Armenian Authorities Cracking Down On Emo Music

Police chief claims that musical genre can 'distort our gene pool'

December 10, 2010 5:00 PM ET
Young Armenians watch a performance from the Rock stage at the Fête de la Musique in Yerevan, Republic of Armenia.
Young Armenians watch a performance from the Rock stage at the Fête de la Musique in Yerevan, Republic of Armenia.
Photograph by Onnik Krikorian/oneworld.blogsome.com

Authorities in the Armenian capital of Yerevan are reportedly putting pressure on young fans of the punk subculture emo, claiming that the music undermines social stability and that its emotionally wrenching content is causing teenagers to become suicidal.

Students are claiming that the police are conducting wardrobe checks in schools and looking for torn jeans, body piercings and black gloves, as well as any clothing in the "emo colors" of pink and black. One told EurasiaNet.org that a rumor is going around that people who look like fans of rock music are being "closely watched"; it's a common tale of a subculture being targeted because of its unconventional look. (A 2009 piece on emo in Yerevan noted that there were between 20 and 25 teenage emos in Armenia at the time.) In 2010, 13 of the 38 teenage suicide attempts across the country were successful, and only two of the teens involved are thought to have had any association with the emo subculture.

Rolling Stone's Top 30 Albums Of 2010

"I do not like emos, in fact. I absolutely don't like them. I do not understand or accept them," Armenian Chief of Police Alik Sargsian said in an interview with a local newspaper earlier this month, as quoted by EurasiaNet. He also called them "dangerous" and said that they could "distort our gene pool."

Another young emo said, "No one is forcing us; the thing is that our members are emotional and there have been cases when they attempted suicide. However, it's not like it is a mass phenomenon."

In 2008, young fans of emo were under attack in both Mexico and Chile, although the antagonism came mainly from peers — not the authorities. In Mexico, the subculture was a popular target of fans of punk and rockabilly, and spurred on in part by the local on-air personality Kristoff, who would frequently go on rants against "emos." In Chile, where emo fans were referred to as PokEMOnes, skinheads attacked the fans.

Armenia: Yerevan Police Says Emo Music Threatens Country's "Gene Pool" [EurasiaNet.org]

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

More Song Stories entries »