The Crimes of 1st March 2008


Keghart.com Guest Editorial by Sahag Toutjian, Los Angeles, 1 March 2011

The perpetrators of the crimes of 1st March 2008 against the Armenian people have enjoyed another year of reprieve, one with the cloak of the president of the Republic of Armenia, and the other with the mantle of the sole male predator of Yerevan. While awaiting the inevitable due process of fair retribution and the return of human – forget national – dignity, it might be instructive to attempt an assessment of the tragedy now armored with the thick layer of three years of deceit, additional crimes and an array of grotesque camouflage intended to cover the trail of the original crime.


Keghart.com Guest Editorial by Sahag Toutjian, Los Angeles, 1 March 2011

The perpetrators of the crimes of 1st March 2008 against the Armenian people have enjoyed another year of reprieve, one with the cloak of the president of the Republic of Armenia, and the other with the mantle of the sole male predator of Yerevan. While awaiting the inevitable due process of fair retribution and the return of human – forget national – dignity, it might be instructive to attempt an assessment of the tragedy now armored with the thick layer of three years of deceit, additional crimes and an array of grotesque camouflage intended to cover the trail of the original crime.

A bad tragedy performance is bad either because its author is bad or because the actors enacting it are incapable to render their talent, individuality and conviction to even a mediocre play on the stage. However, a bad tragedy played by bad actors and produced by a tasteless supporting cast will stop short of enactment if the audience is alert, critical, and expresses its discontent. The tragedy is bound to stop automatically when the audience refuses to attend. Likewise, a social, political or national tragedy will fail to materialize when the majority of citizens involved refuse to condone its performance. It will collapse on itself and will be aborted by the unequivocal stand of the critical mass of people against it when it runs counter to everything they believe and cherish as an essential part of their life.

The Armenian tragedy of 1st March 2008, authored, staged and performed by an–albeit illegitimate–Armenian president on Liberty Square in Yerevan, against a gathering of peaceful demonstrators, is just one link in a long, ugly chain. This is the chain of subterfuge, murderous rule and unaccounted crimes committed by an imposed tyrant misnamed president and his appointed successor. The ruthless tandem that usurped political power, have been masquerading for well over a dozen years as guardians of the security of Armenia, monopolizing the entire state and government leverages for their selfish ends. They have blocked the forward march of the newly independent Armenian state, replacing it with the enrichment and hollow opulence of their handpicked gang of fellow assassins, plunderers and oligarchs simultaneously mimicking as members of a government, national assembly and the judiciary–a 20th century version of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. During this interval, the political, social and economic problems faced by the fledgling republic have been compounded to a dangerous level of intricacy, with not even partial solutions on the horizon.

Throughout its blood-drenched history, the Armenian people have been duped and helplessly watched countless dramas and heartbreaking tragedies–including a number of unsavory stereotype farces – featuring their own miseries, aspirations, destiny and slow extermination. And the Armenian people, my very own–along with many other unfortunate peoples of planet Earth, who were victims of persecution and genocide–have silently endured them interminably.

Adding insult to injury, we have recently witnessed a new breed of apologists of past and present oppressors of the Armenian people. These peddlers of national poison are endangering the survival of a free and independent Armenia. This they do when they emit confusing or mixed signals to justify and abet the present rulers who undermine the well-being of the backbone of Armenia’s population by making life unbearable for them politically, socially and economically. In the end, emigration becomes the only option left for the population, with a final outcome outweighing even the long-range effects of the Genocide.

Of course, these peddlers do not represent the majority of the Armenian people. However, they do represent–very sadly – the prevailing noisy section of the Armenian establishment, those who “count”: the “celebrities”, the rich and famous, a number of organizations, including quite a few of the traditional and lately formed political parties, the splinters of what used to be the Armenian Church, the so-called benevolent unions, and the self-styled activists for the rights of the Armenian people. In brief, all those who claim to represent the so-called silent majority of the perplexed and undecided Armenian communities whom they bombard day in and day out with their mass media as passive herds or as their inherited property.

All these respectable entities comprising the Armenian community have a handy, immaculate apology for their servile stand vis-à-vis the insolent usurpers of power in Yerevan who are holding the future of Armenia and the ten-million strong Armenian people worldwide, hostage to their personal, selfish agenda. Supposedly, they want to safeguard Armenia from a worst disaster, that of perishing altogether. They want to keep the Armenian ship from sinking, they say.They do not want to shoot the pirate disguised as captain of “our” ship. They say, “We’ve got to be nice to our impostor/plunderer captain because we need him for our national salvation.”

With saviours like these, who needs enemies or "neighborly" genocide perpetrators?

