SERJ vs. SERZH II: Tankian tells Sarkisian ‘Don’t Use Security to Distract Us from Domestic Injustice’

Serj Tankian (photo by Khatchig Mouradian, The Armenian Weekly)

A day after President Serzh Sarkisian responded to his letter, artist and human rights activist Serj Tankian has, in turn, responded to Sarkisian, urging him to not use notions of security to distract people from injustices taking place inside Armenia. Below is Tankian’s second letter:

Dear Mr. President,

I am honored that you have responded to my letter.

I actually wasn’t expecting a response, given the harsh criticism I conveyed.

The fact that you have done so is encouraging.

But with respect, you have not answered any of my questions nor addressed any of the issues I brought up in my letter directly.

I think you have done a great job at securing Armenia’s borders and dealing with the extremely sensitive and difficult situation presented by the realities after the Karabakh war.

If you remember, I told you that in person and commended your efforts in that regard.

That said, security cannot be the scapegoat to diffuse attention from the inequities and injustices in our homeland.

Republicans in the U.S. have done that for too many elections and no one seems to buy it anymore.

I, too, feel responsible to future generations for what we leave behind.

That is the reason for my speaking out, getting involved with mining and environmental abuse in Armenia (Teghut) and encouraging further farm subsidies to render our nation more self sufficient.

Citizens across Armenia are protesting the outcome of the elections and the injustice inherent in the political establishment. Please listen to their complaints.

Listen to the striking students and don’t let the schools or police shut out their voices from our democracy. They are the future of Armenia after all.

Corruption, injustice, emigration, lawlessness and falsified elections. These ills have emptied our country of its citizens more than mines and bombs.

What are you going to do about them?

Are you going to reform the system?

Dear Mr. President, please institute the rule of law once and for all so that people feel respected in the eyes of the law and the courts. The constitution and the laws of Armenia are fine. It is their execution that is lacking. We are all tired of hearing about investors turned away, robbed of their investments in Armenia, political pressure used for personal gain, media manipulation and consolidation for political means, injustice in the courts, and on and on.

Most people feel that it will take a generational change to alter the political culture in Armenia, to rid ourselves of the overt corruption and abuse.

You can make that happen now!

In your letter you have recognized the need for that change and seem to suggest that you are willing to take substantive steps in that regard so that we don’t have to wait another 20 years for us to arrive to true freedom.

For that, your people will be eternally grateful Serzh.

An equitable nation is a strong nation, where people are not only proud of their history, but also proud of their present.

I agree that we should all work together toward a better future for Armenia.

I appreciate the warm wishes to my father. I too, send my regards and love to your family and hope to meet your grandson Serj sometime.


Serj Tankian


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  1. Rostom said:

    I fully agree with Serj Tankian and I would be so happy if the diaspora had the the same courage to speak out instead of keeping such a shamefull silence.
    Sarkisian is a threat to the security of Armenia because his corruption ruins the people and pushes them to emigrate. Only the rule of law and democracy can save Armenia.

  2. hagop hagopian said:

    Get a life. You and your progressive liberal politics. So, you want the president of Armenia to say the word Hope just like the one in the white house. Here HOPE, HOPE, HOPE. Happy, now get on the next plane out of Yerevan and stay out. You couldn’t even keep your band together, now you are trying to lecture the President of Armenia. I would highly suggest you get rid of that facial hair, unless you have inner tendencies to resemble the king of KSA.
    Get a life come back to America and smoke pot and think about HOPE.

  3. Missak Keleshian said:

    Mr. President,

    We Armenians like to hear emotional words and we immediately tie dreams to those emotional words and we think they become a reality! I want to see deeds and actions and not dreams in your letter. Armenians have lost leadership for centuries we need to use microscopes to find leaders in our history…
    If you want your name to go in history as a leader who brought the Armenian nation together this is what I will do:

    1- I will bring Raffi Hovanessian as a prime minister or foreign minister.
    2- As an ally to Russia I would ask President Putin to heavily invest in Armenia in creating industries or even job creation programs this should be a drop of water in the ocean for Russia.
    3- There should be so many jobs that there should be shortage of laborers
    4- There should be OPEN reports identifying and pinpointing the reasons of failures for so many investments in Armenia especially diaspora’s.
    5- Armenian foreign ministry and diplomatic corps should be well trained educated, to be ACTIVE in promoting and attracting Armenia. They are boring, uninterested and lost their mission! Active does not mean going from one Armenian function to another!
    6- Open study why so many Armenian citizens are migrating from Armenia? What is the solution to bring them back? I cannot see Armenian villages empty of men! What are the plans?
    7- For 98 years the Diaspora did not create a legal representation body. Even more the Republic of Armenia and the Diaspora TOGETHER do not have a clear road-map of Armenian demands… As of today only Armenia can take that action as a legal entity, I would get a top notch legal team together put a strategy and take Ottoman Turkey and its successor to International Criminal Court for justice & restitution… I will let the musicians, artists and the cultural entities do their part for the 100th Anniversary but I will focus my energies on the world court!

    Mr. President this is only part of my dreams, once you start in this direction with open book without preferential status or selective justice, you will see your popularity and how all Armenians from the four corners of the earth will pour in investments into Armenia…. Until then I want to dream…

    Missak Keleshian California

    • said:

      for #6:

      How about sending Raffi as a special envoy to the United States with one simple task – to stop NATO blockade of Armenia?

      Economic blockade is an act of war. Is NATO at war with Armenia? If yes, the Congress should declare that war. If not, US should demand Turkey and Georgia to lift the blockade.

      The root cause for outmigration is this blockade. Landlocked Armenia simply cannot feed and support a population inherited from Soviet times when the borders were open and the economy was subsidized by Siberian oil and gas.

    • said:

      For #7 I would start with “The Diaspora” educating itself about the Genocide of all Armenian people not just their ancestors in Western Armenia. Instead of saying “Armenian Genocide of 1915″ state the correct dates that include Turkish and Azeri killings in Eastern Armenia, Artsakh, Utik and back in Kilikia, etc.

      Unfortunately, “President” Raffi already has a plan that would be a disaster for Artsakh. Watch his Youtube interview to Turkish news agency that he gave recently during his trip to Baku. He said in plain English that he agrees in principle that 600,000 Azeri Turk nomads should be able to “return” to Artsakh.

  4. George said:

    ………Republicans in the U.S. have done that for too many elections and no one seems to buy it anymore………….. ARMENIA IS NOT AMERICA, and by claiming that Obama inspires hope, shows how out of touch with reality Mr Tankian is. –

  5. Art said:

    “Republicans in the U.S. have done that for too many elections and no one seems to buy it anymore”?
    I dont know what this goat is talking about?

  6. GB said:

    If Mr. president has a hard Armenian balls, then he should implement his personal war against Armenia’s corrupted oligarchs and justice system. He will be remembered as righteous president in Armenian history book, otherwise he will be remembered, same as Robert and LTP!!

  7. Concerned Armenian said:

    Dear Serge Tankian,

    As an erstwhile fan, I have to tell you that you’re making a real fool of yourself. I know you mean well, but you seem to be stuck in the vicious cycle of anti-government hysteria so prevalent in diasporan circles in recent years. Your comments about Democrat vs Republican politics in the US were particularly childish. Moreover, perhaps you don’t realize this, but by doing what you are doing you are indirectly serving Washingtonian operatives in Yerevan, those trying to undermine Armenia’s statehood. Yes Serge, your Obama’s government (as with all American governments) poses a serious threat to Armenia. Anyway, don’t forget that at the end of the day you are only an artist. Stick to singing and leave politics to the politicians.

  8. Roland said:

    The corruption in Armenia starts with the average Armenian this is the case in all countries and its noting special or specific to only Armenians but there is something else that we share with others and we share this with other people that have slave mentality and that is we can not accept our leaders stop being a slave accept that man that won the election don’t destroy that little state we have created with the blood of the martyrs stop your senseless fight for the throne and for once follow and respect your leader the only thing we can demand of the Armenian government is for them to be tough on corruption and how do we accept that such a thing from a government that we are tearing down ourselves

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