About my life in Armenia, about being a mom and an activist, working for women's rights.
The challenges and benefits of raising a family in a post-soviet republic.
Finding a place, my place and calling it HOME.


March 8: from Yerevan to Turin

Last year at the Women's Resource Center, we took the initiative to burry with a performance the "red apple" (symbol of virginity for brides in Armenia) and the reactions were diverse and loud that you could see here. Despite all the negative comments, it was really important to experience how far can you push the limits regarding traditions and gender in Armenia.
This year, less controversial we opted for discussions in public spaces (markets, parks), exhibitions and a music-poetry night to celebrate our victories as women even if they sometimes seem very tiny. You could follow our activities here.

We are of course very far from voicing our anger out loud on the streets in a very determined and united way like our sisters in Turin, Italy.

I was there for a conference on Women and Work organized by ETF (European Training Foundation) and as I arrived a day earlier, I decided to take a walk in the city. While enjoying a nice cup of cappuccino in one of the Cafes on via Po in Turin, I suddenly heard some loud music coming from the nearby square and a group of policemen assembled on one of the adjacent streets. I took my camera and followed them.

People were gathering behind a small truck where you could see posters and mannequins dressed with colorful dresses. I approached a little and asked some of them what was happening? and a woman replied: Donne, women's rights, march 8 walk!

After a while lots of women joined, different ages, different looks. I decided to follow, even though i didn't understand a word, trying to read some of the phrases in Italian. What a feeling, I thought we had problems, but it seems everywhere women were facing the same challenges but on different levels. After a while, Iranian women joined us as well with a big green banner. The march continued peacefully on the rhythms of Tina Turner's music through the busy streets of historical Turin.

During protest actions in Armenia, I usually feel very stressed, surrounded by police, not knowing if your rights will be protected or not. In Turin, the feeling was a little different, the crowd was much larger, police was less invasive and people were walking confidently without any fear of expressing their opinion. Now I know that it was not always like that, but I kind of felt happy and hopeful. Armenians have much in common with Italians (family values, traditional gender roles, loud, perfect hosts, food-oriented, machoism..) and I realized at that moment that Italy is also Europe with all its gender/social challenges and a place i could relate too as an Armenian not too different and far(culture wise) like Scandinavian countries or France, England, etc. I don't know how to express that, but my trip to Italy gave me hope for Armenia's future where traditions and cultural identity can coexist with democracy and freedom of expression.

1 comment:

  1. So solidarity doesn't require speaking the same language? :) Fantastic, Lara.