"History says, don’t hope on this side of the grave, but then, once in a lifetime the longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history rhyme." Seamus Heaney’s "The Cure at Troy" BY HRANT APOVIAN Our nation is at war. We are at war on all fronts, on all continents, and in discord with some nations with differing geopolitical interests. Our cause is complex, our homeland is still weak, and our Diaspora is dispersed and not up to full potential. With the speed at which the world is changing, with events that shape and reshape conditions around the world daily, with the meager amount of resources we have, it seems that instead of gaining groundjust as we think we are gaining momentumwe are actually reacting to situations, and realize that at the end of the day we have not advanced our cause. Simply, the forces that are to be vanquished are beyond our capabilities and we need to redouble our efforts It is indeed a formidable effort on our part and one that should not be underestimatedone that needs the mobilization of every Armenian. When every single person goes into this mammoth effort with every asset we have then and only then we will reinforce our homeland, bring true democracy there, put the nation on the right path with equal justice for all its citizens, a powerful army and an economy that is not solely reliant on tourism or Diaspora support, and free of blood sucking maggots. *** In Ijevan, Armenia, warrant officer Garnik Melian was fatally shot in the chest by a sniper in another Azeri ceasefire violation. Recently, Azeri ceasefire violations have been bolder and more frequent. In Armenia, amid celebrations and a massive parade on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of Armenian Independence, the third Armenia-Diaspora Conference took place. This was a show of solidarity at a time when Armenia needs the support of all its sons and daughters. The conference was also instrumental in highlighting the plight of rural villages that are away from the capital, destined to mobilize efforts world wide to promote economic growth in those regions. At the United Nations, Armenian foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian gave a formidable and piercing address against Azeri transgressions. He spoke of the inalienable right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh for self-determination. He spoke indignantly of the long bloody history of Azeri rule. Concluding that Azerbaijan has lost the moral right to provide for the Security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the Present day tactic by Azerbaijan to reject compromise solutions, is a reflection of its refusal of a negotiated settlement. The Armenian Foreign Minister concluded, "Nagorno-Karabakh is not a cause. It is a place, an ancient place, and a beautiful garden with people who have earned the right to live in peace and without fear. We ask for nothing more. We expect nothing less." In Azerbaijan, a survey of Azeri parliamentarians shows that a majority is in favor of a military solution to the Karabakh conflict, based on their belief that Karabakh negotiations have run out of options. In Georgia, the situation is alarmingly electrified. A Russian spy scandal has pitted the Russian government against Georgian authorities. Georgia has arrested a group of Russian military officers for alleged spying, which Georgia says was coordinated by Russian intelligence agents in Yerevan. Russia has recalled its Ambassador to Georgia and advised embassy staff to leave the country; it also has suspended military base removals indefinitely. The spy scandal has compounded the animosity that existed between Russia and Georgia because of separatist movemen’s in Abkhazia and South Ossetia supported by Russia. Armenia’s are certainly concerned with developmen’s in Georgia since Georgia is a transit route for Armenia for goods and services. There is also a concern for Armenia’s in Javakhk. In the Caucasus, transport officials from Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey are due to meet to discuss sources of funding for the construction of a new railway in the South Caucasus which is supposed to stretch from Kars to Georgia’s Akhalkalak and then to Baku, circumventing Armenia. US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Anne Derse noted that, "because the proposed railway would bypass Armenia, and thus not be beneficial to regional integration, we have no plans to support such a railway financially." In October 2005, the European Commission voiced official opposition to the proposed Caucasus railroad bypass of Armenia. It is evident that the proposed railway is intended to further isolate Armenia, compounding the effects of the blockade imposed on Armenia’since the beginning of the Karabakh conflict. In the Middle East, while young ARF members demonstrate against the presence of Turkish armed forces in Lebanon, Armenian president Robert Kocharian- in an interview with Al-Jazeera- declared that Nagorno-Karabakh has never been a part of the independent Republic of Azerbaijan and a whole generation living currently in Nagorno-Karabakh has no memory of ever being under Azeri rule. In Europe, despite the urging by over 261 European Armenian associations for the European Parliament not to drop a provision it adopted previously making the recognition of the Armenian Genocide a precondition for Turkey’s membership in the European Union, the European Parliament said it is indispensable for Turkey to come to terms with its past, but dropped it as a precondition for membership. In the United States, the saga related to the dismissal of the Armenian Ambassador to Armenia the honorable John Evans, and the subsequent dragged out confirmation of Richard B. Hoagland as the next US Ambassador to Armenia continued to be the focus of Armenian American organizations. It was clearly evident, that the Ambassador’s premature departure came after he went against the Bush Administration’s stance and acknowledged the Armenian Genocide as being the first genocide of the twentieth century. Because of the fact that the Bush Administration and the State Department refused to elicit the reasons behind Ambassador Evans’ replacement and Hoagland’s refusal to state clearly his stance on the Armenian Genocide. Armenian Americans launched a massive effort to place on hold the confirmation of the new US Ambassador to Armenia. It is inconceivable that an American Ambassador that does not acknowledge the veracity of the Armenian Genocide can be effective in promoting constructive US Armenia relations. Finally in New York, Armenian Foreign Minister, Vartan Oskanian, speaking to RFE/RL confirmed shunning his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammodyarov in retaliation for the Karabakh issue’s inclusion on the UN General Assembly agenda. After meeting with international mediators the Armenian Foreign Minister, while expressing satisfaction with their explanations admitted canceling his meeting with the Azeri Foreign Minister, and said, "We will decide our next steps upon our return to Yerevan." *** It is evident that a coordinated effort is underway at all levelsthe Armenian government along with Armenian National Committees around the worldto stand up for our rights as a nation. A new more sophisticated generation of Armenia’s is trying very hard to overcome the strength and the tenacity of the difficulties and pitfalls facing our nation. It is also evident that there is a clear counter offensive sabotaging a peaceful negotiated statement of the Karabakh conflict. There are also new more proactive and vastly more dangerous methods underway trying to blur the genocide issue. Can we succeed? At the third Armenia-Diaspora Conference, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian, in his remarks at the opening session, said, "If we are one, if we have a common cause, and the will to work, we are sure to win." The positive aspect that is reflected in all these events is that we are everywhere, we are mobilized, and we are able to sustain our ground. Ours is a proud and noble effort against all odds. The negative impression comes from the fact that we are "surprised" at some of the reversals. We are surprised that a country with blood on its hands becomes a member of a peace force in Lebanon, we are surprised that European Union members have, "a change of heart", that an honorable Ambassador who follows bravely in the footsteps of Henry Morgenthau is recalled. We mourn the death of a young Armenian soldier who is treacherously killed by Azeri forces at the cease-fire line. His death should be a wake up call for all Armenia’s.