The Armenian Youth Federation-Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF-YOARF), Eastern Region Central Executive and its Central Hai Tahd Council stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Armenia in calling for the resignation of Armenia’s Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport, Arayik Harutyunyan.
On December 3rd, we were disheartened to see the gruesome treatment of Armenian Revolutionary Federation youth in front of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport as police officers forcefully removed them from their peaceful protest. Their opposition is towards the minister’s proposal to remove Armenian language, literature and history as required courses in higher education.
“We did not enter a media station, we did not break any doors, we did not close off any court buildings, and we did not prevent judges from entering courts. We are carrying our civil disobedience in a legal manner. We are carrying out our constitutional right and representing our complaints regarding education policies in Armenia”
– ARF Armenian Youth Federation member Christine Vardanyan
This incident happened just a couple of months after the prime minister himself ordered citizens to block the courthouses in opposition to Armenia’s judicial branch, which in his opinion, does not reflect the will of the people. Even though they physically prevented judges from entering their offices, the police did not intervene and arrest anyone during that demonstration. However, now that the ARF youth are taking to the streets to demand the minister’s resignation, officers are targeting the protestors and have already made 24 arrests.
This protest followed several failed attempts on behalf of the ARF to meet with the Minister and discuss the negative effects his proposal would have on the Armenian people. These topics that he would remove from the classrooms hold great value in the contributions they make to the civic identity in our homeland and the bridges they create amongst peers and generations of youth in Armenia and our diaspora.
The AYF-YOARF in the diaspora may not be able to physically stand with our brothers and sisters on the streets of our homeland, and we may be decentralized in work, but our ideals shall always remain intact and unified as one under the history of our organization. We will never stop fighting for democracy and defending our language, heritage and identity.
The ARF has no business organizing such protests in Armenia, let alone asking the minister to “go home”. I am a spurkahay who received higher education in Armenia, and though I love my language and heritage, they have absolutely NO PLACE in higher education, where time is limited and needs to be focused on specialty subjects. Armenian language and history should be stressed in high schools, not universities. Architecture students in England do not study Shakespeare. So, do not disturb the peace of a country that is finally trying to stand on its feet and do not divert the attention of authorities from very pressing issues they are busy with.
Indeed, the AYF-YOARF platform is sensible and correct. To delete the courses as a requirement toward graduation is foolish thinking, and will slowly cause a decline in both our HYE language and history among the students, ultimately in our beloved Armenia.
I agree with Michael, the language should be taught in grade school, not in university. After all, I doubt people in universities in the US are forced to learn English grammar and literature.