Feel neither guilt nor regret.
We realize the dire straits in Artsakh. How can we not with the constant barrage of bad news? Our hearts weep every day for those in need. We could spend every hour of every day reading on social media and in the Weekly about this injustice. We must all rise above this.
I agree with my friend Steve Piligian on most issues related to Armenia. Recently, he posted on Facebook a statement that I respectfully disagree with:
“I know that life must carry on, but I feel empty with celebratory and social functions in our community given our Artsakh tragedy. Too soon…Too serious.”
I know it is hard to decouple our sadness and outrage from the importance of moving forward. But we must.
The weekend following the events in Artsakh, the Providence community held their annual Armenian Food Fest. It is the largest fundraiser for Sts. Vartanantz Church, which will allow the church to continue to serve the Armenian community in a multitude of ways. It allowed us to celebrate our culture, our heritage which identifies who we are.
More importantly, in these trying times it allowed us to bring to light the plight of our brothers and sisters in Artsakh. We took the occasion to have a booth dedicated to bringing awareness to both Armenians and non-Armenians of the Artsakh situation complete with a video presentation. We collected funds at every booth to donate to those in need in Artsakh. We invited politicians, so they would hear from us firsthand what we expect of them in regards to Artsakh. We heard from community leaders, such as Hagop Khatchadourian, who through emotional speeches encouraged the community to get involved and to help our homeland in any way they can. Having this event did more to help the cause than if it was canceled due to our sadness.
I am not sure how many share my feelings. However, I am sure that everyone would agree that at this time, it is most important that we stand together, in the light, proud of being Armenian and collectively defiant against those who aim to do us harm.