Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Liberty Square freed, and now, a circus...

This is where we are now.
Instead of celebrating the liberation of Liberty Square, we're watching HHK mock the opposition; its painful and that's an understatement. I kept waiting to write, hoping things would calm down. But they're not calming down. And what we have is a theatre. A joke where HHK is literally sitting back and laughing at the opposition, at Heritage, at HAK, and just laughing at the arguing between them, and literally asking them to unite, just for more kicks and giggles. Whatever the cause of this drama, where reporting and focus on the true criminals of the regime is overshadowed by the obsession about a "snubbing," whatever the cause, it has to stop.

That's the short version.

I've had many thoughts other than that. I don't know if its worth it anymore to write them down, but since they keep swimming around in my head, I may as well.

First, as I noted above, we should be celebrating the re-entry into Liberty Square (and we would be if it weren't for this other drama). It is an ENORMOUS step, a great success, thanks to the hard work of many for so many years. I know some think that Raffi Hovannisyan's hunger strike there paved the way. I dont have all of the information, but I tend to think that this is not the case. A huge success, and a huge thank you, at least on my part, to those who made it happen.

This leads to a question I have had for a while, that I have discussed with numerous friends, and still have - what to do once the opposition is in Liberty Square? What to do, what to do... And after much thought and discussion, what I realized is that I think that there generally are/were two options -

1)Once Liberty Square is occupied, it becomes a stronghold for a revolution. Perhaps violent, perhaps bloody, perhaps fruitful, perhaps not.

2)once Liberty square is occupied, it becomes a symbol of success for slow change. Perhaps too slow for some. Perhaps fruitful, perhaps not. But non-violent.

Some say that nothing positive or no real change has ever come of revolutions - I've seen a lot of that on numerous sites (FB, twitter, news/blogs), especially since the massive upheaval that started with Tunisia. But I think it can be stepping stone. To think that revolution is an end in and of itself is naive, but to think that it can allow a partial tabula rasa (if you can have such a thing) from which to rethink, redesign, re-form and reform, is probably true. And while the change-over is fast, when (and if) the actual desired end-product, the desired type of government and society, is actually achieved, could be a long time off. In the meantime, there is usually a lot of violence and bloodshed.

Slow change is just that, slow, possibly painstakingly slow. Perhaps requiring political pressure, negotiations, and a number of small shifts rather than a big jump. There is no guarantee as to the end point, if it will happen, or how long it will take.

It seems to me that, despite the misrepresentations of some journals (including a recent article by the Washington Post) and some political parties, such as the ARF, LTP and HAK want the latter. Nonviolent, a velvet, soft, revolution, and if necessary, slow, as it were. In fact, if LTP wanted violence and revolution, he could have had it in 2008, and many times since. But such political behavior is not his modus operandi, he does not want to be the leader of a violent revolution. But where does that leave him, and HAK, and so much of the opposition?

Well, it seems to have gotten them this far: many (but far from all) of the political prisoners are out, Liberty Square is free. Yes, its been 3 years, but it has been bloodless, and now fruitful.

As to the Raffi Hovannisyan/Zharangutyun - LTP/HAK issue:
I have my opinions, obviously. Suffice it to say, for now, that justified or not, its sad that once again the opposition cannot cooperate. Justified or not. Any further ramblings of mine at this time add only to the ongoing circus.

And in the meantime, Pashinyan still can't get letters out. Here is a press conference given by his lawyer:

There are a number of articles in English and Armenian on numerous sites, including epress, for those interesting in more details.

The next demonstration is on April 8th. I'm sure the news media will be covering. Follow on twitter or facebook if you're so inclined.

Addendum: While I'm not going to delve into my thoughts on the RH-LTP issue for now, I can't help but add that titles such as the one given by ArmeniaNow to an article about the ongoing circus, are not only in poor taste, misrepresentations (potentially intentional), and false, but just downright poor journalism. If i tell a friend that slow and steady wins a race, referring to the Aesop's fable of the tortoise and the hare, it doesn't mean I'm telling him he should grow a shell and turn green, and predicting that he will outrun a furry rabbit. Be biased, but stick to a representation somewhere in this galaxy, please.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LTP couild have avoided all this squabbling by merely recognizing Raffi in the Square on March 17th. If you want to point to poor political planning, lok no further than the inbred egoism and imperial ambitions of the HAK leader.

I would go further and argue that LTP needs to step aside for the good of the movement. Let him stay on the sidelines as an "advisor" or something.

He is a sent figurehead that accomplished little to engage the masses during the three years since March 1, 2008.

People shouting "Levon for President" at the HAK rallies are looking for a savior rather than wanting to confront the regime in their daily lives.

This ain't grassroots democracy.

Maybe LTP does see himself as a god-like savior who has been dent from on-high to save the masses.

How else can you explain his theological argument for snubbing Raffi?