BY GARY SHIRIKCHIAN
Thousands of miles from our homeland, we witness barbarism as a brutal dictator uses prohibited weapons to bomb and target civilians in Artsakh. We’ve donated. We’ve energized our grassroots. We’ve activated US political powerhouses. We’ve advocated and spread awareness on social media. Yet, we aren’t even close to done.
The media has shown no professionalism or competency. Actually, they’ve neglected their basic responsibility to report accurate, unbiased content. Truth is not subjective. War crimes cannot be watered down as “territorial fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia.” It’s not a war, but a planned attack of destruction.
Mentally, emotionally and financially, we stand in solidarity with Artsakh and have launched a campaign, Stand Strong with Artsakh. Proceeds will be used to purchase military grade boots for our brothers and sisters protecting our beloved homelands of Artsakh and Armenia. In less than two days, we reached and exceeded our goal of raising $10,000. “It’s a simple goal with one vision,” stated Gary Shirikchian (age 15) and Sareen Kasparian (age 14), co-founders of the campaign, “Lace up our soldiers for the mountainous terrains that has become their outdoor home.”
As young members of the Armenian diaspora, we remain steadfast to exploring innovative ways to support our homeland, especially in difficult, tragic, and unprecedented times. We believe it is essential for all Armenians to unite and support Artsakh. Support knows no age. It knows no profession or zip code, and it knows no ethnicity. Support comes in many forms, from monetary donations, to social media awareness, to volunteering your skills, time, and talent.
As a Chamlian Armenian School alumnus and current Pilibos Armenian School student, I am confident that we will continue our efforts every day until victory. We will continue to educate ourselves and not fall victim to glorified media headlines. We will not forget that while we sleep, heavy missiles target residential buildings in Artsakh with the harshest and most inhumane intentions. We will not forget that young Armenian children just like us fight in battle in order to defend our lands and people. We will support Armenia Fund and the Armenian Relief Society’s humanitarian relief efforts, and we will follow the Armenian National Committee of America for grassroots activism.
We will not stay silent because silence supports the violence. We stand in solidarity with the innocent civilians in Artsakh and will continue to call on the US and international community to condemn and stop these unprovoked attacks. But for today, we will do our very best to bring comfort and safety in the form of footwear for our deserving soldiers because this really is the least we can do.
Gary Shirikchian is a sophomore at the Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School.