Management specialist, musician Karen Hakobyan is actively involved in various civil actions and is convinced that the most difficult task is to create solidarity.
He is convinced that solidarity is disrupted when examples of civil strife that have ended in defeat are not discussed or analyzed. And no questions were asked about betrayal, compromise and not being heard.
And then comes the time to look for a job, that is, to settle down, for the sake of earnings, livelihood, simple security.
“And when you fit in and begin to agree, the energy of the principled struggle, and then the solidarity, ends.”
Karen Hakobyan has several face masks (professions and jobs) that he tries not to merge.
Explains: “You create different roles for yourself so that they can start a dialogue with each other. Maybe I’m still worried that one role may interfere with another. I wish it wasn’t like that.”
Anxiety and a certain state of delusion became the core of this conversation involuntarily.
We have been careful both when criticizing and expressing an opinion.
“Many people are careful, even in their social media posts, not wanting to be attacked. And those attacks will definitely be from both sides,” said Karen.
In the “lost media field,” we can say the same thing about all of us, because we are immersed in big and small events, interests, goals, and they all need our attention.
I guess the delusion begins when the small is not formulated or the big is formulated so large that the details are forgotten, and we get lost when we encounter the details.
For example, around the same time that the issue of Firdus district was openly violated by law and the tendency of the former authorities to implement the agreements at any cost, Kocharyan was released, and Tsarukyan’s arrest was not substantiated in court.
And it is very difficult to understand that if there has been no change in the justice system, how can we be sure that the court will make a fair decision? And the other question is how can the new wave of authority, in the interest of business, change an entire district?
It turns out that they can because, in fact, there are no small (but in fact very important) steps.
Now there is a real delusion because at the moment we can’t understand who the citizen is. It turns out that we are all judges, media people, messengers, followers, fighters and posters holders.
As a musician, I have no idea how to sing on stage if there is violence on the street. And years ago I had to defend on the street not the issue of me personally, but more importantly, the issue of responding to violence. It was horrible not to respond.
Do we still need to place an equal sign between citizen and activist?
Even when a new government was formed as a result of our actions, and the new text had become the main style of work, regardless, we must be “fighting, creating, criticizing and not judgmental” about various issues. And it becomes an endless chain.
The reason for the confusion is that many civil activists, whose voices were heard two years ago, are now in the National Assembly or in the executive branch. And their individual voices are no longer heard.
It seemed that now they should have more functional opportunities to make changes, but that’s not happening.
And other active citizens think things over ten times before writing even a small critique addressed towards their friends who now have a place in government circles, wondering if this will prevent people from doing their job, presumably in the context of solidarity.
In that sense, it is a difficult situation, especially when questions like “Who are you against” and “Who are you for?” get added to the mix.
The media and social media influencers of various calibers make good use of that for-against see-saw. Criticism of the authorities is a required product in the media.
In this situation, it is a matter of principle who you are interviewing or on what platform you are expressing your opinion. What’s important is that your words do not appear on a sold platform that has been dealing with propaganda for a long time.
Also, in this way, you can hold on to hope that your thoughts will be presented without being taken out of context.
Now any criticism of the authorities can be used immediately if they feel that your criticism coincides with the views that many of us avoid expressing in the same text field.
The question of whether or not to wear a mask, for example, was one of those “trifles” that was so overlooked that now the Prime Minister personally distributes a mask on the street and says thank you to people for wearing a mask (even if it’s a belated action).
But that trifle started when the Prime Minister addressed the “Proud Citizens of the Republic of Armenia” without formulating what it means to be proud and what it means to be a citizen.
It was assumed that by saying this, everyone imagines the same thing.
It turned out that this was not the case. For many, unfortunately, pride was a manifestation of the pressure of civil rights.
Now pride is interpreted very freely, opening up a field of manipulation, where being proud of not wearing the mask is also fair game.
Unfortunately, the “citizen” gave in to “pride.”
And this can cause fascist euphoria, joy under the logic of oppressing and raping the other person. These were to be excluded from the area of coexistence.
There are two extremes: nothing has changed, everything has changed. Anything said in between is really not being heard.
It is very important that we do not forget to ask questions. And let’s do that before we jump in and attack someone.
