Definition of the word “genocide” in the dictionary: the deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political, religious, national or cultural group.
The Armenian genocide was the first modern genocide. It was a prototype for the Holocaust. In 1915, leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. Though reports vary, most sources agree that there were about 2 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the time of the massacre. By the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, some 1.5 million of Turkey’s Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country.
Today, most historians call this event a genocide–a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people. However, the Turkish government does not acknowledge the enormity or scope of these events. Despite pressure from Armenians and social justice advocates throughout the world, it is still illegal in Turkey to talk about what happened to Armenians during this era.
On May 11, 2000, the Lebanese parliament voted to recognize the Armenian genocide. Lebanon is the only Arab country and one of the few countries of the world to have done so.
It is an impossible task to compile an accurate count of all Armenians in the Diaspora. But Armenian worldwide population today, is estimated at a little more than 10 million.
There are around 234.000 Armenians who live in Lebanon, third biggest Armenian community after Russia ( 2.250.000) and USA ( 1.400.000). (http://www.armeniadiaspora.com/population.html)
The Armenian presence in Lebanon during the Ottoman period was minimal; however, there was a large influx of Armenians after the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Then Armenians arrived in big numbers to Anjar in 1939. It began as an Armenian camp established in mid 1939 over swampland. It ended up a city with 1062 houses and 1250 families by mid 1941. It has 7,000 registered citizens today .
The city of Anjar was built by poor men and women forced out of the Iskenderun.
The poor and forcibly displaced refugees succeeded in a short time, to transform the land that had been “discarded” into a commercial, agricultural, and industrial destination. Armenians have since passed this town down from father to son.
During the Lebanese Civil War, Armenians, grouped in Bourj Hammoud and Anjar, did their best to remain neutral.
There are three prominent Armenian political parties in Lebanon: the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Tashnag), Social Democrat Hunchakian Party (Hunchag) and Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar Party). They play significant influence in all facets of Armenian life.
Since then Armenians have been very active and productive in Lebanon.
The Bourj Hammoud district of Greater Beirut is the capital home to Lebanon’s Armenians, however their presence extends well beyond the city. They are know to excel in many fields.
Officially, there are three Armenian denominations recognized by the government. The Armenians have Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, or Armenia.
They have restaurants, schools and churches everywhere in Lebanon. They are also very active in sports.
We notice about Armenians their accent that they didn’t loose even after many generations in Lebanon. If any foreigner speaks Arabic in an imperfect way, we say he is talking like Armenians.
Armenians saved their traditions, family, social and religious. They prefer to marry from their community.
It is remarkable how they are loyal to Lebanon and they have great patriotism toward the country who hosted them for decades.