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The Exodus of Musa Dagh Armenians: From the Sanjak of Alexandretta to Anjar, Lebanon

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The Sanjak of Alexandretta/Iskenderun was an autonomous province within Syria during the interwar years. Its inhabitants included a significant number of Armenian natives and refugees, among them the indigenous population of Musa Dagh near Antioch. A political crisis beginning in 1936 shook Sanjak society to its core, as winds of change from a French mandate to Turkish suzerainty increasingly caused panic. The turmoil grew to alarming proportions for the Arabs, Alawites, and Christians when a farcical “election” in the summer of 1938 installed a Turkish majority in the Sanjak’s legislature. A year later Turkey annexed the area. This was the final straw that compelled the overwhelming majority of Armenians, among other groups, to seek refuge in other parts of Syria as well as Lebanon, refusing to live under Turkish rule.

Vakif

During the period between the summer of 1938 and the summer of 1939, socioeconomic life in Musa Dagh deteriorated rapidly. Exports and imports from and into the Sanjak were drastically reduced. Merchants conducting business with Aleppo were obliged to deposit with the Hatay government a sum equal to the value of their merchandise as collateral. After selling the goods the merchants had to convert the Syrian lira into the Turkish lira to be able to carry their money back into the Sanjak. The merchants were able to regain only 70 percent of the collateral they had deposited at the time of export, that is to say, the government kept 30 percent as tax on profits, in addition to customs fees. As a result, unemployment in Musa Dagh rose to 90 percent. Construction was halted. Artisans sold their merchandize for 25 percent less, and bought other necessities for 25 percent more. Poverty and misery became rampant.

Beginning in late spring 1939, Turkish police posts were set up in and near the Armenian villages. There was also an attempt to establish Turkish Halkevleri (nationalistic people’s houses, i.e., clubs) with the help of Armenian collaborators, described as “paid enthusiastic Kemalist propagandist agents.” They reported regularly on compatriots who remained opposed to the emergent Turkish regime, and even sent representatives to propagandize about the Sanjak (then called the Hatay Republic) among Musa Dagh expatriates in Aleppo, Damascus, and Beirut.

When in April 1939 two French senators, who were also members of the French Mediterranean Committee opposed to the Sanjak’s annexation to Turkey, visited Musa Dagh, they received an immense popular reception. After their departure, a number of Armenians were arrested. Serop Sherbetjian was sacked from his Musa Dagh governorship position. Tateos Babigian from Vakef replaced him as an appointee of the Turkish regime in Antioch.

On June 30, 1939, the Armenian National Union (ANU) in Beirut sent High Commissioner Gabriel Puaux a letter signed by the political and religious leaders, including the Primate of the Aleppo Ardavazt Surmeyian. In it, they expressed with sadness the fact that efforts in Paris had failed to save the Sanjak; that the Armenians and especially those of Musa Dagh would be the biggest losers; that they wanted to live under French protection given Turkey’s record of persecutions and massacres; that the Musa Daghians must be settled as a group in a mountainous area in Lebanon reminiscent of Musa Dagh and affording agricultural opportunities; and that France should assume the transportation expenses.

Four days later, on July 4, Bishop Surmeiyan sent Puaux a letter, saying that since “the question of selling their [the Musa Daghians’] houses is dead,” they should at least be allowed to carry their movable belongings. He similarly asked that the goods be inspected when packed in the villages rather than at the border customs to avoid long lines and undue delays, that laissez-passers be issued free of charge, and so on.

When Col. Philibert Collet, the French officer in charge of the Armenians’ exodus, heard rumors that the Musa Daghians were contemplating burning their homes before departure, he issued a call for them to leave their doors open and their homes and orchards intact. Those rumors proved unfounded.

Collet similarly instructed Khat Achabahian, prelate of the Sanjak Armenians, to form special committees to determine the number of persons and livestock, and the weight of movable belongings that would be transported. The Musa Dagh survey revealed the following results: 1,272 families or 7,888 persons, 3,232 animals, and 781 tons of luggage. These figures were later adjusted at the Ras al-Basit encampment as follows: 1,204 families (68 families less), 5,125 persons (2,763 persons less), approximately 1,850 tons of goods (nearly 2.5 times more than the initial amount). The reasons for these changes will be discussed in a more comprehensive study.

