How Armenians Should Protest in the 21st Century
Armenians around the world are passionate about supporting Armenian causes, and engaging in what is called social activism. Social activism is a wide variety of different means of raising awareness and furthering your social goals. We have witnessed Armenians take to the streets to march, create twitter hashtags, do fundraising, and so much more, but out of everything we do what are the most effective ways to advance our cause?
When it comes to achieving our goals in the diaspora, some ways work better than others, so in this important time it is critical to focus on what works. So, what works?
During the war, Armenians came up with an ingenious and effect way to halt Turkish arm sales, without the expensive lobbyists and bribes. The Armenian diaspora investigated the suppliers of Turkish and Azeri weapons suppliers, and by emailing the companies, contacting them on social media, and even protesting outside relevant businesses and residences. This managed to get public announcements from companies and governments involved, promising to halt and investigate the procurement of these weapon systems. Go after the companies and people involved in providing weapons to our adversaries!
Also, another way to in effect sanction the nations who seek our destruction is to hit them economically. Armenians were able to locate businesses that import or sell Turkish products abroad. By contacting the owners of these companies, holding demonstrations outside their businesses, and offering Armenian, Greek, Arab, or Iranian products as substitution, they managed to stop them from selling Turkish products. Go after the economy of our adversaries!
Since Armenians are Christians, a natural ally is other Christians around us. Our church groups can organize presentations, and educate other congregations about our causes and goals. We can distribute educational materials, showing which products to avoid purchasing, coordinate our online and public activities together, and engage in fundraising. We must seek out allies in the war against our adversaries!
Sometimes, it is possible to find allies in your local government and public members of your community. We can organize social media campaigns against the politicians, writers, and lobbyists for our adversaries, but more importantly use their opposition and political opponents to pressure them to change. By holding meetings, press conferences, public debates, and contacting those involved, we can align ourselves with those who are sympathetic while pressuring those working against us. We must hold those who choose to look the other way accountable!
As we have all seen during this war, the propaganda machines of our adversaries are quite powerful. Social media is heavily influenced through technology such as bot farms, which spam propaganda to the masses. As such, it is important that we seek out like minded communities, such as Greeks, Assyrians, Cypriots, Kurds, Serbians, and Palestinians to coordinate our efforts. Furthermore, instead of focusing on 1000 Armenians working on social media, we need 1 Armenian with 1000 social media accounts to balance the war on information. We must organize and modernize our efforts online!
One of the ways this has been done was though the use of professionally made videos about Armenia, its culture, history, and promoting it as a tourist destination. However, these have been too few and far in between. Each Armenian community abroad has what it takes to produce content about Armenia. These videos should be made available in key languages, distributed to members of Armenian communities all over the world, and shared with friends and family. We must promote and recreate the public perception of Armenia!
When it comes to tourism, it is a key source of income for our largest adversary. We can locate and petition the companies that offer travel partnerships, and convince them to halt activities. We can contact the owner, managers, employees, hold demonstrations outside their businesses, leverage the power of negative reviews, and much more. We can even target the online reviews of historical places in Western Armenia. If tourism moves the world, we must move the tourists away from our adversaries!
In the war of lies that Armenians face online, education is the solution. Our adversaries fabricate the history of the region, and spread lies about us. While there has been numerous great works done by scholars around the world, to counter each and ever misconception, they are not all located in one place and easily accessible for all to see. The Armenian people need a website that encompasses all the great literary works, bringing together all the relevant topics in one place. We must gather the truth in one place, so that it is as easy to administer as a pill!
If you want to take a more hands-on approach, then let’s seek to promote made in Armenia products. These days, online platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, bidding pages, eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist allow anyone to sell Armenian products from home. Organize bulk orders with your friends and families, and seek to use only Armenian made products in your house and community. HYE Box and Ararat Box are some of the several Armenian companies providing Armenian products directly to consumers. Help get Armenian products out to the world, and demand your house uses only made in Armenia!
Finally, if these options are not for you, that is alright, just skip the red tape and invest directly in Armenians in need. Whether it is through an NGO, a contact you know through your community, or even online, there is nothing to stop you from sponsoring a child, a family, or a project in a rural community. Technology has made it much easier to allow us to help those we desire. Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte is just one of the many Armenians today doing this, and showing us we can be in charge of our own destiny. So, bridge the gap and make friends with those in need!