It’s a disgusting sight for many to see not only major oligarchs running for parliament, but the country’s president allowing such a thing to happen as well. It’s a slap in the face to all those who are honest in their dreams and ambitions to see a better Armenia. We have seen within the last 20 years how such men have prospered at the expense of the common villager, how the innocent and the poor have been exploited, how the competition has been done away with in the vilest of manners. Yet, it is no secret that all developed countries began with smugglers and pirates, dubious characters who later turned to capitalism and the wonders of stealing legally from the population. Most of the developed world has developed so because of their slave trades and oppression of “lesser” nations. Armenia hasn’t had that chance to exploit the rest of the world, instead focusing it’s sometimes cruel, generally unfair tactics on it’s own people.
The test right now is the extent to which the people of the country have matured. Latest events point towards a stand against such exploitation of the lower classes. However, will these individuals be able to counter the candidacy of these oligarchs with candidates of their own?
There are those who would argue that we are headed downhill, that the country’s situation is getting worse. I wonder at those sentiments. Personally, I have seen nothing but improvement. A middle class has begun to form in Armenia that did not exist only a few years ago. Activists have sprung up from everywhere, demanding change in multiple social sectors. There is currently a large group of activists occupying Mashdots park in an attempt to protect their green Yerevan. There are those fighting for the rights of homosexuality. There is a huge movement to protect and enhance women’s rights, giving them a platform from which they could voice their concerns on political marginalization, domestic violence and sexist treatment. Voices are raised against abuse in the armies, about crooked cops and an abuse of power by authorities. I don’t see my country going downhill. I see hope and a light at the end of a dark and frightful road. I see obstacles overcome and a day when the president will walk with his or her people, carry a village child in rags on his shoulder and show those disillusioned through years of hardship a drawing of a better Armenia.
What we fail to understand is that the problem does not lie in the government. The problem lies in the people who make up the government, people who are technically no different from anyone else in Armenia, simply with Lady Luck and some friends on their side. The truth of the matter is that the same qualities that are condemned in these “mafia” figures are also present in the rest of the population. There is the honest and the thief everywhere. It isn’t the government that requires a change in Armenia, but the psychology of the individual. There is a lack of nationalist emotions in our country, a phenomenon that has been countered in most of the world. This particular lack, however, could mean that anyone might possibly sell all that we have striven for centuries to salvage.
Unfortunately, as we have seen within the last few months, it’s not the party policies that people are interested in, but the individuals who are to run for government. In most countries, the population supports the party whose platform appeals most to their conscience and needs. The lack of development in vital aspects is because we focus on the wrong thing. If we elected parties based on the platforms they represent, with clear goals and programs they are ready to implement, those with a provision of exact time frames they expect these programs to see the light of day, we’d actually have some progress. As things stand at the moment, we can only wait and see whether our people have understood this important bit of information.