post-rock for freedom
zhogh jan, apreq, indz gretsin, vor lav a antsel hamergy.. apsos ettex chei..
spasum em fotonerin!..
isk sa duq arden kardatsel eq?
October 8, 2007
Sksela — Rock Against Freedom
Well, I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt despite their known HHSh links and support for the radical opposition, but it has to be said that tonight’s Sksela Rock for Freedom was anything but. First off, the security was tight with a dozen “rent-a-thug” security guards hired by the supposedly pro-freedom, pro-democracy movement called in to separate the audience from the bands that played. Intimidating is not the word.
According to the organizers, the hired muscle, a few of which were dressed in military fatigues, was to prevent any trouble, but as larger rock concerts have been staged in Yerevan without such security, some serious questions have to be raised. In a sense, now that many diplomatic missions in Yerevan want to fund Armenia’s revolutionary-wannabes, it seems as though Sksela are getting too egotistical for their own good. Arrogant, I’d say.
Even Sksela members sported the ear-pieces usually seen worn by official bodyguards at presidential events, as if less than 400 young Armenians represent a threat to anyone’s security. This is especially surprising given that they were expected to form an audience for a few bands performing against a backdrop of projected messages that George Orwell could have used to depict some kind of mind control in his forecast of an authoritarian future in the novel “1984.”
Other questions also remain unanswered about tonight’s event. Although the bands performing donated their time according to Sksela, estimates of the cost of the event range from $3-5,000. When asked about where the money came from, one of Sksela’s main organizers, USAID project employee Isabella Sarkisyan responded by saying that she paid for it. Even though her family is known for being close to the former administration of Levon Ter Petrosian, this seems unlikely.
However, upon producing journalist accreditation and saying that word is that the British Embassy paid for at least some of the festival, Sarkisian’s response was defensive to say the least. “Who the fuck are you for me to tell you where the money came from?” she said. So much for transparency and accountability then. Many others present at the event also raised such concerns, and especially regarding the heaviest security presence ever seen at any music event in Yerevan.
Not so much Rock for Freedom, the event represented an unfortunate reality. Even the self-declared opponents of the present system in Armenia are not only unable to offer an alternative, but in reality, they can be just as bad. For sure, as an organization that is not officially registered, Sksela has a responsibility to reveal the source of its funding. Of course, we know that as one of the Sksela organizers, Suren Saghatelyan, is married to the Political Officer at the British Embassy, Naira Sultanyan, some of the money comes from there.
But where else?
This question is particularly important given that with other pro-revolution organizations involved at the event, such as the Center for Regional Development/Transparency International Armenia, these questions not only need to be asked, but they especially need to be answered. As it is, Sksela’s Rock for Freedom was anything but. Instead, it was part of the start of actions geared towards next year’s presidential election. Only the naive can believe Sksela is a non-partisan movement and that the timing is coincidental.
And, although Sksela says it is a non-partisan organization, it really is about time that people understood that its main organizers support the radical opposition and HHSh in particular, and that their only goal is to be part of a campaign aimed at removing the government from power by any means at their disposal. Fair enough, perhaps, but what if they represent political forces who offer nothing different and who have already been seen to be as corrupt and undemocratic as the very people they say they are against?
As I had to personally say to Isabella Sarkisyan in our heated exchange, “Sksela is nothing different. It’s exactly the same as everything it pretends and seeks to fight against. No wonder nobody in this country believes in anything anymore.”
Until that changes, and groups such as Sksela represent truly democratic ideals without the personal political ambitions of its leadership defining its direction and activities, it’s no wonder that Armenia finds itself in the situation it does today. Most of the electorate find themselves disenfranchised not only by the government, but also by a lack of viable alternatives. In such a situation, the argument for the continuation and evolution of the current system, albeit with continued apathy among the population, seems strong to say the least.
Posted by Onnik @ 2:51 am