Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I met a fellow Diaspora Armenian who is from Iraq yesterday at Victory Park. He works at one of the cafes, making Shahurma (a meat sandwich).

When I ordered up my Shahurma, he asked me where I was from? I told him America, to which he told me he was from Iraq, his family originating from Van.

After telling him my father was born in Iraq and my grandmother’s family originated from Van, we instantly bonded.

Hovanness told me that he moved to Armenia 8 years ago and left Iraq because of the war. He has no idea as to if his father is alive or not and has tried for some time to establish contact with him. He added that when he talks about this subject, his eyes fill up, something my fiancé later on pointed out to me.

He wanted to know what I was doing here and why I left America to move here?

He said that Armenia is really a wonderful place, but said that it is lacking real paying jobs. His job pays him $2 a day and with that, he needs to support his wife and children.

In Iraq he was an automobile mechanic and worked on Mercedes and BMW’s. He also played basketball, of which he said with his present situation, he has had to give all that up.

He commented that working a 10 hour day for $2 is very hard and said that in Iraq, he made a very good living and had people working for him.

His opinion of the present day situation was not all that positive and I guess you can’t blame him one bit for feel the way he does.

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