Dreaming with a Broken Heart

By: Christine Feghali

I recently read an article written by a peer in Israel about the possibility of the return of Western Armenia’s lands.  In the article, he brings up points that are not discussed often enough and, to be honest, I never gave the subjects much thought until after I read the article.  I highly recommend reading his article (http://www.haytoug.org/3717/the-lost-homeland-indeed) and seeing what he has to say.  His article has inspired me to discuss certain topics with people I’ve met with over the past week and this blog is a result of those conversations.

Imagine for a moment that by some miracle, the Turkish government decided to stop denying the Armenian Genocide and to give back Western Armenia.  We would all celebrate.  We would feel like the time we spent protesting at the Turkish Consulate every year was worthwhile and that it made a difference.  We would hug our fellow Armenians and proclaim victory.  But then what?  What steps would we take to ensure a prosperous future for our country?

We often forget that there are currently nearly 14 million Kurds living in Western Armenia.  What becomes of them if we suddenly regain control of this land? In a recent conversation at a birthday party (yes, this is the kind of stuff I talk about at birthday parties), someone regarded that they could just remain on the lands.  We have to keep in mind, however, that the Kurds, much like the Armenians, struggle to have an independent and free Kurdistan.  They want to be free of occupation and oppression, and it is safe to assume that if we have Western Armenia, our fight would be against the Kurds rather than against the Turks.

As the article states we can either give parts of our land to the Kurds while retaining the strategic and symbolic regions or we can stifle the Kurds and have them live under occupation.  Of the two, the more humane solution is clear, yet I assume that it would be very difficult for any Armenian to give up a single inch of the land that we’ve fought so hard to get back.  I know that I would not want to see our lands go as quickly as they came.  So what do we do?

Another problem we Armenians would face when regaining our lands is determining how we’re going to populate the country and make it successful both economically and socially.  Of the eight ANCA Western Region interns, I know of at least two who absolutely want to move back to Armenia some day.  They want to spend their lives there and raise their families in the Motherland.  The problem is, they are the exception.  Who of the nearly seven million Armenians living in the Diaspora would make the move?  Many people here are comfortable with their lives and, as one person at the birthday party put it, why go to a place with no jobs when we can be happy and successful here.

Many of us dream of moving back to Armenia, of waking up with a view of Mayr Hayastan or Mount Ararat from our balconies.  But how many of us are willing to drop our lives here and move?  I know that personally, I would need my family to move with me.  Family is the most important thing to me, and I would not be able to leave them behind.  For others, although family may be important, they can find it in themselves to fulfill their dream with or without their loved ones.

One other issue we need to consider is the ignorance of some Armenians residing in the United States.  Over the weekend, I met several Armenians who didn’t know what Artsakh is.  I don’t mean to paint a dreary picture, but we have to face the sad reality and admit that this was not exceptional.  There are many Armenians who don’t know these things about our culture and many that don’t even care to know.  These people are not going to be moving to Armenia if we regain our lands.  They are apathetic to our cause and lack knowledge of their own culture.  Unfortunately, we have lost too many Armenians through assimilation to fully repopulate Armenia if the lands are returned.

I don’t have a practical solution to any of these problems.  Apo Sahagian, the author of the article that inspired me, offers possible solutions that he thinks may work, but as he says, “…before banging on the table and ordering the realignment of borders, there is a bit of reflection that is necessary before stomping our feet and roaring for the restoration of Van, Mush, and Ararat under Armenian rule—no matter how right and reasonable.”

What do you think?  Would you be willing to take your expertise to Armenia and help the country prosper?  What solution is there that would satisfy both the Armenians and the Kurds?  I’m very interested in hearing what all you readers have to say.  By continually having these conversations, we spread awareness of the issues and can start coming up with plans and solutions so we are prepared when the time comes to fulfill our dreams and regain our lost lands.

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15 thoughts on “Dreaming with a Broken Heart

  1. You guys need to dream on. These warmongering West Armenia fanatsies will make you guys more hateful and racist. You guys thanks to dreaming for a warmongering agenda, you have an oligarchy where 1.000.000 people moved out since your motherland got independent. It is not Baku or Ankara that caused your economic problems, it is the corrupt oligarchs that wank off to endless territorial demands that are the problem, actually speaking. That is why you have a country that sucks out the foreign aid from US dollars, yet most of that foreign aid goes to the leaders of Arm, and defense/army buildup.

