The youth initiative – HENQ, abbreviation from their longer Armenian name “New Young Citizens of Armenia” started their second action in Yerevan today – gathering in front of Tumanyan House-Museum at 18:30, the group of about 10 students divided the tasks among themselves and got going.
The action, called “Vonts, chuneq?” (“You don’t have it?”), is based on principle of “We are the State”, according to HENQ. The point of the action was – to go around bookshops, newspaper shacks, DVD stores, movie theaters in Yerevan and ask for non-existing books, movies, newspaper titles, plays, e.g.: “We are the state” film by Carla Garapedian, the director of the “Screamers“, “The country is a country” by Paulo Coelho, “A citizen is wanted” by HyeFilm Studio.
The group were supposed to stir interest about the content of the particular play, book, newspaper and engage in a discussion about issues like: ‘the government does not exist in vacuum’, ‘we are responsible for our state’, ‘we have to take responsability ourselves and try to correct the wrong we see’, ‘we should follow the rules, giving a bribe and saying this country is no good won’t solve anything’. The action that started today will go on for a week. Many of the bookstores, movie theaters will be visited repeatedly in the hope, that rumors will circulate about these new ‘hit’ films, etc. – which everybody is talking and interested about.
Joining the HENQ members – divided into groups of two Onnik Krikoryian and myself went around to some of ‘targets’. It was fun, but I’m really not sure if this activity will achieve anything, apart from creating a possibility to spend the energy for a bunch of excellent young people with vague ideas about the need for civil activity, caring for their country while trying to stay out of politics.
As one of the leaders of the group, Stepan Khzrtian told me, the group is open for all regardless their political beliefs, and noted, that there are already people from ARF Dashnaktsutyun, HIMA and Orinats Yerkir taking part in their actions. They now have a Facebook group with over 160 members, which is also open for anybody to join and from what what Onnik Krikoryian told me, Vahagn Vardumyan, a well known civil activist, who has been highly critical of “Sksela” and “Hima” movements in the recent months, is also actively involved with this new group.
It is hard to draw conclusions as to what this group is really up to and what will they achieve with this type of ‘soft’ activities – at least that’s a view shared by Onnik Krikoryian I beleive. However – civil society is not a ‘competitive market’ – where one brand wins, and the rest loose. In fact, the more diversity, the better. From my perspective – what matters, is that people are active and try to do something to change things for the better. Everything is better then standing back and doing nothing. So – why not – I want to welcome this fresh new start!