Friday, July 31, 2009

This game, again? The other kids are bigger...

Armenian President Uses Soccer Match In Political Bargain - is the title of the article on RFE/RL. I thought (hoped) that maybe the folks over at RFE had been working too hard, gotten really tired and accidentally republished an old article. But, alas, no! It is current...

This whole thing, I'm inviting you to my party, now you're inviting me but I'm not coming - it reminds of little silly games kids play.

It's as though Sargsyan is a small child in a playground, and he has a ball, and he offers to allow some of the other kids to play with it, just for a bit. But he doesn't realize that these kids are bigger than him, way, way bigger. And at some point, they can just TAKE the ball from him, with or without beating him up. Or they can just beat him up, not take the ball, and go do something else. Or they could just ignore him completely. If this is the best strategy he can come up with, if this is what he calls diplomacy...

Is Sargsyan hoping his Big Brother will come to his rescue when the time comes?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Waiting to see Shahnazaryan vs Oskanyan

This was the last line of a recent a1plus article - David Shahnazaryan said: "I am inviting Oskanyan to a debate so that I can prove that all that he said was not true and that he and Kocharyan are the ones most responsible for all this."

I mildly surprised myself in being excited at hearing this. Oskanyan has been making statements recently, and though they are numerous, and sound well put together, they all leave me with more questions about what it is he actually said (and didn't say, of course), and what it is he thinks he's saying and doing.
He's one of the few who was high ranking in the LTP administration, and moved up and stayed through the RK administration. And now, he's the head of a very posh think tank that promotes Civilitas (The Civilitas Foundation). Yet he has yet to really critize in any way the past and present factors in Armenia that jeopardize the foundations of a true Civil Society. While I appreciate discussions on Vulgarity, and involvement in the Golden Apricot Film Festival are wonderful, I don't see how these are making any waves. Though they do make him more visible.
In fact, he was quite visible at the ARF's recent Pan-Armenian forum in NK, where he gave a speech. I'm not quite sure what he said, but not for lack of trying (partial speech). I had similar troubles with his interview to 168 Zham. What I did see was him cleaning up the road behind up, and paving a way ahead...
In the interview to a1plus, it was the same issue yet again. When asked specifics, for example, regarding the reasoning behind the ARF's call for Nalbandyan's resignation as a way of punishing Sargsyan, he does not want to answer (around 16:00m).
Maybe he just got tired, he has taken on a lot.

In the context of the present NK situation, the actions of team Kocharyan-Oskanyan have started to come up more, as have those of the LTP administration. There seems to be a wave of hypotheses, trying to find some basis (and in some cases blame) for the current situation in the actions of the past.

Back to my original point. I'm looking forward to the Shahnazaryan vs Oskanyan debate.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

There is no denialism here, and Nikoyan is an anatomist!

We're not just talking about one incident, one death, one killing. We are talking about the calculated, organized removal of those who stood in the way.
No, I'm not talking about Genocide. I'm talking about March 1.
And yet, despite what is obvious, that there was a decision made, from the top down, that violence was an acceptable means to remove peaceful protesters - despite this - all attempts are being made to minimize, deny, and distill down to minutiae.
Does the exact instruction manual for the Cheryomukha exist? Was it a Cheryomukha-4 or a Cheryomukha-7? Who knew the exact handling technique? When was the expiration date?
These are very important questions. They are one corner of the foundations upon which a true investigation is started. An investigation that was first delayed, then dragged on, then dissolved.
And by focusing on details, and details alone, they derail and distract even further. Once you blame the guy who pulled the trigger, then the murderer has been found, they can say. There was an error in the chain of command, there was an error in training, or this one individual or few individuals made mistakes. So sorry. And even then, those charged with pulling the trigger, if found guilty, could be amnestied. Some of the families of the victims know it, too - the true guilt is much higher up.
Nikoyan, (former) head of the fact finding commission that somehow magically dissolved, is helping with this perseveration on details. Follow this guy around and you'll end up right back where you started. But along the way, you'll learn some incredible things. He is apparently a specialist in anatomy. Just by looking at the video of the jaw found in the pool of blood on March 1-2, he knows that it can't be human, apparently because of the lack of muscle and soft tissue connections (see my original post). And since there's no one walking around Armenia without a lower jaw, and none of the victims are jaw-less (he claims), then obviously its not human.
But, not to worry, the Special Investigative Service is really really looking into the matter. They want to know what happened. And to that end, they've put out a request to the people to come forward with any information they have that may be helpful in regards to a video where police are seen using violence against people. And confidentiality is assured.
I'm sure their phones are ringing off the hook.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sargsyan's Screw and the AAA

Two things caught my eye these past few days - they're not major, but at least one of them was amusing...

