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April 13, 2004


Yerevan—We seem unwilling or unable to learn from history, especially our own. It is to this bitter, ever repeating truth that all of us, together, are once again bearing witness.

The official acts of violence unleashed against my fellow citizens I firmly condemn. To their victims I wish a full recovery. To the people struggling in defense of their rights I express my solidarity.

Notwithstanding the broad array of mathematical theories, it was crystal clear a year ago that we were on the road to reaping what was methodically sown by the adversaries of liberty and right. Including the president and his office.

As a proud citizen of Armenia, and as an heir of Genocide and its survival who believes in the ultimate triumph of historical truth, I feel profound shame that the contemporary rights and dignity of the Armenian man and woman can so easily and so brutally be violated in our own land. And it is with pain, shared by so many, that I reject the self-serving myopia and self-satisfied partisanship that have rendered the united will of the founders and defenders of our homeland unto an abyss so unbefitting our forebears and fallen heroes.

All this is unraveling not on the territory of a foreign empire—whether genocidal or benevolent—but in the capital of our sovereign homeland. Despite the background of this deep contradiction between national pride and civic shame, it is still possible finally to draw modern lessons from our past inheritance.

In and for this confrontation we all are responsible, but first and foremost the ruler of the republic. Stability, national security, law, freedom, and the God-given right to choose are not merely empty excuses for him or his opponent, but rather represent benchmarks and guarantees for all. And the country's international strength and standing, its capacity to forge solutions to its many fundamental challenges turn directly on our conduct and demeanor in our own home.

At this juncture of widespread hypocrisy, perhaps one final opportunity for an initiative of nobility and responsibility is still open before us, and particularly for him. How is he going to correct the big mistake, how will he clean the polluted source, how will he secure public harmony? The bell of our, and his, national essence and future legacy has tolled.

The Armenian state and its citizens—the nation entire—shall rise again, in the face of all ramparts and for the sake of generations yet to come.

Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi K. Hovannisian, and supported by the Lincy Foundation and a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking and a wider understanding of the new global environment. In 2004, the Center focuses primarily on public outreach, civic education, and applied research on critical domestic and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center and its activities, call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; e-mail root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am

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