Speaking Truth to Power?

ArmeniaNow.com has been responsible for some excellent journalism over the years and a recent arts article highlights why they are so valuable to those interested in Armenia but don’t have access to the local culture.

dedicationpasolini.jpgIn their latest edition, they published an article “Old Ways: ‘KGB’ steps out of bounds to monitor ‘free speech’” about a book that has caused a stir among the country’s power elite. Critical of everybody from President Robert Kocharian and His Holiness Karekin II to former President Levon Petrossian and Russian Armenian businessman Ara Abrahamyan, the author’s textual venom punctures some holes in the usually bulletproof images of Armenian bigwigs in a nation still struggling with notions of democracy, freedom of the press, and a fair judicial system.

The book’s title, Dedicated to Pasolini is as nebulous as the intent of the author, referring to Pier Paolo Pasolini (wiki), the openly gay Italian communist filmmaker, writer and philosopher, who was killed on a beach near Rome by a street hustler or anti-communist agents, depending on who you ask–his death is still shrouded in mystery.

Here’s the 411 about the controversial Armenian book, courtesy ArmeniaNow:

Gagik Sargsyan is a pseudonym for the 39-year-old author, born in Gyumri and a graduate of the Yerevan Conservatory. He lived six years in New York. “Dedication to Pasolini”, a collection of essays was self-published earlier this year in Armenian and Russian.

The book, published in 2,500 copies, and selling for 2,500 AMD (about $7) has been refused by some Yerevan booksellers. The title of the book has nothing to do with its content, except as explained in the prologue:

“This is not simply a title, but a true dedication to the great master of the revelation of the human nature, who was gifted with an unprecedented ability of calling everything by its names and revealing their essence.”

There are many questions surrounding the book and the government’s interest…I suggest reading the article in full to get a more complete picture (though don’t expect clarity).

Now that Turkey has started to confront its genocidal past, perhaps it’s time for Armenia to confront its present and look towards a brighter future full of more freedoms than they have ever had before. We can only hope.

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