"Activist" online radio25 September 2015 / by Anahit Vardanyan (author)
“You can’t change anything”, “I don’t like politics, I am far from that”, “I have been disappointed during the last two years and I don’t believe in opposition or in anything else”, “the last meeting I attended was the meeting of March 1st, because I have no hope, there is nobody one would like to support” – these are the typical answers you are likely to receive if you ask our citizens if they attend any protests or meetings.
To the most part of the society the word “activist” associates with super heroes of American movies who are ready to come to rescue in case of any trouble and to solve all the problems.
Until recent times the reality was like that, as there was a group of people you could see at any meeting organized in the city – at a protest against demolishing cultural values or at meetings organized to support political prisoners or at meetings concerning the external policy of the country.
One of the reasons is probably that the society isn’t used to fighting for their rights and people, like I’ve already mentioned, are expecting someone to come and save them, and that person will be someone worthy, someone they will be able to follow, and if there isn’t anyone of the kind at the moment, they get disappointed and refuse to fight for their rights.
Of course during the recent years there have been positive changes in the civil demonstrations: comparably successful samples of massive involvements are protests against construction of Mashtots park (Mashtots Park Movement), public transportation fare increase, mandatory funded pension component, fines for traffic rules violations and the most recent Electric Yerevan movement, where protesters have been blocking the main avenue in the capital for many days.
In order to keep this tendency going, I suppose, we need to constantly work on raising awareness of the society, motivate them and involve them in the demonstrations. This is the goal of radio “Ashkhuzhak”.
This radio is an independent platform which is on air since 2015 and has the mission of giving the activists opportunity to share their ideas with the society, and organize discussions concerning the activism issues.
“Ashkhuzhak” got its name from the translation of the word “activist” which came into usage by Zaruhi Hovhannisyan. In one of the programs of “Ashkhuzhak” she tells how the idea of translating the term “activist” was born.
The radio is hosted by three people: Heghine, Armen and Mamikon. Mamikon deals with the planning and show scheduling, and Heghine and Armen prepare the programs.
“The target group is the layer of the society which wishes to live in a more independent country where human rights are respected, and another part of the target group are people who are interested in activism”,-mentions Armen.
Within the frames of the program “Ashkhuzhak”, which is on air twice a month, they organize discussions which cover actual topics, with a guest who has some authority in the discussed problem. Though, as Armen says, they do not always prepare programs concerning the events of the day (as it happened on the day against homophobia), as he thinks that these problems shouldn’t be talked about only during one day.
Their next programs, as they inform in their Facebook page, will be devoted to individuals who are engaged in activism in the RA civic society. “Ashkhuzhak” offers its audience to take part in choosing the interlocutor.
In the near future a range of cooperation is going to be realized: it has been planned to start joint programs with two Armenian and one Georgian radio stations, there is also an idea of starting to broadcast programs of different platforms. I am also happy to mention that in September they had their first live broadcasting and they are going to continue to report protests right from the scene.
The development of “Ashkhuzhak”’s web site is in process and in the near future we will have the opportunity to listen to them both through their web site and through the mobile application. Until then you can listen to the previous programs in their Soundcloud page and follow them 24 hours by this link.