The Armenian Weekly; March 22, 2008; Commentary and Analysis

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The Armenian Weekly; Volume 74, No. 11; March 22, 2008

Commentary and Analysis:

1. LTP II: The Return of Levon
A Review by Siskel Anibertian

2. It’s the Same Game
By Garen Yegparian


1. LTP II: The Return of Levon
A Review by Siskel Anibertian

Generally, I don’t enjoy sequels. Yes, occasionally someone stumbles across
a formula that works, like the Indiana Jones films or the Star Wars
franchise. But most of the time, they just turn out to be recycled garbage.
Take LTP II-The Return of Levon, for example.

First, let’s examine the title. It sounds a lot like a bad automobile
marketing idea from the 1970’s. Doesn’t anyone from the Ter-Petrossian
production team remember the failure of the LTD II or the Mustang II?
Perhaps it’s a bit much to expect somebody who lived in the former Soviet
Union to remember such bone-headed moves. But surely Levon has a couple of
hundred friends in Hollywood who, prior to marching in the streets, could
have filled him in.

Then there is the storyline. After a decade of being off the stage, a
corrupt former leader decides to get the band back together for a reunion
tour. Like most reunion tours, they get some original band members, like
Raffi "First Foreign Minister" Hovanissian, to agree to play along, but
others, like Vano "First Criminal" Siradeghian, can’t be coaxed out of
retirement, at least not yet.

You can tell from the very beginning that this remake lacks the energy that
the band had on its first tour, before the fame and the power got to their
heads. And it’s pretty clear in LTP II that the boys are not in it for some
altruistic reason. It’s all about the money and it’s a film we’ve all seen

The plot does have some ironic twists. You may remember that in the first
installment, not long after being voted Best Armenian Band in 1991, Levon
and friends learn to master ticket fraud to boost their concert numbers and
steal the Best Band title from former band member Vazgen Manukian, who goes
off to start his own band. When Vazgen and his fans complain, Levon has his
"security team" show them who’s boss.

In the sequel, Levon cries foul from the very start and tries to play the
victim card, hoping that some cowboy will feel sorry for him and come to his
rescue. After a climactic "Battle of the Bands," Levon ends up the loser
when the same concert promoters, venue operators and merchandisers who made
Levon and friends rich the first time around decide he hasn’t got what it
takes 10 years later.

While LTP II does start off rather comically, it soon degenerates into a
type of senseless violence that we haven’t really seen for more than a
decade. A sorry, unintended spoof of itself, LTP II lacks the humor and
creativity of a Spinal Tap or the powerful message of Pink Floyd’s "The
Wall." Hopefully LTP’s fans will realize that they are once again being
played and that they recognize this is just another money grab. Let’s hope
there’s no Part III.

LTP II-The Return of Levon is rated R for repulsive, and contains hate
speech, divisiveness and violence. It is not recommended for Armenians of
any age. Total box office since Feb. 19, 2008: 351,222. Two thumbs down.
——————————————– ———————–
2. It’s the Same Game
By Garen Yegparian

Whether it’s Sudan to the Black Africans (Darfurans), Turkey to the
Armenians, Germany to the Jews, Turkey to the Kurds, Iraq to the Kurds,
Turkey to the Assyrians, Rwanda to the Tutsis, or the U.S. to the Cherokee,
Sioux and others, it’s always the same game, and much the same process.

The moves involved are the same. Deportations and the changing of names-
people and places- are a couple of the tricks of the genocide/ethnic
cleansing/persecution trade. Of course, there’s the tried and true
inequalities of economic and social conditions imposed by the
conqueror/persecutor/murderer. And, the offender works his way up the ladder
towards full-on genocide if the lesser measures don’t resolve the "problem"

I won’t bore you with a long list of the inhumane tools used. What I will
point out is how weird it is to see an article titled "Years of grievances
erupt into rage" in the March 18 LA Times. I got the sense that the
authors/editors/newspaper were surprised by the phenomenon of Tibetans
rising against China. Gee, what a shock that people will organize to rebel
against an occupier; that people will only tolerate so much before
exploding; that organized people will time their actions to maximize the
benefits (think Olympics in China); that things do get bloody; that the
persecutor will cleverly try to portray the victim as the villain.

And what is the lot of stateless people such as the Tibetans? Well, they
might appeal to the United Nations. But, oops, there’s a catch. That’s not
an organization of nations, but of states, many of which have similar
"problems" they’d prefer to keep under wraps. Clearly, the UN won’t be doing
much in this respect. Other than East Timor (massacres here too), the UN has
not been in the supporting-independence business for a quarter of a century,
since it helped de-colonize Africa.

Remember, until 17 years ago, ours was much the same lot as that of the
Tibetans today: occupied by a huge empire, silenced on the formal
international stage where a government-in-exile or political organizations
were our only representatives. This case is worse since, instead of being on
the economic ropes as was the USSR, China is a burgeoning economic behemoth.
In this context, it allows wanton mistreatment of it own people by
"contractors" running sweatshops for Western corporations. So it’s no
surprise that it deals with Tibetans very harshly. China’s economic prowess
will also help it avoid accountability for its Tibetan transgressions.

This ought to be a lesson for us, too. Turkey’s annual per capita GDP
increased two-and-one-half fold between 2002 and 2007-quadruple China’s
increase. The bigger the economy, the more other countries are willing to
look the other way. This should energize more of us to get what is justly
ours before Turkey becomes even more of a monster than it already is. Here’s
your mission. Get one person every three months to start reading Armenian
news, who had not done so before. And, get one person to become
Armenian-politically active every year.

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