Alik Arzumanyan has given get another press conference that is extremely well spoken, and to the point. Among other things he says, he refers to Nalbandyan as just one small part of a larger mechanism, basically saying that calling for Nalbandyan's resignation does not get to the source, and it is Sargsyan's resignation that is necessary.
He refers to an idiomatic expression/analogy that was often used in Soviet times, with use of the term Vintik in Russian, meaning a small screw, as in, a screw in a larger machine or mechanism. However, the english equivalent of this is more like "a cog in the wheel." The literal translation is "screw," which, in English, has other connotations.
The title of the A1+ english article is: Nalbandyan is Serzh Sargsyan’s screw
Watch the video here.
(By the way, this is in no way a comment on the A1+ translators, whom I think do an excellent and very important job.)

The second observation comes from the Armenian Assembly of America's statement regarding NK. The entire statement is in line with their usual stance (read the whole thing here), and I won't go into it, but note that the first six paragraphs are only about NK.
Here is the last paragraph:
The Assembly stands united with all Armenians to protect the freedom and security of the Nagorno Karabakh people in the face of these most serious external threats. The suffering endured and the sacrifices made by Armenians since the Armenian Genocide deserves nothing less.

How did Genocide get mixed into this? Why did Genocide get mixed into this?
Presenting the Genocide as an afterthought cheapens Genocide, and weakens the statement which is supposed to be about NK. Not to mention - what about the lives lost in the 1890's - weren't they important?
Is this just an obsession with the Genocide that infiltrates into everything?
Or do they think bringing up Genocide as an afterthought reminds the audience of some
thing which will then help in the NK issue? I'm not sure what that would be, but there are those who feel that Obama went back on a promise of Genocide recognition (that's a whole separate discussion), so maybe they feel the US 'owes them one.'

I don't know what they were thinking. All I know is I was captivated enough to read through it the first time, but got to the last statement and just got annoyed.

I'm honestly open to hearing about why that last sentence was appropriate. Someone, please tell me why.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On Selling Out, and Treason

I saw this photo while on Facebook. For those who cannot read Armenian and/or see the picture well, the top half is a number of images from Eastern Turkey/Western Armenia, with writing that says something like: "Armenians vacationing in Antalya are arming/strengthening the Turkish Army." The poster is by the ARF.
The bottom half of this photo is a banner/poster of the ARF with their logo in the top left. The bottom half of it is covered up - it seems to have been an "X" and a check mark in boxes, emulating ballots probably for this past election. It is covered up by another poster that says "For Sale - Rush."

This photo caught my eye. In fact, I just keep going back to look at it over and over again. Let's take a look at it with a slightly analytical eye. I'll try to keep it brief.

The collection of photos in the top half is mostly, from what I can see: the Turkish Army and flags, Ararat and historical monuments on historically Armenian soil, for which the ARF makes demands (the latter two). They make demands for the soil, though they couldn't even properly support those who fought in the NK war of the 1990's, or those who tried to settle the lands after the war. Not to mention that as a political Diasporan Party, the ARF was less than excited when Armenia declared independence in 1991.

I think one of the lower pictures in that top half is Hrant Dink (not completely sure), who is only one of many people whom the ARF has lambasted over the years for suggesting open discussion and some degree of relations with Turkey, or at least, not hating Turks just for being born Turks. Given that party history, they basically had no choice but to carefully leave the ruling coalition after it made some flea-sized steps in the general direction of Turkey- Sure, it left the coalition, but no one really thinks they are opposition (see below).

Let's not forget that while Armenia was in a war, and going through what so many call the "Dark and Cold" years, the vast majority of the ARF was more than happy to be critical rather than constructive, and destructive rather than supportive - case in point evidence given by Serge Sargsyan himself of the involvement of ARF and Dro in violent and illegal international activities.

There's more, but let's move on to the bottom half. It's pretty self explanatory - ARF for sale, especially when it comes to elections. They'll make a poster trying to discourage Armenians from vacationing in Eastern Turkey, implying it is pro-Turk, anti-Armenian, and almost treasonous. But, they obviously had no problem joining the coalition government that shot and killed 10 of its own civilians, and continues to this day to keep political prisoners - some of whom are known veterans of the NK war- as well as maintaining a policy of oppression of basic human rights.

