Monday, March 14, 2016

Oh Happy Day!

What a wonderful day! The ARF has rejoined the ruling coalition AND..... be still my beating heart... Vartan Oskanian may actually be finally finally starting his own political party... Life couldn't be better!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Knee strike to Martirosyan, Assault it is...


I have my differences with Raffi’s policies and positions, strategies and approaches, behaviors and actions, and well, much of what he says and does.  Not just differences, but significant concerns.  But, as I’ve said and written before, perhaps if he can pull off something, it’ll be a step…

But that’s not what this is about.  In general, from what Ive seen and heard, my impression is that the police have undergone significant training in staying calm, cool and collected, since 2008/2009.  And for the mostpart, they seem to do quite well.   Situations in which, 4 or so years ago, the police would have had no clear hesitation in beating the crap out of a citizen, now are handled more gingerly.   For the mostpart.

But watch from 20-35 seconds in this video.


But this is a red beret, and this is not acting gingerly. In fact, what this red beret is doing is called, in martial arts, a ‘knee strike.’  Not surprising that a red beret has had training in martial arts. But you’d think then he’d know how to do a non-aggressive restraint maneuver.  It really seems... that he chose to knee Martirosyan multiple times in the face and head. Just an impression.

That’s right. The red beret here grabs MP Armen Martirosyan by the head and neck, brings his head down, and repeatedly thrusts his knee in Maritrosyan’s face.  He even gets one in while Martirosyan is bouncing  off of a metal post he was thrown up against.

Before the knee strike, Martirosyan had no blood on his face and nose. After the knee strike, he does.  The pictures show the culprit….  My guess is the guys who runs up to Martirosyan as he is being taken away afterwards is the same guy (0:55 to 1:04) … whoever it is, that red beret, he just goes after Martirosyan with a vengeance, trying to throw him around, with no provocation whatsoever….

…I wanted to make a smartass quip about the red berets needing some training, too.  But it goes so far beyond that…

This, my friends, is a straight up assault
And that’s the least of the problems here.









I realize this is a scattered post. My thoughts on this, while (I believe) rational, are so hard to put into linear writing... in fact, that's what stops me time and again from posting.




Friday, March 1, 2013

Respectful movement and self-expression

I've got mixed feelings about this. Look at the expression on Parantsem Mayrik's face when he puts out  the fire she started - burning small pictures of Serge and Robert.
I understand he wants it to be a peaceful, respectful movement. I think there is great strength in that.
But isn't that her form of self-expression?
(stills from the video below)









Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Judgement, challenges and streets


Do you think Raffi is showing good judgment by challenging the election and getting people out in the streets, or is it more self motivated towards his own ends and needs

A very close friend of mine sent me this question, knowing that I follow things somewhat closely. I think its an excellent question, and in fact, much more complex than it initially seems, as it makes and exposes certain key statements and assumptions that are worthy of discussion.  (please note, i just threw this together, please excuse any typos, and addendum i may fix/add later)

1.     using good judgment
a) I’m not sure whether not challenging the election was an option.  There were obviously significant violations both before and during the elections.   Despite that, Raffi’s final official percentage surprised everyone, including him.  Would not challenging the election have been an option? Once he chose to be a candidate, with the platform and statements he made about changes he would make, especially regarding fraud, corruption, etc, was not challenging an option?  Aside from being completely hypocritical, his political career in Armenia would have been dead forever.

b) What about the “good judgment” of getting people out in the streets? Well, it seems that if change is going to come about, even if it were to be a compromise with the regime, then Raffi would have to show the backing of the people.  Perhaps Sargsyan would have met him even if there weren’t thousands in the streets behind him, and he can challenge the decision of the CEC without people in the streets, but the likelihood of anything happening without popular visible support would be even less than it is now.

c) the most obvious response,  of course, to this initial question, is, is it possible to be a candidate who truly believes in democracy, experience such massive falsifications and fraud, and not do anything? Is it possible to be a citizen who is truly hoping to move forward toward democracy, and do nothing in a case such as this?

d) now none of this means that he is challenging the election and getting people out in the streets in the best possible way.  There are steps it seems he has yet to take that would be beneficial, and his overall plan, or what seems to be a lack of one, is concerning.  The latter point is extremely important, and asked throughout Armenia by even his supporters.  Sometimes especially his supporters.

