Monday, April 14, 2008

Pashinian: Analytical essay. Pt. 4.

Someone should start accepting donations to the Bring the Concept of Paragraphing to Armenia Fund. I mean really. The paragraph is conceived of so broadly that if an Armenian sits down to write the history of human civilization from, say, Sumer to today, he'd write that gargantuan tome in three paragraphs: the ancient world, from the Hellenes to Erasmus, and the Modern period. That's it--three paragraphs.

Paragraphing this way helps keep
together all ideas that are related; in Pashinian's essay, the principle that guides the paragraphing is chronological, because the analysis mentioned in the title of the essay, the break-down, is chronological; hence, each paragraph is one of the pieces the time-line breaks down into. That's exactly how it should be, especially the way Pashinian does it. But because I'm already organizing these installments by the same principle, and because large paragraphs just don't look right in English, I've decided to break them down further. In the original, everything below is one paragraph.

In this part of the essay, Pashinian focuses on the 1/2 day or so of preparations the people had time to undertake before the soldiers attacked them near the French embassy. To me, there is a very important clue in this account as to what this event means and where things are going. Sovereign is he who declares a state of exception. We have two states of exception declared here, in this part of the history. On most levels things are a bit muddy, but on this level things are as clear as the cool water from the springs of Aragatz: Pashinian is the real king, or the dauphin, rather, in this chapter of Armenian history, not Ter-Petrossian, who is more like a Merlin. Pashinian and Kocharian are on a collision course.


Nikol Pashinian's analytical essay: Up to March 1st and beyond. (IV)

You understand: They made no demands; they simply beat [the people] and that was that. This news spread throughout Yerevan, and the people came together in front of the French embassy, tired of being beaten and themselves not aware of how the power relationship [ratio] was changing. They blocked the path of the water-cannons with a few trolley-buses, while the police began to muster.

There began a string of ridiculous proposals: to move the assembly to the train station nearby, close to "Dynamo" stadium, and finally to the Matenadaran ["Place for manuscripts." Research Institute/depository of ancient manuscripts]. But a question arose, "Why?" The reason could have been given that near the French embassy the assembly was getting in the way of mobility; however, so many people were gathered there that streets would have ended-up being closed no matter where they went, even Freedom plaza; [this was] especially [true] in the case of the Matenadaran, which the police were insisting on, because [had the assembly moved there] Mashtotz would have been shut down, as well as the connection to Koriun street and even Moscow street, and possibly the intersection of Sayat Nova - Baghramian - Mashtotz streets. In other words, streets were going to be closed no matter what, so why were the police insisting that we move? Because they had received the beating that was their reply [comeuppance]: the path for the water-cannons and other equipment had been blocked. They had to get the people into a wide-open area in order to be able to shatter them to dust. A provocateur would have broken the windows of a couple of stores on the way, and that would have served as the formal excuse for the use of force. This scenario did not come to pass, and then news reached us that the police had begun to retreat from the French embassy area.

This seemed like good news at first, but another bit of news arrived almost simultaneously: the army had been brought to Yerevan from different places, among them Gharabagh, live rounds had been distributed to the soldiers, and the orders had been given to fire into the protesters with those live rounds. I was on the way to the French embassy when I heard this news. I didn't want to believe that Kocharian and Serj would fire into the people, but I had absolutely no basis to doubt such a prospect.

The spectacle at the French embassy surpassed all of my expectations, primarily with regard to the number of people present, but it was also noticeable that the number of provocateurs was not small, either. Some of them would approach and make provocative suggestions. It got to the point where I had to get a little rough with a few of them.

The decision was unanimous: We were going to stay near the French embassy and wait for the first president. But armed groups of soldiers who had orders to fire into the people were approaching from the other side. What to do? It was necessary to single-mindedly take care of the safety of the assembly's participants. The first issue was the following: to keep the [crowd control] devices from entering the protester's arena. Several of the access points to the area near the French embassy had already been closed before my arrival, and there were buses and a few police "Valis's" in the center of the area. We transported those cars to the area's entry points and made barricades out of them. And it should be noted that all of the private cars that were to be found there at that time have [since] exited the area without trouble; the bus that I mentioned had been used to bring soldiers to the area. During this time, buses and vehicles belonging to the city were entering the area from several different directions, and the drivers were joining the barricade makers. The entry points to the French embassy area were now closed.

