One of the reasons for our organization’s longevity has been our ability to adapt to the changes of our times–both in the US and the Armenian nation. In the era surrounding our creation, we focused on gathering the youth and keeping our sense of identity alive. As time went on, the AYF became much more active in the struggle for Genocide recognition and political activism. Today, with the fall of the Soviet Union and an independent Armenian Republic, one of our leading concerns is finding ways to bolster our homeland’s statehood and development.
Paramount in this concern is the need to ensure equality and a decent standard of living for the entire people of Armenia. Defending social justice and seeking ways to support a just economic system–where human values are placed above profit and citizens have a say in the decisions affecting their lives–are critical to any conception of a strong and prosperous Armenia.
The worldwide diaspora can play a significant role in this process not only through material assistance but also through the sharing of knowledge, skills, experiences, and solidarity. In order to do this adequately, however, we must come to a clearer understanding of not only the current conditions in Armenia but also the historical context in which they were spawned.
Indeed, if anybody should realize the importance of remembering history, it us, the Armenia’s. We must learn the lessons of history when it comes to the legacy left on Armenia by the Soviets and the past two administrations; we must learn the lessons of history when it comes to the struggle for Hai Tahd and the sacrifices of those such as Vahan Cardashian and the Lisbon 5; and we must learn the lessons of recent history here in our own backyard, when we see the ravages of a profit-driven health care system taking the lives of our very own.
Only by paying attention to history and drawing the obvious lessons it teaches us can we make certain that the future will be a more just and equitable one.
We agree with the words featured in this issue from musician, activist and former AYF alumnus Serj Tankian when he says, “Everything on this planet is connected. And if that’s the case, then working towards justice should be one of our primary goals as humans here.”
It is in this spirit that we present this current issue. It is also in this spirit that we call on all Armenian youth to join together to create a more righteous future for our people.