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.