Sunday, 30 August 2009

Armenia: Homophobia turns deadly

Flag of Armenia (1918)Image via Wikipedia

Source: Global Voices

By Onnik Krikorian

Even if homosexuality was decriminalized in Armenia in 2002, society remains largely intolerant and traditional in its values. Naturally, in a country where nationalist ideology is also somewhat prevalent, fears that homophobia might turn even more extreme appear to be turning into reality. With blogs providing LGBT activists with a medium through which to voice their concerns, such fears can now be highlighted more openly than before.

This is especially true when in many cases it is actually the local media, and even some civil society groups, which seeks to promote homophobia. However, in recent weeks the level of intolerance in the mainstream media has alarmed many, with one newspaper going so far as to seemingly encourage hate crimes against members of the LGBT community in the country.

Pink Armenia comments on such developments.
It’s a pity but again l have read a homophobic article in an Armenian newspaper lately. […]

I don’t know why but almost all journalists mainly discuss the topic of homosexuality, I don’t know why but they never remember that there were and are many outstanding people among them, they just insist that it is amoral. It is evident misinformation of the society.

I won’t forget to mention that in the last article that I have read was a call to abuse and even kill homosexuals. I think that many will agree that appropriate punishment must be applied toward such people.
Unzipped: Gay Armenia also comments on what it views as a call to eliminate homosexuals in the country — literally.
When someone is homophobe, it’s bad enough. But when that homophobe advocates killing, he is crossing the line.

I have to confess, I do not read Iravunk tabloid. If it’s not for my friends, I would have been unaware of this whole bunch of ‘articles’ over the last week or so devoted to gays there.


Iravunk’s journalist then notes that “we do not want you to take this story as a call for killing. We simply wanted to present this story”. Obviously, what they effectively did is to advocate killing of gays.

[…] there is definitely enough evidence for opening the case against Galadjyan and his tabloid for inciting murder and hatred.

As a rule, one hate goes hand in hand with another hate. If you look at Iravunk’s articles, they are not just homophobic, but racist, full of hate to everyone who is different. […]
A week later, if such concerns might have been considered by some to have been exaggerated, the same blog reports that they were very real indeed.
Group of Armenian ultra-nationalists, a copycat of Russia’s and others’ neo-nazi, united under the so called Hayrenik (‘Motherland’) movement, published a post on their website threatening the life of Armenian author writing under the name Dori An. Dori An is the author of award winning gay-themed short story in Yerevan. […]

They provide Armenian government with the ultimatum type message: either you silence Dori An, using “legal means”, or we will do it by our means and methods. ‘Message’ is accompanied by Al-Qaeda terrorist-like picture, or its poor copycat.

Failing to produce any ‘results’ by ‘fighting external enemies’, and failing on all fronts, these ultra-nationalists try to create ‘internal enemies’ to justify their very own existence.

This is a direct threat to person’s life and the right for free speech, the very basic human rights protected under Armenian constitution. After all, this is effectively a terrorist-like ultimatum to Armenian government, and law enforcement agencies in Armenia should take up the case for further proceedings.
It remains to be seen whether the voices of such bloggers are heard by the authorities and action is taken to prevent homophobia in Armenia from turning deadly before it's too late.

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