Thursday, 31 March 2011

Government sponsored youth in Azerbaijan uses homophobia and anti-Armenian slurs to target opposition politician

Amnesty International reports on intensifying “wide-reaching and ruthless” crackdown by the Azeri authorities on opposition, freedom of speech and any sign of decent.

The latest incident took place today, when government sponsored youth & co targeted opposition politician amid further detentions of political activists.
The Azerbaijan authorities must end their clampdown on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today after 11 more political activists were arrested ahead of Saturday's planned "Day of Wrath" protest. [...]

"The Azerbaijani government's pre-emptive crackdown on those seeking reform has been wide-reaching and ruthless," said John Dalhuisen, Deputy Director for Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme.

Government supporters today held a rally outside the home of opposition leader Ali Karimli. The crowd chanted that he was a traitor and a homosexual, while police stood by and watched. [...]

"The increase in the number of incidents of harassment and violence against activists and journalists in Azerbaijan is deeply concerning. The trend appears to illustrate the determination of the authorities to stamp out any forms of dissent," said John Dalhuisen.
@leylanajafli provides with additional details: “These placards had slogans like “There’s no place in Azerbaijan for the Ali Karimli’s of this world, who sell our land to Armenians!”, “Shame on the traitor!”, “Ali Karimli, what money does your family live on in London?” and “Ali Karimli + radical islamists = chaos”. This comes after yesterday’s rumors spread by pro-Aliyev media outlets stating that Ali Karimli was to meet and “conspire” with a number of radical Islamist groups.


They also chanted slogans in support of the Aliyev regime: “Long live Ilham Aliyev!”, “Our only president, our only leader is Ilham Aliyev”, and other slogans in support of the ruling party. Videos show a student singing “Mavi” (“Blue”, meaning “gay” in Azeri slang) through a loudspeaker – part of a black PR campaign against Karimli that started years ago.”

Just had a glance at that video (below). Pretty disgusting crowd, I must say. Nauseous.



*thanks to @GoldenTent for the link

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Public TV in Georgia dismisses 2 journalists because of hate speech on Facebook, while in Armenia... even British Council & co promote homophobes on a VIP level

Excellent precedent. This is perhaps the first of its kind in the South Caucasus when journalists got dismissed because of hate speech (including homophobia).
On 18 March 2011, the Georgian Public Broadcaster dismissed two of its journalists, Giorgi Tukhareli and Giorgi Gabrichidze, because of offensive comments they made on Facebook against homosexuals and the Vatican as well as the Catholic Church. The journalists wrote the remarks on the wall of a page, I don't love my Patriarch, but even if the comments later disappeared, someone managed to take a screenshot to post on the Internet.

According to reports, Gabrichidze and Tukhareli resigned themselves and Vakho Sanaia, the anchor of a program they worked on, personally met them. He said that it would be impossible for him to work with them again in the future. “Their comments are incompatible with our values and work style,” Vakho Sanaia told Media.ge,” Journalists quit their jobs themselves, and that's what I wished.” Sanaia also said that he would not have worked with them from the beginning had he known that they were homophobes.

“I'm shocked, I could not believe until I saw it with my own eyes. Both Gabrichidze and Tukhareli were some of the best journalists and they have proven that many times by risking their lives to cover recent events in Egypt. Despite all this, program has its image, which has been jeopardized. We condemn this kind of action from a journalist even if they write it on their Facebook wall,” Rusudan Vashakidze, the Producer of the program, told onlinenews.ge.

According to Netgazeti.ge, Vashakidze talked to Gabrichidze over the phone and later denied accusations claiming that his profile had been hacked while those responsible for the program they worked on said that Facebook is a public space and journalists had to understand that everything they wrote would negatively affect them. Gabrichidze and Tukhareli violated the Georgian Public Broadcaster's code of ethics and therefore had to quit.
Not that this culture has any deep roots in Georgia, as homophobia & religious fanatism is pretty widespread there - see my previous posts re situation in Tbilisi & elsewhere or the latest from Eurasia.Net - but this is an excellent precedent to start with.

