Campaign Letters for Artsakh’s Independence Recognition

Posted on March. 31. 2021

”All I need is a sheet of paper and
 something to write with, and then
 I can turn the world upside down.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian

Armenia has been a civilization that has endured many centuries in a hostile environment. During its long checkered history, it has gone through many ups and downs. In its heydays, it has even established a great empire from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. Unlike most of its contemporaries, it has kept its resilience in bad times to continue to cling to a precarious existence. 

          Today, Armenia is reeling from a devastating defeat at the hands of  “Turkobaijan” (Turkey and Azerbaijan as Jerry Tutunjian has aptly coined the word) aggression of the September 27, 2020 unprovoked, surprise attack characterized by breaking many laws of engagement in combat.

          The coalition of Turkey, Azerbaijan, ISIS jihadists, Syrian and Libyan mercenaries, Pakistani volunteers to name a few has left Artsakh in a total disarray in most important aspects of life –economically, socially, politically, and territorially.

          For the rebirth of Artsakh, three  pressing national projects should be perused concurrently to emerge from its debilitating conditions:

I. Recovery – Returning of the citizens to the comfort of their homes, building      their infrastructure, and healing the wounds of the environment among       other important considerations.

II. Mobilization of the nation – Arming for the inevitable future war against        the imperialist Turkobaijan, acquiring arms by local production and    through imports from China, training of our young men and woman   including the Armenian Diaspora volunteer soldiers for a standing       army. To engage the enemy next time, drones, jet fighters and other          engines of war are essential additions for the Armenian army.

III. Recognition – Campaigning for the recognition of Artsakh’s independence.      Let us not fall victim of the delusion that we would prevail over the    enemy next time around without a serious preparation by claiming that we are not defeated when in fact we have been humiliated on account of          Armenia’s self-destructive corruption, ego-centric leaders,        complacency, and Diaspora’s passivity.

          In my article titled “Persuasive Appeals for Artsakh’s Recognition of Independence” that was published recently in the USA Armenian Life Magazine (Issue #1773, March 19-23, 2021), I have stressed the importance of campaigning on behalf of Artsakh’s recognition of independence.

According to Aristotle, a good piece of persuasion, such as a letter or speech, to make others think/do something could be based on three different methods that are used: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. However, an effective persuasion/argument uses all three of these methods, but often, only one is used by some writers or speakers.

          In this article, I shall take an example of a letter to show how to capitalize on these appeal strategies to persuade people to acknowledge or ask their own representatives to recognize the independence of Artsakh

          Many communication experts of today consider Aristotle’s three pillars of persuasion to have extensively influenced the scientific communications field.

          The need to get sovereign countries recognize the independence of the Republic of Artsakh cannot be overemphasized since Turkobaijan’s genocidal duo are intent on swallowing up the rest of Artsakh with iron resolve.

          One of the most important defense strategies will be to work on getting countries in the West to accept Artsakh as a free, independent, and sovereign state for its ultimate survival in its present hostile environment.

          Let us take an example to gain an appreciation of Aristotle’s art of persuasion. What would be the most effective way to appeal for assistance, for help in recognizing Artsakh’s independence?

          Let us base our strategy on Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, the three persuasive appeals Aristotle coined them in his seminal “Rhetoric” work.

          Ethos (i.e., the appeal to ethics/credibility), refers to the effort to convince your audience or reader of your credibility or character. In other words, before you can convince an audience to do something for you or to accept anything you say, they have to accept you as a creditable, trustworthy source.

          Pathos (i.e., the appeal to emotions), refers to your effort to persuade your audience by appealing to their feelings. Your audience will be rather more receptive to being persuaded by someone with whom they can identify. The Greek word pathos refers both to “suffering” and “experience”.  In using pathos, you need to make the audience feel an emotion in order to act.

          Research shows that pathos is most effective when used in the introduction and conclusion of your letter or speech.

For maximum effects, use Ethos (Credibility), Logos (logic), and Pathos (emotion) strategies to convince your representatives of the importance of helping in the recognition of Artsakh’s independence at the same time benefiting them for their assistance. 

          For example, in Artsakh’s recognition of independence, you may cite how Azerbaijan launched an unprovoked sneak attack on Artsakh and began shelling and bombing civilian quarters and infrastructure with killer drones, phosphorus gas, loitering munitions, etc. all in contravention of international law. Thousands have become displaced (Appeal to pathos).

          Logos (i.e., the appeal to logic), refers to the effort to convince your audience by using logic and reason. To promote logos, effective arguments should make use of testimonials, surveys and other supporting details to back up your claims and positions.

          Try to avoid information overload taking place by overdoing with your facts and figures.

          Research shows that of the three appeals, logos is the most effective strategy to use for everything being equal.  As for the ethos and pathos, both are equally effective.

          In addition to the three pillars of persuasion, there is the most powerful notion of “appealing to one’s self-interest”. This one, of course, falls into the category of logos.  If you need to turn to an ally or someone else for help, avoid reminding him of your past assistance and good deeds. Instead, find something in your request or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all proportion.

          When we approach President Joseph Biden, for example, and ask for recognition of Artsakh, we must not forget to explain how Artsakh’s independence will be good for “America” (e.g., a new market, an ally in the south Caucuses, US will be hailed as a true democracy that upholds self-determination, etc.) and President Biden will be remembered as a true friend of those fighting for their freedom. We have to offer a benefit for the exchange.

