FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Syria: an Armenian Story

by REEM HADDAD

She had lost a lot of weight and her eyes had a haunted look about them. She had lost her house and everything in it. In that she was like many Syrians, who had suffered the same fate. Her house was in Jobar ( one of the hot spots of Damascus countryside) and in the beginning she had seen the armed men a street away from her house brazenly walking around brandishing guns. She had informed the checkpoint also around the corner of her house, but they told her it wasn’t their business to interfere! When a bullet just missed her brother , who was standing in his bedroom, they decided to leave the house until the area was a bit safer. At that point she never thought that she wouldn’t sleep another night in her house.

Days later a soldier from the same checkpoint called her to tell her that armed men had entered her house and robbed it ! They had stolen everything worth stealing. The accumulation of years of toil and hard work. The house it seemed was lost even though the Syrian army helped her retain some of her belongings. A fortnight later she heard that  her house was being used  as headquarters. Now nothing remains of what was – no memories, no comfort and no place to call home.

What makes this story particularly poignant is that the ancestors of this women in question had fled to Syria seeking sanctuary. They had been pursued and massacred by the Turks and had walked for endless days over mountainous terrain until they reached Syrian soil. Syria opened its arms wide for them and they were accepted and indeed became an integral part of the Syrian mosaic.

They are the Armenians of Syria and the women in question is Yerado Krikorian, a Syrian of Armenian origin, who works for Syrian Arab Television. The Armenians had long suffered under Ottoman rule and it was because of the Armenian massacre, systematically denied by Turkey, that the Armenians fled to neighboring Syria.

The many Armenians who live in Syria, live in close knit societies. They are known to be hard working and professional and they all carry the scars of what happened to them by the Turks deep inside. Another Armenian – Syrian Armenian – Jack, who was a university professor at Damascus University, was never taught his language by his father, for fear that his language, Armenian, would awaken national pride in him and possibly a thirst for revenge. The scars left by the Turks ran too deep for Jack’s father to take such a gamble.

And now the Armenians find themselves in a similar situation having to flee from the country that has long hosted and loved them. Targeted by armed groups some have little choice but to escape to Armenia. They do so with heavy heart and all our hopeful that they will return to Syria and soon – to the extent that the Armenian government has made an exception for those Armenian children fleeing from the armed groups in Syria and has allowed them to study the Syrian curriculum in Armenian schools. They carried their Syrian textbooks from Syria to Armenia so desperate are they not to fall behind in their school schedule when they return to Syria. There is no “ if “ here – for they want to return.

Hopefully , they will return and return soon to enrich once again the Syrian mosaic and who knows, perhaps Yerado too, one day will return to her house in Jobar with its blackened walls and its shattered windows! And Jack also, will feel safe enough as the shadow of menacing Turkey diminishes, to teach his children Armenian.

Reem Haddad can be reached at reem.haddad@gmail.com

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 23, 2017
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
Gerry Condon
In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard
Weekend Edition
May 19, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Getting Assange: the Untold Story
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Secret Sharer
Charles Pierson
Trump’s First Hundred Days of War Crimes
Paul Street
How Russia Became “Our Adversary” Again
Andrew Levine
Legitimation Crises
Mike Whitney
Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State 
Robert Hunziker
Early-Stage Antarctica Death Rattle Sparks NY Times Journalists Trip
Ken Levy
Why – How – Do They Still Love Trump?
Bruce E. Levine
“Hegemony How-To”: Rethinking Activism and Embracing Power
Robert Fisk
The Real Aim of Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia
Christiane Saliba
Slavery Now: Migrant Labor in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Chris Gilbert
The Chávez Hypothesis: Vicissitudes of a Strategic Project
Howard Lisnoff
Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain
Brian Cloughley
Propaganda Feeds Fear and Loathing
Stephen Cooper
Is Alabama Hiding Evidence It Tortured Two of Its Citizens?
Sheldon Richman
The Real Danger From Trump is Ignored
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail