EDITOR’S NOTE: A special program marking the 30th anniversary of Armenia’s Independence was produced and aired on September 19 on all Armenian television channels and was live-streamed on Asbarez’s Facebook page. The program was produced by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western U.S. Central Committee, whose member Levon Kirakosian, Esq. delivered the body’s message in English. Below is the full text of that message.
Every September 21 the Armenian people gather together to commemorate the anniversary of the re-establishment of a Free and Independent Armenia.
The Supreme Council of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republics expressing the united will of the Armenian people announced in the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence the following;
Aware of its historic responsibility for the destiny of the Armenian people engaged in the realization of the aspirations of all Armenians and the restoration of an historical justice;
Proceeding from the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the generally recognized norms of international law;
Exercising the right of nations to free self-determination;
A joint decision of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic Supreme Council and the Artsakh National Council on the Re-unification of Armenia and the Mountainous Region of Karabakh formulated the Declaration of Independence which was adopted by the Armenian people on September 21, 1991.
It is necessary to recall how the generation of September 21 who kept alive for 70 years the spirit and the will of May 28, 1918, and at the opportune moment, it inspired hope and the will to restore for all Armenians its right to self-determination and claim to an unfettered right to shape its destiny.
This year, September 21, 30 years after the declaration of independence and 10 months after the end of the 44-day war, has a special meaning. The current Republic of Armenia has withstood extremely difficult and dangerous challenges. The death of thousands of our soldiers and innocent civilians. The territorial integrity of Armenia is under an existential threat. The territories of Artsakh that were lost to the enemy and the evacuation of tens of thousands of Armenians from Artsakh—their Homeland—has created an untenable political atmosphere that has confronted the failed political leadership in Armenia. Successive governments have mismanaged the affairs of state culminating in the most egregious to date, the Prime Minister and his government have shown insufficient vision and ability to confront the threat to Armenia’s sovereignty.
The Armenian Nation has gone through a great deal in its history, more fateful and dangerous periods have confronted it, but ultimately through the resilience and will of the Armenian People it has prevailed over those challenges and has successfully established a re-awakening and re-birth of the Armenian Nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Declaration of Independence is a vital document created preliminary to war and the establishment of the independence of Armenia and independence of the people of Artsakh, not a piece of rhetoric; it states the specific goals of the newly proclaimed Republic. However, its general declarations cannot mean anything to us unless we attach to it a similar specific body of particulars as to what we consider the essential goals of our time. It consists in the interpretation of those principles a call to definite action. What policies an elected body must adopt in its governing of the people and the state. Policies which are implied in the Declaration of Independence. Correct governance, democratic principles, economic and personal security of the people and defense of the Homeland, are a few which come to mind.
However, as Armenians it is not enough to simply love Armenia but to love the duty serve it which lies before us, and we know that in performing those duties we are serving our people. There are some, for example, at this very moment who are showing themselves to be very dedicated in a way which does not attract wide attention but seems to belong to mere everyday obligations of true compatriots. The all-important tasks that lie before us is to help the families of our fallen soldiers, to provide the needed care for our wounded soldiers and citizens and to stabilize the economy of the country, these too are acts of patriotism. We honor those who have come to the aid of our people. They are the unsung heroes of our Nation.
And so, we say that it is patriotic sometimes to prefer the honor of the country or a cause over material interest. Would you rather be deemed by the People incapable of keeping your word to uphold the principles of the Declaration of Independence so that you might have corrupt channels to perpetuate your personal interests? When the country’s leadership has made a promise to the people they must keep it, and we know of no other rule that may be broken or permissible to a nation. The most distinguished leaders in the world are the leaders that can and will keep their promises even to its own political detriment. We cannot be enthusiastic for favoritism given by a government to an oligarch. We cannot tolerate corruption by those who claim to be serving the People. Let those who are enthusiastic for financial advantage through corrupt means ask themselves whether they prefer those gains to untarnished honor.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is no secret that the Armenian Nation must move beyond the present circumstance, its salvation lies in the unity of the Armenian people. Unfortunately, with the war and the current political environment, political groups treat each other with intolerance and distrust which has become a daily occurrence. That situation has further delayed the consolidation of the Nation.
We wonder what are the goals of those who refuse to unite their forces to overcome the existing malaise. What are they trying to do? Are they trying to serve the country, or are they trying to serve something smaller than the country? Are they trying to put hope into the hearts of the men and women who work and toil every day, or are they trying to plant discouragement and despair in those hearts? Under the present circumstances it is understandable that the Armenian people are inflicted with despair which has led to passivity and in some quarters paralysis, we must work to repair that condition so that we can rebuild, we must rise out of that mental state and rely on the message of September 21.
We call upon all Armenians, particularly those in the Western United States, to reject such division and replace them with the spirit of September 21, 1991 and the Declaration of Independence of Armenia with the vision and principles embedded in it. These are the principles that are the common denominator for all Armenians.
And so, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Of Western United States, In the name of its Central Committee congratulates the Armenian People on the re-establishment of Armenia’s Independence Day September 21 and calls on all Armenians be they in the Diaspora, Armenia, and Artsakh to join together as one fist. To overcome the many challenges facing our Nation.