WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Armenian Youth Federation – Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF) Washington, D.C. “Ani” Chapter organized a protest outside the White House demanding that the Biden Administration directly intervene to stop Azerbaijan’s genocide against the 120,000 indigenous Armenians of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), sanction Azerbaijan for its war crimes and take immediate measures to ensure the safety and security of Artsakh residents.
The protest came just two days after Azerbaijan launched a brutal attack against Artsakh, killing over 200 and forcing tens of thousands from their homes. The genocidal onslaught followed nine months of Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor, the only road that connects Artsakh to the rest of the world, leaving the people of Artsakh without food, medical supplies and energy resources.
Matt Girardi, a member of the AYF Washington, D.C. “Ani” Chapter, opened the protest with a powerful indictment of Azerbaijan’s actions. “Let us be clear: this is genocide. It has been, and it continues to be. It is the echo of 1915 that should haunt the world.”
Girardi voiced the Armenian American community’s clear demands of the Biden administration. “Going forward, we need our government to act. We need it to protect the people of Artsakh’s sacred right to self-determination. We need a U.N. mandate for international administration to immediately protect the population of Artsakh. We need this administration to finally hold Aliyev and all his goons accountable for the war crimes and genocide they have promulgated. We need immediate deliverance of humanitarian, development and reconstruction assistance, and to secure the safe return of all those indigenous Armenians displaced by Azerbaijan’s campaign of aggression,” stated Girardi.
In the face of one of the darkest moments in Armenian history, Girardi called for Armenians everywhere to “remember how futures are built…who we are…and [to] never stop fighting for a truly free, independent and united Armenia.”
An audio and photo collage of Girardi’s speech is available here.
Following chants demanding concrete U.S. action to stop the Armenian Genocide of 2023, fellow AYF “Ani” Chapter member Sune Hamparian stressed that the work of Armenians and their allies in the interfaith and human rights communities must continue in the face of the lack of a global response to Artsakh’s plight. “Where is your morality? Where is your humanity, your sympathy? Where is your heart?” she asked.
Hamparian affirmed that the Armenian American community remains “in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Artsakh; in faith with the generations that came before us; in tribute to those who fell in this struggle; in service to those generations that will follow.”
“Artsakh’s fate is not yet written,” and “America’s role is not yet over,” she stressed, reminding protesters of the Armenian American community’s decades-long battle to end U.S. complicity in the denial of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. “We broke the longest-lasting foreign gag rule in American history. We must now do the same for Artsakh, putting America on the right side of self-determination, of genocide prevention, of human rights,” concluded Hamparian.