Monday, March 29, 2010

Poor choice of words... or tactics, maybe?

Two countries have strained diplomatic relations, and the strain gets worse and worse – while unfortunate, it wouldn’t be surprising that one of them takes it out on immigrants from the other country…

For example, let’s say France and Albania, or England and Russia, or Italy and Zaire, develop strained relations; it wouldn’t be surprising that the former of the countries put pressure on the latter. The United States, during WWII, placed thousands, actually, over one hundred thousand individuals of Japanese descent, in internment camps, purportedly for their own safety. Really, they were under lock and key out of fear, discrimination, and ignorance. If I remember my history correctly, over half of them were actual legal citizens, many of them were U.S. born, and a minority, if any, were illegal (if someone has any info on this, please feel free to add it in the comments).

But, really, Erdogan’s statements are a tad ridiculous. This is what it comes down to: present day Turkey is upset that there is pressure regarding Genocide recognition, a genocide which involved mass killings, rape, murder of women and children, and… deportation. And so, some countries and political entities start threatening to recognize, or recognize (with apologies might I add), the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey… And what does Turkey do? Threaten to deport Armenians! … Who in their government decided this was good diplomacy, or even, made any good sense?

The news reports and translations are that the words used in Turkish are “deportation” of Armenians, and that to date, Turkey has been “tolerating” Armenians. Isn’t there a better way to say that as a government, they will be more stringent regarding the legality and leniency of illegal immigrant from Armenia?

I will look more into the original language and translation – but if anyone sees them, or knows Turkish and reads the original statements, I would appreciate if you share what you have read, especially regarding whether these are the terms really being used by the government of Turkey.

Come on, … Tolerate? ... Deportation?...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Some interesting articles...

A couple of interesting articles popped up, so i thought i'd mention them:

The first two related to my commentary on the previous blog post:

Pluralism Armenia style: Ruling coalition denies major rift as its members row (from ArmeniaNow)

Armenia’s Political Situation Might Be Favorable For Ex-President’s Return To Big Politics (HyeMedia from ArmeniaNow)

And for the record, I would like to make this article easily accessible, some of us may want to find it in the future:

2008 Elections were Falsified, Extraordinary Elections Could be Too: Armenian Revolutionary Federation MP

The last one is from Zaman via Hetq:

Commentary: The Armenian Genocide and Disgrace written by Etyen Macupyan, who is a columnist at Today’s Zaman and an editor at Agos. An article with great depth, and breadth - as far as i'm concerned, anyone uttering the terms Genocide and/or Recognition, should read this article. Even if you don't agree, you should know WHY you don't agree.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hopefully every Flow will have an Ebb, and Kocharyan will go with that Ebb

Just the other day, Oskanyan (of the Kocharyan and previously the LTP governments, and now of Civilitas fame) gave an interview to A1plus and Capital papers, the a1plus video is available online, as are articles written about it (lragir tert).
A1plus then went to HHK Chair Razmik Zohrabyan, and asked him what he had to say about Oskanyan's interview (article has video). I dont know if a1plus knew what to expect, but both interviews have some great segments, and the combination is outstanding. I'll try to keep it to the true gems, but there's lots in there to work with.

Let's start with Oskanyan. As Zohrabyan points out in his interview, and many have pointed out to to date, Oskanyan manages to act, with a straight face I might add, as though he has nothing to do with the present regime, how it came to be, and the policies it is continuing and fulfilling now. His selective memory as the great objective benevolent ethicist allows him the following conversation with the interviewer (I)(paraphrased, starting at 16:15):

I: What can be done in this situation, by the people, to change the situation. If the number of people protesting starts growing at all, they are not only beaten, but they may also be fired upon- we have seen that. What is the way out, what are the options, how do we move forward?

Oskanyan: I have given a general ideological framework about that. Those involved have to think about that... We all have to think about that. I do not have a formula for that. But I know that this cannot continue this way, something has to change. I have hope that, in the end, we will be able to find a way...

So, Mr. Oskanyan, what is it that you are doing to help the people achieve that change? Did making Kocharyan's announcements for him on television in March, 2008, help progress? Or was it the watering of your eyes, or did you say you shed tears, for what happened? Have you worked to free the political prisoners in Armenia, and I have not seen it? Have you been busy defending those who are being rendered homeless on Byuzant street, right by your office on Northern Avenue, because I have not seen that either. Or maybe you are visiting the youth in the hospital when they are beaten by the police and cadres of Bazaz?

And before I move on (since I promised to be short-winded) I can't resist this one - the Tert article quotes Oskanyan as calling the regime change of 1998 "A coup." If it was a coup, why were you part of it for ten years, or even one minute?