I never heard of an example by the Yerevan Press Club or similar groups to voice against homophobic instances in Armenian media. Perhaps, our human rights and LGBT related groups should be more active too, in monitoring and formally complaining about each such incident. That said... I remember how one prominent head of media rights group, when approached re condemning hate speeches in local media... the only thing he was interested in and curious about was... whether we would be publishing names of high profile gays in Armenia. Truly, to laugh and to cry.

Not only we are lacking similar precedents in Armenian media, but even some prominent international organisations (example - British Council) or Diaspora linked think tanks (example - Civilitas) continue their shameful policy of supporting media, groups or individuals that promote hate, intolerance and homophobia. This typically follows by lame excuses and patronising ‘clarifications’.

What sort of messages, say, British Council Armenia conveys, in behaving the way they do? The one of hypocrisy. They promote homophobes, then in response to the outrage by activists, to ‘save the face’, they organise trainings. Next day... they get engaged in yet another promotion of homophobes on a pretty prominent level (screenshot below).


At least locals are more honest. They do not disguise their activities under the cover of equality, diversity and tolerance.

It’s very convenient to say: “We are not there yet. You should be more patient. It will take time to see the changes.” True, *change* will not come at once, in one day. But how are we going to see any changes at all if we do not act and do not act now?

Luckily, there are activists in Armenia who act, and we have (albeit very few) media outlets that are homophobia-free (example - Epress.am).

The other day I was watching this excellent BBC drama Christopher and His Kind about famous British novelist Christopher Isherwood, his time in Berlin against the backdrop of rise to the power of the Nazis. Brilliant cast. Brilliant storyline and production. Highly recommend it. There was this very simple and powerful line there in relation to the rise of the Nazi.... “When you get used to it, that’s the danger. You get used to it. You get used to anything.” Says it all.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Armenia and Georgia, among 85 countries, signed major UN gay rights statement

Following historic UN statement in 2008 - History in making: 66 countries, including Armenia, signed a joint UN statement against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity - Armenia consistently endorsed major international statements on gay rights and against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. [for other examples - see here]

As reported by international media and gay rights groups world-wide, yet another important step forward was achieved on Tuesday 22 March when 85 countries endorsed a Joint Statement delivered at the UN Human Rights Council. This statement was put forward and intensively lobbied world-wide by US president Obama’s administration.

As in the past, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia did not endorse the statement. I will put #fail here.

The full text of the statement delivered at the Human Rights Council on 22 March 2011 by the representative of Colombia on behalf of 85 countries is provided below (source). Within the comments section of this post you may also read some immediate reactions of prominent gay rights groups.

ILGA-Europe reports that 43 European countries, including Armenia and Georgia, signed the statement. Only 6 countries from the European region did not sign up: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Russian Federation, Turkey, Vatican.

Now what we need more is to move from the ‘paper’ to real-life implementation of the principles outlined in this statement. Only then I will call this a breakthrough, for real.
***
Joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation & gender identity

Delivered by Colombia on behalf of: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, the Central African Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala,  Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the former-Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ukraine, Uruguay,  Vanautu and Venezuela

1.       We recall the previous joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, presented at the Human Rights Council in 2006;

2.       We express concern at continued evidence in every region of acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity brought to the Council’s attention by Special Procedures since that time, including killings, rape, torture and criminal sanctions;

3.       We recall the joint statement in the General Assembly on December 18, 2008 on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, supported by States from all five regional groups, and encourage States to consider joining the statement;

4.       We commend the attention paid to these issues by international human rights mechanisms including relevant Special Procedures and treaty bodies and welcome continued attention to human rights issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity within the context of the Universal Periodic Review. As the United Nations Secretary General reminded us in his address to this Council at its Special Sitting of 25 January 2011, the Universal Declaration guarantees all human beings their basic rights without exception, and when individuals are attacked, abused or imprisoned because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the international community has an obligation to respond;

