By Edmond Y. Azadian
It is commonly believed that history is written by the victors. However, it is incumbent upon successive generation of historians to reevaluate history as the years and centuries elapse to come up with an objective presentation of history.
During the Soviet period, Armenian history was written in a slanted way to fit in and to justify an ideology. All authoritarian states and rulers preemptively own the historic truth. Therefore, historians are forced to work in the straightjackets of an ideology. Similarly, the parties involved in the Armenian liberation movement have not been immune to the temptation, even when living in the free world.
Histories of the political parties have most often been written by amateur historians glorifying the partisan activities of their predecessors. Developing legends on the deeds of a party has certainly a value in inflaming the imagination of the youth, but those legends are no substitute for objective history.
Looking back with historic perspective, Armenians have to own collectively the glorious achievements of the individual parties, as well as the failures or mistakes of the same parties, for those failures are the outcome of a stateless nation struggling for six centuries to regain statehood and sovereignty.
The ADL of the Republic of Armenia has taken the initiative to organize a one-day symposium on November 3 at the National Academy of Sciences in Yerevan to reevaluate the history of the Armenagan Party which was formed 130 years ago in 1885, in Van, the first political party pioneering the national liberation movement. The party had two distinctive features that separated it from the parties that came after it. First, it was formed on the historic soil of Armenia, therefore it had its finger on the pulse of the population, suffering under repressive Ottoman rule. Its other distinction was that it had subscribed to a utilitarian ideology, which was self-defense for the Armenian people experiencing sporadic pogroms by the Turkish government.