What is left of the Armenian heritage in Western Armenia? Who lives on our lands – only Turks and Kurds or Armenian roots continue to sprout? Sputnik Armenia ‘s “Zartir, Lao” special project tried to find the answers to these questions.
Sputnik Armenia, Nairi Hokhikyan
Have you ever thought that after the massacres of the last century, in the historical homeland our compatriots could be miraculously saved, who have been fighting for existence and identity in their homeland for a century?
The parents of Suat Dinler, a resident of one of the villages of Dersim, have accepted Alevi (Turkish Shia) to survive the massacre. Suat is the most famous blacksmith in Dersim today. His works decorate the best houses in the area.
“We have always known that we have Armenian blood, we are Armenian, it is because of this that our family lives the most prosperous life in this village, we are able to create the best conditions, but what kind of spiritual life an Armenian should live, forgive us: we don’t know. I would like to know the traditions of blacksmithing in Armenia so that I can take it and represent the people here proudly as mine, my people, my roots, ”Suat tells.
House of Suat is on the bank of the Mndzur River. This river, which crosses more than 160 km of central parts of Western Armenia, originates from the Mndzur Mountains and flows into the Aratsani, flowing through Hozat, Mazkert and many other settlements. Suat Dinler built an hydroelectric power plant on the Mndzur River, supplying electricity to the village. For free. That is why the inhabitants of the village call Suat an illuminator. In 2018, Suat Dinler publicly became a child of the Armenian Apostolic Church brought by Gregory the Illuminator. He was baptized by Christian ritual and got the name “Vardan”.
“I do not blame the millions of Armenians living in Western Armenia who are Muslims. We can’t blame them for that, but I had to make my choice. By becoming a Christian, I came closer to my roots. Believe us, we are Armenians too, but we need Armenians.We are like lost orphaned children who, although at home, but still are looking for a parent and cannot find one, ”says Vardan-Suat, already a Christian Armenian. Shortly afterwards, Vardan’s example was followed by his close friend, again Dersim’s Armenian Zeki Sarijan.
“As a fabric specialist, my grandfather was a well-known man in Dersim. My grandfather loses one of his children while fleeing the massacre, but a few decades later in Constantinople we accidentally meets the son of that missing child. We are gradually regaining what we lost 100 years ago, and this is God’s protection. We cannot be destroyed, ”says Zeki Sarijan.
There are many such fates in the historical homeland. Maybe your relative is waiting for the fateful meeting with you in Dersim, Mush, Van, Tigranakert or Erzrum.
The 4 million Armenians in Western Armenia are no longer hiding, proving that blood does not change its color even after a century. They recover every day. The return of national identity and undiscovered truth is inevitable, the responsibility is a matter of honor for every Armenian.