          Based on scientific research findings, when asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude alone. In asking for help  do not dwell on the past.

          Self-interest is a compelling reason for people to respond positively to propositions of mutual interest. So, always think of reciprocity when you want someone to do something for you unless you are dealing with a close family member or a bosom friend.

          If I were asked to call or write a letter on behalf of the recognition of Artsakh’s independence, here is what I would say: (Note: For the sake of explanatory reasons, this will be a long letter to elaborate on the appeals and their sequence used for persuasion).

March 29, 2021

Sen. Kevin Roseburg (fictitious)

Dear Senator Roseburg:

I am writing to you on a matter of mutual importance. The Republic of Artsakh’s (Nagorno-Karabakh’s) democracy is in the balance and it requires to be saved with your assistance. During your nine-year tenure in Congress as senator, I have always known you to be a champion of democracy. On account of your dedication to objectivity, you have held key senate positions. For example, in 2008, you voted for the independence of Kosovo despite being pressured to veto it. As a member of your constituency, I have always respected your fair and just decisions (appeal to ethos that I am current with the senator’s past political behavior).

As you are already aware, the de facto Republic of Artsakh was subjected to an unprovoked surprise attack on September 27, 2020 by the combined military forces of Azerbaijan, Turkey, ISIS jihadists, Syrian and Libyan mercenaries, Pakistani volunteers to mention the leading ones. The result was death and destruction of  5000Armenian soldiers, thousands of civilian men, women, and children became homeless, including the loss of 30 percent of their ancestral territory by using weapons in contravention of international law (appeal to pathos for people are fundamentally emotional creatures).

As you well know, the government of the United States was founded on the bedrock of democracy. To free the European immigrants from the repressive colonial rule of the British Empire, the American colonists chose to declare independence based on self-determination just like the indigenous people of Artskah had to do in 1988.. After eight years of warfare, colonists succeeded in achieving independence in 1776 with the help of the French forces and finances. In all probability, without the external assistance, the Americans would have lost their quest for independence against the well-trained and well-equipped British soldiers (appeal to logos).

Artsakh now is facing a turning point in its self-declaration of independence from the untenable yoke of the Azerbaijani government’s regime. Like the United States in the 1700s, Artsakh needs assistance to continue with its struggles for survival and freedom to uphold democracy in a hostile environment. Therefore, the Armenian people around the world will be thankful for your advocacy to get the United States government recognize the independence of Artsakh, which is currently in the throes of losing its ancestral homeland and democracy (appeal to pathos).

Your reelection to the senate begins on September 28, 2021. The Armenian community volunteers will get in gear to make it a success for you by offering their assistance. In recognition of your kind and historical assistance to a maligned little democratic nation, your name will be inscribed in a Golden Book to be on display at the City Hall for posterity the names of those who were champions of democracy like you by aiding a small country like Artsakh to remain free and democratic against all odds (appeal to logos/self-interest).

As always, I thank you for your contributions to the United States and for being a staunch advocate of democracy around the world. I especially would like to acknowledge your solidarity with the Armenian people and for your kind assistance for the survival of Artsakh as a democratic republic (appeal to pathos).

Very truly yours,


          Please note, this is a long letter. I am using it to show the sequence of using appeals. Additionally, the above example of the letter shows the need to use all three persuasive appeal strategies (ethos, logos, and pathos), including the idea of self-interest.

          In the beginning, after establishing your credibility as a trustworthy character to make your readers/listeners relate to you (ethos), use logos (logic) to argue and build your points. Finally, finish up with pathos (the emotional appeal).

           And please do not forget the age-old wisdom: Self-interest, not self- sacrifice, even not of rousing of sympathy would have the power of persuasion alone to get someone to do an important favor for you by exposing himself to the likelihood of criticism or retaliation from your opponent or adversary.

          The success of the three pillars of persuasion is predicated as well on the concept of Kairos (an ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical, or opportune moment). The opportune time to engage in the persuasion process is now more than ever. For Artsakh, the window of opportunity is open now, it is just the right time to campaign for its recognition as a democratic republic. Its story is still fresh in the minds of the concerned members of the world community.

          The world has come to know that this tiny de fact republic of 150, 000 brave people were subjected to the cruel and brutal onslaughts of Turkey and Azerbaijan. One of the unintended consequences of the second Artsakh War is that during the infamous 44-day war, Nagorno-Karabakh was put on the map by the journalists and war correspondents. Most of the Western world is indignant about the nefarious assistance of Turkey in this war.

          We have waited too long, over 100 years, to get the US Senate recognize the Armenian Genocide. Before Artsakh’s situation becomes history, we should make sure its independence is recognized especially by those countries that have also recognized the Armenian Genocide. Let us keep Russia as Armenia’s friend, but try to build our own strength to depend on our shoulders in facing national problems.

          The enmity between Armenia and Azerbaijan is extreme. Armenians can no longer live under the latter’s oppressive and repressive rule. The alternative fork in the road is to enlist the talents of the Diaspora to the enterprise of ensuring Artsakh’s freedom, independence, and sovereignty. Let us ride on the momentum Artsakh gained from the international press coverage of the war with Azerbaijan and Turkey, especially for being brutally treated by Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s allied forces. Like numbers, words have power; they can move mountains. Instead of glorifying defeat, we shall be able to celebrate much-coveted victory if we get prepaid to face the foe.

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