Editor’s Note: Simon Soghomonian, a member of the AYF Washington, DC “Sevan” Chapter, was one of six winners in the 2022 Junior Seminar Council AYF Camp Haiastan Campership Essay Competition. The winners were announced at Junior Seminar late last month. The winning authors received prize money and publication of their essays in the Armenian Weekly. Soghomonian’s essay, which won second place in the middle group (ages 13 to 14), answered the following prompt: How has the recent Artsakh War affected the global Armenian nation? As AYF Juniors in the Diaspora, how can you help with the current state of Armenia?
The 2020 Artsakh War had a devastating effect on the global Armenian nation. Armenians all around the world as a collective are incredibly sad at all the losses we have incurred, all the young soldiers sacrificed to the war, the young lives cut short, the utter grief and devastation to the families and loved ones, the wounded soldiers whose lives have changed forever and the prisoners of war who are still at the hands of our perpetrators.
Our scars from past wounds from genocide have resurfaced. Our animosity against those who committed the atrocities have been renewed. Our feelings about the unfairness of the world and our place in it have grown. We are more aware of what’s going on in our homeland. We are in fear of the future of our remaining land.
Although all Armenians unite in wanting our people to be free and living well on our land and the war brought many together to support our homeland, it has also polarized many Armenians from each other. Our differing political views have come to the forefront. There is a lot of blame going around with current and previous regimes. There is also distrust toward the current regime because many don’t believe the current government is being transparent about the political situation and feel there are under-the-table negotiations taking place that might come to light to the detriment of the Armenian nation.
AYF Juniors in the diaspora can protest for a new regime that will protect Armenian interests, people and land. We should create opportunities to interact with the youth in Armenia and show our support. We should go to our homeland and work to build up the roads, homes and infrastructure.
We should take part in ANCA campaigns, initiatives, letter writing and lobbying to protect and support Armenian interests. It is bittersweet and long overdue, but it was a victory for Armenians last year when President Biden used the right word genocide to describe the Armenian massacres. We should build on this momentum to write letters to Congress about how they can support Armenian interests. We need to come up with a plan on how we can make it enticing for Americans and other nations to want to support Armenia. We need to make them understand what they have to gain to support our homeland. We need to look at other nations, like Israel, who like Armenia is surrounded by enemy nations and yet they hold a lot of military and political power in the world. How did they get here and what can we learn and use to build up our nation and standing?
International lawyers should also devise a plan on how we can argue for Artsakh and Western Armenia as our ancestral homes. This will take many years maybe, but let’s get going today. We also need to seriously build up our military power. Only military might will deter enemies and attacks.
The biggest tragedy to our nation is Armenians in conflict with each other. The enemy has taken our land and left our people in disarray and disagreement. The youth should work to bridge this gap and work for the one cause, which is to bring our nation and Armenian hearts together for the future of Armenia.