Armenians Capture Shushi: Last Azeri Stronghold in Karabagh Falls
STEPANAKERT (Combined Wire Services)— The self-defense forces of the Mountainous Karabagh Republic overran Shushi, the last Azeri stronghold in the region, on May 9, crowning a long military campaign to secure full control of the territory.
The main headline and opening sentence of the Armenian Weekly’s May 16, 1992 issue broke the news of a major turning point in the Karabagh War that took place 25 years ago—the liberation of Shushi.
The city had become an Azerbaijani stronghold, but after heavy fighting on May 8-9, 1992, Armenian forces liberated Shushi in what became a defining moment in helping establish a corridor to Armenia. That corridor—known as the “Road of Life”—eventually allowed for the lasting defense of the then newly independent country.
Today, a quarter century later, Azerbaijan continues to violate the 1994 ceasefire agreement at every chance it gets. A little over a year after the April 2016 War, there has been no let-up by Aliyev regime.
During the month of April, Armenian communities around the world commemorated the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and demanded justice for the Great Crime. Here in the United States, Armenian-Americans also continued their struggle for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide. While the U.S. recognition of the genocide is important and necessary, it cannot come at the expense of other issues—pertinent issues like Artsakh.
And luckily, it hasn’t…
Twenty-five years after the headlines about Shushi’s liberation appeared on the front pages of Armenian Diasporan newspapers, it is evident that Armenians around the world—including here in the Eastern United States—have not lost sight of Artsakh’s importance and realize the significance of Artsakh’s security to the future viability of the Armenian nation.
Projects like the Arajamugh Village Expansion are evidence that the diaspora’s focus has not shifted away from Artsakh. Rather, the worldwide Armenian community’s tradition of offering vital assistance to Artsakh has developed from simple charity to long-term development; to building for the future.
Organizations such as the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), with its worldwide regions and chapters, have been instrumental in the country’s development and growth, with such admirable projects as the construction and sponsorship of the “Sosseh” Kindergartens.
Just this past weekend, the entire proceeds from a series of events organized by the Hamazkayin New York chapter celebrating its fiftieth anniversary were allocated to supply military-grade first-aid kits to the Artsakh Armed Forces.
This all proves that the Armenian Diaspora has not forgotten about Artsakh, because it realizes that when the independence of Artsakh is at stake, the future of a free, independent, and greater Armenia is at stake as well.
We cannot lose sight of this reality and must constantly recommit ourselves to Artsakh’s development and future.
Twenty-five years after Shushi’s liberation, we cannot afford to take Artsakh for granted.