Armenians in Irak
Armenians from the early days of history have settled, nourished and evolved as a people, also stamped their identity later had their own nation in the northern edges of Mesopotamia, Where both rivers Tigris and Euphrates originate in the vicinity of lake Van. In Armenian known Nayree Yergeer (Land of flowing rivers), in Arabic Nahrain .
As historical records reveal, Armenians were the pioneers in metallurgy, turning vast deposits of cooper oxides, iron ore, gold and silver into useful metals, later into domestic tools, military weapons, artisan jewelry and others. They also mastered the art of weaving wool, cotton, and silk… Armenians were productive, and had much to offer to the rising civilizations and kingdoms of the south.
Summeria, Akadia, Babylonia, and Assyria were the nations which had flourished at different eras of time in Mesopotamia, the high demands they had for the products produced in the north, gave start for a massive relations between Armenians and these kingdoms, and even Armenia was many times invaded by them.
Armenians settlements started to exist in Babylon, Nineveh, and other towns’ .So the story of the Armenians of Iraq begun; they were professionals, artisans, merchants, and mercenary warriors.
During the Islamic era, they had the same role, the Kingdom of Ani had great commercial ties with Baghdad, again there was a significant Armenian community in Iraq, with their own churches and even a monastery .Scholars were translating Greek philosophers works into Arabic, physicians were involved in the safe being of the caliphates, artisans were offering their goods, professionals, merchants, and mercenary warriors were fighting along the caliphs army ranks.
As Baghdad fell under the Moguls, 13th.century, the Armenian communities in different towns diminished, and melted away within the Nestorian Christian local communities.
The Armenians living in Iraq have established a registration system dating back to the late 17th. Century in which all births, marriages.and deaths are recorded up to date and this is found in our church in Baghdad and all the cities where Armenians live.
Local communities existed in Baghdad, Mosul Basra, Suk alShyoch and others, they were practicing different trades and professions.
The numbers of the Armenians was fluctuating, reaching few hundreds and sometimes going up to few thousands. This continued until the end of the First World War which witnessed the great genocide against the Armenians .when the influx of thousands of fleeing refugees from the Ottoman tyranny arrived here .Here we must never forget the human stand of our Arab brothers in the cruel march to Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra, when they were facing starvation them selves, they provided these thousands with food and shelter. This was a great gesture which continued in the years to come.
Armenians lived along the Iraqis as partners in this nation, with all the privileges and obligations .They had the same chances in education, work and prosperity.
In 1920s thousands of those chose to immigrate mainly to Soviet Armenia, others to Europe, and the Americas. The rest made Iraq their new home.
Armenians had the full right to have their own schools, churches, clubs, and governing body. They excelled in different professions, their standard of living rose, and a new generation of highly educated youth came out ….engineers, doctors, teachers, artists, goldsmiths, mechanics, and all trades.
They continued their peaceful life up to 1970s, when the programmed wars brought devastation to Iraq….Some Armenians again started to seek new homelands to live in peace
Now in Iraq live around 15 000 Armenians in a country torn in conflicts, and terror. We look forward to the day when Iraq will revive in peace and fraternity, and again we will rebuild this nation back as once known as the cradle of civilization.
Skender Melconian, Consultant engineer, Baghdad, Iraq, 08/07/2007,
NB: message transmis par l’intermédiaire de EURO-ARMENIE