During this spring’s parliamentary election campaign in Armenia, all parties and factions promised a bright, prosperous and just future for Armenia. The election was also a major and significant step toward changing the country to a parliamentary form of government as envisioned by Armenia’s new Constitution.
Now that the new parliament has convened and all its members have come on board with a mandate to transform Armenia into a prosperous, just and remarkable country, it is time to reflect back on the First Republic of Armenia, which despite being established under gravest of conditions, guaranteed justice, equality and fundamental rights and freedoms for all its citizens.
The valiant and heroic efforts of those who fought for independence 99 years ago can and must be remembered, since the battles in Sardarabad, Bash-Abaran and Gharkiliseh not only cemented a victory but also saw the creation of an independent state for Armenians who had been living under occupation and oppression for centuries.
The victories on May 28, 1918 were rooted in a national ideology that while advancing the universal concepts of freedom and self-determination were uniquely Armenian in nature and every decision taken in parliament at the time was grounded in the firm belief of advancing justice, security and prosperity for every Armenian.
For the past 25 years, however, successive governments have advanced policies that not only are they not national in nature they also have done detrimental damage to the country. These leaders opted to loot the national wealth and line their pockets, instead of carrying out policies that would benefit every Armenian citizen.
As we mark the 99th anniversary of Armenia’s independence and we recall the decisive victories that ensured us a country—and continue to embolden those today who are protecting our borders in Artsakh and Armenia—we must hold our leaders accountable for honoring their campaign pledges and using the new system in Armenia to pivot toward a better and just Armenian Republic where the right of all citizens are respected. This can only happen through a national agenda that engages the collective nation to overcome challenges and advance new victories.
Happy Independence Day.