Monday, January 11, 2010

After a lot of noise and buildup, and days of advertising on Dashnaktsutyun’s Yergir Media television station, I went to the rally against ratification of the Protocols. The rally started at the Shahumyan Square, not far from the Central Bank in the city center, before later continuing with a march to the Constitutional Court. I had expected a large turnout, after hearing about the earlier rally in Yerevan, held about the time Serge Sargsyan was traveling around the world and telling how wonderful (in his opinion) the Protocols are.

The best I can describe the event is that it was a sad one, with only several hundred attending, maybe as many as a couple of thousand. None of the noise that usually goes along with such rallies was heard, none of the fists raised, only people wondering what could be done, short of violence.

Asking a Dashnak party member (not of the ruling clique) what his party planned if/when the Constitutional Court and Parliament gave their approval for ratification, the Dashnak said, “What’s left? Nothing. What can we do besides rallies like these?” Quite disheartening talk, to say the least.

A younger Dashnak party member told me he wasn’t surprised about the small turnout. As he put it, “How can people trust the Dashnak party? What have they done to gain their trust? After years of being members of the ruling coalition, it’s going to take time for the people to believe they are independent.

“And what will the people do when our government, if you can call it that, gives up the liberated territories? I know lots who would go and fight if the war started again. But if they sign it all away, what can these brave men do? I tell you, these people are doing more damage to the Armenian nation than the Turks and the Kurds ever did...”

Another young Dashnak approached an older one and said, “You know, this morning I was watching Yergir Media, and right after the announcement about the rally, they advertised their ‘holiday show,’ complete with cheap rabiz and pop music. And there was a time I thought we Dashnaks were different, better than the others,” to which the older Dashnak answered, “I thought the young crowd wouldn’t watch television if the music wasn’t modern,” to which the young Dashnak said, “The Turks are already singing and dancing our music, and if we continue like this, we’re nothing, and no better than the Turks, no doubt.”

Then, after a statement by a member of Heritage, who said, “We have other methods, if the Parliament approves the Protocols,” I gave up and went home.

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