Before the birthday anniversary concert for Zori Balayan, I had a few words with a photographer friend whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. Knowing he takes pictures at public events, concerts, and rallies, I asked him if he had been to the gathering on March 1, commemorating those who died two years ago on that date.
“I was there,” he said. “There were at least 5,000, maybe as many as 10,000. The usual. The authorities closed the roads to the provinces again, fearing large crowds. They know their only real challenge is Ter Petrosyan. But what they did on March 1, two years ago, can’t be forgiven. Never in Armenian history have Armenians fired on and killed Armenians, like they did that day. It turned the people against the Karabagh-led government, and put a fear in people, and sadness, that Armenians could kill Armenians this way.
“I also fear what might happen if the war starts again. Why? For one thing, the decision will be made by Russia and the US as to the outcome of the war, who wins, how far they advance, everything. But what scares me is whether or not Armenia can take another war. Our population is small, and with losses in war, and some leaving the country, as always happens, our country’s future would be in doubt. I think this is the ultimate plan of many, and it even looks like some of our own people are helping this plan along.
“And Obama? Some are happy that he said the word ‘Mets Yeghern’ in the past. So what? And Armenians are calling it a victory just because the committee voted to send the resolution to Congress? So they can say no again? Why are Armenians so concerned about what Obama says, and not with the Protocols, which are more dangerous than people realize.”
The photographer, hearing the concert was about to begin, darted off towards a spot where he could do his work. I watched and listened as Bishop Barkev Martirosyan, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan, Sos Sargsyan, and others gave short speeches, and several groups and individuals entertained with singing or dancing. Hasmik surprised the audience, especially the Karabaghtsis, by singing a lullaby from Karabagh, as well as lullabies from Moush and Van.
Interesting was the presence of lip synching, which I thought had been banned in state-owned halls, first by a group of young singers from the Yergi Petakan Tadron. In this case, perhaps it was good that they didn’t actually sing, as even their studio-mastered recording fell short of anything even close to normal. But when Ruben Matevosyan, not young but not of the age where his voice should have failed, lip synched to “Zartir Lao,” one wondered why someone with his voice would take this approach.