Sevag Hagopian: “The ADLP tries to mitigate the difficulties”

On 26-27 May, the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar) convened its 27th General Assembly of Delegates in Yerevan.

 The assembly ended with the election of a new central board, the members of which participated in a meeting with RA Minister of Diaspora on May 30.

 Hayern Aysor presents its interview with secretary of the newly elected board, editor-in-chief of Lebanon’s Zaronk Daily Sevag Hagopian.

 Hayern Aysor: Mr. Hagopian, how would you summarize the 27th General Assembly of Delegates?

 Sevag Hagopian: On 26-27 May, 16 representatives of 19 regions attended the 27th General Assembly of Delegates that the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar) (ADLP) convened in Yerevan.

 As is usually the case, the members elected a new Central Board, which is considered the political party’s board.

 After the assembly, the members elected new leaders and new members of the Central Board for the next three years. Sergio Nahabedian from Argentina was elected chairman of the Central Board. The important thing is that the board is represented by almost all the circles of the members of the political party and from all regions.

This assembly was special in that it was organized in Armenia for the first time since 1921. During the two-day discussions, we outlined the plans for the next three years, as well as the mechanisms to discuss the issues, find solutions and make decisions together.

It was also important in the sense that, for the first time, there were relatively more young members elected to the board. This was the second time in the history of the political party when a female member was elected a member of the Central Board.

Hayern Aysor: What will be the political party’s priorities for the next couple of years?

S. H.: Among the priorities will be the past and new programs.

At the end of the assembly, the ADLP expressed its solidarity with the Armenian Army, the brave soldiers of Armenia and Artsakh, the Armenian State and its dedication to the Armenians in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora.

The ADLP reaffirmed the fact that the belief and focus of the ADLP has always been and still is to serve for the supreme interests of the Armenian people.

The political party affirms its commitment to continue to lead the struggle for international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, state the claims of the Armenian people and fight for the recognition of Artsakh.

The participants of the assembly attached importance to the problems of the Armenians of Javakhk and reaffirmed their willingness to help the Syrian-Armenians.

The ADLP also expressed willingness to, guided by the zeal to serve for the supreme interests of the Armenian people, collaborate with all the organizations of the Armenian Diaspora that are focused on combining efforts and making them effective.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Hagopian, during her meeting with members of the ADLP, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan attached importance to the advancement of Armenia, the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh and the preservation of the Armenian identity. What activities is the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar) carrying out in these directions?

 S. H.: During the most difficult days of the Homeland and even during the days when Armenia’s ideology was 180 degrees different from our ideology, the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar) has always stood by the side of the homeland with the simple logic that regimes and authorities are transient, but the homeland is eternal. Armenia is independent, and this makes us more obliged to stand by the side of the homeland, regardless of all the hardships and try to be the one to mitigate the difficulties.

 Indeed, there are many hardships, taking into consideration the lack of injustice and social-economic conditions in the country, but we understand that Armenia is still a young country and that many older countries still have such issues and problems. We are optimistic. The Armenian authorities will find solutions by helping and understanding each other.

 Any change must take place in the homeland. We know what declaring slogans, teaching the authorities and making calls for change can lead to. We have such experience abroad, i.e. the Arab Spring. We don’t want to see the homeland in that situation at all. A change must take place in the homeland, within the country, by law and logically.

 As far as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is concerned, the desired resolution must be a diplomatic resolution. The international community must take responsibility by recognizing the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination, just like the right of other nations, especially since Artsakh has been independent for 25 years and the people have chosen their right to self-determination and have determined their destiny.

We are pleased with the fact that the process of recognition of Artsakh is beginning. Although countries have not recognized Artsakh yet, cities and states are recognizing it. It is the duty of every Armenian to lobby for recognition of Artsakh in his or her country of residence. This is the duty of national organizations and traditional pan-Armenian organizations. Like other organizations, the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar) should also take advantage of its contacts and its presence in politics to use all this for recognition of Artsakh’s independence.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Hagopian, what can the mass media do?

 S. H.: The media are the most important mouthpiece in the sense of disseminating these ideas and making them owned by the public. Therefore, we work to the best of our ability.

 First, we need to submit to changes and keep up with the times. For instance, Hayern Aysor newspaper was established as an online newspaper from the very first day. Zartonk Daily is a print newspaper with its conventionality, traditional working style and with its conventional correspondents.

 I am a relatively young editor, and there is a lot of work for me and my correspondents to do. Fortunately, we have a lot of trust, and we will move forward by using modern resources. Zartonk Daily is the ‘organ’ of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar), and it is obvious that it has to disseminate the political party’s strategy and be its mouthpiece, and we try to do that to the best of our ability.

 Hayern Aysor: How long have you been the editor-in-chief of Zartonk Daily?

 S. H.: I have been working for Zartonk Daily since I was a child, but I became the editor-in-chief about two years ago.

 Armenian presses that have remained active in the Diaspora are mainly the ‘organs’ of Armenian political parties. Unfortunately, for reasons known to us all, personal initiatives cease to exist over time. It is the newspapers of unions and political parties that continue to be published at every price.

 This is why it is considered the mouthpiece of a political party, but of course, the newspaper doesn’t deviate from its mission.

The main mission of Armenian presses in the Diaspora is to preserve the Armenian identity. Even if we only have one reader, we need to continue to publish and provide readers with information so that he feels Armenian and receives Armenian news through that newspaper.

Unfortunately, times have changed, and we face new challenges. For instance, besides Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian sections, Hayern Aysor newspaper also has Russian and English sections that are important. That is also the case for Zartonk and Nor Or newspapers, while The Armenian Mirror Spectator is only an English-language newspaper.

 Unfortunately, we all know, and it is no secret that there are fewer Armenian-speaking youth abroad. I can bring up the example of Lebanon and say that more than half of the young Armenians under 30 don’t know how to read in Armenian, and one of those young people is my son. This is a pain for us. Of course, we are responsible, but the times are such that it is very hard to fight against all that.

For that purpose, we try to publish our newspaper in English at least once a week so that the youth read Armenian news.

Hayern Aysor: What would you like to add?

 S. H.: I would like to wish Hayern Aysor success. It is a very important website. As Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan said during her meeting with our representatives, the newspaper is not of a sectoral nature. Hayern Aysor is the media outlet that fairly presents all Armenian political parties and organizations of the Diaspora.

 Lusine Abrahamyan


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