 

Those who stayed behind

Not all Armenians elected to leave Musa Dagh. Such cases numbered 68 families or 384 persons, constituting about 6 percent of Musa Dagh’s total population. The breakdown was as follows: 4 families/12 persons in Bitias; 1 family/8 persons in Haji Habibli; 4 families/28 persons in Yoghunoluk; 4 families/27 persons in Kheder Beg; 3 families/15 persons in Kabusiye; 11 families/64 persons in Zeituniye in the nearby plain of Svedia; and 41 families/232 persons in Vakef. Most of these families lived together as a group in Vakef. Presently Vakef is showcased as the sole Armenian village left in Turkey.

They stayed behind for several reasons. To begin with, these Armenians believed that they could live peacefully and harmoniously in republican Turkey (intense Turkish propaganda aided in shaping this favorable opinion). Second, it was emotionally and psychologically difficult for them to abandon their ancestral lands (this torment certainly applied to those who elected to depart, as well). Third, they entertained the false hope that they would be able to acquire the fixed properties abandoned by those who left. Fourth, they belonged to a political faction—mainly members and sympathizers of the Social Democrat Hnchakian Party—that had failed to break the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s (ARF) hold on the governance of Musa Dagh during the interwar years. Therefore, by staying they would be able to rid themselves of the ARF’s dominance. That being said, most others with similar anti-ARF sentiments still decided to leave the area.

 

The exodus

The exodus from Musa Dagh took place from July 15-20, 1939. The goods were shipped by boat to Ras al-Basit, between Kesab and Latakia; the women, children, and the elderly rode trucks and buses, and the men walked, some of them accompanying the animals. Turkish soldiers manning border checkpoints inspected the goods strictly in search of weapons, especially. Some Turkish civilians attacked the caravans and stole about 340 animals, killed 4 pigs, and took 330 Syrian liras. Turkish gendarmes succeeded in retrieving just 63 animals, and only a fraction of the money.

When the refugees arrived at the Armenian enclave of Kesab, the locals welcomed them with open arms by offering food, water, and tan (yogurt juice). Then, at Qastal Muaf, en route to Ras al-Basit, they were vaccinated against typhoid.

 

The camp at Ras al-Basit 

The first batch of refugees arrived at Ras al-Basit on July 18 and camped in the open, as no shelter was available. As the rest began to join them, they congregated in groups according to their villages. Families built sheds with branches and whatever materials they could muster, and hoisted the French flags on them. They made water sources in the immediate vicinity operational with pumps, and opened ditches just 50 meters away from the camp to be used as restrooms. This unsanitary arrangement attracted “millions” of flies, which caused serious health problems. The women cooked food outdoors, while the men herded the animals and opened makeshift stores. People commuted to Latakia to purchase necessities. The French government paid 25 Syrian liras per adult and 10 liras per child under the age of 10 beginning on Aug. 7.

Social life resumed to some degree. The various denominations in each village-grouping worshipped in their respective “churches.” The political parties held their own meetings. Some voluntary associations likewise tried to keep a semblance of normalcy. For example, the annual meeting of the Union of Former Légion Arménienne Combatants took place on Aug. 24 in the presence of 173 members. An executive committee was elected unanimously. A report of activities read revealed the type and amount of donations that the Union had received beginning in the second half of 1938 from the Syrian Armenian Relief Cross in Aleppo (one box of medicines), and Union affiliates in France (1,600 FF) and the United States ($240).

A Central Relief Committee approved by the French and Vicar General Bedros Sarajian of the Catholicosate of Cilicia at Antelias, Lebanon, managed all refugee affairs. The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Central Executive in Paris cooperated by forming an Extraordinary Central Fundraising Committee on July 21. In turn, the Harach (meaning “forward,” in Armenian) newspaper in Paris made its front pages available to publish the lists of donors from Europe and North Africa. Compatriots from the United States likewise contributed.

