By Abbas Al Lawati
Kalsahakian was born in Greece to Syrian parents and has lived in six different countries.
Dubai: Hrach Kalsahakian says he is a typical diaspora Armenian. He was born in Greece to Syrian parents and has lived in Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Greece and the UAE.
"I am an Armenian from Syria, but like many other Armenians, I have carried something with me from all the places I've lived in."
Armenians in Arab countries like Syria, he says, have not had conflicting identities. Their identities as Syrian citizens with an Armenian background are at harmony, for which he credits the local Arabs that welcomed Armenians when they migrated to the region as refugees after the First World War.
Kalsahakian attributes this to the fact that Armenians had no land claims there "unlike other [religious or ethnic] minorities that came to the region."
The positive treatment of Armenians, he says, serves as an opportunity for Arabs to show a different side to themselves at a time when negative stereotypes about them are rife.
"Although Armenians had all the elements of being strangers, they were not treated so. It was more than just tolerance. It was coexistence. This should be a source of pride for Arabs" he said.
Source: "Gulf News", Dubai, 13 December 2007 (Link)