But this did not guarantee the safety of the assembly participants. Using a megaphone, I told the people the following in precise terms: "We are not preparing to attack anyone; but if they attack us, we will defend ourselves." What was the reason for this stance? The activities of the government were already outside the bounds of the law and were now out of control ["bezpredl" Russ. bez-not predl-boundary?]. We could neither retreat in the face of what is not lawful, nor allow them to kill our wives and our mothers like animals in front of eyes--or kill us like animals in front of the eyes of our wives and mothers. And this is when I told the men to take up sticks and stones for the sake of self defense. Meanwhile, the soldiers approached [us] from two directions, from the vicinity of Shahmurian and the "Fish Market."

The most important part of this entire story is that they had no demands. What did they want in the morning, what did they want in the evening, and what did they want now? All of this has remained a mystery. And, incidentally, the soldiers had arrived before Kocharian's declaration of a state of emergency, and, in general, how was the rank-and-file protester to know that a state of emergency has been declared? These are important subtleties that characterize the events' legal character, or more accurately, illegal character.

And then, fusillades and shots were heard in the dark of the Yerevan night. Not a person retreated in area of the French embassy. A large group of youth ran toward the "Fish Market," whence the shots and explosions had been heard coming.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Armenaker,

Thank you for doing all this translation work. It's very valuable for getting the truth to the outside world.

parisan said...

//They made no demands; they simply beat [the people] and that was that. This news spread throughout Yerevan, and the people came together in front of the French embassy,//

Simply beating the people worked perfectly well for the contested leaders of the so-called Armenian government. Everything that followed the beatings was predictable, except for the exact location where the people would come back together after the morning attack.

//There began a string of ridiculous proposals: to move the assembly to the train station nearby, close to "Dynamo" stadium, and finally to the Matenadaran//

Moving tens of thousands of angry people across the city, a few hours after beating them, sounds ridiculous unless your goal is for more violence to happen. Was a manipulation planned that involved much of the crowd being located at the Matenadaran?

//…another bit of news arrived almost simultaneously: the army had been brought to Yerevan from different places, among them Gharabagh, live rounds had been distributed to the soldiers, and the orders had been given to fire into the protesters with those live rounds.//

Rumors played an important role on that day. People said a teenager had been killed by the police. That triggered much anger – valuable anger, if your goal was to declare the state of emergency.

// it was also noticeable that the number of provocateurs was not small, either. Some of them would approach and make provocative suggestions. It got to the point where I had to get a little rough with a few of them.//

In my opinion, the opposition was not well enough organized. I was able to come very close to Nikol as he spoke, without anyone stopping me.

// Using a megaphone, I told the people the following in precise terms: "We are not preparing to attack anyone; but if they attack us, we will defend ourselves."//

The megaphone was too weak. It was difficult or impossible to hear what was said. The morning attack was predictable; a powerful, back-up megaphone and a generator should have been readily available.

The opposition fell into a trap anyway. The announcement, “We will defend ourselves” permitted the provocateurs to take action.

// The most important part of this entire story is that they had no demands. What did they want in the morning, what did they want in the evening, and what did they want now? All of this has remained a mystery.//

Pashinian is being ironic. The representatives of the so-called government had no demand, because they had the power to take whatever they wanted, and that meant: Taking away the right of the people to assemble and ask for new, fair(er) elections.

// in general, how was the rank-and-file protester to know that a state of emergency has been declared?//

Do you remember the last ArmeniaNow.com reports on that night, before the general shutdown came into effect: // Within minutes, oddly, after President Robert Kocharyan declared a State of Emergency sometime around 10 p.m., the major raucous settled as if time had been called on some hideous competition between brothers.//

I suppose it just took a phone call… At last! Somebody had something to demand… and “the major raucous settled.”

Thank you for the translation.

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

Thank you very much for those details, parisan. I so very much would have loved to have been there. These details help me imagine what it was like. The good, and the and the could-have-been-better.

parisan said, "In my opinion, the opposition was not well enough organized. I was able to come very close to Nikol as he spoke, without anyone stopping me."

That is very worrying, indeed. If anybody had tried anything, the people no doubt would have torn the very flesh off of his skeleton with their bare hands, and the would-be assassin would have known it. But, still, that is little consolation.

The Serjokocharianic camp have lost their minds to greed and power. They're capable of anything. I recently came across a list of people that have been assassinated in Armenia. I think I might put it up:

http://tinyurl.com/4aqfub

I think it was originally published in Paykar!, but I haven't been able to locate it yet.