Sunday, November 7, 2010

Serzh-like attacks, or, Attacks a la Serzh

[pic borrowed from] Recently there were reports of Pashinyan being harassed and attacked in prison. He is basically being pressured, nay, told, to stop writing, and the regime is using just about everything they can think of to try to stop him, as throwing him in jail has clearly not worked. In fact, the regime is subcontracting out to the those who can get to him while he is in prison, other prisoners.
I don't remember hearing of these attacks during the first bit of his imprisonment, but we've now had reports of a few such incidents - this is the second or third, or maybe even fourth? I'll have to start keeping actual track. The most recent one was November 3rd, and there were some mixed messages in the news about what happened. Pashinyan wrote a piece on it on November 5 in Armenian Times, however, and there seems to be a promise of more writing to come on this topic. Below is my unofficial, somewhat coarse but hopefully understandable translation:

Serzh-like Attacks

Once again, the public received information regarding yet another incident organized against me at Kosh penitentiary. I will say right off, that the news does correspond to the reality of what happened, and what took place provides a good opportunity to explain more completely the incidents involving my person which have occurred up until this point at Kosh.

1. Here, my friend, a flag for you

The most recent incident took place in the evening of November 3rd. Those among the inmates who had the reputation of being ‘soldati’ were involved in the operation. The ‘soldati,’ as I already mentioned, are inmates with different assignments. They receive various assignments to use force, and then carry them out. The acts of violence and intimidation which are committed against the other inmates are carried out through these individuals

The operation began in approximately the following way: first, under various pretexts, potential eyewitnesses were removed from around my sleeping area, the entrances and exits were closed, and one individual came forward as a representative of the criminal world and began demanding answers from me in an aggressive tone, asking why I do not behave like a normal inmate. With a restrained hardness I countered by asking him to explain exactly to which pretenses he was referring. That is, what was it I was being accused of, if anything, and what was being asked of me, if anything. As I expected, what he had to say was unclear and vague. Many worthy people do not find my published, articles, my political activities, or my general behavior to be pleasing. Naturally, I said that I am not ready to discuss my articles, my journalistic and political activities, regardless of whether they are “worthy” individuals or unworthy. Having understood that the conversation could not continue with this theme, the noted head ‘soldat’ of the operation changed his tactics and uttered an extremely important sentence, “Haven’t you been told to take that flag down from there?” Dear reader, I ask you to pay close attention so that you can imagine fully the situation. The quoted statement of the head ‘soldat’ refers to the flag of the Republic of Armenia- red, blue and apricot-colored. But not a big flag, but a small, souvenir-sized one. It measures six by twelve centimeters.

I have hung this type of flag in my sleeping area, above my head, for the entire time I have been in prison, at “Yerevan-Kentron” penitentiary, “Nubarashen” penitentiary, and now at “Kosh” penitentiary. The ‘soldat’ was right; during a prior incident the attacking brigade had demanded that I get rid of the flag and that I not put it anywhere visible. The justification for this is not available, you will take it down and that is that, if you do not take it down, it will be bad. The last similar conversation had taken place about one month prior, and my flag has not been down for even one second. And so, with the organizers of the November 3rd incident having nothing concrete to say to me, they then aimed their activities at the flag, at the flag of the Republic of Armenia, demanding that it be taken down immediately, and never be put up again. Naturally, my response was unequivocal, and without question the flag had to stay above my head. It was on this topic that the conversation became more strained, and the head ‘soldat’ attacked me. As happens in such situations, a large number of people had gathered near my sleeping area, and it was hard to tell who was friends with whom. And despite the fact that the officers of the penitentiary come running and gather like flies at every inmate’s every sneeze, for the approximately fifteen minutes during which there was yelling and loud conversation, not a single officer showed up. The story ended with a “hesitant scuffle,” and the sides maintained their positions. The opposing side insisted that I no longer write articles in the newspaper, and that I must take down the flag of the Republic of Armenia from above my head. You now read an article which was written after the abovementioned incident, and the flag of the RA continues to hang above my head. And that is how it will always be.

P.S. In upcoming chapters I will reflect on other incidents that have occurred to me at “Kosh” and conversations about them that are circulating outside.


Anonymous said...

FYI: Pashinyan's article translated into English first posted here:

For future reference, you can check for Nikol Pashinyan coverage in English, Armenian and Russian ;)

tzitzernak2 said...

I had checked but not found it - would have saved me a lot of time!
Oh well ;)