Most reactions I saw are exploiting this topic for their narrow political interests and dirty tricks under the cover of ‘care’ about Raffi or LTP or opposition or Armenia’s future... I just want to say one thing. In my opinion, regardless of political desirability, inter-personal relations, sensitivities, ‘simple’ or ‘complex’ politics, LTP should have approached Raffi. I do not care about all sorts of excuses provided. It was the only right thing to do for ethical and human perspectives. It was also right thing to do in terms of “public relations”.
‘17 March’ should have been a day of triumph for LTP led Armenian opposition. It was. For one day only. Now it's turning into a PR disaster for Levon. As if things were not bad enough, LTP comes up with an “explanation” of his actions and motives, that is beyond words ridiculous.
Armenian National Congress (HAK) leader Levon Ter-Petrossian responded to a question by local daily Haykakan Jamanak (“Armenian Times”) as to why the opposition leader didn’t approach Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian during the HAK rally on Mar. 17 at Liberty Square. Recall, Hovannisian has been camped out at Liberty Square since Mar. 15, the day he began his hunger strike “for freedom.”I mean. seriously, Levon. This is what you are going to do when you come to the power? To preach? And to "explain" your actions by Bible articles, Christian “principles” and “virtues” as opposed to the constitution, human rights and law?
“Because that goes against my Christian principles. Christianity for me is before or even more than religion, it is a moral codex. And this codex categorically rejects the piety, mercy, humility, modesty, charity, including a demonstration of fasting, of Christian virtues. When a virtue is put on display, it stops being a virtue. Particularly on fasting, one of the Armenian Church’s most authoritative Fathers, Hovhan [Hovhannes] Mandakuni, in the 5th century said the following: ‘The Devil destroys both the one fasting and his Lent, when man wants and classifies himself above others, so that his abstinence is drummed by others, and people become aware of and admire his endurance. Such a Lent doesn’t cleanse and justify, but rather pollutes and destroys’ (Matenagirk Hayots, A, p. 1170). On request, a hundred such examples can be brought forth from Armenian and world church literature.
“Anyway, if Raffi Hovannisian instead of publicly fasting, announced a hunger strike with specific political demands, I would not only welcome him, but also announce my full solidarity,” he said.
There are few things more off-putting for me than politicians using religion to “explain”, “excuse” or “justify” their actions or inaction.
Now about Raffi’s “demands”. That Raffi started his hunger strike “for freedom” without any specific demands was a bit strange, to say the least. After all the criticism of recent days and the latest from LTP, today he finally revealed what he called Heritage party’s “political demands”. Sorry, Raffi, these are not ‘demands’, but rather empty slogans and populism:
1. Power to the people
2. No to a party state
3. The people are the country’s owner
4. Vox populi, vox Dei (the voice of the people is the voice of God)
5. A free square, free citizen, free country
6. A free citizen, a safe state
7. A dignified future for Armenian youth
8. Employment for the people
9. SOS Armenia is being emptied of Armenians
10. No to injustice, poverty and emigration
11. An end to ruling corruption
12. Strength also lies in morality
13. No to [the Armenian-Turkish] Protocols, yes to Homeland
14. Recognition of Artsakh [the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh]
15. That miraculous country which is ours and will be ours — Armenia.
"The voice of the people is the voice of God". What a ‘powerful’ ‘demand’, indeed. And so on, and so on...
Come on, Raffi, I was of much-much higher opinion of you. In fact, you were one of the most respected (if not the most) Armenian politicians for me. But this? You can’t be serious. This is a joke. Honestly, when I started reading these points, I burst into laughing. But then I stopped as I realised how sad the reality is.
Yes, I know, I’ve been reminded that this is not specific to Armenia, that politicians suck everywhere, but have to repeat what I’ve said on Twitter and Facebook today. Politicians in Armenia suck... even the good ones.