Destruction of Cultural Heritage Stimulates Emigration from Armenia
The DEPOP team condemns any decisions against the will of the people of Armenia to demolish historical buildings, moreover, any actions meant to apply pressure on peaceful people that demand justice and protection of what belongs to them. Destruction of historical values and architecture cuts the root of people with their home country and stimulates emigration.
Below is a short movie that tells about emigration from Armenia, published by “We will not be silent” youth movement of Armenia, in 2012.
In this short film a woman is sharing her thoughts before emigrating and says, “This is my small fatherland. My fatherland’s external appearance is becoming more luxurious day by day with the efforts of several oligarchs that have embezzled the wealth of people; however the roots and connection of ordinary people with their country is being broken more and more every day. Every day the country is becoming smaller by six hundred people.” As an external luxurious cover the film shows newly built buildings in Yerevan, while it shows “Covered Market” of Yerevan in the process of destruction and construction when telling about cutting the roots and connection of ordinary people with their fatherland.
The Depopulation Crisis of Armenia research study report was published after this short film, which also touches upon the issue of destruction of cultural heritage in Armenia. The report writes that popular participation in the process of governance is limited, and decisions without discussions, debates and participation of the society distort the societal participation and weaken the connection of people with their country, government, and eventually weaken their roots and connection with their home country. Examples of such non-participatory governance in the report include the government‘s decision to take down the Youth Palace of Yerevan, to permit demolition and new construction in the Covered Market of Yerevan (an indoor market on Mashtots avenue), and modification of historical buildings such as the one at 25 Pushkin.
Below is a song clip by Reincarnation Armenian music band, which describes similar issues and psychological and governance crisis in Armenia in more beautiful colors. These are the same things that cut the roots of the local people from their home. The impression one may receive from this clip is that people, like the enumerated stones of this building, were taken out and never returned back.
Recently a spontaneous youth movement tried to stop the destruction of the Afrikyan’s building, a historical sight in Yerevan, which was pressed down by police force.
All these movements and sources are independent from each other, however they all say the same thing:
DESTRUCTION OF HISTORICAL VALUES BREAKS AND CUTS THE ROOTS OF PEOPLE FROM THEIR HOME COUNTRY AND STIMULATES EMIGRATION.
When such spontaneous movements for justice and fair governance are pressed down with force, people start to look for solutions, which is primarily emigration. In such situations peaceful people do what the woman in the short film above did – they leave by saying, “Please forgive me, my Armenia, that I was unable to be a good citizen for you!”