Julia Hakobyan :: A Different Tradition (Sergey Vardanyan)

Julia Hakobyan :: A Different Tradition (Sergey Vardanyan)

Postby avetik » 14 Mar 2007, 17:37

A Different Tradition: Hamshen Armenians struggle for identity and recognition

By Julia Hakobyan
ArmeniaNow reporter


They seem like a lost branch of the family, dispersed throughout the world long before the Genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey that created today’s Diaspora of seven million.

The Hamshen Armenians (Hamshentsi) are descendants of Armenians from the region of Hamshen, now in Turkey.

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Sergey Vardanyan says: “Armenia should encourage a national gathering and bring together Armenians around the world to preserve it as a nation”.

Founded in the 8th Century by the Armenian princes Hamam and Shapuh Amatuni, Hamshen (first called Tambur then Hamamashen) was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1489. By the 18th Century part of the Hamshen Armenians had been forcibly converted to Islam, while the majority escaped to maintain the survival of their Christian faith.

Some historians call the Hamshentsi a unique Armenian group since it contains both Christians and Muslims. While some Christian Hamshens do not know Armenian, some among the Islamized Hamshentsi speak a dialect of Armenian as their native language.

Both Muslim and Christian Hamshentsi live in Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Armenia and Central Asia. Some historians estimate that there are several hundred thousand Hamshen Armenians in the world, while others speak of several thousands.

Sergei Vardanyan, a historian and journalist who is vice-chairman of the “Hamshen” charitable-compatriotic organization in Yerevan, says there is no way to know exactly how many Hamshen Armenians there are.

“The study of Hamshen Armenians should not proceed from the desire to create a sensation by publishing some fabulous data about a million new Armenians. My research shows that in some Hamshen families people themselves did not know whether they are Hamshentsi or not. ”

Vardanyan’s research over many years shows that at least some 20-30,000 Hamshentsi Muslims who speak Armenian live in Turkey as well as some 100-200,000 Hamshentsi Turkish speakers. In Armenia, several years ago were some 10,000 Christian Hamshentsi.

“Both Christian and Islamized Hamshentsi now have a common problem - preserving their national identity, since they know their history only at the level of folklore. While Hamshentsi in the former Soviet republics states know something of the history of Armenia, in Turkey they have no access to this.”

Hamshentsi Armenians form the majority of the Armenian population in the Krasnodar territory of Russia. Many settled also in Abkhazia. By the middle of the 20th century Armenians had founded some 140 Armenian schools in Krasnodar and 128 Armenian schools in Abkhazia. However, the national schools declined during the Brezhnev era and they were many fewer by early 1980s.

In 1944, on the orders of Josef Stalin, Islamized Hamshen Armenians who had settled in six villages in southern Adjaria near the border with Turkey were expelled to Central Asia. Forty years later when Vardanyan was searching for Hamshen Armenians in Central Asia, he met some of the survivors.

Most of the 3,000 Islamized Hamshen Armenians he saw were blue-eyed and blond. Some said that they did not know their nationality – their passports stated “Hemshil” or “Turkish”.

Vardanyan recalls that when a group of Hamshentsi decided to introduce him to their mullah Khemdi, they told him that the visitor claimed that they were Armenian. The mullah replied: “That’s true.”




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“My language says that I am an Armenian,” said mullah Khemdi.

“How do you know?” the residents asked.

“My language tells me,” replied the mullah, explaining that they all spoke the Hamshen dialect of Armenian. Khemdi also said that he had a copy of the Koran in which someone had written by hand that the Armenian Christians had become Muslims.

Vardanyan says that there are dozens of stories like that, demonstrating that each generation of Islamized Armenians knows less and less about their origins. In 1984, Vardanyan made an effort to resettle one of the derelict villages in Lori with 150 families of Christian Hamshentsi from Krasnodar and Abkhazia and Islamized Hamshentsi from Central Asia.

However, the program was not realized, partly because of official apprehension of conflicts between Armenians. Vardanyan says he is very disappointed at the indifference of the authorities towards issues of settlement and migration.

