Sunday, December 5, 2010

C'mon boys! Orders are in, let's move out! Don't forget the batons!

Time and time again there are scuffles when police mix with peaceful protesters in Armenia. It happened again at the rally organized in Ijevan, demanding the security and release of political prisoner Nikol Pashinyan.
When there are no police, there is a peaceful demonstration. When the police are there, things escalate to pushing and pulling and other such scuffles, and even more. And when the order given from up on high so demands, we have events like March 1.
But why does it even get to the point in the picture, where the police are walking up ahead of peaceful protesters, batons in hand - and some of the police actually look baton-happy.

The police, the single individual low-level policeman, is in a 'tough' spot. He wants a job and security. To start out, he's (the vast majority of the time) clearly not going to be a man with strong principles of human rights or pacifism. So he justifies to himself how and why he takes the job. Maybe he learns to like the power, as do many in positions of physical and 'legal' authority. But then he faces his own citizens, maybe his own neighbor or someone he knows, or his kid's friend's father protesting in the street. He sees those people taking risks he did not, standing for things he does not, and yelling things like "Amot [shame]."

What is our new friend to do? Will he refuse orders given to him by the likes of Bazaz? Will he follow orders, no matter what?

He will turn to see what the others in his group are doing - we are, after all, pack animals. And if even just a few are following orders, so will he. And once he makes that decision, it becomes hard for him to turn back, and every further act of peace, every next "Amot" makes him angrier. Because, really, who wants to be made to feel guilty?

And so batons come out, and orders are followed.

That is where the violence starts. In the police, in the regime. It starts there when scuffles start at rallies, and it started in the police and the regime on March 1.

There are more batons than those circled in the picture above, they're just not visible in this shot, which is a still from Gagik Shamshyan's video on, with the corresponding article (similar article in eng on a1plus).

The article has a bunch of photos, and here's another still from the video.

If you look closely, you'll the see head policeman has a phone in his hand. He just got his orders, and now he's excited to move into the people. The beta-wolf got his orders from the alpha-wolf, and the pack is ready to move out!

My apologies to the few policemen, if any, who may actually be clean, civil, and human rights driven. My absolute commendation to those who have refused orders which they found to be unethical. Perhaps not in the police force, but we do know what happens to those who try to maintain an ethical code within the army. My condolences to their families.

P.S. This is in ABSOLUTELY NO way a justification or excuse for police behavior, just as studies such as the Milgram experiments and the Stanford Prisoner Experiment do not justify war atrocities carried out by soldiers.

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