BY MADELEINE MEZAGOPIAN
Prior to, and following, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Armenians of the Diaspora craved to see – if not to live in – the free, united and independent Armenia. However, this yearning was not detached from haunting memories, as descendants of the survivors, of the Armenian Genocide. Suffering, pain and agony are pertinent not only to physical annihilation, but equally related to usurped bodies, homes and lands of their ancestors. Armenians of the Diaspora are in constant search for their homeland; while they reach, with hope and careful happiness, the Republic of Armenia – just a fragment of our Motherland.
Armenians worldwide perceive the Republic of Armenia, especially in the aftermath of the peaceful revolution, with great pride and dignity. The revolution further consolidated democracy and determination to uproot all the ailments that threaten the wellbeing of Armenians, and Armenia’s status and credibility, foremost corruption and societal comportments alien to the ancient and near past Armenian civilization.
Fear and doubt often accompany this optimism, particularly when the normalization of the relationship with identities still occupying Armenian territories surface.
Concerts, fireworks, speeches will soon echo throughout the Republic of Armenia in celebration of its independence from the Soviet Union, which with its collapse, the artificial union of states was dismantled.
Yes, Eastern Armenia was freed on September 21, 1991, but does it represent an occasion to celebrate the independence of Motherland Armenia, even the independence of Eastern Armenia? Has it regained its sovereignty not only over its territories but over its decision making process of pertinent domestic and external issues? Has Eastern Armenia regained its original culture with its language, way of life, its cuisine, its reaching the Lord, inter alia?
Does Eastern Armenia represent the stronghold of all Armenians, the fortified front which will resort to all the available channels, resources and fight for its remaining occupied territories? These occupied territories of Motherland Armenia witness ongoing uprooting, if not destruction, of its historical sites, which stand witness to a great civilization whose protection is the responsibility of not only the Armenians worldwide, but the responsibility of all individuals, organizations and states; the advocates of the survival of cultures and civilizations.
Yes, Eastern Armenia must celebrate its partial independence provided that the celebrations are succeeded by seminars and conferences bringing together relevant scholars: historians, archeologists, sociologists, political and international law scientists and practitioners, Armenians and non-Armenians who all meet in serving truth and justice. Yes, partial independence celebrations to be coincided and succeeded by brain storming processes on how to peacefully regain the remaining occupied Armenian territories in Western part of Motherland Armenia with its Great Ararat, Van and Ani. Yes, peacefully approaching the occupiers irrespective of their history of atrocities and vandalism, irrespective of their culture devoid of peace, devoid of culture of listening, of dialogue and peacemaking.
Yes, to forgive past occupiers and celebrate. However, without forgetting current occupiers and anticipating and working towards celebrating a free, united and independent Armenia when the legitimate rights pertinent to the Motherland Armenia in its entirety are regained and upheld. Thus remaining loyal to the memory of over one and a half million martyrs of the Armenian Genocide and to the millions who were deported throughout history from their homelands, in different parts of Motherland Armenia. These legitimate rights will surely not evade with time nor will their memories of their homelands be replaced with new memories of new homelands.
Yes, let’s regain and celebrate the independence of Motherland Armenia!
Madeleine Mezagopian is an academic researcher, adviser and analyst specializing in conflict resolution/peace, as well as socioeconomic and political development. She lives in Amman, Jordan.