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He blames the rise of Islamic fundamentalism across the Middle

He blames the rise of Islamic fundamentalism across the Middle

Armenians Suffer Uncertainty Together

At St. Elie Armenian Catholic Church in downtown Beirut, Zarmig Hovsepian lit three candles and slowly mouthed silent prayers before Easter Mass. After reciting “Our Father,” she added a prayer canada goose coats of her own: “For peace, for Lebanon and the region,” she said, underscoring the deep sense of apprehension canada goose outlet shop beneath the surface of otherwise festive Easter celebrations.

Next door in Syria, violence recently displaced thousands from the historic canada goose uk shop Armenian town of Kessab, which rests in northwestern Syria, along canada goose outlet uk the Turkish border. Groups of Syrian rebels, including some with ties to al Qaida, canada goose outlet store uk swept into the Latakia province last month, seizing a number of towns in the strategically important mountains.

The violence and mass displacement in Syria opened old wounds for Armenians across the cheap Canada Goose region, stirring up memories of the massacre and deportation of ethnic Armenians at the hands of the Turks during World War I. Syria, once a refuge from that violence, is home to nearly 100,000 Armenians, but now the community feels under threat again.

That’s making Armenians in Lebanon uk canada goose nervous.

“The future is not clear for the whole Christian community https://www.baertakreation.de in the Middle East, not just the Armenians,” says Shahan Kandaharian, the executive editor of an Armenian daily newspaper. He blames the rise of Islamic fundamentalism across the Middle East.

“We’ve seen what happens to Christians in Iraq,” he says, official canada goose outlet referencing the hundreds of thousands of canada goose coats on sale Christians who have fled as extremism canada goose uk outlet has risen canada goose outlet nyc in the last decade.

As Islamist opposition groups in Syria grow in cheap canada goose power, Christians increasingly find themselves caught up in the civil war. In December, a group of nuns was kidnapped from their convent in the ancient town of Maaloula and held for three months; they were released only in March. In the northern city of Raqqa in February, a Jihadist group imposed strict rules on Christians, outlawing public prayer and the ringing of church bells.

Part of the resentment toward Syrian uk canada goose outlet Christians can be traced to canada goose outlet their relationship with the government of Syrian President canada goose outlet in usa Bashar Assad. Himself a member of the minority Allawite sect of Islam, Assad has long positioned his government as a protector of all minorities. In turn, he has gained the often tacit support of many of the country’s Christians.

In comments to mark the Easter holiday, John Yazigi, the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Syria, said Christians “will not submit and canada goose outlet online uk yield” to extremists. He called on all sides to end the practice of “intimidation, displacement [and] extremism.”

But canada goose outlet reviews Krikor Geukjian, a member of St. Elie Church, says that for Armenians, canada goose outlet store the situation is different. He says that for his community, memories of genocide canada goose black friday sale are not just a shared history; they’re personal.

“It has affected every single Armenian. Every single Armenian knows a victim,” Geukjian says. “It’s a wound that doesn’t close.”

A man who asked not to be identified agrees. He says he was born in Beirut and has lived here all his life, but never feels completely relaxed. “I canada goose store always have all my documents ready,” he says, in case the political or security situation changes and he’s forced to flee.

Now, standing in front of canada goose outlet uk sale St. Elie Church as some of the last worshipers file into the Easter service, Geukjian says that despite all his worries, he’s always hopeful about the future. When asked why, he laughs.

“Perhaps it’s our Armenian ness,” he says. “We’ve learned from our history that after every bad thing comes a better thing. Otherwise, we couldn’t have survived all those centuries.”.


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