These well-intentioned entities fail to perceive the obvious: Because of the utter uselessness and harmfulness of Armenia’s unfit and disloyal rulers, our motherland is being rapidly vacated. It is being abandoned by the sector of its population that has been its backbone, namely the young, the craftsmen, the trained professionals. And our ship of national salvation is sinking before our eyes, whether we are citizens of the Republic of Armenia or disparate members of an undefined Diaspora–a cacophony to be “harmonized” by an appointed Minister of Diaspora to be exploited as a passive reserve by the plunderers.

Let the Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans, Bahrainis and Yemenis depose their corrupt rulers and freeze the billions of their stolen funds in Swiss bank accounts to their rightful owners, the people. Let them shortsightedly shoot their ship’s Captain Ahabs. We Armenians know better. We keep our miscreant captains at the helm. And we sink all together.

Almost one century after the Genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks, we did not need a reminder from a self-elected Armenian president that we have to brace ourselves, since our genocide is of the permanent brand, and may be committed indiscriminately by Turks and a specific brand of Armenians alike. All they need is to make more frequent 1st March type outings of their black-robed and black-masked sharpshooting mercenaries against peaceful demonstrators, and plunder the peaceful, Gandhi-like citizens of Armenia so that they’ll have to resort to mass exodus to procure a livelihood for their families. That way, our problems with our neighboring countries will be simplified. And everybody will go to his preferred pursuits: one president will be free for his favorite pastime at the Monte Carlo casinos, the second will enjoy the wild animals and diamonds of Namibia, and, oh, did we forget anybody? Well, the Armenian people, you ask? But let’s get serious, that’s outside the presidential concerns, isn’t it?

Sad? Distressing? But it’s the play that's being performed at Liberty Square today the 1st of March 2011, where special events are being concocted to keep out the intrusion of freedom fighters to the holy grounds of the nobility.

But I feel a fresh breeze in the air, a breath of new vigor and hope coming from the burning deserts of North Africa, all the way to Liberty Square in Yerevan on the 1st of March 2011. This is the year of daring and hope, the year when disinherited young people of plundered and impoverished countries throughout the world realized that they, too, and their children, are entitled to a decent future. And this is the time when all Armenians of good will–of whatever social background and political leanings–have concluded that the dead end of 1st March 2008 is long past, that the Armenian people is on the threshold of setting itself free at last.

I am confident. The freedom fighters will return to Liberty Square to seal their freedom, just as their soul brothers–linked via the worldwide web–are doing in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain Yemen and elsewhere. And they’ll bring with them the valiant political prisoners Nikol Pashinyan, Sassoon Mikayelyan, Harutyun Urutyan, Sarkis Hatsbanian, Murad Bojolyan, Aram Bareghamyan, Ara Hovhannisyan, Shmavon Galstyan, Roman Mnatsakanyan, and whoever else is still kept captive in the dungeons of the free and independent Republic of Armenia.

I hear their footsteps.

12 comments
  1. Spare us Sahag Tutunjian’s editorials

    Please spare us such hard to understand lengthy write-up as an editorial.

    Is Sahag Tutunjian from Armenia residing in LA? 

    It simply is insulting to test us to decipher a paragraph such as the one quoted here:

    "A bad tragedy performance is bad either because its author is bad or because the actors enacting it are incapable to render their talent, individuality and conviction to even a mediocre play on the stage. However, a bad tragedy played by bad actors and produced by a tasteless supporting cast will stop short of enactment if the audience is alert, critical, and expresses its discontent. The tragedy is bound to stop automatically when the audience refuses to attend. Likewise, a social, political or national tragedy will fail to materialize when the majority of citizens involved refuse to condone its performance. It will collapse on itself and will be aborted by the unequivocal stand of the critical mass of people against it when it runs counter to everything they believe and cherish as an essential part of their life."

    1. Please read the name

      Please read the name under the title. The author’s name is Toutjian, not Tutunjian.

      I agree with you that the style is ornate and some sentences go forever, but I am happy to ignore those problems considering the author’s informed and passionate take on an urgent issue.

      1. Apologies

        I apologize for misquoting Sahag’s family name and I agree with you Mesrob, it is disrespectful and I should have been undoubtedly more attentive.

        Sahag Toutjian seems to be a permanent resident in LA and not a frequent visitor. Correct me if I am wrong. Is his informed take on such an urgent issue then over wires, media, through telephone communications with his friends in Armenia? Is he deliberately being cautious and elusive even in LA?

        Who he refers to when he writes “the sole male predator in Yerevan”? Is he referring to President Serzh Sarkissian?

        I respectfully disagree with him when he writes of President Serzh Sarkissian, I assume, being “an imposed tyrant”. The President was elected nationally and if the voters cast their votes out of intimation in the privacy of their voting boots, then let him roll his sleeves and start educating the voters of Armenia not to do so next time around, as the ARF is initiating public education in Armenia regarding one of the most important thing a citizen does in a democratic country, cast his or her vote.