On to Mr. Zohrabyan. He actually does quite a good job in commenting on Oskanyan, and being surprised at just how easily Oskanyan is able to distance himself, in just 2 years, from a regime he worked with for 10 years. Oskanyan was a "teammmate," he notes. These policies, this framework of action on NK and related affairs in general, were built by a team which included Kocharyan and Oskanyan - why is Oskanyan criticizing them now?

Mr. Zohrabyan, however, seems to live in another reality. The events of March 1, 2008 were "minor clashes." You see, he explains, this type of things happens all around the world, and opposition and government blame each other, and there are unnecessary victims, but no one ever knows the truth - Smooth, Mr. Zohrabyan! And things in Armenia, they're just fine (quotes from a1plus):

“I see no grounds for a power change. Moreover, I see no political crisis in the country while Oskanian says the moment for a power change has matured. Thanks God, the minor clashes of March 1, 2010 are left behind,” said Razmik Zohrabyan.

“I cannot understand what Mr. Oskanian is displeased with. Why should our teammate raise the issue of power change?”

These two do seem to be at odds with each other, but in the end, I don't see either of them as being in touch with the reality most Armenians in Armenia are living each day.

But to get back to the "at odds" business. Word has it that Oskanyan has always been close to Kocharyan, as is, by the by, Dodi Gago. And talk of a Kocharyan return has ebbed and flowed since he left. And recently, Dodi Gago was quite critical of this regime, as now was Oskanyan. And the ARF, close to Kocharyan since they both sold out to each other during his first term, continues their half-hearted criticism (though this is no surprise). And Armenian Times recently published a piece about an argument between Kocharyan and Sargsyan. And lets not forget Kocharyan's recent international travels.

One has to wonder if at some point, the flow will happen, with no ebb, and keep going - and we will wake up and Kocharyan will have some government position...

[pics are from a1plus]

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Congrats to HZH

Haykakan Zhamanak (aka Armenian Times) now has many of its articles in English and Russian as well!
For those who don't know, this is just about as oppositionist (and therefore persecuted) as papers in Armenia come. The editor-in-chief, Nikol Pashinyan, is a political prisoner today in Armenia due to his very active and vocal role in the opposition to Serge Sargsyan during the February 2008 presidential elections. He has a long history of being both loathed and feared by the regime, however, as his first daily newspaper "Oragir" was also shut down, and he was a founding member of the political movement "Alternative," which became part of the "Impeachment" bloc. He continued to write in the period after March 1, 2008, while he was in hiding, and continues to write from prison even to this day.

Recently, the newspaper itself was fined for publishing a piece about former President Kocharyan's son - another attempt to harass and intimidate that most journalists in Armenia have become very familiar with by now.

And it would seem that much of the staff of Armenian Times is politically active, as reading the news, I often run into interviews or statements by others from Armenian Times. Though I'm not sure which is more frequent, the interviews, or how often the police harass, beat and detain the youth who are politically active and have ties to the paper.

The more information that more people can read, the harder it becomes to hide from the truth.

[picture is the logo from HZH website]

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Remind me why we need another church

One of the new issues that has come up is the plan to demolish one of the main cinemas in Yerevan, and build a new church.
Unzipped has posted two great posts, in Armenian and English, with the relevant information, as well as a video.

There is also a petition that was started recently, all who agree are encouraged to sign, Petition Here

But, back to the video mentioned. It is an interview with Samvel Karapetyan, who is the head of an architectural society in Armenia. He makes a very, very, strong case, as to why we, we as in Armenians, and specifically, Yerevan, does not need yet another church.

And he goes further. That if the church cares so much for the people, for the wellbeing of Armenians, then they should help build them houses, feed people, build schools, waterways, ... He points out that there are thousands of ways of helping to care for and strengthen the nation, building churches is not the only way.

This point struck home for me, and I have touched on it a bit in the past in my posts, in regards to March 1, to present day problems in Armenia, and our history. I see how so many so-called leaders of the Church live, and I imagine how much they could do to truly better the nation. If, I suppose, it was in their best interest.

Honestly, I see these pictures, and just starting imagining how much wealth I see there,... and how much poverty I see in Armenia.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Charged for stealing dolma!

Pashinyan's case was just at the appeals court for the last two days. A1plus, HZH, and other sources have some articles, and RFE/RL has some snippets of the court proceedings. Fortunately, a1plus has also posted a couple of videos, from which I have transcribed/translated a few choice pieces... Why would I do this? Because Pashinyan has a way of distilling reality to fundamental truths and reason, without oversimplifying... and of finding humor in even the gravest injustices...

