There’s a new 14 episode series entitled From the Caucasus to Beirut dealing with the Armenian diaspora in the Middle East, exile, national identity and conflicting ties to the homeland in present-day Turkey.
Paolo Martino has already written three installments in the series for Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso (OBC), an online news provider and research centre devoted to social and political change in South-East Europe, Turkey and the Caucasus.
Martino takes the reader on a journey starting in Beirut and, through Eastern Turkey, Jordan and Syria, he reached Yerevan, the capital of today’s Armenia.
Here’s an excerpt from Nostalgia before Memories, the third installment in the series:
“It is not collective memory, language or culture that keeps an exiled people alive”. The cafeteria on the second floor of the Armenian Haigazian University, on the central Rue Hamra in Beirut, is soaked in sun. “A people unhooked from geography only survive if it can replace the founding myth of origins with a mirror one: the myth of the return”. Professor Adakessian speaks slowly, to allow me to take notes while we are having lunch. “So do not ask me if I truly believe that one day I will return with my people to Western Armenia, my land. As the other Lebanese Armenians, I already am on my land. However, that myth is essential in defining our identity: it reminds us of where we come from”.
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