Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ARF meet Piaget, Piaget meet ARF

I read LTPs most recent speech multiple times. And obviously have been reading some of the reactions to the speech, including the response of the ARF, and its extremism and oversimplifications, its attempts at manipulation and misinformation, its overcompensation and sensationalism. And I have come to the conclusion that in addition to its numerous own political motives for such a strategy, the ARF follows this type of course because of an intrinsic problem, which became clearer to me when I thought to myself that, man, these guys are concrete thinkers, they just won't, and it seems can't, see the non-literal, the complex, the abstract. Which brought me to Piaget's famous stages of development: Sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operational and formal operational.
So at first I thought, these guys are stuck in the Concrete phase of development - but then I read that definition again:
Children begin to think logically but are very concrete in their thinking. Children can now conceive and think logically but only with practical aids. They are no longer egocentric.
Wow, that fit pretty well, but these guys still are stuck on themselves a lot of the time. So I went back one step to Preoperational thinking:
Magical thinking predominates. Acquisition of motor skills. Egocentricism begins strongly and then weakens. Children cannot conserve or use logical thinking.
Sounds pretty close. I can see where/how this stagnation in development occurred. The ARF, so heavily based in the Diaspora, are the sons and daughters, granddaughters and grandsons, and yes, greatgranddaughters and greatgrandsons, of fighters, martyrs, and victims - like so many in the Diaspora and Armenia. Crimes against humanity were committed which have gone yet unrecognized in a world which claims to want to stop violence, murder and genocide. And yet the Genocide has gone unrecognized by the majority of the world's countries; the pride of our nation and the sorrow of our victims goes unwritten in most history textbooks. And while the stories of our grandmothers and grandfathers must echo ever louder in our memory so that they will not be forgotten, this places a heavy burden of conscience on every new generation. They say time heals all wounds, but time does not pass when we relive history every day. When my image makes a 90 year old woman gasp, thinking she has seen her old childhood friend, one of my greats, time has not passed.
And so, I understand this stagnation. This need to relive, to remember, to find some justice and closure in recognition.

But the collective psyche does not Foreign policy make, and time does pass. And countries are revived, new wars are fought, pride, identity and freedom are renewed and revised. And the new Country and Nation has new needs to secure itself, in addition to the old needs. And yet, the ARF, from even before independence in 1991, has been unable to adjust. And so I think it is not just a lack of desire, and of course, the inner politics of the upper echelons of the ARF, but a developmental inability to see such things.
For the ARF, the ideals of Freedom and Liberty, Truth and Justice, apply only to 1915, and not to the Citizens and Republic of Armenia, of today, or of March 1, 2008.

This developmental stagnation pertains not only to those who would make decisions, but maybe, maybe even more so, to the common member of the ARF - a condition which, appropriately tended and fostered, makes manipulation by those who do make decisions - and are more involved in politics and have more to gain - much easier.

What the heck is my point? Here is what I am saying. LTPs speech is completely internally consistent - the priority is Armenia, the people of Armenia, Democracy, and Human Rights. This was true of LTP in 1988, and it is true now. The purpose of all major decisions is to help the development and progress of the priorities above.

I do not see an absolute contradiction in the following: Sargsyan is an illegitimate president. He gained his power through illegal and violent mechanisms. He, along with certain others, are accountable for the violence of March 1, and the continued oppressions, imprisonments, cover-ups, intimidation and violence which started even before the presidential elections of Feb 2008, and continues today. Sargsyan has willingly made unnecessary and unacceptable concessions in international diplomacy in order to gain the chance to be viewed as legitimate by the international community. Nothing changes any of this. However, keeping in mind the priorities of LTP and the HAK, Sargsyan has the chance, in fact, he has the chance every morning when he wakes up, to change things, to free political prisoners, to allow freedom of speech and press and assembly, and to follow a different path than that which he has so far. If he were to show such interest, then LTP, in line with the principles outlined above, would be open to helping him along that path.

That is by no means a Sargsyan-Ter-Petrosyan Union, as the ARF would like to have people believe. It is an offer of guidance, a restatement of priority, a paving of the road toward doing the right thing. Such manipulation of terms, of ideas, is an attempt to weaken LTP and HAK because, it seems to me, the ARF itself is actually, in some type of weird ARF-collective subconscious, intimidated by an entity (whether it be LTP, HAK, or an individual independent Armenian who does not need to be told by the ARF how to be Armenian) that will pursue guiding principles over a chance to spew venom, incite irrational fear and frenzy, and potentially gain more power.
In contrast to LTP, the ARF is now so internally inconsistent that it now thinks that a bill regarding March 1 presented to parliament will be a convincing opposition-type move. Sorry, that picture of the ARF raising its champagne glass with the rest of the coalition after March 1 is forever etched in my memory, and the memory of so many others. In fact, what is truly consistent about the ARF, is that it chooses to pursue Power, over any other principle.

I don't know if there is a 'cure' for developmental stagnation. Every day that the decision makers of the ARF wake up, they have the choice to make a new and better set of choices. That speech and guidance contained therein is almost as much for them as it was for anyone else... If so, that would mean, using the same logic that they used, that there may be an ARF-LTP Union?!!!!

But wait, making that jump requires consistency, logic, abstraction... (aka Formal operational thinking). And it would require an ARF that is principled, and truly Opposition. And they've got none of that.


Anonymous said...

I usually like your writings but you are way off on this one. LTP has been and will remain a corruptible figure in Armenian politics. The fact is, whatever it peccadilloes, the ARF is the only ideological force in Armenia. Its opposition to the Protocols deals not only with the historical commission but more importantly with the fact that the Protocols are only being used by Turkey to undermine Armenia's security (as evidenced by their refusal to open the border until Armenia hands Artsakh back to the Azeris) as well as the fact that the Protocols de facto recognize and give legal force to the current border between Armenia and Turkey. Armenia's long-term survival depends on its ability to get to the Black Sea and the reality is that its historical territorial claims against Turkey remain its best alternative to make this happen. We will never be able to rely on the goodness of the Turks to accomplish this. The ARF objects to the pressure which has been placed on Armenia to sign the Protocols without any reciprocal pressure on Turkey to open its borders. The fact that LTP has "come around" on the Protocols issue tells me that cooperation with the Sarkisian government is just around the corner. I also find it interesting that he continues going after the ARF when he should be pointing his guns at the government. If you think there is not something going on behind the scenes to buy LTP's attacks, I have a bridge to Istanbul to sell you.

Robert said...

Forget ARF's interpretation. It doesn't add or detract from the obvious: LTP is a re-usable tool and has proved it over and over again.

He emerged to co-opt and mislead the opposition 2 years ago, and now he is once again (I mean how many times can one man let down so many Armenians?) turning his back on any claimed ideological principles he yammered about.

He is a manipulator of people with no sense of national interests, who dances on the stage for the highest bidder. Go back to your palace and leave the nation alone.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be this notion an unproven one - that if Armenians let go of the genocide issue, then Armenia and Turkey can be great friends. Along with this goes the idea that if Armenians are the slightest bit angry with or hostile to Turkey, Turkey will commit another genocide. The supporters of reconcilian are thereby saying that they themselves think that Turkey has not changed and will commit genocide again while at the same time they claim that Turkey has changed and would never hurt Armenians again (or Kurds, Alevis, or Greek Cypriots for that matter).
How far should Armenia go in dropping the genocide issue? How about eliminating the April 24 march to the Martyr's Memorial? How about knocking down the latter entirely? Is that memorial not an insult to present day Turkey? Why keep it up? Why is it needed? Does it not insult a Turkey that no longer exists?