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Lala Aslikyan: Changes are not coming in one day

Born on July 25, 1975

Studied at Yerevan State University, American University in Armenia

Profession: psychologist, political scientist

Relationship Status: married

photo by Vardine Grigoryan

-Tell us a bit about your activities, how you decided to deal with civic activism, with Human Rights protection?

Everything started in 2004, when on April 12-13 the night there were clashes in Yerevan between RA law enforcement forces and opposition. That night we gathered with young activists who were concerned about that issue and decided that the situation couldn’t go on that way.  For that reason, we mobilized other young people as well and on the next day we organized a rally. That was the main case, after which I’d started to follow similar activities and civic activism.  During that period we implemented different stocks, which addressed Human Rights protection based on basic human values like freedom, equality and Human Rights. Then the sphere of activities has widened, which was connected with some political periods like elections, elections prior situation, during which different violations were recorded, young people were arrested, and we were fighting against that injustices trying our voices to be heard.

photo by Anna Grigoryan

-You have already been working in the spheres of civil society creation and development for more than 15 years. What successes have you come to, what changes have been made in that area?

Changes are not coming in one day all over the world, in Armenia as well. And almost every time few stakeholders are standing behind those changes. However, I do not pretend to be one of those persons, but I’m always fighting for what I believe is right and important for the further development of society. From personal success I can mention “Mataghis’ case”.  In 2005-2006 with my friends we were fighting against unfair accusation of three soldiers who were sentenced to life imprisonment for killing two young men in the army. As a result of the struggle, it turned out that we were succeeded to extract these young people out of the prison, although they still remain in charge. Now the case is currently undergoing additional investigation and the trial is going on, but still in the same charges.  In other words, this precedent was successful that these three young people had a chance to get out of the prison institution, but, on the other hand, the trial continues on the same charge.

Today I am a member of “The Army in Reality” initiative, and the initiative seeks to raise the public’s voice on the situation in the army, raise the problems there and try to find solutions, because today it has quite a different image than it is presented.

It is also success for me that as a person I have changed a lot during these years: I am not the one, who I was a few years ago. It is connected with social activity, because when you do a public act, you should be open, honest because it is something you cannot hide first from yourself and from the society as well. It seems like a self-purifying process, because the society expects from you some actions and attitudes and because of your status in the society you have to justify these actions and public expectations.

-Tell us a little more “The Army in Reality” initiative, what was it? How was it planned? What goals does it have? What problems does it deal with?

“The Army in Reality” initiative was created within the framework of “Heghaforum” (Forum of revolution). In April, 2011 with different activists we decided to do a forum, which would give an opportunity to create an open space for raising problems and finding solutions for them. It meant that everyone should have raised a problem and try to find for them solutions. In that open space “The Army in Reality” initiative was created to which the parents of dead soldiers in the army joined, who fight for years to discover the assassination cases of their dead children and for holding a fair Procedure. The initiative’s main goal is to discover murdering cases carried out in the Army, to conduct a fair Procedure, which will allow to prevent the reiterate of such cases in future. Together with the parents, now we try to fight for detection and fair judicial hearing on these cases, we try to give sonority to these issues, to involve media representatives for giving more publicity to these issues and for involving all the society members in this process.

photo by Jamie Maddison Reporting

-What difficulties and obstacles did you meet during your work?

In fact, a lot of things are hinders for expansion of public activities, but even more dangerous thing is what makes you hopeless. When you come up with an important initiative, when you want to make some certain social changes, you meet the stereotypical attitudes of society. And you begin to convince those around you instead of implementation of activities, to bring some proofs to convince that the changes initiated by you are actually beneficial for our society, and that it eventually will contribute to their well-beings.

However, you must believe in yourself, believe in your values and the success and importance of your planned activities, must try to bypass those problems, which is again very difficult, because I am also a member of that society, the result of that society and it’s not always possible to bypass those problems.

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