ANCA ER workshop n ° 3: the real asset
Dozens of Armenian-American activists participated in ANCA-ER’s third installment of its series of advocacy workshops— “ANCA 360 & What’s Next” — led by ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian on Monday evening July 19. Through this initiative, activists — both seasoned and newly hired — had the opportunity to learn and hone their skills while re-dedicating themselves to Hai Tahd.
Hai Tahd encompasses a diverse set of activities that align to advance a single goal: the viability, survival and security of the Armenian nation. Simply put, this is the very essence of being Armenian. He strives to live in a country where the government combats all forms of inequity, including speaking honestly about the Armenian genocide. But, it’s not just about advocacy. Hai Tahd is Armenian music, dance, language, history, traditions — preserving our past and creating a better future. It is honoring the ideals of our ancestors and initiating new traditions for generations to come.
The basic model of ANCA is only made possible by recognizing the true resource – the passion within every Armenian. “Our trump card is in each of your hearts; there is something in your life that has either started this fire or kept it lit, to keep you interested and dedicated to the cause, ”Hamparian said. The ANCA is the vehicle that directs this fire towards tangible objectives, whether it is to plead for the application of article 907 or to increase humanitarian aid to Artsakh. Hamparian discussed the importance of the organization and noted that “Armenians are advocating in an environment of an unusual level of resistance,” stressing the importance of rallying to common priorities.
In the dire situation in Artsakh, Hamparian looked at the challenges faced in Washington. Although the people of Artsakh have suffered immeasurable loss, the US State Department clings to the false notion that this is a “conflict”. The use of this term creates a two-sided situation, which inevitably influences the dynamics at play. Hamparian explained that with “conflict” mediation is the proposed solution “without tilting towards the party that has suffered the most.” . Without the clear realization that it is, in fact, a crime, justice is unattainable.
This false narrative influences military aid in the Article 907 case. Thus, a priority for the ANCA is to no military aid to Azerbaijan by strengthening article 907 of the law on support for FREEDOM. In this case, military aid directly strengthens their military and sends a dangerous message: that the United States conduct business as usual. Hamparian explained that with this stance, the United States “emboldens Aliyev and Erdogan,” genocidal dictators who continually kill thousands of Armenians and clear native lands. The ANCA attempts to make this agenda item a reality through several methods, such as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the appropriation process. With the advance of Azerbaijani forces on Armenian territory, the need to end military aid is all the more relevant.
At the same time, securing strong American aid to Artsakh is a matter of great importance. The ongoing action urges representatives to support $ 250 million in U.S. aid to Artsakh to assist the more than 100,000 people displaced as a result of the Artsakh war and to request $ 100 million in U.S. aid to artsakh ‘Armenia.
In the case of Armenian prisoners of war (PW), the original policy of the United States was to designate these individuals as detainees. With continued pressure, they became prisoners of war, a term that offers rights and protection under the Third Geneva Convention. Prisoners of war are not to be mistreated and are expected to be released when the fighting ceases; they should in no case be treated as goods. In this area, the ANCA permanently shoot for the adoption of resolution H.Res.240, which calls for the immediate release of Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians.
Strong relations between the United States and Armenia continue to be a relevant objective of the NAFC, with particular emphasis on the security and survival of Armenia. Hamparian spoke about the importance of coalitions and partnerships with groups like the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) and In Defense of Christians (IDC) to advance our priorities and provide each other with alternative platforms, essentially working to verify the influence of Turkey.
Hamparian also addressed the next chapter after the United States officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. With the passage of H. Res. 296, S. Res. 150 and President Biden’s statement, the primary goal is to lock in recognition – essentially institutionalize it. As a result of the Library of Congress correcting the topic titled “Armenian Massacres” in October 2020, for example, thousands of libraries will now label the events of 1915 as what they were: genocide. As we continue to do this work, we must “build on that recognition and turn it into restitution,” Hamparian said. Eliminating denial is a notoriously slow process, and we must stay active in our fight.
ANCA-ER will continue its series of advocacy workshops on August 2 with “Advocacy 101”. Representatives of the ANC locals in the region will make a presentation. Participants for the first time must register in advance.