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Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Armenians in Syria

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ALEPPO, Syria (A.W.)—Two suicide car bombs targeting Syrian regional military and security headquarters shook Aleppo on Feb. 10, claiming 28 victims, among them army conscript Viken Hairabedian. The explosion was one of the worst instances of violence to hit the country since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al Assad began in March 2011. Hairabedian’s death shocked the Syrian-Armenian community, which has thus far maintained an official line of neutrality, although unofficially many support the Assad government. As the most recent attack demonstrated, violence is moving closer to major cities like Aleppo and Damascus where thousands of Armenians call home.

Viken Hairabedian's funeral in Aleppo

The Armenian Weekly reached out to Syrian-Armenians to shed light on the challenges facing Syrian Christians, in general, and Armenians, specifically.

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Syrian-Armenians want to be optimistic about the community’s future. “We always hear the sound of explosions and tank shells, but we are safe—at least for now,” said one activist, who spoke with the Weekly on condition of anonymity.

The Armenian community—and, in general, the Syrian Christian community that makes up roughly 8-10 percent of the population—is weary of the uncertain future. “They are facing a new phase. Armenians, like all minorities in the country, are vulnerable and fear a collapse of the security structures in Syria,” Nora Arissian, a historian and lecturer at Damascus University, told the Weekly.

Fr. Karekin Bedourian, who traveled to Syria in November 2011, observed how lives had been put on hold and a general atmosphere of fear dominated every activity. “We could not travel from city to city without concern for our safety. The rebels were everywhere. They were even persecuting those who were not joining them and participating in the protests,” he said.

“In the past, we used to travel at night throughout the country without any fear, even in cities considered fanatically Islamic. Now, people are afraid to come out in their own cities,” he added.

Originally from Kessab, Syria, Fr. Bedourian recently moved to North Andover, Mass., where he is the pastor of St. Gregory Armenian Church.

The insecurity Bedourian describes hit closer to home for Armenians about a week before Hairabedian’s death, when another young Armenian man, Kevork Chubukchian, was abducted in Aleppo. His kidnappers have demanded a large sum of money for his release.

Chubukchian “was targeted perhaps not for his identity, but most likely for his wealth,” said a Syrian Armenian from Aleppo (hereafter referred to as T.N.). The blame cannot rest squarely on the shoulders of the opposition, he explained, as the Syrian government is ultimately responsible for the security in the country. “The government is not only failing to do its job, but it is also killing civilians,” he said, and accused authorities of freeing criminals under the guise of “general amnesty for political prisoners,” while, in reality, most political prisoners remain behind bars.

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“The regime thinks that when the level of fear rises, the demand for security will overshadow the demand for freedom,” T.N. said.

Fr. Bedourian, however, lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of the opposition. The rebels do not comprehend the true meaning of freedom and patriotism, he said, and instead choose to act as pawns in the hands of foreign governments, and take arms against their own.

A neutral course

Despite high tensions and increasing violence, the Syrian-Armenian community strives to navigate a neutral course. It has refrained from taking an official and public position, although members continuously voice their willingness to stand by the government—regardless of who holds power—for the sake of peace and stability, said T.N.

Historian Ara Sanjian believes there is nothing the Syrian Armenians can do in this internal conflict. “They only need to save their heads, and hope that the lightning won’t strike them too hard,” he told the Weekly.

“The community does not have faith in the alternative, and thus it is attached to this regime—especially because they have the example of Iraq right in front of their eyes. Saddam was a ruthless dictator, but he kept certain elements—especially religious extremist—in his country in check. Now, they’ve been let loose, and the violence is widespread,” said Sanjian, adding that as a result, half of Iraq’s Christian population has fled and will most likely never return. The Americans did not anticipate some of the consequences when they decided to invade the country in 2003, he said. “Now there is an attempt to establish some sort of American-style freedom… but in the process a centuries-old Christian culture in the country is being erased.”

What happened to Iraq’s Christians is in Assad’s favor, Sanjian explained, because Syrians see what happened post-Saddam. “They prefer to put up with the current regime and enjoy social freedoms, rather than turn into another Iraq. Those freedoms may disappear tomorrow if the Muslim Brotherhood or other hard-line Sunni Muslim groups come to power.”

In fact, according to T.N., some Syrian Armenians have vocalized their support for Assad by taking to the streets in pro-government rallies, while a few are working for the Syrian intelligence service, reporting on the activities of fellow Armenians.

Members of the Syrian-Armenian community would face a heavy-handed response if they were to veer off course, and voice support for the opposition: Dissenters would be labeled “traitors” and fall victim to a “witch hunt,” he said.

T.N. believes the path of neutrality is the wisest choice. “Any wrong step could cost innocent lives now or in the future. We must have the Lebanese-Armenian community as an example during that country’s 15 years of civil

Mourners carry Hairabedian's coffin

war. If you can stay neutral, that is the best option. If you can’t, try to put your eggs in more than one basket.”

Yet, some Armenians in the community have joined the opposition. A Syrian Armenian activist from Raqqa, 27-year-old Jimmy Shahinian, was imprisoned by authorities after he was accused of being part of the opposition. Shahinian was freed on Dec. 19.

The question of how much support the opposition enjoys is a contentious one among the Syrian-Armenians interviewed for this piece, as many believe the majority of Syrians are too fearful to voice their position.

While T.N. asserts the rebels enjoy the sympathy and support of broad segments of the public, another activist, who wished to remain anonymous, said the real numbers of opposition supporters are unknown, since many avoid speaking out. “Perhaps 20 percent of Syrians are openly opposed to the system,” she said. “An equal proportion are supporters of the regime, and the rest of us are afraid to express our views.”

“You should know that the website of the Armenian Weekly will be closed in Syria if you write anything against the system or the Mukhabarat [the Syrian intelligence service] in your article,” she added.

Revolution or reform

Arissian, who is a member of the Arab Writers’ Union, thinks the uprisings stemmed from corruption and economic hardships affecting a segment of Syrian society. Assad responded to the initial discontent by signing new laws and assembling a committee tasked with rewriting the Syrian Constitution. “These reforms would transfer Syria into a multi-party political system,” she said.

Unlike Arissian, Sanjian is skeptical about any real reform taking root in Syria. Although he believes that Assad may be more generous in guaranteeing social freedoms for the country’s inhabitants than a successor regime—likely to be dominated by hard-line Sunni Islamists—he is unhappy with the way the issue of reform has been tackled by the government so far.

The Syrian government and its security agencies have long infiltrated every aspect of Syrian society. Since the uprisings began, the government has been on the offensive, accusing rebels of being foreign agents. “I still don’t have much faith in the proposed reforms because there have not been many practical steps, or even a widely publicized national debate on the matter,” Sanjian said.

For T.N., what is happening is no less than a full-blown revolution, and it is a breakthrough for a public used to the watchful eye of the secret intelligence services. “It broke the wall of fear and silence, and people started to talk about taboos,” he said.

Foreign intervention

Regardless of their position, most Syrian-Armenians seem apprehensive of foreign intervention, believing that Syrians’ interests do not factor prominently in the calculations of foreign governments.

Specifically, Turkey’s role in supporting the opposition is a cause for concern for many Syrian-Armenians. “Turkey is creating problems,” said Fr. Bedourian, adding that he distrusts the Turkish position and believes there is an element of “evil” in Turkey’s policies towards Syria. During his visit to the country in November, Fr. Bedourian frequently heard news and anecdotes about Syrian citizens who trained in Turkey for months before returning to Syria and joining the opposition. Some of those were apprehended by Syrian authorities, he said.

Syrian opposition members have formed a semi-official government in exile, the Syrian National Council (SNC), headquartered in Istanbul. The SNC is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, as well as other dissident groups and individuals.

“There was some talk that when [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov visited Syria a few days ago, the Syrians sent back with him to Turkey over 40 Turkish operatives they had arrested in recent weeks. If this is true, what is also significant is that the Syrian government did not make much fuss about it,” said Sanjian. Lavrov’s visit to Syria on Feb. 7 came days after Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution supporting an Arab plan to urge Assad to step down.

