Ara Arzumanyan

The Oath of Armenian Unity

We vow always to work toward the betterment of the Armenian nation the nation of people known as the Armenians worldwide, and at home in the Armenian homeland.

We vow to work toward bridging cultural, political and ideological differences among Armenians in the Armenian homeland and throughout the Diaspora.

We vow to help our Armenian sisters and brothers rise in the world and move towards our common goal. We will not engage in fraternal in-fighting.

We vow always to reach toward our fellow Armenian sisters and brothers in sincere love. Love is the foundation of our unity. In the end, if we have nothing else in common, we all love our children. Let us also love the children of one another with the same passion thus we will love our nation.

We vow to create, cultivate and live by the ideal of Armenian unity. This means, that while we will inevitably disagree on many subjects even fundamental subjects we will continue to work with one another, trusting in each other's good will toward the future of our people.

We vow to pass on to youth the importance of working together and living our culture.

We vow to make ourselves meek before the needs of the nation.

We vow to make ourselves meek before the needs of our families.

We affirm that what is good for the nation is good for our families.

We vow never to put the interests of a foreign power before the interests of the Armenian nation.

We vow not to allow despair to take us over. We will not be disheartened by failings of the past or current difficulties. We will each work to become the change we desire to be. We will each become the concept that is unity.

We will resist with all our might, employing violence against fellow Armenians. We must work toward peaceful conflict resolutions at all levels of society.

After I make all of these vows, I will attempt to change my thinking. To think less and less in terms of 'I' and to think more and more in terms of 'we'.

This insignia is an ancient cave drawing found in the Vardenis region of Armenia. The drawing is dated at approximately 2000 B.C. It is drawn in conjunction with representations of various celestial constellations surrounding it. The circle with the cross has many meanings. Most practically, the circle and cross signify a three dimensional sphere the earth. The human figures on the four sections of the sphere represent human beings living throughout the world. The ancient Armenians (the indigenous tribal inhabitants of the region that are the direct ancestors of the 3000 year old Armenian nation) knew 4000 years ago that the earth is a sphere.

The circle and cross have further significance, as the four arms of the cross reaching outward signify eternity and immortality. In essence, the symbol is a sort of Armenian spiritual infinity sign. The symbol is also understood to represent unity as in the unified Tribes of Nairi which came together and became the progenitor of the Armenian nation.

Today we look at this ancient symbol and attempt to understand the profound knowledge of our venerable ancestors, on whose shoulders we stand. This understanding of knowledge is a dialogue, in which we communicate with our past by drawing out contemporary meanings. The human figures on the four sections of the circle not only represent humans living throughout the world, but also our current situation with Armenians living throughout the world. These human Armenian figures stand on the very symbol of unity; thus, unity is the foundation of our nation. Although the figures represent communities throughout the world, the physical figures themselves are close enough to one another to reach out and join hands. As such, we must learn from the profound wisdom of our ancestors, and reach out to one another. This primitive wisdom surpasses our modern abilities in many ways. It unifies spiritual, temporal, political, geographical, astronomic, scientific etc. ideas in a single depiction. With a simple insignia our ancestors have been able to communicate throughout the millennia complex ideas that we today must fill pages of text to understand.

Let us show respect and understanding to our ancestors as well as our own future descendants and come together in the spiritual and physical unity represented in this symbol.


Eghishe Charents: (1920 - 1921)

I LOVE THE SUN SWEET TASTE OF ARMENIA

I love the sun-baked taste of Armenian words, the lilt of ancient lutes in sweet laments, our blood-red, fragrant roses bending as in Nayiran dances, danced still by our girls. I love the deep night sky, our lakes of light, the winter winds that howl like dragons exhaling fire. The meanest huts with blackened walls are dear to me; each of the thousand year old city stones.

Wherever I go, I take our mournful music, our steel forged letters turned to prayers. However sharp my wounds or drained of blood or orphaned, my yearning heart turns there with love. There is no brow, no mind, like Narek's, Koutchak's, No mountain peak like Ararat's. Search the world there is no crest so white, so holy. So like an unreached road to glory, Massis mountain that I love.

-Edited and translated by Diana Der Hovanessian and Marzbed Margossian; Ardis Publishers, Ann Arbor, 1986


Vahan Tekeyan: (1878 - 1923)

THE ARMENIAN SPIRIT

Occasionally, I used to ask myself, "What's the spirit like, I mean the Armenian spirit?" And then at times my heart would cry and at times it would smile. I would cry hopelessly and sometimes have such foolish hopes. That reach the peaks of glories high; I would then again ask myself sadly, "What's the spirit like, I mean the Armenian spirit?"

"What?s the spirit like, I mean the Armenian spirit?" I had hardly asked myself this, when that very spirit like a cloud revealed to me, one of a cloud that descends down and becomes a fog at times, and at times becomes rosy and white spreading in layers all over the skies, that eternal spirit, the Armenian spirit.

"What?s the spirit like, I mean the Armenian spirit?" I am still asking myself this, and I find it half plunged into mud. But, as a soldier who keeps fighting all the time, no kind of mud can ever dirty the spirit and from within that very horrible mud I would still embrace the weary Armenian spirit, the HOLY SPIRIT.

-Translated from Armenian by Daniel Janoyan Nicosia, Cyprus, September 15, 1983


Michael Nalbandian: (1830-1866)

A SONG OF LIBERTY

When God, who is forever free, Breathed life into my earthly frame, - From that first day, by His free will When I a living soul became, - An infant upon my mother's breast, Ere power of speech was given to me, Even then I stretched my feeble arms Forth to embrace thee, Liberty!

Wrapped round with many swaddling bands, All night I did not cease to weep, And in the cradle, restless still, My cries disturbed my mother's sleep. "O mother!" in my heart I prayed, "Unbind my arms and leave me free!" And even from that hour I vowed To love thee ever, Liberty!

When first my faltering tongue was freed, And when my parents' hearts were stirred With thrilling joy, to hear their son Pronounce his first clear-spoken word, "Papa, Mamma," as children use, were not the names first said by me; The first word on my childish lips Was thy great name, O Liberty!

"Liberty!" answered from on high the sovereign voice of Destiny: "Wilt thou enroll thyself henceforth A soldier true of Liberty? The path is thorny all the way, And many trials wait for thee; Too strait and narrow is this world For him who loveth Liberty"

"Freedom!" I answered, "on my head Let fire descend and thunder burst; Let foes against my life conspire, Let all who hate thee do their worst: I will be true to thee till death; Yea, even upon the gallows tree The last breath of a death of shame Shall shout they name, O Liberty!"

-Translation by Alice Stone Blackwell.