A Call to my “Khempag” Comrades

Dikran Abrahamian MD, Ontario, 12 November 2020

“We, sons of Hayk, Vartan, Mesrob, and followers of the patriotic traditions of Andranik, Serop Pasha, Kevork Chavoush, Portugalian, Paramaz, and Stepan Shahoumian, we believe in the Undeferrable (անժամանցելի) Armenian cause.” (“Khempag“, Program of Armenian Secret Union, 1980).

Those were the concluding words following two revisions of the original 1973 plan of action drawn in Yerevan forty-seven years ago. We pledged then that we would invest our intellectual, physical, and material means to the struggle for the liberation of our lands fighting against the yoke imposed by the tripartite alliance of imperialism, international Zionism, and Turkey.

True, at the time we were focused on Western Armenia. We knew through experience the strength of words and ideas. Accordingly, each one of us in the network, within his immediate circle or organization, stood by our people’s freedom fighters; we, as students had unofficial contacts with the leadership of the fighters through individuals. For obvious reasons, it was kept secret within a small number of people, and especially because we were in Soviet Armenia.

Ten years went by and our attention shifted from Western Armenia to independence of Armenia and liberation of Artsakh. It was in that context that our comrades in the U.S initiated the publication of “Armenian International Magazine” (1990) to raise awareness of the public about the heroic struggle. Some of our comrades were in close contact with the principal leaders who had started the movement in the homeland.

It will be a disservice to the truth if I claim we were always correct in our assessments and judgments. Our gravest mistake was committed by one of our comrades. He, as the foreign minister of Armenia, succumbed to pressure and made a gross misstatement regarding the March 1 tragedy in 2008. He was criticized by us, but the damage was done.

Over years our ranks have shrunk, but many of us are still around scattered in Middle East, Europe, and North America. We continue to function as leaders of organizations, community workers, educators, publishers, and columnists. It’s at times of crisis that we should be more active and continue to spread the words of Charents whom we quoted on many occasions, “O Armenian people, your salvation is in your collective strength.”

We have always stressed unity, which we never interpreted as uniformity and creation of a formal entity, given the individualistic nature of Armenians and existing organizational realities. We maintained networking over several decades. I call upon my comrades to get re-energized, find the will to inspire and motivate the young to get involved in helping our homeland (Armenia/Artsakh).

I realize that many of us are already septuagenarians and the youngest of us is past sixty. Our skills and methods seem not at par with what’s required in modern warfare. Furthermore, we are still in shock by the stipulations of the cease-fire agreement of November 10. The introduction of a transport corridor between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan makes us shudder. We are in disbelief. Whether paranoia or not, we view it as the beginning to create the Neo-Ottoman state, which could serve as the springboard to launch the establishment of the nefarious pan-Turanic empire.  

The cease-fire agreement is for a term of five years. Turkey and Azerbaijan have made it clear their ambitions and resumption of hostilities at any moment is not far-fetched. It’s not a secret that the enemy will re-arm. So should we to forestall another aggression and be victorious. We all realize that in a successful contemporary warfare technology plays an essential role. It’s crucial that we establish a national military industry in our homeland. We can’t depend on antiquated arms and foreign imports. To this end, no matter how modest our contribution, let’s make contact with technologists, scientists, and industrialists to invest in this military objective.

Dear Comrades, I urge you not to give in to despair. I beseech you to live up to the principles that we upheld throughout our adult lives.

Ungerapar,

Dikran Abrahamian

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