Zaruhi Hovhannisyan: Activist, politician, journalist and violist

“I have the right to live, even if my parents did not plan my arrival to the world and decide to stop fetal development. Anyway, I have the right to live.
I have the right to love, I will love, even if I am rejected.
I have the right to speak, even if for this I am to be put behind bars.
I have the right to remain silent, even if I am to be tortured. They try to break me. “

The text above is a piece of Zaruhi’s own convention. A convention she has written by herself and calls My rights. Zaruhi is human rights defender and activist and believes in a strong civil society and that although we are all different we should have equal rights.
 Zaruhi is a 38 years old women, wife and mother of three children. Zaruhi graduated State University as a musician and journalist and started to work at an Armenian private news company. 

She also graduated from Yerevan School of Political Studies. Today Zaruhi does not any longer work at any news company but is a freelancer and writes articles for different online newspapers. She also works as a bibliographer at the National Book Chamber of Armenia where she organizing scientific texts from the last 100 years. She is also a candidate of deputy national assembly from the Armenian National congress party; the main opposition party.
   She is still a violist and also writes poetry about political and revolutionary issues.

Besides being a wife, mother, politician, journalist and musician she is also an activist. She supports any movement and participate in every field but is mostly active in Army in Reality, an initiative that fights for human rights in the army. At the moment Zaruhi is one of those who are reviewing a document signed by the government that allows the military to use force against domestic political threats. By signing this document the government has violated the constitution since it constitution only allows the army to be used against external threats. So how come they have signed it?

“This is only to preserve their own. ..[the current government’s]... power.”

I ask her how come she is an activist. And she answers that it is because she believes activism is important to raise the awareness about Armenian problem.

Zaruhi has also published a research. A research where she is comparing the Armenian traditional family with the political system and claiming them to act according to relationships and not according to law. Her research created huge discussions and she was accused of trying to break Armenian families. But this was not her purpose; she was rather criticizing the political system than the Armenian family. Zaruhi wants everyone to have the same opportunities and not receive privileges due to relationships.

My last question for Zaruhi is if she has any role model or source of inspiration.

“I am inspired by politicians who can change their instruments without changing their path or aim”

Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the first president of Armenia is one of Zaruhi’s role models. And she believes that unfortunately the conditions for female and male politicians is so unequal that no woman in Armenia has yet had the chance to become as great as Levon Ter-Petrosyan, and therefore she only has a male politician as a role model. She also talks about the importance of not only having women entering the political arena but also to make the traditional masculine political sphere to become more feminine. In many countries where women have started to enter politics, the sphere includes women but is still masculine. 

I am happy I have had the opportunity to meet such an intelligent woman as Zaruhi and thankful for the reflections she has given me. I ask her about her future plans are and if her next project is to become the next president of Armenia. She laughs and answers: Why not, if the stereotypes will be broken maybe I will.

I wish her good luck in her future and hope to see her as successful politician in the near future.


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