From a1plus article in English:

"I am charged with the murders that took place on March 1. Everyone knows that Robert Kocharyan gave the command to open fire on March 1. The government needed as much verdicts for March 1 as possible. Serzh Sargsyan didn't collect as much votes during the February 19 elections as the verdicts on March 1 were reached.”
"According to the verdict against me, I am the commander of Commanders Sasun Mikayelyan, Myasnik Malkhasyan and Hakob Hakobyan. That is a great honor for me, but such a formulation is ridiculous."

From the March 5 19:00 RFE/RL broadcast:

"Why are the ten victims included in the judgements against me? If this is part of the judgement against me, then Gor Kloyans father should not be sitting in the back rows of the courtroom, but rather he should be a plaintiff in this case… as well as the families of the other victims…
Why is this in the sentence against me, and in the others being charged as well…
Three of the ten victims were killed as a result of police operations.
Why should I stand here in court today, and read about the death of the ten victims in the sentencing against me, about the victims of Robert Kocharyan and his ruling regime ; why should I read about the victims of Kocharyan’s murdering skinheads in my judgement?
Can anyone answer that question?"

"In the name of lawfulness, in the name of constitutional order, for the future of our children…
And in the name of having our children have a homeland where they can all stand equal before the law…
In the name of democracy, freedom of expression, of human rights,
I will struggle until the end, whether I am in freedom, or in prison."

And from the A1 plus video above:
“The police standing there knew why the people were standing there; the police understand that we were struggling for the future of all of our children”

Gor Kloyan's Father Sargis Kloyan, interjects into Pashinyan’s statement when Pashinyan begins to speak of the ruling authorities during March 1:
“The terrorists!… The scavenging animals! The scoundrel! The scum! The bandits! The masters of the crooks! I am the father of Gor Kloyan, victim of March 1… they fired on the people, on our children – the bandits!" At that point, Mr. Kloyan was escorted out of the courtoom...

Pashinyan continues:

"I think nobody can deny, especially the authorities, that during the past ten years, that they [the authorities] have used every means at their disposal to try have me join their, to put it bluntly, plundering brigade... They used every means you could think of… They brought criminal charges against me, they tried to bribe me, they tried to blackmail me; they did everything to try to get me to join their plundering ranks… They are plundering the country with each other, let them plunder… And having been unable to reach their goal, they are coming and accusing me of having broken some glass to steal some dolma…"

There is a lot more, hopefully i'll get a chance to post it soon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Our sons stood in the streets...

Today was March 1. And, I have to admit, I was somewhat finger-tied on what to write. Not that I have nothing to say on the matter, but rather, too much to say.
But what do I have to say, that has not already been said, that is not so obvious and clear?
But as I listened to RFE/RL (21:00 broadcast), I heard the statement of the mother of one of the victims of March 1, here it is in English:

Our sons stood outside with you in the streets, to stand for and support their votes… to establish a lawful and free country…
I am convinced that what we wanted would have come to fruition, if this guilty government, in order to save its position and wealth, without any conscience or sense of responsibility, had not opened fire on our children in the center of the city, if they had not spilled their blood… No one gave these unlawful authorities the right to fire upon our children.
We will struggle, until the last murderer and those from above who gave the orders, those from the lowest to the highest levels, stand before justice….
The March 1 page HAS not closed, it WILL not be closed…

An online chat I had with a friend while listening to the radio reminded of certain truths, truths that are important to all who claim to want international human rights, freedoms, and justice, whether they be the oligarchs of the Republic of Armenia, PACE, western governments, or other entities:

-The events of March 1 were not just an unfortunate occurrence of accidental police/army power

-The pro-SS/RK forces silenced and beat voices in their opposition prior to the election

-The pro-SS/RK forces planned and carried out mass falsification of the February 2008 Presidential Elections in Armenia

-Days in advance, the SS/RK government issued an order to attack peaceful protesters: an attack which resulted in the physical beating, harassment, imprisonment, and deadly shooting, of peaceful protesters

-Immediately after the elections, the international community blatantly denied the injustices which they knew had occurred

-To this day, the international community not only has not come out strongly against the elections and violence of the presidential elections, with PACE only recently having recognized the events as a probable ("bears the characteristics of a") Coup d'Etat, but the western community uses said events as leverage against the Armenian government, compromised in its illegitimacy, to negotiate and pressure the Armenian government in other, nationally critical international affairs.

-And among the most important, the Republic of Armenia continues to this day to:
- intimidate and beat its own citizens, including youth, and to oppress their
civil and human rights
- hold political prisoners
- silence opposition media
- produce illegal obstacles, both physical and other, to the existence and growth
of a healthy opposition

The government of Armenia has failed to investigate the events of March 1, the violence and murders of that time, and has tried only to hide the truth of these events, and pass these events into a forgotten history of the Armenian people.

These are undeniable truths.

March 1 will not be forgotten.

The March 1 page is NOT closed.

[Picture is a still from the a1plus video from March 1 2010 march)