ARAJAMUGH, Artsakh—Upon returning from our journey to Artsakh, news of another soldier falling in defense of our country reached our ears.
With initial sentiments of sorrow, we continue to traverse down Mt. Mrav thinking of the sacrifi ces made by our fallen heroes, the likes of Garod Megerdichian, Garo Kahkejian, and many others. While the efforts of yesterday’s martyrs in their painstaking efforts and ultimate devotion to our cause should never be understated or trivialized, we must not overlook those in the front lines today whose relentless efforts serve a constant notice that the struggle for our lands is incessant and unfortunately bourgeoning the ranks of those losing their lives for our homeland.
Day after day, week after week, month after month, the news of a new soldier dying at the front lines in Artsakh have headlined our news outlets. And day after day, week after week, month after month, our reaction has been the same – virtually non-existent as we have become desensitized to the fact that Armenians are dying while life goes on for the rest of us.
However, once again, it is the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) that continues to reaffirm its pledge to stay authentic to its goals. It prioritizes and spearheads the long battle that we, as Armenians, must continue to undertake and the ARF-D Eastern Region’s initiative in Arajamugh is a testament to that and ensures that lives are not being lost in vain. The project aims to repopulate the village of Arajamugh, which lies on the border of Artsakh, Azerbaijan, and Iran. While the village is small, the magnitude of such an initiative is anything but.
Arajamugh reaffirms the ARF’s determination to remain committed to its ideals. War crimes and human rights violations continue to go unnoticed in the area, in fact are state-sponsored and encouraged by the family-run oil-dictatorship. The international community does not care, the OSCE Minsk group does not care, the corrupt dictatorship of Azerbaijan does not care. Therefore, it is up to us to care. If we do not fend for ourselves, no one will. Representing a tiny country located in the South Caucasus, with more people living outside the state than in it, it is our duty to care. We must rely on our strengths and only our strengths since it is evident that the same ideals that the international community champions are not acknowledged in Talish or in Mataghis. Arajamugh shows not only Azerbaijan, but the international community that we are here to stay and that Artsakh is a country, and not a conflict. By investing in the land itself and its people, we will prove to the world that Artsakh is a long-term investment and that Artsakh is Armenian.
Our goal, aside from our irredentist ideals includes establishing a prosperous Armenia. Arajamugh and the efforts surrounding it teaches the world that justice will prevail. It is to teach Azerbaijan that retaliation, retribution, and redemption is not only best served by recouping Shahumian and Fizuli, but also by developing and reinforcing our interior. Arajamugh is one small taste of material and tangible revenge. It is revenge for the soldiers that struggled to liberate our lands. It is to avenge our fallen, those who have fought and died and continue to fi ght and die for every centimeter of soil that we will toil upon and use to cultivate our state, the state we call Artsakh.
There is work to be done and Arajamugh is a start. It is a reaction we can be proud of, an answer to our desensitivity. By using this initiative as the cornerstone, a new Arajamugh can be built, cultivated, and reinforced so that we can continue to prove to the world that Artsakh is not a land of rich history, but a rich future. Such efforts, under the leadership of the ARF, revisit and revitalize the visions of Njdeh and Andranik before us. It is only through our victory and our triumph that Artsakh will see peace and prosperity.
Van Der Megerdichian