28 January 2014
Antranig Chakerian transformed the walls of his house in Anjar, Lebanon, into a canvas for icons, images and poems dedicated to his ancestral homeland: historic Armenia. Click the image to read more. (photo: Dalia Khamissy)
Today, Lebanon’s interim minister of communications unveiled a new stamp in honor of those Armenians who perished in the Turkish mass-killings of nearly a century ago:
Caretaker Minister of Telecommunications Nicolas Sehnaoui announced Tuesday the commission of a stamp to honor the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide in 1915.
Lebanon has a large and vocal Armenian community with around 200,000 Lebanese of Armenian origin in the country, a result of forced displacement after the partition of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the World War I.
While Turkey still resolutely denies genocide took place, last April saw over 10,000 Armenians rallying in downtown Beirut on the 98th anniversary of the genocide.
The stamp depicts a drawing of a statue honoring Armenian martyrs found in Bikfaya.
The stamp will be in circulation in a month’s time.
In the Winter 2013 issue of ONE, Doug Duncan shined a spotlight on people of Armenian descent in Lebanon, focusing specifically on Syrian Armenians displaced across Syria’s southwestern border:
A peaceful, pretty town, Anjar is itself a product of Armenian displacement. It was founded to house Armenians who left the Syrian region of Hatay when Turkey annexed it in 1939. The town’s population is normally around 2,500, but the recent influx of refugees from the war in Syria has doubled that number.
“That puts big pressure on the municipality,” says Nazareth Andakian, a municipal lawyer in Anjar. “We don’t have any more empty houses; all are full. On top of that, because there is currently no government in Lebanon, public funds are not being released to us from Beirut, so the village is going into debt to manage the situation.”
This dilemma is playing out all across Lebanon, in both Armenian and non-Armenian domains. This small country of just four million people has had to bear the brunt of the Syrian displacement crisis; to date more than a million Syrian refugees have fled to the country, according to the United Nations. And the flow shows no signs of stopping.
Before the war, there were between 100,000 and 150,000 Armenians in Syria. Of this population, some 20,000 have already fled to Lebanon, while others have fled north, to Armenia, or to Jordan in the south. …
Bourj Hammoud, a densely populated Armenian enclave, has seen its capacity stretched to bursting since the Syrian crisis began in March 2011.
“There have been many problems, but we manage,” says Sarkis Joukhjoukhian, a Lebanese Armenian who sells thyme-covered bread snacks called manoushe from his small store in the heart of Bourj Hammoud.
“We help them whether they are family or not, because when we had war here in Lebanon we often left to Syria, and they helped us then.”
You can read the rest online, either in a plaintext layout or complete with the full magazine graphics.
Tags: Lebanon Refugees Syrian Civil War Armenia ONE magazine