Iraqi-Armenian repatriate Sosi Avakian-Bedrossian: “May many Armenians feel the joy of living in the homeland and enjoy it!”

Throughout the past decade, many Diaspora Armenians have repatriated to Armenia from different corners of the globe. Most of them are Iraqi-Armenians, Syrian-Armenians and Lebanese-Armenians who are now full-fledged citizens of Armenia and work in various sectors, enriching and adding color to the ‘palette’ in Armenia with the air of their respective civilizations, culture, arts and crafts. One of those repatriates is Western Armenian language translator for Hayern Aysor Sosi Avakian-Bedrossian, whom I interviewed for Hayern Aysor. We gladly present the interview to our readers.

Karine Avagyan: Mrs. Bedrossian, where do your roots trace back to? What memories and stories can you share?

Sosi Avakian-Bedrossian: First, I would like to express gratitude for providing me with this opportunity. As far as my roots are concerned, I am both Western Armenian and Eastern Armenian. My mother’s side is from the state of Yozgat. My grandparents, who survived the Armenian Genocide, were taken to Lebanon along with orphans. In the late 1960s, they migrated to Baghdad for work and returned to Lebanon in 1974. My father’s side is from the Havtvan village of Salmast province of Iran. They settled in Baghdad in the early 1920s.

Karine Avagyan: Your family repatriated from Iraq. What did you leave behind-love, longing pain and a new danger that was posing a threat to the lives of Armenians?

Sosi Avakian-Bedrossian: Besides our friends and acquaintances, we also left the memories of a lifetime behind in Iraq. We also left behind our churches and the Armenian clubs and centers where we would spend our time in our younger years. I really regret the fact that we were split up. If only we had come here a long time ago.

Karine Avagyan: As a descendant of Armenian Genocide survivors, how do you feel? What are your thoughts on the dark pages of the history of the Armenian nation?

Sosi Avakian-Bedrossian: My maternal grandfather didn’t tell us a lot about his childhood and the life of a migrant, but I have memories of him. My husband and I tried to shorten them and write a book. My grandfather had a very painful and yet interesting childhood. When I remember my maternal grandmother, it seems as though everything darkens. I can’t forget her melancholic eyes. Sometimes I try to forget about the stories that my maternal grandmother would tell me. I must say that she would tell me a lot about the tortures and killings that she saw and would tell me more about the life that she and her friends from the orphanage lived. Sadness and the loss of her close ones would simply take their toll on her…When I was young, my grandmother’s stories would cause a feeling of wrath and anger in me, but now when I remember them, I feel pain and despair.

Karine Avagyan: Sosi, where are the descendants of your relatives who escaped the Armenian Genocide and have they managed to preserve their Armenian identity?

Sosi Avakian-Bedrossian: Fortunately, all of my relatives have preserved their Armenian identity and still speak Armenian. They often visit Armenia, and almost all of them are involved in activities devoted to Armenia and the Armenians in their respective countries of residence.

Karine Avagyan: You have purchased a home in Yerevan, you and your your husband, the gifted Varant Bedrossian are employed, your daughter, Arpi is studying in the Department of Journalism at Yerevan State University, your elder sister, Aygi and her family live in Jordan, and y have a wonderful grandson by the name of Aren…Are you happy or do you have unfulfilled dreams that are keeping you from being fully happy?

Sosi Avakian-Bedrossian: I am happy for and proud of my family and our friends. We never felt strange in Armenia. A person who has caring friends and exceptional colleagues will definitely be happy. I am also happy because I had been dreaming of living in Armenia since childhood. May many Armenians feel the joy of living in Armenia and enjoy it! This wish is especially for those who have been forced to leave temporarily for different reasons. As far as unfulfilled dreams are concerned, I really want to visit Salmst and Yozgat. I don’t have the courage to visit Yozgat since I consider visiting such bloody sites a heroic act, but I might fulfill my dream of visiting Salmast someday.

This was the end of my interview with Sosi, who loves Armenians and Armenia, I smodest and is devoted to her job. Let’s wish that her dream of visiting Salmast comes true and that she soon releases her book about her grandfather’s memories. There you have another story about repatriation that is also a big and unique contribution to the homeland as it enriches and beautifies our lives with this type of an Armenian.

Karine Avagyan

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