Armenia is a country of 3 million people, but the diaspora community stretches to an estimated 10 million. Over 200,000 live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area alone, with a center in Glendale where about 30 percent of the population is Armenian. To put it simply, what happens in Armenia matters to Angelenos. Currently, the world’s first Chrisitan nation is under attack.
What’s going on?
On September 27, Armenia reported the Azerbaijan military bombed Nagorno-Karabakh (known by Armenia as Artsakh) civilian settlements. The region is internationally recognized as Nagorno-Karabakh and under Azeri rule, though the population is mostly Armenian. A war between the two countries in 1994 ended in a ceasefire. Until now, the only major escalation in the conflict was during the Four-Day War in 2016 (over 200 people died). Armenia’s Velvet Revolution in 2018 brought new leadership to the country. However, after a series of high-profile meetings between their governments, including between Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, diplomacy broke down further. Tensions escalated over the summer, sparking “one of the fiercest, bloodiest battles the region has seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union,” as reported by EVN Report, an independent Armenian magazine.
Why does this matter?
Both Armenians and Azerbaijanis have died. NBC news reports the death toll has reached 300, not to mention those that have been displaced or injured. What’s more, Azerbaijan is backed by Turkey, which sealed its border to Armenia in 1993. The NATO member denies claims by Armenia that it provided Azerbaijan with Syrian fighters and combat jets. Turkey also denies its genocide of Armenia last century, which killed 1.5 million Armenians.
According to Vox, heavy fighting is likely until Azerbaijan troops fall back or they take back Armenian-controlled territory. One source, region expert Kevork Oskanian, even said that “at no point has any side in this conflict gained territory without ethnic cleaning.”
In a plea for help from the United Nations, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian (from the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America) sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“The Armenian nation pursues a just cause, defending its ancestral lands of thousands of years. True to its mission, the United Nations ought to ensure international peace and security,” he wrote.
What can I do?
Below is a list that links out different ways you can get involved. There are several organizations you can donate to through a direct monetary contribution or through a purchase. Other action items include signing petitions and reaching out to government officials. If you are not able to donate, it is also important to share and discuss with friends and family what’s going on in order to cast a greater spotlight on Artsakh and the historical Armenian Genocide.
Note: There may be duplicate resources.
- Ara the Rat Fundraiser (T-shirt proceeds go to Armenia Fund)
- List of resources by Kooyrigs
- Armenia Fund
- Fundraise for Artsakh resource
- Help the Armenian Community: educational resources, petitions, donate, etc.
- Hayastan All Armenian Fund
- Armenia Support Fund
- My Step Foundation
- Paros Foundation
- Diaspora for Frontline Families Fund
- Pomegranate print art piece (proceeds donated to Armenia Fund)
- Support these businesses and restaurants