Due to the unsanitary living conditions, disease increased to an alarming degree, afflicting children especially. Torrential rains from Aug. 22-24 soaked the campers and exacerbated the situation. Collet sent 12 tents to shelter the children. A French military doctor established a six-bed infirmary. An Armenian pharmacist from Aleppo donated 100 Syrian liras worth of medicines. A maternity with 20 beds was also opened in Latakia with a midwife sent by the Syrian Armenian Relief Cross; by Aug. 30, some 180 sick and elderly people were admitted. A French military health inspector, upon visiting Ras al-Basit, ordered the transfer of some 60 sick children together with their mothers to Beirut to be placed under the care of the Armenian National Union (ANU). The government-run trade school building was placed under the ANU’s disposal, with its chair and Lebanese Armenian Relief Cross representative, Dr. Onnig Gergerian, managing it.

 

In search of a final settlement site

The Turkish government asked the French to refrain from installing the Armenians near the Syrian-Turkish border. The French obliged, and initially considered four possible sites in Lebanon: (1) in the mountains overlooking Tripoli, especially around the villages of Sir and Bakhune; (2) in the district of Hermel, along the Orontes River; (3) in the west of Baalbek, around the villages of Shemestar, Hadith, and Budaye; (4) in south Lebanon, in the foothills of Hermon, between the cities of Marjayun and Rashaya. Hermel was regarded as the most suitable, not only because of the available land, but also because the Armenians “would constitute a moderating element and a factor of appeasement, in a corner which troubles, permanently, the dissentions between Christians and non-Christians.” For various reasons, however, none of these places were selected.

The High Commission ultimately negotiated with a retired Turkish military officer named Rushdi Hoja Tuma, who owned a 1,540 hectare domain at a place called Anjar in the Bekaa valley. Although Rushdi Bey asked for 10 million FF, he was willing to accept, out of “patriotic sentiments,” an “important reduction” if the Turkish government asked him to. The land was purchased at a reduced price.

 

To Anjar

The relocation from Ras al-Basit to Anjar took place from Sept. 3-16. The refugees were sent to Tripoli by ship, and then to Riyaq by train, where they received food, fruit, and refreshments from a local Armenian reception team. From Riyaq, they were transported aboard trucks to their final destination of Anjar. This was a rocky and thorny terrain with no dwellings whatsoever. Because the refugees received an inadequate number of tents (accommodating 12 people each), ordinary linen was additionally distributed for the uprooted to make their own shelters. As in Ras al-Basit, here, too, the population stuck together in compact groups according to their villages of origin. Given the inhospitable geographical milieu, scores fell ill and/or died. With the cold winter fast approaching, some 1,778 women and children were dispersed among 14 villages and towns in the general vicinity and housed in vacant buildings or among Christian families with accommodation possibilities. The men in turn stayed at Anjar to construct stone dwellings that the French had planned. The original project would give each family a house comprised of 2 rooms, a kitchen, and a restroom on a 400 sq. meter lot. But as France entered World War II, and with its finances earmarked for that effort, the original plan was reduced to a single room with an outdoor restroom. Each adult male received an addition parcel of land for farming. By spring 1940, the Armenians occupied their new houses. The three religious communities (Apostolic, Evangelical, and Catholic) in turn received specific plots within the village for their churches and schools. A new life in a new country thus began to take shape for the Armenians from Musa Dagh.

Today Anjar is a beautiful 73-year-old thriving town with all kinds of community facilities and businesses. Yet, given the political turmoil in the Middle East, its future status and that of the Armenian communities in the region as a whole remain tenuous at best.

20 Comments on The Exodus of Musa Dagh Armenians: From the Sanjak of Alexandretta to Anjar, Lebanon

  1. What a unique and most interesting article. Thank you for sharing such an important piece of our diaspora history. I have known many Anjartzis , but did not have a complete understanding of the historical context and the details of their journey. An additional article on the development of the community,would be most welcome.

