“Ari Tun”-2014: Return to Identity: “My father is of Armenian descent, my mother is a Turk, but who am I?”-Husein Yel

There are more than 100,000 incognito Armenians with Armenian ancestors in Diyarbekir, or better known to Armenians-Tigranakert. Who are they? What do they know about their descent? The stories are different from one another, like the following story that 33-year old Husein Yel presents to “Hayern Aysor”s readers.

“I remember how my parents would dispute. At the time, I was little, but I remember my mother often calling my father “Armenian”. At the time, I couldn’t understand why. I thought she simply wanted to insult my father because for us, the word “Armenian” meant an insult. Now I understand that whenever my mother was insulted, she would simply “throw” his real origin at his face.

My father is of Armenian descent (incognito Armenian), my mother is a Turk, and I am…

…I’m a carpenter-furniture maker like my father, and I live in Diyarbekir.

When I was 12 years old, my sister and I were told that we are Armenian at school. Right after school, we went home and forced our parents to tell us what that meant. They told us that our father was an incognito Armenian.

I would love to have any information about my ancestors, even if it is just their last name. Who can I get it from? The only thing I know is that one of our relatives left for the United States. I have searched long and hard, but haven’t been able to find a trace. If I could find that relative’s family, I might be able to find out who our ancestors were.

After finding out about my Armenian descent, I really wanted to visit Armenia, but it wasn’t working out. I found out about this program on the last day. I didn’t lose time, packed up and decided to take the trip to Armenia.

I have mixed emotions in Armenia. I’m happy and sad. I’m happy because this is my homeland. I’m sad because I saw my people in poverty, especially the people living outside of Yerevan. This gives me something to think about. I’ll be leaving Armenia a little sad. I don’t know what I can do to fix the situation here, but I would love to do something to help.

Despite everything, I’ll miss Armenia. Here we’re all together and feel great. When we the participants of the “Ari Tun” Program return to Diyarbekir, we won’t be together like we are here and we’ll definitely feel alone. That’s why I’m a little sad and worried.

I would love to continue to learn the Armenian language. When we visited the AGBU Office, I found out about the Virtual University. It’s great that the University provides me and many others like me with the opportunity to learn Armenian.

I talked a lot, and I usually don’t like talking. But it’s good that you are taking interviews with us Armenians from Diyarbekir and we can talk about different topics.

I think about quite a lot of things. In the future I might share my thoughts. Now, I would simply like to say the following: Good-bye Armenia, I will return someday…

Husein Yel, 33, Diyarbekir.”

By Lusine Abrahamyan



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