“Some say that Armenian society is not ready to accept Islamized Armenians, but I am not sure this is the only point. Armenia’s citizens were not happy to accept the refugees from Azerbaijan, Christian Armenians, either. Instead of creating opportunities to attract as many Armenians as possible, it seems that the authorities do the opposite and create conditions that make people leave the country.”

Vardanyan is the author of several books on Armenian history and Editor in Chief of “Hamshen Voice” newspaper. It is published in Yerevan once a month with support from private donations and the 1,000 free copies are circulated in Abkhazia, Krasnodar, Beirut, the United States and Turkey.

Vardanayan says the newspaper is an attempt to create a tie between Hamshen Armenians and their roots. It is popular not just among Hamshen Armenians, since the articles refer to the history, culture and traditions of Armenians generally.

Vardanyan says people often wonder why he spends so much effort on this one group of Armenians and ask whether he himself is Hamshentsi. He says he does it from a sense of national duty, since he does not believe that the Hamshen Armenians will succeed in keeping their identity without help.

“I feel responsibility towards the Hamshentsi simply because I am Armenian. With the help of the law on dual citizenship or any other law, Armenia should encourage a national gathering and bring together Armenians around the world to preserve it as a nation with good prospects for the future.”

Source: www.armenianow.com, Issue #10 (229), March 09, 2007
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Re: Julia Hakobyan :: A Different Tradition (Sergey Vardanya

Postby himi_inch_enik » 17 Mar 2007, 05:21

[quote="avetik"]A Different Tradition: Hamshen Armenians struggle for identity and recognition

By Julia Hakobyan
ArmeniaNow reporter


They seem like a lost branch of the family, dispersed throughout the world long before the Genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey that created today’s Diaspora of seven million.


:cry:
i really am disappointed by the words which are used in the article that u have shared with us.
i thought in this forum we were ganna talk about our CULTURE...
""""""Genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey """"""""""""
I dont think this has something to do with culture :cry:

please correct me if i got it wrong ;
but iam here for culture nothing else...
regards...
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Re: Julia Hakobyan :: A Different Tradition (Sergey Vardanya

Postby avetik » 17 Mar 2007, 07:24

himi_inch_enik wrote:please correct me if i got it wrong ;
but iam here for culture nothing else...


Dear himi_inch_enik,
Thanks for sharing your view. You know, when I browse Turkish sites I always-always see phrases like this "so called Genocide of Armenians"... And since I happen to be on the side of those who know that it happened (my ancestors in Samsun died many among others in early XX century), this phrase "so called" phrase really bothers me. Since I understand you do not share this view, the mentioning of Genocide from the viewpoint of Armenian Journalist also bothers you, and I understand that. All of us believe what we believe. Let me apologize for the fact that you may see article like this here. If I had a goal of cutting out any material that may be offensive to someone, we would have no forum and no discussion even about culture, right?.. For example even the term "Hamshentsi Armenian" may sound offensive to some hard-liner Hemsinli's who would prefer to be called "Turks" even though they speak Armenian dialect. We want to keep a good balance in the sources we site here. I hope you understand that our intent is only to provide information, and yes, that information may not always be pleasant to read for anybody.
Regards and thanks.

astegh badmutine hin
xarnevadza nerin hed,
kidista miy baberun azbarininq himi menq,
azbarininq menq... (c) Hamsheni Azbar
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Postby himi_inch_enik » 17 Mar 2007, 22:13

dear avetik

(inch beses ahbar?
:D
hi


i also understand (or at least i try to understand) how u feel about the matter and i just respect because thats the way u think and i also know u respect to mine thats why i didnt see any problems letting u know that how i feel or think about it...

i also respect the writer of the article as its the freedom of speech...

