Armenia and Artsakh: Why America Should Care

On October 11th, close to 100,000 Armenian-Americans took to the streets of Los Angeles to march in solidarity with their relatives back home in Armenia. Last Thursday, hundreds of Armenian-Americans took to protest in front of the White House. Not one window shattered, not one vehicle burned, not one building spray painted. These protests in the United States are only a small part of the wave of protests going on around the world by Armenians who are affected by the events going on back home.

On the morning of September 27, 2020, Armenia’s Ministry of Defense reported shots fired on Armenian forces from the Azerbaijani military, breaking a legal ceasefire that was entered into by the two post-Soviet countries in 1994. Following the shootings last month, using weapons sold to it by Israel, Azerbaijan has started shelling civilian villages and towns in Artsakh, killing hundreds of civilians and displacing thousands more. They targeted historical sites, including thousand year old Christian churches, and cemeteries. The reason for these attacks on Armenian history: Azerbaijan wants to destroy it, because it ruins their claim to the lands of Artsakh.

Armenia was the first country to accept Christianity. In 301 AD, the King of Armenia declared that Christianity was to be the national religion. All over Armenia, hundreds of ancient Armenian churches serve as sites of prayer for Christian Armenians, which make up close to 98% of the country of Armenia. After Armenia was annexed into the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin intervened and decided that Artsakh, which is the portion of land immediately to the east of Armenia major, should be a part of Azerbaijan. He did this in an effort to lower the population of Armenia so he could annex it into Georgia.

In 1991, Armenia declared her independence and broke away from the Soviet Union, as did Azerbaijan. The lands of Artsakh remained in limbo. At the time, close to 98% of the residents in Artsakh were Armenian. Soon after, Azerbaijani forces started harassing the Christian Armenians in the region, and soon after, a war began. The bloody war ended in 1994, after the Azerbaijani forces raised the white flag and agreed to a ceasefire. Until today, Artsakh is fully under the control of Armenians, who just want to live peacefully on their historic lands. Azerbaijan claims the land is historically theirs, which is ridiculous – considering Armenian churches and gravestones exist in Artsakh that are older than the country of Azerbaijan.

Since the start of the war on September 27, most of the international community has been silent. President Erdogan in Turkey has sent forces and military firepower to Azerbaijan to help them in the fight against the Christian Armenians. For years, international leaders have been quiet when President Erdogan invaded countries in an effort to rebuild the Ottoman Empire he dreams of, and they are quiet now. Leaders like Vladamir Putin and Donald Trump are sitting back while Turkey wrecks havoc in the Middle East, which is the cause for many of these protests.

Armenian-Americans are not asking for the President to get involved. We are not asking for American troops to fight for Armenia. We are asking for something as simple as a tweet that will show his solidarity. In 2016, a large number of Armenian-Americans in swing states voted for President Trump, and his seeming silence on the killing of Armenian civilians may now affect their judgment in November.

President Erdogan has gone too far, and nobody has slapped him on the wrist. He is using the silence as an opportunity to expand his military, his economy, and his Turkic influence. Sooner or later, when he uses his influence to invade the countries of American allies because they are standing in his Ottoman Imperialistic fantasies, America will start to care. Until then, the silence on the murder of innocent Christian civilians is deafening, politically unwise and morally indefensible.

David Ter-Petrosyan is a university student studying Economics. He is a delegate to the California Republican Party, a founding member of the Armenian Republican Association (wwwArmenianRA.com), and the Deputy Campaign Manager at Eric Early for Congress.

Comments

  1. Armen Aslanian says

    Very interesting article Thank you

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