It’s two nights before the big parliamentary elections. Tonight was the big Hanrapetutyan rally in Yerevan’s Republic Square. They’re the ruling party here, and they were having the singer Tata come to sing, and the President and top officials were coming out for this. A bunch of kids brought a big wall of balloons to the rally for the festivities. These balloons must have been filled with hydrogen rather than helium. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I never stopped to ask what they fill their balloons with in Armenia.
Well, right as the rally was beginning, something not at all surprising happened in a place filled with hydrogen balloons and thousands upon thousands of smokers. Something really horrible. The flame managed to ignite one balloon, and they were all in such close proximity that hundreds if not thousands of them went up in flames at once. A huge fireball engulfed the people under and around them, and scores of people were rushed to the hospital to treat burns of various degrees.
The rally was not cancelled. The president came out shortly after all of this occurred, never once mentioning the disaster that had just taken place, and all of his supporters who had literally gone up in flames. Do politicians in the west care more? Or do they just have better PR skills? Either way, it was not cool.