BY GARO GHAZARIAN
Watching and reading the public utterances on Tuesday by two of our people’s modern-day leaders, my eyes and ears fixated in disbelief on the public exchanges between the country’s Acting Prime Minister—Mr. Pashinyan, and Mr. Markarian—the Representative of the Bureau of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). The discord between these two men publicly debating about the state of affairs of Armenia’s Armed Forces, our National Security, and the stability of the Republic of Artsakh, is not helpful to Armenia and Artsakh.
Mr. Pashinyan labels as “shameful” Mr. Markarian’s concerns about weapons not having been imported for the Armenian Army since Mr. Pashinyan became Prime Minister in May. He invites Markarian to speak about that which has taken place prior to the month of May, citing, by way of an example, the alleged looting of materials meant for the Army, by the now criminally accused Lieutenant General Manvel Grigoryan—a retired Armenian military leader who prior to May was a member of the National Assembly of Armenia.
While Mr. Pashinyan’s declaration that the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia are “at the ready” to defend the homeland is reassuring, hearing him say that such a fact is “to the chagrin of the ARF Bureau Representative…” is uncalled for, unless he thinks that Armenian troops “not ready” for combat is what the ARF leader wishes for! I think not, and I’m convinced, neither does he.
To be clear, Mr. Markarian did bemoan about the cessation of weapons flowing to Armenia’s Armed Forces; and, such a public pronouncement does carry the likely potential of rattling Armenian Soldiers, their families, and the Armenian Nation. However, hearing Mr. Pashinyan—the “People’s Choice” leader (since May of 2018)—mocking the figurehead of the “People’s Party” with a storied 128 years of service to the Armenian people and the leading torchbearer of the Diaspora with unparalleled sacrifices for the Armenian Republics of Artsakh and Armenia, is plain wrong.
Political rhetoric which drags Armenia’s army onto center stage has no place in Armenia’s electoral politics. And, in the aftermath of the “love and collaboration revolution” in Armenia, attacks, even qualified ones, which attempt to draw a distinction between a “Party” and its “Representative,” is neither loving nor collaborative.
Surely the Acting Prime Minister knows that for more than a century the ARF has carried on its shoulders and held high the Armenian Tricolor Flag. It has sacrificed “BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS” since 1890, going back to the 19th century.
The phrase “all is fair in Love & War” is anything but fair in today’s political climate in Armenia. A “war of words” between two men discussing the state of the Armenian military prowess is cheap political talk. Military capabilities are above electoral talking points. They create a very uneasy climate and beg the question: do the Azeris distinguish between Armenian soldiers or residents in neighboring border villages based on their Armenian Political Party affiliations? They do not.
What happened to our “UNITED ARMENIAN FRONT—of ARMENIA, of ARTSAKH, and of DIASPORA”? Why are we now all too eager to be facing off in the name of national priorities and are “playing” politics with our National Security? Did it occur to anyone that while we bring our military into our public discourse and debate, we give reason for the Two-Headed Devil—Azerbaijan and Turkey — to be smiling?
Armenian leaders must conduct themselves differently. Otherwise, they will reinforce the old adage: politics is the root of all evil.
Words DO matter. Let us leave our Army out of politics. Let us not engage in a war of words invoking our military as vocabulary!