It is the first day of 2023. As I drove around today, I saw Christmas trees at the curbsides of homes and several people outside taking down their decorations. From when I was a schoolboy, this always made me a bit sad. The warmth and glow of Christmas abruptly ends with the New Year and is hammered home with the return to work and school shortly thereafter. As Armenians, we do get to stretch things a bit through Armenian Christmas on January 6, but that only delays the inevitable a few days.
Amid all the festivities and the various gatherings with family and friends, the Christmas season was clouded this year by our worries about the ongoing blockade of Artsakh by the Azeris. While enjoying the holidays here, the dire situation of our 120,000 brothers and sisters in Artsakh weighed on our hearts. We found ourselves including them in our prayers before our Christmas dinners and in our hopeful expressions for the New Year. With the holidays here coming to a close, the grimness of the blockade that began on December 12th has set in even deeper.
I just googled the news on Artsakh. All the news is more than three days old. There are no updates. In the Diaspora, all we can do is lobby. In the US, that means we can and must write letters to the President, Secretary of State, our US Representatives and Senators. Around the world, the legislatures are on vacation, yet the blockade continues. With the return to work, we must begin anew to advocate for Artsakh and the 120,000 Armenians there.
There really is no other choice.
There is no military option. Our leaders in Armenia and the Diaspora are trying to solicit the powers of the world to intercede. As far as we know, there is very little progress being made.
We cannot just give money. There is no “Feed a Family” or “Bnag muh Geragur” fundraising program because there is no way to get food or medicines into Artsakh… because of the blockade. I would love to adopt a family if we had a way to circumvent the blockade.
Sure, this is a colossal failure in leadership. But what can we do about the past? We are in this situation now. We should be writing our leaders with ideas for strategies and plans once the blockade ends. We should push them with the same letter writing grassroot campaigns we are advocating for the US government. We have to stop the gamesmanship amongst ourselves
There is an iconoclast on social media who posted “Dear Sheep, How can it be merry when Armenia and Artsakh are in danger of being eliminated?” It’s a good thought which has not escaped many of us. But what is the point of attacking ourselves and calling everyone sheep? This is not helpful to anyone or anything. Are we supposed to forgo celebrating Christmas for our children and grandchildren? Guilting and insulting people will simply diminish the size and power of the Diaspora.
Someone asked the iconoclast if he was going to go to Armenia and to the border. And do what? With what? Will the common folk Armenians around the world venturing to Armenia with shovels and pitchforks end the blockade? Is this an idea we should consider? How many of his so-called “sheep” would go?
Our situation is quite concerning. We need our leaders to speak out in unison and dynamically with action plans to keep our people from falling into a pit of despair and giving up. We should all resolve to do more in whatever way we can to bring peace and stability to Armenia and Artsakh.
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