By Sona Hamalian
Mr. Prime Minister,
This is one letter I wish I never had to write. Yet now I know I must, because passive resignation and complacency should no longer be requirements for those of us who call Armenia home, and because I know, without an iota of doubt, that your political wisdom and sense of fairness remain beyond reproach.
As you know only too well, Yerevan in recent days experienced a minor convulsion, in the wake of acting Minister of Culture Nazeni Gharibyan’s peremptory dismissal of Constantine Orbelian from his position as General Director of the Yerevan Opera House. I suspect the core reason this development did not sit too well with the people of Yerevan was that the person who was being ordered to vacate his position was not some nasty oligarch, or a corrupt government official, or a longtime tax evader, but a man who has almost single-handedly brought about the revival of one of our most beloved national treasures, the Yerevan Opera House.
Already some months prior to Gharibyan’s Soviet-style stroke of the pen dismissing Orbelian, and in view of former Minister of Culture Lilit Makunts’ smear campaign unleashed against the Maestro, I had been having a sneaky suspicion that the effects of the marvelous jolt of last year’s Velvet Revolution had started to wear off, that the new Armenia which you, Mr. Prime Minister, had helped emerge, was perhaps just too good to be true.
I was wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier for being wrong about something. When highly-intelligent, well-informed, and fair-minded people — first dozens, then hundreds of them — expressed outrage, hit the streets of Yerevan to make their protest heard, or signed the petition calling for an immediate reversal of Gharibyan’s action, my faith in the fundamental decency of the Armenian people was at once restored.