There is a large Armenian community still in Syria, though it has been reduced quite a bit mostly by emigration to the west. Now that the situation in the country has deteriorated rapidly, many have been applying for Armenian citizenship as a backup plan, and many others have thinking about or actually moving to Armenia. There is already a community of Syrian Armenians in Armenia who have been doing business in and living in Armenia for many years, which helps to some degree in encouraging others to come.
Most of the immigrants will no doubt want to live in Yerevan, but as an alternative, they should be given another option. Many of them are part of a tight-knit community and it may help to give them the opportunity to recreate their community here as something of a Nor Haleb.
Perhaps a town close to Yerevan like Armavir or Ashtarak could be the focus of official resettlement? Or something further like Ijevan or Shushi? Open a school there where Western Armenian is the language of instruction, but Eastern Armenian is also taught. Convert a building into a community center for them. Make them feel welcome and have a real and familiar community rebuilt so that they don’t move on from Armenia as soon as they possibly can, but instead put down roots and establish themselves in their homeland…
There are millions of Hemshin Armenians in the neighborhood of Armenia. These are Armenians from the region of Hemshin that accepted Islam a few hundred years ago and many didn’t talk about being Armenian… and now many don’t even realize they’re Armenian. But their language is without any doubt an Armenian dialect and their traditions remain quite close to Armenian ones. There has been talk on both sides (from some Hemshin and some Armenians) about bringing our communities closer over the years. Now there’s this interesting article about potentially having hundreds or thousands of them that ended up in Kyrgyzstan thanks to Stalin move to Karabakh.
Click on the “more” button for the article. Read more »
Adrineh wrote a thoughtful and interesting blog about some mixed feelings being a repat in Armenia. The local vs. diasporan thing, the privileged vs. those without. I think most repats/expats moving to Armenia must go through this process in some form or another, and everyone must figure out what works for them.
I’ve been in and out of Armenia for many years now. When I first arrived, I came without any real expectations or many preconceived notions. The only information I was armed with were many warnings from Diasporans to be really really careful. Armenia was full of thieves and a mafia that might kill me!! Well, aside from the thief of a taxi driver that dropped me off that first day, I am hard pressed to think of any other examples of being ripped off in all the years I’ve been here. As far as mafia and safety goes, that may be even more laughable, since I never felt safer in my entire life and the only mafia is the one that runs the whole country. They don’t bother with little people – as long as you don’t try to import sugar, oil, or some other commodity one of them has claimed as their own. Read more »
Last week a new burger/sandwich/pub opened in Yerevan named ‘The Factory’. It is owned by Diasporan partners, from I believe two different countries and is right next door to Yerevan’s first youth hostel (Envoy – also opened by Diasporans) which will undoubtedly supply it with some customers. Going in, it’s a clean newly remodeled place which used to be dead space on that block. It offers literally a breath of fresh air as you first enter into the non-smoking room, and the whole place seems to have one of the better ventilation systems in an otherwise smoky restaurant scene.
If I had to guess I’d say about half of the clients have been Diasporans when I’ve gone in (yes, three times already, perhaps too many burgers for one week?). The meat is supplied by The Meat Shop, which is soon to open a butcher shop and is owned by… yes, Diasporan partners from again a couple of different countries. Their space is in a retail space in a newly built building that has also never had a business in it before. A dead space. These spaces are coming to life, and a new mini-economy is being created. Read more »
One of the reasons I decided to move to Armenia was all the fantastic stories told on this blog. I read Alex Sardar, Raffi Kojian, Madlene Minassian and all the others with great interest. Now, I hope that we will be able to inspire another set of repast to join us in Armenia and create amazing stories of their own.
Of course, this is not the only way to attract more people towards Armenia. I understand that people need work, schooling (for kids), medical/health, (everything else will come … ).
I suggest that nurses/doctors, school teachers, dentists, political scientists, journalists and lawyers read and get inspired to eventually, maybe, why not… move here!
Looking forward to see more repats on the streets of Yerevan, Gumri, Vanadzor, Ashtarak or other cities, and why not, villages of Armenia!
Today’s story is simple. Over the weekend, one of our close friends held their daughter’s baptism in one of our favorite church, Sourp Zoravor (Asdvadzadzin). This church has become ours over the years. We have become used to attending Easter mass, weddings, baptisms and more ceremonies there. I no longer seek the Montreal churches so familiar to me. That is a great feeling to know that you know associate your life starry with local landmarks.