So, speaking of treason, the ARF, and NK, let's see what one person who has actually been consistent in all of this over the past 20 years, Jirair Sefilyan, has to say about this (loosely transcribed and translated from an RFE/RL recording):
"This is not a personal issue, we are thinking about our future, about our children's future, about our country's future... That's why changing the government of this country is a necessity, like air and water..."
The narrating reporter stated that Sefilyan critized the ARF, calling their demand for Nalbandyan's resignation comical, and considers the ARF to be working under the orders of Serge Sargsyan.

The narrating reporter also states that Sefilyan believes that it is too late in the game for Sahakyan to suddenly announce that Armenia cannot negotiate on behalf of Nagorno-Kharabagh. "At this point, if Bako Sahakyan can do anything, there is only one thing he can do: In the coming days, he has to announce that the politics being conducted by Yerevan are anti-Armenian politics, and Serge Sargsyan is involved in treasonous acts, and he needs to call on the Armenian people to quickly rid themselves of this regime. If he doesn't do this, then he, too, is an accessory in these treasonous acts."

Why focus on the immediate health, safety, and stability of Armenia and its people, when you can just continue imposing your own Diasporan priorities based on your own Diasporan identity?

[Photo courtesy of Arsen Torosyan]

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some good news, and some lingering questions...

Remember this young man, Arthur Avagyan? He was the young man shot in the face during the March 1 events. As per YouTube, you should not watch the video if you are under 18 years old, so I've posted a link to it instead. I wondered what happened to him, along with so many others in the videos from March 1.
It turns out he had surgery in Los Angeles, as reported by Massis and GlendaleNewsPress, as well as RFE/RL (armenian), and seems to be doing well, thankfully. A number of individuals and organizations, it seems mostly if not all Armenian, in the area got together and made sure this young guy got the treatment he needed.
I read those articles in succession with another article on Lragir, entitled "Requiem Ceremony." My condolences to all who lost loved ones in this horrific crash. I am sure the ceremony at Etchmiadzin by Garegin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, will be beautiful.

But where was the Catholicos of All Armenians on the 40th day of mourning, of the victims of March 1? He was blessing Serge Sargsyan's Presidency.

Why, Your Holiness Garegin II, Catholicos of ALL Armenians, didn't the victims of March 1 deserve a requiem ceremony?

May they ALL rest in peace.

[photo from Massis Weekly]

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Go for the source... ARF calls only for Underling Resignation

The ARF is just finishing up a big meeting in NKR, and one of the things to come out of it is their demand for the resignation of... Nalbandyan. Because they don't like what's coming down the line for Kharabakh, and Nalbandyan is foreign minister, and Sargsyan's policy is failing... This doesn't make sense on multiple levels (RFE article).
“If anyone is to change the foreign minister, it must be the president. If he does so, it will mean he is changing his policy,” said Manoyan
So, somehow, if you don't like Sargsyan's policy, then you get rid of the guy implementing it ( As Unzipped has already pointed out, no one really believes that Nalbandyan is making policy.) ... And bringing in a new guy somehow means a new policy. But Sargsyan will still be there. Apparently the outward signs of new policy are not new policy statements or decisions or actions or outcomes, but a new minister. Which means either the ARF believes that the old minister represents other powers who are forcing Sargsyan to do things he doesn't really want to do, or a new minister would be able to change Sargsyan's mind, or would represent a force that would change his mind. Or maybe they just want their own guy in there.

And why not just ask for the resignation of Sargsyan himself?
“Our problem is that if a leadership change implies the coming of several figures of the [Armenian National] Congress to power, then we have no guarantee that these forces will not conduct an even more conciliatory policy than the current ones,”

If they were willing to look closely, without blinders, at the past and the present, maybe things would be clearer. Maybe they have, and they really, truly don't like the policies of the 1990's. But its hard for me to see how having a president supported by the people, who is able to focus on the problem at hand for what it is, could be worse than having the current president, not supported by the people, pressured by international powers due to questions of legitimacy and human rights, struggling to keep his position and willing to make concessions to keep it, with a track record of making false starts to look good.

Maybe they don't think its Sargsyan's policy, but someone else's, so getting rid of Sargsyan wouldn't do anything. Maybe they just never truly cut their ties with the authorities, and don't want to go that far, maybe that would really start making them look like Opposition.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Arzumanyan: "The page has not even been opened"

Video from a1plus, with good summary on RFE/RL

Here are some excerpts from the article (read in full here):

“During the past year and a half the authorities of Armenia have had only one issue on their foreign policy agenda – to avoid international sanctions,” Arzumanian said at a press conference on Thursday. “All other major issues have been discussed in this context.”

