Souren A. Israelyan

Thoughts on Nation Building for Armenians


By Souren A. Israelyan

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

The Second Karabakh War and its aftermath left undeniably deep wounds for the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian nation spread throughout the world. The wounds have not fully healed and emotions still run high. Thus, it is difficult to objectively self-assess, a step necessary for healing. Added to the difficulty is that an assessment necessarily involves looking back, which would bring back emotions, feelings, attitudes, etc., adding fuel to the fire. This is not unique to the Armenian nation and social psychologists can better explain the stages of the societal trauma imposed by war and the methods to overcome it to move forward. The Second Karabakh War is not the first time the Armenian nation has suffered massive trauma. The difference is that it happened in our lifetime and we should have better knowledge to understand and overcome the trauma.

A lot of discourse has run along the lines of what went wrong and who is at fault for the Second Karabakh War and its aftermath. Accordingly, there is always the “blame” dynamics. I submit that it is not a productive discourse. The better approach might be to focus collective efforts on building the nation and the country to such sovereign strengths that similar losses would be objectively improbable.

As time passes, perhaps the following few thoughts might enter our collective deliberations.

To build a strong sovereign Armenia, one has to have an agenda and national vision. Naturally, the national vision has to jive with the national strengths existing in the country and the nation. Allow me to list some of the well-known ones. You are well familiar with them and they will not create any special excitement. The point is to push the pedal to the floor on these strengths and in some cases make minor adjustments — and they would propel the country and the nation to new heights.

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The Republic of Armenia needs to tap into its national spirit, the spirit that made this nation defeat the evil that was dead set to exterminate it. This nation has known sacrifices and has known wars, indeed many of them, and from all sides. The Armenian nation maintained itself not because it was convenient or easy, but because for itself it was the only righteous way to walk on earth. Without the national spirit, no amount of money in the world and no amount of military technology or equipment could protect Mother Armenia when evil knocks on the door. It is our mountains, our churches, our children, our mothers and fathers, our ancestors, our generals, our culture and our history that make the spirit of the Armenian nation, which is unconquerable and eternal.

Armenians are relentless business and technology innovators and creators. Armenia is a center of innovation and creativity, which supplies the region and the world with new innovations and creations.

Armenians are consummate network creators for the benefits of its members. The Julfa Armenian trade network, the oil networks in the beginning of the last century, and multiple other examples and experiences attest to the Armenians’ creation of successful networks over the centuries that propelled the human progress. Armenians easily interact with people and cultures from the Far East to the Americas. Armenia as a regional and global platform for networks, e.g., for new technologies, for banking and finance, for wealth creation, for dispute resolution, for athletic tournaments, for cultural exchanges and for rapprochements.

Armenia + Armenian Diaspora = Armenian Nation. There is no difference between the Armenians from Buenos Aires, to Cairo, to Yerevan, to Stepanakert, to Singapore, or to any of the thousands of cities and towns around the world where they live. All their hearts beat for the Armenian nation. The Republic of Armenia is the guardian of the Armenian nation. The republic should necessarily make certain adjustments to assure that there are no obstacles, legal and otherwise, for the diaspora’s meaningful and comprehensive involvement in the life of Armenia. In its daily affairs, the republic should consider the interests of the Armenian nation. The diaspora, in its turn, should no longer give carte blanche to the republic to do as it wishes without adequately considering and consulting with the diaspora’s interests.

During and after the Second Karabakh War the importance of Armenian culture and its preservation became painfully apparent. It is in the time of temporary peace that the Armenian nation can focus on its language and culture. Armenian culture is created and its language is spoken in most of the countries of the world. Armenia is a center for the Armenian language and the Armenian culture, which are the treasures of humanity.

Certainly, the above is not an exhaustive list. Each of the points, moreover, could be further expanded over many pages with subsections and sub-subsections. Others may express the same ideas better. However phrased, the above could strengthen Armenia’s sovereignty and standing, as well as assist in preparation for the next war.

Around the world over 10 million Armenian hearts beat 100,000 times per day for the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian nation. When the time is right, and it might be now, let us gently pivot those hearts toward nation building and development for the one and only Armenian nation, which is the Armenian Diaspora and the Republic of Armenia inextricably intertwined.

Souren A. Israelyan is an attorney based in New York City. 

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