13 03 2008- Levon Ter-Petrossyan Disrespectfully Dismisses The Catholicos of All Armenians from the Gate of his House
|Ter-Petrossyan: A straw man for foreign forces who seek the weakening and destruction of Armenia.
By APPO JABARIAN-USA ARMENIAN LIFE Magazine
The post election turmoil and the state of emergency in Armenia, caused by riots in Yerevan, took several ugly twists and turns.
In a March 5 essay in the Washington Post, failed presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrossyan complained that the media coverage of the presidential campaign during the pre-election was "tightly controlled by the regime, churning out propaganda that would have made Brezhnev-era Soviet propagandists blush in shame."
However, Mr. Ter-Petrossyan was blasted last week, by a watchdog citizen group "Armenian Americans for Stability in Armenia" for being "a Gandhi on the surface, and a Bolshevist in essence."
Mr. Ter-Petrossyan lamented: "We in the opposition were angered by all of this but not surprised. What surprised and dismayed us was the deafening silence from the West. What dismayed us even more was the technical report of the observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which rubber-stamped Sarkissian's farcical claim of victory."
But Mr. Ter-Petrossyan failed to note that according to the Republic of Armenia Prosecutor General great irregularities were revealed as a result of the investigation of the ballot-papers in Polling Station 22/21 of the region of Gegharkunik. The March 4 investigation, in the presence of Hamlet Abrahamian, the representative of the Central Electoral Commission, representatives of mass media and other observers, uncovered that the real votes given for three presidential candidates, Vahan Hovhannisian, Serge Sargsian and Levon Ter-Petrossyan, have been tempered with by Hripsime Haytian, the Chairwoman of Polling Station 22/21. The document presented by her to the Central Electoral Commission misrepresented the votes for Vahan Hovhannisian as being 100 instead of the real 63; those of Serge Sargsian were misrepresented as 500 instead of 359 and the votes for Levon Ter-Petrossyan as 559 instead of the real 41. She was arrested and a charge has been brought against her. She has admitted her guilt.
In his Washington Post article, Ter-Petrossyan unwittingly acknowledged that he and his supporters "staged a continuous protest at Opera Square that became the most wonderful celebration of freedom," even though these mass rallies were not sanctioned or authorized by the municipality of Yerevan.
He then complained: "Deeply concerned that the ranks of protesters were swelling by the day, the regime decided early Saturday to resort to force. Riot police were ordered to disperse the crowd, detain the opposition leaders and put me under house arrest. After several hours, citizens reassembled at another site, demanding to see their leaders, but instead they encountered more riot police, later reinforced by units of the Armenian army, which was ordered to crush the protest. At least eight people were killed this weekend, and emergency rule has been declared."
On March 8, The Armenian Reporter, an independent Armenian weekly, published a scathing account of Ter-Petrossyan's unfounded allegations. The English-language weekly's Yerevan-based correspondent reported: "In the early hours of March 1, security forces in riot gear moved into Freedom Square with the stated intention of searching for weapons. According to the pro-Ter-Petrossyan A+ online news agency, Mr. Ter-Petrossyan had been told that special troops from Parakar (west of Yerevan) and Davtashen (in the northwestern part of Yerevan) were moving into Freedom Square and that they were not armed."
The Reporter added: "According to Mr. Ter-Petrossyan, the police did not warn the crowd to disperse. 'The troops came in rows from the right and left and stood in front of the people,' he said. But police video, which was shown on Public Television's Haylur program on March 4, clearly shows that protesters were warned to disperse before impending operation."
Another independent eyewitness, Dr. Armen Ayvazyan, the Director of the "Ararat" Center for Strategic Research, stated: "Ter Petrossyan and his team did not come 'to right the wrongs,' but just to exacerbate the situation to the edge. I'm a first-hand eyewitness of these recent events. The major clashes happened just 300 feet from my home and I've been hearing and watching everything from the beginning to the end. That day, Ter Petrossyan and his team brought Armenia to the very brink of DISASTER. No one can prove to me that it was the police who instigated the clashes. It was not just a coup attempt. It was a cold-blooded attempt by Ter Petrossyan & Co. to instigate a civil war! Ter Petrossyan and his team are an immediate and overwhelming national security threat!"
Contrary to the circulating rumors that Mr. Ter-Petrossyan "is under house arrest," The Reporter indicated that Armenia's State Security Service informed the former President that "his bodyguards would not allow him to go to 'illegal gatherings' or other places where they could not guarantee his safety. They offered him the option of formally waiving state protection, in which case he would be free to leave his mansion without bodyguards from the State Security Service."
Obviously, Mr. Ter-Petrossyan chose to stay in "his residence, where he held press conferences and telephone conversations. At a press conference on the evening of March 2, he said he did not leave his house for fear of his life," according to The Reporter.
While he enjoyed state-provided protection and safety of his house, he even made use of his freedom by rejecting His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians. Vehapar had come to Ter-Petrossyan's mansion as a mediator, and was rudely turned away at its gates.
President Robert Kocharian lambasted Ter-Petrossyan during a subsequent press conference: "But what happened is unbelievable. His Holiness went there and wasn't simply let in. It's just perplexing. I would never have imagined that any Armenian in any part of the world could refuse to receive His Holiness in his place."
