Constructive Narrative Shifts for Women and Peace: Anna Hakobyan’s Women for Peace Initiative

During her visit to Moscow on 24 July last, Armenian First Lady Anna Hakobyan announced the launch of an initiative entitled “Women for Peace”, aimed at promoting the involvement of women of all sides of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the peaceful and non-violent settlement of the dispute. Her statement, together with the initiative, mark a shift in the way womanhood and motherhood are being discussed in the context of the conflict, as well as an important shift in the way members of the other party, Azeris, and in particular the Azeri youth, are being labelled and perceived. These shifts in discourse which take place in the context of the democratization of Armenia and the ongoing fight to improve women’s participation and representation in politics and society at large have been welcomed by peace activists and could have a positive impact both on the status of women and the pacific resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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Anna Hakobyan during her visit to Moscow. Source: News.am

Continue reading “Constructive Narrative Shifts for Women and Peace: Anna Hakobyan’s Women for Peace Initiative”

A Letter to the Government of Armenia

Dear everybody,

Given the recent developments in Armenia, I am sharing here a personal letter I will be mailing to the Armenian Embassy of my country, in case it can help you do the same. I encourage you to read it carefully and modify and adapt it as you please. This is just an example of what can be done, and I encourage you to combine it with other peaceful actions, both in person and online. Continue reading “A Letter to the Government of Armenia”

The Armenian community of New Julfa, Isfahan, Iran

Yesterday, my city Issy-les-Moulineaux in the Paris suburbs signed a friendship protocol with the Armenian quarter of New Julfa, Isfahan, Iran. For this occasion, an exhibition of the photographs of Ernst Hoeltzer, a German engineer living in Isfahan, who documented the lives of Armenians of New Julfa in the 19th century was organized, together with a conference about the history of the quarter.

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Signing of the Protocole, Mayor of Issy-les-Moulineaux and Mayor of Isfahan

New Julfa was established in Isfahan, the then capital of the Safavid Empire, in 1606, and was named after old Julfa, a city in Nakhichevan. Shah Abbas I from the Safavid dynasty relocated by force more than 150,000 Armenians of Julfa to Isfahan, New Julfa, for strategic reasons and to benefit from the knowledge of Armenians with regards to silk trade. As Armenian merchants had a large trade network that extended from Europe to the Far East, New Julfa became a new hub, and Armenians benefited from royal favoritism to preserve their culture, language and religion. Continue reading “The Armenian community of New Julfa, Isfahan, Iran”

Why does my freedom threaten you? Young woman physically abused by police because of hair color

We spend a lot of time and money, and we lose a lot of lives fighting our external “enemies”. But what do we do against the internal, national ones? During the night of February 1, Armenian citizen Asya Khachatryan, who had moved to Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, at the beginning of 2018, was stopped by the Karabakh police. Over the following days, she was physically and psychologically abused, slapped, cursed at and threatened. Her roommate was also knocked out by an officer. The reason she was given by the police? “A woman should not smoke, or dye her hair blue“. Continue reading “Why does my freedom threaten you? Young woman physically abused by police because of hair color”

Transgender woman nearly beaten to death in Yerevan

A transgender woman was nearly beaten to death in Yerevan, Armenia, on Tuesday night by one individual who also proceeded to set her apartment on fire. The victim is now in intensive care but doctors describe her condition as critical, her face and ribs being completely shattered. The aggressor is known by the police. The Armenian NGO Right Side which was founded in 2016 to “create a society respecting the gender diversity where trans people have equal rights, live safe, healthy lives and are equally involved in all spheres of life regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression” indicates on their Facebook page that “the Investigative Department of Yerevan’s Center and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts of the Investigation Department – Investigative Committee of the RA initiated a criminal case on Article 112 due to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia. Necessary investigative actions are on process to find out the circumstances of the case“. Continue reading “Transgender woman nearly beaten to death in Yerevan”