  2. This was a wonderful and informative article, yet I came away from it not happy, but disgusted: at France. Yes, yes, we have friendly connections to France for a thousand years, a large thriving community there, Aznavour in part defines France, and all that good stuff… yet, dirty politics overcomes all this in an instant as has been proven by the dirty French government, the same as all other governments involved in the world wars, western or eastern: WE DO NOT HAVE ANY FRIENDS.

    All being said, whether you agree or not, THANK YOU FRANCE FOR DESTROYING CILICIAN ARMENIA.

  3. Anjar is the result of the exile of Armenians from Mousa Ler…Yes, it’s future survival is tenuous at best. The community is a temporary half-way stop on the road to eventual assimilation, just like the Armenian communities in Aleppo and Beirut.

  4. While we can somehow understand the naivete of Armenians who, after the Genocide, believed the promises made by the Great Powers to assist the “downtrodden and dispersed” Armenians at the Paris Peace Conference, to repeat the same mistakes today, in hindsight, is foolhardy and undignified. In a perverted sense of logic, Armenians continue to go begging for scraps in Europe and America, and then condemn the powers that be for not living up to their pledges (a la Obama and the “G” word). Yes, take the example of France after WWI. They came to grab their sphere of interest in a disembodied Ottoman Empire and made promises to the Armenians on Cilicia. Lo and behold, the French withdrew in the dead of night, leaving Armenians to once again fend for themselves. Naturally, France then struck up an advantageous economic collaborative partnership with the new Turkish Republic. The U.S. did the same. When will we learn from our past mistakes?

  5. avatar gaytzag palandjian // December 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm // Reply

    Who doesn’t know about Moussa Dagh …and in consequence of its being emptied from armenians who the French vessels””kindly” transported to Alexandria,Egypt.
    Kevork is DEAD right.Never trust in Wehter east or West politicians…LET US RELY ON OURSELVES ONLY
    /Hragadar….mentions assimilation of those “Mnatsorts””remnants of the few very few in Aynjar.it happens that my son in law’s family are from there,i.e, both Moussadagh and later settled in Aynjar…I know all about it.
    BUT ISSUE AT STAKE HERE IS N E I T H E R!!!!!

    GREAT TURKLEY IS conjuring up to COMPLETELY ERASE ANY…..
    TRACXE OF ARMENIANS FROM THAT SWAN JAK…SAN KAK!!!!!
    S TY…..THEY KEPT IT TO SHOW TO EUOR- AMS AS proof that OH look we still keep the Armenians there*A showcase,as 40 Dayus of Moussa Dagh book is read by millions-in many tongues/languages…
    Thus ,if a visitor or tourists cared to go visit it…
    THEY WOULD SEE THAT THERE ARE ARMENIANS LIVING THERE!!!!
    WE Turks NEVER HARMED THEM…THEY STILL LIVE THERE..
    WE DON’T KNOW WHY THEY LEFT BY SHIP TO EGYPT////
    YOU S.O.b-ING bs…..
    I tell you these people are the most evil in the world Satans, call them what you wish..they will never CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111
    Sorry compatritos you did not grasp what they are planning!!!!
    Especially now when they are loosing ground in Europe no hope of Entry into EU, ARAB COUNTRIES DO NOT LET THEM MEDDLE INTO THEIR AFIRS, MUCH AS THEY TRY…IRAN__OH BOY…WAIT AND SEE..
    wHAT ARE WE TO DO…get reorganized into better Diaspora structures

  6. avatar Christopher Walker // December 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm // Reply

    Excellent article, in all aspects. And although I’m usually critical of British imperialism, it has to be said that the British observer resigned on account of the fraudulent population statistics created following the entry of Turkish troops into the Sanjak in mid 1938.

    One would like to have known a bit about the activities of Dr Ernest Altounyan. Also, international tensions were significant in the run-up to World War II.

    There’s a piece by me on the Sanjak in the London Times, 5 September 1974.

  7. Great to see Christopher Walker commenting here. His “Armenia; Survival of a Nation” is a great history primer I’d advise all to get…if it’s still in print.

