Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Anti-ARFism

Garen Yegparian
Garen Yegparian

Garen Yegparian

BY GAREN YEGPARIAN

It seems like the Soviet Era is reaching out from the grave and grabbing the Republic of Armenia. The level and style of ARF criticism is very reminiscent of those sad times. It is pathetic and, at best, unhelpful to the ongoing political development of the country’s polity.

The latest manifestation of this ridiculous stridency might be said to have begun with the attack on Hrant Markarian, the former ARF Bureau Reperesentative, while walking with his grandchildren. A participant in the fray was Vartan/Vardan Haroutiunian who incited the group of attackers to violence. This guy himself got beaten up a few days ago. Now, everyone is all a twitter about the ARF being a terrorist group. There have even been references to the Dro/Tro incident of the 1990s in which the RoA’s then president, Levon Der Bedrosian brought extremely inflated, if not patently false, charges against many ARF members as a means of eliminating the party as a political competitor.

These two examples alone ought to be enough to substantiate the Soviet flavor of the anti-ARF melee besetting the country. It was very popular for the Soviets to try to tarnish the ARF as a gun-wielding bunch of reckless terrorists. Levon Der Bedrosian is a product of the Soviet system and used what he had been taught against the ARF. So, when I encounter this faux-criticism of the ARF today, I recoil in disgust and concern for the country.

What makes it all worse is the unbelievable heights of hypocrisy achieved by the “criticisms” voiced against the ARF. At least some of the commentary stems form the fact that a few dozen ARF members reported to the police and asserted “I did it” in reference to the attack on Haroutiunian. This piece of political protest has been twistedly represented as “proof” that the ARF is violent and should be shunned.

Of course, the most obvious question that arises is: where were these voices of condemnation when Markarian’s attack was incited by Haroutiunian? Is not incitement to violence and battery just as contemptible as the actual act? Isn’t hate speech and incitement to violence prohibited and punishable in most modern countries?

Then we have the example of Nigol Pashinian’s chest thumping demand of law enforcement last summer to “lay them down on the asphalt”, referring to those he deemed culpable of releasing a surreptitiously taped phone conversation. Even worse, he repeated that comment (disguised in the form of saying “I don’t want to repeat what I said before about laying people down on the asphalt”) just a few days ago in the context of the fracas over the Markarian attack. Why is he not the target of the same anti-violence vitriol?

Also the examples are two incidents related to a newly formed political party, Adekvad, described in a piece by Ani Mejlumian as conservative. One of its prominent members, Narek Malian was attacked, in March, by a group of pro-Pashinian students. In May, a member of the Civil Contract party, Arthur Ispirian, claimed that members of Adekvad had attacked him. Where was the hue-and-cry over these acts of political violence?

The other telling, and recent, example of the anti-ARF hysteria being whipped up is a pair of public gatherings/rallies. One was called by Nigol Pashinian who demanded “the people” barricade courthouse entrances, the response to which was a few hundred people, cumulatively, showing up at different locations. The other was the ARF’s recent really calling on Pashinian to get serious, attended by some four or five thousand people. Not much was made of the meagre response to the prime minister’s call. Yet, using a picture of the ARF’s rally site taken BEFORE the gathering started, which shows only people setting up for the event, there is much ado about how “poorly” attended it was. Can anyone spell d-o-u-b-l-e s-t-a-n-d-a-r-d?

The double-standards and hypocrisy underlying the current criticism of the ARF is all the evidence needed to show that this is all just political jockeying, devoid of substance, and more discrediting of the critics than of the ARF. This is not to say that the ARF is perfect. Nor do I expect any group/party, especially the ARF that is so thoroughly engaged and active in the life of our nation, not to be criticized. But please, let’s be reasonable (if not constructive) when critiquing what any political actor does. Otherwise, we’ll descend into a cacophony of pointless, endless, and mutually destructive recrimination.

Those engaged in this type of anti-ARF criticism for its own sake, especially if they think they are helping Pashinian, are on the wrong path. They are discrediting the hope and possibilities of the movement that brought him to power.

