A conversation with “No to Plunder” movement member Maxim Sargsyan, who is participating in the Baghramyan Avenue electricity rate hike protest.
Maxim, what’s your professional background?
I graduated with a degree in historical jurisprudence, but not at the college level.
What do you think about Armenia’s current situation?
Seeing the activism exhibited by citizens of Armenia these past few days, I view Armenia’s future as very bright. I see that homeland that I imagined and want.
And what kind of homeland do you want to see?
A homeland where there is equality, the rule of law, and where the rulers do not threaten citizens. A homeland where citizens realize their role and impact in unfolding processes. A country where all feel good, both on a human level and legally.
So, what is lacking today in our country?
If we are talking about the people, I’d say hope is lacking. If you talk to someone that person says, “Who am I? Who cares what I say?” When each person has self-confidence, I am certain that many things will change in this country. If all of us understand that we possess power, that by uniting that power multiplies, we will have that which we have today and for the two previous days.
When did this hope disappear?
Hope died over the course of several years and after several developments. I might say over a few decades. But we will restore it. It will return. I am sure.
What’s the main reason why that hope disappeared?
The primary reason is that it was convenient for the rulers to get the country to the situation we are in now. If you have citizens in the country that make demands, you are obligated to listen to them. If you can make people disillusioned to the point where they have lost all hope and just stay at home and complain, there will be no reaction.
This is the reason for all those TV serials and banal programs which killed all those values and thoughts that could have created informed citizens. But I am certain that we will bring those values back; that we will become normal citizens and a normal country.
I say this after following developments in Armenia over the last 10-20 days, after being present and seeing the enthusiasm of citizens. You know, when they brought out the water cannon we were 500-600 people. I am sure they figured we would get scared. But those 500-600 people sat till the end, end when beaten and hit with water. We were that strong.
Did you expect the police to take such a measure?
Honestly, I didn’t expect it even when they brought the water cannon equipment to the front. When they turned on the water, I can’t express what I experienced inside. But that didn’t break me. But my trust in the police died that moment. We are struggling with the same spirit, even if they bring ten water cannons.
What dreams do you have?
I would like to see people smile in the Armenia and Yerevan we had. The faces of young people only show concern. That’s my dream.
The city started to assume a negative energy. Perhaps it’s the aura from negative buildings. I want to live in a positive city where people smile and are happy. This is my biggest dream. I don’t see my life anywhere else. My life started here and this is where it will end.
Photo: Narek Aleksanyan