e) the next step in this question, is in the phrasing of “using good judgment.”  Because that implies that there may be a problem, perhaps a risk, in doing what he is doing.  Now, I don’t know exactly what my friend had in mind when he asked the question.  But I suppose there are two main downsides that my friend may be considering:
            1—the security of the people: this is a very common and critical concern, especially because of the events of March 1, 2008 and the events which followed.  Even if Sargsyan is not willing to use violence, he is not the only deciding force.  Many from different circles I have spoken with think this may be why he is not setting up a camp in Liberty Square. And it’s a good concern.  There is always some degree of risk when opposition gathers in Liberty Square, and the larger, more vocal the crowd, the more they grow and the longer they stay, the greater the risk.  One can only guess that part of the reason he sends people home every night is because of the concern of safety.  But this act of sending people home is very disheartening to his supporters – I see it on their faces, here it spoken every few meters as I walk through the square.  Which brings me to the point below…

            2—the morale of the people: what happens if this comes to naught? What happens if after all of this, protests, challenges, everything, things for the mostpart stay the same?  Sure, some say that this will move civil society forward in Armenia, and of course it will, to some extent.  But there is also a hopelessness and inertness that comes in the general population from being lifted and dropped. This is potentially quite dangerous.

2.     is it more self motivated”
a.     Now, Raffi is definitely motivated, of that there is no question; he has been motivated to become president since the 1990s. And he has worked hard to that end.  And yes, he seems to be self-motivated… but I think my friend was getting at the next part…

3.     towards his own ends and needs”
a.     Raffi does want to be president, and I would argue that he wants to make his mark in history, but there is nothing wrong with that. Many of us do in our own way.
b.     But I think perhaps my friend is asking, especially in the context of the question, is whether there is an internal drive in Raffi which obstructs him from seeing the risks, or issues, which can arise from his challenge.  I am not in his mind so I can’t really answer that.  I do believe that Raffi wants to see a better, stronger, more just, Armenia.  I don’t believe that his approach, especially to foreign policy, is the answer, and in fact I believe his approach is potentially destructive, but that’s not the what we’re discussing here.  Actually, it is relevant, because that same drive that guides him to demand reparations, genocide recognition and NKR recognition as foreign policy, I believe, blinds him to why addressing those things, now, as he does, is not in Armenia’s best interests. And perhaps whatever drives him to take that stance in his foreign policy, that internal drive, is also driving him now.

I think the results caught everyone including Raffi by surprise. I think he responded and acted, but I do not know if there is a plan.  Given that many of his own supporters have similar questions, it is not clear how long this will continue. 

To move forward, to have gone forward, and to continue to do so, means that something is driving things, for the sake of this question, driving Raffi, forward.  Sometimes we know something is Right, and it is that vision of Right which drives us.  We see Right, but we don’t know how to get there – because we are lost, overwhelmed, unprepared, naïve, or just don’t have an answer. 

But when we are responsible for or lead others, the calculations must change.  Any step forward, even when driven by a vision of what is Right, must be countered by responsibilities and risks.  To not have that counterbalance present in the plan, or not to have a plan at all, is a sign of either blind and arguable dangerous adherence to a vision, or being driven by other, often internal, forces.

To move forward without a plan would be reckless. And if things do move forward, people continue to gather, protests continue in large numbers, and a clear plan does not crystalize, visible or not to the rest of us, then things could become quite concerning. 

But if he can move forward, with a plan, and mobilize, unite and lead, it could be something truly incredible for the electoral process, for democracy and human rights in Armenia…

What it would mean for the foreign policy, peace and security of Armenia, that concerns me. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Some data and links on February 2013 election

The elections.am website has the official results of the presidential elections, in English and Armenian.  The results for each Constituency (Ընտրատարածք) and Precinct (Տեղամաս) are there, but then you have to go to another document to figure out what each of those is.  So I went through and put it together, for myself - below is a list of each constituency and precinct in which Raffi officially beat Serge. If there's an error - pelase let me know so I can correct it:


Number
Name
Raffi numbers
Raffi %
Serge numbers
Serge %
1
Yerevan: Avan, part of Nor-Nork
15752/35632
 44.21%
15383/35632
 43.17%
4
Yerevan:Arabkir
14051/32566
 43.15%
13827/32566
 42.46%
6
Yerevan: Ajapnyak
14566/31895
 45.67%
13392/31895
 41.99%
30
Lori: Gugark, Shahumyan, part of Vanadzor
18688/32235
 57.97%
10588/32235
 32.85%
33
Shirak: all parts, plus part of  Gyumri
14471/30171
 47.96%
13995/30171
 46.39%
34
Shirak: rest of Gyumri
22120/34661
 63.82%
9693/34661
 27.97%
35
Shirak: Azatan, Akhurik, Akhuryan
18443/29731
 62.03%
9517/29731
 32.01%


Some cities in which Serge supposedly beat Raffi by about 20,000 votes or more - just visually scanned - by constituency: 16 (Ararat), 17(Ararat), 18 (Ararat), 23 (Gegharkunik), 24 (Gegharkunik)