Let’s all speak out against this type of political pseudo-discourse. Today, it’s the ARF, tomorrow it could be Pashinian, or someone else, who is the target.

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18 Comments

  1. MMM said:

    Can’t agree with you more. Excellent points. Unfortunately the political wisdom in RA lacks many fundamental concepts of nationalism and democracy. As you mentioned correctly some elements in the government are resorting to old soviet era attacks, which is typical of despair. Now that the ARF has new leadership and rank and file is uniting behind the newly elected Bureau, of course, the anti ARF elements are alarmed and I should say scared. ARF has popularity amongst Armenian people, sometimes more than other times. When people see a united party on the right path then it is a matter of time that they will throw their support behind the party. It is that foreign powers who like to exert their influence on the country do not like a nationalist party such as ARF gain popularity, it makes their work difficult. What baffles me that domestic powers act the same way as the foreign ones. Any national force who wants to defend the country and the people’s rights should be welcome by all powers in Armenia, that is the definition of collective force. Let’s hope one day they will also grasp this basic and powerful idea.

  2. Armen said:

    I think that Armenian‘s hatred of Kocharian and Sarkisian is so great that when the ARF sides with Kocharian they become an unavoidable target of hatred. I do criticize the ARF for siding so strongly with Kocharian.

    • ardachece barseghian said:

      Since the implosion of the Soviet system, our party has indeed badly posed the problem on the table, thus brings very bad answers. The doors opened to all kinds of dubious individuals, opportunists, with a framework coopte by a lax Office for small or bad political reasons, very far from the ideals of the party, ruining the hopes of the people who have been waiting for us since 80 years old. From grace, the herers of Monsieur AGHABALIAN must adapt the rules, the duties of the supporter has this new situation post Soviet rigorously, because the homeland is put in peril without the effective political implication, in the country, of our intellectuals of the diaspora, according to a clear strategy, strict methods and re-start without fear. What I have been waiting for 28 years having migrated to the country

  3. RA said:

    Instead of looking for excuses just admit that the ARF leaders in Armenia colobirated with the last criminal regime that nation just hated , and this is the result of that unwise and highly suspect policy !
    The public in Armenia hated the last regime , and ARF. Chose to bi in bed with them …
    instead of looking for excuses and hiding behind word games , it’s time that ARF owns up to its mistakes and reforms itself . That’s the only way that it stands any chance to capture the imagination of the Armenian people!
    This is not about ARF ! It never has been !
    Nation and its interests comes first and foremost!
    Using and abusing the legacy of yesterday years over and over again no longer sounds convincing to the people!
    It’s not WE , WE , WE … it’s about US!
    Can ARF finally get that ? Or that’s beyond the capacity of its new generation…
    Armenian people need new heroes!
    ARF failed in its mission in the new republic ! It wasted the political capital it had …
    No one is 100% , everyone makes mistake ! Mstart looking in the mirror and admit to the mistakes !
    Armenian people will forgive !
    It’s time for genuine reform !

    • Armen said:

      I agree with you 100 %. ARF Armenia is continuing to be against the mainstream Armenians and we in the Diaspora should stop whitewashing their policies.

    • Hye said:

      Garen, please take everything RA said with a grain of salt. And please be informed that most Armenians think the same as RA wrote(I was going to make a comment, but realized that I was going to write almost the same as RA wrote). Please communicate what caring Armenians demand of ARF.
      ARF was my hope for better Armenia back in 1980’s but not now. ARF is better than Robert Kocharyan, and ARF could prove it. ARF DID GO IN BED WITH OLIGARCIC system of Armenia, please ADMIT it. Please communicate what caring Armenians demand of ARF. Aram Manukyan was ARF member, we want ARF leaders to be like Aram.

