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Between (home)Land and (host)Land: Lebanese Armenians and the Republic of Armenia Asbed Kotchikian, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Between (home)Land and (host)Land: Lebanese Armenians and the Republic of Armenia Asbed Kotchikian, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Between (home)Land and (host)Land: Lebanese Armenians and the Republic of Armenia Asbed Kotchikian, 2005

2 Todays Presentation Why this topic? Diasporas and inbetweenness Armenians of Lebanon Future prospects

3 Some Key Terms Diasporas (Home)land vs. (host)land Inbetweenness

4 Previous Scholarship Yossi Shain, The Role of Diasporas in Conflict Perpetuation or Resolution, SAIS Review 22, no. 2 (Summer–Fall 2002). Razmik Panossian, Between Ambivalence and Intrusion: Politics and Identity in Armenia-Diaspora Relations, Diaspora 7, no. 2 (Fall 1998). Nikola Schahgaldian, The Political Integration of an Immigrant Community into a Composite Society: The Armenians in Lebanon, PhD thesis: Columbia University, Khachig Tölölyan, Elites and Institutions in the Armenian Transnation, Diaspora 9, no. 1 (Spring 2000).

5 Diasporas Dispersed from an original home Maintain a memory of the original homeland View ancestral home as a place of eventual return The groups consciousness defined by the continuing relationship with the homeland A Diaspora is a social-political formation, created as a result of either voluntary or forced migration, whose members regard themselves as of the same ethno-national origin and who permanently reside as minorities in one or several host countries. Gabriel Sheffer

6 Inbetweenness A modern phenomenon (colonialism) The exiled cannot find comfort in any entity Double vision leads to struggle between the self and the society No fixed identity undermines the notion of pure identity Pure national or cultural identity can only be achieved through the death, literal and figurative, of the complex interweaving of history, and the culturally contingent borderlines of modern nationhood. Homi Bhabah

7 Armenian Dispersions Supra-identity based on trauma Sub-identities based on hostland Distinction between homeland (hayrenik) and Armenia (hayastan). Usage of symbols and events to connect with homeland … suffering in common unifies more than joy does. Where national memories are concerned, griefs are of more value than triumphs, for they impose duties, and require a common effort. Ernest Renan, 1882

8 Symbols of Homeland?

9 Armenians in Lebanon Fragmented sub-identities By 1950s a stable and fixed identity Superimposition of symbols and events Dual identity (multiple vision) Most people are principally aware of one culture, one setting, one home; exiles are aware of at least two, and this plurality of vision gives rise to an awareness of simultaneous dimensions, and awareness thatto borrow a phrase from musicis contrapuntal. …. Thus both the new and the old environments are vivid, actual, occurring together contrapuntally. Edward Said

10 Managing Dual Identities Lebanese civil war and positive neutrality Geographical proximity to Armenia reinforcing dual identities And the raison dêtre for the continuation of this community during these difficult [Lebanese civil war] days goes beyond the here and now. This community survives not for its own sake nor for the sake of the Diaspora as a whole but for the sake of eternal and everlasting Armenia. This raison dêtre is the driving force that keeps us attached to this homeland close to the other homeland (hayrenamerdz ays hayrenikin) and it does not allow us to abandon our national [in Lebanon] structures and leave. Zartonk Editorial, 1986

11 Challenges to Dual Identity The war in Nagorno-Karabakh Territory Superimposition of symbols Armenias Independence The imagined homeland became real Reconcile hayrenik and hayastan … for the diaspora, the territorys identity function is often paramount. Its practical value is not directly relevant to the diasporas daily experience. Yossi Shain

12 Superimposing Symbols Nororya Avarayri, Artsakhi Pahpanoume [The Defense of Modern Day Avarayr: Artsakh], Zartonk Editorial, 1993 Jardararin Hatootzoome Hayastani Amboghjatzoomn Eh, [ The reparation of the Genocide perpetrator is Armenias unification], Aztag Editorial, 1988.

13 (in)Dependence Stereotypes between homelanders and hostlanders Diasporan malaise Negotiation of identities complete?

14 Are We There Yet? The time has come to reassess the issues and policies of the past decades, to understand history and act in a way that makes real participation and real change possible; the time has come to distinguish between the real and the ritualistic… We must change even if change means having to rethink the compromises we have made with history by force of events, by force of diasporization. We must not, we can no longer afford to allow the Genocide and diasporization to dictate our thinking and agenda. We must rethink not only for the sake of Armenia but also for a healthy Diaspora. Libaridian, 1991

15 Identity Negotiation

16 We also call upon our valiant brethren in Armenia and Karabakh to forgo such acts as work stoppages, student strikes and some radical calls and expressions that unsettle law and order in public life in the homeland; that harm seriously the good standing of our nation in the relations with the higher Soviet bodies and other Soviet Republics. Joint statement by the three Diasporic Armenian political organizations, 1988

17 Back-up Slides

18 Further Reading Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routhledge, 1994). Geoff Eley and Ronald Grigor Suny, eds. Becoming National: A Reader, eds. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996). Gerard J. Libaridian. Modern Armenia People, Nation State, (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2004). Razmik Panossian, Between Ambivalence and Intrusion: Politics and Identity in Armenia-Diaspora Relations, Diaspora 7, no. 2 (Fall 1998). William Safran, Diasporas in Modern Societies: Myths of Homeland and Return, Diaspora 1, no. 1 (Spring 1991): Yossi Shain, The Role of Diasporas in Conflict Perpetuation or Resolution, SAIS Review XXII, no. 2 (Summer–Fall 2002): Gabriel Sheffer, Diaspora Politics: At Home Abroad (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). Khachig Tölölyan, Elites and Institutions in the Armenian Transnation, Diaspora 9, no. 1 (Spring 2000).


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