By Grigor Hakobyan
The humiliating defeat of the Artsakh Defense Army and its supporting armed volunteer fighters from Armenia during the 44 Day War has prompted a lot of soul searching among Armenians around the world. The outcome of the war was very unexpected due to Armenia’s MoD’s false narrative, which consistently lied to people for the entire duration of the war, insisting that the Armenian side was winning the war only to find out later on that the Armenian side was losing the war. Illegal ceasefire declaration that was forced upon Armenia and dutifully implemented by the Pashinyan’s government as if it was a binding international treaty has outraged Armenians not only in the mainland but also abroad. Furthermore, ceding territories that were under Armenian control at the time of the ceasefire declaration despite the fact that the ceasefire declaration allowed each side to maintain territories under one’s control at the time of the signing of the infamous declaration has prompted legitimate concerns among Armenians everywhere that there were additional points of agreement between Pashinyan and Aliyev that the Armenian people were not told about.
The post-war analysis has revealed the presence of a large number of traitors among military and political leaderships of the republics of Armenia and Artsakh, acts of treason, criminal orders and criminal activities that severely undermined Armenia’s defense capacity before the war and during the war. Furthermore, domestic and foreign conspiracies that predetermined the outcome of the war, blatant disorganization and breakdown of discipline among many volunteer detachments and within the Artsakh Defense Army in the middle of intense fighting coupled with widespread incompetence among military and political leaders entrusted with organizing and leading Armenia’s defenses both in the military arena and diplomatic arena have severely shaken the trust of Armenian people towards its leaders and institutions which now appear to be paralyzed in light of renewed threats by Turkey and Azerbaijan to annex territories of the Republic of Armenia. As everyone seems to be searching for a solution, very few have pondered about the basis of Armenia’s existence and the role that the Armenian nation has been chosen to play throughout its millennial history and given its specific geography. What is it and how is it going to be accomplished?
Throughout its long history, Armenia has experienced many victories and defeats. The most devastating blow to the Armenian nation’s existence was the genocide of 1915-1923, which resulted in the occupation of the 90% of the Armenian Highland by Turkey and the execution of more than 80% of the Armenian population that lived there. The remaining Armenians had very few choices available to them to continue their existence in relative security or, in some cases, obscurity. Among them was the forceful conversion to Islam, which many Armenians chose to undergo to avoid getting killed (e.g., Armenians of Hamshen); living in hiding as “crypto Armenians” (e.g., Armenians who officially changed their national identity to be Turkish, Kurdish, Alevi, Zaza or any other ethnicity found in Turkey while continuing to practice Christianity and maintain their Armenian identity secretly); fleeing to the edges of the Armenian Highland-what is presently known as Eastern Armenia (present-day Republics of Armenia and Artsakh, Azerbaijani occupied Nakhijevan and Georgian occupied Javakhk) or fleeing abroad to Europe, Asia or countries of Middle East, Russia, Americas, Canada or Australia.
To maintain their national identity, language, customs, traditions and historical heritage, many Armenian communities around the world engaged in volunteer self-isolation known as Hayapahpanum (preservation of the Armenian identity which espoused the construction of Armenian churches, cultural centers, schools and kindergartens, elderly homes and businesses in the Armenian dominated neighborhoods of foreign cities). Years of self-preservation activities lead to a new generation of diasporan Armenians who excelled in business, finance, music, art, military, science and governments of their host countries by becoming productive members of those societies and, in some cases, very influential not only in their communities but also within the societies that they were part. Those who found refuge in Eastern Armenia were eventually able to establish the first Republic of Armenia (1918-1920) followed by Soviet Armenia and the independent Republic of Armenia (1991-present).
Throughout the past one hundred years, Armenians’ strong desire to achieve justice over the genocide of 1915-1923 has united all Armenians around the world in the pursuit of the Armenian Cause, which demands the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey and restitution in the form of lands previously owned by Armenians and presently in possession of Turkey being returned to the Armenian people. The liberation of Artsakh was probably the culmination of the Armenian Cause, where long-sought justice has been partially achieved by the combined efforts of Armenian people both at home and abroad. The unexpected outcome of the 44 Day War has, to an extent, nullified the Armenian achievements for the past one hundred years that cost the Armenian people a lot of blood and treasury, endless and ceaseless work in Armenia and diaspora. Consequently, the blow that was suffered by the latest defeat in the second Artsakh war has shaken Armenians all over the world, forcing them to rethink and reevaluate their previously held beliefs and misconceptions about their actual abilities and capacities to stand against Azerbaijani-Turkish aggression and make any gains from the very intricate powerplay between regional and global actors who have used the Armenian factor to their own benefits and to the detriment of Armenian people both in the past and present.
