“Let them take him to the Omar mountain pass: there’s nothing there – no trees, no grass, no people,” members of the Public Council under the Armenian Ministry of Defence joked as they discussed on Monday Elmira Vozinyan’s appeal to exempt her allergic son, Emil Arakelyan, from military service.
According to the parents, their 18-year-old son’s plants allergy worsens in the spring, summer and autumn: “He begins to suffocate if he does not get medication. He needs to be given medication immediately, otherwise he won’t able to breathe.” An allergist has told the family that the young man’s illness “is a ticking time bomb.” Medical documents, meanwhile, state that he is allergic, in particular, to rye and pollen.
Parents, however, have to prove that their son suffers from systemic allergic reactions in order for the Council to consider exempting him from the army. Officials at the Arabkir enlistment office have told the family that the young man was deemed fit for service since he had last been taken to a hospital 1.5 years ago. “No one had told be this was a necessity; we mainly treat him at home,” the father says.
Public Council Head Gegham Harutyunyan demanded that the parents present a document which would state that their son has been having episodes at least three times per months.
Council member: Give us a chance to see that your son does in fact suffer from acute urticaria.
Arakelyan’s father: But there’s no pollen or wheat in December; how could he possibly have a reaction now?
The parents requested that the Council wait at least until spring and then examine their son for the allergic reactions.
Council member: It’s not like he had three severe episodes in May.
Arakelyan’s father: Why would he have one if he takes his medication in time? Should I be throwing my son into the grass three times a months to prove to you that he is sick? I never take him out of the city.
Council member: Don’t throw him into the grass. Nothing is worth risking your child’s life for.
Arakelyan’s mother: Of course, it’s our fault: we should have taken him to the hospital instead of giving him his medication in time.
Council member: You should have recorded the episodes more often. Bring us documents that would prove he has been having at least 3 episodes a month.
Another Council member then suggest that it would probably be for the best that he is in fact taken to the army: “He’d get registered in the infirmary. and if he has several attacks a month, he might probably be exempted from service.”
Arakelyan’s father: My son will not be taken to the army; I’d rather he is imprisoned.
The father has decided to take the issue to court, where he is convinced he’ll win the case. “Don’t tell them another word! Don’t you see from their faces that they’ve been given an order to take everyone and all to the army!” he cautioned his wife before leaving the hearing room. Our correspondent tried to get a comment from the father, but he declined the request, saying: “I no longer trust anyone.”