“I Have Not Finished This Great, Important Action For Our Country. Not Yet”

The title of this Monologue is a quote from an interview that the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, gave to Simon Shuster. (Simon Shuster is the correspondent of TIME magazine and has been in Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine).

The interview was conducted during a long train trip that Zelensky took to visit the city of Kherson which was just liberated from the Russian occupation. Here is how Kherson was described in the interview “The Russians had destroyed the city’s infrastructure leaving it with no water, power, or heat”.” Here is in part what Zelensky said during the lengthy interview. (TIME December 26 2022/January 9, 2023)  

“Russia is a nuclear superpower. No matter how many times its forces are made to retreat from Ukrainian cities, they can regroup and try again. We are dealing with a powerful state that is pathologically unwilling to let Ukraine go. They see the democracy and freedom of Ukraine as a question of their own survival. The only way to defeat an enemy like that– not just to win a temporary truce, but to win the war– is to persuade the rest of the free world to pull Ukraine in the other direction, toward sovereignty, independence, and peace. The loss of freedom in one nation erodes the freedom of all the rest”.

Zelensky stressed that this year’s invasion is just the latest attempt over the past century to subjugate Ukraine. His intention is to make it the last, “even if it takes a lot more time and sacrifice. Zelensesky added “It is far too early to gauge whether that goal can be reachedLatter we will be judged,”  Zelensky ended the interview with the following powerful and assertive statement that is the title of this Monologue. “I have not finished this great, important action for our country. Not yet”

I could not help to quote this part of the interview since it is very relevant to the current conflict between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.  Armenia too is “dealing with a powerful state(s) [of Azerbaijan and Turkey] that are pathologically unwilling to let [Armenia] go”.

Needless to say, the conflict between Azerbaijan (population of 10 million) and Armenia (population of 2.9 million) is less of a threat to world peace than the conflict between Russia (population of 143 million) and Ukraine (population of 43 million). But, the conflict between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey has the potential to escalate to a regional war that could involve Russia, Turkey (population of 85 million), Iran, (population of 85 million), and Georgia (population of 3.7 million. (The source of the population numbers is through Google search). 

There is no need to elaborate that during such a regional confrontation, Armenia, a landlocked and the smallest country in the region, could lose the most. A lasting peace through peaceful negotiations between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, will benefit not only these three countries but also the whole region as well.  

The current government of Armenia (with a majority in the parliament that was elected through a fair and free election that was contested by all the previous presidents of Armenia and all major political parties in Armenia, and just after the disastrous 44-day war that was initiated and won by Azerbaijan and Turkey) has earned the legitimacy and the authority to conduct such peaceful negotiations for a bilateral or regional peace “even if it takes a lot more time and sacrifice”. I hope that it takes less time and sacrifice.

Here too“It is far too early to gauge whether that goal can be reached,” But, if the recent activities of Armenia’s current government are any indication, it seems they are on the right track. Let me repeat again, they have the legitimacy and authority to do so and they can also say “Latter we will be judged”. (Maybe the following quote from the New Year’s address to the Armenian people by the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, is a good indication of the Armenian government’s policy in this regard.

“The deep and comprehensive reforms that have been launched in the army are of key importance. The formation of an army based on a literate, patriotic, professional soldier and officer that meets modern requirements and conditions has started, which should be combined with at least a doubling of military salaries, a system of social guarantees for soldiers and their families, and new weapons and equipment. But we need such an army not for war, but for peace, to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We do not set eyes on others’ land and we expect others not to set eyes on our land either, and with this formula, we are ready to go to peace”.

“Առանցքային նշանակություն ունեն այն խորը և համապարփակ բարեփոխումները, որոնք մեկնարկել են բանակում: Գրագետ, հայրենասեր, ժամանակակից պահանջներին ու պայմաններին համապատասխանող պրոֆեսիոնալ զինվորի և սպայի վրա հիմնված բանակի ձևավորումն է մեկնարկել, որը պիտի զուգորդվի զինվորական աշխատավարձերի առնվազն կրկնապատկումով, զինվորականների և նրանց ընտանիքների սոցիալական երաշխիքների համակարգով, նոր սպառազինությամբ ու տեխնիկայով: Բայց նման բանակը մեզ պատերազմի համար չէ հարկավոր, այլ խաղաղության, մեր ինքնիշխանությունը և տարածքային ամբողջականությունը պաշտպանելու համար: Մենք աչք չենք դնում ուրիշի հողի վրա և ակնկալում ենք, որ ուրիշն էլ մեր հողի վրա աչք չդնի և այս բանաձևով պատրաստ ենք գնալ խաղաղության:” 

Շնորհաոր Նոր Տարի եւ Սուրբ Ծնունդ

Զոհրապ Պէպո Սարգիսեան

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