On April 24, Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) Board Member Toros Sahakian spoke at the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Rally at Times Square in New York, calling all diaspora to work together to support the citizens of Karabakh and Armenia at this time.
His speech is available below:
It is disturbing to think how history seems to repeat itself,
and how what happened hundred years ago to our ancestors could happen again.
Hundred years ago, after centuries of oppression and persecution,
Christian Armenians of Ottoman Empire hoped to gain legitimacy and security as its
rightful citizens. Armenian leaders of the time pinned their hopes on the benevolence
of the Great Powers of Europe, the Czarist Russia, and even on the Young Turks,
to work out a long-promised resolution of the so called “Armenian Issue.” But unfortunately
the promises never materialized, and Armenians were constantly played and deceived,
and eventually paid a terrible price of genocide.
Ironically, the same threats exist today, and similar games
are being played again. Once more, the belligerent Azerbaijan is unleashing a horrendous
war on the peaceful population of Karabakh and Armenia, and Turkey again is
enabling and supporting Azerbaijan’s genocidal war. And once again, some of Armenia’s
friends and allies are playing double games, and even supplying billions-of-dollars
of weapons to its enemy.
Let me make it very clear: Armenians are thankful to
all countries involved in the resolution of the Karabakh issue, and we are
particularly grateful to the United States of America for its support and leadership
in the peaceful settlement of the conflict.
But after centuries of trials and tribulations, we Armenians
need to learn our lesson once and for all, that the safety and security of
Armenian nation can be guaranteed only by a strong Armenian state, and a strong
Armenian military force. Only economically and militarily strong Armenia can survive
in that treacherous neighborhood.
And let me say this in conclusion: we Armenians of
diaspora must do our part in the great struggle of building, supporting, and
defending a long-lasting Armenian statehood. I call upon you, especially the
young people, to get involved in Armenian organizations in Washington, to
contribute with your knowledge and expertise in fighting the propaganda and disinformation
war that Azerbaijan and Turkey have unleashed in rewriting the history and misinforming
the public. We need to participate in strengthening the democratic institutions
of Armenia, build new businesses and industries that will offer opportunities
for young Armenians to live, create, and prosper in their own country. We need
to support their back to encourage them to be strong and unwavering in defending
the homeland. We all need to do our best to preserve the independent Armenia
that we have finally achieved after centuries of long bloody struggle.
Photo Caption: Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Assembly Board Member Toros Sahakian at the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Rally in Times Square on Apri l24, 2016.