    • ardachece barseghian said:

      I adhere totally to this analysis with the hope of a reconstruction in favor of the people, of the homeland

    • Gabe Korajian said:

      Thank you. Well said. What you said is exactly what the ARF leadership did. They collaborated with corrupt Robert Kocharyan and Serj Sargsyan and failed to support the movement of the people. In fact, ARF leadership was highly critical of the youth movement. They also failed to hear the voices of the people. That is why they only manage to get 2.8 percent of the popular vote in the last election. Mr. Yeghparian, we would be happy if you address such failures and misguided policies of ARF from time to time. It will only enhance your standard as a journalisms. Besides, it is not a good idea to conceal the truth. Be fair and practice a balanced, unbiased journalism.

  4. Sahag Sevagian said:

    What else do you expect from Nikol, who is an ex-student of Levon.

  5. Ara Kassabian said:

    By pandering to the Republican Party, by deceiving the Armenian people about the objectives and consequences of the Constitutional reform, the ARF lost the respect and trust of the people and is now paying the price of those faults. I do agree that the attacks on the ARF are pseudo-democratic and that the time for public demonstrations came to end with the success of the Velvet Revolution. However, the ARF may find more success by reflecting on its mistakes and correcting its behavior instead of relentlessly attacking the new government.

    • ardachece barseghian said:

      I adhere totally to this analysis with the hope of a reconstruction in favor of the people, of the homeland

  6. ardachece barseghian said:

    My point of view, a member of the diaspora has been installing in the country for 28 years, is that since the implosion of the system Soviet the fundamental fault has been to have put the ideals and the history of the Tachnag party in the hands of very young opprtunists, ignorant political and cultural, with Soviet-like political behaviors being the Prime force of political power over the practice of law and freedom of opinion see the origin Levon Ter Bedrossian of which some main advisers were radiate executives of the FRA party.
    The only adhesion of the people was to expel the tyranny, corrupt, because Pachinian, yesterday as today, has no strategy or political program for the country, refusing the national unity in its rich diversity, other than pursuing the corruptors and corrupt, with a very very relative success, disfluent, alone, all about, in a “President of the Presidium” type of conduct.
    This gentleman and his wife, practice a discourse of propaganda in diaspora, AGITATION-propaganda, calling for an informal contribution, but put away or spread of the political life of the country.
    My conclusion: the country and the citizens are encor under the influence of the spirit and the methods of Soviet management, either “we are the elites, the genofond of the nation, I am the lighthouse of the nation, its guarantor”, the diaspora whose FRA, still harmful, “must be your IRE, submit to my dictate, walk or get out “, barely came out of the autocratic system we return to the square start, or the catechesis Levon Ter Bedrossian of which he was the pupil.

  7. Mario Yazidjian said:

    I am not a politician, but I know that our strengh is unity ,respecting all Armenian parties,and live/survive in brotherly/sisterlylove in peace,to our goal inpeace and be strong.
    A very good Armenian says :To be One and Learn from each other
    GOD BLESS ARMENIA and OUR ARMENIA GENOCIDE SAINTS REST IN PEACE
    PS.Please donot forget when we fight with each other ,the turks are happy

  8. Vahakn said:

    Sorry, Garen.

    What you say may all be true, but the fact is that the ARF is part of the nasty counter-revolution despite having been part of the previous and very corrupt government.

  9. Steve said:

    A political activist is “beat up” as you call it, physically assaulted as the law would call it, by a group of ARF supporters. The assault is encouraged in advance by the head of an ARF-affiliated TV station. When one of their numbers is arrested for the assault, several dozen ARF members attempt to obstruct the criminal investigation by, over the course of two hours, entering one after another into a police station and also claiming responsibility for the assault, and with it all filmed as it was happening by that same ARF-affiliated TV station. And you seriously claim all this does not amount to proof that the ARF is violent?

  10. Random Armenian said:

    With all due respect Garen, you’re avoiding something fundamental about why Nikol became PM and not an ARF member. Nikol spoke to Armenia, the people who make up Armenia. The ARF did not.

    The issue with the ARF is not about soviet or immediate post-soviet times, but what the ARF is doing now. The ARF does not know how to talk to the Armenian people.

    This is not a defense of Pashinyan’s policies as PM but what happened leading up him becoming PM. It showed that the ARF has no imagination.

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