According to Sanjian, Turkey, having gained confidence from its significant economic growth in recent years, is trying to find a shoe that fits. “Turkey is acting like a fresh college graduate without a job, sending resumes everywhere. We don’t know who will ultimately accept her for a full-time job, which will determine Turkey’s future course in international affairs. Her resume has not gotten so far a response from the Europeans, and that is why she is also knocking at other doors,” he said.

Arissian, too, is skeptical of foreign intervention, which she considers driven by narrow interests. Turkey is merely using the unrest in Syria to advance its influence in the region, she said.

Fr. Bedourian thinks “outside intervention led Syria to this unfortunate situation. Here, in the U.S., the concept [of freedom] is different and they want to see the same type of freedom in Syria, which I think is currently impossible [to achieve].”

Rescue workers at the scene of the Aleppo security compound bombing. (Photo by EPA)

“I agree that Syria needs a lot of changes and reforms…but not this way,” he added. “Every country needs reforms, changes, and improvements—even first-world countries—but no one has the right to sow the seeds of hatred and destruction in the country where they live and work. The world must leave Syria and its people alone to solve their own problems.”

According to Sanjian, the U.S. is pursuing its own, as well as Israel’s, interests in the region. “There’s the issue of Israel finally relaxing; for that to happen, Iran must weaken, Hezbollah must weaken. These things are more important to the U.S., and if they can evoke the cause of democracy in the process, that’s a bonus for them in public diplomacy. The West, they say, wants democracy. Well, if that is its major objective, why don’t they want the same in Bahrain?”

“The majority of the population in Bahrain is Shiite, hence believed to be close to Iran. The Bahraini king, who is Sunni, crushed the rebellion with direct Saudi assistance. In Syria, the situation is the reverse: The minority Alawi community dominates the country’s politics and has been close to Iran. Most of the regime’s opponents come from the majority Sunni community in the country,” Sanjian explained.

Muslim Brotherhood: a threat?

Many observers fear that if the Assad government falls, its replacement will be much more authoritarian. “Many voices warn that the Arab Spring will lead to an Islamic winter,” said Arissian.

According to Sanjian, the Muslim Brotherhood is the only organized opposition in Syria. “If this regime falls, and Syria remains intact, it is the most likely force that will gain control, similar to what happened in Egypt,” he said. “The rest of the opposition leaders who are sitting in France and Istanbul say a lot of things that are palatable for Western media, but on the ground, I don’t think they hold any real power, or that they can score substantial gains during any hypothetical post-Assad elections. We saw an example of that in Egypt.”

The electability of the Muslim Brotherhood lies in the fact that the majority of the population has little education and would be moved by religious rhetoric, argued Sanjian, who takes the possibility of a Sunni Islamic belt forming in the Middle East seriously. “In Tunisia the Sunni Islamists are already in power. Libya will likely fall to them as well. The Muslim Brotherhood is now the largest party in Egypt. Hamas in Palestine is a local version of the Muslim Brotherhood; Syria—and, if it falls, then the Jordanian Parliament, too—will probably be taken over by the local Brotherhood branch. And finally, there’s Turkey, where the ruling party is another version of the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said.

But there is no guarantee that these forces will cooperate after gaining power in their respective countries, he said, and it is probable that they may form rivalries. “For instance, there will possibly be a struggle to decide which foreign capital will control any post-Assad Syrian government. Will it be under Ankara’s thumb? Riyadh’s? Or Cairo’s?”

More than posing a threat to Christians, there is a greater chance of the Muslim Brotherhood repressing Syria’s Alawis, whom they consider heretics. If the central power structure collapses, there is even a chance of the Alawis, Druzes, and Kurds seeking control over certain regions, according to Sanjian.

T.N., however, argues that it is unlikely that fundamental Islamists will come to power, or suppress minorities. Armenians, he said, believe that the only alternative to the Assad regime is fundamental Islam, and that is false. “Even if Islamists win, the possibility of targeting minorities and Armenians is highly exaggerated by the current regime, to portray themselves as the only possible option for minorities. The only fear might be the transitional period from collapse to rebuilding. If the transition is accompanied with chaos, anything might happen. If the transition goes smoother and easier, it won’t be that dangerous.”

Fr. Bedourian maintains the threat against Christian minorities is real—and already palpable. “Looking at the situation in Egypt and especially [as it relates] to the Christians in Egypt, there is a serious fear in Syria for the Christians and minority groups,” he said.

Armenians in Syria, past and present

Between 60,000-70,000 Armenians call Syria home, constituting less than 0.5 percent of the country’s total population. More than half of them live in Aleppo, with the other half scattered in such cities as Latakia, Homs, Kamishli, Hasake, Yakoubiye, Raqqa, Kessab, and, of course, the capital Damascus.

The community is not a politically active one—not from the lack of want, but because they are not given the opportunity, said Sanjian. Their position was worse before the current president’s father, Hafez al Assad, came to power. For instance, in the early 1950’s, Armenian schools, along with other foreign institutions, were closed for the purpose of “Arabization” and to rid the country of alleged foreign influence. Lengthy negotiations eventually secured their reopening.

In 1967, after the Arabs lost the war to Israel, Armenian schools were once again threatened with permanent closure. Again, an arrangement was made: Armenian was to be taught only as a language of religious ritual, as a tool to understand the liturgy and teachings of the Armenian Apostolic, Catholic, and Evangelical churches, explained Sanjian. Armenian classes, however, would encompass other topics as well, from history to literature. It is a system, said Sanjian, where authorities know of what is being taught, but they continue to turn a blind eye because they know that the maintenance of Armenian ethnic identity poses no threat to Syria.

Over the past 10-20 years, the number of students in Armenian schools has remained high, now even surpassing the number in Lebanese-Armenian schools, and Armenian-language textbooks have been produced in Aleppo at an impressive rate.

Arissian pointed out that during the presidency of Hafez Assad, and later Bashar Assad, Armenians held to the right to teach their language in their schools, and to hold Mass in their churches. “Armenians in Syria are full citizens who enjoy equal rights,” she said. “They never faced any problems on the grounds of religious discrimination in Syria.”

Arissian also noted that Syria and Armenia enjoy close relations, although she acknowledged that cozy relations between Turkey and Syria over the last decade affected the media’s handling of topics relating to Armenians.

Armenians are keeping their options open, including the idea of moving to Armenia. “It is not a secret that a considerable number of Syrian-Armenians have applied for Armenian citizenship. But this doesn’t mean that they are ready or willing to immediately go to Armenia. Despite the escalation of the situation, Armenians in Syria are standing with the state, with their country Syria,” said Arissian.

58 Comments on Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Armenians in Syria

  1. avatar Varaz Syuni (Amsterdam) // February 16, 2012 at 10:30 am // Reply

    The Syrian conflict most probably wil drag on for years. That’s why I do think that Diaspora organizations (and Syrian Armenians) in coordination with the NKR authorities must TODAY start building homes/shelters in liberated territories for ALL Armenian (and Assyrian) refugees who whould want to move to Armenia/Artsakh. It is a SHAME that Armenia/Armenians could NOT receive proparly the few thousand Armenians who fled Iraq and moved to Armenia.

  2. avatar Hairenakitz on YouTube // February 16, 2012 at 11:03 am // Reply

    My heart goes with Armenians in Syria, who are facing unknown future.
    Diaspora Armenians in all Muslim countries had always to deal with this unknown.
    Hard to say what’s the future for any Christian in a predominantly Muslim country, in peace time or apparent Islamic takeover. As it happened in Iran, and now happening throughout Arab and Muslim countries.

    I hope that Armenian government has a contingency plan in place to facilitate migration from not only Syria, but from all Muslim countries to Armenia.

