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

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Matthew Vernon Whalan
Obama’s Legacy
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Christopher Brauchli
Parallel Lives: Trump and Temer
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail