Armenians of Lebanon Celebrate 126th Anniversary of the ARF

Pakradouni: ‘“The ARF is the Backbone of the Armenian People that Keeps Us Standing. It is Our Heart, Our Mind, and Our Strong Fist’

Markarian: ‘Participating Independently in the Upcoming Elections is a Very Important Factor for the ARF’

BEIRUT, Lebanon (A.W.)—On Jan. 27, Armenians community of Lebanon celebrated the 126th anniversary of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), reported the ARF Central Committee of Lebanon’s official publication Aztag Daily newspaper.  In attendance were representatives and dignitaries from various political parties and organizations, guests, and supporters.

A shot of the crowd at the 126th anniversary event (Photo: Amaya/Aztag)

The opening remarks were delivered by Arsho Balian, after the crowd observed a moment of silence to honor all ARF members who passed away over the past year.  In her address, she said that although the life and history of the 126-year-old organization is celebrated once a year, the presence of the ARF for a member is an everyday celebration. “It is a celebration of ideology, revolution, national and social justice, service to the people, and a struggle for the Armenian Cause. [It is also a] celebration of our protectors of the homeland, and the preparation of the new generation of ARF members,” said Balian

Balian stressed the role of the ARF in the diaspora, given the fact that the party became the main driving force, which made it possible for diasporans to remain Armenian and continue their struggle. She added that the ARF has also been influential in Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabgh/NKR) by always being ready to serve its homeland, thus ensuring a bright future for the Armenian people.

A video showcasing a summary of all the activities that the ARF organized in the past year was presented, after which members of the the Hamazkayin “Arek” theatrical group recited a poem.

The message of the Central Committee of the ARF in Lebanon was delivered by ARF Central Committee of Lebanon representative and Member of Lebanon’s Parliament, Hagop Pakradouni. In his remarks, Pakradouni said that the ARF was created for the Armenian people and in order to serve their best interests. “The ARF is the backbone of the Armenian people that keeps us standing. It is our heart, our mind, and our strong fist,” said Pakradouni.

Mentioning that the ARF 126th anniversary was being celebrated on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Armenian Armed Forces, Pakradouni emphasized the importance of the Armenian Army and stressed how the forces are the will and hope of the Armenian nation.

“The Armenian Army is our hope and our fortress… We must support it through all kinds of sacrifice. And we must appreciate the fact that they are impenetrable wall—a red line,” said Pakradouni.

Pakradouni also discussed some of the issues that face Armenia, including the establishment of social justice and the problems of corruption, emigration, and individual rights. He stressed that the new constitutional changes will soon provide a hopeful future for the country and the Armenian people. He then spoke about the importance of the cooperation between the diaspora and in Armenia’s development.

Hagop Pakradouni addressing the crowd (Photo: Photo Raffi/Aztag)

Among some of the other matters Pakradouni addressed were the situation of the Armenian population in the Middle East, the ARF’s role in the government of Lebanon, the many successes that were achieved throughout the year by the youth. He added that the work of the ARF is nowhere near complete and that several programs with the aim of preserving the Armenian identity in Lebanon are in progress.

He then announced the founding of the four funds, which will cater to the Armenian community of Lebanon— the Armenian Family Building Fund, which will work to cover the expenses for a couples’ marriage; thetThe Armenian Children’s Fund, which will cover the costs for the baptism of Armenian children; the Family Growth Fund, which will provide additional financial assistance to those families who have three or more children; and the Armenian Student Fund, which will provide scholarships to students.

“We [the ARF] are the proprietors of this community, their servants, and especially their protectors,” concluded Pakradouni.

His remarks were followed by the singing of revolutionary songs by members of the Hamazkayin “Kusan” choir.

Following the performance, ARF Bureau Chairman Hrant Markarian delivered his remarks. He spoke of the importance of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Armenia and how they will impact Armenians around the world. He added that the elections are taking place in the midst of complicated times and a potential state of war in Artsakh.

Markarian confirmed ARF’s participation and responsibility in the upcoming elections. “In past elections, we have worked with the opposition and the government. In both cases, we did not accomplish our goals,” said Markarian. “The purpose of cooperation is to meet all the goals we have set out for Armenia. Participating independently in the upcoming elections is a very important factor for the ARF.”

Hrant Markarian addresses the crowd (Photo: Aztag)

Markarian said that the ARF will participate in the elections is for the development and strengthening of Armenia. “We are the only political force in Armenia that believes in social justice,” said Markarian, while stressing that the ARF has also been the only organization to stand up to various types of injustices.

He added that Armenia has more possibilities of development when its united with Artsakh and that Armenia must always be prepared for war. “We are responsible of organizing like an army and it is our responsibility to wholeheartedly support the Armenian Army,” said Markarian. “Armenia will become strong when our army is strong.”

Marakian also addressed the problem of emigration, by saying that the Armenian state must assist the upcoming generation and provide them with security, so that they remain in their homeland. Markarian concluded his remarks by stressing the importance of the diaspora’s participation in the development of Armenia.

The even concluded with the singing of the anthem of the ARF, Mshak Banvor. 

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