Unfortunately, we do not like to ask questions. For example, we declare that there is no longer corruption in the country, or that there are no oligarchs and that human rights are protected. But isn’t that dangerous to assume, because asking questions becomes out of the question?
Of course, we have questions that are not the beginning of a dialogue, but a response.
Most media outlets pay for resources that seek to manipulate. They are people who have money and do not want change, as a result of which the media forms retrospective images, which are spread in a chain.
And again, it turns out that analyzing, understanding, realizing and taking appropriate action is left to the average citizen, from whom at least the capacity of an analytical institution is required, in listening and reading different media to be able to distinguish between those that do not speak of the logic of the public interest and those which are created to highlight certain people.
The problem is, to whom are the questions asked? For example, pseudo analysts, aggressive and knowledgeable experts, expired groups. As a result, the media field becomes foam.
Conductor Aram Gharabekyan once said that there is no scale of prestige in Armenia.
Perhaps we have to keep in mind that an expert, a scientist or an established specialist may not want to be popular in the media field and speak everywhere and on every occasion. Recognizing them is also a public issue.
When people suddenly appear new, inexperienced, but call themselves experts or masters, the real professionals remain unknown. And it does not create an opportunity to share the knowledge and experience gained over the years.
This problem has always existed, as the change of generation has been not due to natural, but to repressive mechanisms, due to various historical facts. The experiment was completed and a fragmentary generation change took place.
In fact, a number of erroneous perceptions of pictures are created and then spread throughout the media. As a result, we do not have the basis on which we can rely, even if we try to fix the mistakes or start up a dialogue.
Of course, the authorities should always be criticized, without which we will be imprisoned, even if only our thoughts are imprisoned.
If your opponent says, “I don’t know who can help me or how,” then there’s an opportunity to be helpful. But if the other person does not think of asking, it turns out that he knows very well that he is wrong and continues to make mistakes.
I have noticed that the phrase “If I’m not mistaken” has appeared in the vocabulary of many government officials who are currently giving interviews or press conferences. Officials in various fields say this by saying text or quoting numbers.
And I sit and think, who will be the one who will definitely not be wrong? After all, you either know the answer or you don’t. And if you don’t know, you have no right to say, if I’m not mistaken.
If everyone is an analytical center for themselves now, how can you gain immunity and not be overwhelmed by the information that is constantly on your mind?
I think the people of Armenia already have some immunity to filtering information, especially the generation that saw the Soviet Union, which was able to get things right by reading the footnotes. It was like a game.
The younger generation does not have such immunity, which is accustomed to a more pop response with new colors and formats.
Even if we assume that there are interesting and useful analyzes in the media field, I am not sure that those analyzes appear on the agenda of decision-makers.
That is, they reach those to whom they are addressed.
After all, political or economic analysis does not give much to the average statistician who goes to work or works in the village, except to become a topic of conversation. It is much more important that analysts in the media appear at the decision-making table.
And if this connection does not exist, in essence, immunity will not be formed.
At least I don’t know, a group of analysts who have a direct impact on decision-makers. And if we are a new society, we should have already started a process where the Public and various independent platforms would give us the analytical thoughts we want.
To be honest, I can’t understand why it didn’t happen.
Perhaps it’s a difficult road that they are not prepared for.
And what should we do? To create a platform through public forces (that is, those who have what they have) to try to suggest ways. Tip and prompt until we become heard?
You can, of course, take the initiative, strain your forces, but there is a danger that you will continue to be considered as an opposition force. In other words, they still won’t pay any mind to what you said.
I wouldn’t want to sound fatalistic, and I insist that there are a lot of people who are working and thinking in their place and their hearts ache, and they are not ready to be sold at all and to assume that the former authorities can return in any way.
These people are still there and are ready to be useful so that citizens can be proud, but first of all, become a citizen and fight for the Constitution with their creative tools – texts, music, attitude, respect for others.
For example, Iceland created a new text of the Constitution last year, involving every citizen.
In this way, the one who really had something to say becomes heard, and the one who said something clever, coinciding with the opinion of others, already creates another public vibration, where new speakers and future deputies are formed. And, say, a journalist who is used to writing manipulative materials shuts up and stands aside.
Speaking openly about the Constitution (not with committees) should be passed on to the people.
If we are all an individual analytical center, then we must formulate the Constitution of our country ourselves.
Interview by Nune Hakhverdyan