By Kenneth V. Hachikian
The justice that Armenians deserve. More important, the justice that the Armenian nation requires.
Justice is, very simply, vital to Armenia’s future.
Look at the map. Read the history. Study the numbers.
They all point to the fact that the security of the Armenian homeland and, more broadly, the long-term survival of the Armenian nation requires the restoration of our national territory, the return of our national assets, and the payment of national reparations.
Turkey must surrender, willingly or not, the fruits of its crime, compensate for our losses, and return the core elements of viability that sustained our nation upon our ancient homeland of five thousand years, including: Defensible borders; Economic and demographic resources; Sea-access and trade routes; Agricultural and water resources.
From any angle, justice is the answer:
Justice is the key to promoting regional peace, because the only durable foundation for improved Armenian-Turkish relations is the just resolution of the Armenian Genocide.
Justice is the key to protecting Armenia, because the Armenian people cannot be secure as long as they’re bordered by an over-armed and unrepentant perpetrator of genocide.
Justice is the key to transforming Turkey into a post-genocidal state, because true reform there is impossible while leaders in Ankara lie about the very founding of their republic and demonize those who dare speak truthfully about it.
Justice is the key to preventing future genocides around the world, because the dangerous precedent of an atrocity committed with impunity makes future atrocities more likely.
And finally, justice is the key to Armenia’s survival, because the long-term viability of the Armenian nation requires the restoration of losses and full reparations for this vast and still unpunished crime.
So, let me be very clear, in this Centennial year, our efforts going forward are not aimed at simply securing recognition, demanding renewed U.S. acknowledgment, or seeking a Turkish apology. Truth is imperative, primarily because it serves justice. Denial is dangerous, chiefly because it obstructs justice. And justice is our aim. In all its forms.
To be sure, we proudly honor our past, but, just as surely, our eyes are fixed upon the future.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The Armenian history that matters most remains unwritten, by generations yet unborn.
That’s our North Star: Our future.
All that we do is aligned with the survival and long-term viability of the Armenian nation.
That’s why we have, as a Diaspora, dedicated ourselves to a 360 degree defense of the Armenian nation.
Justice for the Genocide. Security for Armenia. Freedom for Artsakh. Strength for our Diaspora.
It is in humble appreciation of this sacred obligation – on these issues and many others – that we serve as unofficial ambassadors of the Armenian people.
It is in this noble and selfless spirit that we fight – as a second army of the Armenian nation.
It is this tireless work that has sparked a small but growing pro-justice movement within Turkey itself, and that will expand to include new legal initiatives to realize our national aspirations.
We have it today in our power to make the coming century – the second since our near annihilation – one of truth, justice, and prosperity.
We survived, and – against all odds – we have thrived.
The doubters, the critics, and the second-guessers. You know them. Washington is surely full of them – some may be in your neighborhood too. Well, they all got it wrong.
They said Armenia could never be independent. Artsakh would never be free.
They told us that we lacked the power to break down Ankara’s wall of denial. But we did. We moved the world to recognize the Armenian Genocide. We have, today, isolated Turkey and its apologists. They are on the defensive, and we are advancing.
We will face renewed Turkish attacks. We will hear the inevitable background noise of the cynics and the skeptics. But we – like the heroes of Avarayr, Sardarabad, and Artsakh – will be undeterred. We are, as Armenians worldwide, united as one nation in seeking the reparations that we are owed, the justice that we deserve, and the security and prosperity that our homeland requires.
With your help, with your spirit, with your faith, our struggle continues.
Kenneth V. Hachikian is Chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America.