All efforts to diffuse the standoff between the protesters and the police even by Ter-Petrossyan's close ally David Shahnazaryan were sabotaged by another key ally. The Reporter clarified that the Police "offered two other venues for the rally to be held. Mr. Ter-Petrossyan later confirmed that negotiations were taking place between him and the authorities over alternate locations for his supporters to gather. Those included the central railway station by the statue of David of Sassoun or the Republican Stadium. Both were rejected because Mr. Ter-Petrossyan said they would be far from the eyes of the international community and he needed them to witness what was transpiring. When the protesters refused to move to these venues, the vicinity of the centrally located repository of ancient manuscripts, the Madenataran was offered as an alternative." Shahnazaryan "asked the protesters to move to the Madenataran. But then Nikol Pashinian, who had served as the emcee of Mr. Ter-Petrossyan's rallies" and edits Haykakan Zhamanak daily, "informed that they were to stay in the vicinity of the French Embassy. … The protesters were to commandeer buses to set up barricades. Six major streets were barricaded using not only buses, but benches, bricks, and anything else that could be found."
The Reporter continued: "All attempts by riot police to push back against the crowd were pushed back. The protesters had now reached City Hall where 20-to-30 person riot police unit with shields and truncheons was pushed inside the building, followed by some of the protesters. 'We saw that some people fell on the police. We ran there to prevent the brawl. They were beating a colonel. I lay down on his back to protect him from being beaten,' Member of Parliament Armen Martirosian told A1+ Mr. Martirosian was reportedly knifed as he tried to protect from the protesters, the officers who had fallen to the ground near the City Hall. … Youth armed with sticks as well as shields and truncheons captured from the police ran down the streets, turning over and setting on fire police vehicles and private cars. People living in the vicinity told the Armenian Reporter that the protest at this point had turned uncontrollable and unarmed police were being forced to move back; some even chased down into nearby courtyards by the mob. The looting of stores began. …It was free-for-all as people began hauling out everything from candy to brandy."
So how can Mr. Ter-Petrossyan have the gall to say that he expects "a strong and unequivocal condemnation of the violence that occurred [sic] March 1 and a recognition that the government, not the opposition, bears responsibility?" And how can he claim that "We in Armenia have been trying to understand the roots of such indifference to the rape of our democracy by the Kocharian-Sarkissian regime," when in fact he is squarely aiming at raping the stability and statehood of Armenia?
Adding another dimension to his perverse approach to electioneering, Mr. Ter-Petrossyan said: "More important is the oft-stated claim that the only people able to settle Armenia's long-standing conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region will be leaders who are themselves from Nagorno-Karabakh -- as Kocharian and Sarkissian are." But Mr. Ter-Petrossyan himself is from Syria and his Machiavellian expression has earned him widespread outcry. His ill-guided faux pas has caused a strong backlash in Armenia-Artsakh and the Diaspora.
Soon after Ter-Petrossyan's article appeared in the Washington Post, a sizeable number of American readers rebuked him. One reader wrote: "I will have to take issue with Mr. Ter-Petrossyan's comments. The current government had allowed the protests to continue for as long as they were peaceful, despite the fact that the rallies were unsanctioned and unauthorized. When riots broke out in Los Angeles (Rodney King), or Paris, I didn't think the US and French governments should have stood by and let rioters tear down the cities. … As far as the Karabagh problem goes, there is a growing opinion amongst the Armenian people that Ter-Petrossyan is in collusion with certain western governments to destabilize the region, and bring it out of the relative peace of the past few years, in order to gain access to the oil in Azerbaijan with pipes laid through that region. No wonder as soon as the troubles began in Armenia, the Azeris started military activities and incursion, as if they have gotten the green light from somewhere."
Recently, a group of citizens and/or friends of Armenia, Tigran Kocharyan, Peter Maghdashyan, and Karen Vrtanesyan created an on-line petition condemning the riots by Mr. Ter-Petrossyan's supporters. The petition, called "The March 1st Riots in Yerevan, Armenia," is being hosted at www.PetitionOnline.com.
On March 8, a group of Armenian American journalists, TV hosts, writers and activists, deeply concerned with post-election developments in Armenia, held its inaugural conference in Los Angeles. The group, called "Armenian Americans for Stability in Armenia," issued its first public appeal. The appeal reflects the online petitioners' statement.
The appeal stated: "We strongly believe that now Levon Ter-Petrossyan is a direct threat to the statehood of Armenia. The feeling of revenge, personal business interests and affiliations are the motives behind Levon Ter-Petrossyan's scandalous comeback. While we criticize our government for many weaknesses and faults we strongly believe that Levon Ter-Petrossyan is the last person in the world to be interested in strengthening democracy in Armenia."
The appeal concluded: "We call on the government of Armenia to conduct a thorough investigation and bring to fair trial all instigators of disturbances and civil unrest. With enough evidence of complicity immunity should be lifted from Ter-Petrossyan himself. In a true democracy, no one can be above the law."
Armen Khandjian, the director of the Aquarian Millennium Armenological Studies, Research and Exhibits, wrote to USA Armenian Life Magazine: "It is not surprising that Israeli flags were displayed at Ter-Petrossyan's rally. This loser has caused immeasurable harm to Armenia's international reputation by his organized anti-Armenian government protests. Is he an Israeli agent?"
There is no doubt that in these trying and turbulent times, Armenians in Armenia-Artsakh and the Diaspora will surely rally around their newly re-established independent state.
The patriotism among the absolute majority of the Armenian people will prevail over Ter-Petrossyan' s careerism. The coming days will further reveal as to how much Mr. Ter-Petrossyan and his cohorts are willing to be the proxy fighters for outside dark forces that are seeking the destruction of Armenia-Artsakh and the Armenian nation.