Sunday, October 24, 2004

Last week there was a story on about Joshua Haglund’s family who visited Armenia looking for answers to Josh’s murder.

For those that don’t remember, Joshua Haglund was stabbed to death May 17 near his Yerevan apartment.

Joshua Haglund arrived in Armenia in September, 2003 as part of a United States State Department program. He was a teacher at Brusov State Linguistics University and was scheduled to leave Armenia later in the week in which he was killed.

He was gay, and many here have speculated that Joshua Haglund’s death was a “hate crime” in a society of low-tolerance for “alternative lifestyles”.

The picture which appeared with the story made me remember of an unusual scene in Armenia that I witnessed.

I had gone to the park between the Opera and the Music Conservatory to observe from a distance the May 14th demonstration at the manuscript library and see what was going on around it in terms of police intervention.

As I was sitting in the park watching the red hat forces gather and their commanders sitting at the café in the park waiting for something to happen, I noticed a couple who were walking hand in hand.

The couple was not the usual couple you see in Armenia. It is not unusual to see men arm in arm, but this couple were not arm in arm, but holding hands, one dragging the other along, both were giggling.

For someone who grew up in California and having been to West Hollywood quite a few times, this couple resembled those I’ve seen there.

They walked into the park at around 5:22pm (I took a picture of the demonstrating crowd that just passed before they entered the park, which recorded the time). They sat at the bench next to the bench I was sitting at and they were looking at me.

Though I was busy looking in the direction of the demonstration, I did notice that the red hat forces had taken notice of the couple, who while sitting were still holding hands.

After about 5 minutes, the couple got up, again holding hands, with the larger of the two of them leading on the other almost in a dragging fashion. They walked off disappeared.

When the recent ArmeniaNow story appeared, the picture of Josh Haglund’s brother on the left (wearing a mustard color shirt), looked very much like the larger man I saw in the park who was leading by the hand what I would say could have been a native.

Could I have seen Josh 3 days before he was killed? If it was, he sure did make a scene in the park with lots of red hat police around.

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