh/NKR) dialect, “okhtuh” means seven.  Of course “khach” is a cross.  Okhtuh Khach is the name of a peak in the Hadrout district of Artsakh, if memory serves me.  But lately, it seems that we have seven crosses to bear in the form of the unnecessary ambiguousness created by President Serge Sarkisian’s comments about the seven districts surrounding NKR that are formally outside its declared border.

Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo: President.am)
Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo: President.am)

These lands should provide Armenians with nothing but a sense of security, pride, and hope.  They serve as a buffer against Azerbaijan’s incessant aggression.  They were secured through much sacrifice in battles against a larger aggressor.  Some areas have been re-inhabited and are being farmed by Armenians for the first time in decades.  They are an indication that Western, Turkish occupied, Armenia will someday be freed from Ankara.

Yet lately, due to Sarkisian’s remark about ceding these lands to Azerbaijan, then the attempt to back off that foolhardy remark, the seven territories have become a nationwide source of anxiety.

Not only is ceding those lands very damaging to the security of the Republic of Armenia (RoA) & the NKR, not only has a cry of fervent opposition risen from the people of Artsakh, and not only is that policy in direct contravention of the ARF’s World Congress resolutions, but it also seems to have emboldened the megalomaniac of Baku.

President Ilham Aliyev’s chest thumping assertions about retaking those territories has now grown to include all of the RoA!  In case you didn’t realize it, it seems that Yerevan and its environs are Azeri lands, at least according to Aliyev.  As a side note to the main issue of this article, these ridiculous pronouncements should draw the world’s attention to the persistence of Pan-Turkism in the policies of Azerbaijan and Turkey (recall Erdogan’s recent claims on Iraq, invasion of Syria, and continued occupation of Cyprus).

Remember, we seek historic justice.  Not only are there issues of reparations for and recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but also restoration of Armenian territories.  The seven territories were also Armenian inhabited, until ethnically cleansed over the course of seven decades of Soviet-Azeri misrule.  What’s next?  Contending that the Western Armenian provinces of Van, Mush, Karin, etc. are negotiable and renouncing claims to them for some minor, temporary, benefit?

Call on Sarkisian to unequivocally state that these lands are not being “negotiated” away.  Do this by contacting the RoA’s representatives in consulates and embassies all over the world.

Garen Yegparian

Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.
Garen Yegparian

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