Armenia: Police target Emos

Although understood to be a fairly conservative and traditional country, reports that police in Armenia were targeting Emos, a stereotypically melancholic sub-culture associated especially with teenagers, caused alarm and outrage among some more open minded bloggers and Facebook users.

Last month, for example, Unzipped especially voiced its concern in a post sarcastically noting the police were hunting down Emos and confiscating “weapons of mass distraction.”

This all began a month or two ago when quite a few Armenian media outlets started systematically publishing sensationalist articles and reports linking virtually all teenage or youth suicides in Armenia to emo. Needless to say that in most, if not all, cases, they had no evidence whatsoever to support their claims, except for wild speculations. […]

And how easy. Nobody cares why those young people commit suicides. Finally, they found an easy solution. A new ‘enemy of nation’. To ‘neutralise’.


In reality, this is a pretty organised attack towards youth, or anyone for that matter, who look and behave differently, different from what is perceived to be ‘normal’, ‘acceptable’ look or behaviour.

Emigrant Emo, a non-Armenian blog specializing in covering the sub-culture also noted the inaccuracies in press reports, but considers that coverage could reflect the prevalent mentality in local society.

Another day down and emo continues to spread through the world. This time, this “misguided” attempts to describe the underground culture may not necessarily be incorrect for the way the ideas of emo in its new territory. Though Siranuysh Gevorgyan’s recognition of emo’s origins runs the usual misguided list of concepts, it may be that definition in Gevorgyan’s native Armenia.


Is this interpretation of emo wrong though? Gevorgyan gives it the old-media shine for people with a relatively sympathetic view of the kids -the later of which is a nice change of pace. But, the culture in its native country is all about interpretation among individuals there. […]


[…] However, considering the tough history the Armenian people have endured these recent decades and centuries, I would think (and hope) that there is a little more depth to these kids’ rebellion beyond the cute, cut-and-paste emo fashion that Gevorgyan describes. Either way, they’re doing it on their own, and that’s a solid feat, especially in the face of many a misunderstanding individual.

In recent days, however, the story has appeared in the international media. Unzipped, for example, tweets that Rolling Stone magazine has even picked it up. The piece was accompanied by a photograph taken by Global Voices’ Caucasus Editor.

Photo © Onnik Krikorian

Now Rolling Stone posted re cracking down on emo in #Armenia. Ridiculous being of police chief. […] via @writepudding

Nevertheless, despite the small numbers of Emos in Armenia, a Facebook Group, United Emos of Armenia, was set up in their support. In its earlier post, Unzipped also noted than some local bloggers launched their own campaign, “I Am Emo,” too, with perhaps the most inventive post coming from alkhhimik [RU].

The blogger, instantly recognizable by his shaven head, posted a doctored photograph of himself as an Emo.

Господин главный млица Армении решил, что ему отныне нечем заняться, посему надо начать отлавливать эмо. Вот здесь — предыстория, группа в фейсбуке. Комитет защиты эм в ярости!

Отвали от детишек, мужик!

Или и меня задержи, и с побоями увези в кутузку, ибо

Я — ЭМО!

Mr Chief Militia Officer decided that he has nothing else to do which is why there is the need to start chasing after Emos. Here is the background on a FB group. The Emo defense committee is enraged. Hands off kids, man! Or arrest me and take me beaten to the station because I am EMO!

According to press reports, the Head of the Armenian Police said that he considered Emos to be ‘dangerous,’ even though few consider there to be more than a handful in the country, as they threaten to ‘distort’ the ‘Armenian gene pool.’

In response, and in order to highlight how anyone ‘different’ in Armenia is usually stereotyped negatively, some Facebook users started to post a YouTube video of a song by teenage pop-punk combo KED, “Es Emo Chem” (I am not Emo).

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