Happy Independence Day, Armenia!

Amidst the outcries about the destruction of the Pag Shouga in Yerevan, I do believe Armenia’s 1st independence is left in the shadows. Few seem to to remember the glory of the days leading to the 1st independence of Armenia, albeit one forced on them due to certain circumstances. May 28, 1918 marks the day Armenia formally declared its independence from the very same building today used to sell Tashir Pizza. I don’t think there could be a more insulting defamation of an extremely important event in our history. Furthermore, the independence should be remembered by all, both those who glorify the days of the communist regime because it brought the much needed security and food to the region barely surviving under the onslaught of all it’s neighbours but Persia, and those who glorify the days of independence, present or past. After 700 years, we finally had our freedom, land to call our own again, an identity retained to fight for again.

This was brought about by the leaders of the ARF, recognizing the problem under the slogan of “The fatherland is in danger” and raising an army of 40,000 men, including soldiers, officers and volunteers. By May 28rd, they had taken back Gharakilise, Pash Abaran, and Sartarabad. On May 21, ignoring the calls for retreat, Colonel Daniel Beg Piroumian manages to get behind the Turkish army in Sartarabad, returning fire from both sides. The surprised Turkish army starts to lose its footing. This heroic act encourages the Commander of the Araradian front, General Movses Siligian, to order the attack on Sartarabad on May 23rd. On the Arakats front, General Tro’s army counter attacks the Ottoman onslaught, with a fierce battle ensuing and the Armenians taking back Pash Abaran while starting to advance on the fields of Shirak. The Armenian soldiers, gathered in Dilijan, go on the offensive on May 26 under the command of General Thomas Nazarbegian on the Gharakilise front, effectively stopping the enemy and taking control of the war. May 28 marks the defeat of the Ottoman forces and their retreat spurs the declaration of Armenian independence. The Armenian National Council, under the leadership of Avedis Aharonian, declares the creation of the Democratic Republic of Armenia. he Republic had four Prime Ministers during its existence, all of whom belonged to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Hovhannes Katchaznouni (30 June 1918 – 28 May 1919), Alexander Khatisyan (28 May 1919 – 5 May 1920), Hamazasp Ohandzhanyan (5 May 1920 – 25 November 1920) and Simeon Nazari Vratsyan (25 November 1920 – 2 December 1920). Aram Manougian was the first minister of Interior.

During the year of 1919, the leaders of the Republic had to deal with issues on three fronts: domestic, regional, and international. The Armenian Congress of Eastern Armenians that took control in 1918 fell apart and in June 1919, the first national elections were held. During the 1920s, which began under the premiership of Hovannes Kachaznuni, Armenians from the former Russian Empire and United States developed the judicial system. January 1919 was an important milestone as the first University was founded. After Armenia was officially recognized by the governments of Allies and by the United States, the US President Woodrow Wilson was invited to determine the borders of the Armenian State. According to Wilson’s map, a new Armenia would include most of its historically belonging lands. The project would never never see the light of day. Armenia would once again lost its independence on December 6, 1920. Over 70 years would pass before a 2nd independence declaration.

Only in Armenia we can replace the location of declaration of Independence (1918) with a Pizza Store and build additions to look like a Roman building.

 

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