BEIRUT (A.W.)—The Executive Director of the Tufenkian Foundation Raffi Doudaklian and a colleague were beaten by unknown assailants in Beirut’s heavily Armenian-populated Bourj Hammoud District on Feb. 26.
News about the attack began surfacing on social media over the weekend. According to sources, the attack took place in the parking lot of the Shaghzoyan Cultural Center in the heart of Bourj Hammoud. Following the beating, Doudaklian was hospitalized in Beirut with several head and eye injuries and broken facial bones.
Many have speculated that Doudaklian’s writings—which are often critical of the establishment authorities of the Republic of Armenia—may have motivated the attackers. His “Namak Yerkren” (“Letter From the Country”) column has appeared in several publications in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora over the years.
On March 5, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Central Committee of Lebanon published a statement calling the attack “unacceptable and reprehensible” in its official publication, the Armenian-language Aztag Daily. Several individuals had claimed on social media that the party was connected to the incident. “The case has nothing to do with the ARF. Blaming the ARF for the incident is an irresponsible and unacceptable accusation,” read a part of the statement.
Several other organizations and individuals—including the Armenian Bar Association, Canadian-Armenian actress Arsinee Khanjian, and Artsakh Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan—also have condemned the attack voiced their support for Doudaklian.
“Those who find it necessary to order violence against the likes of a Raffi Doudaklian should venture beyond the narrow alleys of Beirut’s historically Armenian quarters to find real enemies,” read a statement published by the Armenian Bar Association.
Originally from Ainjar, Lebanon, Doudakian has been an active member of Armenian communities around the world. He worked on the editorial staffs of Beirut’s Aztag and Los Angeles’ Asbarez newspapers. Prior to moving to Armenia with his family, Doudaklian served as the principal of the ARS Armenian Private School of Toronto for five years, during which, the school was expanded to a secondary school (preschool-12th grade). From 2008-2016, he served as the Armenia Country Director for Mission East—a Danish development organization, which aids vulnerable populations. He was appointed Executive Director of the Tufenkian Foundation in May 2016.