Community Group Appeals to Western Prelacy to Aid Armenian Prisoners of War

Community Group Appeals to Western Prelacy to Aid Armenian Prisoners of War

In these times of unprecedented national crisis and concern for Armenians of all religious, cultural, and political stripes, whether in the Diaspora or Homeland, our people are crying out for a show of conscious leadership, concern, and care from our community leaders, especially from our spiritual and ecumenical representatives.

The atrocities we have seen and experienced as a people in 2020 and beyond have not been witnessed since the bloody days of the Armenian Genocide whose long and treacherous shadow casts darkness and horror over an already harrowed Armenian landscape.

And, although we all have patiently awaited direction and guidance from our Armenian religious (and governmental leaders for that matter)—as exemplars of Armenian national unity and Christian values–we have yet to see serious expressions of humanitarian concern emanating from the hallowed halls and institutions of Armenian Christendom and its affiliated institutions.

Armenians, regardless of age and gender, whether in Artsakh, Armenia, or the Diaspora, will not sit idly by and wait as our nation, people, and Homeland are destroyed, again, in front of our very eyes. We cannot merely watch our leaders, religious or otherwise, turn a blind eye and become mute in the face of a national existential dilemma of such magnitude that we have not seen in our lifetimes.

We cannot allow what is truly important to our people to be ignored or be relegated to any position that in any way denigrates its urgency to our survival.

Therefore, we propose that the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic church of the Western United States accept its true role and lead the Armenian Ecumenical Community, as it has in the past, to raise high the mantle of the Armenian Cause and support, with all its resources, the Pan-Armenian issues of Artsakh’s independence, freedom for our POWs, and the collective, territorial, and individual rights of the Armenian people.

We feel that the following gestures are the very least our great and global ecumenical and lay leaders can do, right now, to help our people the world over in their time of most dire need:

• The Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Western United States must draft and issue, as soon as possible, a joint declaration with the Western Diocese, the Armenian Catholic community, the Protestant Armenian community, and all Armenian Ecumenical communities demanding freedom for our POWs, support for POW families, and that the Armenian government pursue the POW issue, as well as protect Artsakh’s right to self determination, and seek prosecution of Azerbaijan and Turkey for war crimes.

• The Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Western United States must mandate the organization and implementation of classroom curriculum and school-wide assemblies as it has in the past for all Armenian case related civic and historical core content regarding Artsakh, Syunik, and our POWs in all Prelacy schools and the promotion thereof in all Armenian educational institutions in general.

• The Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Western United States must spearhead fundraising activities in support of POW families and the pursuit of justice for our POWs in the European Court of Human Rights, as it has in the past for myriad Armenian humanitarian causes, within all Prelacy institutions and churches, and promote a similar course of action within Diocese, and other religious and affiliated educational establishments.

• FREE POWS banners, accompanied by the flag of the Republic of Artsakh must be proudly displayed at every church, school, property, and institution within Prelacy jurisdiction, as well as at other Armenian religious/educational establishments as a sign of moral support and unwavering commitment to the humanitarian, existential plight of our fellow human beings. (Banners and flags have been provided and placed at churches and schools in the Western Region, but, so very sadly, many of these banners were removed for reasons unknown…)

With each passing day, our heroes are forced to endure untold and unimaginable horrors at the hands of the Azeri Turks while our brethren in Artsakh and Armenia are continually attacked, their territorial integrity compromised, and the security of their children—our children—hang in the balance.

We ask you, as members of the Armenian nation tasked by your people to perform the most vital spiritual and cultural responsibilities for our communities, to rise to this noble and fateful occasion, to do your part today as leaders of our community, and impart light into the darkness encroaching upon our people and land…

Please act now before it is too late…