I’m Home. I need a PASSPORT

By: Erik Khzmalyan

For quite awhile Syria has faced a great internal crisis. The hostilities and violence still continue to escalate in the country. Syria served as a refuge country for thousands of Armenians who fled from wars, prosecution, and of course the Genocide. Today, approximately 100,000 Armenians reside in Syria. Many of our fellow Armenians try to return back to their fatherland in order to escape the violence in Syria, where on a daily basis people become victims of suicide bombers and shootings. Yet, the authorities in Armenia fail to operate effectively, in order to provide shelters for Armenians coming from Syria.Many of these people faced difficulties with getting an Armenian citizenship, which in my opinion should not be a problem, as by having an Armenian ancestry one gets a citizenship pretty fast. Besides, the lack of regular flights to Syria from Armenia puts our fellow Armenians in a great danger, as most of them still remain in extremely dangerous situations.

Among the newcomers they are businessmen, professors, and doctors. Habet Putuzian a businessman from Syria stated in his interview in ArmeniaNow.com news agency, “I was thinking about buying mini buses and operating them here, however, I was told that I would not be allowed to. I said I wanted to buy a petrol station, they said, no way. In the end, some people advised me to buy several apartments and lease them or deposit money I had in banks. We’ll decide after we get our passports.” How can we not allow such a person to make an investment in Armenia? How can we not allow someone to create jobs by starting a business? Absurd.  I strongly believe that Syrian-Armenians willing to stay and live in Armenia MUST be guaranteed with Armenian citizenship. The sooner the Ministry of Diaspora understands this, the better for all of us. Conditions should be created in order to make Diasporan Armenians feel safe in Armenia, not alienate them and not issue them the status of the “OUTSIDER.”

In the end I would like to send my word to Armenians returning to Armenia, “Please, by applying for Armenian citizenship, don’t make Armenia a transit country for emigrating to foreign countries in the future!”

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