By Sevak Hakobian

December 15, 2006

The 116th anniversary of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party
was celebrated at the Cultural Center in Ashtarak on December 12.

Member of ARF's Board, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Vahan
Hovhannissian congratulated those attending the ceremony on this
occasion that is celebrated at the end of every year in all Armenian
communities throughout the world.

Hovhannissian briefly presented ARF's history that is much longer
than the life of one person or one generation. In order to assess
this history it is necessary to look back at the past and examine
it seriously.

In 1890 several Armenians decided that the Armenian nation would no
longer bear on its shoulders the burden of 700 years of slavery and,
as Khrimian Hayrik wrote, "the new Armenian knighthood", the Armenian
Revolutionary Federation Party was created. Hovhannissian believes,
ARF has always been the last hope for the Armenian nation, "When our
nation lost its last hope, it relied on the ARF."

ARF only accepts members who are ready, as they state in their oaths,
to die for the nation and the motherland.

And ARF has made these sacrifices during the rebellion in Sassoun,
during the battle of Khanasor, the battles between the Armenians
and Tatars on the territory of the Russian Empire and in many other
instances when the ARF was getting rid of the external and alien
elements that were oppressing our nation in the Armenian Highland.

According to Hovhannissian, as a result of long wars in 1918 it became
possible to establish an Armenian state on a very small part of the
Armenian Highland since in the end of the XIX and beginning of the
XX century Armenia was weak.

"And since that time the two notions of 'Armenian statehood' and '
Dashnaktsutyun' converged. For the citizens of Republic of Armenia
in 1919, there were no differences between the flags of ARF and the
tricolor. The anthem, "Our Homeland", even though it was created long
before the ARF, carries ARF's colors and spirit," Hovhannissian said.

Even though the Bolsheviks from the North and East and the Turks from
the West did not allow us to preserve our statehood and independence
for long, the ARF accomplished a great goal in that period - it laid
the foundations of Armenian statehood that were infallible since then.

"ARF can answer all the questions our nation has whether they be
related to agriculture or industry, war or peace, diplomacy or
any other spheres since we have both experience and a sense of

During our history of 116 years, our party has lived through guerilla
war and political struggle, it has formed the leadership of the
country, it has survived in the Diaspora uniting the Armenian nation,
and now it works in the homeland for quite a long time," Hovhannissian

ARF has the experience of defending Armenian communities from war
(as it happened in Lebanon). It has the experience of organizing the
nation and engaging in the war in Artsakh in an organized manner. "Had
we not directed our forces towards Artsakh today Armenia would have
been in a very miserable condition. Meanwhile, now the people in
Artsakh freely vote for their Constitution," Hovhannissian added.

In their anti-ARF propaganda, many people call ARF a party of
war. However, Hovhannissian believes, "We are a party of peace,
but peace must be ready for anything.

Funny are the people who are scared of struggle. If you are ready
for struggle there will be no need for struggle. ARF has followed
this principle throughout its history and has struggled to ensure
that the Armenian nation is not extinguished from the map, that it
is not forced to flee its homeland."

Today the homeland is still small. But I am sure that time will come
when we will restore our historical rights and everything that we
have lost.

Unfortunately, we do not live in the richest, most fair and prosperous
country, but we have our state and it gives us the opportunity to
make it rich, prosperous, happy and safe," Hovhannissian noted.

During the celebration, Khrimian Hayrik, Nikol Aghbalian, Garegin
Nzhdeh and others were quoted commenting on ARF. Famous singers and
dance bands performed during the celebration.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress