The decline of the Armenian nation started after the 2018 Armenian Revolution. Our nation has yet to reach the mark toward victory. Unfortunately, during the last few years, our nation became more separated, which led to the indifference of most people toward their homeland.
Even the territorial and human losses during the 44 day war, which had very sad consequences for both countries, didn’t impact the people and help them come to their senses. Sadly, a large part of our compatriots in Armenia disregard Artsakh and the people of Artsakh.
However, Artsakh today is the dignity of Armenians. It is the heart of Armenia!
The irreversible consequences of the war were borne by the people of Artsakh. Two years later, Artsakh has come under blockade. Though you may think that in the silence of the world and your own country, there is no hope of survival, Artsakh stands again.
It seemed the cruel war would break the people of Artsakh, but Sunday’s rally of 50-thousand people targeted by the enemy and under blockade proves the opposite. Today, the people of Artsakh showed the world that they exist and will struggle for the right to live in their homeland.
Today, on the 25th of December, thousands of citizens of Artsakh traveled from their villages and towns and gathered in the Renaissance Square in Stepanakert to make their voices heard. They demanded for the re-opening of the Berdzor (Lachin) corridor, which has been closed since December 12.
The people raised placards with inscriptions like: “We won’t surrender,” “Open the road of life,” “There is neither Armenia without Artsakh nor diaspora without homeland, “Stand with me, I exist,” “Artsakh isn’t a piece of land, it is our homeland,” “120,000 people are taken captive by Azerbaijan,” “Armenia, do not make concessions.”
The rally began with a prayer by the head of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Primate Vrtanes Abrahamyan. “Artsakh has become an exam for Armenians to gain dignity,” he said after his prayer. “And to pass that exam successfully, we have to wake up and be alert. Artsakh and each of you must be the awakener of the nation, soul and conscience.”
Armen Asrian, the minister of the Union of Relatives of Those Perished and Missing in the Third Artsakh War, also spoke. He exhorted “the ecologists” to think about the ecology of the oilfields of Azerbaijan. He also mentioned that the government of Artsakh must be sincere with the people and that decisions are not made in secret. He appealed to Armenia and Diaspora: “Dear compatriots, thousands of soldiers gave their lives to our country. We shall never betray them,” said Asrian.
ARF Central Committee of Artsakh member Andranik Chavushian, who moved from Lebanon to live in Artsakh, lost his home in Aghavno. He hopes Aghavno is their last loss. “I believe our flag will wave again in Shushi and in other occupied territories. Together, we will win with our unity. We all have the same destiny. Our salvation is in unity. Together, we’ll win. We will not make concessions. Together, we will develop,” said Chavushian.
Artsakh State Minister Ruben Vardanyan also addressed the crowd and confessed it was the first time he has ever spoken at a demonstration. “We have three ways. First, we integrate with the Azerbaijanis day by day. Second, we leave. Third, we struggle. I made my decision on September 2. I am here. I will struggle. I will not leave, and I will not submit to the Azerbaijan’s demands. I’ll give all I have—my knowledge, my contacts, my property for the independence of Artsakh. Let’s not wait for a miracle. Before us is a very hard road. We’ll walk on that road together. We’ll see both sweat and blood, and if we believe each other and know our goal that an independent Artsakh is the most important for us and that living in our homeland is the meaning of our lives, then I am sure, not only will the world help us, but we will help it and be seen as exemplary,” said Vardanyan.
He thanked those who stand with Artsakh internationalizing the Artsakh issue.
“Ignorance is the worst illness. Ignorance will kill us. People are offended by my words, but I say the truth. I know that a lot of people aren’t indifferent. I want to thank those living in different countries, who help us and support us by all means. The name of Artsakh has been sounded so many times during the last 20 years. We fight for our lives and liberation,” said Vardanyan.
The nationwide rally ended with an appeal to Armenians all over the world, the international community and every person struggling for freedom and universal values.
“In 1988, the will to live free and independent in its historical homeland directed our people to the liberation struggle, as a result of which we have a sovereign state declared in accordance with the norms of international law and visible political, economic and social achievements proving its viability. Today, when the existence of the Artsakh Republic, the dream of all Armenians, is threatened, we, bowing before the memory of the Armenians who sacrificed their lives on the path of our liberation struggle, renew our vow to continue the work of our holy martyrs and restore our dignity. In the ongoing struggle, as in previous years, we still need the full support of the motherland and all Armenians. In recent years, Artsakh has been a symbol of Armenian identity and dignity. Today, when the Second Armenian Republic is facing new challenges, Artsakh must become the fulcrum, around which the national potential must unite. The future of the Republic of Artsakh is a matter of state importance and requires pan-Armenian consolidation and solidarity,” concluded Vardanyan.