Sunday, December 27, 2009

Authorities' committment to beating youth - condoned by international community?

Just a couple of hours ago, youth activists campaigning for Nikol Pashinyan were attacked and beaten with metal pipes. Five of them were taken to the hospital - three have been released and two are still there.

This is what happens the international community accepts and condones violent governments, and in exchange uses the illegitimacy of these governments as leverage to their own ends. Don't get me wrong. It is not the US, or Switzerland, or Russia, or any of the others who sent their guys to beat up these youth. But these governments, and others, have accepted Sargsyan as president, and work with him. They have accepted Sargsyan, who came to power through illegitimate means, through violence, beatings, imprisonments and shootings.

Please, don't speak of "promoting democracy," "human rights" and "long-term security," when your actions and dealings as international organizations/governments actually promote powerful individuals who beat those who attempt to actually practice such principles.

This is not the first, second, or even tenth time that something like this has happened. And yet, I do not see a flurry of condemnation from the US, Switzerland, or Russia. Not surprising, is it?

But back to this election. Those in Armenia can contribute to the election campaign: see here for details English, here for details in Armenian.

And, it seems the video about Pashinyan is now available in four parts online:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Report on the Report

Well, though they played hooky, it turns out Colombier and Prescott wrote a report. I wonder when they actually wrote it, before the 17th, or after?
The ANC has issued a statement, and, among other news sources, has an article.
The PACE Report on the March 1 Report is available on the PACE website, I've uploaded it here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A nicely choreographed ballet between Hovhannesyan and Badeyan

There was apparently a "debate" between the ARF (represented by Hovhannesyan) and the ruling Republican Party (represented by Manvel Badeyan. Bits of it can be heard on the 19:00 radio broadcast on RFE/RL starting at about 24 minutes, and a short summary is on
The article caught my eye originally because of the title:Opposing Parliamentarians At Least Agree that ‘Hints of Coercion’ Appear in Armenian-Turkish Protocols, which, once I looked at the piece, made me laugh a bit. The ARF and the Republican party representing themselves yet again as opposed to each other. And, for what seems to be the first time, at least that I've seen (and even RFE/RL made a comment that it seemed to be a new stance) the Republican party was mentioning that there were some undesirable components to the Protocols. Here are some cut-and-pastes from the article, strung together:

“From the first day, I have said that the Protocols are not a sparkling product of a stroke of genius.”
yes, there are many things in the Protocols that don’t sit well with us and are simply “tied around our neck.”
“Time is against us.” “It’s not the Protocols that are dangerous. The danger comes from that, that two colleagues appear, one of which is powerful; the other, weak. We should’ve been stronger,”
Furthermore, the RPA member agreed with Hovhannesyan that “edges [hints] of coercion appear” in the Protocols.

the country’s leadership is not sincere. “If that is your initiative, and because of your entreprise, they thrust something or another upon you, withdraw from that entreprise
Hovhannesyan believes that a contradiction has come about. The country’s leadership knows, too, and is beginning to “open its eyes.”

This looks like a show to me - an act put on for naive eyes and ears. The ARF shouts about protocols, the Republican Party says yeah, they're not great, we were pressured. Hovhannisyan seems to say something I actually agree with, then credits the government with "opening its eyes" - a little bit of give and take. Then they both agree they're not great protocols. And they both say Armenia needs to be stronger. What Armenian doesn't think Armenia should be stronger? And among those who do support the protocols, are there any who think they are perfect or ideal? What have these two agreed to, that is so novel, or a step in any direction, and what did they compromise on? Nothing. Its a nice little choreographed ballet.

It has to be. Because it's their doing that the those "things in the protocol" that "dont sit well" are there. It's their doing that unnecessary compromises had to made, and that Armenia was put in a position with her neck sticking out, standing on a 3-legged chair.

Let me put it in terms that the certain "concerned" political parties might understand. It's as though members of Turkey's present government sit back and talk about what a shame it is that there are few Armenians left in Armenia, and how something has to be done about the poor state of Human Rights that minorities have in their country.