  8. avatar gaytzag palandjian // December 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm // Reply

    Dear Mr. Christopher Walker,
    Had I known that writers of your calibre/standing enter into this forum-site ,I would have taken much care not make any errors(as I have done above) in posting here.Usually I am carried away with the perrenial Armeno-Turkish conflict to put it very mildly .I went to school in London,at Pitman´s College long ago and I should really excerciese care and take precautions not to make mistakes.
    I trust you will forgive my badly written both tyupographically and grammatically previous posts of mine here,as well.
    Indeed i have yet another piece of you,published long ago in The Independent which i prize in my private library. I admire your knowledge of issues w/ref. to Armenian Affairs etc.
    I /we, rather would be more honoured if you would now and then -when you get time-to post here.
    Thanks for your informative post above.

  9. avatar gaytzag palandjian // December 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm // Reply

    Addendum.
    Again errors by me,please read ¨another piece of YOURS…not you etc.,
    Am over 81 and quite tired too,I also write in Spanish and Armenian, plus a couple other languages such as Persian and French.Latter a bit weaker.
    Thnaks for bearing with me.
    g.p

  10. Hi, Mr. Walker! I love your book on Armenia and have read it many many times. I think every Armenian should. I am glad for the chance to catch you here, as I have always wanted to ask you a question.

    How do you assess the prospects for Armenia at this point in its history? Do you think there is democracy in Armenia? Do you believe democracy will improve these prospects for the country?

    And by the way, do you believe part of the blame for losing our first republic lies with its government’s unwillingness to build true democracy in Armenia? After all, our population was so alienated from its government that they gave up Kars almost without a shot (plus those damn Ross rifles). Thanx!

    • Vahagn, your opinion about “democracy” in the first republic, and Kars makes incorrect assumptions and thus cannot be answered correctly by anyone. Whether democracy existed in the first republic or not is irrelevant. In both parts of your question, Armenia was betrayed by the Soviet Union, twice. First as the first republic when the Soviet Union armed Ataturk so the Turks can conquer western Armenia, then as Soviet Armenia, when Kars was given away by the Soviet Union, not Armenia. Whether Armenians were willing to fight for Kars or not was also irrelevant, they had no say in the matter.

      And on another note, a better question to ask Mr Walker is whether he thinks democracy exists at all, anywhere at this point in time.

    • If Mr. Walker thinks that there is no democracy, I am sure he can answer it that way, so there is a way to answer my question. Though, having read his book, I highly doubt he denies the existence of democracy.

      Just because the Soviets armed Kemal does not mean there was nothing that we could do. We can’t know until we try, and we did not try in 1920. If we didn’t try to stand up to the Turks in Sardarabat, we would have been whiped off. Putting up a better defense in Kars in 1920 could have slowed down the Turks, or maybe even stopped them, as in 1918. Or maybe Armenia should not have engaged in skirmishes in Oltu which led to the war. And maybe we should have sent a better qualified dimplomat to Moscow in June of 1920 than a playright like Levon Shant. These were bad decisions which led to the destruction of the republic. Bad decisions can have tragic consequences when you don’t have democracy, because then you don’t listen to others and don’t allow debate.

    • Btw, as a correction, when you say “the Soviet Union armed Ataturk so the Turks can conquer western Armenia.” Ataturk did not conquer western Armenia. He conquered much of eastern Armenia (Kars, Alexandrapol). Western Armenia had already been lost by 1920, following the genocide and the Ottomans’ offensive in 1918.

