The title of this Monologue is taken from a speech delivered by Narek Galstyan at the 130th-anniversary celebration of Սոցեալ Դեմոկրատ Հնչակեան Կուսակցութիւն (ՍԴՀԿ) Social Democrat Hnchagyan Party (SDHP) in Yerevan. (All translations and transliterations are mine).
Narek Galstyan is a member of the Central executive of SDHP and was the keynote speaker at the 130th-anniversary celebration ceremony attended by many dignitaries, government officials, and religious representatives.
I read the speech in its Armenian text, in the online monthly newspaper Lousapats dated February 10 2018 that I received via email. Lousapats is published by the Toronto chapter of SDHP.
It was a well-written speech that apart from paying due respect to the past, it was also a forward-looking speech and in a way a challenge to SDHP, to go beyond rhetoric and face the reality “Լոզունգներից դէպի ռէալ իրականութիւն վերադառնալու ժամանակն է”.
He highlighted some of the critical issues facing Armenia and emphasized the necessity to end the current oligarchic system. “Պէտք է վճռականօրէն դադրեցնել [աւատատէր եւ շահագործող] օլէկարխեա կոչուող հիւանդութիւնը”.
SDHP is a 130-year-old social-democratic Political Party (Party) that believes in social justice “սոցիալական արդարութեան հաւատացող” and as such, it is natural to assume that it will be a “left-leaning” opposition Party to challenge the current government that is led by Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), a “right-wing” conservative Party.
To dispel any doubts about RPA being Conservative Party here is a quote from Edward Sharmazanov, the young and assertive spokesperson of RPA, (who is also the vice president of the Armenian Parliament). “The Republican Party is conservative, if you expect it to become Liberal or Social Democrat [I can assure you that] such thing will never happen”. (News.am 03-11-2016)
RPA led government that has been in power for more than ten years, is not only allowing the oligarchs to plunder the wealth and the natural resources of the country, but also with its “trickle-down” and monopolistic economic policies it has made the poor – poorer, and the rich – richer, at the expense of the middle class and the gap is widening.
Currently, there is hardly any “left-leaning” Political Party to hold the conservative RPA accountable. Maybe this is an opportune time for SDHP to fill the gap, and start the process to become the much-needed “left-leaning” opposition Party in Armenia.
In my previous Monologues, I have written about the necessity to have a true “left-leaning” opposition Party in Armenia. In those Monologues, I included only the Parties that participated in elections and SDHP was not one of them. Let us hope that they will do so during the next elections. It is long overdue.
It was encouraging to hear Narek Galstyan say the next two years must be all hard work to become an effective political organization. “Յաջորդ երկու տարիները սեւագործ աշխատանքի եւ քաղաքական ազդու կազմակերպութեան վերածուելու ժամանակ պէտք ի դառնայ”.
It is equally encouraging to hear Mr. Galstyan also say that it is our mission in Armenia to reach every faraway village and present our ideas and vision for a just and strong Armenia. “[ՍԴՀԿ] մեծագույն առաքելութիւնը ունի Հայաստանե ամենէն հեռաւոր գիւղերում ներկայացնել այո քարոզել մեր գաղափարները արդար ու ուժեղ պետութիւն ունենալու մեր տեսլականը”.
It will be a long and difficult process. Yes, it will be necessary to visit all the regions and villages, listen to people’s concerns, and then develop a socially-progressive electoral platform, present it to the electorate and earn their support during the next parliamentary election due in 2022.
Needless to say, the Party needs also a country-wide organization, and “electoral machines” at least in most, if not all, 13 electoral regions. They need also many volunteer campaign workers and proxies in all polling stations as well. A big challenge indeed.
But it seems they have already started the process to face that challenge by growing their ranks with young members. Here is what Mr. Galstyan said in this regard.
“Այո, հպարտութեամբ կարող եմ ասել, մեր շարքերն օր-օրին աւելի ու աւելի են ընդլայնւում երիտասարդներով”, and he adds, this fact although very encouraging but also it challenges us to work harder. “սակայն այս փաստը որքան էլ ուրախալի, այքան պարտաւորեցնող ու աւելի ու աւելի աշխատելու պարտադրող է”. It can not be said any better.
Even they could start to act as an opposition Party as early as now, and start to expose the corruption and the monopolies of the current conservative and oligarchic government with credible facts and figures and not hearsay, and do so with words, and deeds. Բանիւ եւ գործով.
They could also start to endorse, and publicly support, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that are engaged in activities to help improve specific issues that affect the daily lives of the people living in Armenia.
There is more in Mr. Galstyan’s speech but I already reached my self-imposed limit for the length of my Monologues and no need to continue any longer.
Let me finish by congratulating Mr. Galstyan for his groundbreaking speech and repeat his words “Լոզունգներից դէպի ռէալ իրականութիւն վերադառնալու ժամանակն է”. Yes, it is time to go beyond rhetoric and face the reality. It is long overdue.
Zohrab Bebo Sarkissian.