EDITORIAL: ARF Celebrates its 123rd Anniversary

The Armenian community of London came together, in a gathering of 500 people, on the 30th November to celebrate the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s 123rd anniversary. The Greenford Town Hall was splattered red and burgundy, setting the scene for Razmik Amyan to perform against the backdrop of the ARF founding trinity Christopher Mikaellian, Rosdom and Zavarian. The event was also dedicated to the 100 anniversary of founding members Zavarian’s passing. Bishop Vahan Hovhanessian, our community’s spiritual leader, and representatives from the Armenian Embassy Ara Margarian and Hayk Khemchyan were present together with many prominent members of the Armenian community.

The night started with ARF member Engerouhi Annette Moskofian’s welcoming speech followed by Enger Hayk Hovanessian speech; oratories encapsulating how the flame, spirit and ideals of the ARF have paralleled the Armenian struggle for a free, independent and united Armenia. These ideas are all-the-more relevant today, as our country faces restrictions and obstacles on an international stage. In his speech he quoted from George Bernard Shaw (1856 –1950), the co-founder of the London School of Economics:

«Առողջ ժողովուրդն ուշադրություն չի դարձնում իր ազգությանը, ճիշտ այնպես ինչպես առողջ մարդը չի նկատում իր ոսկորները։ Բայց եթե հարվածես նրա ազգային արժանապատվությանը, նա այլևս ոչնչի մասին չի մտածի բացի այդ արժանապատվությունը վերականգնելուց։»

“ARF will always fight the enemies of Armenia always protecting the national interest and striving for a country based on just values”.

The ARF London Gomideh’s speech was followed by everyone rising in unison to sing our national anthem ‘Mer Hayrenik’ and then ‘Mshag Panvor’, the anthem of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. All Armenians, young and old and those of the diaspora and those not, were reminded of the sentiment that regardless of where one was born – our Armenian blood runs thick and proud. The 123rd anniversary of the inception of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation provided such a reminder that at the end of the day, we are all Armenian.

The food and drinks were flowing as the magnificent repertoire of the well-known and much loved Razmik Amyan captivated the audience. People sang and danced their way through the concert, meaning that Greenford Town Hall was booming. With excellent food provided by Massis catering, and the drinks being served by AYF members from the past-and-present, the music and live performance was perfectly complemented. We thank Razmik for providing such an excellent and lively performance to mark such a momentous occasion. The set-list ranged from original material to Armenian folk songs to national ballads. At one moment everyone was sitting teary-eyed and sombrely, the next the crowd was up on its feet with children dancing on the stage. The live performance ended with a group from the audience singing revolutionary songs. The group enlarged as AYF members and others joined in.

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and the 125th anniversary of the formation of the ARF, our efforts and strength as a people must continue. Our solidarity must be present more than never before. Such events clearly reflect such a sentiment, and we can continue to draw on the legacy of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation to remain united at this pressing time for us Armenians.

— Emin Moskofian

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