The defeat in the second Artsakh war is not the end of Armenians’ century-old struggle to restore historical justice. Fortunately, not everything is lost and there is still a chance to correct previous wrongs. However, this time around, every Armenian should reevaluate his/her own ability and capacity to contribute to the coming rebirth of Armenia and the Armenian nation as a stable and powerful regional country capable of meeting its own needs and effectively secure its borders and institutions from foreign and domestic agendas meant to destroy them. Each Armenian must realize that nobody really cares about Armenia and the Armenian nation or the Armenian Cause unless it fulfills their own interests at a given time. Only Armenians care about Armenia’s future and the Armenian Cause therefore, the solutions to many problems that are being faced today must be found within the Armenian realm that combines the potentials, abilities, talents and intellect of all Armenians around the world residing both at home and abroad. Armenia and the Armenian nation must strive towards continuous and consistent self-improvement, self-reliance, self-organization and development of collective resolve to overcome any obstacles that come on their way towards greatness and collective self-realization.
Like any individual that comes to this world comes with a specific intent in mind; similarly, nations, countries and civilizations have a purpose to fulfill. Once they stop fulfilling their purpose, the will of life, the cycle of history will discard them into the dustbin of time and obscurity. Every person that comes to this world has a number of missions to fulfill. Similarly, every country, nation and civilization that comes into existence has many missions to fulfill; among them is the mission to move humanity forward. As long as they serve their purpose, they continue to exist and as soon as they stray from their path and fail to fulfill their missions, they cease to exist. The Armenian nation is one of many nations that carry on the burden of human progress and civilizational evolution towards the transcendence of earthly barriers into the spiritual and divine realm. Those who serve no purpose or hinder the advancement of human and civilizational evolution are doomed to end sooner or later, therefore the sooner Armenian people realize their essential role in the family of nations tasked with this endeavor, the sooner they will be able to overcome various obstacles laid in front of them and the sooner they will be able to achieve their goals.
Armenian ancestors realized this a long time ago. As such, they have served as the conveyors of human progress by giving rise to the Iron Age, Bronze Age, Gold Age, the advent of early farming, domestication of horses and city-building, development of the early writing systems, theology and science, which gave rise of early human civilizations from Summer to Egypt to China to Byzantium and Rome. Traces of the Armenian civilization are being found in South America and North America, as well as from Europe to Asia to Africa; however, for the last one thousand years or so, Armenians have forgotten their purpose and as such, they have been encountering many obstacles that have shaken them to the core where even the continued existence of the Armenian nation and its statehood is now in jeopardy. As the new age unfolds with all its perils and triumphs, it is time for the Armenian people to rediscover their purpose and fulfill the missions entrusted to them by history, the time and the divine. It is Armenia’s Manifest Destiny to become great again. It is time for Armenia to rediscover its divine inspiration and to fulfill its purpose by pushing humanity forward to the edge of sacred and profane, to the point of transcendence where humankind becomes one with the divine.
Note: Grigor Hakobyan is an independent political, defense and security analyst residing in Phoenix, AZ. He holds a Bachelors’ degree in Political Science from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree in Education from Grand Canyon University. In the past, he has written analytical articles pertaining to Armenia and the surrounding region for the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute of John Hopkins University. Grigor Hakobyan has interned at the US House of Representatives, where he researched ethnic conflicts and terrorism in Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia regions and prepared morning briefings for a congressman. Additionally, he has interned at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies at the International Center for Terrorism Studies, where he researched terrorist networks operating in Russia, Central Asia and Caucasus regions. He is the founder and chief editor of Ararat Institute for Near Eastern Studies online magazine. From time to time, he also writes political analysis articles for ANN (Armenian News Network)/Groong.