Monday, November 20, 2006

From A1+
an article ... in response to the protest?

Who are we kidding here? Yes Armenians are allies with Russia and yes they are strategically important. But why do Armenians place SUCH emphasis on this relationship... to the extent in which they are almost turning attention away from a skinhead, fascist movement developing in Russia.

Social / News

[04:47 pm] 20 November, 2006
«Suppose we renounce Russia... What shall we do? Whom shall we cooperate with? », Ara Abrahamyan, the head of the Union of Armenians in Russia, asked a rhetorical question. He is sure hat Russia is the «strategic partner» of Armenia, «Armenia is a small and independent country; it must have a program and an ideology», Ara Abrahamyan said adding that the relations of Armenia with other countries must not develop at the expense of the relations with Russia, but vice versa.

As for the murders of Armenians in Russia, Mr. Abrahamyan claims that it is not against Armenians. According to him, they kill 25 times more Azeris than Armenians; the problem is that the Union of Armenians in Russia is an organized structure, that's why we are better aware of facts about killing Armenians. According to him, the Union turns to corresponding structures in Russia in order to reveal the murders, but only within the limits of law, «What else can we do? ».

We know they are not just Armenians that are being murdered! Anybody who has studied Soviet history will go and see that Jews were also victims. Why doesn't Abrahamyan mention the fact that they are practically deporting the Georgians out of the country? Maybe because it is important to measure Armenian national standards against Azeri? Considered to be the "black people" of Russia, people from the South Caucasus have had been persecuted and discriminated quite a bit within recent history.

The murder of Arthur Haroutyunyan, the head of the Murmansk branch of the Union of Armenians, is the center of attention of Ara Abrahamyan, but he finds it too early to express an opinion. Nevertheless, he thinks that it was a murder not on national grounds but rather on economic ones. Arthur Haroutyunyan engaged in banking and realty trade.

Ara Abrahamyan claims that he has not yet decided whom to stand by during the Parliamentary elections. He said they Union will answer the question in January of the next year. He added that the RA authorities must see the future and not discuss the mistakes of the past. Nevertheless, he assured that they do not criticize the RA authorities abroad, “they say everything here”.

Anyway, this whole attitude of looking towards Russia as a great friend and ally is nothing new. I am not against having Russia as a strategic ally, but maybe it's time to consider who Armenia should be considering as a role model. Shall this small country seeking to consolidate its democracy and civil society, seek towards looking at Russia as a role model within this realm as they are a "similar group of people"? Well, if the country heads towards that direction, it will be a bumpy road ahead...

Links and Thoughts about the Protest on November 17th

I actually will not write to tell about the protest action which took place, as others have already reported about the event, much better than I ever would have…

I will refer you to the following links:
Onnik at One World Multimedia has a good summary of the day’s events, pictures and links to news articles. (He commented in the last post with the link but I wanted it to appear in the article so it would be more obvious to the eye)

He refers us to Armenia Liberty for one of the media releases about the events, as that is his preferred news source. It’s also my preference as well… so here is that link:YOUTHS CALL FOR ACTION TO STOP KILLINGS OF ETHNIC ARMENIANS IN RUSSIA

One of the youth activists in the event, Isabella Sargsyan is also keeping a blog of her own and here is the link Свет в августе.
And finally, Julius who has just joined as a contributor on this blog, is posting his own pictures on a newly established blog All Folks blog

Please let me know if there are other Blogs who reported this event – if I missed any.

On another note, during the protest action I approached those who were passing by and asked if they were in agreement with us, to sign the letter we would present to Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian. (I will get the translation of that ASAP!!!!) I just wanted to share with you some remarks and sociological observations I made that day regarding Armenians and protest actions:

- There were many people who agreed with us, that it was wrong that such barbaric murders of ethnic Armenians were happening in Moscow. (For such a proud ethnic group, it would be difficult for them not to agree!) And even though they agreed, many people were hesitant to sign their name on the letter to the Foreign Minister. Others refused to have their pictures taken while they were signing. On top of that, after they signed their name, one of them asked “so will they now come after me?”

COMMENT: a bit of the “Soviet hangover” shall we call this?

- There was an older man who approached me and said in Armenian (approximately these words) “this is great and all, but it’s not going to get you anywhere. I agree with you but I won’t sign.” And then continued to tell me how the Foreign Minister really could care less about this all, he would not come down to say anything and that in the end none of this would make a difference.

COMMENT: I tend to disagree.

- There was an older woman who was walking by and as I asked her to sign the letter against the fact that Armenians were being murdered in Moscow she told me, “they are doing a good job!” Surprised, I responded and asked, “why do you say that?” and she said, “Because Armenians shouldn’t be living in foreign countries. Let them come and live in their own homeland. What are they doing living on foreign soil….”

COMMENT: Another fascist in the making…

- We went inside to present the petition with over seven pages of signatures added onto the original letter. I will not name people, but say that one of the representatives at the Foreign Ministry asked me– so what is all this for? Can’t you see that we are doing all we can already?... What is Oskanian supposed to do in response to these murders? When Kocharian went to Moscow, he was not very welcome. This will only “sharpen” (aka increase the tension in) the relations between Armenia and Russia.

COMMENT: So shall we ask for permission from the Skinheads who are committing these murders to please stop “sharpening” this tension between Armenia and Russia?

And just an overall comment…

It seems as though there is SOME hope after all in regards to the youth and trying to make some changes in Armenia. While I had received some indifferent attitudes from youth who were simply passersby and refused to sign the letter, there were these young activists who stayed up until 5am the day before to make these posters.

There are times when I think that the young Armenian population is so cynical and they feel as though they do not belong to this society. “Ahh, what does it matter if I litter this bag, it’s not MY street anyway.” Or “this country has no future, the only thing I can do is leave” – these are things I hear practically everyday from so many young people. And this is a rather prevalent attitude throughout the country.

Yet there is a flipside to this as well. A small, warm and increasing movement of interested young people is seeking to take their future into their own hands. These are some of the activists you see in these photos. They see that what is happening in their country is not right and they want to do something about it.

This IS the hope for Armenia.

Thanks to Julius, EVS Volunteer in Armenia, for taking the photos in this article

Thursday, November 16, 2006

murdered...because they were Armenian

Narek Kocharyan, 15 years old - killed in Podmoskovie, Russia a few days ago...just because he was Armenian.

Within the past few months, Vigen Abrahamyants, Samvel Tadevosyan and Narek Grigoryan have also ethnic Armenians been killed in Russia... because they were Armenian.

Moreover, according to "at least 3000 Armenians were killed in Russia within the past ten years."...

Unfortunately, the Russian government is not taking many actions to fight against these barbaric murders and the trend is not going away anytime soon. Several times, there have been recently organized (within the past two years) in front of the Russian Embassy in Yerevan with hopes that there would be an apologetic statement or some recognition of such barbaric murders. Yet there has been no response.

We shall now be underpinning the responsibility and accountability of the Republic of Armenia, which is constitutionally designated to protect Armenian citizens in foreign countries trough MFA and Embassies abroad. We are going to demand concrete and prompt actions of Armenian Government towards slack and unclear legal processes, legal arbitrariness and disrespect for Armenian citizens and ethnic Armenians in the Russian Federation.

Please do not stay ignorant, TAKE ACTION! Join us today, November 17 at 15:00 in front of Ministry of Foreign Affairs to show your support against these murders of ethnic Armenians in Russia.

Protest action today, November 17, 2006
in front of Ministry of Foreign Affairs