Three weeks ago, thirty people stormed into a house in Armenia and beat-up nine LGBT Armenian activists in their own home, seriously injuring two and sending them to the hospital. One of the assailants, Hakob Arshakyan, was the former Mayor of the town. To make matters worse, Gevorg Petrosyan, an Armenian parliament member with the Prosperous Armenia Party, made the following statement, “I don’t know who will incriminate me and to what extent, but we should have already driven out (I’m stating this lightly) homosexuals, religious minorities, and their protectors from our Holy land with joint efforts.”
Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia, is yet to publicly acknowledge this mass anti-LGBT hate-crime or call for an investigation. To mark his 100th day in office, Pashinyan gave a speech in Yerevan’s Republic Square where he patted himself on the back and boasted about his administration’s actions to combat lawlessness and corruption; yet he had nothing to say about these crimes against humanity. Things have gotten worse for queer Armenians.
This is the latest of a string of gay-bashings this year alone. In February, a transgender woman was beaten and her apartment was set on fire while she was in it. She survived after being in intensive-care but has permanent damage to her face and the rest of her body. In May, while in Armenia on a humanitarian mission, Elton John was subjected to eggs and insults hurled at him.
What is most outrageous and disturbing is the deafening silence of most diaspora Armenians, including Armenian-Americans. Whether for self-interest and self-preservation, cowardice or apathy, you can hear a pin drop in Glendale when this topic comes up. Most “leaders” in the city, who consider themselves “friends” of the LGBT community, are mum about this heinous crime against humanity.
Make no bones about it, If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. Your silence is consent.
A petition to Prime Minister Pashinyan is circulating about LGBT Rights in Armenia. You can sign the petition here: https://goo.gl/CX8Jf5