Helpless, hopeless, and desperate. This is how I felt when I first heard how my great-grandparents fought for their lives to survive the Armenian Genocide. I was five years old.
Helpless, hopeless and desperate. This is how I felt two years ago during the 44-day war when Azerbaijan attacked Artsakh.
Helpless, hopeless and desperate. This is how I feel again today with Armenia slipping away.
Tamar Kassarjian, that’s my name. Many people may know me as the AYF member from Florida, an active member of her community, who makes Armenian keychains to raise money to send to Armenia, while others may not know me at all. Regardless of what I do, my name speaks for itself. I am and forever will be Armenian. I will marry an Armenian, and my children will learn about Armenia and its history. But I hope for a better future, and I hope for a change.
I am a fourth-generation post-genocide Armenian, and it kills me, just like many Diasporans, to continue carrying this burden and feeling this pain. Throughout my day, I make sure that everyone I pass or meet knows I am Armenian. My car is covered with the flags of Armenia and Artsakh. I wear my AYF sweatshirts proudly at work with my last name written in Armenian. I wear Armenian jewelry with my initials. I do all of this and more to be asked what the colors of my flags stand for or what the letters on my sweatshirt mean. I do all of this so I can explain what’s happening to my country. I will talk your ear off and tell you about our history, how my ancestors were forced out of their homes and what is currently happening. I love surprising people when I speak Armenian and tell them I read, write and teach the language to children at Sunday School. “Հպարտ Հայ” (proud Armenian) will always be how I will express myself to others. Armenia will always have my heart even though I have yet to see her beautiful mountains, city lights and churches.
Dear friends, I know you see what I see and you feel what I feel. You see our Armenia hurting, our soldiers dying, our land being given away. I know the tears we cry at night as we see children in Armenia losing their fathers and brothers. I know we are weary of fighting the same fight, but I beg you, keep going. Don’t be discouraged. Keep fighting the fight for ourselves, for our ancestors, for our Armenia and for our future. We are here to bring justice for all the lives lost and finish what was started with each soldier’s spirit in our hearts. The torch has been handed down to us by many generations before us, and it is our duty to our people and homeland to fight and uphold the revolutionary spirit. We do this so that we may instill the same energy in the future generations to come. The power we hold just by existing as Armenians gives me the hope that we will see a “Ծովից Ծով Հայաստան” once again. A free, united and independent Armenia. Take a look around. See what you can do to make a difference, and take action with pride. Every person counts; that’s why we must prioritize our fight now. If we don’t dedicate our time to our cause, then we as Armenians will cease to exist. Although we feel hopeless, we are not the hopeless generation—we will never give up. It is our vow to fight for our country and live long to tell our story. We are the seeds of the roots that spread far and wide. We will always be here, and we will see the rebirth of our beloved Armenia.