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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/13/14

I Am Armenian

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Message Declan Hayes

I am not Armenian. I am Irish, as it happens. However, in the Armenian language, my family name means I am Armenian.

If I were Armenian, I would be very angry with my fellow-Armenians, those in the USA in particular. They are, we hear, the second richest minority group in the USA and they are, we hear, making big preparations to commemorate the 24 April 2015 genocide when 1.5 million Armenians were butchered in Syria for the simple crime of being born Armenian.

The American Armenians, we hear, remember those far-gone atrocities and are determined the world will know about it. In France, we hear, it is a crime to deny that genocide was perpetrated by Turkey on the Armenians, along with the Greeks, the Assyrians and a number of other minorities in April 1915. France, Syria, Chile, Uruguay and numerous other countries have, from time to time, commemorated that genocide with postage stamps, a nice initiative, instigated no doubt by concerned Armenians who remember those far-off atrocities and are determined the world will smugly and silently remember them.

So, why the anger, you ask. Today, 7th September, the Armenian civilians of Jaramana in Damascus are still under constant bombardment by the moderate rebels America's President Peace prize winner Barack Obama has just promised another $4 bn to, the Armenians of Aleppo have had their homes and factories looted and their contents sold off as booty in Turkey, they have buried their friends and relatives by the score, and the Armenians of Kasab have likewise had their relatives slaughtered, their community destroyed and their elderly folk taken as hostages to Turkey where they were paraded in front of the American ambassador and his beautiful wife for their entertainment.

Whatever about the fat cats of the Armenian Diaspora, the Armenians of Syria are by and large simple people who got their kicks by singing hymns in church and their living by picking apples. Those simple pleasures and livelihoods are now denied them and the American Armenians, no doubt too busy following Kim Kardashian on twitter or listening to Cher's ditties on their expensive sound systems, do absolutely nothing to help their fellow-Armenians who remain at the business end of the Turkish cosh.

Even though American Armenian lawyers, we hear, are great advocates, we see none of them getting off their well-waxed posteriors to take class actions on behalf of the elderly Kasab Armenians taken as hostages to Turkey for the entertainment of their ambassador and his beautiful wife. Even though American Armenian churches, we hear, are very generous donors to all types of charities and they have the welfare of the larger and less fortunate Armenian community very much at heart, their fellow Armenians in Syria have yet to see one single, solitary dime from these generous flag-bearers of atrocities committed long ago, atrocities those in Kasab who suffered similar atrocities this year, heard first-hand accounts about when, as little children, they sat on their mothers' knees almost a century ago. Not for them the narcissistic keening by the rivers of Gotham. Their mess of pottage has a sharper edge, the unforgiving sword of the Saudi funded jihadists who are well on the way to exterminating them and their way of life.

Syria's Armenian community have been stripped of their livelihoods by foreign gunmen who enjoy the largesse of the American government which depends, in part, on the tax dollars of America's Armenian community. Syria's Armenian community, like all the people of Syria they have lived peaceably with for untold centuries, need the help of the outside world, members of the Armenian Diaspora in particular.

Armenian children in Kassab
Armenian children in Kassab
(Image by Lily Martin)
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Although simple people, Syria's Armenians are not stupid. They know there is a plan afoot to denude the traditional bible lands of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine of their Christians and other minorities. They know they are in the line of American fire through no fault of their own, save that of being born Armenian Christians. What they do not know or cannot understand is why the well-heeled members of the Armenian Diaspora in the United States and France care so little for their fate that they will not even do the most simple, elementary and rudimentary things in solidarity with their Syrian confreres.

Why no Armenian or Christian aid? Why no political pressure on Washington's warlords? Why no legal challenges against Turkey's Erdogan regime and why is America's ambassador to Turkey and his beautiful wife not behind bars? These are simple questions I would put to America's Armenian leaders if our paths crossed -- in America or they will hardly cross here in Syria as America's Armenian community are either too busy or too scared here to "come and visit" as St Paul, himself no stranger to Damascus, put it.

I am not Armenian but, if I were, I would be angry. I would try not to sink into the type of despair that is the ghost at the bedside of Syria's Armenian community. If America's Armenian community refuse to help, perhaps salvation for the Armenians and Syria's other Christian remaining communities lies where with it has traditionally lay, with the Syrian Arab Army and its ultimate protector, Mother Russia.

I will put these issues to the nuns of Saidnaya when I meet them later today for their great festival. In the meantime, as we say in Russian, Dosvidan'ya.

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Dr Declan Hayes is currently on his third trip to Syria this year. He is helping organize a conference in Damascus for April 24th 2015, tentatively called: Syria: Between Destruction and Reconstruction to mark the murder (more...)
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