A group of youngsters with funny appearances, masks and painted faces walking down the streets, blowing whistles all over the way and making joyous and elated sounds and crying out – “Զարթնեք… Wake up!!».
Via http://barekendan.tripod.com/ we learn:
Barekendan is an old Armenian traditional festival that we are seeking to revive as a form of civil action by calling upon the citizens to “wake up” and become involved in social processes in Armenia. […]it is an occasion in which people are urged not to be passive and instead alert. As Lent begins the day after Barekendan, it is the final call for people to be uninhibited in their actions prior to the start of a period of fasting.
[…] Seeing as how the Parliamentary elections of 2007 are critical for the democratization processes in Armenia, Barekendan serves as an ideal occasion for the civil society activists to call upon their fellow dormant citizens to “wake up” and become involved. We are seeking to accomplish this goal by organizing a parade and day of festivities on February 18, 2007. On this day, we plan on dressing in costumes, offering face painting, passing out sweets and candies among other treats.
And while people gathered there were mainly those young society activists who you always see at any such occasion, the same message of wakening up the people in a sense was lost in the same whistlings, because when people’s first reaction is “Արա…է՞ս ովքեր են”, “who are these?” or “Երեխեքը ուրախանում են”, “Kids are making fun” supposes itself that from aside people do not think that you call upon them to become active and involved. Of course this will mainly come from the ‘men in black’ aka ‘rabiz’ representatives of the society for who these ‘kids’ seem funny in general.
A young man to who a girl gave an alarm-clock with a note “Զարթնելու՞ ես”, “Will you wake up?” turned to me and said; “Ինչի քնած էի՞”, which supposed an affected tone that someone tells him to wake up, and while I’d explain what it was for, mainly stressing that they must be active in every sphere what regards to this country, he mumbled discontentedly: “Դե թողեք հանգիստ քնենք Էլի…(let us sleep calmly)”. Ok, no worries… Հետո չասեք Դավիթ գող-գող եկավ գնաց…
One poster that I’m not afraid to say was the highlight of the parade, grasped everyone’s attention and made everyone laugh, especially when passing the government building on Republic Square. It said “Քի°չ կեր”… “Don’t eat much!” …And we all know what it meant…)))
Yes, people had fun, everything was fine, everyone was joyous, happy, with wide smiles. People who have always been active, will remain that for good, that’s in nature. But I think the message of awakening the people around and calling them to become involved and moreover, further democratization process, was lost in the shouting and all the colors of the day, because most of the passer-bys didn’t understand what was going on. Young people are just celebrating barekendan – that is what they’d get. So their wakening up from dormancy is still in question, methinks.
At least, there was another occasion to gather and make voices.
Hope some posts with details from organizers themselves will come later.
Isabella promises to write more on the event.
CRD/TI Armenia blog sums up all the Barekendan related events and news of these days, along with photos.
As well as Armenian Libertarian-Socialist Movement blog shares with its thoughts.