GLENDALE — On February 26, unknown individuals attacked and savagely beat Tufenkian Foundation director, publicist Raffi Dudaklian, whose writings have acutely criticized establishment leadership in Armenia.

Mr. Doudaklian was hospitalized with severe injuries to the head, broken facial bones and injury to an eye. While the perpetrators have not been individually named, it is clear that the vicious battery took place within the confines of Bourj Hammoud-Lebanon. Our best estimates as to the cause point to his views—and an effort to silence dissent, sidelining independent thought and seeking to intimidate and disseminate fear. Mr. Doudaklian’s sin: his writings traced the aspirations and the tribulations of the march of civil society in a manner both piercing and unafraid.

Those who find it necessary to order violence against the likes of a Raffi Doudaklian should venture beyond the narrow alleys of Beirut’s historically Armenian quarters to find real enemies. Those who blindly follow leaders ordering them to torture the likes of a Raffi Doudaklian should learn that following such orders is counterproductive to our collective struggle.

It has never worked. It simply has never worked. And yet the thuggish continue to believe that the brutality of a beating will curb the resonance of a dissenting voice. It will not; and it should not.

As a reminder, there actually are bloodthirsty enemies imbibed with hatred and wielding weaponry who are daily threatening the lives of thousands of Armenian soldiers, families and children. The plain fact is that a charity worker with a free mind and a fluid pen is just not one of those enemies. This distinction should have been readily obvious.

Whatever patently obtuse, misguided and bankrupt thinking led these unidentified elements to hunt down a Raffi Doudaklian in the streets of Bourj Hammoud must be abandoned for good—lest they are now in that old business of hunting down Armenian writers, thinkers and intellectuals.

And that, of course, would be the saddest of ironies indeed.


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