ARF Central Committee Condemns Hate Crime in Armenia

ARF Western US Central Committee chairman Avedik Izmirlian

LITTLE ARMENIA– Two days after the parliamentary elections in Armenia, a homemade firebomb was used to vandalize DIY, a bar in Yerevan frequented by non-traditionalist thinkers in Armenia and a safe-haven for the often-persecuted LGBT community in Armenia. This act is a hate crime.

The Internet and social media sites are abuzz with condemnation of this deplorable act, which some forces are blaming the Armenian Revolutionary Federation because of the suspects’ alleged affiliation with the party.

Asbarez caught up with ARF Western US Central Committee Chairman Avedik Izmirlian, who, on behalf of the ARF condemned the hate crime and called for “frank and honest discussion about intolerance.”

Below is the complete interview:

ASBAREZ: What are your views on the vandalism incident in Yerevan last week?

AVEDIK IZMIRLIAN: The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee strongly condemns and deplores the recent vandalism and destruction of a business in Yerevan. We also find the incident’s root impetus of homophobia and intolerance as equally reprehensible. We believe that those responsible for this act must be brought to justice based on the letter of the law.

ASBAREZ: Soon after the incident there was a lot of finger pointing at the ARF because individuals allegedly involved with incident had affiliations with the organization. Should the ARF be blamed for this act?

Equally deplorable are efforts by certain individuals and groups to politicize this matter and point the finger of blame at the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation had no involvement whatsoever with this crime. Our party was founded on the credo of advocating individual rights and fighting all forms of oppression, exploitation and discrimination.

We also strongly condemn and find it absolutely unacceptable any effort to legitimize this crime and any inflammatory statements that further exacerbates the situation.

From its inception, the ARF has been on the forefront of the movement for human rights and justice and has relentlessly combated efforts to curtail or stifle fundamental rights and freedoms be that of a nation, a group or individuals.

ASBAREZ: This is an incident that took place in Armenia, why should it matter here in the United States?

A.I.: Because this is a universal issue. Discrimination based on race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation has always been a contentious issue in societies as advanced as the one here in the United States. It is the ARF’s conviction, however, that in a civilized society, oppressing or stifling individual rights is unacceptable and must be outright rejected.

Are there lessons to be taken from this situation?

A.I.: We believe that this incident must become an opportunity for frank and honest discussion about intolerance, persecution and discrimination in our society and serve as an impetus for the advancement of justice and human rights.

The ARF’s just mission of fighting for the aspiration of the Armenian Nation is anchored on the firm belief that no individual or state has the right to oppress or take away fundamental freedoms. After all that is what propels us-the ARF-to advance and fight for the ARMENIAN CAUSE.

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  1. Serge said:

    I am very encouraged by this statement, there are no political party in Armenia with any ideology, if ARF could regain its commitment to the founding tenets of the party and show a genuine struggle for human rights, and against oppression and discrimination, the Armenian societies both in Armenia and diaspora are ready to embrace. ARF should understand that human rights are also integral parts of Hay Tad. Mr Izmirlian is right that this heinous hate crime incident must become an opportunity for the advancement of justice and human rights and I think ARF should lead on this perhaps by a visit to the bar and a frank discussion with the owner of the bar. ARF should also engage more directly with the NGOs who are fighting for human rights and environmental issues.

  2. Pingback: Armenia: Support of Bar Bombing by Officials Causes Outcry

  3. Tsayt said:

    Izmirlian: ” It is the ARF’s conviction, however, that in a civilized society, oppressing or stifling individual rights is unacceptable and must be outright rejected.”


  4. Rubin said:

    by Anna Autismova Abrahamian

    “This is such a misleading evaluation of the events, e.g. setting the pub in fire, with regards to which a criminal charge has been made and therefore, labeling it in any way prior to the court’s decision, is merely a grave violation of presumption of innocence. “Such people” means the ultra-liberals who’re equally to be blamed for causing a schism in an already deeply divided society. Did you know that DIY had Ataturk’s portray hanging on their walls? Did you know that as an LGBT minority, the owner of the pub would not have been a famous band’s equally famous lead singer and a downtown pub owner, had there been intolerance in Armenia? Why the need to constantly look for punching bags were there aren’t any? Have you seen the video where she and her overpaid-by-grants colleagues called the entire nation “tget” (illiterate, imbecile) and fascists? How can you join the parade against a nation that has fought against the fascists and has been a victim of horrendous Genocide, the Cause of which the party you represent otherwise holds dear… This is a blind leading the blind situation whereby a case that happens in Armenia in a socially and politically different circumstances, gets analyzed from a perspective of western standards without consideration of many nuances that has driven Armenia’s absolute public majority against ANYONE – be gay or straight – who’ll mingle up with the Turkish side the wrong way. Watch the video and see how the pub advocates distinctly declare that the Turkey is a more open and progressive and tolerant society than Armenia will ever be…. In short, do your research and respect presumption of innocence. When it comes to public values and national interests, everyone is equally accountable before law – whatever one’s religious, social, sexual, racial identity. P.S. I’m not a dashnak, never was, and never will be a part of any political party. I do follow every happening in detail. An informed society can achieve social justice. A public that is disinformed on a constant basis won’t make it to the nearest bus stop. “

    • Tsayt said:

      Your arguments are absolutely nonsensical. The bombing of that bar was a criminal action. Period. No one one is saying do not voice your objections against certain activities if you one does not like it. However, the same right that you want to have to air your opinion is the same right that every individual should and must have.