    • avatar Hairenakitz on YouTube // February 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm //

      We have no reason to reject the notion of “A current secular opposition to Assad regime on ground”, but Syrian Armenians should ask themselves “which ‘Muslim-Secular government in the world’ maintained equal rights for their minorities as it was part of their initial constitution?”
      Turkey? No, not that one, but perhaps one would say Lebanon.
      Though it’s hard to expect Syria becoming a second Lebanon, we should be aware that Lebanon’s constitutional rights are still in mutation in favor of predominant Muslim population and Islamist political parties.

      After all, what are the gains for Christian Armenians in Muslim countries?
      We had ‘Yeprem Khan’ and many Armenian revolutionaries who fought for constitutional monarchy in Iran. Many also joined the revolution against Shah’s dictatorial regime hopping for more equal rights! But we witnessed that Armenians lost most of their rights the day after Islamic takeover?

      That’s the bitter reality in Muslim world; Syrian-Armenians should seriously look at their best chances and best solutions.

    • avatar Hairenakitz on YouTube // February 16, 2012 at 10:59 pm //

      If there are Syrian Armenians or other Armenians in Muslim countries, willing to stand oppression and fight for their freedom and rights, for a long lasting results, why not consider to dedicate their efforts in developing Armenia, protecting Artsakh and/or reclaiming our Nakhijevan?

  3. avatar gaytzag palandjian // February 16, 2012 at 11:47 am // Reply

    Just please go to http://www.armeniannews.info and if you are kind(pari) read my articles…. clicking on top left hand corner “”Users Articles>>part of which deals with REPATRIATION!!!!!!!
    thaks.
    Gaytzag palandjian

  4. Great and very Objective Article , I would like to add a comment .

    ” Most of the Armenians in #Syria are not afraid from the Syrian Revolution, but afraid from the Butcher Assad & Co. , because they are few & well known ”

    Hagop Alsoury

    ( I will reveal My Identity if I receive some assurances )

    • How do you know what “most” Armenians in Syria want ?
      What, you conducted some kind of controlled scientific poll ?
      Even polls conducted that way can be skewed depending how the questions are framed.

      Syrian-Armenians I have talked to in California, and relatives in Syria want nothing to do with any revolution. Admittedly it is not a scientific poll either, but no different than your sweeping statement that “most” Armenians in Syria want this or that. You don’t know what “most” Armenians want.

      As to Assad, and dictatorships,etc: no doubt, Baath party and Assad are no shrinking violets. But Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc are also brutal dictatorships. How is it that no revolutions are being fomented there ?
      In fact Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain to crush a popular revolt: how come nobody was complaining about that ?

      And everyone is pointing to several thousand Syrians killed by government forces: fair enough.
      But how about the 2,000 or so Government security personnel killed ?
      What about the terrorist bombings that have killed scores of innocent bystanders ?

  5. avatar Masis Boghosian // February 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm // Reply

    This is at least more objective than the other ridiculous Armenian media about Syria, but there is still some problematic things. Such as why there is not a mention of why this uprising took a hold in the first place, the government killing the kids in Deraa. There is only mention of what happened to Armenians, one Armenian was killled and kidnapped, 28 people died in Haleb, but what about 8000 Syrians who died and the massacres by the government in Hims? When do Armenians look to their conscience?

    Also, there is some things that are not factual, such as the claims about Muslim Brotherhood being the only organised on the ground, it is the complete opposite. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is exiled and has little ground organisation, the participation is limited to the SNC. You can go on SNC website and see their platform and constitution, there is nothing “Islamic” about it, and there are dozens of members from Christian, Alawite, Assyrian, Kurds, seculars, etc.

    The main group on the ground in the Local Coordinating Committees and Syrian Revolution General Commision. Guess who leads both of these groups, 2 women, Razan Zaitouneh and Suheir Atassi. I guess this must be radical Islamists.

    Dear Armenians, stop blocking out your conscience, stop forcing yourselves to accept lies to make yourselves feel better. Stop calling those of us who spoke out as “traitors” and stop being scared of this government. We have to participate in this revolution and carve the future for ourselves.

  6. It is very heart breaking to know that our people are in danger..

    Here is the time where our govt can truly do good not only for those Armenians who may end up leaving Syria and/or any Muslim countries and move to ARmenia but also for our own country because we can populate our cities/villages… of course this requires organization, stratigic thinking, preparation, etc.. not sure if our govt is capable of taking on such a huge project… they can’t even get the current situation fixed let alone this.. but if there is a will there is a way.. ..

    if anyone knows or hears anything about such a project, please share..

    I pray to God that no other Armenian gets hurt during these conflicts in Syria and may God protect them and keep them safe…

    Gayane

  7. What is so ironic is that so many of the Armenians in Syria are descendants of survivors of the death marches during World War I. Foreign consulates in Aleppo, which at the time was part of the Ottoman Empire, began to notice escapees from the death marches showing up there. So the city of Aleppo itself, plays a very pivotal role in Armenian history, World War I, the history of genocide, and how the mechanics of genocide in the past, helps us to learn about on-going and future human rights abuse.

  8. show us who called you “traitors” on the pages of AW.

    “We have to participate in this revolution and carve the future for ourselves.” you write.

    When you say “we”, who do you mean ? Syrian-Armenians ?
    If Syrian -Armenians participate in violence, the only thing they’ll carve out is themselves: Armenians will be carved out of Syria.

  9. masis:

    People who thought like you were wrong about what would happen in Iraq after the fall of Saddam, wrong about Libya after Gaddafi, and will most certainly be wrong about any post Assad government. There are no secular opposition groups in the Arab world because they have been crushed and disbanded, whereas religious groups can hid out in madrases and mosques, pretending to be doing holy work but instead fomenting dissent. I am not making a value judgement here, just stating the obvious that seems to be overlooked for some reason. Anyway, you enjoy playing ‘freedom fighter’, the rest of us will hopefully remain more down to earth and in touch with reality.

  10. avatar Masis Boghosian // February 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm // Reply

    For AVERY and AR
    First, you must be disconnected from the Armenian community here, because they do call us traitors and they hunt out anyone who dissents and tries to make us shut up. Yes, I mean we, Syrian Armenians. I am not Halebtsi, I am from Damascus, however we are just as much a part of Armenian Syrian community as the Halebtsis are, and also Armenians in Qamishli/hasake, Latakia, etc.

    For a reality check, there is no Muslim Brotherhood on the ground in Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood is in EXILE. Do you know what exile means? As I already stated, they participate in SNC, because their leaders are exiled and that is all they can do. All the groundwork is with the Local Coordinating Comittees. You are free to research into the LCC and see who is the members, leaders, and the positions. Until you do research and learn about what they do not tell you on Dunia TV, please do not make an “analysis” about what is happening in Syria. If you do not know who is organising, then do not claim that I am wrong. Syria is not Iraq or Libya, we have a popular uprising, not a foreign occupation. We do not have Islamist on the ground, they are outside Syria. LCC is secular, so is Suheir Atassis group.

    • avatar Masis Boghosian // February 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm //

      Also, The Muslim Brotherhood participation is through the SNC, and you are free to check the SNC positions, and you can see their members also on their site.
      I will post some here:

      The SNC is committed to achieving its objectives within the following basic principles:
      Working to overthrow the regime using all legal means.
      Affirming national unity among all components of Syrian society (e.g., Arabs and Kurds, as well as ethnic, religious, and sectarian groups) and rejecting all calls for ethnic strife.
      Safeguarding the non-violent character of the Syrian Revolution.
      Protecting national independence and sovereignty, and rejecting foreign military intervention.