        Lamenting over issues with such a prose is fine socially or even within pages of a daily or periodical, but not as an editorial to be presented to readers who are equally informed from a distance.

  2. Well Said , Hannes

    Well said, Hannes:

    Toutjian is beating an old horse to death. Look how he and others who attempt to villify the current administration in Yerevan do not take into account that the whole corrupt system was put into place by the very same man who incited the misguided masses to gather and attempt a revolution while the coward sent his family abroad. The person who has to be punished for March 1, 2008 is Levon Ter Petrosyan, first and foremost.

  3. Karabaghtsis Want to Rule Armenia

    Armenia is occupied by Karabaghtsis as newly-shaped Bolsheviks. The newly-baked Karabaghtsi political leaders of Armenia can cheat Armenians only for a period of time; they can cheat some Armenians all the time; but they cannot cheat all Armenians all the time.

    1. Apegh Tspegh Khosker:

      Samvel, the Hay Tad is the Tad of all Armenians, of Artsakh Armenias, of Cilician Armenians, of Deported Armenians, of immigrated Armenians from VAN, Mush, Gars, Erzrum, Yerzenga ( as LTB from Syria), of Armenians from USA, of Armenians of France, or in one word it is the TAD of all Armenians. Globaly, with all this we are an entity, one Nation.

      What you said above is Apegh Tspegh Paner. Let us know if you are out of this entity, of the Armenian Nation. 

      Keep in mind that Tavit Peg was the first figthing leader since many cenuries to liberate and create the Armenian Nation.

      I would say, read the Armenian History, starting from Movses Khorenatsi up to the latest history, covering Cilicia, Sharour-Nakhitchevan, Van, Gars, and Artsakh and remember the heros fighting and sacrifying their lives.

      Please think as Armenian.

      Regards.

      Vahan Vanagan

  4. Երեք տարի է անցել
    Keghart.com has received from one of the readers the item pasted below requesting posting as a comment. It’s an extremely short editorial, under the heading Խմբագրի խոսք appearing on NeoNews.am

    Երեք տարի է անցել մարտի 1–ի ողբերգական իրադարձություններից

    Զարուհի Դիլանյան

    Երեք տարի է անցել մարտի 1–ի ողբերգական իրադարձություններից։ Թեև բազմաթիվ վերլուծություններ են արվել և գնահատականներ տրվել, այդուհանդերձ ամեն բան դեռ անհասկանալիորեն խճճված է: Ցայսօր մեղավորներ փնտրողները պիտի հասկանան, որ իրենց մեղքի բաժին ունեին բոլորն, ովքեր քիչ – թե շատ ծանոթ էին ստեղծված քաղաքական իրավիճակին:

    Այսօր շատերն են խոսում մարտիմեկյան էջը փակելու մասին: Բայց մի՞թե ժողովրդին ցույցերում ամբոխ դարձրած մի շարք գիտակներ նորից չեն փորձի ապակայունացնել իրավիճակը: Չէ՞ որ ինչ-որ բան անելու ու արդյունքի հասնելու համար լավագույն օրինակն արդեն կա` դոմինոյի էֆեկտով աֆրիկյան խարխլված քաղաքական իրականությունը:

    1.  Բավականին ուշ նկատեցի

      Բավականին ուշ նկատեցի, շնորհակալ եմ, որ անդրադարձել եք այս նյութին:

  5. Thank you for taking the stance

    Thank you for taking the stance, Mr. Toutjian. Very well said and reflective of what the absolute majority of people in Armenia and a comfortable majority of those in the Diaspora feel about the issue. I wouldn’t worry about your remaining critics in the Diaspora, if I were you: they don’t have the committment to invest time  to find out what’s right and what’s wrong. And I am being VERY dimplomatic here… 🙂

    1. I do not endorse David

      David,
       
      Please do not be diplomatic and do not spare the readers and call a spade a spade, if you will. However, I also respectfully disagree with Sahag Toutjian and do not endorse your support.
       
      The “fresh breeze in the air, a breath of new vigor and hope coming from the burning deserts of North Africa, all the way to Liberty Square in Yerevan”, Sahag Toutjian writes, is for those who sweat to eek out a living in Armenia or in Egypt or in Tunisia and they do not need fanning from abroad.  Rebuttal this if you will but please let the readers know if your rebuttal is coming from the comfort of your air conditioned home, or office of maybe even from your car.
       
       I presume Sahag Toutjian, much like you is also being very diplomatic when he refers to a predator in Yerevan, of a tyrant in Armenia and of an illegitimate president.  Don’t these people have names? I do not think that Sahag Toutjian is grieving the loss of the lives at the third anniversary of this tragedy. Sahag Toutjian has an ax to grind from abroad.
       
