Today was Sunday, and one of the few Sundays in a long time where I allowed myself to stay in, read, lounge and otherwise take it easy.
I recently purchased the little 64-page booklet that contains the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia (yes, I know you can read it online AND even get an English-translated version, but I wanted to hold the stapled pieces of paper in my hands and read the original Armenian).
And I found a few rather interesting tidbits: For example, did you know that prisoners can’t vote or be elected (Article 30)? Perhaps I can understand why they can’t be elected, but why can’t they vote?
- “Adult capable persons are obliged to take care of their parents who are incapacitated and in need of such care” (Article 36). Note the word obliged. Adult children have an obligation to take care of their parents.
- The vaguness of Article 8: “The church shall be separate from the state in the Republic of Armenia” and yet “The Republic of Armenia recognizes the exclusive historical mission of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church as a national church, in the spiritual life, development of the national culture and preservation of the national identity of the people of Armenia.” No comment.
Some parts were just too funny (or too sad, depending on how you look at it):
- Article 27: “The state shall guarantee the existence and activities of an independent and public radio and television service offering a variety of informational, cultural and entertaining programs.” Independent? A “variety of informational, cultural and entertaining programs”? I guess I just have different definitions of “independent” and “variety” (and I haven’t even touched upon the other aspects of Article 27 which “guarantees” freedom of expression).
- Article 32: “Everyone shall have the right to fair remuneration in the amount no less than the minimum set by the law, as well as the right to working conditions in compliance with the safety and hygiene requirements.” Ha!
- Article 33: “Abuse of monopoly or dominant position in the market and bad-faith competition shall be prohibited.” Can we say monopoly on sugar, anyone? (And that’s just one example.)
- Article 45: “Everyone shall be obliged to pay taxes, duties and other compulsory fees in conformity with the procedure prescribed by the law.” Again I say ha!
However, in all of this, what really stood out for me was Article 35: “The family is the natural and fundamental cell of the society.” Note, the family — not the individual, the family. (Also connected to this point: Article 48: “The basic tasks of the state in the economic, social and cultural spheres are to protect and patronage the family, the motherhood and the childhood.” Italics mine.)
I confess, this explained a lot.
And this was only Chapter 2! I confess, I haven’t read the entire Constitution yet, but after Chapter 2 (“Fundamental Human and Civil Rights and Freedoms”), I needed a break.
So I decided to do a little baking of my own.
And here’s what I came up with: oatmeal cookies with walnuts and mixed dried fruit (apricots, cherries, apples — all local, and all prepared by my partner’s mom). Delicious!