It's not En Garde, its En Pointe!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Colombier and Prescott Play Hooky

The PACE Monitoring committee, the one which has been addressing the issues in Armenia, was supposed to address the Report on March 1-2 events on December 17, 2009. That plan has been in place since December 1, at least, that is when the Draft Agenda for the meeting, found on the PACE website, is dated. But somehow, neither of the rapporteurs could make it. Nor was it known or announced ahead of time that they would not be able to make it.
According to Naira Zohrabyan MP, they were both in an urgent session in Copenhagen, and so the issue will be discussed at the Jan 25 meeting. According to Zarouhi Postanjyan, Prescott was in Copenhagen, and Colombier was involved in the French Parliament, and therefore unable to make it. And per Postanjyan, since it was not discussed at the Dec 17 meeting, it may very well not get included onto the Jan agenda.

Sure, maybe there were just urgent events that they both needed to go to. Whether they were in Copenhagen, Paris, or Timbuktu.
But maybe, if they had gone, the would have been put in a very difficult situation- after all, when publicly faced with evidence, it does get more and more difficult to talk your way around the truth, it does get harder to avoid making rational, logical, conclusions... and where would these final decisions leave the European governments represented in PACE? Where would Switzerland, and the rest of these guys, including the US, be, if PACE made steps toward publicly recognizing the absolute barbarity of March 1, highlighting those involved, and moving closer to stating that Sargsyan, with whom they work and collaborate, is an illegitimate ruler, not representing the people then, or now.
Where would that leave them? And how can they keep pressuring Sargsyan, if those steps are made?
Even PACE has become parter of the larger process, the process of trading Sargsyan's legitimacy for unnecessary concessions by Armenia, turning a blind eye to Human Rights and Democracy in Armenia.
I'm not surprised, but that doesn't mean I can't be disappointed.

But, come on, playing hooky from the meeting? Couldn't they come up with something at least a bit more dignified?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Battalion Leader named Muk?

Now, I don't know how much of this war talk is real, or a smokescreen - more stirring of the mud at the bottom of the pond, making it so murky that no one, not even the players themselves at times, can see what on earth is really going on.
But, it hit me the other day, if there was a war, we might end up with a Battalion leader name Muk!
Here's what I imagined. The last war was about 20 years ago - just about a generation. So it will be mainly the new generation, the young ones, who would fight this potential war. But who will lead them? Who will plan strategy, and motivate, and train? Hopefully someone with experience.
It seems the best people to do the job are exactly those who were going on hunger strike in 2008, getting thrown in prison, and getting denied citizenship: Sefilyan, Mikayelyan, Hakobyan, Ayvazyian, Gasparyan, Hatspanyan, Baghdasarian, to name a few, the list goes on.
I don't know if those who have been so ill-treated (a massive understatement) by this government, after having fought for Armenia, would fight again, in an unecessary war brought about through the incompetence of this illegitimate government. Maybe they would - I have no idea.
But who would be left? Guys who have names like, yes, Muk, and Dodi Gago.
So a young, inexperienced generation, knowing full well how this banditocracy treats its war veterans, would go into war, led by someone like Muk.
How motivating.
Great planning, SS.

Aah, I almost forgot. The cherry on top is the statement made by ARF leader Hovannisyan in response to recent statements on the Azerbaijan side regarding a possible war. Hovannisyan, apparently quoting King Leonidas, said "Come and get it." He's watched too much "300" I think. Maybe he should be quoting Theron instead, given the ARF's decisions thus far.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The two planes of existence in Armenia

The video outtakes of the 2008 Presidential Campaign Ads for Serge Sargsyan by Albert Azaryan (Olympic Gymnast) and Hrant Tokhatyan (famous actor) have now become infamous - both of these characters made the mistake of saying what they really felt about the Sargsyan (whom they were endorsing), with the cameras rolling. Azaryan straight out swears at Serge Sargsyan, and Tokhatyan swears at the former Mayor of Yerevan, calling him what literally translates to "faggot" in English, but with possibly even more of a demeaning, vulgar, homophobic, and ignorant tone than it does in English.
Haykakan Zhamanak (08/12/09) points out that these outtakes were not included in the final aired campaign ads for Sargsyan - what was shown to the people of Armenia was a cut-and-pasted product, a montage, not at related to what these so-called endorsers thought or felt. HZH draws a parallel to what has happened and continues to happen in the political trials in Armenia: the prosecution puts together edited bits and pieces from the events of March 1, and uses the produced montage as supposed proof on which to base false guilty verdicts.
In effect, Armenia is living on two completely different planes, the piece argues, that having nothing to do with each other. One of the the real, non-montaged world, and the other, the Serjakan, montaged world.

