Here are the stories of some Armenians (Hay, in Armenian) whose lives have been changed by the war in Syria and Iraq. Some of these stories are sad. Others are not. Through these portraits, I will attempt to explain what is happening in this region.
Why Armenian stories? First of all, because of my passion for the Armenians: I am hosting five in my house and even suspect our cat, Gadou, of being Armenian, given that he is a fan of Lahmajun and of (sharpening his claws on) the rug. Also, because the way I see it, through the history of the Armenians, you grow to better understand the history of the region, and even (why be modest?) the whole of human history.
The Armenians were the first Christian people group. In the West; Mesopotamia, the Ottoman Empire, then Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, it’s a nation with close ties to the Arab and Muslim world. A nation which has known the suffering of genocide, exile, integration and, sometimes, the renewal of prosperity. As a result of the countries they chose or which imposed themselves on them, the Armenians have lived under democracies and dictatorships, been in positions of power or outside of them, known times of war and peace, but have almost always preserved their very strong sense of identity.
In the East, the Armenians lived under the Tsars, experienced 75 years of communism and currently live in a pseudo-self-sufficient political and economic state. For the Romantics amongst us, note that these days, as happened after the genocide of 1915 (when certain Armenians from Turkey fled to pre-Bolshevik Russia as refugees), Armenians are leaving war-torn Syria for Armenia, in the midst of an economic crisis. In this way, Armenians from the East and West are reunited once again.
In short, this text should provide an Armenian key for an understanding of religions, wars, genocides, Christianity, the question of identity, war, tolerance and peace. What could be more simple?
If you have an Armenian story, a true one, yours or that of someone else, send it to us and I’ll share it. In the meantime, here are some others, to read and share.
Thank you. And enjoy the read.