Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Arsinee Khanjian: Open Letter to the Armenian Diaspora

The response below was not published by Massis Post even though it was send via their article submission page and directly to its editor. This response was in reaction to an article in Massis Post entitled Arsinee Khanjian: Open Letter to the Armenian Diaspora.. Freedom of expression is demanded in Armenia, but California-based Massis Post seems to have another policy.

Arsinee Khanjian: Open Letter to the Armenian Diaspora

David Davidian
September 29, 2016

In 1968, John Lennon wrote in a song, “You say you got a real solution, well, you know we'd all love to see the plan”. This refrain in one form or another has been heard throughout human history. The solution to Armenia's problems as enacted by the Pre or Founding Parliament group was to attack a police station, kill Armenian policemen, and take Armenian medical and negotiator personnel hostage. This was the operational definition of their “plan”. I would not want any of these people and their “plans” governing Armenia. Not only has this group been completely discredited, they achieved nothing politically. This is worse than bad planning; it is not an expression of human rights advocacy, and, moreover, does not demonstrate a path to replacing the existing plutocracy in Armenia. To the contrary, it became the group's political suicide.

The naive among us, especially diaspora Armenians, erroneously viewed and justified this armed action as political protest. It was not! It was a crime scene, just as it would be a crime scene if an armed group attacked a police station in downtown Toronto. At the scene, people milled around, taking photos and yelling (including at the police) in support of the armed actions. These people would be considered violators of police lines or even co-conspirators in many cities in the democratic “west”. I was in Boston when the Tsarnaev brothers were running through east Watertown, Massachusetts. I assure all readers here that any overt public expression of support for the marathon bombers would have resulted in immediate arrest. Anybody who dared leave their house would immediately be apprehended by the police in east Watertown. It was indeed a police state lock-down. Yet, when the equivalent takes place in Armenia, everybody's human rights is claimed violated, the government is faulted unequivocally for everything, and its elimination demanded.

I am sure it was humiliating for Arsinee Khanjian to both be arrested by the Yerevan police and not be recognized as a Canadian-Armenian actress. However, this is not a movie scene, it is reality. Reality must take into account the possibility of getting what one wishes for. I, for one, do not wish for an armed group to dictate the future of the state of Armenia. One need only view how the overthrow of the Shah of Iran by secular revolutionaries was usurped by a theocracy. Yes, the Shah was overthrown, the wish granted!

If one thinks critically about the two-week standoff, minus all the romantic notions, a leading hypothesis explaining the event is that it both enabled Armenia to suspend further negotiations with Azerbaijan and to discredit the Pre or Founding Parliament group and its supporters. We do not know if this was planned by the Armenian government or not; however, the results speak much louder than this armed group purportedly representing Armenia's salvation.

To address those who will inevitably claim I am nothing but a lackey for the current Armenian government, I am not. This is just as incorrect as claiming that Arsinee Khanjian supports armed attacks on police stations. I doubt she advocates attacking police stations in downtown Toronto.

Yerevan, Armenia

David Davidian lives in Armenia, is an Adjunct Lecturer at the American University of Armenia, and a former Technical Intelligence Analyst for major international IT firms.