January 9, 2019
Honourable Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia
CC Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan
Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan
Diaspora Minister Mkhitar Hayrapetyan
Worldwide Armenian media
We, the undersigned independent journalists of the Armenian Diaspora, join our brothers and sisters in Armenia and the Diaspora who have thus far expressed shock and dismay over recent announcements that Armenia’s Ministry of the Diaspora will be terminated.
Rather than eliminate this critical Ministry, further developing it is what our Pan-Armenian nation needs most. Doing so would enrich Armenia and its Diaspora and contribute to our collective longevity at a time when our existence as a nation is in great jeopardy by nature of emigration from Armenia and cultural assimilation in the Diaspora.
While the Diaspora has not been blessed with a natural right to participate in Armenia’s political affairs, we, the undersigned, oppose this unilateral and self-defeating decision in the strongest terms possible.
Removing the Diaspora Ministry will create greater distance between the peoples of Armenia, Artsakh, Occupied Armenia and the Diaspora. It will make cultural and intellectual exchanges more difficult. It will also curtail financial aid from the Diaspora, which Armenia so desperately needs. It would be the equivalent of committing national suicide. Is this truly what the people of Armenia and Artsakh want?
If the decision to shut down the Ministry is based on financial need, we propose that the funding be sought from the Diaspora and the Ministry itself staffed with individuals from the Diaspora.
Soon after acting Diaspora Minister Mkhitar Hayrapetyan’s tour of Diasporan communities following Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution,” we drafted the following letter. However, we held it for release until the circumstances surrounding the Parliamentary elections reached their conclusion. Having discovered pending plans for the Diaspora Ministry’s elimination, we reproduce it below realizing that the content of the letter may not interest the Pashinyan administration.
However, we share it in the hopes that our fellow Western Armenians scattered all over the world will come to agree that we have important work to do that Armenia cannot or will not do and that the points mentioned in the letter can be undertaken by the Diaspora itself. Unfortunately, our survival and ambitions to regain our historic homeland must be sought through avenues other than through the government of present-day Armenia.
If the decision to shut down the Ministry is based upon strategic designs within present-day Armenia, we propose that Diasporans whose ancestors were driven from their ancestral Western Armenia pursue other avenues to gain their representation.
In recent years, new organizations, such as the four listed below, have appeared on the scene. They are:
The Defense Council of Western Armenia – https://western-armenia.org
The Government of Western Armenia – http://www.western-armenia.eu/ stat.gov.wa/en/index_en.htm
The Modus Vivendi Center – http://modusvivendicenter.org
The National Council of Western Armenians – http://ncwarmenians.org
These organizations seek to gain greater visibility and support from Western Armenians scattered all over the globe. We encourage these organizations to introduce themselves to the greater Diaspora, state their goals, describe how their officers were elected and find a way to unite under one umbrella.
Sincerely (in alphabetical order),
C.K. Garabed, Independent Editor/writer, New Jersey, USA
Lusin Kasbarian, Independent journalist, New Jersey, USA
Ludér Sahagian, Independent scholar, Massachusetts, USA
Jirair Tutunjian, Independent journalist, Toronto, Canada
Our (unsent) Summer 2018 Open Letter to Acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan can be viewed here: Open Letter-Armeniapedia