Saturday, 25 April 2015

Armenia: System Of A Down remembers all victims of the Genocides, including gays, in a live concert in Yerevan

By making the parallels between the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, the animated on-screen introduction to the part 2 of the SOAD’s concert declared [see from 49:25 - captions below in Armenian, in the video - with English voice-over]:

[“Inspired by the example of openly committing mass murder with impunity [the Armenian Genocide], he [Hitler] became an architect of the new Genocide - the Holocaust, Nazi Germany’s evil campaign to rid Europe off Jews, Poles, gypsies, gays, the disabled and all those who did not fit in Hitler’s twisted vision of “pure race”.]
They then went on with more current examples of the “terror that persists”. “We can no longer seat back and watch those dreadful acts committed around the globe. Time to wake up the souls.”

Hear this, Armenian and worldwide fans of the System of the Down. Embrace the diversity. Hear this, Armenian politicians and other world leaders. Your oppressive politics will be eventually rocked apart.

Says Serj Tankian live in Yerevan: “There is still fucking work to do [in Armenia]. It’s a responsibility of the government to bring in the principles of the egalitarian civic society, getting rid of institutional injustice and stopping depopulation that is occurring.”

This was in line with Serj Tankian’s previously expressed support for environmental issues and LGBT human rights in Armenia: Prominent Armenians (including Serj Tankian) issue statement in support of LGBT human rights

As victims of the Genocide, Armenia and Armenians should lead by example, by embracing diversity.

I want to hope that particularly younger generation who got inspired over the last few weeks with Kanye West’s awesomely crazy impromptu gig in Yerevan, Kim Kardashian’s ability to shake off the routine and bring world media’s attention to the country, SOAD’s epic concert, and the presence of so many diverse awesome people both in Armenia and in Diaspora, will challenge the status quo by making Armenia a country of our dreams, where everyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability will be welcomed and treated equally, with respect. By setting ourselves free of prejudices, we will provide the best evidence of failure of the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide.

And as yet another evidence of such failure is the joint commemorations by Turks and Armenians in Istanbul of the centenary of the Genocide, despite Turkish government’s continuous denial and oppressions. Also, this joint statement by Armenian and Turkish LGBT groups marking the anniversary and pledging to fight together for human rights. And this very awesome personal story by gay Armenian Haig Chahinian, published on The Washington Post on the April 24th:
"I didn’t have to procreate to carry on my Armenian-American family legacy. As a gay man, I couldn't marry the Armenian woman my father hoped I would. But I can still honor our traditions."

It’s very telling that The Guardian’s great coverage of the Armenian Genocide topic this year included the interactive format for the descendants’ family stories, a format used for the similar accounts of racial profiling in the US and experiences of LGBT communities around the word, as stated by The Guardian’s Maeve Shearlaw, in an interview with Armenian Mediamax agency.

"This isn't a rock’n’roll concert. To our murderers, this is revenge" - said System of a Down's Daron Malakian, during live concert in Yerevan.

Here is for the next 100 years.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Joint statement by Armenian and Turkish LGBT groups re centenary of the Armenian Genocide

Kudos to the signatories of this statement - PINK Armenia and Kaos GL. Great example of solidarity between Armenian and Turkish LGBT groups.
Pink Armenia and Kaos GL made a joint statement to mark the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, commemorating those killed, and underlined that they will fight against homophobia, transphobia, racism and nationalism together. 
*Armenian version 
*Turkish version

One hundred years ago, a huge crime was committed on the land that we have been living together, one unpardonable, irreversible crime, which can by no means be compensated. In order to shatter Armenian people, their culture, social and economical set up into pieces Great Crime/Meds Yeghern caused pains that cannot be located in the language of cold statistics. In the process of massacre, Assyrian and Greek people in Turkey had also been the target of systematic extermination policies. We still witness the effects of the unpardonable Armenian Genocide that had been initiated by Ottoman Empire.

We, as LGBT organizations struggling against homophobia and transphobia in Armenia and Turkey, call both LGBT and overall public societies to confront with what had been lived. We recapitulate our call for confrontation with genocide and protect our lives dimmed by hands of nationalism and state policies. As well as being against homophobia and transphobia, struggling against racist, nationalist and sexist policies in our region, We, as Pink Armenia and Kaos GL, commemorate everyone killed a hundred years ago and express once again that we share the painful memoirs and are in solidarity with the Armenian population scattered all over the world.

Today, struggling against racist and nationalist ideologies of homophobia and transphobia, which have intertwined with racism and nationalism both in civil society and public space all throughout the countries in our region including Turkey and Armenia that resulted in genocide is more important than ever. State-handedly institutionalized racist and nationalist discourses turn borders of our countries into impassable borders in between communities. The way to pass beyond the intercommunal borders is to act with solidarity via creating horizontal networks. Only our struggle will make it possible to get rid of abstract discourses of equality, justice and freedom, and to put our struggle at the center of our lives.

Armenian Genocide is a source of shame for all humanity. This shame and the scares of this massacre left us with big questions to answer. Assassinated by the people of 1915 mentality, the question posed by Hrant Dink, the Chief Editor of Agos Journal, is still waiting unanswered:

“Are we to act just like the responsible persons of the past extreme catastrophe or shall we take our lessons from past errors and write the new pages like civilized human beings?”

We, as Pink Armenia and Kaos GL, will strive to find answers to this question through our struggle. The way to be liberated with the ‘rainbow’ is through giving voice to the truths that have been overshadowed by nationalism.

PINK Armenia & Kaos GL