Thursday, April 22, 2010

Some basic arithmetic might help

A week or two ago there was an HAK statement regarding the 180 degree turn police took while the FIDH conference was going on. In an attempt to make the police and authorities of Armenia appear to have a developed sense of Human Rights and Democracy, the demonstration and march had a minimal police presence, with no provocations or violent actions. But what it really highlighted boils down to simple arithmetic (maybe some basic algebra is involved):

(1) Police + demonstrators = demonstration + altercations/violence
(as 2 years of demonstrations have shown us)

(2) Demonstrators = demonstration + (- altercations/violence)
(quantity negative/lack of altercations and violence)

If we do the subtraction, we are left with

(3) Police = altercations/violence

But is this really the case? Is this mathematical finding true? Let’s add some recent and past events. I won’t list them, but just a quick stroll through any of the papers or blogs, or Human Rights reports for that matter, shows what seem to be endless lists of police and red berets beating, punching (with brass knuckles at times), pushing, kidnapping, and opening fire on demonstrators. In addition to Levon Gulyan’s apparently curious and accidental death while in police custody, now there is the case of Vahan Khalafyan, who somehow obtained bruises and knife marks on his body and two (assumed) fatal stab wounds to his belly, also while in police custody. His friends were luckier, and were only beaten and threatened with sexual assault. Now, Police Chief Alik Sargsyan said right away that this was suicide, and that there was absolutely no torture involved (how he knew so quickly is unclear). As Alik Sargsyan pointed out, why would you torture someone if they have already confessed (see hnazarian). But just yesterday a policeman was arrested for possibly forcing him to commit suicide (which is just nauseating – see unzipped). Police presence alone is associated with violence. Now, the police themselves don’t understand why anyone would have this impression, as Bazaz so kindly pointed out (see my last post).

So independently of the equations above, we arrive at:

(4) Police=Altercations/Violence

We could even add on a little here. As HAK pointed out, the police are basically the minions of the oligarchs and authorities. And what do the bosses of the police do when left to their own? The same thing. Take last weekend – two gangs basically had a shoot-out. But they weren’t just any gangs, they were actually members of two different political parties. And according to at least one source, it seems at least one high up government official was there too, though it is being denied. And this most recent skirmish was not the only one. So, as the police are actors of the authorities, it makes sense that:

(5) Authorities=Altercations/Violence

And in the end it all fits together. Whether we subtract out equation (2) from equation (1) and get (3), or look at (4) and (5) which were arrived at independently with independent data, we arrive at the same conclusion. It is the police presence, the actors of the authorities, which bring violence. Not the demonstrators, not the

Not that we didn’t all know this already. The manipulative and violent tactics of the current regime, as well as the desperate measures it is willing to take to buy time while they are in their current quagmire. Unfortunately, it is Human Rights and Democracy in Armenia, and most importantly, the people of Armenia , who have paid the price thus far.

And many in the West who purport to stand for Human Rights and Democracy, used this to their own political ends, and supported and trusted Sargsyan. But now they know the truth firsthand. The top story on rfe/rl today is "Armenia Stall Turkey Deal."

I wonder what comes next…

N.B. But, according to Oskanyan, the main problems in Armenia are the economic and political monopolies. Not lack of Human Rights, Police Violence, or any of that. Wow. At least mention it in there, somewhere, Mr. Oskanyan.

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