    • Kam you are so right about the warmongering. She clearly in this article proposes a plan of armed action to get back Western Armenia. She also states several times that we should not care for the Kurds living in a vast majority of that land. You are also right about it not being Baku or Ankara’s fault for Armenia’s economic fate. After all Istanbul was the capital when the Turks decided to rid of all Armenians so Ankara had nothing to do with that. It is also has nothing to do with Western and Eastern borders being blocked from trade. Those are irrelevant obviously. Also, why does Armenia feel like they need to build up their national security? It’s not like there is a country whose leaders constantly threaten them and it’s not like within the last couple months a neighboring countries forces invaded a small village in Armenia or anything.
      Kam you should write a book so I can gather all your incredibly accurate and educated thoughts on this topic. It would be a best seller, actually speaking.

      • Lol, I really thank you for the sarcasm of the paragraph. But what i have stated was facts. You guys accuse Turkish people of being in “denial.” Last time I checked, the government of Turkey and tons of Turkish people have acknowledged the fact that there was unarmed Armenian suffering and I also think that that the suffering of unarmed Alevi, Sunni, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish civilans which were killed by Armenian civilians should be recognized too. You guys want to deny that you guys ethnically cleansed many non-Orthodox Christians in Anatolia to create a “Greater Armenia” so you can continue the agenda that you guys failed at in 1915-1923. Which was to create an Armenia which was the size of Tigran The Great’s empire. I think you Armenian Supremacists think the world revolves around you, you guys think you are all above everyone else, especially Turks, Azeris and to some degree, your fellow Christian Georgians and you guys think you can get what you want by being really unfair to your neighbors and even threatening their existance via “endless territorial demands.”

        It is funny how you guys accuse Azeris of being agressive towards their neighbors. Wrong. Who expelled 1.000.000 unarmed people (Azeris and other non-Armenians from Karabagh) and why cannot those people go back to NKR? It is because you guys commited an act of agression against Azerbaijan in the early 1990’s.

        What about how you guys try to avoid responsibility for the Khojaly massacre and claim it was an inside job? Because you guys are afraid that people are going to wake up on how your guys really powerful, sometimes, too powerful lobby groups are trying to manipulate other nations to control them so you can snitch as much land from your neighbors. Also, claiming Khojaly was an inside job is a dumb and ridiculous as what those 9-11 “truthers” or conspiracy theorist nuts claim.

        It is funny how you guys try to beg endlessly to other countries to jail people who want to discuss the full entire facts of what happened in WW1. (Note: I am not denying the fact that unarmed Armenians died, okay). Yet, you guys hypocritically complain and whine about Article 301 (I actually am a strong supporter of repealing that law all the way). You guys claim the French law proposal is fighting against “Hate Speech.” How is it hate speech to state that I am not denying Armenian suffering and how unarmed Muslims were massacred by Armenian forces? You guys incorrectly accuse people of “denial” because you want to stop the people who want a fair and just resolution to this Turkish-Armenian conflict and get away with your plot to partition Turkey and wipe it off the map. No one is denying Armenian suffering, but you cannot deny the fact that Armenian forces commited atrocities against Sunnis, Alevis, Jews, Catholics, Protestants and others to create a “Greater Armenia” and how you guys want to create a “Greater Armenia” still at the expense of your neighbors.

        What about how you guys formed the Bagramyan battalion allying with Abkhazian seperatists to ethnically cleanses Georgians from Abkhazia? You guys accuse people of having blood on their hands and accuse Turkey and Azerbaijan from wanting to wipe Armenia off map? Do Turkey and Azerbaijan have any territorial claims against Armenia? NO. Does Armenia lay territorial claims against Turkey and Azerbaijan? YES. That means you guys are the agressors and teach your kids to be racist against all things Turkish, even a bunch of idiots like Taner Akcam. What is the point of Taner Akcam, and Orhan Pamuk, when you guys are still going to be racist against all things Turkish.
        Get over it, learn how to be peaceful with your neighbors, the Turkish people do not want to wipe you off, stop trying to think you will wipe off Turkey from the map, okay? If you want your country to excel, stop attacking your neighbors all the time, because since you guys attack your neighbors all the time, you have a country that has ties with lunatic dictators like Ahmadinejad and Putin and claim you guys are pro-free world and pro-human rights, as well as being ruled by oligarchs and sucking the foreign aid out of other countries, yet, none of that money goes to your people in your motherland.

        My point is this “genocide peddling” movement (which is in reality to be a scheme to wipe your neighbors off the map) is actually hurting your people and making your people really hateful, really racist and really warmongering and also, always living in the past all the time. Time to get over it and live in the future.

