The Face of Activism in Armenia

Activism is an inherent part of making an individual’s dreams a reality. When there’s a group of activists, however, the achievements can become monumental. When those groups have clear goals and firm viewpoints, the force they acquire is not to be reckoned with. No matter what part of the world this power arises in, the voice that heralds change is impossible to quiet.

Armenia is no different. However, whereas for the last 20 years activists have been whispering their demands, today the voice that inspires the youth to take charge of what belongs to them and take a stand against injustice is bright and clear, the volume raised with every cause they fight for and every illegal undertaking they stand against.

Facebook became the medium for the spread of awareness against the environmental damage our land is exposed to. Twitter and many other social media outlets soon followed, bursting with information about saving Teghut Forest, the human rights violations by governors and mayors, the defacing of Old Yerevan, the unimaginable living conditions in some villages, and lately, the conflict between the people and the government to save Mashdots Forest.

For me, it’s beyond the actual causes supported by these activists. The most important aspect of activism is to inspire the belief for change in the place that you love. If these individuals held no love for their country, if they were indifferent to the politics and economical situation in Armenia, then they would be nothing but problem makers, the riffraff off the street that you want to get rid of. However, these people believe in a bright future, a world where true democracy reigns and where the populations’ voice is heard. It’s hard transitioning from the socialist Soviet Union to a democratic Republic of Armenia. Yet, for all the hardships that our people have faced, for all the obstacles they have yet to overcome, the youth believe that the transition is possible and assert their rights in every manner possible. They have not shied away from the use of media outlets within and outside the country, they use Youtube videos on a constant basis now, and Facebook is their perfect outreach medium into Armenian communities in the diaspora.

It is important to stand up for your rights. It is important to speak up against injustice. The most important part of being a citizen of any country is to believe that you can make a difference. Every great endeavor was achieved because someone believed it would. Armenian activism is no different.

News about the activities of the activists:
http://www.armenianow.com/social/human_rights/27820/civilitas_foundation_armenia_discussion
http://www.flickr.com/photos/write-pudding/sets/72157626903084535/ (activism against suicide)
http://www.maroukhianfoundation.org/english/archives/810
http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/24669786.html (US thoughts about activism in Armenia)
http://www.tufenkianfoundation.org/?laid=1&com=module&module=static&id=379 (Tufenkian Foundation moderating a panel discussion about activism in Armenia)

Teghut:
http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/02/21/save-teghut-redefines-environmental-activism-in-armenia/
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jul2007/2007-07-11-01.asp
http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/can-ecological-exploitation-save-teghut-forest.html
http://ditord.com/2012/01/16/environmental-activists-organize-visit-teghut/

Trchgan:
http://www.armenianweekly.com/2011/11/30/the-saga-of-trchkan/
http://www.tert.am/hy/news/2011/11/02/trchgan-protest-1/

Mashdots:
http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/02/22/armenia-activists-occupy-yerevan-park/
http://www.a1plus.am/en/social/2012/02/17/ara-yernjakyan
http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/98636/
http://hetq.am/eng/news/11764/mashtots-park-activists-set-march-16-deadline-for-store-demolition-order.html
http://news.am/eng/news/95866.html

Mozrov Cave:
http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/98404/

Javakhk:
http://times.am/?l=en&p=5655

Women’s Rights:
http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/01/28/womens-rights-activists-demand-dismissal-of-syunik-governor/
http://www.ianyanmag.com/2010/10/06/in-armenia-domestic-violence-claims-a-victim/
http://www.unitedhumanrights.org/2010/05/domestic-violence-against-women-in-armenia
http://www.wrcorg.am/

Youth Activism Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8EAap-hMqE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LzMrBfPrSE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEhzURQDeII
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0Tau6ec8CY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01FRAT6a7SM (activism for the elderly begun)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFMnmxkGXGQ&feature=relmfu (against domestic violence)

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