When I was in Peace Corps-Armenia in 1995 I was told by the then Minister of Health that safe sex and AIDS were not a problem in the country because, “Armenian blood is too pure,” and that any diseases currently in the country came from Turkey, Georgia or Glendale. It is curious to see that, 20 years later, little has changed. This article comes from eurasianet:
ARMENIA: PARLIAMENT DEBATES MAN-TO-MAN
Armenia’s busy parliament took a moment this week to address the “problem” of men kissing men – according to one MP, it is a concern for both the country and its national assembly. Neighboring Georgia was blamed for bringing the smooching whammy upon Armenia.
On the morning of February 23, male deputies filled Armenia’s parliamentary hall, exchanging handshakes and kisses – a popular form of affection between men, such as kissed greetings and walking with arms locked, customary in this otherwise macho neck of the woods.
But this time around the Deputy Speaker urged the high tribune to call upon Armenia to stop the man-to-man kisses.
“Do not do this!” he pled with his colleagues. Armenian men kiss everywhere these days, he pointed out – in parliament, the institutions of higher education, you name it.
“I forbade men in our party to kiss every day,” he said, then going so far as to say that it was the Georgians who taught Armenian men to kiss.
Perhaps thinking that the
Deputy Speaker was a little too hard on his colleagues, Aram Manukian of the opposition party interceded with a joke that kissing is fine so long as it is not the “kiss of Judas.” Another representative of the ruling Republican Party, Hovhannes Sahakian, chimed in to say that he, for one, trusts the men he kisses.
“Men kiss there all the time,”
the Deputy Speaker
informed the assembly.
Georgians, as this native Georgian blogger can confirm, do kiss indiscriminately, but the body of scientific research is scarce as to when and where the custom originated.
Armenia’s parliamentarians did not examine the topic further. They managed to move past their debate on philematology, and finally elected as ombudsman, Deputy Justice Minister, Arman Tatoian.
Chances are that just this time no one congratulated him with a kiss.