      The New Syria – General Principles

      The new Syria is a democratic, pluralistic, and civil state; a parliamentary republic with sovereignty of the people based on the principles of equal citizenship with separation of powers, smooth transfer of power, the rule of law, and the protection and guarantee of the rights of minorities.
      The new Syria guarantees for all its citizens what is declared by international laws in terms of human rights and basic freedom of belief, opinion, expression, assembly, the press, and other rights. In addition, all of its inhabitants will enjoy equal rights and duties without any discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion, or gender.
      The government is committed to ambitious plans for economic and human development.
      The new Syria is committed to combating poverty and focusing on developing disadvantaged areas. It regards achieving justice and equal opportunity among all citizens to be a national duty.
      To achieve equity in the distribution of national wealth, since national resources belong to all Syrians in the context of good governance, and directing benefits from development to raising the capabilities and standard of living of all sectors of society and all regions, particularly the most disadvantaged.
      The new Syria is committed to eradicating illiteracy and providing factual information to the general population.
      The new Syria, with its civil and democratic system and constitution, provides the best assurance to all Syrians from all ethnic, religious, and sectarian backgrounds.
      The constitution guarantees national rights for the Kurdish people and a resolution to the Kurdish question in a democratic and fair manner within the framework of the unity of Syrian territory and people, as well as the exercise of rights and responsibilities of equal citizenship among all citizens.
      The constitution guarantees national rights for the Assyrian people and a resolution to the Assyrian Syriac question in a democratic and fair manner within the framework of the unity of Syrian territory and people, as well as the exercise of rights and responsibilities of equal citizenship among all citizens.
      The new Syria guarantees full rights of women, including ensuring their effective participation in political life and all other sectors.
      The new Syrian state will have a positive role and impact on the stability of the Arab and regional system as well as on the international level.
      The new Syria will work to restore its sovereignty in the occupied Golan Heights on the basis of relevant and legitimate international laws and resolutions.
      The new Syria will support the full and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
      The new Syria will promote Arab and regional solidarity and cooperation, and will build relations with other states on the basis of mutual respect and national interests.

    • There are several sources which have stated the MB is quite active in Syria, and now we see the al-Qaeda is too! To claim that this is only a popular uprising is dishonest, it is well documented that foreign funding and arms are what has been propelling this movement. Mainly from the US and Saudi Arabia. None of the Syrian-Armenians I have spoken with support your position and there are a number of reasons for that. I’m very suspicious about your motives. And you claim MB is just a part of the SNC, fair enough, but the MB was also just a part of the anti-Mubrak crowd as well yet because they were organized and presented a united front, unlike the other groups, they recently took the most seats in the Egyptian parliamentary elections. Similar trends can be seen in Libya, and I will predict the same for Syria. So it is very simple and short sighted of you to claim that Syria will be different when we have precedent to show us otherwise and we can clearly see that the MB is the most organized Islamist group in the Middle-east.

  11. avatar Barkev Asadourian // February 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm // Reply

    It is very uneffordable , need a solution immidately.

  12. Come on NATO, we all know you want to…

    • If NATO or Western powers go into Syria then, as in previous cases, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis will be promoted to power. Then Armenians and other Christians could look forward to terrible suffering like the Copts in Egypt, dhimmitude, and sharia (un)law. The article suggest that Armenians in Syria are doing right by trying to stay neutral. My guess is that will support from Russia and China Assad will not fall. The Syrian opposition organization hosted in Turkey is mostly staffed with Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi types; no surprise there.

    • Agreed. NATO takes down a dictator, puts a worse one in place, and then re-invades a decade later.

  13. If we had an Armenian government that really cared about the diaspora I think they should start planning on armenians going back to live in Armenia or in
    Kharabagh.The armenians of Lebanon and Syria are the grand children of
    armenians who were deported and masacred and thrown into the syrian desert..Armenia and the Republic of Karabagh better start working on building
    businesses and housing for the return of armenians.But how can that happen when the armenians from armenia are leaving the country which is
    full of corruption and there is no justice.Armenians will always suffer in moslem lands.We finally have an Armenian states and lets demand the government to take care of us.Why should we fight other peoples wars.Let s go back home and fight for our own freedoms.

    • Wow! What an absurd statement. Here let me do the reverse, if the diaspora really cared about Armenia they would invest more money into building it up! See how easy it is to make blanket statements without taking into account the many important details. Armenians leaving Armenia en masse? You must be stuck in the 90s. The recent census shows a growth not a decline, it is disinformation spreaders like yourself who claim that doom and gloom is coming to Armenia. I wonder when the last time, if ever, you stepped foot in Armenia. The reality is that Armenia has made significant progress since independence all in the face of a horrible earthquake, war, blockade, and no significant natural resources. Yet people like you continue to harp on the negative, be subjective, and never once give credit where credit is due!

  14. avatar Varaz Syuni (Amsterdam) // February 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm // Reply

    One must be realistic and try to see the BIGGER picture and the long-term effect/situation/solution.

    The so-called “Arab spring” is (being) hijacked. Unfortunately, it is NOT anymore about democracy, human rights, etc. It’s become a brutal- physical power struggle between oil lovers, might lovers, khaliphate lovers, pan-turanism lovers, Kurdistan lovers, money lovers, pipeline lovers, territory lovers, beard lovers, etc.

    In THIS situation the future is NOT looking good- specially for (christian) minorities. Look at Iraq. So, GET OUT while you can. Why should Armenians care about Syria/ Arabs after all. Do Arabs care about Armenia(ns)? We wish them all the best, but get out and start a new life in Armenia/Artsakh. It is NOT easy- I do understand. But, at least, you will be physically alive and on YOUR soil.

    • Well said Varaz… I agree.. It is better to be on our soil however difficult life may be with our corrupt govt running the country but at least it is better than living on any Moslem soil…

    • Varaz:

      I agree the long term situation for Armenians in non-Western countries or non-European countries is not good. After “democracy” came to Iraq, the Iraqi-Armenian community was devastated. And despite the difficulties in Armenia and Artsakh, one thing for sure: an Armenian is much safer there, particularly now – with a powerful RoA military standing watch.

      But it is wrong to claim Arabs have done nothing for Armenians. Let us not conflate all Muslims. After 1915, Arab countries sheltered the AG survivors, particularly Syria and Lebanon. Armenians communities in Syria and Lebanon kept our gene pool going. Armenians definitely owe a debt of gratitude to Arabs countries that sheltered our Genocide survivors. Quite a large number of us are alive today because our parents lived in Syria and Lebanon.

  15. avatar gaytzag palandjian // February 17, 2012 at 12:21 am // Reply

    Please Gentlemen(Baronayk)
    Try to find a common denominator,rather come to a compromise.
    AR.Varaz,Richard ,Masis,Avery et al….
    Those who defend Arab,Persian,Turkish()yes even Istabulla Armens)the people within whom they are living is called THE OLD Diaspora in my theory,Thus:-
    1.Those who left Western Armenia ,rather were evicted, from 1890 to 1918´and on,settled down in mainly arab countries ,some in Iran and Eastern Armenia,Russian Federation , or ex soviet union, plus of coursse N.And S.Americas,EU countreis the Balkans ..it goes on…
    These are with stronger 2."nd wave that followed was after WWII and again those arab countries and Iran ,whether to ex soviet union(lesser) and plenty to aforementioned ones these are 50/60 yrs old Diasporans (easier to salvage than those near 1 00 yrs ones..
    3.Most recent from Armenia , Sumgait ,Baki adn Azerbaijan.latest wave....again very much so...that is salvagable. HOW?????
    Please don´t be obstinate , enter and read my articles in..............
    http://www.armeniannews.info ……………..Top left hand corner USERS Articles
    I assure you near everything is there, from Reorganization of the Diaspora and REPATRIATION.
    Armenia?Artsakh?…wwell I don´t want to be pessimistic and /or offensive..Hopefully they will also oblige ONCE THEY US WELL ORGANIZED AND WITH A POWERFULL (no sorry no A) with TWO main
    instruments ORGANIZED HIUMAN RESOURCES, AND THROUGH THEMÇ
    OUR E C O N O M I C POWERHOUSE!!!
    The ´´NATIONAL INVESTMENT TRUST FUND¨ PERIOD…
    And please to do not be silent after reading opine, I´d love some Negaitve criticism as well. For a Silent stance bodes bad, very very bad…..
    Hama Haigagani SIRO,
    Gaytzag palandjian

  16. I just want to give my admirations and say Bravo to Masis Boghosian on his February 16, 2012 comment .

    Abriss Massis and vartzkd kadar , all braves are alone at first but their work will be remembered in the future .

