Sunday, September 13, 2009

To Inspire the Youth...

"Let us all unite with the people, who have raised the flag of freedom. He who does not follow and turns away from the people is an enemy of the people. And in particular you, the youth, defenders of ideology always and everywhere, may you unite with your people."

What a great quote, a great ideology. It is a direct quote from the Manifesto of the ARF. Here's another good one:

"Strengthening Armenia's statehood, institutionalization of democracy and the rule of law, securing the people's economic well being, and establishment of social justice."

This is one of the clearly stated goals of the ARF, as stated in their Official Program.

When I think of the principles of statehood, democracy, and social justice... when I think of the people, youth and unity, that is when I start to wonder if the ARF and I even speak the same language. The people are those who were and still are in the streets, democracy and social justice mean human rights with freedom of speech and press. But this is apparently not who or what the ARF has in mind.

In the past 6 months, the use of violence and intimidation by the Banditocracy against the youth have become more obvious than ever. The names of certain youth activists, persecuted and imprisoned for their political beliefs and actions, are now well known. Tigran Arakelyan is on an indefinite hunger strike, having recently had his pre-trial detention extended for another 2 months, for no apparent reason. Vahagn Gevorgyan, 18 yo, was just found guilty, sentenced to a one year imprisonment and fined, and then pardoned (of note, he is the son of Hayk Gevorgyan, journalist at Haykakan Zhamanak, which is still being persecuted).

In one of his recent pieces, Pashinyan highlighted the enormously important role of the youth in today's political sphere, and the incredible evolution the political and social identity of the young generation has already undergone. In fact, the piece was only outdone by the flurry of comments it received, with commenter after commenter showing support, adding "+1". One even points out:

Which, loosely translated tells Nikol that it is through his example that the youth has come to where they are today. You have taught us to be citizens and to stand up for ourselves. In 2007, I was not among those demanding impeachment, but now I say +1, +1, +1...

So, to be honest, I don't want to hear about how the ARF is not at the point where they would call for Sargsyan's resignation, that they still are just demanding Nalbandyan's resignation. Let them have their hunger strike, which they're starting on the 15th, because they are upset with Sargsyan's steps toward Armenian Turkish relations. I have yet to see them stand true to the principles of the original ARF, I have yet to see them inspire... When they do that, only then will they step out from the shadows of their coalition connections, step into the light of their founding fathers, and start to become true opposition.


pomexpress said...

Yikes - I wish that the ARF did not dominate Armenian youth culture in the diaspora. Between camps and social functions - it is hard not to be a Dashnak and still be an active young person in diaspora. But, little do these children know that they are being indoctrinated into an ideology that is increasingly ridiculous in Armenia proper.

I hadn't heard about the Dashnak hunger strike - perhaps it will garner the attention for the party that it so craves in Armenia (and that is not fulfilled by their miserable, under-attended rallies). From a diasporan perspective - it makes them look week and even less fit to be a legitimate political party in Armenia. Unfortunately - their choke-hold on the diaspora remains as strong as ever and their youth organizations ensure the longevity of the party.

tzitzernak2 said...

Perhaps had the ARF supported Armenian independence in 1991, they would have actually had a stronger footing from the start. But from the beginning, from being against independence to their diasporan-based identity to their involvement in the parliamentary assassinations, the ARF has managed to become, as you say, quite ridiculous.
Which, as you point out, somehow has had minimal effect on its Diasporan stronghold.
I wonder if they've actually contributed to driving the wedge between the Diaspora and Armenia even deeper... i'll have to think about that one.