Students’ Right To Strike And To Attend Classes


February 27 2013

I am asked what I think of the intention of a group of students to
go on a strike; I will try to formulate my approach again. If 10,
100 or 1000 students wish to participate in a political or civic
process, it is normal; it is even praiseworthy. They protest against
the officially announced results of the election, the quality of
education, the corruption and low intellectual level of professors,
their backwardness, ignorance; it is their right to protest against
that, organize peaceful demonstrations in any place provided for
by the law. If they want to do that during classes, there shouldn’t
be any problem either; we have a credit system – or at least should
have – and it is not necessary for you to attend classes, if you pass
the exam, you will get your grade, if not, farewell. The rectors and
deans who, opposing the law and rationality, try to prevent the youth
from taking that action, lock the students inside universities etc.,
explaining that political activities are forbidden in universities,
should be concerned about those issues when they are ordered from above
to ensure “heads” at the government’s events, which they do through
the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) “Komsomols” in formalwear,
the so-called student councils. However, if one cannot force a man to
go to the government’s events, then one cannot burden students with
the opposition activities either. Guess, X group of students wants
to organize a rally or a marsh. It is very good, a green light to
them. However, that group doesn’t have the right to blackmail Y group
of students who want to attend classes that those who stay are sold out
to the government, don’t want to struggle for just Armenia and are for
rigging elections. Besides, such blackmail smells like Bolshevism; it
can cause an opposite reaction and stir up tension between students. No
one has proved that the student who goes to a rally after classes is a
worse citizen than those who go to it at the expense of classes. Or
the one who shouts loudly at a rally struggles for justice more
ardently than the one who stands in silence. In a nutshell, people
should be given a right to freely choose without putting them under
moral pressure. That pressure is usually explained by the fact that
“we should struggle jointly,” “my fellow Armenians…” etc. All that
certainly sounds nice, but “jointly” in the everyday language means
“as I wish,” as a rule. Only the Constitution and the Law are the
same for everyone. The rest can differ.


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From: A. Papazian

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