“exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement. The achievements of exile are permanently undermined by the loss of something left behind forever.”
― Edward W. Said, Reflections on Exile and Other Essays
Although Armenian communities could be found around the world already for centuries, it were the tragic events of 1915 that Armenians (approximately 500.000) were forced to flee to different parts of the world and created new Armenian communities far from their native land. Armenians call it Haykakan Spyurk. Nowadays about 7 million Armenians are living in diaspora, 3 million are living in the Republic of Armenia. Mount Ararat – ‘Massis’ or mother mountain – is the symbol of Armenian identity and at the same time a reminder of the land and people lost. The mountain is visible but at the same time unreachable as it it is on Turkish territory. At Khor Virap monastery one has the best view on Massis and one can see people walking at the Turkish side. Many diaspora Armenians visit the place and stare at the lost land…
Diaspora Armenians staring at the lost land of Eastern Armenia, at Khor Virap.
picture taken 28 October 2010