GLENDALE—“During its more than 120-year history, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation has worked and will continue to work firmly rooted in its ideological principles,” said Avedik Izmirlian, chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee of Western US. Thus, with the motto of “For the People and With the People,” the ARF Western United States marked the party’s 121st anniversary on Sunday, January 22, with a capacity crowd at the Glendale High School auditorium.
The ARF believes that “the survival of a nation is reliant, first and foremost, in its people’s belief in an ideal and its willingness to fight for that ideal in the name of victory,” added Izmirlian, who was the keynote speaker at the celebration.
In his assertive presentation, Izmirlian also touched on the need for regime change in Armenia, rejecting any sort of bargaining by what he called the “discredited government officials” with the ARF on the eve of the upcoming parliamentary elections.
“The priority for the ARF is the national interests and the well-being of the people,” said Izmirlian. “For the ARF regime change is essential, with complete and fundamental ouster of the current ruling elite.”
Izmirlian placed a special emphasis on the Western Region Armenian-American community saying that as the most populous Armenian entity outside of Armenia, this community must become more organized and urged organizations to become active in maintaining and strengthening the atmosphere of cooperation.
“Only a strong, united and self-sufficient community can effectively the Armenian people and the homeland, as well as cooperate with the Armenian state,” said Izmirlian.
Attending the celebration were Western Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian; Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; head of the Armenian Evangelical Church of North America, Father Joe Matossian; the Rector of St. Gregory Catholic Church Very Rev. Fr. Krikor Chahinian; representatives of the Catholicosate Central Executive Council, the Prelacy Executive Council; ARS, Hamazkayine and Homenetmen regional executives, as well as representatives of the Social Democratic “Hunchakian Party,” the Armenian Democratic League (Ramkavar Party), the AGBU and educational, cultural and compatriotic organizations.
With the drum-beat of the Homenetmen marching band, the scouts ushered in the Armenian tri-color, the US and ARF flags, as Payla Kevorkian sang the ARF anthem “Meshag Panvor.”
The program began with the singing of patriotic songs by the ARF Badanegan (junior) organization chorus, whose members were clad in red, blue and orange t-shirts. Under the leadership of Avedik Mikaelyan, the chorus presented several patriotic songs, setting the festive mood for the celebration.
The masters of ceremony were Sanan Haroun and Raffi Bedrosian of the Armenian Youth Federation Western US, who in their bi-lingual opening remarks, quoting important figures in ARF history, ushered in the evening’s message and sense of national pride.
Two video presentations during the celebration highlighted the community’s work in pursuit of the Armenian Cause, as well as the AYF’s activities, focusing on the organization’s effort in Armenia and Artsakh.
The AYF message was conveyed by the organization’s chairman, Davit Arakelyan, who announced that the AYF has declared 2012 the year of the freedom fighter. In his remarks he explained that 20 years after the heroic battles in Artsakh, those who risked their lives for our nation’s liberation are still not provided with basic needs for survival.
Arakelyan said that the AYF is undertaking several educational projects, to sensitize the community about this issue and through various fund-raising events the AYF aims to assist in the betterment of the lives of the freedom fighters.
“We call on the community to join this effort and support this important undertaking. It is through such programs that our organization can attain the trust of our people,” said Arakelyan.
“The ARF must look at its past and renew its oath—the pledge by the founders of our party—to always be dedicated to our people, our ideals and our national principles,” added Arakelyan.
The Hamazkayine “Ani” Dance Troupe took part in the cultural portion of the program, which included performances by Karnig Sarkisian and the “Cilicia” Chamber Orchestra. At the conclusion of the evening singers Souren Mktrchyan and Rima Karapetian joined the orchestra in a rendition of “Ariunot Trosh,” which was met with a standing ovation, thus capping off a successful celebration.