The month of November has been painful for us Armenians. Our heroes in Artsakh fought strategically against Turkish special forces, courageously against inhuman suicide drones, tirelessly against waves of globally sourced jihadists, and wholeheartedly against an entire Azerbaijani army three times their size.
And we, without a fearless friend in the world, lost. Expressions of condolences and concerns, frankly, cannot stop missiles. Three million Armenians and our five million strong diaspora were facing off against forces that far outnumbered us.
And we lost.
Our armed forces could have kept fighting for weeks, maybe months, but such a decision would have led to a lot of unnecessary sacrifices…and lost lives. It would appear that no matter how many enemies our heroes dispatched, they just kept storming until our soldiers, with exhausted ammo clips, had to retreat. And this happened time and time again. At some point, our armies had nowhere left to retreat.
In the new Nagorno-Karabakh war, we lost two-thirds of Artsakh to Azerbaijan. Russian peacekeepers now monitor the status-less remaining one-third. Countless Armenian refugees and IDPs, forced from their lands by this conflict, yearn to return home. The atmosphere is longing, somber, grim.
But remember Monte, friends. Remember the heroes who gave their lives. We are still fighting! The war has stopped, yes, but we are still fighting. Even in times of peace, in the shadows, we will be fighting. Think about the steps Azerbaijan took to win this war. Learn from their successes and their failures such that someday we may be able to liberate Artsakh from tyrants and despots again. They spent 25 years planning this invasion. Who says that we cannot do the same?
Only an economically and militarily powerful Armenia will be able to defend her borders and win a future war. We must all brainstorm and contribute to the efforts to grow. Let’s grow our GDP per capita higher than Azerbaijan, higher than Turkey, and higher than countries we immigrate to in order to seek financial security. Let’s become a jewel, a diamond that cuts through stone. We have the intellect and the heart to do so. I truly believe the only thing that can follow loss is such: new growth.
We must make sure every inch and corner of Armenia contributes to production, where every space cultivates our well-being. Rooftop gardens where we grow spices and herbs. Computers in every village school where kids can learn to code. Clean sidewalks and friendly environments. Every inch should be our new motto. Because in every inch of land there is the prospect of prosperity.
The next time you go to Armenia, pick up a piece of dirt or stone from the ground. Imagine that is your inch, your impact, your chance. What will it be? What will you plan?