Armenian teachers and police are cracking down on students who subscribe to the “emo” subculture. The term “emo” is short for “emotional” and refers to people who listen to soft, melodic punk music that emphasizes unhappiness in the lyrics. Emos dress similarly to punk rockers, making them easily identifiable. Although there is no law banning emos, the chief of police in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, said that the presence of emos could “damage our gene pool.” He said his officers are interrogating young people to protect their safety, adding that two teenagers who committed suicide recently were thought to have been emos. A local human rights activist told AFP that the police force’s behaviour is similar to a Communist-era witch-hunt. “It is like the repression in Soviet times, when law enforcement agencies were chasing hippies, punks and rockers—all those who refused to live within society’s limits and be like everyone else,” said Mikael Danielian, chairman of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia.
Jason Rogers (photo)