I’ve never been one to protest or partake in politics. Particularly in a massive country like America, I feel I’m just a little ant in the system. But being in such a small country like Armenia, you can’t help but let the buzz of politics pull you in, especially when people around you are so frustrated, and those people are your people, and when those issues have a direct effect. For the last three days, residents have been enraged at the government for wanting to raise electricity prices by 16% starting August 1. This image of a young protestor flicking the government off sums it up perfectly.
I don’t know everything about the issue — Azatutyun is following it closely — but apparently they’ve hiked up prices three times in three years. I don’t feel quite comfortable joining the protests, (which turned violent when police opened water canons on the people to disperse them, though that didn’t stop them from reconvenining later) but the frustration around Yerevan is palpable — and you can’t help but let it consume you, too.
When I questioned my brother if it’s bad that I’m not joining, he joked that since I don’t pay for the electricity bill he should be protesting. But in all seriousness, it’s really inspiring to see so many Armenian youth taking such a strong stand against corruption — and not letting the government’s fear tactics abate their spirit. Aprek!