NEW YORK, NY—Dozens of flags of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh were seen waving in the air on E 36th Street on Tuesday afternoon, where close to 150 Armenians gathered to protest against the current Armenian government and echo the diaspora’s strong sentiments against the Pashinyan administration’s negotiations to sign away a vast amount of Artsakh one year ago.
Tuesday’s protest, held simultaneously with similar demonstrations in Chicago and Washington, DC, was led by the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) New York and New Jersey chapters in line with the pan-Armenian resistance movement. Dozens of Armenians from throughout the eastern region, including Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern Region Central Committee members Ani Tchaghlasian of New Jersey and Paulie Haroian of Providence, traveled to New York for the demonstration.
Several AYF members shared their sentiments below with the Weekly.
“Artsakh is part of our history, our heritage and our Armenian-ness. Pashinyan’s ability to so easily agree with the terms of a Meghri corridor, displacement of Syunik Armenians, and the continued imprisonment of Armenia POWs is only moving us further away from achieving a free, united and independent Armenia.” Chantelle Nasri, chair, AYF Manhattan “Moush” Chapter
“The Civil Contract Party, led by Nikol Pashinyan, is actively working to ensure that Armenia will one day cease to exist. Some may ask why this matters to people living in the diaspora? Although we live here in America, Armenia is our home. For, without a homeland, how does an ethnic population survive? Armenian culture is and always will be rooted in our homeland. There is no justification to why any inch of land should be given up to anyone, especially to anyone who is in support of the continued genocide against our people. This government has solemnly stood by while watching attacks occur through cluster munitions, white phosphorus, and the desecration of our churches. Giving up historical lands such as Karvajar, Shushi, the Aghdam region, territories in the Gazakh region. The agreements that Nikol Pashinyan made this time last year conceded our lands and outlined the necessary release of our POWs. The regime validated these actions, arguing for so-called peace and stability. However, our people feel no peace, they fear for the safety of their families, and are still waiting for their loved ones to return home from a war that ended a year ago. The ideology that peace and stability can be achieved between Armenia and Azerbaijan has been disproven time and again through repetitive aggression from Azerbaijan and breaking ceasefire agreements.” Niree Kaprielian, AYF NJ “Arsen” Chapter
“The viability of the Armenian nation is in extreme danger. As members of the Armenian nation, we here in the diaspora have an imperative duty to defend and protect Armenia, prevent any additional concessions and losses of Artsakh, prevent the loss of Syunik, and resist against the reckless and treasonous decisions of the Pashinyan regime. It is the dream of Turkey and Azerbaijan to wipe the Armenian Nation off the map. And it is our worst nightmare. The current government’s leadership is helping turn their dream into a reality. Our resistance now is more important than it arguably ever has been. We cannot sit back and watch our future unfold in front of us against our will; the Armenian people have never been that way in the past and we will not be that way now. The Armenian people have always fought for their rights to live as Armenians on our indigenous lands.” Mimi Bijimenian, New York “Hyortik” Chapter
“For over 100 years, we—Armenian patriots in Armenia and the diaspora—have been fighting to ensure our enemies’ dreams and ambitions are never reached. We have fought to preserve our borders. We have fought to ensure that the Turkish and Azerbaijani pan-Turkic ideology never becomes a reality. Today we unfortunately also have an enemy from within. The anti-national and treasonous actions of the Pashinyan regime, conducted in the shadows away from public scrutiny, are leading a process of unilateral territorial and political concessions aimed at an imaginary peace. So long as Azerbaijan and Turkey continue to pursue their goal of exterminating the Armenian people and nation, there will never be a viable peace. What the Pashinyan regime is agreeing to is not peace: it is appeasement. The Armenian Youth Federation will not stand idly by as this regime slowly marches our nation to its demise. Our continued survival is not—and has never been— a guarantee. Now more than ever, we must continue our collective struggle and fight. We cannot be timid as the genocidal actions of Turkey and Azerbaijan, aided and abetted by the Pashinyan regime are implemented. The fate and future of our homeland depend on it.” Alec Soghomonian, AYF Manhattan “Moush” Chapter