Since the very first day of the founding of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF)–its founders Christapor–Rostom and Zavarian held a vision to serve a free and independent Armenia. Today–their dream of an independent statehood is a reality and the ARF is able to fulfill its goal of serving that statehood. The ARF has an essential responsibility to strengthen and develop Armenia to its fullest potential in order to establish an asylum for Armenia’s worldwide.
PASADENA-More than 2000 friends of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) attended the celebration–organized by the Central Committee of the ARF Western Region– marking the 112th anniversary of the organization. Distinguished guests included Prelate Mushegh Mardirossian and Primate Vatche Hovsepian–Consul General of Armenia Valery Mkrtumian–ARF Bureau member Viken Hovsepian–ARF Western Region Central Committee representative Hovig Saliba–Glendale Mayor Rafi Manoukian–as well as Ramgavar and Hnchakian Party representatives–clergy and other guests.
In her opening remarks–Talar Shahinian of the ANC reminded everyone of ARF’s mission to serve the Armenian Nation and the homeland–and urged all to strive toward that goal in their day-to-day life.
Representing the Shant Student Association–Houri Arslanian spoke about the necessity to educate and involve American-Armenian youth to preserve the Armenian identity and secure a positive future. "The academic environment has become a battlefield for those who wish to destroy our identity and history. Armenian students must be armed with the power and knowledge to protect and enforce their rights on college and university campuses. The ARF Shant Student Association is empowering and supporting young Armenia’s to promote their culture and identity." (The full text of Arslanian’s speech will be published in the Saturday–January 18 issue of Asbarez)
ARF Western Region Central Committee representative Hovig Saliba–called on everyone to strengthen Armenia by way of embodying the goals of the homeland. He spoke of the urgency to organize and strengthen Diasporan’structures–to utilize their know how in order to serve pan-Armenian interests including the advancement of Hai Tahd–and stressed that the Artsakh liberation struggle is a key-element of Hai Tad. What bonds us–he stated–are not empty declarations: "We have one nation–one motherland and one struggle–a favorable resolution to the Javakhk and Artsakh conflicts." He also reminded that the Armenian Church with its various religious communites are one and must complement each other.
The guest speaker of the celebration–Member of Armenia’s parliament–Chairman of Parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee–and ARF Bureau member Vahan Hovhanissian pointed out that the ARF has always been loyal to its objectives; though ARF challenges differ in time and scope–the ARF–nevertheless–consistently follows its principles and will never sway from its ideology.
He stressed that the ARF is considered the strength–the hope–and the future of all Armenia’s. "ARF’s traditions and values have turned into the values of all Armenia’s worldwide."
He noted that during the cold war and in Soviet years many devoted ARF members succeeded in preserving ARF ideology and educating new generations; members of that generation presently hold important positions both in Armenia and the Diaspora.
"The Armenian Cause must involve all Armenia’s. The Armenian Government must pursue the Armenian Cause including that of Javakhk. ARF will not tolerate any decision that endangers the security of the Armenian people."
He stressed that the re-population process of Artsakh is among key issues in that a strong Artsakh can only advance our struggle.
Armenia must maintain–he said–its ranking among other nations. "Armenia is not yet completely socially oriented; the ARF has a lot to do here. Originating during the Soviet era–corruption–still exits. President Kocharian recently revealed that subjective and objective reasons obstruct the struggle against corruption. This issue is one of ARF’s greatest challenges–since corruption continues to impede Armenia’s economic development. We must preserve the stability of Armenia and develop our economy with immediate involvement of Diaspora."
Hovhannisian also touched on the issue of dual citizenship–which he revealed is on parliament’s agenda and will hopefully be resolved in the Spring.
Hovhannisian concluded by saying–"Today we not only celebrate ARF’s 112th anniversary–but also its accountability. The ARF has served and continues to serve Armenian interests with the blood of its faithful youth so that in turn our people do not lose faith. The ARF has reintroduced the true spirit of military strength and struggle–contributing to the liberation of Artsakh. In the Diaspora–the ARF prevented assimilation; it generated patriotism and organized the Diaspora. In 1918 ARF established the first Armenian statehood–which became the sole foundation for present-day independent Armenia."