  11. avatar gaytzag palandjian // December 6, 2012 at 10:44 am // Reply

    Hagop D´s
    Explanation as rgds irrelevant questions by Vahagn in place.
    however, I may correct him a bit to as to what trasnspired in Kars.
    Ref. One ,by Prof. Richard G. Hovanissian¨Repubñlic of Armenia 4 tomes..wehrein he has detailed how the Cache of arms that the British forces had in Kars was inadvertently passsed on to the kemalists.
    The Lenin Administration actjually furnished the Kemalists with Gold.Plenty of it,no not to crush the Armenians,but in his suppossedly very smart move to get the Turks in his/their camp.That of wrold communism..Lenin´s dream.
    Half a century later, I am invited with other cpompatriots of Europe,each representing a West Euro country to the 40th Anniversary of the Allied Victory over nazim.We are in the highest Military academy of France,the St. Cyr for lunch.Officers serving us with white glvoes.Sitting in front of me-by sheer chance -is the First Attache of the soviet Embassy in France a Mr. Gasparyan(still hav e his card).Next to me JACKIE ABRAMIAN, a New England Half ar,menian writer/correspondent. We c hat mostly political issues of courese.He tries to pursuade me that communism is to prevail, especially from where I come from(Iran).Northern Iran(Aterpatakan) is already eyed a couple times to bring that into the camp, in the first place.My reply to him is I beg to differ,because I know quite a bit about the Middle Eastern upheavals changes etc., and that I know about the three people there that will not even become socialist in the near future,let alone communist.
    He is annoyed.Then I continue to explain that in that part of the world Islam has deep roots and people there also believe in riches…
    We´ll see he says.We let it go at that.now why did i bring that example.
    Because now after near half a century the situation has not changed there.No single Middle East country has embraced Democracy,Social Democracy or any other such.Indeed, the rule there is a bit more on the side of disctatorships…and sectarianism,such as Shia , Alevi and other branches of the Islam.
    To sum up,Kars was left undefended,when the Russian soldiers went back home to join up with theirs for the Revolution,which encouraged Ataturk,now well armed and supplied by gold to press forward.Kiazim Karabekir later followd up to the Armenian frontier,Alexandrapol,threatening to enter Yerevan.
    The newly independent Armenia did act correctly not facing up that threat and gave in to the Red Army…rest is history too.

    • Dear gaytzag, as I have pointed out in another discussion, you seem to be confusing the two losses of Kars. In 1918 and 1920. In 1918 we lost Kars because, as you said, Russians left home, and the Georgian leader of the Transcaucasian seim (Chxenkeli) gave Kars to the Turks. There were no Kemalists back then. By 1920, Armenians had regained Kars (the British had given it to them). It’s then that we lost Kars without a shot to Kemalists, who were armed by Russia. The transfer of the cache of arms seems to have happened in 1918, not 1920.

  12. avatar gaytzag palandjian // December 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm // Reply

    Dear Vahagn,
    Firstly, I do know indeed that Kars was in our hands in the 1918′s,when Seim ws there already.Chxenkeli and/or Chicherin played a role during those years and further ahead to Beria times always to the detriment of R.of Armenia.They betrayed us ,pretty much like the Brits and /or the Russians.
    Kemal Ataturk though, had mustered up clout,not only by the cache of arms the Brits had left behind*btw, in this connection since I am quite meticulours,I asked Prof. Richard G.Hovanissian “how come these arms were handed over to Turks instead of us”.He told me on phone “my wife Vartiter Kocholosian Hovanissian,has written a book entitled Dzitogh Dashti Garno*Garin…in which I came across the details.A Russian officer in charge of the Cache is bribed by the Turkish officer and hands over the arms, ammo and FOOD as well to them. The Brits should have handed therse directly to Armenians NOT TO A rUSSIAN OFFICER. tHIS OCCURED THE SECOND confrontation when Ataturk not only by the Arms,as I wrote before HAD RECEIVED G O L D FROM LENIN.Please check on that…
    Thence there is one more episode which also is very sad….
    Whjen the kemals armies headed by Kiazim Karabekir marches to Kars, our “”Yerjangahishadag”May he rest in peace Bishop Garegin Hovsepiantz*later katholicos of great House of Cilicia, with a WHITE FLAG IN HAND GOES FWD to thus surrender Kars and the occupants*Armenians and the rest of Armnenian soldiers to them.
    Whereas we all know dear Garegin Hovsepiantz(* he has blessed me his hand on my head-I was 11 or 12 yrs old then…(
    Did the contrary in 1918, when Cross in hand *like Zhevont Yeretz of Vartanantz, encouraged our forces and population at SARDARAPAT to FIGHT,Fight we did and the enemy was thrown back with casualties…..
    Thus , we know that ONE ,rather Two officers, one a Brit the other Russian sort of change history , not totally but it weighed heavily when the Armenian forces needed not only the cache of arms BUT ALSO THE NEAR STARVING PEOPLE OF KARS WERE DEPRIVED\-according to Ms Vartiter of the BIG amount of good British FOOD ,also handed to the Turks…….
    Armenians should never trust any odars whether from East or West.
    History I am well aware of *ours i.e. have always been siding with either Byzantium,Ro,me or Persia in the very old times.Whereas we should have fortified ourselves like Tigran the Great Upon our own!!!!
    Right now we have a small but well traioned army in RA and Artsakh.
    I have in my “”paper”s “”sugested “that RA ought to allow -invite our young that already go to RA,but in very small numbers..to go there for their vacations from Diaspora, not only for camping around bonfires in ARI TUN T-Shirts…but on top of language,history and Culture, undergo a one mointh MILITARY CADE TRAINING\….hope some understand and second me to Diaspora Ministry and Gov.t of RA to kindly accept this “suggestion”
    .
    Also ALLOW THAT 5 PERMANENT REP.S OF OUR MAIN 5 COMMUNITEIS >/N/^ S.America,m RF,EU and MiddleEast be within that Minsitry and cooperate day to day .Get to kmnow e a other’s interrests in hel[ping RA/Artskah get to know RA/Artsakh better and really C O O P E R A T E !!!