what i wanted to make clear was my understanding of the purpose of the forum... and i didnt (dont) wanna have any kind of discussion on this matter and thats why iam in this forum i thought this would be different than the other forums where ppl have arguments...
all i wanna talk about and have discussions (if u may call them discussion :D ) about is the CULTURE...
thats how i feel and think :D and i personally think we should write or share articles or what ever about our culture see the differences and similarities and so on :D

regards

meg meziyik ahpar
meg goncig zizagig habrik megu megalin kid enik
al soy elloga
(but) :D mek al kulik (human :oops: i mean, hope it makes sense) ugush ponin ugush put eniguk isa al eranda aman cha ta? :D

tun kezi soy put aa :D
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Postby Hayrik » 17 Mar 2007, 22:28

I think the Armenian Genocide is related to the Armenians cultur.
Turks never learned Armenian language and used it during the history, but Armenians learned turkish and forced to use it.
therefore, dear ''shimdi ne yapalim'' if hemshinli dialect is your ancestors language, that means they were Armenians.
I am not talking about releigions, but about identity nationality.
By the way, i am not hemshinli, but i am understanding your language, which is a dialect of Armenian.
Thank you.
Last edited by Hayrik on 17 Mar 2007, 22:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby avetik » 17 Mar 2007, 22:31

ha ispolor erand elloga astegh :)

(see, how I am learning your way of speaking) :)

"kuli" means human?.. interesting.. we use "mart"
I remember from Kazim Koyuncu's song:

devek inzi im sevdan-yar,
yesal Astedzu "kuli"...

So now I get it, thanks for explaining!..

And yes, let's talk about our CULTURE! :)

astegh badmutine hin
xarnevadza nerin hed,
kidista miy baberun azbarininq himi menq,
azbarininq menq... (c) Hamsheni Azbar
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Postby himi_inch_enik » 18 Mar 2007, 00:40

hi

yes we use "mart" as well meaning man or human...
but in the sentence i also meant (u know kul is arabic and kuli in the sentence meaning creature so i guess thats what we use :D )

i am glad that u can understand my teribble hamshetsi :P
mek ispan habrik ana tun al inzigi yardum enez ana yes al al soy habrogum :D

hayde culture;an :D habrik...
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Postby himi_inch_enik » 18 Mar 2007, 01:17

Hayrik wrote:I think the Armenian Genocide is related to the Armenians cultur.
Turks never learned Armenian language and used it during the history, but Armenians learned turkish and forced to use it.
therefore, dear ''shimdi ne yapalim'' if hemshinli dialect is your ancestors language, that means they were Armenians.
I am not talking about releigions, but about identity nationality.
By the way, i am not hemshinli, but i am understanding your language, which is a dialect of Armenian.
Thank you.


hi
iam hamshetsi,
i love my culture which is
turkish_islamic_hamshetsi culture and all i wanna share here is hamshetsi part of it because this is what we all have in common i guess :D

yes thats may be the case for u but as being a hamshetsi from turkiye iam not exactly interested in armenian or turkish cultures (in this forum) but HAMSHETSI...(just wanted to make it clear :D )

galiba turkce biliyosun
e biraz da turkce yaziyim...
bu bence bi buyukluk yani turkce de biliyor olman
(isteyerek mi severek mi bilmesemde)
her bir dil bilene buyuk saygim var
(bu dilin turkce olmasindan ileri gelmiyo)
yani keramet sende :D
bak bende ole kerametler yok :?
bide ben tam manasiyla hemsince konusabilsem :oops:

bilmem anlatabildim mi...benim amacim acinizi tazelemek yada yaraniza tuz basmak deil...
saygi duyarim ama hani ince mevzular sonuc itibariyle
(her iki taraf icinde)
e bu forumun amaci da belli o zaman direk turk ve ermeni kulturlerinden deil de hemsin kulturunden bahsetmek cook isabetli olacak zannimca :D (nacizane fikir)

selamlar saygilar hurmetler

himi inch enik (shimdi ne yapalim ) i love this sentence :D its amazing

i have armenian friends and all we talk about is the culture...
we dont argue about anything (we havent so far :D anyway :P ) i respect what they think and feel they respect to mine...we share what we have in common and i hope we ll manage the same thing with u all without hurting each others feeling on the matter as well...

regards

tomne chigayim :D inchi chikdim :D
himi inch asim
tun asa
:D
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