Move Over Marie Antoinette

Everyone’s heard the attribution of “let them eat cake” to Marie Antoinette. It turns out she probably never said it. The same, or a similar, line appears in a French source at a time when she was but a child, and it’s attributed to a princess. The same sort of story apparently circulates in many societies, attributing utter disregard, incomprehension, and lack of empathy for those who are in poverty by those who are wealthy and/or in power.

Well, now, we, Armenians, can proudly assert that we have the real thing, not just some apocryphal story. In fact, we got two for the price of one, Hakob Hakobyan and Khosrov Harutyunyan, both members of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and seated in Parliament (National Assembly).

(L to R) Hakob Hakobyan and Khosrov Harutyunyan (Photos: PanArmenian)

Last week, in the context of discussions about raising the price of various items, Hakobyan, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on health care and social welfare, said: “Price hikes won’t impact the poor, because they don’t have money and essentially they aren’t able to buy anything. They don’t buy expensive products such as butter or meat, because they don’t have [money].”

Harutyunyan, who heads the parliamentary standing committee on economy, chimed in: “Poor people don’t have money, hence they don’t buy anything. What difference does it make if meat is expensive or cheap,” adding that “potato eaters don’t eat meat.”

To the party’s credit, RPA spokesperson and deputy parliament speaker Edward Sharmazanov lamented his colleagues’ statements. Representatives of RPA’s coalition partner, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), have also spoken to the scandalous comments made by the wannabe Antoinettes.

Unfortunately, all the criticism has been tepid, at best. And it seems to be minimal. Not even the usually loud voices from civil society and opposition parties seem very audible now. It’s just incredible!

These two louts, who are evidently quite well endowed financially (based on the declarations they are required to file as parliamentarians), should be hearing a crescendo of naming and shaming. They should be urged (quietly) by their party and (vociferously) by others to resign their seats in the National Assembly immediately. There is, and can be, no excuse for this kind of insensitive, spoiled-brat, behavior.

And for those thinking “leave the Republic of Armenia alone; don’t try to make it like the U.S. or Europe; it is growing and evolving slowly; be patient,” I can only respond, “Wake up!” I’ve heard this mindset expressed twice in the last two weeks in discussions about our homeland. Even if this approach is the right one, it doesn’t apply to this instance.

The kind of smug and heartless arrogance manifest in Hakob Hakobyan’s and Khosrov Harutyunyan’s comments exited the realm of even remote acceptability with the French and American revolutions, the downfall of czars and shahs, and removal from the scene of the petty (often military) tyrants who bedeviled Latin America for a few decades.

Get on the phone or start hammering away at your keyboard and call the Armenian embassies and consulates expressing your dismay and disgust. Demand the resignation of the cake-eating duo. It would probably even be fun for those who have artistic skills to draw up a few caricatures and start circulating them on social media.

Garen Yegparian

Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.
Garen Yegparian

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  1. Shameful, disgusting insensitive.
    Hakobian and Harutunian are not the only two members of Parliament that have shown no interest to improve the economic conditions of the population.
    The parliament is loaded with members who are merely stooges of the oligarchs. Unfortunately they were elected.
    The issue is not that the poor have no money to buy expensive products, but the reality is that they are in dire conditions and live well below any humane and acceptable poverty line; they can’t even put food on their tables to survive.
    Regardless of what your leanings are about the political environment in Armenia, this is not defendable nor acceptable.
    Sad reality about the callousness and lack of reaction, tepid at most, from the other membrs of Paliament.
    Vart Adjemian

  2. the Cinicism of this two “parlamentaries” the best indicator of persons level of education. This is the level of 95% of Armenian Parliament Bunch of Vulgars.

  3. Avec des individus pareils, les turcs et azeris sont tranquilles.l’Arménie se détruit de l’intérieur. 😡

    • BRAVO!!!!!! ET QUE FAISONS NOUS? Ca ne sert a rien de critiquer, il faut agir!!!!!!!

  4. these creatures don’t have the right to be called Armenian ignorant self centered liability to a precious culture that needs service and unselfish care….I wonder what Kachen Vartan would have done with them

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