5.       We welcome the positive developments on these issues in every region in recent years, such as the resolutions on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity adopted by consensus in each of the past three years by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, the initiative of the Asia-Pacific Forum on National Human Rights Institutions to integrate these issues within the work of national human rights institutions in the region, the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the increasing attention being paid to these issues by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and the many positive legislative and policy initiatives adopted by States at the national level in diverse regions;

6.       We note that the Human Rights Council must also play its part in accordance with its mandate to “promote universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without discrimination of any kind, and in a fair and equal manner” (GA 60/251, OP 2);

7.       We acknowledge that these are sensitive issues for many, including in our own societies. We affirm the importance of respectful dialogue, and trust that there is common ground in our shared recognition that no-one should face stigmatisation, violence or abuse on any ground.  In dealing with sensitive issues, the Council must be guided by the principles of universality and non-discrimination;

8.       We encourage the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to explore opportunities for outreach and constructive dialogue to enhance understanding and awareness of these issues within a human rights framework;

9.       We recognise our broader responsibility to end human rights violations against all those who are marginalised and take this opportunity to renew our commitment to addressing discrimination in all its forms;

10.  We call on States to take steps to end acts of violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, encourage Special Procedures, treaty bodies and other stakeholders to continue to integrate these issues within their relevant mandates, and urge the Council to address these important human rights issues.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Arthur Gasparyan (Archibaz): Armenian member of Kazaky - Ukrainian band that everyone talks about

Kazaky took the Internet by storm, instantly becoming the hottest band from Ukraine that everyone talks about. Good looking, fit guys, hot with stilettos... and from the post-Soviet country Ukraine. This is their winning combination. Adding unashamedly homoerotic nature of the choreography, no surprises they became hit project with big gay following. [Read: Kazaky in drag. Ukrainian "response to Lady Gaga" did it again ;)]

Among them... our very Armenian Arthur Gasparyan, nicknamed Archibaz.

No much details are available re bio of Kazaky band members, including Arthur. Here is info via formenya_lire (RU, thanks to A.N. for the link).
Артур Гаспарян - 100% арменин, родился 22 июня 1984 года в Ереване.
Артур окончил Академию Русского балета в Петербурге. Был солистом в Московском Академическом Театре классического балета Н.Касаткиной и В.Василова. С 2007 солировал в Национальной опере Украины им. Т.Шевченко. 2010 год - участник танцевального коллектива "Kazaky".
Below are pictures of Arthur and Kazaky via their Facebook page and official website.

Also, towards the end you may see their latest collaboration with Georgian fashion-designer BICHOLA at the Ukrainian Fashion Week (thanks to Lusine for the link). And appearance in music video clip by Lama - Тримай.

Enjoy ;)

***


Ida Kar - Armenian "bohemian photographer"- fashionista

She is described by The Guardian as “bohemian photographer who made history”. Works of Armenian photographer Ida Kar are currently on a high profile display at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Don't miss it if you can (until 19 June 2011).


Look at the glasses she wears on this picture I spotted at the exhibit. Very trendy by current standards too. Ida Kar, the fashionista, I'd say :)

Related on Unzipped:

YES! Armenian “bohemian photographer who made history” Ida Kar restrospective at the National Portrait Gallery in London

P.S. Ida Kar - Armenian "bohemian photographer" at National Portrait Gallery in London

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Sunday, 13 March 2011

English “pop iconoclast” Patrick Wolf uses “amazing Armenian duduk” in new song Armistice and fights “homophobic a**holes out there”

Patrick Wolf performs a heartfelt rendition of his new song Armistice live in The Guardian studio.

Says Patrick Wolf: “The other instrument I added in London was a duduk [...] which is an amazing Armenian traditional woodwind instrument.”



