Never Again Means NEVER Again


Rafayel Hovhannisyan, Staff Writer

On September 27, 2020, I woke up to startling news: my home country, the country I was born in, was being attacked by Azerbaijani forces. While many Armenians like myself saw this coming, the images that surfaced of kids hiding in bomb shelters and clouds of smoke near the city of Stepanakert were very upsetting. If you want to read an explanation of the whole Nagorno-Karabakh War, please click here.

The war with Azerbaijan is not only a war for land, it is a war for the preservation of culture and religion. As one of the only Christian countries alongside Georgia, Armenia has been oppressed by neighbouring Muslim countries for centuries. While Armenia was known as “the kingdom that reached from sea to sea” from the late 11th to early 14th century, most of Armenian history has been that of oppression from larger empires, which include, in no chronological order, the Sassanids, the Persians, the Romans, the Byzantines and most notoriously of them all, the Ottomans.

The Armenian Genocide is a controversial topic in countries that ally with Turkey, like the United States, because if Turkey admits to their atrocities, which has been proven by overwhelming evidence, they would be forced to pay grand reparations to Armenia. I am a descendant of citizens of the city of Van, which was the location of one of the bloodiest massacres during the Genocide. It is very hard for me to know that my ancestral home is now in Turkey, a country that despises my race of people. 

This war with Azerbaijan is not a proof of power by Armenia; it is a proof of pride and stubbornness to our former oppressors. We want to show the world that we are a strong people despite lacking the numbers.

The Turkish and Azerbaijani leaders have clearly shown interest in exterminating Armenians. Whether it’s the 2005 statement made by the mayor of Baku to the Germans asking for help to kill Armenians, or whether it’s Erdogan openly refusing to acknowledge that the Genocide occured, we have never lived in peace due to these two countries. 

We are a country that predates both of these countries in history and culture. We were not fighters before the genocide. We were bankers, artisans, writers, mathematicians and musicians. While we still remain a society that is highly interested in art and science, we also now have strong pride and joy in our country, that every man, woman and child will stand up for at any given time, as you see us doing now.

While our people have been spread out, either by force or by will, creating one of the largest diasporas in history, we are still loyal to our country. And we cannot forget.

We cannot forget about the compositions of Komitas and Syat-Nova

We cannot forget about the stories of Hovhannes Tumanyan and Zabel Yesayan

We cannot forget about Yerevan, the center of our biggest accomplishments in science and art. 

We cannot forget about the beautiful nature that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. 

We cannot forget about the churches that have stood the test of time for centuries. 

We cannot forget our ancestors and all that they endured to build our great country. 

We are a small group of people, we do not shy away from our oppressor and we will refuse to lose our ancestral lands.

We are not people filled with hatred for the Turks or the Azeris, but we are angry for their treatment of our people and our lands. We have no hatred for the Muslim community, for a lot of our culture is similar and even inspired by theirs, but we are angry that the Muslim community does not acknowledge our history.

As a Armenian who is the son of a veteran of the Nagorno-Karabakh war of 1994, I will not let my father’s sacrifices go to waste, and every Armenian that is living in the diaspora should think the same way. As someone who lives thousands of miles away from my homeland, I feel more connected to it than ever. 

Wherever from the diaspora you may be, remember that you are an Armenian first. We are small and need to preserve our culture, so don’t forget your people and your history. Fight for your Armenian brothers and sisters, no matter how much disdain you might carry for them. The world has always been against our people, but we are still here, and we’re not planning to go anywhere anytime soon.

The Armenian Army is welcoming supplies from all over the world and accepts money, blankets, clothes (camouflage or dark green), sleeping bags, medical supplies and food. If interested in donating, some locations include GMSLA, the St. Leon Armenian Cathedral, and the Decolux Home Showroom. You can also help support the people living in Artsakh and Armenia by visiting the Armenia Fund. Finally, you can click here for more information and resources for our District’s students.