It’s already the second day that people speak about Serj Tankian more than about Raffi Hovhannisyan. It’s quite natural that if there were no elections and if Raffi Hovhannisyan hadn’t gained about 40% of votes and hadn’t claimed that he was the real winner, Serj Tankian wouldn’t send letters to the Armenian President.
I am quite sure that many of those who were inspired by Serj Tankian’s letters are not the fans of System of a Down, and some have heard of him for the first time. What’s the “secret” then? How does it happen that almost all TVs have read out excerpts from Serj Tankian’s first critical letter?
I think the secret of the “Tankian effect” is that he said things we all think about but don’t speak out due to various reasons. When saying “we” I mean all those people who have numerous complaints but stay out of the active political and civil struggle.
We stay out because we are afraid. We stay out because we are busy. We stay out because we live in a small country where almost everybody knows everyone. We stay out because each of us has reached some success in his work and, realizing that we can’t reach big changes we stay aside and try to succeed each in our own field.
If we talk about journalists (I don’t mean the openly oppositional media outlets) let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that we can criticize everyone. However, we will think dozens of times before criticizing the Armenian President. This is what attracts people most of all in Serj Tankian’s letters: there appeared a person who openly says to the Armenian President: “Let me note you didn’t clearly answer my questions”. Have you ever heard anyone saying something like this to the Armenian President? The thing is not about how fundamental Serj Tankian’s words are. The thing is that he allows himself asking such questions. He is doing what we often want but don’t do.
Of course, in conditions of the Armenian political environment, the style of Serj Tankian’s letters may seem impolite, but it is quite acceptable for the Western culture, and we have to bear it in mind. I believe Serj Tankian didn’t mean to insult the President.
I think after these letters Serj Tankian should at least apply for Armenian citizenship, otherwise all his urges and advice will depreciate. It’s clear that Tankian won’t quit music and won’t engage in an active political activity in Armenia, but to be able to talk about our problems now he must have our passport. It will be really honest.
Ara Tadevosyan is the Director of Mediamax.