Yesterday Hetq Online printed a disturbing, even perplexing report of trees being cut in Tsitsernakaberd Park, not far from the Genocide Memorial. Several lamps that light the walkways there were smashed as well.
Here’s the full report:
“I saw the smashed street lamps. When I looked hard, I realized that next to each smashed street lamp there are stumps of newly cut down trees.” This alert was raised by Tigran Mangasaryan, the publisher of National Geographic Traveler in Armenia.
He spends each morning in Tsitsernakaberd with his friends. For the past few days he paid attention to the smashed lamps along the street leading to the Genocide Memorial. “I saw dozens of stumps along the road and a small fire trampled under feet, nothing else, neither branches, nor chips, nor sawdust, nothing. I got the impression that somebody cut down the trees, took them away under cloud of night without leaving any traces. That’s why all the lamps are smashed,” Tigran Mangasaryan said.
The photos taken by Tigran Mangasaryan distinctly display all the traces of this crime. This material is simultaneously an alert for the RoA Ministry of Nature Protection . We think that the Ministry of Nature Protection represented by the State Environmental Inspectorate must examine this case and take proper measures.
Why are such things still happening? During the “dark and cold years” of the early 1990s while war was being raged in Nagorno-Karabagh and Armenians were contending with an energy blockade, people were burning whatever they could find to keep warm during record-breaking frigid winters. That included trash, plastic bags, books, rubber soles, and of course, freshly cut wood from parks and the forest on the Nork-Marash hill, which no longer exists.
It was regrettable that the trees were cut, and Yerevan citizens are still paying for their deeds today by living in a dusty city void of any decent parks containing no cafes and illegal structures. Yet gas lines supply residential buildings all over the city now. It took a while but now there is no part of Yerevan–unless I am mistaken–where such lines have not been installed so that residents can install relatively affordable, natural gas-burning heaters imported from Iran.
Let’s say for instance that drifters or homeless people were responsible. If they were, they would also have some kind of semi-permanent shelter in the park, where there’s plenty of areas to take refuge. That means there would probably be someone hiding in the brush there who was responsible. But the article doesn’t mention that there were signs of such a scenario.
Second of all, that area is well-lit during the evenings, since they installed bright, modern street lamps nearby the Kievyan Bridge and Halabyan Street, so it would be difficult to notice someone who wasn’t dragging away trees, even during the evening with taxis and other vehicles racing around. Even if those responsible descended the other way down the hill near the Hrazdan Stadium they would have most certainly been seen. So whoever did this was either very lucky to have not been caught red handed or probably just lit a bonfire in the park. But if that was the case, why weren’t the smoke and flames detected, and how did they manage to control the fire so that the forest didn’t burn?
I don’t know if anyone in city hall or the police department is actually bothering to ask these questions or if this incident will ever be resolved. But I have a hard time believing that the culprits are very elusive.