Thursday, July 17, 2008

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.

1 comment:

Avag in Arabkir said...

Nice video.

Minor problem with the 1 million people on August 1 idea is that attendance at Opposition rallies has been dropping. On July 4 I saw fewer people (12-13 thousand?) than I saw on June 23 (15 thousand?)

I expect August 1 will be higher, but we're not going to see regime change in 24 hours. Levon is already moving to save some sort of movement for the long term, with the Armenian National Congress.