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Film Screened at Second Anniversary of Bombing of Gay-Friendly Bar in Armenia

The bombing of gay-friendly bar DIY in central Yerevan and the subsequent criminal proceedings are in the past, but adequate legal or political assessment of the crime was not made. This opinion was expressed by participants of a discussion organized by Public Information Need of Knowledge (PINK Armenia) NGO, who had gathered on the second anniversary of the bombing, May 8, to watch a documentary film about DIY and evaluate the situation two years after the incident. 

The documentary, "DIY – The White Freedom," made by Liza Sargsyan, Antoine Janot, Nanor Petrossian, Lala Aslikyan, and Agathe Lepoutre, includes clips from Armenian television preceding and following the bombing that contain hate propaganda, as well as interviews with those who justify and those who condemn the terrorist act.

Agathe Lepoutre, in conversation with Epress.am, said she tried to help Armenia with this film. "We conducted interviews on the street, and the subject angered some people. The film could've been shot also by a local, but it was safer for us — we weren't citizens of the Republic of Armenia and we couldn't be blamed for undermining nationalism," she said. 

Lepoutre, visiting DIY, saw the fascist insignia painted on the walls. While other artists were silently monitoring what had been done, Lepoutre took some white paint and painted over the insignia. This is how the name of the film came to be "White Freedom".

Participants of the discussion following the film screening on Thursday remarked that the court did not provide adequate punishment for the young men who bombed DIY. Recall, brothers Arameh and Hambik Khabazyan were sentenced to 1 year and 7 months’ provisional imprisonment and 2 years’ probation and then granted amnesty and released. 

Discussion participants recalled another incident that was another clear example of discrimination and harassment of LGBT people and their supporters, which occurred on May 21, less than 2 weeks after the DIY bombing. During a Diversity March against intolerance, a group of people attacked marchers and journalists. Discussion participants concluded that homophobia and fascism still exist and proposed organizing a series of meetings, discussions, and awareness events over the 14-day-period of May 8 to May 21.