Soon the year 2023 will be in the past and the New Year will rise in the horizon of our life. Indeed, the past year in the life of our nation was full of terrible hopelessness and profound disappointment. We are living in times full of unpredictable dangers. We are stuck in uncertainty. The past and present bitter experiences of our history clearly show that it is necessary to trust our own strength and act motivated by the superior and overall interests of the nation and the motherland. Therefore, today, more than ever, we urgently need a NEW ALL-ARMENIAN STRATEGY to lead us out of the current uncertain situation, and first of all, in what regards Artsakh.
Artsakh was seized by Azerbaijan, and more than a hundred thousand Artsakh Armenians were forcibly displaced. The world remained silent. The countries that are guarantors of Artsakh’s security also remained silent. However, we should not remain silent. The page of Artsakh is not closed for us. We must fight as a nation, guaranteeing the return of the Armenians of Artsakh in accordance with the international law, ensuring the right of self-determination of the Armenians of Artsakh under an international umbrella, as well as the release of the arrested state officials of Artsakh. To achieve this goal, we must work on a pan-Armenian scale, by way of a special committee consisting of Armenian and foreign specialists.
We welcome the annulment of the decree on the dissolution of the Republic of Artsakh. At the same time, we consider it imperative that the state structures of Artsakh continue to survive and especially that the people of Artsakh do not become a diaspora, but a collective and organized presence in Armenia. Indeed, such important steps will give a legal basis to Artsakh’s struggle, making it an existential issue as well.
The government of Armenia should develop a new strategy. Armenia has to get out of the trap of making concessions. Realism does not mean resignation. Armenia must not pay the price of establishing a comprehensive peace in the region. We have clarified our views on the mentioned and other related issues in a clear and consistent manner, stressing that the Armenian government should take into account the views of both the native people and the Diaspora regarding issues of decisive importance for the country.
We lost Artsakh, this important part of the motherland. Let us beware of the possible loss of new territories from Armenia as well. Let’s understand the geopolitical conditions and the correlation of the forces of the region correctly. Knowing full well that neither our close nor distant friends are able to reach us for help, the political orientation of Armenia needs to be balanced between the East and the West, staying clear of unilateral and provocative steps that can turn Armenia into a field of rivalry between powerful states.
The Diaspora should also develop a new strategy. Disillusioned by the defeat in successive wars, the occupation of Artsakh and the military-political steps taken by the current government, the Diaspora has no right to remain silent in the face of the current uncertain situation full of unforeseen dangers. Nor does Armenia have the right to ignore the Diaspora with its ample resources and solid potential. The Diaspora is a strategic partner of Armenia. Therefore, it cannot only stay in a reactive role. In addition to what has been said, the Diaspora also has a lot to do by developing an all-Armenian thinking, creating cooperation between Diaspora structures, pushing its experts to work and widely using its experience and international connections.
Dear people, we cannot continue our life with worn-out propaganda, repeated slogans, and spent agendas. Let’s look around for a moment. The value system that constitutes the basis of our nation and homeland has started to be violated and the criteria are being reversed. What is national has started to retreat before what is anti-national. Armenia and the Diaspora have started to move away from each other. The rifts in our communal life have begun to deepen, and a corrupting culture of contempt and neglect has begun to establish its dominance in Armenian life.
Let’s realize now that we are actually on the edge of the abyss and are alone. Therefore, let’s come out of the bubble and put an end to unrealistic expectations and one-sided judgments. Let our discussions be profound and purposeful, patriotic and nation-building. Today, the priority and urgent agenda of our nation is the salvation of the state of Armenia, around which all the forces of Armenia and the Diaspora should be united. This is required from our leaders, clergy and intellectuals. In other words, all of us.
The above-mentioned thoughts, emphasis, and concerns arising from realism and foresight should push us to be awake, sensitive, and responsible. At the current critical juncture in our history, the nation and the motherland have an immediate need for an all-Armenian agenda fueled by national ideology and paved with a new strategy and tactics, as well as wise and visionary leaders who have the responsibility to bring it to life and unite the polarized daughters and sons of our nation. There is no other way before our life.
The Son of God came to the world to destroy the old and build the new and to replace the system of corrupt values with humanizing values. This is the New Year’s message. This is the advice of the Epiphany.
For our nation, the New Year must become an invitation to look to the future with renewed hope, faith and determination and to build a bright future for our nation and homeland. We pray to the Most High God, that with His heavenly graces and blessings, the life of our nation will blossom, in Armenia and in the Diaspora, and to keep and protect our homeland from visible and invisible ills and evil.
CATHOLICOS ARAM I
GREAT HOUSE OF CILICIA
January 1, 2024