17 ապրիլ, 2018 05:12

Canadian-Armenian actress Arsinee Khanjian writes an open letter to Serzh Sargsyan

Khanjian's letter comes after a full day of demonstrations which resulted in the closure of central Yerevan, as well as violent clashes between police forces and protesters. The demonstrators are unanimous in their demand - Serzh Sargsyan, whose last term as president ended this month, must not become the country's next Prime Minister. 

Khanjian addresses the letter directly to Sargsyan. "You are the object of focus in this crucial moment of our national journey," she explains. 

The Canadian-Armenian actress was briefly detained in 2017 for her participation in the demonstrations during a deadly shootout on July 17 when a fringe oppostion group, Sasan Tsrer, occupied a police station in Yerevan. 

In her letter, Khanjian acknowledges the challenges Sargsyan faced during his presidency, namely the lack of peace in Nagorno Karabakh.

"As a citizen, you have to the best of your knowledge served our compatriots and often acted as the official figure head of the Armenian people in the Diaspora," she writes. 

Nonetheless, Khanjian continues that, "Corruption, absence of rule of law, police violence, judicial straight jacketing, bribery and election rigging, poverty, depopulation, human and civil rights violations (violence against women, discrimination against LGBTQ communities), absence of freedom of speech have all been a signature daily outcome during your government."

Also See: Faces of Demonstrators in Yerevan

"You and I, a few years back, once had an exchange. Under political duress perhaps, you mentioned at the time that Armenian people were like sheep! I responded to you, very perturbed by your metaphor, that if that's the case then they need a good Shepherd.

Since, repeated upheavals in Armenia and outrage in the diaspora communities against your style of governance have proven that we are not a nation of sheep. We are a nation seeking a good Shepherd in a strong, fair, legitimate leadership," the actress writes. 

"I urge you and your Republican Party to let, at least this once, respectfully chose the voice of diversity to take charge of the newly established constitutional change towards a Parliamentary system that truly represents all members of the nation."

Read the full letter here.