BY GARO BEDROSSIAN
Our beloved Syrian-Armenians are facing a serious crisis.
The widespread civil war, the slaying of hundreds, often on a daily basis the destruction and collapse of buildings, fires, gunfire, abductions, sabotage events everywhere, widespread unemployment as an obvious consequence, involuntary “imprisonment” of families in their own homes several days at a time, lack of bread and water, the skyrocketing food prices, price gouging, anxiety and fear, etc.
Because of the conflict, within the Armenian-populated districts of Aleppo, Kamishli, Der Zor, Damascus, Homs, Latakia, Kessab, etc., our brothers and sisters are being subjected to relative losses and evilness.
For weeks, Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, has been under fire with modern destructive weapons, frightful street fighting, destruction and fires. People confined to their homes, they do not speak of going to work, or even getting close to their own shops. Everyone fells consoled upon finding out that their shop is still standing, is neither destroyed, nor looted.
After a century following the Genocide of the Armenian people and the deadly deportations, Aleppo was considered as the first shelter for the survivors. Once again, due to the ensuing conditions, for refugees Aleppo became a hard to cross bridge to Beirut, Jordan, Iraq, Ethiopia, Europe, North and South Americas, Canada, etc.
Superhuman efforts were necessitated to rebuild the community for the survival of the nation with churches, schools, social and cultural institutions, print media, and in time, distinguished secondary schools, of course with the brotherly and generous contributions of Diaspora donors.
Following 30 to 40 years of excellent efforts, the vigorous community in Aleppo became a center for providing human capital for intellectual, cultural and social realms for other Diaspora communities, in not only Syria, but also Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus, Iraq, Ethiopia, Europe, North and South Americas, Canada and elsewhere. Furthermore, their contributions were not limited to just providing intellectual human capital, but also monetary assistance, along with human and material resources as the needs arose, such as assistance to Lebanon during the years of civil war, assistance to Armenia following the devastating earthquake, assistance to Artsakh (Karabakh) liberation struggle, assistance to rebuild the newly independent Armenia, etc.
Remembering all these and refreshing our memories of the recent past of our “dream” and beloved Aleppo and generally the promising lives of the greater Syrian-Armenian community, and thinking about the unexpected, bloody and gloomy situation created by the present day “Arab Spring” movement, there is no doubt that we will feel deeply saddened for the predicament that has overwhelmed the outstanding community and the hosting country considered as a second fatherland.
Everyone’s heartfelt wish will be for reestablishment of peace and normalcy.
Nevertheless, it is vital that expression of support by each person and family include a monetary contribution involving all Armenians in California including Churches, Political Parties, Humanitarian Organizations and Cultural, social and compatriotic unions to the Executive Committee of the SYRIAN ARMENIAN RELIEF FUND, which has already released a call to action to the media through the press and the TV stations.
We are convinced that the urgent need to assist this cause will not only provide needed funds to the numerous families, but also strengthen the moral spirit of the community, confirming that the all Armenians in the Diaspora and the homeland care about each of its members.
RELIEF efforts are always considered highly during difficult times of need.
Garo Bedrossian is a retired teacher.