    If Al-Qaeda footprints exists now in Syria that is thanks to Bashar the amatuer criminal .[ PERIOD !!! ]

  17. I am sorry AR but many armenians from the diaspora have gone to Armenia to do business and they were lied to or they stole from them with false papers,
    one man from california ,I am not exactly sure ,but i think he was going to buy famland and plant wheat and some other business man from Armenia told him that they would burn his fields if he did that.There was Mrs. Najarian a doctor went to open a medical clinic and she had trusted a judge with buying a house and he almost stole the house from her.And latetly the story of Cafe Paris in Yerevan, the owner got fed up with the system.And there is a lot of bribery going on just to open a business.

  18. 1. Who are exactly these so-called SNC and ” Syrian Free Army”? Hardcore sunni militias financed by Saudi wahhabi-salafi petrodollars? You do not bomb buildings into “democracy”. And why do you think that SNC will DO what is says once in power?

    2. Assad, most probably, will not fall, as Syria has powerful friends. Fall of Assad will be too bad for Iran, and China can NOT without Iranian oil. Russia can not lose its only Tartus naval base on Syrian coastline, and Its ONLY land route to Mediterranean via Georgia-Armenia-Iran-Iraq-Syria. For Iran the same. So, my guess is that there always will be a part of Syria with Assad (or fellow Alavite/shia) in power. Which means NO real peace on horizon.

    3. In this situation I advise Syrian Armenians (specially the younger ones) to keep their head cool and NOT to take any side. It is not Armenians’ war.

    4. There are vacant lands along the Arax river in Artsakh. For example, the towns Kovsakan (former Zangelan: now some 300 inhabitants), Mijnavan (former Minjevan: the same inhabitants). These places have beautiful landscape, mild/warm klimate, only some 300-400 m. above see level, you can harvest twice in a year. And you can start a new life with much lesser money. Why not get an official (UN) refugee status from Armenian authorities and start a new life. Can the International Community tell why you resettle there? Hell no, as your are the victims of their dirty war. If I were Syrian Armenians, I would send a delegation to Armenia/Artsakh to discuss these and related matters. And this does NOT have to be a whole exodus from Syria: they can do it step by step as it suits them best.

  19. avatar Varaz Syuni (Amsterdam) // February 17, 2012 at 11:54 am // Reply

    Richard – Unfortunately it is true what you say. But many Diasporans trust too easily and do not double-check (before doing business). It is NOT only the Diasporans who were victims. Many Hayastantsi Armenians were victims as well. But the remedy is the same: double check, put everything on paper, check again and play safe. And unite: create organizations who would come up for your rights.

  20. avatar gaytzag palandjian // February 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm // Reply

    My last post , w/heading ERRATA, alas was not published here.Never mind.
    Right now my plea is to follow up with news coming from shjant TV. of Armenia as rgds, the 8th Anniversary of murdering
    the Armenian office -while asleep- by a blood thirsty OZADZNOUND-MY VERSION-with an AXE..
    The two having the discussion debate tried to explain that it is because the Azeri propaganda machine has since its inception viz. 1918 (when Azerbaijan was created by the Brits.) see prof R.G.hovanissian books R.of Armenia 4 volumes.
    One insisting that it only is due to that propaganda (in short the Govt.9 ,whereas the other had the courage to say that it may also be due to other reasons…
    mY OPINION? IT IS IN THEIR GENES as well from Lengtemour and Genkhis khan days….opinion is free ain´t it Avery?
    I cannot understand how our compatriots in Homeland are not as yet well educated by peer and their WIRTERS, INTELLECTUALS THAT WE HAVE OLD VERY OLD EXPERIENCE WITH THESES different tri besmen that came in hoards from the Asian stepps and conquereed area now calle R.of Turkey (prev. Ottoman Empire) biut it has collpase, like other Empires…
    Now is tiome to siege it from all sides,peacefully , mind you with our COUNTER PROPAGANDA.Never stop saying that what happened in Budapest with our officer was not because he was brainwashed VERY EFFICIENT PROPAGANDA SYSTEM IN ARMENIA ARTSAKH TO INTRODUCE WHAT THEY WERE NOT ALLOWE4D TO TALK ABOUT PROPERLY(EXCEPTIONS GRANTED) mAINSTREAM ARMENS THERE STILL THINK WHAT lENIN sTALIN ADVOCATESD IS p o s s i b l e with neighbour brother azeris…
    my foot!!!!!
    Say whatever you want to , we need to somehow TRY TO ENTER IN RA, I BELIEVE THROUGH AS I HAVE SUGGESTED BY HAVING 5 PERMANENT REPS. FROM OUR MAIN FIVE COMMUNITIES….THUS BY AND BY ENTERING INTO THE MAINSTREAM ARMENIAN MENTALITY …INJECTING MORE OF OUR KNOWLEDGTE(LEARNT IN fREE COUNTRIES)…
    i BELIEVE >i HAVE SAID ENOUGH. Only request is that if we tolerate ea other and cooperate we can move things there.
    So time to get the PCA´s organzied in alll ARmenian dense Townships…Professional Colleagues Associations.Therein we can mervel mix w/ea other and learn from ea other have more tolerance etc., in short BECOME SOCIETIZED (Civil Societies) …these then can see to it that the ordinary vahan vajag in far flung areas of RA Artsakh aare more updated as to whom we are dealing with…..
    Some on a thread here twisted what I wrote TOTALLY WHEN I HAD COMPARED OUR CONFLICTIVE STANCE WITH OUR 2 NEIGHBOURS TURCO AZERIS, WHEN I WROTE LIKE PALESTINAINS ,ISRAELIS , BAKISTAN INDIA CANNOT SO EASILY BECOME FRIENDS…HE WROTE BACK THAT CANNOT BE COMAPRED…
    HOW COME? EVEN WORSE i´D SAY ,LATTER, MAY SOMEHOW GET TO BE AT LEAST LIKE THEY USED TO SAY(IN PEACEFULL CO EXISTANCE) BUT US WITH tURCO aZSEERIS?????very doubtfull.unless…
    powers to be hit them hard ECONOMICALLY OR OTHERWISE AND THEY COME TO THEIR SENSES. LiKE Now sarkozy la france is trying to…
    BEST TO hASGCOGHIN

  21. In the given situation I think the best course for the Armenian community of Syria as a whole is to run a neutral course. The advice of the Armenian from Aleppo, T.N. sounds wisest: “If you can stay neutral, that is the best option. If you can’t, try to put your eggs in more than one basket.” I wil add to that the following: Individual Armenians may join any political group according to their own political preferences as Syrian citizens and not in the name of their community.

  22. Avery – absolutely, I do not deny that arabs hepled the Armenians during the Genocide and we are very thankful to them. On the other hand, many Armenians (especially in Lebanon and Syria) contributed to their societies. So, after all, it was not all free.

    Arshag – In Syria too they see you first as Armenian, and then as Syrian citizen. It is in all countries like this. Specially in a conflict situation – with an ethnically different christian minority population. Neutrality is the best, true. Although the neutrality of one group sometimes irritates the conflicting sides too.

  23. It’s quite a shame that people are too easily deceived and fall for these fake revolutions in Arab countries.

  24. avatar gaytzag palandjian // February 18, 2012 at 12:37 am // Reply

    IN ALL ABOVE POSTS-MIND YOU I DID NOT REALLY GO THROUGH ALL METICULOUSLY(DETAIL<) but i find jack is R I G H T !!!!
    I AGREE, those reolutions are in no way comparable to Russian ,chinese,American,m french and other such revolutions.AT BEST ,EVEN IF NOT FAKE THEY ARE SUPERFICIAL!!!!
    IN MY BIBLE THEY -LIKE IN EGYPT, LYBIA AND NOW SYRIA DO NOT ACTUALLY VY OR WISH TO HAVE A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE,BUT JUST TO OVERTHROW A DESPOT AND THEN L—LIKE IN EGYPT-THEY DON´T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE HEADED, SAME IN GADAFI COUNTRY LYBIA AND NOW IF IT HAPPENS IN SYRIA ,LIKEWISE THEY WILL START FIGHTING FACTION AGAINST FACTION.NONE WILL ,IN A SHORT PERIOD ESTABLISH A CHANGED STATUS,WITHA COALITION OR RECONCILIATION GOVT.
    NOT THAT I WISH THEM TO BE SO, BUT UNFORTUNATELY IT IS SO jack.