“There is a lot of talk that the government has made an attempt to close the March 1 page by declaring the so-called amnesty. The March 1 page, in fact, has not even been opened. A massacre took place and the efforts of the authorities in the past year and a half have been aimed at providing a cover-up and placing responsibility on certain people,” said Arzumanian, underlining that the decision to declare amnesty was the result of pressure from international structures rather than the authorities’ ‘goodwill’.

There are multiple topics he discusses which are not in the summary. One of them is the issue of the Youth. :

"We should be happy that there are youth who are taking steps for their political rights. What are they doing? They are organizing meetings and picketing. That is Richness, that is about the health of the country. And we today, cynically, with such cruel articles, with arrests, are trying to scare them. We are leaving, these authorities are leaving, we are too. It is this generation that is going to live on...[]... And Tigran Arakelyan is one more political prisoner...[]... Let them think, anyone who does these [things]... They are arresting bright youths like Tigran Arakelyan because he is struggling for his political rights. As a parent, I am ashamed. As an Armenian citizen, I am ashamed. And with very heavy words, I condemn this."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Newer and newer lows...

I should start counting how many times I am absolutely astounded by the new levels to which this regime takes their inhumanity, this is yet another example.

Tigran Arakelyan has been sentenced to two months in prison. He and now FIVE others are on hunger strike. They are:
Karen Karapetyan
Arakel Semirjyan
Narek Aivazyan
Sargis Gevorgyan
Sargis Khachatryan

Here is a video of the group assembled in support of Tigran Arakelyan (outside of the courtroom I think)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's a two for one deal!

UPDATE: Tigran Arakelyan has now declared a Hunger Strike.

SS and the rest of the banditocracy must be getting bored with the pace of things - a false testimony here, oppressing the media there... a beating here, an imprisonment there.
So, on the occasion of Constitution Day, they have imprisoned Tigran Arakelyan. If you remember, he was one of the youths passing out flyers on the 1st, about the demonstration to be held on the 2nd. The group was beaten, including pistol whipping, by a group of plainclothes police. Now, Tigran Arakelyan has been arrested on charges of hooliganism.
The whole thing is beyond ludicrous, I'm not sure pointing out all of the problems with this has any benefit.

But two things have been confirmed.

1) This regime can be creative in its formation and application of new ways of trying to destroy the country - having now both beaten and imprisoned the same person within 4 days for one action.

2) The regime has a different Constitution than what the rest of the country has - it must, since to perform such an illegal act on Constitution day really must mean they have a different Constitution.

Or maybe they didn't know it was Constitution day? Didn't anyone let them know???

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 1 Statement by Pashinyan

Statement in Armenian

My Dear People,

In a short while I will be leaving this place which, due to circumstances, I am compelled to call underground, and will move toward the building of the Chief Prosecutor of the Republic of Armenia, where the Special Investigative Service is located. I resort to this act to fulfill my promise to leave the underground and continue my political battle in prison. To realize this plan, I need the assistance of the Special Investigative Service, where I will arrive in a few hours.

I had referred to the reasons why I was leaving the underground in my announcement of June 24, and I don’t think it is necessary to refer to them again. With this message, I wish to look straight into the eyes of every citizen of the Republic of Armenia and to underscore that our struggle is in the name of a Free and Happy Armenia, in the name of such an Armenia that will be a safe home and a warm hearth for each and every citizen, regardless of political views, or social and public stature.

And so, our struggle in the name of a Free and Happy Armenia is inexorable, our victory is inevitable. We will struggle till the end, and we will win.

Long live Freedom, Long live the Republic of Armenia, and Long live our children who will live in a Free and Happy Armenia.

P.S. I am aware that our supporters were expecting to see me at the meeting tomorrow. I thought long about that possibility, but at the end decided against that option because I don’t wish to leave the impression that I’m trying to hide behind the tens of thousands of our supporters. To avoid possible exploitations of my action, I chose the option described above.

Nikol Pashinyan
July 1, 2009

"Բարեւ ձեզ, ես Նիկոլ Փաշինյանն եմ"/"Hello, I am Nikol Pashinyan"

They don't even know what to do with him!

From YouTube, NikolPashinyan's Channel