Tuesday, 18 September

MP’s Above the Law: National Assembly Replaces the Jail Cell

There’s a rumor going round the halls of the National Assembly. They say that a bill is going to be introduced to add a new national holiday to the calendar – “Bodyguard Day”. It’s still too early to say which MP will sponsor the bill or which political party will get behind it but, nevertheless, there’s no doubt that this will be the most significant holiday to be celebrated in Armenia.

It will become a pan-national event without boundaries. Stars from the world of Armenian entertainment will not only be invited, but noted international singers as well. Medals will be bestowed on that momentous day. Fireworks will light up the sky, champagne will be swilled and bouquets of flowers will be tossed about. Those bodyguards and skinheads really need to be congratulated. They’ve become one of the most stable of all segments in the rocky Armenian socio-economic environment. The nation must honor their achievements accordingly. Thumb through the papers and you’ll come across a constant flow of articles about these guys. They’re in the spotlight; front and center. They command respect because they carry guns and have the green light to go. The ones who paved the roads they cruise down are their oligarch bosses; members of parliament. Without those bodyguards, these MP’s are a bunch of losers – they can’t take a step without them; not even out of the house. They need the bodyguards to defend their worldly possessions; the result of their conniving and flouting the law. These MP’s and their bodyguards represent the “cream” of the nation. It is incumbent of each and every one of us to offer thanks to these bodyguards for preserving and protecting our valued MP’s, our people’s chosen elite. The average citizen, upon entering the voting booth, not only casts a ballot for their member of parliament but for the MP’s bodyguards as well. The person with the strongest security staff naturally wins the election. There’s another rumor making the rounds that in future elections, the faces of a candidate’s bodyguards will also appear on campaign posters. People might not recognize the candidate himself, but at least they’ll see who the guys are protecting him. Voters should know these things; no? Just last week, while flipping the channels, I caught Levon Sargsyan and Sedrak Saroyan on this program called “The Top Ten”. For the uninitiated, Sargsyan goes by the nickname “Flour Mill Lyovik” and Saroyan’s known as General Seyran. Levon Sargsyan should have been jailed a long time ago. Back in September, 2008, a young man named Andranik Babayan was beaten to death in the Adnaklasnik Café upon his orders. Some sources claim that Sargsyan himself participated in the deadly attack. A few days later, on October 2, President Serzh Sargsyan delivered a speech in parliament that many assert was especially directed at Levon Sargsyan. However, those that know Levon Sargsyan personally will tell you that mere speeches won’t get him to change his ways. On that day, President Sargsyan stated, “No one in Armenia should believe that they are above the law. No individual in Armenia has the right to act on behalf of the government. I suggest that all of you stay clear of such actions, however justified, since the consequences will be visible to all.” But rather than a speech, all that was needed was to throw Levon Sargsyan behind bars; as the law stipulates. Last week the bodyguards of the two MP’s had a run-in at the Giani Restaurant. Shots were fired, noses bloodied, the place trashed – the same broken record. Some arrests were made but the guys were later released. This is just the latest such incident and they’ll continue because the authorities want it this way. As a rule, the police usually issue some convoluted statement after such incidents and you really can’t make heads or tails out of what actually transpired. But you understand full well how the case will turn out. It happened in the Adnaklasnik affair as well. At his latest press conference, Edward Sharmazanov, the spokesperson for the ruling Republican Party, denied that the incident had anything thing to do with the party. I’m more than a bit confused. Here we have an incident involving the bodyguards of two Republican Party MP’s. If the party isn’t involved, then who the heck is? Then again, who knows? Maybe it was some Hamas “shebab” dudes brawling over at the Giani.

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