  25. avatar Sevag Trashian // February 18, 2012 at 9:32 am // Reply

    It is an interesting article and also raises many questions.
    1-The Editor with all respect does not know the details of the Christian communities in Syria. One mistake is saying “Syrian Christians” does it mean Syriac or all non Armenian Christians.
    2-The article and the way it is written representing the views is a mess. If you know Arabic we call it (taboule). That is one looses the track while reading it. Is that the intention?
    3-A very suspicious view which goes very well with the foreign media is the T.N character. Giving this T.N character that does not represent even 1% of Armenians such a big space in the Article. This T.N who was anonymous says he heard tank shells and bombs how does he differentiate that as a citizen and where does he live in Syria. I have many things I can also add I will say only these thus far.

  26. Hello from Istanbul. My heart goes out to Armenians in Syria. I hope that the situation won’t worsen for them. I also fear what might happen if Assad regime collapses. The Sunni Islamists are not so trustable, I think.

    I am also upset at the role my country has played so far. Turkey is right to provide humanitarian aid but intervening in a political way in Syria is so wrong ! It writes in the article that many Turkish operatives were caught in Syria. We didn’t hear this in the Turkish media but I fear it might be true.

    The current government of Turkey is pursuing a neo-Ottomanist agenda, which I don’t approve of. Also, it is sad that the relations between Turkey and Armenia are still in a ‘no-hope’ status ! The ‘protocols’ have virtually collapsed. There is no sign that Turkey will open the border anytime soon.

    Just know that there are many people in Turkey who hope for better Turkey-Armenia relations (we are still in the minority but our number is not so small anymore).

    Peace !

  27. avatar gaytzag palandjian // February 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm // Reply

    Dear ack,
    What I relayed above was a bit off course..but none the less ,I hope a little to the point that those people are out on the street,exactly as you watch them on the screen(T.V.) sort of a big show.Indeed main objective being overthrow of a DESPOT.But als a show for the youth and the young and the like Babiks Mamiks.The real politicians acting behind the scnes.
    Now I am to try to drive home something that is more of substance for us Armenians. We did not grasp and continue to ignore that a PEOPLE CAN ONLY LIVE AND THRIVE ON OWN LAND,WHETHER UNDER MAOIST,COMMUNIST ,CAPITALIST RULE .An example>In Spain where I live a qtr century and go back and forth every year sine 20 yrs..I learnt the following/
    Catalans, a people(not yet a state people) do not and did not leave their soil,immigrate they stuck to their land.Wereas the Gallegos (Galicia up Northwest of Spain ,are everywhere from B-Aires to Calif,. etc., Barcelona ,capital of cataluna is world famous and is THRIVING IN ARTS, ECONOMY(NOW OF COURSE ALL WORLD ECONOMIES HIT WITH THE ECONOMIC CRUNCH).But they have advanced immensely,compared to Gaallegos that constantly have left their Tierras…lands..
    Armenians shoudl head back to the Ararat basin ,around it and Artskah javakhq,Armenia…,untill we get back some of our Western portion of the Barcr Hayk Erzeroum(Karin0 my ancestral lands home..
    Otherwise , if we keep on going fromn Syria to Ganada, B-Aires of Calif. we are being uprooted once more again and being like Gypsies.What turks WOULD LOVE TO SEE MORE…
    hence do please enter and read my articles(politico press won’t publis them in
    http://www.armeniannews.info …go to top left corner ,under USERS Articlesw
    thanks.We can et muster up clout with a N.Investment Trus Fund and …start Repatriation.We did not depend on Soviet Armenia to Reatriat after WWI nor can we depend on this indpendent one…WE HAVE TO ORGANZIE IT FROM oversea. abroad. russia near abroad .rad me pleasse and comment even negatively.if you keep silent that bodes bad..Thanks
    G.palandjian

  28. Varaz Syuni
    You didn’t read my comment fully. I had quoted the Armenian from Aleppo as such: “If you can stay neutral, that is the best option. If you can’t, try to put your eggs in more than one basket.”
    It’s true, maintaining neutrality in a conflict situation may not be easy either for the reason you stated, but the quotation goes further than that: “… If you can’t (keep neutral), try to put your eggs in more than one basket”.
    As regards individual Armenians, one cannot prevent them from the right to participate in the political developments of the country of which they are a citizen, no matter how the uninformed part of the public sees them. After all many may rightfully think Syria is their homeland and they have a responsibility to help change their country for the better.

    Anti-racist
    Nice to see you again in these pages. I am happy to hear that your numbers are increasing. If good people like you join hands they may hopefully bring evil forces to their knees at some point.

  29. Unfortunately, there are some American-Armenians like Masis Boghosian and Hagop Alsoury who have been brainwashed by the corporate-owned media in the US (and the West in general).

    Also, while I’m usually in favour of Armenians repatriating to Armenia, I think that all Armenians leaving Syria would be a terrible event to occur. The communities in Syria and Lebanon are the most important Armenian communities in the world. We cannot afford to lose them. Մե՛ծ կորուստ կը լինի հայ դատին համար։

  30. avatar gaytzag palandjian // February 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm // Reply

    Dear Dro,
    Even if my dream comes true and we can organize a REPATRIATION to RA/Artsakh Javakhq…who ever thinks or thought it would be to repatriate all 100% of Syrian,Iranian,Iraqui,Lebanese and other Middle East Armenians..
    WE WOULD BE LUCKY IF WE COULD HALF O F THEM…
    MOREVOER IN MY SUGGGESTIONS, I DO MAKE A POINT THAT WE HAVE 3 TYPES OF DIASPORAS.PERHAPS YOU MISSED IT ..HERE GOES AGAIN.-
    1.Those that constitute the very old Ciasporas in the americas,Europe,Russia and Middle East.that left Armenian lands from 1890´s to 1918…THIS I CLASIFY AS OUR OLD DIASPORA T H E R E T O S T A Y…
    2. Those who left their 2nd adopted countries after wwII and Upheavals/revolutions in Midddle East some 50/60 years old
    3.Those (Third main wave) From Baki,Sumagait
    and RA around 1990´s some 20 years old MORE OR LESS.
    If we can salvage the latter plus some of those category 2 to REPATRIATE, it would be a Triumph….
    As to your or someone else´s post that we need the middle Eastern Diaspora as long a s we have the HAY TAHT…Correct!!!!
    I agree, because we must show to the world that these people are craving to GO BACK TO THEIR ANCESTRAL LANDS,ONCE WE DO GET THEM BACK.
    But that will come a bit later.First we must win our CASE AT THE ICJ AT THE HAGUE and receive B L O O D M O N E Y….
    tHIS QUITE A FEW ARE WELL AWARE OF, BECAUSE IT HAS ANTECEDENTE,OH SORRY WROTE IN SPANISH. PRECEDENT…
    best to hasgcoghin

