By Sako Aryan
In an exclusive interview with Massis Post, Social Democrat Hunchakian Party Central Committee Chairman, Dr. Hampig Sarafian urges Armenians around the world, to rally around the government in Armenia, especially during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
During the interview, a wide range of issues related to current events in the homeland, diaspora, and the United States were discussed.
Speaking about the health conditions in Armenia, Dr. Sarafian revealed that the new nature of the virus, the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, was a great challenge not only for a small country like Armenia, but also for the most developed and powerful nations in the world – each nation tried to fight against it in its own way or within its means. There are some that were able to effectively control and limit the risks, but there are also others where the virus is still out of control. “Unfortunately, Armenia is one of the latter,” said Dr. Sarafian. “If we talk about responsibility, I think that both the government and the public are equally responsible for today’s difficult situation. First, as in many countries, there was not much concern about the virus in Armenia in the early days, and it was assumed that it might not even reach Armenia. However, even though Armenia is a besieged nation and has only two narrow border crossings, the infection reached Armenia anyway, both by air and by land,” he added.
Dr. Sarafian indicated that the misinformation about the disease played a role when many in the public did not take the matter seriously, helping the virus to spread more rapidly.
Discussing the current political climate in Armenia, Sarafian stated that the former ruling elite continues to discredit the current government. “During the past two years, through the dissemination of misinformation, they [former rulers] are trying to create the impression that there is anarchy in Armenia and that the situation is only getting worse. Of course, the pandemic came to make that noise even louder. Today, the opportunism shown by the opposition forces, especially the previously discredited parties, is unacceptable.”
Concerning the position of the SDHP, the Party Chairman stated: “In regards to the above concerns, the Hunchakian Party calls for consolidation, not division, because we are truly concerned about developments in Armenia, and in particular, the calls and actions of the opposition parties who are hoping that all this will lead to the overthrow of the current government, and that they will return to power. We believe that such an approach is short-sighted and detrimental to our homeland, because whoever is in power today will face these same problems tomorrow, and these problems will not be solved without a national approach.”
Regarding the upcoming US elections and the opinions of the Armenian community in the US, Dr. Sarafian stated, “American-Armenians are not monolithic, especially when it comes to American domestic life. Every Armenian, like any other American citizen, votes for the candidate whose political, social, economic, and religious views he or she shares. However, when it comes to Armenia, Artsakh, and the recognition of the Genocide, the American-Armenian electorate has almost always given preference to the candidate who has a pro-Armenian stance or who promises to do so. Of course, history has shown that many presidential candidates have promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide before being elected, but after becoming president, they broke their promise with various excuses. We hope that the next administration, based on the two resolutions of the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2019, will develop a state policy for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and thus, the issue of the Genocide will finally stop being a political speculation. As for the elections, when we get closer to November, community organizations will announce their support for one of the major party candidates,” stated Dr. Sarafian.
“Of course, we can’t predict the outcome of the presidential elections yet, but it is safe to say, if Joe Biden becomes president, there will be a reshuffle of US domestic and foreign policy and a drastic change in working style in general. Of course, we would like that more attention is paid to the changes in our region, first in terms of the Karabakh conflict, and second in terms of the US-Iran relationship, which will have a direct impact on Armenia,” concluded Dr. Sarafian.