Half-blood Armenian

Every year 23 April for me is not only the reminder of the 1915 genocide, it’s a constant reminder of humiliation. I’m not talking about Turkey or the past, it’s all about the present. Being half-Armenian from my father’s side and half-Arab from mother’s side, has been a struggle for me since the day I was born.

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Back in Syria I was abused because I’m not a “pure Armenian.” I couldn’t express my thoughts freely about the Armenian Genocide or the Armenian identity because I don’t have the right to do so. Having an Armenian name and a last name and knowing the language saved me in some situations, but as soon as people knew my mother wasn’t Armenian I was the black sheep.

The interesting fact about my identity is that I am a decadent of two genocide survivals, the Armenian Genocide and the Assyrian Genocide, which happened around the same time as the Armenian Genocide. My father’s family is originally from Bursa and my mother’s family is from Mardin. This doubles my responsibilities towards both of my nations in every possible sphere. My Armenian part is advanced more because I know the language, because there are publications that are saved. But what’s dying here is my Assyrian part, where the language and the cultural identity are vanishing generation and generation. I can tell my fellow Armenians all around the globe that your blood or your name don’t make a “pure Armenian,” or superior to Armenians with subcultures in their identities. Something to give credit to for living in Armenia, in the past five years I was bully-free because I’m a half-blood Armenian.

-Houry Pilibbossian

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