Who, after all, speaks of the Armenians?

An Artsakh Defense Army uniform in Arajamugh, Artsakh, 2017 (Photo: Alek Surenian)

Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians…

Once again, we are witnessing the destruction of our homeland. The government and defense forces of Artsakh will be dissolved, laying the final groundwork for its ill fate. The deeply rooted Armenian spirit in those lands will be scorched. History will be wiped out, churches will be defaced, and native dialects will not be spoken. We had hoped that history would not repeat itself, but here we are nursing yet another open wound of genocide. As Monte Melkonian once warned, we now turn the final page of Armenian history. 

Unfortunately, this is not our first time in dire straits. We are no strangers to existential threats from empires of yore or neo-Ottoman regimes.

Like many of you, I too am at a loss for words. But I would like to be honest for a moment and share a few of my thoughts.

The world has failed Artsakh. Our people have failed Artsakh. We collectively have abandoned over 120,000 indigenous people and trampled on their rights to live on their ancestral lands. The “dispute” over Artsakh is not a bargaining chip toward regional peace without preconditions. “Peace” and “integration” into Azerbaijani society are impossible when there is clear evidence of ethnic cleansing being carried out by a genocidal dictatorship. The existential threat of pan-Turkism is being carried out in real time. Whether it be through the “Zangezur corridor” or the occupation of sovereign Armenian land by Azerbaijani troops, Armenia will be the next step in this pipe dream. The passivity from governments around the world, including Armenia, green-lights our enemies’ genocidal plans and abandons the future of our homeland’s sovereignty.

Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians…

Our desperate attempts to find saviors amounted to energy and time wasted. Whether it be the east or west, no one will come save us. Their intentions are clear; they simply don’t care. How can we rely on these “great powers” when they constantly  regurgitate the same old verbiage time and time again? “We are deeply concerned.” “We call on both sides to stop.” “We demand the corridor be opened.” History has shown us that all countries look out for their best interests, and Armenia, unfortunately, does not align. Once again, the world has turned a blind eye to an “insignificant population in the South Caucasus.” Artsakh was but an expendable piece in a geopolitical chess game. We are tired, hopeless and exhausted from the constant trauma. Our people continue to bear and endure the same pain as our ancestors from one generation to the next. We will suffer as long as money takes priority over human life – money from Azeri oil soaked in Armenian blood. 

Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians…

Our strategies have failed. We have been caught in a repetitive cycle that many have lost interest in. Our unity as a people is fractured as we are driven further and further apart. We continue to protest, yet there’s silence. We continue to lobby, yet there’s silence. We bemoan the lack of international attention, yet there’s silence. This silence is a byproduct of doubling down on these ineffective tactics, as our enemy continues to wage a war of attrition after our crushing defeat in 2020, gradually reducing our strength and willingness to resist. Our progress has been stagnated by political in-fighting, performative activism, shouts into the social media abyss, isolation from potential allies, and a lack of coalition building. What should have been a wake-up call three years ago has only led us down a darker path. We all are to blame for this failure.

Armenians are uninspired and tired of this repetition. When will we realize that we need to change our strategies? When do we resort to more aggressive and radical means of resistance? Should the Zinyal Baykar movement once again take center stage? Who is willing to make that ultimate sacrifice in the name of Hai Tahd?

We need to implement new tactics to galvanize our people. I don’t have concrete solutions; I am merely sharing a culmination of my thoughts and observations over the past year. However, what is clear is that we failed to change our course of action after an incredibly difficult loss in 2020, and the consequences of that failure show. We recall the pain of our ancestors as our intergenerational struggle continues. We must recognize our movement’s flaws and work to correct them. We must use our collective energy as a weapon for resistance and reinvigorate our people to be involved. In the end, our salvation lies within us–not in foreign governments in pursuit of their own agendas. Our failure to recognize this has cost us Artsakh, and possibly Armenia. This is all a tough pill to swallow, but it is our current reality. More difficult days loom on the horizon if we continue down this path.

Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians…

Alek Surenian

Alek Surenian

Alek Surenian is originally from Chicago and currently resides in the Boston area. He’s an active member of the AYF Eastern Region on a local and regional level; serving on the Public Relations Council designing graphics for AYF-ER social media platforms. He graduated in 2019 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Product Design and professionally works as a footwear designer.
Alek Surenian

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  1. We Armenians only have ourselves to blame. For over 30 years our Soviet Era leaders with a love for Russia and Putin did nothing to modernize the defense forces and reach out to the West for security. Instead, like fools they only relied on Russians for security. The same Russians who gifted Western Armenia, Nakhichevan and Artsakh to the Turks. Somehow, Armenians have not learned from our past painful history.

    But it’s not too late to make up our mistakes. Prime Minister Pashynian is on the right path of starting to open Armenia to both Europe and the United States. The Armenian nation will be much better served by leaving Russia to Russians who enjoy being ruled by despots like Putin and his gangs.

    • Bravo Ari, I could not have said it better myself. Armenian needs to take a page from the Israeli playbook and make strong alliances with the US and other European nations. Armenia means nothing to the Russians and never will.

    • Lol, our leaders in Serbia for 23 years told us the same. Turn to the west bla bla and they will help and accept us. Yeah right. Once some geostrategist across the pond deems a people unsuitable to their interest until they change opinion on their own it is completely irrelevant what stance people of certain country take. For USA Armenia only has a use as a launching pad for potential incursions into Iran but even for that Azerbaijan is much more useful for them. Azerbaijan has larger population and there is bunch of them in Iran too so in pure geopolitical calculus USA has vested interest for keeping the Turks on their good side as well as Turkey who is a nato member. It is schizophrenic for Armenians to think they will ever take precedence over full blown major nato members. For 5 years Armenians have been only spitting on Russians and if I were Russian I would think twice on whether to help a country where I am hated not to mention that per ODKB agreement it has to defend Armenia and Erevan never officially said that Artsakh was Armenia. Since year ago Pashinyan himself recognized “territorial integrity” of Azerbaijan. Just like Krajina in 1995 was betrayed in Belgrade and just like Serbs in Kosovo are abandoned today, Artsakh was primarily betrayed in Erevan.

  2. Why do you insist on the equally vain hope that the West will save you? Do you remember what such State Department illuminaries as John Kirby, Marie Jovanovich, and Lynne Tracy did for you? (Nothing!) The only ambassador who was different was John Evans, and what hapenned to him? Then again, a few years ago, Speaker Pelosi promised the Armenian lobby Genocide recognition; but then, betrayal! Maybe if Armenia stopped sending its young men to help out NATO, maybe it would have more to defend itself.
    It might also help if Armenia truly supported its own soldiers and had let the army do its job for the past 3 decades.

  3. Bravo, Alek. The latest Artsakh catastrophe represents the total failure of our political, cultural, and religious institutions for the past 30 years. I am afraid that the next step will not be unity and introspection, but is more likely to be fighting and blaming each other. Please prove me wrong.

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