      Of course I am not implying that Diaspora should be a passive spectator. As far as I am concerned the March 2008 tragedy was the outcome of a demonstration lead by blind ambition at whose helm set our first nationally elected President, Levon Ter-Petrossian and a panic stricken government resorting to fire, when they should not have, to bring law and order. 
  6. After Njdeh, Nardos et Al, Here Come Hannes, LG et Al

    To spare the reader tedious repetitions, I have chosen to reply to Hannes only, as the others are essentially of similar stock and their inclusion here would make my response unduly lengthy

    I thank Hannes for giving me the opportunity to clarify some of my "hard-to-understand lengthy write-up". I also apologize if I caused him to feel insulted and tested to "decipher" the paragraph he quotes from my writing. I thought it was self-evident for anybody closely familiar with the tragic events of 1st March 2008 in Armenia, but I must have underestimated the fact that the spectum of views ranges from pitch dark to dazzling light. Well, that’s part of democracy — a modicum of which, by the way, I maintain to be the right of our brothers and sisters in Armenia, presently denied to them in its genuine sense.

     The paragraph Hannes quotes simply means that what happened on 1st March 2008 at Liberty Square in Yerevan was a bad, painful tragedy for the Armenian people. Its author was an irresponsible predator named Robert Kocharyan. Now a few words on the modern Armenian etymology of the term predator. Kocharyan discredited himself and dared to humiliate the entire population of the Armenian capital by pathologically bragging to be the only virile male (miag dghamart) of Yerevan. My integrity compels me to call him so, since he preyed on the killing of innocent and PEACEFUL demonstrators — witnesses abound. Predator, yes, also since he became a multi-billionaire by presidentially plundering the Armenian people, resorting to crimes where his narrow self-interest required, instead of acting as supreme protector of the people. Now, the actors of the tragedy were the heinous pack of handpicked, cold-blooded murderers — cowardly disguised, black-robed and black-masked hit men — who blindly followed his criminal orders. 

    In my now "famous" paragraph I am also saying that, even under such painful circumstances, the tragedy could have been avoided if the "audience" — including you and me and the ten-million strong Armenians (plus many other non-Armenians of good will) worldwide — had adopted a responsible stand against the imminent slaughter of innocent citizens by Robert Kocharyan. Of course the passive toleration and mindless, active abetment of the brutalities played a decisive role in making our predator feel unaccountable and omnipotent. Yes, Levon Ter Petrosyan had also his share of blame when he left the center stage at the peak of the heat and chose comfort instead of liberation, and advised the demonstrators to go home, thus weakening their unity and the position of those who refused to give up. This was the predator’s hour to crack down on unarmed freedom fighters who, in the dark, literally prayed for the divine intervention of "Our Father who art in Heaven…" Didn’t you hear them that horrible night and early morning? (And remember Cairo? Tahrir — Liberation — Square? Same name, and how aptly so.Remember how the young people there refused to budge until their just demands were, at least in principle, met?). 

    Dear Hannes, doubtless you have the full right to disagree with me and consider Serzh Sargsyan as nationally elected. But you’ve got to be consistent. You go on to give me a mini-speech on rolling my sleeves and educating the voters of Armenia not to cast their votes by intimation (you must have meant intimidation) in the privacy of their voting boots (again, you definitely meant booths), similar to the public education the ARF is initiating in Armenia "regarding one of the most important things a citizen does in a democratic country, cast his or her vote." Do I need to comment on these inconsistent statements? Why is the ARF initiative of "public education" if Serzh Sargsyan has been "elected nationally" in fair competition without in-depth elective frauds, brutalities against opposition representatives at voting stations, outright vote-buying, wholesale stuffing of ballot boxes with fictitious or long dead or absent Sargsyan votes, and entire exchanges of ballot boxes to suit their plans? Why do you insist on denying the obvious when even the ARF is anxious to distance itself from such elections? I admire those who have the guts to stand up and say No to unworthy authority. Could you also take such vehement stand against the plunderers and abusers of the crucified Armenian people?

    By the way, Hannes, what is the meaning — and the ulterior motive — of your question on whether I am from Armenia or residing in LA? And your entire paragraph: "Sahag Toutjian seems to be a permanent resident in LA and not a frequent visitor. Correct me if I am wrong. Is his informed take on such an urgent issue over wires, media, through telephone communications with his friends in Armenia? Is he deliberately being cautious and elusive even in LA?" How brave and clever you are! What have all these irrelevant and childishly sly questions got to do with the topic being discussed? What is really bothering you?. Can’t you at least show the courtesy to present yourself with your full name and surname before asking so many personal questions and making such coy insinuations?      

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