Thought On The Occasion Of The Publication Of A Pamphlet


10 Nov 04

A friend recently gave me a pamphlet to read and to comment on. The
pamphlet has the title: Religious Tolerance in Armenia. As the date
indicates, it presumably was published in August 2002. Those who
put it together call themselves the “Collaboration for Democracy
Union”. The pamphlet consists of 30 pages, has a glossy cover, with
color photographs on the front and back covers. The photograph on the
front cover is of a group of four people attending a conference. The
back cover contains three photographs of individuals identified as
the president of the organization, the English translator and the
editor of the pamphlet. The first page of the pamphlet is reserved
for the editorial. The last statement of the editorial, as well as
an announcement on the last page of the pamphlet indicate that the
“Religious Tolerance in Armenia” program, and thus the publication
of the present pamphlet, have been sponsored by the “Open Society
Institute Assistance Fund – Armenia”. For those who are unaware, the
“Assistance Fund” is set up by the Soros Foundation.

In spite of my willingness and all of my efforts, I was unable
to read beyond page 16 of the pamphlet. English is not the most
utilized foreign language in Armenia, but for the sake of God,
can anyone explain how dare people write in a language they know
nothing about? Furthermore, how could they hope to win friends
to their viewpoint or to influence people? What is the point of
publishing the pamphlet in English when their purpose clearly is to
agitate the Armenian public? The aim of the pamphlet is supposedly
to promote religious tolerance in Armenia. If so, then what purpose
does it serve to pursue such a noble goal, in a foreign language,
in such an incoherent, incompetent and inept manner? Having raised
these questions, let me return to the issue of the quality of the
language of the pamphlet. The language is simply atrocious. There is
not one single correct or meaningful English sentence in all of the
16 pages of the pamphlet-Which I managed to read. The choice of the
language of the pamphlet is an enigma for me.

The pamphlet is not well researched either. It lacks accurate
information and facts on the religious organizations and minorities in
Armenia. The pamphlet pretends to be the last word on the religious
organizations existing in the pre-Soviet, Soviet and post-Soviet
eras. However, the reader is left without a definite understanding
as to how many of these organizations actually existed or were
registered during the periods referred to above. As a matter of fact,
on a given page the names of only nine of these organizations are
provided prior to the break-up of the Soviet Union, but following
some confusing statements, on that very same page, the writers arrive
at the -conclusion that, “…before independence, 14 religious or
divine organization were registered or acting in Armenia”. Note the
“divine organizations” in the previous quotation, for the life of me,
I have been unable to comprehend what is meant by this expression. It
is not simply atrocious, it is ridiculous.

The pamphlet also is offensive to those whom it aims to support or
to create tolerance towards. Instead of referring to the Church of
the Seventh Day Adventists, the Evangelical Church, the Pentecostal
Church, the Hare Krishna, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints, the authors insultingly list them as the “Adventists
of the 7th Day Church”, the “Evangelic Church”, the “Pentecosts”,
the “Hare Krishna adherents”, and the “Church of Saints of Christ’s
Last Days.” The writers are ignorant as well. Without hesitation
and with certainty, they talk of the “Osman Empire”. The pamphlet
abounds with such nonsensical expressions as “liberty of conscience”,
“can be conditionally divided”, “As a rule, new communities have been
preaching actively”, “in Armenia have taken place court trials, which
sides are religious communities and members of religious communities”,
“replacing the disputing questions to the court”, “law remains the
true to life issue”, “the field of household activities”, “absence
of democratic traditions obstacle the formation of civil society”,
and these absurdities go on and on.

Bear in mind that in the case of these quotations, I stopped on
page three of the pamphlet. Before going on to the next subject,
let me point out the real beauty of the cover page in the name of the
organization. “What’s in a name?” was the famous question. I would
say, quite a lot. To manifest the self is the most important component
of a name, particularly when it relates to an organization. Forgetting
for one moment the negative connotation of the word “collaboration”,
permit me to ask the question, collaboration with whom, at what
price and for what purpose? Couldn’t they put a more positive spin on
their name, by choosing instead a more neutral terminology, such as
“cooperation”? No! It had to be that name, it had to be crystal clear
for the sake of self-manifestation. After all, the editorial page
speaks of “fulfilling” several times. One fulfills an order, a command,
or a demand. Whose order, command or demand does this group fulfill?

Now let us return to the name of the organization, “Collaboration
for Democracy Union”. Forgetting the unanswered questions the name
brings to mind, as to who is collaborating with whom, is a union
collaborating with someone for the sake of democracy? Or is someone
joining a democracy in collaboration with others? I simply have to
state is it a wonderful discovery! Three nouns and a preposition
are supposed to convey a meaning, form a sentence. The logic is,
one throws words together and voila, a sentence is formed. And to
think that these ignorant people have been entrusted with the task
of altering the priorities of the Armenian people.

Those who sponsored the organization, which “researched” and published
this pamphlet, obviously had the specific intent in mind to discredit
some of the newspapers in Armenia. That was the demand. The pretense
was a court case regarding the misdeeds of a “preacher” of one the
sects, a story which some of the newspapers did not cover to the liking
of the sponsors of the organization. How dare they?! Let’s teach them
a lesson! Thus, the newspapers have become the targets of a diatribe
in the pamphlet. Those who put the pamphlet together incoherently
tried to create a stir, jumping from one issue to the next, making
unwarranted accusations about these newspapers and all of a sudden,
in the middle of these accusations, the internal division within the
worldwide Armenian Apostolic Church is brought to the surface. The
strategy is simple: Confuse people, diminish the credibility of
your opponents, and going beyond, point out the weakness or the
perceived shortcoming of your real target. After all, in the minds
of the sponsors, the real culprit is the Armenian Apostolic Church,
it should be vanquished and subdued.

Is that so Mr. Soros? You are used to getting your way, through
your maleficent benefactions with your so-called “foundations”
and the like, disturbing the peace of countries and disrupting
societies. Seemingly, your appetite has been whetted by your latest
conquest in the neighborhood of Armenia, when your victims so easily
succumbed to your onslaught. People of Armenia, it is up to you how
to respond to this new threat. With the power of tenacity and the
gift of devotion to principles, you have survived in the past against
all odds. My hope is that these God-given traits have not diminished
within you and in spite of the prevailing conditions in Armenia;
you will find the resources within you to withstand this new menace.

By Bishop Paren