Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ahhhhh the Elections!!!

Well it seems that Levon's poetry muse has packed up and left town; for which I am thankful to all the holy deities that exist. Since now we can concentrate on some serious issues, like the parliamentary elections in Armenia and the opposition's role in it.

I know I said serious issues, but here I go and talk about the Armenian opposition, oximoronic isn't it? Yes ladies and gentleman our opposition is as serious about itself as Brittney Spears is serious about marriage. Levon justifies their actions by saying that they are "hamar" or stubborn, I disagree. They are not stubborn, they are greedy, self indulged, inept, corrupt, "me first" individuals. None of them deserve to become a president, since none of them really care about the people and their problems (well maybe Raffi does, but who are we kidding here folks that guy has no chance). These guys care so much about gaining power that they forgot to at least present some kind of a running platform. You know if I want to vote for someone I also want to know WHY am I voting for that person. These guys did not give me a single reason to vote for them, none. They have no publicly announced plans for decreasing joblessness in Armenia (the most important issue for Armenia today), they have no such plans for the Karabakh issue, for health care, for emigration, and pretty much any other important issues.
Now this does not mean that they don't have plans at all, they do, personal ones. For example Demirjyan Jr. (I have great respect for his father BTW, God bless his soul) is like a character from a bad B movie; you know son sees his father 's brutal death and promises to avenge his father's death, NO MATTER WHAT. Sarksyan also can very well be from that bad B movie, but this guy is here to avenge his brothers brutal death. These two basically are running for presidency in order to get the real masterminds behind the parliament hostage takeover (to be honset official investigation was more than unsatisfactory), where these two lost their relatives, and Kocharyan very conviniently lost two of his biggest rivals. I love Artashes Geghamyan's plan; he runs for the presidency because he wants to be president. Does not get any simpler than this folks, these guys put their personal needs before the needs of the people, just like the current bunch in the power. So a question arises; Why should the people change the ruling elite if the new comers are not going to bring anything new?

Although to be honest I have to give them credit for one thing, honesty about their ambitions. These guys are not shy about their ambitions, they want to become president, they want it now, and they don't want to share any power with anybody, and they make this crystal clear anytime there is a microphone pointing their way, brilliant.

Folks Armenia needs a benevolent dictator, a guy who walks softly but carries a big stick, a strict teacher type, a guy with an iron fist wrapped in a soft fabric, call it whatever you want, we need somebody who cares about the Armenian people and their future and is ready and willing to put the hard work, that requires to achieve that goal; the current leaders don't fit this profile, neither does the so called opposition.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Typical Armenian Politics

I haven't written about politics in a while, and with Armenia's parliamentary elections coming up in May I felt compelled to discuss it but I didn't come across anything noteworthy until now.

A recent article by Armenialiberty,

It talks about the reasons why the Armenian opposition failed to coaelesce in contesting May's elections. Since the situation is a bit complex, allow me to provide a brief context of the big players:

Raffi Hovannisian-former foreign minister of Armenia. Head of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) Party. Outspoken member of the opposition.

Stepan Demirchian-son of the Soviet era Armenia leader, Karen Demirchian (also former presidential candidate in 1998 and later speaker of the National Assembly, was assasinated along with Vasken Sargsyan). Stepan is the leader of the People's Party of Armenia.

Artarutyun (Justice) Alliance-The main opposition block. Made up of several parties, including Stepan Demirchian's people's party. Recently disbanded.

Vazgen Manukian-head of National Democratic Union.

Aram Sarkisian-Former Prime Minister. Head of the Republic Party (not RepubliCAN party, these are the guys in power). Brother of Vazgen Sargsyan (former Prime Minister, assasinated).

This is just a portion of all the members of the opposition, as you can see there are so many parties, which makes it obvious for them to join, right? Well, this is when things get complicated.

Last week talks between opposition parties commenced with Aram Sarkisian initiating them. The goal was to form an alliance, and it failed. Manukian's National Democratic Union announced that it will boycott the elections, Stepan Demirchian said he's going at it alone, and poor Raffi Hovannisian was left preaching to deaf ears about how he wished an alliance could be made. Recently an aide to Demirchian said that the main reason why the parties couldn't join forces was that Demirchian wanted to be the chief presidential candidate in next year's election. Similar accusations were made of Raffi Hovannisian, who denied them. So where does this leave us? It seems like Hovannisian was earnest in his efforts, he was ready to cede five spots on the opposition bloc to other parties. The main problem was Demirchian's presidential aspirations. I really hate to say this, and it's soooooo trite now, but the situation warrants it... the opposition was being too Armenian, inad, it whatever you want, too many ppl wanting to be the chief or in this case one guy trying to use a situation to help him become the chief. It's quite humorous, but in the end it's unfortuante. That being said, I just hope that May's elections be fair, and not just because it's the way it should be, but because Armenia has a lot at stake riding on these elections. Armenia's future with MCC aid will be dependent on them having transparent elections and let's not forget the Karabagh talks being on hold until after May. So hopefully there won't be a cloud of fairplay this spring.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Armenian Drama and some more on Pasadena

Last Saturday I went to a play put on by the AGBU Ardavazt Theater Company, it's a chill small amateur group that performs plays a couple of times a year. Their current production is Կորսուած նամակ մը, or "The lost letter."

The play isn't a straightforward comedy, it's a satire, or երգիծանք. It's an adapted screenplay originally written by Ion Caragiale, a Romanian. It's a clever take on politics, corruption, and personal relationships that underlie it all. Quite interesting but since I'm more used to the comedies I didn't enjoy it as much, it was a little too subtle. But now after a week the play's themes have really settled in. The interpretation worked because the themes used can easily apply to Armenians today and in this sense it was a great work of social criticism.

My thesis project is going slowly. I have to compose a 30 page paper by the end of June and so far I have only interviewed two sources, so that's money. I have to get more in the next couple of weeks, hopefully get at least 6-8 substantial ones, quite frustrating. There are so many dimensions that it's hard to focus on which one, but the my main concern is with the church. It's amazing how a community can just get together and build something that sustains themselves, a self preserving mechanism if you will. Yet at the same time there are other topics such as relations with neighbors, internal struggles, and evolution of identity. I think my problem is not so much coming up with material.... I have plenty of that, I just need to substantiate it with sources. My main problem is gathering up all of the different portions of my topic and bringing it together.

Take 70s for example. The Lebanese Civil War hit and an influx of Armenians came to America, where do they go? Well, Armenians attract other Armenians, so California was a big target. Pasadena had a good community going, so a lot decide to move there. But they run into the already existing Armenian American community, who have a different perception of Armenian identity. This ultimately leads to a clash. So this dynamic can be like one section of my paper. It also presents a good take on assimilation.

Then you have the relocation of St. Gregory. This event shows how the Armenians coelesced for a common goal. It also is a testament to the growing number of Armenians in Pasadena.

I look forward to completing this project, as it will help me understand my people. But it also presents a fascinating topic, but difficult to grasp due to its enormity.