Extract from the interview with The Observer (13 March 2011):
Three years ago, after relationships with both men and women, he met William Charles Pollock, who works at BBC 6 Music, by chance, at a Christmas party. It was "love at first sight". Wolf was at a low ebb, after touring relentlessly and experiencing bouts of depression that led him to contemplate quitting the music industry altogether. His songs at the time reflected his state of mind – melancholic and aggressive, with tortured, complex lyrics – and his performance persona became increasingly outrageous as he took to the stage dripping in feathers and spray-painted silver. 
But now that Wolf is engaged to be married, he seems to have rediscovered a sense of simple optimism. His next single, "The City", has already been hailed by the website Digital Spy as "four of the most joyous minutes you'll have this year with your clothes on".
this is the happiest new years day and day of my life. william charles pollock has asked for my hand in marriage. finally. finally. my man x (31 December 2010, Twitter @_PATRICK_WOLF)

Below is a video of 2009: Patrick Wolf and Alec Empire play "Battle" live in London! A song about fighting homophobic a**holes out there! (11 March 2011, Twitter @ALEC_EMPIRE)

Monday, 7 March 2011

Homophobia Hall of Shame - “guest list” for British Council in Armenia?

UPDATE 29 April 2011: VO.X frontrunner Aram Rian has re-edited and replaced the controversial portion of the band’s "I Love Armenia" music video, by removing the reference to homosexuality as “perversion”. We have reached a mutual understanding with the group and consider this matter resolved as dialogue has taken place. We no longer have reason to believe either Aram Rian or VO.X is homophobic, and we wish them success in their future endeavors.
***
You may wonder, like I do, how British Council in Armenia (and British embassy in this particular case) chooses its collaborators, guests, sponsors...?

Who knew that they use my Homophobia Hall of Shame as their “guest list”?!... Wonder who will be the next...

LOVE, the cover


I know it's not very new, but could not help myself not capturing this when browsing through the magazines' section today. Kate Moss and transgender model Lea T in a passionate kiss that made the latest cover of LOVE magazine.

British Film Festival in Armenia launches on 8 March with homophobic VO.X band performing (Epress.am)

UPDATE 29 April 2011: VO.X frontrunner Aram Rian has re-edited and replaced the controversial portion of the band’s "I Love Armenia" music video, by removing the reference to homosexuality as “perversion”. We have reached a mutual understanding with the group and consider this matter resolved as dialogue has taken place. We no longer have reason to believe either Aram Rian or VO.X is homophobic, and we wish them success in their future endeavors.
***
via Epress.am:

The 9th British Film Festival will be held in Yerevan from Mar. 8–13, in Vanadzor from Mar. 10–12 and in and Kapan from Mar. 14–16. During the festival, which is supported by the British Council, the British Embassy in Armenia and BMI (British Midland International) airlines, 6 films will be presented: “Made in Dagenham”, “The Arbor”, “Pink Saris”, “Enemies of the People”, “Son of Babylon”, “Sus”.

“We are delighted to offer our audience all possible genres starting with comedy and psychological thriller to documentary drama with all variety of topics: music, social problems, family relations, and, of course, love,” according to the information on the British Council website.

The opening ceremony will take place on Mar. 8 at 4 pm in Moscow Cinema with opening remarks by UK Ambassador to Armenia Charles Lonsdale, British Council Armenia office Director Arevik Saribekyan and BMI Armenia branch Sales Manager Simon Avagyan. Armenian music band VO.X will be performing at the ceremony.

Recall, VO.X released a music video last year of their song “I Love Armenia” which suggested that being gay was a perversion and, along with pollution, the neglect of historical sites and so on, should be eliminated in Armenia. The images of a gay couple with a big red “X” on them and the word “perversion” next to it sparked outrage among gay Armenians and supporters. The group has since issued an “official disclaimer statement“; however, some consider the statement to be less than satisfactory.

The special guest of this year’s British Film Festival in Armenia will be Sarah Ross, who has a background in broadcasting, communications and events, and has worked with the likes of Channel 4, BBC, Amnesty International and the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation. She will be offering workshops and master classes in Yerevan, Vanadzor and Kapan during the festival.

The films will be screening at Moscow Cinema during the festival in the original English without subtitles at 5 pm and with Armenian subtitles at 7 pm. Entrance to all screenings is free. Click here to view the festival program.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Ricky Martin: 'You... Me... We are Equal...'

Not so much music-wise, but the video is great and had to be posted on my blog too. The messages it delivers.



