Hratch Tchilingirian, Oxford
As one of the nations in this world, whose millennia-long biography is the envy of the world, we should not allow some anomalous, self-interested forces, circles or personalities trample the national wisdom we have gained through myriads of imposed wars, destruction and displacement.
The painful setback of the Artsakh War shall pass as well, like many other calamities in our history. As a nation, we have the biblical wisdom to know that “there is a time for everything and a season for every activity… a time to be born and a time to die, a time for war and a time for peace.”
Today, as we honour the heroes of the war, as we mourn the loss of the fallen points of light, we must start to create our tomorrow today. Our tomorrow should be built on one key lesson of this war: we shall only rely on our own strengths to determine our national destiny. We shall draw our own trajectory for our national life.
The starting point is to look at today from the perspective of the future – not the past, even as our historical pedigree and culture are sources of enrichment and strength. We have been too retrospective in our national life – mostly defining ourselves by the past rather than the future. We must bring our talents, knowledge, experience and resources together. We must be united in our vision and purpose, even as we remain diverse, plural and free-thinking. We must plan our preferred future together as a nation.
Our “today” must always be defined by the future we envision and not impeded by the past. Up to the start of the Artsakh War, the hottest topic of public discussion and controversy in Armenia was the issue of the content of Armenian history textbooks in schools. Experts, policy makers, intellectuals and politicians were fighting over whether Armenian history goes back to 4000 or 3000 years. History does not secure victory. We must think, discuss and labour as to how we can educate our children to become world class scientists, technologists, innovators, developers and data scientists. Future wars will not be fought with tanks, but with keyboards.
I believe the failures and setbacks we felt deep in our guts on November 10th are opportunities for drawing the path of our national strength tomorrow. Together, we can and must build our bright tomorrow, even from the ashes of destruction. That’s what our ancestors have done and that’s what our future generations expect.
Building our future means seeing the impact and consequences of our own actions and inactions today on tomorrow. It means determining where we wish to go from where we are at this point.