  2. Look at the Yezidis, an ethnic group similar to the Kurds that live peacefully in Armenia and even though their ancestral lands are in southern Turkey/northern Iraq, they consider Armenia their homeland, speaking and living in Armenian for generations. They’ve even participated in the liberation of Artsakh. Over time, they grew accustomed to Armenians, and even though they are discriminated at times, they are still citizens of Armenia.
    The same could happen with the independence-seeking Kurds. They could live side-by-side with Armenians, who are definitely better neighbors than their persecuting Turk neighbors.
    In the scenario where Armenians actually feel the need to attach to their roots that go back a few generations, they could resettle in their native lands, be it Van, Mush, Bitlis, Erzerum, Malatia, Kharpert, etc. like they tried to do in the 1940s when after WWII, Soviet authorities temporarily put on the agenda to liberate Western Armenia and resettle native Armenians that would later repatriate from Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, France, Greece, etc.
    Even though the Western Armenians repatriated to what was then Soviet Armenia, the agenda was never conducted, and so they forcibly settled in Yerevan and other cities of Eastern Armenia, thus mixing the mini-cultures that exist amongst Armenians based on regional origin.
    ANYWAYS, settling Armenians would take their businesses and families and friends, thus creating an economy. If a free Kurdistan is created in northern Iraq, many Turkish Kurds would probably immigrate there, thus depleting the number of Kurds in the region.
    If the lands are returned to Armenia, there is NO WAY that a stable government policy would be made to help the diaspora return simply because of the current government’s inability to govern today’s Armenia since they are busy laundering money here and there.

    —Also as a note: the population of eastern Anatolia (western Armenia) consists of Kurds, Alevi, hidden Armenians, and Turks, of which the latter are descendants of Balkan Turks (from Serbia/Greece/Bulgaria etc.) who were settled there after WWI to fill the void left by the departed Armenians. There are many obstacles.—
    check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Armenia

  3. Excellent article….but you have a misconception about Kurds in Turkey. They are not fighting for independence just because. It is because of Turkish opression (social and economic discrimination, linguistic). It is even a criminal action to use the letter “x” (among others) in writing because it is deemed Kurdish!

    On the other hand, Armenia has an excellent record with minorities. Look at the Yazidies. They enjoy equal rights as ethnic Armenians. They fought alongside Armenia against Azerbaijan, and this has been recognized by the Armenian government. Plain and simple: they love being Armenian citizens!

    And so would Kurds.

    • Hi David! My apologies for being unclear. I am aware that the Kurds are fighting for independence because of the oppression they are facing by the Turks. Regardless, I still do not think that they would be willing to give up their fight for a free Kurdistan or for an identity independent of any other people, particularly when they greatly outnumber the country in which they reside.

  4. I am really happy to read this since it is the first time someone talks about the issue… We should finally know that Armenia’s western neighbor is Kurdistan (specially after Iraki Kurdistan and the Syrian scenario) … If we want to have the right to live in the future we should plan for it ..We should decide the future Kurd leader’s by backing them ..The funniest question is : Will the diasporans come and live in Western Armenia ..This makes me laugh specially when you know that after 20 years of independence only 7% of them came to see what really Armenia looks like !! Only a strong Armenia will preserve our identity .We should all focus on this matter and rule the 60000 km2 with a port on the black sea :That’s where my dreams come s true .
    Pierre BAGHDADIAN
    ( A Repat Armenian living in Ashtarak )

    • Thank you for taking the time out to read my blog and respond. Unfortunately, you’re right. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find many Diasporan Armenians willing to move back to Western Armenia. Repopulation is problem, but it’s not the most important problem. We need to be ready to answer these questions when the time comes, but we also need to continue striving towards justice and the return of our lands. Without justice, it doesn’t matter how much we discuss these challenges.

  5. WHOA! WHOA! WHOA! Wait just a second. I hope all Armenians in this blog that are saying that Kurds could live peacefully with Armenians have not forgotten that they worked alongside Turks to kill us (which is how they ended up in their current day situation).

    • You’re absolutely right. I don’t think that we can live peacefully side by side with the Kurds which is why we need to figure out how we will go about handling that problem should we have to face it.

  6. Pingback: Dreaming With a Broken Heart – Part 2 « ANCA-WR Blog

  7. arhh! Another ridiculous Armenian dream that will remain as a dream for like ever :)))
    Go and grab a cold drink and cool down for a bit and stop torchering your brain with pointless desires, worry about the lands you currently hold, you may lose them one day,

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