It has been almost a week since a small town was established at the Freedom Square in Yerevan, Armenia. The purpose of its founders and inhabitants (mostly members and supporters of the opposition Armenian National Congress) was to demonstrate their non-recognition of the current government, demand for the reforms, release of the political prisoners and call for the extraordinary parliamentary and presidential elections.
This non-violent ongoing demonstration indeed looks like a town full of tents, put up all around the Square, national flags and big posters. People stay here over days and nights. Opposition activists from other Armenian towns join them (sometimes passing the whole way to Yerevan on foot) with the same slogans and the same enthusiasm.
Besides an attempt to deliver their core message, demonstrators also created a civil platform for the people to discuss and demonstrate their civic stand on a number of issues related to the health care, education, science, culture, army, etc.
I am not a member of the Armenian National Congress, nor the follower of its leaders. But I support what civil activists are doing (regardless of their political preferences) since their enthusiasm is like an antiseptic vaccine against social stagnation. And it is paving the way to the civil society formation.
When I entered the Freedom Square I was shocked hearing loud Armenian folk music and seeing people dancing with the flags in their hands.
Hmmmm, is it a kind of singing revolution? Or a dancing one? Well, whatever you may call it, it’s obviously a peaceful event and that’s what makes it twice valuable.
One of the activists and a very good friend of mine, Lilit, said that she heard a little boy asking his grandfather why those people were dancing. The old man replied that they were happy. And the kid wondered what made them happy. Then his grandfather explained that free people are always happy.
I don’t know what exactly that wise man meant saying “free”. But what I know for sure is that freedom is not only about speech, confession, assembly and all that we are used to talk and hear about. People can also choose to be free from the stereotypes, from the penniless stability, laziness, fear and whatever else they have too short lives to afford.