A very potent analogy, I thought. Of course they wouldnt use the outtakes, thats why they're outtakes - they're not internally consistent, they're mistakes, they don't make sense in the larger scheme of things. Just like true democracy, and human rights don't fit into the grand scheme of things for this banditocracy - in fact, they're pesky ideas that get in the way of the banditocracy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Some basic facts - and its only going to get worse

Below is the translation of the Dec 3 statement from the ANC - just some hard basic facts. There's a lot I want to write about this piece, but, the piece itself says it better...

ANC December 3, 2009 Announcement

With the joint statement of December 1 by five Ministers (including the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia), and subsequently, with the statement that constitutes an official resolution by the OSCE Ministerial Council of 56 countries that convened in Athens, the Republic of Armenia has signed an official document which has taken upon itself to speedily reach an agreement on the fundamental principles for the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, an agreement that will be based on three principles established by the Helsinki Final Act:

· Non - utilization of force or the threat of force
· Territorial integrity
· Equal rights and self determination of Peoples

In this way, for the first time Armenia has officially agreed that the Karabakh conflict may be settled within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. In this context, the inclusion of the right to self determination of peoples does not in any way diminish or compensate for Armenia’s retreat. The simultaneous application of the principles of territorial integrity and self determination means that regardless how high a level of self-governance is chosen for Nagorno Karabakh, the status will not matter, as it will still be realized within the territorial boundaries of Azerbaijan, that is, Karabakh will be a part of Azerbaijan. In this way, Armenia has agreed to a settlement of the Karabakh issue which has closed the prospect of having the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh ever be internationally recognized as an independent country.

Such a development has consistently been averted since 1992, when Armenia, having become a member of the OSCE, consistently used the right to veto and the power of a potential veto to block any expressions or clauses in international documents that would allow for the settlement of the Karabakh issue based on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. In 1996, during the OSCE Lisbon Summit, when there was an attempt to limit the right of self determination of Nagorno Karabakh by the proposition that such a right be realized within the territorial boundaries of Azerbaijan, the President of the Republic of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrossian vetoed that draft resolution in spite of unprecedented international pressure and the positions of all of the other countries of the OSCE. In a similar situation, today’s authorities also had the same opportunity, and did not utilize that right. The only explanation for this policy of concessions is the vulnerability of this illegitimate government, which is attempting to compensate for that illegitimacy with deals with the international community sealed by the price of unnecessary concessions on the Karabakh issue. The foundation of this sort of politics was laid in 1999 by Robert Kocharian who, by signing the Istanbul Charter, gave Armenia’s agreement to the general idea of the use of the principle of territorial integrity as the basis of conflict settlement. And in Athens, for the first time, that was applied specifically to the Karabakh conflict.

Over the past two years, the ANC has given warnings on multiple occasions of such dangerous developments; it has also argued that the only way of avoiding such developments is the reestablishment of constitutional order and the removal of the current regime. It is clear that every additional day that this government stays in power pulls Armenia into international obligations that are not derived from the interests of the people, thus making its prompt removal that much more urgent. The ANC will continue its struggle to create a legitimate government in the country, which will be capable of representing the interests of the people in the international arena and of avoiding even further losses.


The original is available at the Armenian National Congress website:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The size of a Grain of Salt

Pashinyan really, really, really, hurt a policeman, per report from the court trial today. While there were, admittedly, varied reports of the size of the WOUND the policeman-victim sustained, which range from 0.2-0.3 mm to 2-3 mm, the fact is, folks, a wound is a wound. Really. What if that small wound had gotten infected, or bled?
Is that possible with such a sized wound? Let's take a look...
Below is a standard ruler- I have marked and highlighted (though it is unfortunately minimally visible in the pix) the MAXIMUM of the reported lengths of the wound - you decide...