LES PENNES-MIRABEAU, France—“Artsakh is a real democracy,” said the mayor of this southern French city, which is currently hosting a “Days of Artsakh” celebration, which features festivals and events in 10 French cities that have establishment “friendship cities” with towns and cities in Artsakh.
The statement was made by the Les Pennes-Mirabeau mayor, Monique Slissa, who is hosting the latest of the “Days of Artsakh” festival. The event is part of series of events dedicated to Artsakh in 10 French cities that have established “Friendship Cities,” with towns and municipalities in Artsakh.
Slissa, speaking to the local La Provence newspaper, said that Artsakh’s democracy in unrivaled in the region. “For just this reason,” she said “that country deserves our support.”
“Armenian issues are close to my heart and for that reason Artsakh is also important for us. We decided to establish relations with Artsakh and Les Pennes-Mirabeau became the first French city to sign a cooperation agreements with the Martuni region of Artsakh,” Slissa told La Provence, adding that one of the first decision she made upon her election as mayor in 2001 was to dedicate the city’s main square to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide
The Festival program included, an exhibition by famous French photographer Yvan Travert called, “Artsakh: the Spirit of the Land”; another exhibit by French graphic artist Sylvain Savoia called, “Pilgrimage to Artsakh”; the screening of the documentary “We are Our Mountains” by French-Armenian film director Arnaud Khayadjanian; as well as a lecture by attorney Gerard Gergerian, entitled, “Peoples’ Right to Self-Determination and the Legal Aspects of the Artsakh Conflict,” during which advisor to the Artsakh’s State Minister, Artak Beglaryan, made a presentation.
In addition Slissa, member of the French Senate, former Mayor of Les Pennes-Mirabeau Miche,l Amiel, members of the City Council and heads of municipal departments are attending the events. Also present at the celebrations are Beglaryan, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Artsakh to France, Hovhannes Gevorgyan, and representatives of the Armenian community of France.
As opposed to what that France, Germany, Italy et al are not real democracies?
I think Direct Democracy is a good tool to advance our representation. Some argue that it surrenders matters to “mob rule”, which can be influenced by those who own or control the media. But I believe it is more difficult for the elite to influence the masses than to surreptitiously line the fat pockets of a few politicians, or even threaten them. But to alleviate the possible threat of mob rule, a mechanism can be put into place as currently exists between for example a congress and senate. An idea may be proposed by congress and sent to the senate for approval. For some reason the senate might make tweaks or changes to the submission and send it back. In the same manner, any citizen of a country or region should be able to propose an idea and the rest be able to vote on it. If an idea has a popular vote, it can be sent to congress for processing. If the educated lawmakers have an objection, they can send it back to the people with an explanation why they think it is not a good idea. In this way the general public becomes more informed, also because they are now more engaged in politics and feel that their voice has a difference. As opposed to feeling disenfranchised and not bothering to show up at the polls every four years to elect one politician or another who all mostly seem to serve the corporate interests or their funders anyway.
For this reason I have created a forum at http://arealdemocracy.org/ where anyone in a particular region can submit an idea and the rest vote on it. Do we want our tax dollars to go towards fighting a new war? We should be entitled to vote on such important matters. The internet now allows for such constant referendums without the need for great costs. The discussions should be ongoing, and most importantly, to engage the general public to get involved, like the ancient Greeks, fathers of our democracy, who would gather in the square to discuss and debate issues. Obviously with our greatly expanded population this is no longer practical, but the internet certainly allows for it.