Barevolution in the Rain

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Despite the strange weather, rain for five minutes and muted sunshine for ten more, a sizable crowd gathered in Liberty Square to hear Raffi. The sound system was a lot better today and his voice boomed throughout the square, lambasting his critics while acknowledging recent “mistakes,” poor judgement or however you want to describe it. He seemed more strong willed than ever before.

I was most impressed with the remarks his wife Armenouhi made. I wasn’t aware on that tumultuous night of April 9 she had been knocked down by the riot police and momentarily lost conscious, and when she came to she realized one of her shoes was missing, so she marched about barefoot for the rest of the evening. The tears that many saw in her eyes were not from pain, but for the policemen, who are essentially very young men as was made obvious in a recent photostory on Hetq and who were simply following orders, against their own will. I also cannot fault them for essentially doing their job, although no certainly one deserved to be bashed around and thrown to the ground. Having said that, there clearly were policemen, especially those in plain clothing, who were particularly cruel and unjustifiably callous in the way they handled the student protesters earlier in the day as amateur video footage revealed so candidly.

A week from now on April 9 a summit is planned at the Ani Hotel where political organizations, intellectuals and civil groups will devise a plan about how to move forward. It’s a step in the right direction.

He didn’t touch upon his curious trip to Moscow on Thursday, not that he would, but that’s not actually important. What matters is that this movement continues to gather strength, despite the pitfalls it inevitably faces yet manages to rebound each and every time. That seems to be what’s happening, although I have read and heard from many in the last several weeks that “Raffi’s not a leader.” Naturally, no one could ever expand upon that or give an example of what a leader in Armenia should be. Like him or not, he clearly is one, and conscious Armenian citizens have faith in him. They are counting on him to deliver an Armenia that is full of promise, one where the rule of law functions and equal opportunity exists for all. What right does anyone have to discourage them?

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5 thoughts on “Barevolution in the Rain

  1. In response to your last question, What right do any of them (the leaders of the program designed to bar evolution) have to discourage their misled followers?

  2. When the question is asked “What right does anyone have to discourage them?” I cannot help but answer: every right!

    I think it is dangerous and irresponsible to have leadership which is dismissive about conducting adolescent experiments on the population and on the state. The most likely scenario of the circus is that some group of people unnecessarily //and without foundation// get their hopes us only to be let down. Not to mention that the likelihood of blood being shed only rises when the mobs are exhorted to “fight to the end” or some such populist nonsense. And this is true regardless of Raffi’s confusing guarantees, including decrees about blood not being shed – as if he could guarantee that.

  3. I’ve interpreted this now familiar message before in other comments on other forums. So what do you propose exactly as an alternative to Raffi and this movement? Constructive criticism is one thing, but criticism for the sake of it, without any purpose or intention other than to discredit and discourage, is disconcerting. I still have yet to read one convincing argument from any critic not based in Armenia that there is a viable, worthy alternative to this oppositional movement or the political status quo with the authorities in charge. In other words, I understand that you and several others in cyberspace hate everything about Raffi and what this movement stands for (likely from thousands of miles away) but the reason for that disdain is quite unclear. Unless, of course, it’s a personal matter.

  4. First of all, carting out politically bankrupt retreads (Ter-Petrosyan, Pashinyan, and the rest) and expecting everyone to buy in to some show in the square simply because the government needs changing is not equal to legitimacy of the opposition. Raffi started out differently this time around, but quickly demonstrated for all to see he has no plan.

    As far as constructive criticisms:
    1) When there is an election around the corner, the electorate deserve to hear the action plan. So far, daily speeches, but no agendas.
    2) Raffi claims to be for constitutional democracy, yet fails to follow the norms when convenient. You have a problem with the elections, fight in court, and go in prepared. Not presenting anonymous claims that you cannot substantiate, and then when exposed for unpreparedness, just blame the system. Heritage had members (even chairmen) in the precincts where he later claimed violations. Precincts where his own trusted team signed off on the legitimacy of the elections he later contested in those very precincts. His mantra of democratic state-building is disingenuous.
    3) When offered a chance by the government to get engaged and improve things, he avoids building upon his now squandered political capital. A sign of laziness and lack of long-term strategic thinking.

    Add up these and many other issues, and this is why he is unfit to lead. It is not about us vs them, personal agendas, hatred, or anything else you misinterpret in your question above. It is simply about him — or anyone else for that matter — presenting a viable alternative to the people, most of whom are thankfully not naive enough to participate in the opera circus.

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