Thursday, July 17, 2008

Penelope's Treacherous Suitors Shall Be Defeated

On August 1st, tell Kocharian and Sargsyan: "The Sun has been obliterated from the sky, and an unlucky darkness invades the world."

I was recently thinking about Pashinian's The Opposite Side of the World [1] and noting to myself how the series of sometimes strange, sometimes redemptive, sometimes horrifying encounters that it comprises resemble those of Homer's Odysseus. Then I noticed a second and a third parallel. Odysseus returns to his Ithaca after a twenty-year absence to find that his wife, Penelope, is being hounded by two suitors who want to take his place. Ter-Petrossian formed the Gharabagh Committee in 1988, twenty years ago, and he literally fought a war against Azerbaijan, just like Odysseus who fought a war against Troy.


Since Penelope is the queen of Ithaca, whoever convinces her to declare Odysseus dead and marry him will become the king of Ithaca, which is, of course, their main motivation. There are two main suitors, or proci, Antinous and Eurymachus, just like Yerevan's "suitors" are two, Kocharyan and Sargsyan. There are many other minor suitors as well, just like there are many mafia Dons in Armenia. The two main defenders of Ithaca are Odysseus and his son, Telemachus; Yerevan's defenders are Levon Ter-Petrossian and Nikol Pashinian, at least that his how I see it and have seen it in this blog. Too boot, the suitors plot to kill Telemachus, just like Kocharyan and Sargsyan have ordered the NSS to kill Pashinian.

That makes seven coincidences so far, I think. But those are nothing compared what I stumbled upon while looking deeper into the matter. Homer says that, upon arrival at Ithaca, Oddyseus notices Venus, the Morning Star, on the horizon at dawn. He also says that the night before the suitors are massacred there is a new moon and that on the day of the massacre there is a total eclipse of the sun... I know what you're thinking; I was thinking the same thing: Could it be that a total eclipse of the sun is due to take place on August 1st? And could it be that on August 1st there will be a new moon? Yes.

On August 1st, there will be a total eclipse of the Sun.

On August 1st, there will be a new moon in Armenia.

As for Odysseus's spotting Venus on the horizon upon arrival, the question is, What could be considered Ter-Petrossian's "arrival" on the Armenian political scene in the last six months? It is not an easy question, and I'm not sure whether it has a clear answer. What is clear, however, is that Venus became the Morning Star this year on February the 1st, and it remained the Morning Star throughout the elections, the sit-ins, and the March 1st and 2nd incidents. If you observed the horizon at dawn on any of those days, you would have seen bright Venus. Personally, I set the date of Ter-Petrossian's "arrival" on February 24th, the day the CEC declared Sargsyan the winner of the elections, and Ter-Petrossian stepped up to the microphone and told the participants of the sit-ins, "The CEC's announcement has no bearing on our struggle; the struggle continues." Pashinian says of this moment: "I consider this to have been the people's movement's most important stage. Here, the movement underwent awe-striking metamorphoses."

I am one who doesn't believe in coincidences being more than what they are--coincidences. But I have to admit that the sheer number of coincidences involved in this case stopped me in my tracks for a second and made me wonder. That is when I noticed the most important connection between Odysseus's and Pashinian's journeys: What gives them the will and the determination to persevere against all odds is a simple longing for their rightful home. Indeed, may all those who consider their rightful home a free and independent Armenia, governed under the rule of law, and free from treacherous parasites, may these true heirs of Armenia have the iron will and unwavering determination of Odysseus, and may they prevail against Armenia's treacherous suitors Kocharian and Sargsyan--on August 1st.

P.S. I did a little search on the internet to see whether anyone else had noticed these coincidences between Odysseus and Pashinian, and--unsurprisingly, by now--I came across yet another coincidence: an open letter addressed to Nalbandian reminding him of the journey of Odysseus and signed by a woman named--Penelope.

P.P.S. Remembering Pashinian's declaration not long ago that he is going to come above-ground in a short while, one wonders whether his Journey shouldn't be coming to a close within a week.


1. Tzitzernak is translating Pashinian's Journey to the Opposite Side of the World. I'm indexing the entries here, what I haven't indexed you can find on Tzitzernak's blog.

Up on Khosq.

The Fate of Infantile Dictators

I just wanted to let everyone know that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth; I'm just in the middle of a move from Philly back to Glendale. I'll start posting regularly again once I get settled-in, which is taking a while because of several different silly things, like me ordering the "To" and "From" addresses to the boxes that I've shipped incorrectly; consequently, a good number of the boxes are being shipped part way to California, then being sent back to Philly by busy USPS people who don't notice the "To" on the address labels. Every once in a while, the stars align, and a chain of postmen read the labels correctly, and I get the box; it's sort of like a pinball machine.