Ricky Martin - The Best Thing About Me Is You

Major fail for Armenia in Eurovision. Emmy was robbed of her Eurovision song

It was a song selection night for Emmy, Armenia’s representative at Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Dusseldorf. Four songs were on offer. Song No. 1 “Hi” was too bad to even attempt at commenting on. Then it was “Boom-boom”. It truly was boom-boom. Nothing more. Nothing less. Boom-boom. "Goodbye" was relatively good but could be difficult for Eurovision considering the voice range it required and lack of uplifting catchy tunes.

AYO was the best song on offer. It was by far the best. It suited Emmy’s voice and style. It was a possible hit.

Ironically, with “Boom Boom”, Emmy got a song she didn’t even want. During one of her recent interviews, Emmy revealed that the song AYO by DerHova stood out as it was not written simply for the Eurovision. It was written for her, as it suited her style and voice. Yes, it did. This was the clearest possible message Emmy could put forward to her fans, public and jury re her preferences.

It was 50% public vote, 50% jury. I do not know, as of now, who were the judges but my understanding is that they voted for Boom-boom too. I was shocked, along with all of my friends who were following the selection process. I felt embarrassed. In fact, “embarrassment” is an understatement re Armenia Eurovision song selection. It was a major fail. What has happened to the taste of mainstream public voters and jury? Rhetorical question, I know...

I feel sorry for Emmy. She got robbed of her chance to perform the song she wanted.

This song (Boom-boom, yes?) is so bad that I wish we won’t get passed through to the final. Less people view the semi. Less embarrassment.

I was thinking of being present at Eurovision Song Contest this year in Dusseldorf. Not anymore. There is absof*ckinglutely no way that I would ever like to be associated with the song like “Boom-boom”. Even with the VIP tickets. Not only I will not be going to Germany, I will not go out to a Eurovision party in London too. I will feel too embarrassed for all the fun people will be making listening to Boom-boom. And I will feel sorry for Emmy. She does not deserve this.

I never thought I would say this (ever) re Armenia entry at Eurovision. What I will say now has nothing to do with Emmy. It has to do with the song. For the first time ever, I will not vote for Armenia. For the first time ever, I will not support Armenia’s entry for Eurovision.

There is this Facebook page set up WE don't want BOOM BOOM to Eurovision. I do not think it is possible to change the song after the selection is done. But if there is 1 in million chance to do so, Armenian organisers must.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

(RU) Russia PM Putin re "ПИДРов, ПИЗДЮНов и ГЕИев"

Priceless. Especially reply by Russia PM Putin :) You have to know Russian to get it. Re new abbreviations in police etc.

"Путин про ПИДРов, ПИЗДЮНов и ГЕИев"



*thanks to Lena for the link.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Post-Soviet states: "Liberals" and gays

Excellent blog post (RU) by Natalia Morari on Radio Liberty - Moldova. If you change "Moldova" to "Armenia", you will get an exact description of our "liberals" too... Well, at least many of them...

[Here is just one very recent example: Absurdistan. Prominent oppositionist in Armenia links emigration to... homosexuality There are more...]
***

Либералы и гомосексуалы 

03.03.2011
Natalia Morari

- Хотите в Европу?
- Дааа!!!!!
- Хотите европейские зарплаты?
- Даааааааа!!!!!
- Хотите свободно перемещаться по странам Евросоюза?
- Дааааааааааааа!!!!!
- Хотите хорошие дороги и полицию, которая не берет взяток?
- Дааааааааааааааааааа!!!!!
- Готовы соблюдать права человека?
- А как же!
- Права абсолютно всех граждан?
- Безусловно!
- Разрешите проведение гей-парада в этом году? Примите закон о дискриминации, в том числе сексуальных меньшинств?
- Эээ... А это обязательно? Понимаете, у нас выборы на носу – люди могут не понять...

Еврокомиссия требует от Молдовы принятия закона о дискриминации – это одно из условий либерализации визового режима. Молдова взялась условие выполнить, но тут и проявилась вся либеральность наших «либеральных» правителей. В коридорах власти проект закона уже получил неформальное название «закон о п...сах», и чиновники посмеиваются над тем, кто в итоге будет вынужден поставить свою подпись под проектом.