  31. avatar gaytzag palandjian // February 18, 2012 at 11:50 pm // Reply

    I just wrote under the above caption ,rather article , of Nanore Barsoumian through Yahoo.com ,my Facebook does not attract mer.there a lot of not serious talks etc.,
    BOTTOM LINE OF MY ARTICLE THERE.
    ONCE WE ACHIEVE THE National Investment Trust fund, we can indeed commence the REPATRIATION(SEE MY WRITS ) IN http://www.armeniannews.info
    PLEASE… building NEW TOWNSHIPS, AVANS, VILLAGES AWAY FROM YEREVAN, VANADZOR SAY ON NEAR DESEERT SPACES(i TRAVELLED LAST YEAR9 BETWEEN YEREVAN AND gYUMRI OVER 2 AND HALF HOURS BY CAR , ALL desert amayi…THERE, IN kARVAJAR. aS MY PESSIMISTIC FRIEND (VERY FRIENDLY BUT CONTRADICTING ME ALL THE TIME) tHE yERVANITS AND gUYMRIETSI WILL NOT , AND CANNOT WELCOME-THEY THEMSSELVES ARE IN BAD CONDITIONS-THAT DIASPORANS COME AND TAKE THERE LAND ,.FOOD AND WORK AWAY…TRANQUILO I TOLD HIM WE SHALL BUILD NEW TOWNS, VILLAGES WITH THE 100 BILLION INVEST TRUST FUND.
    NUCLEUS OF A BILLION DOLLAR -WORKING CAPITAL*-AGAIN SEE MY DETAILED WRITS IN http://www.armeniannews.info …. which capital will grow once it is established in Geneva by our 6/7 magnates and their proxies and In´t attorneys have is esregistered and running then our millionaires , dowen to hundred thousand dolalr investors, down to ten and thousand dollars investors down to EACH SHARE AT $100.-investors will make grow in no time to the One Khundred billion …yes !!!!
    iF WE HAVE DETERMINATION AND OUR bbb´S DO NOT INTERFERE,IF EVEN THEY DO THEY WILL BE CONVINCED THAT THEY CANNOT GO AGAINST THE MORE THAN A HUNDRED THOUSAND STRONG pROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES ASSOC. MEMBERS!!!!
    tHINK ABOUT IT MY DEAR COMPATRIOTS NOW IS THE TIME TO MOVE…
    please begin organizing into PCA´s Prof. Colleague Assoc. in all Armenian Densse townships.MILLION THANKS TO OUR PREVIOUS ESTABLISHMENTS BUT WE NEED MORE MUCH MORE…
    THANK YOU DASHNAKS, HUCHAKS agbu. ETC., WE NEED MUCH hamahaigagani sIRO,
    Gaytzag Palandjian
    Please forgive erros and ommissions and bad spelling typ
    ing fast TIME IS MORE THAN GOLD FOR ME FOR MY DEAR COMPATRIOTS ARE HARD TO CONVINCE, THEY RATHER DEBATE AND DISCUSS AND …swell let´s stop
    Thanks for reading me
    G.P.

  32. from Armenians for Justice in Syria | شعب الارمن متضامن مع سورية

    SHAME on those who call Syria Revolution sectarian or civil conflict or armed insurgency . The only terrorist and the sectarian conflict perpetrator is Assad regime . Shooting to protesters who are not armed , shame on those who deep inside know protesters are righteous yet come up with stupid theories . SHAME SHAME SHAME . BTW we are talking about justice for now in Syria , the genocide of Armenia is a diffrent story .

  33. avatar Varaz Syuni (Amsterdam) // February 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm // Reply

    First, it is NOT that bad, that Turkish-Armenian (not recognized) border is closed. And it is NOT about few or more anti-recists or some people on streets in downtown Istanbul/Polis. It is about Turkish STATE (denial) policy and multi-million (if not billion) state sponsored ANTI-Armenian propaganda. In this hostile atmosphere it is a good thing to keep turks OUTSIDE.

    2. I really get confused: WHAT is հայ դատ exactly? Is it a PURPOSE on itself, a means, a (profitable) business?. What EXACTLY do you want to achieve by հայ դատ ? That one day, by a magicle stick, (some parts) of Western Armenia will become vacant and Western Armenians will return, rebuild a new life and live there long and happy? Or that one day Turkey will PAY (in money) for the crimes and you will get the money and THEN do the same? Or…? And who are these hypothetical Western Armenians that MIGHT return? Some 100-200 thousand Syrian-Lebanese Armenians? The (Western) Armenians in US/Europe in their cozy houses, whose children do not write/read Armenian anymore? Or…?

    Is it not more REALISTIC that in that hypothetical case people from EAST Armenia/Artsakh might move to West Armenia?

    I still remember that Syrian/Lebanese Armenian students in Soviet Yerevan/Armenia were living in own gettos, as they would not want to mix/live with Eastern Armenians.

    So, let me “not fool” myself: (Western) Armenians do not want to return to vacant/liberated lands in Artsakh, but they will one day (God knows when) return to Western Armenia?

    The bottom line is this, is not it?

    • A country has to be stable for diaspora to move to. You do realize that, right? Armenia is an unwelcoming environment. Artsakh is far from stable. There is no Western Armenia at this time, so I don’t understand your point. If a nation is built up and developed, people will migrate there. So first need achieve that goal and then criticize who moves or does not move. Why don’t you move from Amsterdam?

    • Jack, people with your attitude will always think Armenia is ‘unwelcoming’. If you knew better than you’d not say such things because it is false.

  34. Charls Aznavour has formulated it quite succintly: We are one hundred percent French while we carry Armenia in our hearts. True, Middle East may not be France, but keeping a getto status will further estrange Armenian communities from their surroundings and finally will lead them to far away lands for better fortunes. Repatriation schemes, though based on patriotic incentives do not work and are not practical, as we see. Let’s be realistic. Is it imaginable that there would be a massive immigration of Diasporan Armenians to Armenia in the near future? Or, even if there would be, would Armenia be in state to accept and settle them at the present state of affairs?. So, I would say to our Syrian compatriots, see what is best to do for your homeland as you are also citizens of that country, stand your ground in the hard times like our Lebanese brothers and sisters and don’t dispair. May the Force and wisdom be with you.

  35. avatar Varaz Syuni (Amsterdam) // February 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm // Reply

    Armenians move(d) to US/West on their own means . You have even Little Armenia in LA. If you can create a Little Armenia on foreign soil, I am sure you can create a Little Syrian Armenia on liberated lands too. Ask some 400-500 sq. km land from Artsakh authorities: I am sure they will “borrow” it to you for even more than 99 years.

    But, of course, it all comes to this: do you REALLY WANT to repatriate and/or do you REALLY see/feel Armenia/Artsakh as your HOMELAND?

    PS. Syria of 2012 is NOT Lebanon of 1975-1990.

  36. Such a lot of pointless “by Armenians for Armenians” talk. The Armenian community in Syria is facing the same extinction that befell that of Iraq, and you ALL seem quite happy to stand on the sidelines and let it happen! Armenians in Syria can do nothing to stop the schemes of the malevolent forces in America and Britain. However, you people could, if, for once in your lives, you would get off your fat arses and try some eternal action rather than internal talk. When Georgia’s armed forces were trying to eliminate south Ossetia, what silenced a US media in full, rabid, propaganda mode? Just one young woman, a US citizen who had been in Ossetia and who pointed out on national TV that she had been saved from Georgian missiles by the Russians. One truthful account brought down the US’s house-of-cards lies. You people are in the position to do the same, to oppose the warmongering propaganda in the countries where it is being produced.

    • You fool!

      That american citizen had nothing to lose so ofcourse she easily could stand on one side in the conflict.
      The armenians in Syria on the other hand will have long-term concernes if they take part in the conflict.
      Even a child would see that coming.

