Editor’s Note: Nora Hovsepian, Esq., the chair of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region, made the following remarks during the organization’s annual gala banquet on November 12.
Distinguished Guests and Dear Friends,
It is my honor on behalf of the ANCA Western Region Board of Directors to welcome you to our Annual Awards Gala. We are grateful for the unwavering and generous support you continue to show us throughout each year, and especially this year. Your presence here proves, once again, that along with us, you remain deeply committed to the Armenian Cause, and for that, we are truly appreciative.
As you just saw in the video presentation, one year ago, we were forewarned about the
unthinkable events which ultimately came to pass in Artsakh, leaving it ethnically cleansed of its indigenous Armenian population and leaving our nation reeling and traumatized.
Indeed, these are hard times in so many ways. The world is an unjust place, as geopolitical interests routinely trounce noble aspirations of human rights, freedom and justice.
The advent of social media has given rise to a new level of hatred and disinformation that is intolerable and toxic, and we see this both in the form of blatant Armenophobia from our enemies as well as within our own reality.
Heart wrenching images of war and destruction on the other side of the world have now become readily available in real time, fueling heightened emotions on all sides.
Tyrannical regimes act with impunity as they take advantage of rampant indifference and refusal of the international community to act to protect humanity.
It’s a lot to be up against. But as we meet the daunting challenges and existential threats that face us, we must remind ourselves that the Armenian Nation throughout history has repeatedly risen from the ashes of the worst calamities, resilient and resolute; that from adversity comes strength, and clarity of purpose.
We are here to reaffirm that we will not be silenced, and we do not cower in the face of aggression by Azerbaijan, Turkey, or anyone else.
Our overriding mission now must be to defend and protect Armenia and the rights of Armenians everywhere.
Now more than ever, we know that Armenia can only survive if it is left in peace. But we also know that true peace entails not only the absence of war – but the presence of justice. And that justice, for us, includes accountability for crimes against humanity by both Azerbaijan and Turkey; secure borders; the right of Artsakh Armenians to return to their ancestral home; an international protectorate to ensure their safety, freedom and preservation of culture; and the safe return of all prisoners of war and unlawfully detained persons.
Here in the United States, as American Armenians, it is our right and indeed our duty to demand that our government move beyond supportive rhetoric to solid action to achieve this justice. We need the U.S. foreign policy establishment to recognize that in its efforts to ensure a just and sustainable framework for peace in the Caucasus, it is in the U.S. strategic interest to give Armenia a viable option for strategic realignments, and to actually be a genuine ally whose support for Armenia is tangible, steadfast and reliable.
This is our mission, and these are our priorities.
In an effort to better understand the urgent needs of our Homeland, the ANCA-WR invited a delegation from the besieged province of Syunik, Armenia. I am pleased to introduce them to you tonight: The Mayor of Kapan, Syunik’s capital city, and surrounding communities, the Honorable Gevorg Parsyan; The Mayor of Goris and surrounding communities in the Syunik province, the Honorable Arushan Arushanyan.
Accompanying the two mayors is Dr. Arman Tatoyan, former Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia, founder of the Tatoyan Foundation Center for Law and Justice, and 2021 recipient of the ANCA-WR Human Rights Champion Award.
Also accompanying the mayors are members of their staffs, all here to meet with local city government officials to find pathways toward collaboration and assistance.
We will be hosting a Town Hall with the Syunik delegation at the ACF Karamanoukian Glendale Youth Center on Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm, and you are all encouraged to attend to hear the latest first-hand reports from the border province of Armenia.
On behalf of our Board, I want to thank each of our volunteers, our Staff, our Gala Co-Chairs and committee members, and especially our donors, for without your encouragement and unwavering and generous support, we would not be able to do the important work we do every single day to amplify our message in the halls of government, in the world of media, and in the broader public sphere. We cherish the partnership and collaboration we have with every single elected official, honoree, donor, volunteer and coalition partner as we all work collectively together toward our common goal of justice for the Armenian Nation. Many of them are present here tonight, and we are grateful for their attendance and support.
So through both these hard times and the better days ahead, we will see you in the trenches.