Saturday, April 12, 2008

An Open Letter to Mr. Javier Solana

Secretary General of the Council of the European Union

April 9, 2008

Dear Mr. Solana,

As you well know, Serzh Sargsyan was today sworn into office as the third President of the Republic of Armenia with all due pomp and ceremony. He swore to lead the citizens of Armenia in harmony and respect, and to protect their rights.

And what were the citizens of Armenia, from whom he was protected by a veritable army ready to open fire, doing at that very moment?

Allow me to explain, Mr. Solana. Some were busy laying flowers to mourn relatives and friends killed by Sargsyan's forces, to the background of Jazz music and balloons welcoming Sargsyan as president. Others, mostly women and children, were being brutally beaten only steps away from the site of the inauguration. One elderly woman in particular was being kicked and dragged through the streets by Sargsyan's forces. Still others—again mostly women and children—wondered when their husbands and fathers would stop their hunger strikes and be released from prison for crimes they did not commit.

And yet, Mr. Solana, today you congratulate Sargsyan. One wonders what you congratulated him for. For massive fraud, relentless repressions and political persecutions? Or, as the harbinger of Democracy and the staunch champion of Human Rights?

Do tell, Mr. Solana, does your definition of Democracy and Human Rights condone elderly women being dragged on the streets? Does it welcome the beating of innocent children?

Would you have liked to see your own grandmother under the boots of policemen, Mr. Solana?

The initial report of the monitors was to a large extent responsible for the carnage of March 1 and its aftermath. The Chairman-in-Office, Ikka Kanerva, whose impartiality and ethics has since been questioned in supermarket tabloids around the world, hastened to join the OSCE assessment of the elections as essentially "democratic". Yet for over 70% of the citizenry of Armenia, Kanerva's positive assessment was an outrageous and politically motivated position and raised serious questions about the term they have heard from the European Union and its hallowed institutions ad nauseam—Democracy. Your recent congratulatory message to a man whose criminal record is only too well known casts into doubt Europe's commitment to true Democracy. But above all, it elevates the agony and humiliation of the vast majority of the citizens of Armenian to unprecedented heights.

For the future, Mr. Solana, it would be expedient to desist from degrading the once lofty ideas of Democracy and Human Rights into idle political parlance. Human beings, especially those living in totalitarian states such as Armenia, need such ideals to face the brutalities and injustices that has become part of their every life.

Thank you.

Penelope Morrison

San Francisco, California

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