Friday, October 17, 2008

Pashinyan's English

The MP3 of Pashinyan's interview can be found on the Payqar site, and the full armenian text of the interview is at RFE/RL on Oct 16.
Here is the translation of his interview, for those interested:

Aghasi Yenokyan: Mr. Pashinyan, you have been underground yet it is clear from your articles that you are familiar with political developments in Armenia. You had announced a revolution. What happened to that revolution? Was it postponed? Was it silenced? Or, is it continuing now?

Nikol Pashinyan: In my opinion, nothing awful has happened to the revolution. On the contrary, the past nine months have shown that all non-revolutionary avenues of restoring legitimacy, constitutional order and rule by the people in Armenia have been exhausted.

Let’s take the recent elections in local self-government. The conclusion that can be drawn from those is the same: the people, to who belongs the exclusive constitutional right to constitute its rule, is denied the freedom and possibility to exercise that right.

Revolution is the only option left to restore that freedom and establish legitimacy in Armenia. It is in this context that I view the tactics of the opposition in the last 8 months. The people’s movement has refrained from taking rough steps, in a way giving the authorities a chance to demonstrate that it is possible to establish legitimacy, to reinstate civil rights, freedom of speech and free economic competition without a revolution, that is, without removing the current authorities. But the authorities have shown through their actions that the revolution is the only option left to establish legitimacy.

Beyond that, I want to stress that the revolution is the only option to restore the unification of the public because the citizens of Armenia can be unified only when the same body of laws apply to everyone, when those laws work to the same extent for everyone.

It goes without saying that our revolution should be velvety, bloodless, and peaceful; but that depends not as much on the opposition as it does on the authorities.

Aghasi Yenokyan: It is known that you are accused of the main crimes of March 1—of murders and other crimes. How do you answer to those accusations? Are you preparing to appear in court?

Nikol Pashinyan: I consider that those who were killed on March 1 are my brothers; their loss is a personal grief and tragedy for me and I feel obligated to their memory.

Yes, the authorities accuse us of murders coupled with mass unrest, meaning that they accuse us of organizing the murders of March 1. This is an unprecedented legal absurdity because that accusation assumes that not only the perpetrators of the murders have been revealed, but that it has been proven that they acted on the orders of the opposition. Yet not only have the authors of the murders not been revealed to date, but they are being carefully concealed by the prosecutors.

That which concerns my being in freedom, underground or in prison, frankly speaking those are not social situations for me, but different forms of struggle. I’ve been underground during this time because I think that at some point my appearance on the stage of a rally might be necessary for the popular movement—very necessary. If I see that the possibility of such a necessity is exhausted, I will choose prison without hesitation as a normal phase of the struggle.

Numerous famous activists have spent long years in prison in the name of the victory of the people. But neither prison nor the underground, nor freedom, can be en end in itself for the political activist.

By being underground for this long I also wanted to show that the national security services and police of the Republic of Armenia are sterile structures and are incapable of intellectual contest or struggle.

And, if one day people hear that they have arrested me, let them know that I have wished to be arrested, that I have opted to continue my struggle in prison.

Aghasi Yenokyan: There is the opinion that by letting the political prisoners free, it is possible to remove the current tension in the public. Do you agree? If yes, then why do you think the authorities have not opted for the easing of tensions?

Nikol Pashinyan: Candidly speaking, I am surprised by all those views that consider the freeing of political prisoners something that the authorities should do. We should understand that the authorities will free the political prisoners if they have no other options left, meaning that they have no other choice left. Denying choice to the authorities is the task of the Armenian National Congress, the task of the people’s movement.

If the authorities have the capability of keeping our comrades in prison, then it is we who have given them that capability. I call on all the participants of our movement and our sympathizers to look at the problem of our political prisoners from this perspective.

That which concerns the international community and the European Council, it is not principles that they protect; they react to power relations. If the movement is strong and systematic, the international community will help; it will defend the standards of international human rights. If the movement shows fear and is accommodating, the international community will forget its pronouncements on human rights and international conventions. This is a simple truth, and I think we should all consider this our point of departure.

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