Notes From Hairenik
I want to point out yet another article regarding the plight of Armenians living in neighborhoods in a vaguely defined area known as “Old Yerevan” located in the capital’s center. Eviction has become a huge problem in Yerevan, with people either being paid insignificant sums of money for their homes or simply kicked out, depending on whether they protest by standing up for their rights and so forth. Now the courts will not hear their case against government-sponsored evictions, and the destruction of hundreds of homes continues. As a result there are homeless people roaming the streets—some of them entire families with small children—I’ve seen them with my own eyes. Some families managed to relocate, but for certain they no longer live in the area they’ve lived in for decades.

This forced eviction with little to no financial compensation needs to stop immediately, but no one seems to care. Only an opposition movement by Artarutyun surfaced to combat this problem, but it was quickly suppressed when members of pro-government political parties—including the ARF-Dashnaktsutiun, which ironically enough is a member of the Socialist International and whose party member Aghvan Vartanian is the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs—withdrew their signatures from the opposition-sponsored petition that was forwarded to them as a measure to at least temporarily put a hold on more evictions as well as “illegal” construction.

Although unrelated to the topic but pertinent, this is not the first time the ARF failed to deliver on social issues pertaining to common Armenian citizens so as to not contradict government policies. However, it continues to betray its own socialism-based ideology, which is why its support in Armenia is ever dwindling, despite its current propaganda campaign in Armenia that it is 115 years old (I have yet to meet someone who actually cares how old it is). The ARF was also notably silent about the recent Karabagh peace talks, although for some bizarre reason its press secretary a few weeks ago brought up the issue of discussing the return of the Western Armenian lands which are now part of Turkey, at a time when Armenia is at its weakest geopolitically and strategically.

Although the gesture by the opposition is indeed impressive, it is definitely time for the youth to mobilize now and form fresh, practical political movements to combat increased oppression of human rights in this country. Despite what international organizations working here may be declaring, civil society is not being built in this country. Maybe on the surface it is with the formation of NGOs that have goals of strengthening their society, but in practice it is not happening, as there’s little or more likely nothing to show for it, particularly when citizens’ civil rights continue to be violated at an alarming rate.

You can read the article here.

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