  37. avatar gaytzag palandjian // February 19, 2012 at 11:37 pm // Reply

    Though I shall post(in detail) on web site that wonderfull Armenian youngmen in CA have allowed me to post on their site, Herebelow I throw some light on above irrelevant ,to say the least viewpoints totally off course..
    These are respectfuly exposed explanations to them rather then critique to what they write in the negative. Just my sugggestions to them to study more.-
    1.Hay Tahd or our armenian Case/Cause has a history of more than a century.It ripened after our writers such as Raffi, Malkhas and others wrote that the Downtrodden subjugated Armenians ,mainly by ottoman turkey should begin to prepare for freedo,A God Given right to ALL PEOPLES OF THE WORLD<.
    2.We have our Armenian national Committee and Assembly in the <U.S. with subsidiary of the first one all over the globe,with its offshoots, such as Homentmen, Armenian Cultural foundation, HOM Hay oknutyan Miutyun and others working ahrd since 120 yrs ago, and a 100 , and then the AGBU etc .Please learn about these.
    ·. We have very diligent youth and Young with _Student Assoc. in Europe and USA and now in RF and indeed from long ago in <MIDDLE EAST.
    3.oNCE WE GET TO ORGANIZE INTO PCA(s) Professional Colleaggues Associations(alongside the all existing establishment) then create the National invdstment Trust Fund. we shall indeed plan to BUILD TOWNSHIPS SMALL AND LARGER TOWNS SMALL AND LARGER VILLAGES IN ARMENIA AND ARTSAKH. THEN ONLY WE CAN HAVE REPATRIATION ON WAY WITH SAID FUND ´S SUPPORT.For our both HUMAN RESOURCES AND ECONOMIC POWER RESIDE IN OUR HUGE COLLECTIVITIES OF THE NON -aligned young and middle aged ,i,.e, not pertaining to Political parties abnd or above establishments ,left to drift away. Luckily FIVE on the scen the Health/Medical,The BAR. The Engineers& Sciences, the Sportive and the Jewellers(latter ought to enlap all furnishings and 10 more PCA(s)such as Transport/travel .Bamkinmg Finance etc.,(pleasea see my articles)
    I can take it Avery.Typically Armenian attitudes,those of above.Although i have clearly explained how we can (in brief format) by and by organize ourselves in Diaspora and forge ahead.nONE,REPEAT NOEN OF MY DEAR COMPTRIOTS REFLECTS,REFERS AND OR TOTALLY OR PARTIALLY DEJECTS MY ¨SUGGESTIONS¨fOR i NEVER ADVISE, OR SET FOR.i SUGGEST.wE DON´T HAVE THIS WORD IN THE aRMENIAN VOCABULARLY.a PITY.iT IS COURTEOUSLY GIVE AN IDEA,TO OTHERS , OTHERS MAY TAKE OR LEAVE IT AND CANNOT SAY YOU ADVISED OR OFFERED ERRONEOUSLY…
    BEST TO THOSE WHO WILL KINDLY READ MY ARTICLES IN..
    http://www.armeniannews.ino top left corner in Users articles.
    Tonight or tomorrow I shall complete my latest and post there..

  38. Varaz Syuni (Amsterdam)
    I have almost repatriated to Armenia only to discover that idealistic talk and bitter realities are different things, and to conclude that we Diasporan Armenians should persevere, as far as we can, wherever we are settled, especially in the Middle East. Armenia is not ready, at present at least, for Diasporan repatriation, nor do a great many Diasporans wish to immigrate to Armenia. Individual Armenians may do so on their own risk, but again they cannot change the present state of affairs.
    And may I ask you the same question as Jack does: what you are doing in Amsterdam if you so much believe in repatriation?

  39. avatar Varaz Syuni (Amsterdam) // February 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm // Reply

    Arshag

    How nice. Sit and wait till everything is good and nice in Armenia and then you can go and enjoy Armenia. Meanwhile enjoying your “riskless” life in (pre-) Assad “free and safe” or post- Assad hardcore Salafi Syria. And daydreaming.

    All my family lives in Armenia. I sacrificed a lot, so thet my family members and their children could stay in Armenia. I still do the same to non-related ones. I do not have to repatriate: I just go BACK. Working on it. Only those ones repatriate whose ‘brave and clever” (grand)parents lose their land… and themselves too.

  40. avatar gaytzag palandjian // February 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm // Reply

    Varaz, & News room above!!!
    Arshag and a few others do not wish to graspt that there are two types of Repatriation.One , the individual one,which I partiallyu agree w/him indeed can do as they please. The other though is the Real NATIONAL REPATRIATION.
    Like it was implemented by the Diaspora after WWII.
    Then the Homeland was in direc need of NEW blood and plenty of compatriots in order to take the vacated placxe of over a qtr million martyred for the HAIRENAGAN BADERAZM(ACTUALLY THEY WENT TO DEFNED hUGE rUSSIAN SOVIET SPACES) iNDEED WHAT THEY DID IS PLAUSIBLE and noble…but they overdid it.,From neighbpouring republics not even a tenth of that many did so…let us forget that.The discussion on that may take us nowhere some will tell me you are anti Russian,soviet etc.,please note I have no time for that SUFFICE IT TO KNOW THAT I RESPECT ALL IDEOLOGIES AND ALL NATIONS, as much as they respect my nation´s ARMENIA and Armenians…no more no less!!!
    As to Real Repatriation i do ask you to read me my lagtest post in this respect at…..www.armeniannews.info (Users Articles top left corner) under heading BUILDING NEW TOWNSHIPS…RA
    Best to Haswgcoghin
    Gaytzag

  41. I think Turkish goverment must invite the Syrian Armenians to Turkey, their motherland is Anatolia.

  42. Varaz Syuni
    In whatever words you try to make it nicer for you: “I just go BACK. Working on it”, you are an immigrant, you have emigrated from your land in search of better opportunities to support your family in Armenia. So have done, and are still doing, tens of thousands of other Armenians many of whom settle in their guest land forever. And you are trying to convince Diaspora Armenians to repatriate, or may be not, because you seem now to talk deridingly about those who do repatriate: “Only those ones repatriate whose ‘brave and clever” (grand)parents lose their land…”. Frankly, I don’t get what you are trying to convey.
    Gaytzak,
    There are so many Armenian organizations, political, social, cultural, religious, benevolent etc, there is the independent Republic of Armenia with a strong Army and state institutions, what is then preventing them from organizing a “real national repatriation” program? Immigration at national level is not something to be organized individually. Contrary to the information you give, the repatriation in Soviet times was organized at state level with the financing of the Soviet government. Besides, there was quite a strong fervour especially among lower class Diasporan Armenians to immigrate to Armenia. At the time, the world was divided in two camps and Armenia found itself in the so-called anti-imperialist camp. Since then, the world has dramatically changed, many illusions have gone. People today, and not only Armenians, think, rightly, that they deserve to have a minimum of financial, political and judicial security. If not, they will look for other alternatives for survival than staying in their own land at any price. I am not encouraging this, but if you are looking for real solutions you have to realize that real solutions lie elsewhere and certainly not in hollow slogans.

  43. gaytzag – I agree with you. That’s why I wrote in my above comment: “Ask some 400-500 sq. km land from Artsakh authorities: I am sure they will “borrow” it to you for even more than 99 years”.

  44. avatar john the turk // February 22, 2012 at 9:41 am // Reply

    istanbul
    That was done by the Lausanne treaty but Armenians were happy in other countries Thanks anyway for your offer

  45. avatar gaytzag palandjian // February 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm // Reply

    Looks like here people do not read each other´s posts carefully.
    I HAVE NOT SUGGESTED INDIVIDUAL REPATRIATION PROGRAMMES.
    AND …
    REPATRIATION OF POST WAR (1945) WAS NOT ORGANZIE D ON STATE LEVEL.BUT THE AARMENIANS OF GREECE, IRAN,EGYPT ..WHO ORGFANIZED THE NERGAGHT COMMITTEES AND PROVIDED FOR THE FUNDS NECESSARY FOR NOT ONLY TRANSPORT …BUT ALSO CLOTHING ETC.,
    YOU SEE THOSE WHO LEFT IRAN(<my father was a member of the nergaght repatraition committee ) AND I DO NOT THINK IT POSSIBLE TO ASK RA TO FUND SUCH A HUGE REPATRIATION.THEY ARE VERY MUCH IN NEED OF FUNDS.IT APPEASRS THAT YOU DO NOIT READ OTHERS.ONE COMPATRIOT HERE OR ON ANOTHER THREAD GAVE DETAILS AS TO AWFULL ECONOMIC CONDITION RA IS IN WITH DEBTS PILING UP TO IMF(iNT´L MONMETARY FUND) THIS THAT OTHERS…
    PLEASE GO and read ,I have tried to suggdest best possible way of organizing future REPATRIATION!!!!
    Thanks for reading me in http://www.armeniannews.info (especially last post) in Users articles at top left corner….

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