Despite Genocide, Armenian Couple Finds New Life
By Martin Hopman
07/21/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – “I am one of the thousands of people who have suffered from the war in Syria. Even if I am now out of the fire, I still suffer. My grandfather and my grandmother were survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Each generation since has suffered in different ways: my family and I suffered in Aleppo for a long time. I bear the lack of food, water, electricity, and the responsibilities of my aged parents (they were as my kids).”
Born into a Syrian-Armenian family who has been on the run since the turn of the 19th century, Ani is accustomed to the severe persecution perpetrated on Christians. Growing up in Aleppo, she was living with aging parents in the city when ISIS began its assault and takeover. Already used to discrimination, Ani and her fellow Christians were now exposed to a reign of constant terror as they were targeted everywhere from home to the workplace.
According to Davit, an Armenian Christian living in Aleppo at the time, “My neighborhood regularly came under rocket bombardment. When going to work, I routinely faced terrorists. Once my colleagues and I were kidnapped by our driver, threatened with weapons, and beaten constantly because we were Christians. They forced us to drink water from the toilet. When I returned home, I decided to travel to Armenia with my mother, where I could live in peace.”
Fearing for her life and that of her elderly parents, Ani would with her family first to Lebanon and eventually on to her family’s historic homeland of Armenia. “The good thing that happened during all these years is that I married and have a wonderful family.” Ani and Davit met in Armenia and happily started a new life together; yet despite having escaped persecution already, similar challenges reared their ugly head toward the young couple again.
In a move reminiscent of the Armenian genocide, Turkey supported Azerbaijan’s war provocation in Nagorno-Karabakh during 44 days of war last autumn. This support included sending Syrian terrorist fighters composed of former ISIS members to serve as mercenaries. The conflict displaced thousands of Armenian Christians from the homes and although a ceasefire was signed in November, the region remains volatile. The terrorists that Ani and Davit escaped from were now threatening their new homeland and community.
Widespread anxiety and fears of a continued genocide is difficult enough, but for Davit it further complicated his ability to start a new life and made finding work impossible. “It’s not easy to leave everything and start a new life. Because I have a disability in my right hand, it was not easy for me to find jobs in Armenia as all of the companies told me I was disabled and could not work for them.”
Starting a small taxi business seemed like one viable option; yet finding enough funds in a nation so recently engulfed in war was a challenge that seemed insurmountable. That was when ICC was able to step in and provide the remaining funds needed to purchase a vehicle to start Davit’s business.
With this reliable avenue of income, Davit will be able to provide for Ani and their 1-year-old daughter. Despite the pain of the past and fears for the future Ani expresses nothing but gratitude for God’s faithfulness. “I thank God for his miracles and presence especially during the difficulties.”