Hovhannisyan: ‘If We Lose Artsakh, Then We Risk Losing Armenia’
WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)—As part of his Eastern United States speaking tour organized by the Artsakh Fund of the Eastern U.S. and the Hairenik Association, Lernik Hovhannisyan, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) parliamentary faction in the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh), addressed the Greater Boston Armenian community at the St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church hall in Watertown on June 9. The event was hosted by the ARF Boston “Sardarabad” Gomidehoutiun and the St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church.
“Sardarabad” chairperson Joshua Tevekelian offered welcoming remarks to guests and presented Hovhannisyan’s biography before inviting him to speak about the latest developments in Artsakh. Before his address, which was simultaneously translated by Ara Arakelian, Hovhannisyan thanked the Artsakh Fund and the Hairenik Association for the invitation to speak to the community. He then gave a detailed account of the large-scale military aggression launched by Azerbaijani forces in early April and the “Four-Day War” that ensued.
‘If we lose Artsakh, then we risk losing Armenia. The enemy clearly wants to see us as a stateless people, and so we must do everything in our power to win this battle of survival. We have no right to lose this war.’
“Despite Azerbaijani aggression, our military was able to hold back enemy forces, and launched their own counter-attacks and offensives. The 18- to 20-year-old Armenian soldiers—who were born in an independent Armenia and Artsakh and had not lived under Soviet rule—displayed bravery and determination, which perhaps surpassed that of the previous generation which fought in the early 1990’s. I participated in the NKR War from 1992-93, and I did not see this level of dedication then,” Hovhannisyan said during his presentation.
He went on to provide details about how the “Four-Day War” mobilized and united Armenians around the world, and prompted a large number of volunteers from the region and around the Armenian Diaspora to come to the frontlines and help the war effort. “During the war, there was no discrimination in terms of age—volunteers ranging from 20-60 came from all over, all walks of life and every country in the neighborhood, including Russia, Abkhazia, Crimea, Iran, and Lebanon,” he said. Hovhannisyan also gave details about the Syrian Armenians who have resettled in Artsakh since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, and how they were an integral part of the volunteer effort.
During his address, Hovhannisyan stressed the importance of protecting Artsakh and how losing it would have serious consequences for Armenians locally and internationally. “If we lose Artsakh, then we risk losing Armenia. The enemy clearly wants to see us as a stateless people, and so we must do everything in our power to win this battle of survival. We have no right to lose this war,” Hovhannisyan said.
Hovhannisyan then presented a short film entitled “Baderazm” (“War”) about the “Four-Day War” prepared by the Public Television of Artsakh. He then answered questions from the audience.
Source: Armenian Weekly