Pathetic Protection Racketeers

It seems a trio of would-be “political activists” bent on badgering the current government of Armenia wants its 15 nanoseconds of fame. While it’s often wiser to let such pathetic souls toil in the micro-verse of their irrelevance, sometimes their misdeeds must be publicized.

These three, operating under the name “Union of Exiled Armenian Writers and Intellectuals” have been sending around letters over the past few months to businesses that “dare” to advertise in Armenian media that allegedly espouse the current government’s line and defends it. They sound like some of the other quacks active on the Armenian ghetto media scene for whom free speech starts and stops with the assurance of their own– no one else is entitled to have or state opinions.

Reminiscent of Cosa Nostra (the original, Sicilian Mafia) tactics when running protection rackets, our pathetic threesome threatens businesses with boycotts “until they go bankrupt” if they continue to advertise in the “offending media”. Why? Because these people won’t “tolerate any business that thrives at the expense of the blood of our compatriots in Armenia, at the expense of the health and sanity of dozens of Armenian intellectuals and political activists who are left to be withered (sic) in Armenia’s notorious prisons.” Notorious prisons , hmm, well, could somebody name one? Hey how about Abu Ghraib? Oops, no, that’s a few hundred miles too far South.

One of these heroes of the downtrodden is none other than a heckler who decided, some two years ago, that he deserved to take the stage and present his artistic talent at an event dedicated to another writer. Why? Because he said so, of course! Is that not sufficient?

These pathetic peons’ website is www.vernatun.com. The spelling even evokes Turkish. I would not be at all surprised if they were in the pay of some foreign intelligence agency. Some two decades ago, another self-proclaimed “hero” was discovered cashing checks from government sources that were not likely, shall we say, to have Armenia’s and Armenia’s’ best interests at heart.

The threats issued against the businesses include being reported to the FBI and IRS. This blather, in the absence of substantive argumen’s, is simply intended to intimidate people and elicit fear among a population not yet fully comfortable with the authorities of its new home.

Don’t misunderstand. I don’t object to organizing boycotts. Economics is a powerful force. But first, you have to come to the scene with clean hands. Second, your cause must be legitimate, not something that looks like a thinly veiled effort to support one political faction (Ter Petrossian’s) over another, both of which are almost equally despicable.

Let’s turn the tables on these neophytes to activism in the Diaspora. Businesses harassed by the vernatun vipers should report the latter to the relevant authorities, perhaps the FBI for prosecution under the RICO statute or the IRS to discover where THEIR funding originates. Wouldn’t that be delicious irony!

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