Editor’s Note: The following is a translation by the Weekly’s Lillian Avedian of an interview with Armenian Revolutionary Federation Eastern Region (ARF-ER) Central Committee member Khajag Mgrdichian conducted by Yerkir.am’s Anna Balyan on January 4, 2021.
It is not possible to pin any hopes for the future on the defeated leadership, said ARF-ER Central Committee member Khajag Mgrdichian during a recent interview with Yerkir.am. Mgrdichian is also part of the delegation of the “Artsakh Fund” humanitarian organization.
Mgrdichian noted that the political attitudes that dominate in Armenia also prevail in the diaspora. He says the defeated leadership must accept its ineptitude and incompetence and make way for a more capable government that is more understanding of the hardships of the homeland…“in order to stabilize the uncertain situation so that going forward the nation and homeland know where they are headed, and the diaspora, by eliminating those uncertainties, can formulate its new tasks.”
He asserted that under these uncertain conditions, the humanitarian and political organizations and lobbying structures of the diaspora face difficulties in formulating their tasks, which cannot be clarified if the leadership in Armenia does not change.
“It is not accidental that the leading organizations of the diaspora have also demanded the removal of the current government, with the view that this government demonstrated its incompetence and brought great harm both to our nation and our homeland. This reality is noticeable in the diaspora,” he stated.
As an “Artsakh Fund” representative, Mgrdichian visited Artsakh in order to determine the republic’s needs and a plan of action for the fund.
“The ‘Artsakh Fund’ has been operating for years as part of the Armenian Cultural Association of America (ACAA). It is a humanitarian organization that implements various programs in Artsakh. Yet knowing well that the war has brought forth different kinds of socio-economic problems, we wanted to visit and become acquainted with the general situation in order to determine our actions. We also came on a charitable mission,” explained Mgrdichian.
He said that the situation in Artsakh is very sad. It is apparent even to the unaided eye that there are complicated socio-economic problems that must be overcome.
“The first problem is that substantial resources are necessary to alleviate the social difficulties faced by the families of fallen soldiers in light of the large number of war casualties. The problem of wounded soldiers must also be overcome. A significant phenomenon we witnessed is that a large number of our compatriots displaced from the territories of Artsakh captured by Azerbaijan are searching for shelter or a place to live. These are the main issues now, the families of the fallen, the wounded and the displaced,” Mgrdichian further explained.
These are the priorities, of course, but in the future the organization will study and strive to resolve the problems of work and security for the people of Artsakh.
The “Artsakh Fund” office is in Stepanakert and its staff organizes its local activities. They will send guidance when it is clear with whom diasporan organizations should work in order to implement their programs.
The organization believes that it is not possible to resolve problems through one-time charity. Rather it embraces a long-term vision of creating jobs so that the people of Artsakh can continue to live on their land.
“We know that it is the responsibility of the government in general to alleviate the social and economic consequences of the war, yet humanitarian organizations like ours, under the conditions of such limited possibilities, undertake supplemental work,” said Mgrdichian. “We know that we cannot help all of the families of thousands of casualties or secure work for all of the displaced, but we can take it upon ourselves to alleviate the difficulties of the displaced, wounded and relatives of the deceased to the best of our abilities, while contributing to lightening the burden of the state. We have a vision of creating employment, and while naturally it would be on a small scale, it would create jobs and the chance for people to live in Artsakh,” he elaborated.
Further clarity is needed to pursue this work, according to the current data; there are many uncertainties which, they hope, will be corrected over time, so that in the future they can work in a more organized and focused manner.
People in America have not lost hope in Artsakh, and they do not have the right to do so, assured Mgrdichian, as now is the time to redouble efforts.
“The active elements in America, including lobbying, political and humanitarian circles, absolutely do not have the right to lose hope; on the contrary, now is the time to redouble efforts. The Armenian National Committees in our region have redoubled their efforts so that they can at the very least secure humanitarian assistance from the United States,” said Mgrdichian. “Therefore, they are not in despair, yet the defeat has undeniably created a broken mental state. Especially since we lived with great hopes of victory during the war and this disgraceful defeat and the signature of this disgraceful agreement…the same brokenness prevails in the diaspora which also dominates in Armenia and Artsakh,” assured Mgrdichian.
We do not have room to despair, he concluded; on the contrary, we are redoubling our efforts.