Boston community holds vigil in support of “Tavush for the Homeland” movement

The Boston Armenian American community held a vigil supporting the “Tavush for the Homeland” movement in Armenia on Wednesday, May 9, 2024. Organized by the ARF Sardarabad Gomideh of Boston and the AYF Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter, the event was presided over by Reverend Fathers Antranig Baljian and Hrant Tahanian from Saint Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church and Revered Father Ghazar Bedrossian from Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church.

Reverend Fathers Antranig Baljian and Hrant Tahanian from Saint Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church and Revered Father Ghazar Bedrossian from Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church presiding over the vigil

Following opening prayers, AYF member Gregory Cormier delivered his remarks as someone who only knows free and independent Armenia. However, he said that this privilege blinds us to the harsh reality that Armenia’s existence is not a given. The historical struggles and the current threats to our nation remind us that Armenia’s independence and democracy are perpetually at risk, particularly now as the community stands in solidarity with Tavush—a region integral to our nation’s fabric. The recent concessions made by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, especially the controversial handover of territories in Artsakh and Tavush, highlight a critical, ongoing challenge to Armenia’s sovereignty.

Gregory Cormier of the AYF Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter (Photo: Knar Bedian)

Cormier went on to say that the concessions to Azerbaijan over the past few years, including significant territorial losses in Artsakh in 2020, demonstrate a pattern of compromise that has yet to secure peace and stability for Armenia. These actions taken under the current government’s leadership have not only failed to protect Armenian interests but have exposed the nation to further vulnerabilities. Cormier argued that the narrative of peace that these concessions supposedly advance does not align with the reality of their outcomes. As we face the potential loss of Tavush and threats to other critical regions, including Syunik and Yerevan, it is clear that these are not isolated issues but a sustained assault on our homeland’s integrity and viability.

Cormier said that the urgency of this moment cannot be overstated. As Armenians, whether in the homeland or diaspora, we must rally around Tavush and other regions under threat. We need to support leaders such as Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan of the Tavush Diocese and the broader “Tavush for the Homeland” movement, who advocate tirelessly to preserve our land and culture against external aggression, Cormier argued. “It is imperative that my generation, and those that follow, inherit not just the memory of an independent Armenia but its enduring reality. This commitment to vigilance and action will safeguard our heritage and ensure that Armenia remains a free and sovereign state for all future generations,” said Cormier.

Attendees at the vigil supporting the “Tavush for the Homeland” movement (Photo: Knar Bedian)

Ani Khatchatourian opened her remarks on behalf of the ARF by highlighting that the Armenian spirit of revival and determination is palpable and alive as the “Tavush for the Homeland” movement gains momentum, fueled by the collective resolve to challenge the detrimental decisions made by Armenia’s current leadership. She said this initiative, championed by Archbishop Galstanyan, united Armenians from diverse backgrounds in a formidable march to a massive gathering in Yerevan. These patriots aim to confront and dismantle a regime that has compromised the nation’s integrity and security. This rising movement, Khatchatourian said, is not merely a protest but a profound demand for sovereignty, a rejection of fear-mongering, and a call for restoring national pride and integrity.

ARF Boston representative Ani Khatchatourian (Photo: Knar Bedian)

Khatchatourian stressed that Armenia is at a critical juncture, facing what many perceive as one of the darkest periods in its recent history. The current government’s controversial decision to cede four villages in Tavush to Azerbaijan exemplifies a broader betrayal, sparking widespread dissent and a call for a decisive vote of no confidence among its citizens, Khatchatourian said. She argued that this act not only undermines Armenia’s territorial sovereignty but also threatens the safety and welfare of its people, galvanizing a national outcry for substantial and immediate change. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation anchors this outcry, advocating for individual freedom, national self-determination, and the pillars of independent statehood necessary for Armenia’s sustainable development.

As close to 100,000 Armenians congregated on May 9 in Republic Square in Yerevan to voice their discontent and rally for change, the spirit of the 1918 Armenian independence movement was rekindled, reinforcing a collective commitment to safeguard Armenia’s future, Khatchatourian said. She called the gathering a powerful testament to the unyielding spirit of a nation that refuses to succumb to external pressures or internal treachery. The Armenian people, she asserted, demand leaders who represent their values of honor, patriotism, and resilience—leaders who will staunchly defend Armenia’s right to sovereignty and secure a dignified future for its citizens. The call to action, “Save Tavush, Save Armenia,” resonates deeply, urging Armenians worldwide to stand united in the face of challenges, ensuring that past sacrifices are honored with robust and resolute actions today, Khatchatourian said.

The event concluded with the singing of Mer Hairenik by attendees.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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