Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What a great invitation...

One of Pashinyan's most recent pieces is an open invitation to Armenia's Ombudsman to come visit him in the Nubarashen Penitentiary for a discussion. The piece, not surprisingly, is full of wit, satire, and irony. But mostly an incredible wit.

The only further comment I will make is for clarification purposes. "Dollar Armen" is the well known nickname of Armen Harutyunyan, who is the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia. Comments and references which bring this into question directly or indirectly in Pashinyan's article are stylistic or for effect, not true questioning. Interestingly enough, until a friend clarified for me, I thought he had earned the nickname due to what some have observed - the progressive increase in quality and presumed price of his suits since after March, 2008. So, in my eyes, at least as reliable as such observations and information are, he's earned the nickname twice, if not thrice. Since, as an Ombudsman, while he has made some moderately strong comments here or there, he's left more unsaid, than said.

And now, without further ado...

Let me see, Now
I wasn’t there, but the brother-in-law of my friend’s nephew, who is the mechanic of one of the carousels located at Monument, once heard a visitor at the carousel recounting to another: during an interview on Shant TV, Nver Mnatsakanyan asked RA Human Rights defender Armen Harutyunyan if there were political prisoners in Armenia. Human rights defender Armen Harutyunyan replied, in an arrogant tone, that of course there were not. This information is supported by another source— by the husband of the aunt of my other friend’s brother-in-law. That means that Armen Harutyunyan really made the statement. So now, when the ombudsman has assumed the responsibility of declaring that there are no political prisoners in Armenia, I find myself asking: Then who am I? Why am I in the “Nubarashen” penitentiary? And then sometimes, when I think about the ombudsman’s statement, I can’t help but wonder: Is it possible that I am a criminal or a swindler? Is it possible that I was once a lecturer and accepted bribes from my students to give them a good grade; and, because I didn’t trust the local currency I accepted bribes in Dollars only, which is why students dubbed me Dollar Armen? Try as I have, I can’t recall that kind of episode in my life, and as far as I remember, Dollar Armen refers to an entirely different person. I wonder where the person known as Dollar Armen is nowadays. Could he be in the cell next to mine? But as far as I was able to determine, there is no such person as Dollar Armen either in the cell next to mine, or in the one facing me or, for that matter, in any other cell, although many here would not mind it if Dollar Armen shows up in their cells, as a prisoner. They say they want to talk to him. But until such time as justice in Armenia reaches Dollar, let’s not digress from our theme. Our theme is human rights defender Armen Harutyunyan’s declaration that there are no political prisoners in Armenia. If Armen Harutyunyan is so convinced that there are no political prisoners in Armenia, then I invite him to meet with me at the “Nubarashen” penitentiary and explain my verdict to me; to enlighten me on the crime I have committed for which I am now in the Nubarashen penitentiary almost as a convict. I will pose only legal questions concerning my verdict, my legal case, the understanding of a political prisoner. But there is one condition: I have no time for pointless drivel and my talk with Armen Harutyunyan, the question and answer session between us would have to be recorded. The human rights defender should agree to the conditions and make sure that the recording will indeed take place. Then, our discussion should appear in the newspapers and the actual recording would be posted on the internet. If he agrees to these conditions then I would really invite him to such an important discussion. Oh, before I forget, I am busy today and tomorrow. So the earliest I can receive the human rights defender is Friday afternoon. In the meantime, I would like to ask those who have information about Dollar Armen to leave a message on my website or to send the information to the following address: Office of the Human Rights Defender, 56a Pushkin St., Yerevan. I think the RA human rights defender will offer a generous reward to all those who will help him reveal the identity of Dollar Armen.


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