  13. “Western Armenia had already been lost by 1920, following the genocide and the Ottomans’ offensive in 1918″

    On the contrary, the new Armenia was defined in 1920 by the treaty of Sevres, and this included a large portion of western Armenia. What happened in 1918 is irrelevant to this discussion. Having just lost WWI, the Turks neither had weapons nor money to wage wars at this time. And in fact within a year or so they were fully supplied with armaments and money to wage a so-called “war of independence” which allowed them to continue the genocide both against the Armenians in the east, and Greeks in the west.

    Also, do you honestly believe Armenians were thinking about “democratic values” at this time having just had their population decimated and barely forming a country?

    Gaytzag: as you say it was British arms, not Soviet, I don’t think it’s true. It may have been both, but it does not even matter. The fact remains, the Allies and/or Soviet Union of the time were fully capable of doing the right thing for Armenia, and they chose not to CONSCIOUSLY.

    And as you may have guessed from my post, I don’t subscribe to this idea of “democracy”, because it is anything you define it to be and it does not exist anywhere in the world. The USA is not a democratic country. It may use certain principles of it here and there, but that’s about it. The US government and its policies are well defined in advance, regardless of what names or individuals you slap on them.

  14. Government is not the solution to our problem government IS the problem

  15. Well, Hagop, you don’t need to agree that there is “true” democracy in the U.S. in order to support the idea Armenia will benefit from learning from the U.S. and other successful democracies. Even if you don’t believe that there is democracy in the U.S., think of “democracy” as just a word for the system in the U.S. Those thousands of Armenians who come to the U.S. prefer THAT system over the one that they have had in Armenia. So do the 1.3 million other people who make the U.S. their home annually (the numbers can be easily found on the internet). If that’s what our people prefer, it only makes sense to put THAT system (or a system modeled after it) in Armenia, so our people will remain in Armenia, and maybe many will want to go back. If you dont like the way the decisions are made in the U.S., I hope you agree that at least they are BETTER decisions than the ones made by the olygarchs in Armenia, who have far less accountability to the people, and who enjoy far greater impunity. No system is perfect, but it appears that numerous Armenians (and others) are preferring the one that exist in successful democracies. And it’s people who make a country wealthier and stronger.

  16. avatar MIKE ADAJIAN // December 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm // Reply

    COUSIN VAHRAM,

    It’s astounding to see how much detail
    you continue to uncover
    & how much life you put into our story.

    Thank you for all you do. For all of us.

    MIKE & ALEX ADAJIAN

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