Thursday, September 14, 2006

Human Rights Watch criticizes the imprisonment of three Armenian soldiers

Emil Danielyan at Armenia Liberty writes that HRW is criticizing and asking for the Armenian government to reconsider the life imprisonment sentence given to the three Armenian soldiers, Razmik Sargsyan, Arayik Zalyan, Musa Serobyan - the article is here "U.S. Watchdog Defends Armenian Soldiers Jailed For Life"

This story was one of the first articles I had written about back in January 2006.

Yet I just wanted to call attention to the most alarming fact that was presented at the end of the article,

"Armenia’s Office of the Military Prosecutor reported 19 such deaths during the first half of this year. The official crime statistics show that Armenian soldiers are at much greater risk of dying at the hands of their commanders and comrades than from enemy fire."

And these are only the OFFICIAL crime statistics! What is happening in the army? How ironic that these young men who are serving the country being murdered by their own Commanders.

It is due to these types of stories and situations that one begins to wonder…

I know of a few young Armenians who have served in the army or are currently serving. After they are done with their service, these young men explain that they feel like they have just wasted the past two years of their life. And frankly, when they come out of the army and are looking for a job or maybe applying to university to continue their education, what are they supposed to explain on their resumes or their personal statements? … “I have just completed my service to the RA National Army and I learned absolutely nothing. My Commanders are a pack of thieves and are rewarded for acting the way they do. I have obtained no skills and the only experience I have gained is the fact that Army is not a place that anybody should be…”

So why should these young men want to conscript? Why should Armenian young men continue to be proud of their country, their citizenship and want to actually stay after seeing and hearing about things like this? And the ironic part of all is that the Army is probably the MOST nationalistic institution and they are very often showing television documentaries about the Karabakh war and how we must respect those who have lost their lives in battle. How about we also consider respecting those Armenian youth who are actually staying alive and serving in the army? An interesting thought.


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