“All Armenians with any passports other than Armenian – French, American, and others – carry fake passports.” Monte Melkonyan
November 25 is a historic day for the Armenian people. This is the day of the hero of the Artsakh war, the national hero of Armenia and Artsakh Monte Melkonyan.
A man who dedicated himself to the Artsakh liberation war, he was awarded the first-degree decorations “Golden Eagle” and “Battle Cross”. Legendary Monte Melkonyan was also a publicist, an expert of Urartian studies, archeologist, and a lieutenant-colonel of the Armenian army.
Monte was not just a hero of the war in Artsakh: he was a vivid example of the devotion to the Motherland, an individual who put his homeland above his own self.
On November 25, Monte would have turned 61 years old.
Monte Melkonyan was born in Visalia, California, US, on November 25, 1957. By the age of 12, he had traveled with his family around the world and visited many countries, including Western Armenia. Prior to this trip, he hadn’t known anything about his Armenian heritage.
After graduating from the University of Berkeley at the age of 20, Melkonyan obtained the qualification of a professor of Oriental studies and an archaeologist. He was proficient in seven languages. Thanks to his essays, he was awarded a scholarship at Oxford University.
At 22, he was going to defend his doctoral dissertation, but another future was prepared for him: a future that would be written with golden letters in our great history.
In 1979, Monte joined the Armenian Secret Liberation Army of Armenia. He would be arrested three times and sentenced to prison. In 1981, he was arrested at the Rome airport as a suspect in an attempt on a Turkish ambassador.
In court, he replied to the accusation of a fake passport: “All Armenians with any passports other than Armenian – French, American, and others – carry fake passports.”
After being released in 1989 and after learning about the events in Artsakh, Melkonyan rushed there. In the beginning, he fought in the Shahumyan region and after a short break moved to the Martuni district to be soon appointed the commander of the Armenian self-defense forces. There, he chose his pseudonym “Avo.”
Melkonyan managed to create a complex army system comprising of individual units. During his command, about 80% of Martuni was liberated. During the entire year, his soldiers have been engaging in heavy battles, stopping the advancement of the opponent and counterattacking to liberate new territories.
In March 1993, Melkonyan and his squad participated in the liberation of Martakert. In late March – early April, he led the liberation campaign in Karvarchar. From March 27 to April 2, Melkonyan commanded an operation aimed at the elimination of the military bases of the Azerbaijanis in Karvachar.
Upon his return to Martuni, Melkonyan initiated an operation against the enemy’s firing points in Aghdam.
On June 12, Monte perished on the approaches to the village of Marzili. He made a covenant with his comrades that they would liberate their homeland, even if it meant sacrificing their lives.
Monte had always said:
“It’s perfectly normal when an Armenian comes and protects his homeland. This is the duty of every Armenian. It is a pity that many Armenians did not come, only this is surprising.”
And yes, it was normal that a graduate of the University of Berkeley, a defender of a doctoral dissertation at Oxford who spoke seven languages, a 22 years old young man abandoned a safe and carefree life and threw himself into the chaos of the Armenian liberation struggle.
This was and is normal, but only for those like Monte and his associates who sacrificed their tomorrow day and family life for the sake of a common cause, for the sake of the sacred Motherland.
Monte and his associates have bequeathed to us their idea of sacrifice, which is also preached by Christianity. “There is no greater love than when someone sacrifices himself for his friends.”
With these ideas, Monte lived his life, and with these ideas, he sacrificed himself for our sacred homeland, for us, for the sake of Armenia, a country which he had dreamt of, which was to be built after the victory at the cost of his life and the life of his brothers in arms.
He and his comrades fought for a state where we and our children should live and create, in a free and independent Armenia, which would be an example in the modern civilized world, in the cradle of justice and morality.
From Monte’s covenants, I want to point out two: “After the liberation of Artsakh, we must free Nakhichevan, then Javakhk, and, of course, Western Armenia.” “No need to drink toasts for me, just continue my cause.”
25 years have passed since Monte passed away. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to continue his cause. If not for the liberation of historical territories, then at least for the creation of a state in the liberated territory, a state that people would want to live in and would never want to leave. But, unfortunately, this did not happen.
Armenia was occupied by materialistic authorities with Armenian names who bow down to foreigners, thus bringing the country to the verge of poverty.
How are we fighting against this phenomenon? How do the Armenians of the Diaspora react and fight against this indifference? How do we continue the work of Monte Melkonyan – do we drink toasts for him, write songs, or post empty sayings on our pages in social networks?
No, friends, we must implement his ideas. Our generation still has a lot to do – Nakhichevan and the rest of the occupied Armenian lands are waiting for us. This was the dream of Monte, the dream of our grandfathers.
However, before this, we must clear out current Armenia and create a new state. Otherwise, we will not have the right to look into the eyes of our children. And in the end, someday, when we too go to the other world and meet Monte and his comrades, what will we tell them? Think about it, Armenians!