Letter to the Editor: Feel neither guilt nor regret

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.

John Mangassarian

John Mangassarian

John Mangassarian is a former camper, counselor, board member and lifelong supporter of Camp Haiastan.
John Mangassarian

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  1. John …. I totally agree with you. We must
    fight through our emotions to carry on. I just needed
    a day or two to purge negative emotions, but I am happy
    to agree with you. Thanks for your strength.

  2. I don’t have an issue with church picnics per se. It brings the local community together in times of joy and sadness, as we are experiencing now. But I do have a major issue when viewed from a different lens. The debacle of the last three years must make every concerned Armenian ask the simple but difficult question “ what went wrong and what can we do different to secure a vibrant local community and an Armenia in 2123?” One hypothesis that I would like to challenge every one with, “ Is the current church based community structures sufficient to sustain Armenian life in US and in Armenia? “ and another “is the current community giving through hundreds of philanthropies the most effective way of sustaining Armenian life on a national level?” I would like Armenians to consider an alternative approach, one that is based on ORGANIZATION at the local, city, state, national and international levels. My view is that the world has become too dangerous , weapons systems too lethal, finance and corporations too large , to counter with “mom and pop” well meaning activities. Local community activities can and should continue but lets us not fool ourselves in thinking that they are making a significant dent on a national level. Elsewhere in the Armenian Weekly are articles about how countries engage their diasporas ( examples include Israel, Greece, India and Ireland to name a few) . Hopefully the current existential crisis will force Armenia and diaspora to come to together and overcome their political and cultural differences, and we will see better days ahead.

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