According to the French-speaking Lebanese website Libnanews, Armenian refugees and orphans without a piece of bread have built flowering cities for the benefit of their new homeland. The Lebanese Armenians performed a miracle – refugees and orphans have established flourishing cities here.
Lebanon is home to the eighth largest Armenian community in the world. According to various estimates, 120-150 thousand Armenians live here. Among them are many businessmen and officials. Armenians are represented in the parliament and government as well. The Haykazyan Armenian University operates in Lebanon, which is the only Armenian university outside Armenia. Armenian newspapers are also published here. The community has managed to maintain its identity, culture, and language.
“With that said, their politicians, lawyers, and artists have never tried to create a state within a state and have always served Lebanon,” the author of the article François El Bacha emphasizes.
The life of the Armenian community in Lebanon began even before the 1915 Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey. Antique scholars in their writings mention Armenians living in Phoenicia (in the territory of modern Lebanon). And in 1715, Armenian monks settled in the city of Jounieh north of Beirut.
After the mass deportation of Armenians from Turkey to Lebanon in 1915, Armenian settlements appeared here – for example, the Bourj Hammoud district in Beirut and the city of Aanjar. Back in those days, these settlements were undeveloped, but over the years of tireless work, the Armenians built solid houses, streets, and squares there.
In 1916, the Minister of War of the Ottoman Empire Enver Pasha said: “The Turkish government will not be able to restore its freedom and honor if the country is not cleansed of Armenians and Lebanese. We have destroyed the former with the sword, and we will destroy the latter with hunger.”
The Armenians and Lebanese have a common destiny, the author of the article believes. The population of Lebanon – Arabs, Druze, and other peoples – have lost a third of their population during World War I. Starvation and disease killed 200 thousand people out of 600 thousand.
This happened because the Turkish troops led by Jemal Pasha cut them off from the coast, and people had to survive in the mountains, in conditions of complete isolation. This happened with the support of local accomplices. Unfortunately, the memory of this crime has become dull, François El Bacha notes.