In the meantime, lots of exciting things have been happening in Armenia. Most important is the perpetual sit-in that started on the 4th of July. The culmination of the sit-in will arrive on August 1st. Pashinian has been sending out hand-written notes addressed to the people. He has called for 1 million people to show up on August 1st to give the Kocharian/Sargsyan clan 24 hours to leave:


Pashinian announced--months ago--that there was going to be just such a call for One Million People, 24 Hours, and now here it is. Before I get to that, though, I also want to mention another exciting change that has taken place--the birth and perpetual presence of a native, grass-roots youth movement. Below is a video of a mock soccer game between the political prisoners and the police organized by the Hima! Youth Movement, one of many other activities organized by them. The game's referee is supposed to be John Prescott, who gives Gagik Jahangirian a yellow card for no good reason. The girls interviewed in the video are the daughters of political prisoners, themselves. They make the point that the youth movement is one that they, the youth, created, in and of their own accord.



The reporter points out that most of them turned political on March 1st. That's not surprising. If you go back to the first entry on this blog, you'll see that it was posted only a few days after March 1st. Like many Armenians, I, too, decided enough is enough on that date. Kocharian and Sargsyan made a big mistake when they decided to shoot into the crowd. But, in a sense, they had no choice. There is a certain, mythic, air of inevitability about the Opposition movement that has been slowly developing for ten years now. It seems destined to succeed, somehow. It turns every act that the criminal government commits into a mistake. Everything that they do to weaken the movement, whether it be jailing activists, occupying Freedom Plaza, or changing the laws in their favor, becomes yet another piece of damning evidence against the Kocharian clan in the people's eyes, and, consequently, strengthens the movement.

That Kocharyan can't admit this is a sign of his infantility, the kind that overtakes petty dictators who come to confuse the backing of the US, Russia, or China with real power emanating from themselves. A case in point is Chauchesku. Chauchesku, too, thought foreign backing made him invincible. Chauchesku, too, was faced with the same type of irresistible opposition. Chauchesku, too, was wrong. Here is a clip of his last speech, during which the people he thought he ruled with an iron fist began openly, loudly, and undeniably booing him in his face. The stunned look on Chauchesku's face with his lower jaw hanging down to his ankles is truly a sight to behold. Enjoy:



Needless to say, he was executed only days after this speech. The video of his execution along with his impotent railings after the death sentence is read is available for downloading on the internet, if you want to watch it. I'm not going to upload it and put it up because I don't like the fact that they shot his wife along with him and because it is not clear whether the execution reflected the will of the people or the will of the generals, although there is little doubt that the Romanian people would have torn him limb from limb had they been able to get their hands on him. But if you want evidence of how possible it is, indeed, for dictators to receive their just comeuppance, go check out the clip.

No doubt Kocharian and Sargsyan think that controlling the people is simply a matter of galka dzekel [tightening bolts], but it is just that predictable more-of-the-same attitude that they have, that fixation on a limited number of tactics, that is going to be their undoing. In "One million citizens, 24 hours," published in Payqar in May, Pashinian explains the theory behind the concept that they are now putting into practice with the August 1st, one million citizens, 24 hours campaign; in other words, he says exactly what the Opposition is planning and explains why. He also points out that the Opposition had announced from Freedom Plaza on--March 1st--that the number of Armenian citizens that would be participating in the gathering on the coming--Sunday, March the 2nd--would be one million. For reasons that Pashinian explains, Kocharian and Sargsyan could not afford then and cannot afford on August 1st to allow such a public display of unity and solidarity against them; hence, the attack on March 1st. In this article, he also states that, if on March 1st the Opposition had decided to go ahead with a real, violent coup, they would have easily won. This doesn't mean that a violent coup is what they have planned for August 1st, however. The mere presence of one million people will be enough for Kocharian and Sargsyan to have to clear out. Will they?

Asking this question has led me to a remarkable coincidence that deserves its own post. I'll put that up shortly. In the meantime, let me say that I personally believe that the Opposition will make Kocharian and Sargsyan, those treacherous suitors of Armenia, and the rest of their criminal clan answer for the misery that they have caused. I don't want to see them executed, however; I want to see them be sentenced to life in prison in order to see whether Kocharian will act honorably and commit suicide like the man that he thinks he is, or whether he'll resign himself to the life of an ignoble prison putz.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hand-written note from Nikol Pashinian

A new note from Nikol Pashinian:



"Dear People: Our struggle cannot be thwarted; our victory is inevitable. Therefore: Struggle, struggle until the end."



The note reads: "Citizen of the Republic of Armenia: The future of Armenia depends on one person, and that person is--you..."

It is signed by Nikol Pashinian.