The Title of this Monologue is from a book, titled “Երկրի Հակառակ Կողմը” Loosely translated “The Country From The Opposite Side”, written by the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. It is a Novel. It was published in 2018 by Antares Publishing House in Yerevan. At the time it was a best seller in Armenia.
The book is dedicated to the memory of the 10 innocent victims of the March 1 peaceful demonstration near the Miasnigyan Monument in Yerevan.
They were killed by the Armenian Army/Security forces. This shameful tragedy never got investigated during the over 10-year rule of President Serj Sargsyan’s administration.
(Currently, an investigation is in progress and it looks like it will be a long process. Needless to say, after 12 years of shameful ignorance and criminal negligence, let us hope that all people responsible for this national shame and tragedy will be brought to justice).
Here are the names of the victims of this tragedy in the Armenian language as listed in the book.
Գոռ Քլոյան, Տիգրան Խաչատրյան, Դաւիթ Պետրոսյան, Սամվել Հարությունյան, Գրիգոր Գեւորգյան, Արմեն Ֆարմանյան, Տիգրան Աբգարյան, Հովհաննես Հովհաննիսյան, Համլետ Թադեւոսյան, Զաքար Հովհաննիսյան
The book although published in 2018 but was written in 2008 between May and December months when the author, Nikol Pashinyan, was hiding and his whereabouts were not known. He was accused of leading the demonstrations to topple the Government. At the time the novel was published in the successive issues of “Armenian Times Daily”. Հայկական Ժամանակ օրաթերթում
At the time the Armenian Police had officially stated that in March 2008 Pashinyan illegally left the country and then, again illegally, returned to Armenia. Pashinyan himself claims that, while in hiding, (from May 2 2008 to July 1, 2009) he had never left the territory of Armenia. “Even for one minute”.
It seems that this fiction (written as daily articles) was written as an act of defiance and a challenge to the Armenian police. A brilliant idea and humorous as well.
The book is 383 pages long and has 53 chapters with different headings. Assuming each chapter was printed in one of the issues of the “Armenian Times Daily” it might be fair to assume that, they were published about 2 chapters per week … just enough time for the police to be able to follow him at this improbable անհավանական fictional journey!!!
The following quote from page 13 of the book sets the stage for the improbable journey.
Իսկ ե՞ս արդյոք ճի՞շտ եմ վարվում, արդյոք իմ տեղը իմ ընկերներին կողքին չե՞, ովքեր մաքառում են զնդաններում, արդյոք նրանց մենակ չե՞մ թողնում փորձության պահին: Բայց ինքնակամ այնտեղ գնալ հիմա կը նշանակի հանձնվել, իսկ հանձնվել չի կարելի: Հարկվոր է պայքարել, հարկավոր է հաղթել: Ես կպտտվեմ աշխարհի շուրջը, եւ դա կը դառնա իմ նոր հաղթանակը: Ես չեմ թաքնվի, կը հայտարարեմ իմ երթուղին, բռնեք ինձ. եթե կարող եք: Loosely translated it reads.
Is it right what I am doing?, isn’t my place also with my comrades who are in the prison?, am I abandoning them at these trying times?. But voluntarily going to prison is basically giving up, and giving up is not possible. It is necessary to fight back, it is necessary to win. I will not hide, here is my traveling route, catch me if you can.
The trip starts from Yerevan with the help of Իմաստուն Ծերուկ (Wise Old Man). In reality, he is not old. Here is how Pashinyan explains it with a hint of humor. Նա ամենեւին էլ ծերուկ չէ: Ի վերջո, «երիտասարդ իմաստուն» ասել չի լինի, եթէ իմաստուն է, պէտք է ծերուկ լինի: (He was not old at all. After all, it is not possible to say “Young Wise Man”, if he is wise, he must be old).
Wise Old Man smuggles Pashinyan to Tbilisi Georgia and introduces him to a Georgian nationalist and a smuggler by name of Zurab.
Zurab boards him on a boat to Greece and then smuggles him to Macedonia and introduces him to a Serbian ultra-nationalist smuggler and gun dealer named Marco.
Marco provides Pashinyan with a forged Serbian passport with the name of Boyan and the picture of Pashinyan and boards him on a plane to Vienna.
From Vienna Boyan (Pashinyan) without any prearranged schedule or contacts to help, and with remarkable ingenuity, embarks on what seems to be an improbable and fairly expensive trip for a … poor activist in hiding.
Here is the imaginary list of the countries that Boyan travels from Vienna to. Switzerland, Germany, Scotland, Paris, Cuba, Japan, Russia, and then back to Tbilisi and Yerevan!!!.
Wouldn’t you like to hitch a ride for such an exciting trip? But sorry, I am not qualified to be your tour guide and I have no intention, or the ability, to write a book review either.
What I will do though, is to highlight the sociopolitical issues that were discussed between Pashinyan and some of his fictional characters that will reveal the true nature of Pashinyan as a person who believes in a true democracy (Ժողովրդավարություն) and a man of the reason for pursuing freedom and justice through rule of law. And I will try to do that mostly through his own words.
I will try to limit myself to the parts that in part relates mostly to freedom, having a choice, and the future of Armenia as Pashinyan sees them. All written in 2008, 22 years ago.
Zohrab Bebo Sarkissian