A Good Day for Homophobia in Yerevan

A Good Day for Homophobia in Yerevan

There has been much talk of the LGBTI community in Armenia lately. A bar, widely considered to be a gathering spot for those who think and act differently than most in this country, was recently firebombed and vandalized. The violence was condemned in large part only by the LGBTI community and its supporters, until two ARF MPs acted on behalf of the assailants, posting bail for them pending trial. That gave way to greater attention and greater condemnation, particularly in the diaspora—including by several leaders and opinion-makers associated with the ARF.

Partly in response to that event, a conference on LGBTI tolerance issues took place in Armenia last week. It was poorly attended–perhaps by 20 or 30 people at most–though supported by European bodies and the UN. And on Mon., May 21, a rally in support of diversity and tolerance was planned on the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, but also not too far on the calendar from the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is marked on May 17. Both events were spearheaded by an NGO known as PINK (“Public Information and Need of Knowledge”), alongside other civil society groups.

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Song and dance moves to Armenia

Song and dance moves to Armenia

BOSTON – There has lately been some activity surrounding the cause of what’s called “repatriation”, of having Diasporan Armenians move to the Republic of Armenia or to Artsakh. Not that that cause is new by any means, it’s just that a couple of concerted efforts over the past months has highlighted some points that seem worthy of reflection.

A youth group in the Los Angeles area, for instance, held a seminar recently that brought together interested parties and organisations that do work in Armenia. Such activities are truly informative and helpful to the community out there. But the sort of effusive representation of life and times in Armenia that comes up and of “repatriation” can sometimes be a little over the top. Continue reading

Armenian Parliamentary Elections 2012: The Fletcher Connection

Armenian Parliamentary Elections 2012: The Fletcher Connection

Armenians go to the polls to elect their fifth National Assembly on Sunday, May 6. Since its independence in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union, Armenia has suffered from rampant corruption and bureaucratic ineptitude in addition to larger economic issues and a devastating 1988 earthquake. Moreover, a territorial dispute involving neighboring Azerbaijan and a troubled historical legacy with Turkey have sealed shut a majority of the landlocked country’s borders.

Suffice it to say, then, that the Republic of Armenia has more than its fair share of domestic and international issues. Unfortunately, national and local voting has proven to be among them. The credibility of most Armenian governments has been wanting due to lackluster elections. Most politicians likewise fail to inspire confidence in the people.

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