2021 and Beyond: A Call to Action for Armenian Youth

Alek Surenian pictured at Khor Virap during his AYF Internship, 2017

Dear Armenian Youth,

You have a job to do. A job which depends on your own will. A will to survive and demand justice. 

This call may be difficult given the circumstances. We are mentally exhausted, depressed, hopeless and numb to what has happened throughout this year. But I can’t stress this enough: we cannot give up. The fate of our nation is at stake.

As we continue to speak up and raise awareness for the ongoing atrocities being committed by the Azeri and Turkish governments, I want to be blunt about something. 

Being Armenian has always been a battle for survival against the threat of extinction, the threat of assimilation and the loss of our identities. This is the first time in many of our lives where we are witnessing this pipedream of pan-Turkism being orchestrated before our very eyes. This is a wakeup call to the youth, a necessary revival of national pride. 

The loss of Artsakh has only brought our enemies one step closer to achieving this pipedream. The hard fought liberation of this land was a historic moment for our nation 30 years ago and a large step towards our goal of a free, independent and united Armenia. The hard work that followed helped solidify these goals, work that many organizations have invested in over the years, both in the diaspora and our homeland. Now, that hard work has been lost and signed away with disastrous consequences. It has jeopardized the fate of our nation. Not only has 70-percent of Artsakh been given away, but parts of Syunik Province in Armenia proper are also being surrendered. 

With that said, every single young Armenian out there must be committed to any or all of the following:

We must continue to fight for the existence of Artsakh, Armenia and all our historic lands. We cannot accept that the loss of this land will provide “peace.” We must hold all our leaders accountable to prioritize the national interests and future of Armenia, while also demanding that Turkey and Azerbaijan face the consequences of their violent, fascist and inhumane actions.

We must aim to immerse ourselves in our native tongue and learn how to speak, read and write in Armenian. Our language is an important part of our identity. An effort to preserve it is essential. 

We must learn about our history, our churches, our battles and our heroes. 

We must learn about our culture, our food, music, dance, poetry and art. 

We must join organizations and communities which perpetuate the Armenian cause and identity. We must be advocates for the human rights of Armenians, but also other groups who face marginalization, racism and segregation around the world, nations who exist in recognized states and stateless ones. 

We must continue to donate and support our communities in Armenia: those who are war veterans and displaced families, those who have lost loved ones from this conflict, and those whose villages, towns and cities need to be rebuilt from its lingering scars. 

And finally, we must teach our children and future generations all of the above. Teach them love over hate, right from wrong, remembering and never forgetting. Immerse them in this atmosphere, because your obligation to facilitate this identity for future generations will dictate the survival and fate of our nation. 

With that said, I hope you all resolve to uphold these commitments this New Year. We must depend on each other to achieve these goals. The future of our nation is at stake. Do something about it. 

Alek Surenian

Alek Surenian

Alek Surenian is from Chicago and an active member of the AYF Eastern Region on a local and regional level. He works on the Public Relations Council, designing graphics for AYF-ER social media platforms. He graduated in 2019 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Industrial Design.

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