Наши либералы лишь до тех пор либералы, пока им это удобно и вписывается в их систему координат. Они прекрасно говорят об европейских ценностях и правах человека, но тут же притупляют взгляд и краснеют, когда кто-то вслух произносит слово «гей» или «лесбиянка». Они и за права женщин, и за права религиозных меньшинств, и за права инвалидов, но вот с гомосексуалами как-то неудобно получается: вроде бы и за их права надо выступать, так ведь никто не поймет. «Да и что я, не мужик, в конце концов? – думает новоиспеченный депутат. – Еще чего, этих п...сов продвигать».

Закон в итоге пройдет - европейцы настаивают. Но для любого молдавского чиновника от этого вообще ничего не изменится: гей так и останется «п...сом», а права гомосексуалистов - чем-то из области фантастики. Но ведь так любимая всеми Европа на этом и основывается: права человека означают права абсолютно каждого. Но ведь у нас на носу выборы – люди могут не понять...

P.S. Уже появились гражданские "активисты", которые собираются создавать черный список чиновников, поддерживающих закон о дискриминации (а значит и гомосексуалов, по их мнению). Вот из-за таких "активистов" и политиков мы еще долго будем ждать маршрутки Кишинев-Брюссель.

*Thanks to Beth for the link

VO.X “official disclaimer statement” re music video “I love Armenia”. Satisfactory? You decide

UPDATE 29 April 2011: VO.X frontrunner Aram Rian has re-edited and replaced the controversial portion of the band’s "I Love Armenia" music video, by removing the reference to homosexuality as “perversion”. We have reached a mutual understanding with the group and consider this matter resolved as dialogue has taken place. We no longer have reason to believe either Aram Rian or VO.X is homophobic, and we wish them success in their future endeavors.
***
On 2 March 2011, Armenian music band VO.X issued “official disclaimer statement” re their music video “I love Armenia”. To remind: when the video was released last year, it sparked outrage among gay and (many) straight Armenians, because of its pretty direct homophobic message, and calls to boycott the band.

You may read VO.X statement in full below. For now, I do not want to comment on it myself. I would let you to be the judges re: whether VO.X statement is satisfactory and whether it “settles the matter once and for all”?

Background to the story:

Homophobic music video by Armenian band VO.X disguised under "progressive ideas"

Armenian music band VO.X on PR defensive to 'justify' homophobia

(also related) Outrage as Armenia Fund Telethon promotes homophobia
***

OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER STATEMENT. RE: MUSIC VIDEO "I LOVE ARMENIA"
by VO.X

March 2nd, 2011
Yerevan, Armenia

To Whom It May Concern

I hereby state that, based on Biblical principles, I personally hold the belief that Christianity and homosexuality cannot be viewed as reconcilable phenomena (This approach was reflected within the context of my music video "I Love Armenia", which spoke of cherishing Christian values in traditional Christian Armenia).

Nonetheless, by no means does that imply that I have ever intended to promote homophobia or hate towards sexual minorities through my musical career.

According to a commonly known definition (also stated by Wikipedia), "the term 'homophobia' is often used inaccurately to describe any person who objects to homosexual behaviour on either moral, psychological or medical grounds. Technically, however, the term actually denotes a person who has a phobia – or irrational fear – of homosexuality. Principled disagreement, therefore, cannot be labeled 'homophobia'." My case is that of objection on moral grounds. Hence, I cannot be viewed as a homophobe, because, in fact, I am not.

Being a human rights defender by nature and generally a peaceful tolerant person with a pacifist world view, I would never deliberately offend or discriminate any person or a group of people. Nor would I ever cross the boundaries, set by the amount of freedom of speech and expression assigned to me as an individual.

Therefore, if it ever appeared that I was willingly offending a specific category of people through my musical activities, I can sincerely assure the persons concerned that I had never been driven by such a motive.

I sincerely regret that it all led to certain forms of misconception, I regret that people were offended by the above-mentioned video and I truly wish to settle the matter once and for all.

Aram Rian
songwriter, musician
(VO.X)