Friday 4 May 2012

Balloon explosion tragedy at Armenia ruling Republican party pre-election rally exposed blatant disregard to human lives

RFE/RL: “At least 144 people were hospitalized with burns after mass explosions of campaign balloons during a pre-election concert and rally held in Yerevan’s main square by President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) late on Friday.” 

My Question No.1

What on earth these balloons were filled in with?

Unconfirmed reports suggest that instead of helium they were filled in with cheap gas-like substances. I am inclined to believe this version.

My Question No. 2

Why after such huge incident "concert" continued? And why after such incident Armenia president went on to deliver his planned pre-election speech as if nothing happened?

No, it is NOT always OK to say: “Show must go on”.

RFE/RL reports: “President Sarkisian addressed the crowd shortly afterwards. He did not mention the unprecedented emergency in his speech. The concert continued after the speech.” 

BBC reports: “Despite the incident, President Serge Sarkisian went on to address thousands of people at the rally. The balloons were decorated with the governing Republican Party's slogan "let's believe in change". 

My verdict

What a blatant disregard to human lives!!
I am extremely sad and angry. My thoughts are with injured people...


artmika said...

Update, as per friend's comments under this post on Facebook:

"Half an hour ago Armenia TV said that officially 154 people were hospitalized, 56 of them went home after getting treatment, and 98 are still in hospitals. The minister of Health said none's life is under danger and everybody will get well in couple of days."

The Blackmer Family said...

I am asking the same questions myself. You know, this is kind of a funny comparison, but I used to work in Walt Disney World entertainment, where Cast Members were trained and guided by four "Keys," in order of priority: Saftey, Courtesy, Efficiency, and Show. That's right -- even an organization whose sole purpose is entertainment considers the concept that "the show must go on" of least importance compared to the safety of guests, courtesy by employees, and efficiency of schedules, organization, crowd control, etc. So for an organization that is supposedly trying to win over a nation's population in order to rule society with fairness and humanity, they have a lot of work to do!

artmika said...

Mr Muk [ex-speaker of the Armenian parliament, currently heading ruling party's election HQ, nicknamed "Muk" - "mouse" in AM] came up today with ridiculous excuse amid growing criticism on handling of the incident by the authorities. Apparently, they carried on with the show, because this was the 'only sensible' thing to do, to keep people inside the square (?!), avoid panic and allow emergency services access. Basically, what he is saying is confessing in failure. Failure to crowd control in emergency situations.

In case of explosion in an open space, you evacuate people, you do not entertain them, you don't trap them and keep them hostage of the situation. This video footage (from around 3mins) clearly shows that the organisers or co had no clue what to do and didn't want allowing people out.

There are plenty of exits from Republican sq, some of them could have been used for evacuation, the rest for emergency operations.

The authorities know pretty well how bad it looks for their image [continuation of the "concert" and the pre-election speech by president despite this tragic incident], therefore they introduced such a convenient excuse. So, no, Mr Muk, I do not buy your argument.

P.S. The important issue of balloons' filling is currently under criminal investigation.