      A criminal act, such is the bombing of “adversary” can in no way help strengthen the future of Armenia. It can do the opposite, it will weaken any sense of security and chaos will reign.

      The trampling on individual rights is trampling on collective rights, you cannot have one without the other.

      The way Armenia is currently heading proves the point and people are finding hope elsewhere. They are leaving en masse. So in many ways the bombing and the ridiculous and irresponsible declaration by ARF and government high officials fits the image of Armenia perfectly.

      I am very proud that ARF structures in Armenia and diaspora corrected the error of some of their members, Artsvik Minassyan’s to be specific ( with his incredible uttering that the bombing was “perfectly normal act”).

      And by the way it is true that in general there is more tolerance in Turkey than Armenia for gays and lesbians. Those who consider this statement as an insult to Armenia and that nothing in Turkey can be better than Armenia…..and continue with their gay-bashing must seriously check their mental stabilities with a good psychologist.

      • Anonymous said:

        Bombing of the bar? There’s a difference between a firebomb and a bomb. A little clarity goes a long way.

      • ArmeniacradleofcivARAM said:

        Let the ARF RISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Without the ARF you ARMENIANS WOULD BE SITTING IN Modern day Armenia not knowing your An Armenian… Armenian revolutionary Federation=Birth of the Modern Armenia-ARF for Armenia, With Armenia and willing to sacrafice itselfs for Armenia Know this or don’t The ARF died for US to continue your works and this is what we get????? Shame on you Armenians Against the ARF No other political group in Armenia is as Sacrificing as the ARF

  5. Peter Megerdumian said:

    Why don’t these gay activists protest the murder of homosexuals in Azerbaijan , Turkey and Central Asian countries , Saudi Arabia and other right wing Islamofacist countries. Now that is what they need to focus on instead of attacking Armenian politicians. What was done was not right but the crimes committed by the Islamofacists must be exposed first.

  6. Avetis said:

    One day this will be recognized as the day when the ARF died.

    • Sam said:

      No, I don’t believe that, more like the day it came into the modern world, and came out of the 19th century closet

  7. arziv said:

    This is a storm in a tea cup. Political mind games; an attempt to stain the ARF reputation by linking it to violence.

    This LBG incident would not have taken place if in the first place such a club would have been granted no licence to operate. The government does one thing, the people does another or feels another. This is sickening in the sense that there is a falso impression that Armenia must be a carbon copy of contemporary decadent societies in the West. If the West tolerates gay clubs, Armenia must also have them, if the West tolerates pedophilia, Armenia must also do the same; if the West follows politics and practices of an antinational nature, Armenia must also do the same. In other words Armenia should be like monkey see monkey do ? No one is defending the violence against the club, it is to be condemned for the violence per se. But one needs to be reminded that democracy has also its limits, and thiese limits are exceeded when contrarian attitudes become adopted against the accepted social norms of a society.

    • Sam said:

      Who in the west tolerates pedophilia, other than those who prey on children…so just because the west has soap operas on television Armenia must have it, just because the world has environment polluting range rovers so should Armenia? Think before you speak, and look around you. You are probably sitting next to, dining next to, drinking next to, working next to someone who is gay…it’s not something that happened when the soviet union collapsed.

    • Tsayt said:

      So according to you gays and pedophilia are interchangeable notions. Reality proves otherwise my dear arziv. All those “respectable’ individuals, be it a school principal, daycare workers and in regular households in Armenia, and elsewhere, have been heterosexual individuals with their own families, unknown to ordinary citizens the monsters that they are. They are serving jail terms right now in Armenia.

      The ignorance and the intolerance that stems from it is truly mind-bogling. Any ignorant society is a doomed society. The world has indeed trying to deal with this ignorance and yes Armenia should follow others, for the sake of making Armenia a livable place for every citizen, with equal rights.

  8. Albert Nercessian said:

    There is a report that the Armenian village of Dovegh was recently attacked by machine gun fire on a kindergarden and an ambulance. We should be concerned about this and we would be protesting this. We should pressure the Armenian governement to launch a formal protest on this war crime in the UN and Council of Europe instead of wasting time on this issue.

    • Sam said:

      As a modern nation, Armenia needs to balance it’s protection and protestations, and deal with many issues at the same time, not ignore one over the other.

  9. Դրօ said:

    Speaking of the Turks, they’ve been awfully quiet lately.

  10. Armanen said:

    I now consider the ARF to be a nationalist party only on paper. They have turned their backs on Armenian traditionalism, and are totally out of touch with Armenians in the Homeland.

    • Hagop D said:

      Very well said, I agree. The supposed “ARF” is now a “politically correct” tree-hugging organization, at least in the US. What kind of Tashnag establishment would lower itself and even mention the likes of the Kardashians in their official publications? Our revolutionaries are turning over in their graves.

  11. Peter Megerdumian said:

    I suspect this attack was done by someone trying to discredit the ARF .

  12. Anonymous said:

    Well said, Rubin.
    Media throws a bone in front of its viewers and they quickly seize the opportunity to take a bite.
    I know this course of action is highly intolerable but the media needs to use proper adjectives when describing events instead of altering and using fictitious wording.