by Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO

Are we into politics?Zaven Khanjian5

Armenia is in turmoil and, in line with the AMAA’s committed mission, involvement and presence in the country, we reflected with a public declaration unabashedly applauding the victory of a popular strife in the Homeland.

A few good friends rushed to invite my attention that the AMAA should steer away from political statements.

“Well done,” said another “for making a critical public declaration with tact and eloquence, while underscoring critical distinctions.”

To set minds to rest, let me assure you that the AMAA does not and will not get involved in politics as generally comprehended. The AMAA does not steer members, deliberate or encourage the public to favor John/Jane Doe over an opponent. However, the AMAA is keen to see that nations, and especially our Homeland, enjoy the freedom and exercise the right to express an opinion without undue pressure, intimidation, force, bribery or duress.

In the June 25, 1910 issue of the weekly AVEDAPER, the official publication of the Evangelical Church of Armenia and the Armenian Evangelical community in the Ottoman Empire and characterized on the manchette as a religious, educational, familial and political publication, the missionary Editor Rev. Herbert M. Alan, referring to a conviction among Armenian Evangelicals as being their ‘national duty,’ states: “It is imperative to feel the fire of national strife in their blood. It is imperative to grasp that Armenian Evangelicals are the invariable inheritors of the nation’s most noble legacy.”*

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* The Weekly AVEDAPER American Bible House, Constantinople Volume 63 June 25, 1910 Number 26 Pages 600 & 601 (Editor Rev. Herbert M. Alan)

I see no reason for that fire to lose its intellectual intensity today.

I have often envisioned the ‘new citizen’ in the Homeland to be one of indelible integrity, upholding the highest moral values and of unblemished reputation. A citizen, unafraid to advocate social justice, freedom of conscience, expression or speech; a citizen who exercises voluntarism, sustains society, respects human rights, loves his neighbor and sacrifices for the Homeland; a citizen who loves the Lord and reflects His love around.

That vision is part of the practice of our AMAA mission in the Homeland and anywhere we operate.

A century ago, three years after of the zenith of a ferocious bluster, the most abhorrent experience in our thousands of years long history, we witnessed the merciful hand of God. In 1918, the remnants of the survivors, having their backs to the wall of annihilation fought the most ferocious and heroic battles against battalions of regular army regiments. Holding back no sacrifice and brevity, they won the battle of survival, creating the first independent Republic in the history of our nation in many, many centuries.

Today, 100 years after the emergence of the first Republic, we witness a wave of an amazing popular discontent peacefully advocating another form of independence. Independence of the mind and soul to a fetterless horizon of creativity, dignity and the pursuit of happiness. Independence that will shatter the barrier of social, judicial and democratic injustice. Independence that will anchor the faith and conviction of a Homeland that equally belongs to all. Independence where all citizens equitably share rights and responsibilities.

As a believer, I cannot confine myself to the complacency of my faith taking shelter in the promise of salvation without emulating the sacrifice, love, indulgence and compassion Christ has set for me. Whatever the name, that courage is part of our mission. I bow to the memory of heroes and heroines whose sacrificial struggle and martyrdom created the Armenian Republic in 1918. I equally revere the non-violent courage of our youth in Yerevan’s Republic Square striving for a bright, happy, just and righteous Homeland.

Our yoke is to preserve, nurture and ingeniously develop what we have inherited for the benefit of the striving generation on Republic Square and their progeny, always reminding them of God’s grace and love.

Thank you for your continued partnership in bearing that yoke!

It is much appreciated.

May 5, 2018


Photo Credit: Arara

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