Police Defend Pan-Armenian Values

06.02.2012, Critique

Լրագրող, արվեստի քննադատ

The Armenian police responded to the arrest of prominent journalist, Haykakan Jamanak ("Armenian Times") correspondent Hayk Gevorgyan with a special report. The promptly prepared audiovisual piece was uploaded on the police.am website and, according to the agency that conducted the arrest (as well as the investigation preceding), it was supposed to help bring to consciousness those who doubted the charges against the journalist.

This implication (to bring to consciousness) was emphasized from the first word and utterance. The mighty voice, trembling from justified anger, but at the same time fraught with confidence, insisted that Hayk Gevorgyan is a criminal who ran over an ordinary passerby and fled the scene.

Of course it can be stressed that until his guilt is proven, the accused is not a criminal (no one has yet excluded the presumption of innocence), but watching this report, we want to speak not about its content but about the way this content is served up.

The report depicting the official police view recalls bad (anti-Soviet) agitation placards that are read with a dramatic voice and a high tone — to leave a more spectacular and unquestionable impression. Ultimately, however, they have the opposite effect — they become derided, since inevitably drama turns into a farce, when absurd artificial emphases and pathetic words are used.

"Neither Hayk Gevorgyan nor his professional activities interest anyone. Perhaps it's of value to his employer, but it's not a pan-Armenian value," it says in the police video.

This surprising thought ramifies: The narrator, with rhetorical eulogies, advises Haykakan Jamanak chief editor Nikol Pashinyan to be a humanist and take an interest in the victim's condition (is he alive? has he been disabled? did he die?). By the way, the victim who had "an incomplete fracture on his left ankle and a brain concussion" is a laborer, a handyman; according to reporters, though, he's unemployed.

Police didn't actually present the point of view of the injured employee, but said that police officers are always by people's side — even the unemployed, since the value (perhaps pan-Armenian) for them is man. 

There were also very specific numbers noted in the video report. It was recalled that at this moment there are 600 people wanted by police at central headquarters (6 of whom are murderers). And the search for them is conducted by the efforts of only 4 employees. It turns out that Armenian police have a very disproportionate and burdensome workload. And on top of this, they are defending pan-Armenian values also of those on the wanted list. 

Nune Hakhverdyan

P.S. It's interesting to note why police included the following threats by the victim of the hit and run in its official video: "If my son finds out what happened to me, he'll smash the head of that Niva [model of car] driver." Is it morally ethical, perhaps, to spread an atmosphere of mutual distrust, calls for revenge and death threats?

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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