BEIRUT (A.W.)—The Executive Director of the Tufenkian Foundation Raffi Doudaklian and a colleague were beaten by unknown assailants in Beirut’s heavily Armenian-populated Bourj Hammoud District on Feb. 26.
News about the attack began surfacing on social media over the weekend. According to sources, the attack took place in the parking lot of the Shaghzoyan Cultural Center in the heart of Bourj Hammoud. Following the beating, Doudaklian was hospitalized in Beirut with several head and eye injuries and broken facial bones.
Many have speculated that Doudaklian’s writings—which are often critical of the establishment authorities of the Republic of Armenia—may have motivated the attackers. His “Namak Yerkren” (“Letter From the Country”) column has appeared in several publications in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora over the years.
Several individuals and organizations—including Canadian-Armenian actress Arsinee Khanjian, Artsakh Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan, and the Armenian Bar Association—have voiced their support for Doudaklian and have condemned the attack.
“Those who find it necessary to order violence against the likes of a Raffi Doudaklian should venture beyond the narrow alleys of Beirut’s historically Armenian quarters to find real enemies,” read a statement published by the Armenian Bar Association.
Originally from Ainjar, Lebanon, Doudakian has been an active member of Armenian communities around the world. He worked on the editorial staffs of Beirut’s Aztag and Los Angeles’ Asbarez newspapers. Prior to moving to Armenia with his family, Doudaklian served as the principal of the ARS Armenian Private School of Toronto for five years, during which, the school was expanded to a secondary school (preschool-12th grade). From 2008-2016, he served as the Armenia Country Director for Mission East—a Danish development organization, which aids vulnerable populations. He was appointed Executive Director of the Tufenkian Foundation in May 2016.