I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Sksela rocked for freedom on October 7. I liked it. There were a lot of shortcomings, etc., but it was fun, and I enjoyed myself. The concert happened despite numerous refusals from the Yerevan City Hall to allow it. The concert happened to prove the authorities, that they can’t stop freedom, and they can’t stop rock, and they can’t stop Sksela from rocking for freedom. I guess the original idea of the concert was long lost way back in May, after continuous refusals of the City Hall to allow it to take place. And I guess it really didn’t matter anymore who sings, and how well it is organized, and what messages are written on the wall, and why Bambir couldn’t make it, and why was there so much tight security (which I personally disapprove).
As with all the previous Sksela events, this one was also covered intensively by bloggers. Among the reactions, there was also this one, by a friend and a man who in many many issues thinks so much like me.
Onnik – while I might readily agree with all you have said on the post, you and I know well enough, that it is easy to manipulate facts and the writing mood in a way, that even the worst event can seem quite OK and vice versa. Onnik – I think you were not objective when covering that event and you were manipulating facts and moods. Onnik – I disapprove of what you said, or rather, I disapprove the manner in which you said it, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Onnik – Sksela is all about giving you that right, and making sure, that I on my turn have my right and freedom to respond.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Well, what can I say other than it would appear that many others felt the same about the totally uncalled for and excessive as well as intimidating and rude security?
    Anyway, when you accuse me of manipulating moods and facts, then you should also point out that as a member of Sksela you are also biased. Besides, if you consider that I have manipulated any “facts” then please, give concrete examples and let’s discuss them.
    Now you’ve said what you’ve said it’s time to open this up and start a discussion. You just can’t make a comment and then not provide any examples. The same goes for any member of Sksela who is quite able to counter anything I wrote on my blog too.
    And please, Sksela took away many rights that night with security. Sorry, but it’s outrageous to come out with a statement like “Sksela is all about giving you that right, and making sure, that I on my turn have my right and freedom to respond.”
    In fact, Sksela hasn’t given me anything nor made me freer or anyone else for that matter. I control my life and my destiny and am quite able to do so. The same is true about your response. Who gave you that right? Sksela?
    Do me a favor. You have that right without Sksela and you used it as an individual. Forget all these collective groups that say they represent this or that. They don’t. It’s up to the individual to do what they want (within the law) and so far Sksela hasn’t done anything to empower anyone.
    Please, get real.
    Now, regarding the mood of the event, I made no reference to that at all apart from in a comment which said I was pleased to hear some new and refreshing bands, so your accusation is false there.
    Regarding “facts,” I say again, what “facts.” Write them here for all to read and then I and others can respond, agree, disagree, or whatever.
    But by the way, this has nothing to do with Sksela. The freedom to do that existed before Sksela and will continue long after its gone.

  2. BTW: You said you disagreed with me on these “facts.” What about those people who commented on what I wrote? I also heard that many others raised the issue of the security — which totally made contradicted the idea of “freedom” — on email discussion lists and also didn’t like what they experienced and/or saw.
    As for the music, it was a professional event, as I said in my post. Like I also pointed out, it would be as professionals, namely MDP studio, were responsible for it. Mybeef was and still is with the security — higher than ANY political or music event I’ve been to in 9 years in Armenia. Even Serzh sidn’t haven’t security like that during the parliamentary election campaign.

  3. I will, however, admit that I was bloody angry, shocked and disappointed by that security and the inability even until today for the main Sksela organizers to admit the fact. Can I do that on a blog? Sure, once in a while, and the time was necessary for it in the hope that Sksela will make sure it doesn’t make the same mistakes again.

  4. Onnik, you work as a journalist: a profession which more than any other professes and exhibits the value, right and responsibility of freedom of public expression.
    You are a citizen of a western society where from the day you were born it was ingrained in you that you have the right and the freedom to think outside the box/to say and believe what you want, via the socialization process in the educational system, through the images surrounding you in your daily life, and the practices of government in a western democracy.
    But for many young people in Armenia, born during some kind of muddled milieu of a changing political system- it’s not an inborn understanding. They are the ones who need a little extra push. That’s the empowerment that Sksela provides. It’s not for you, it’s not for me, it’s not for Artur.
    It’s for those young people who perhaps until recently never had the outlet to think, speak or act freely/critically, or it just never occurred to them because they were never taught that they could.

  5. Well, Anoush, I hope it achieves something because yes, it is sorely needed.

  6. But anyway, whether Sksela or others seek that, the fact is that they did not give me or Artur the right to write what we have done and that’s the point. Actually, I consider the statement to therefore be somewhat naive and rather pretentious. Actually, I might even say somewhat arrogant and misguided.

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