Sayida Ohanyan: «We need to use all the possible resources to help bring Hamshen-Armenians back to their roots»

Sayida Ohanyan: «We need to use all the possible resources to help bring Hamshen-Armenians back to their roots»

During the sessions of the 8th Pan-Armenian Forum of Journalists (organized by the RA Ministry of Diaspora with the title “Armenian Statehood: Axis of Unity”) in Yerevan, there were interesting speeches and practical proposals.

Correspondent for the Armenian Information Center website of the Russian Federation, President of “Hamshenuhi” (Hamshen-Armenian Woman) International Women’s Association Sayida Ohanyan talked about the programs of Hamshen-Armenians and their cooperation.

The largest communities of Hamshen-Armenians are based in Abkhazia and in the coastal areas of the Black Sea in Russia. Of course, the strong community of Hamshen-Armenians still lives in Hamshen, the Hamshen-Armenians’ historic homeland.

The activities of the Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia in the southern federal region of Russia (Rostov-na-Don) and the branch of the Consulate in Sochi, as well as the RA Ministry of Diaspora have contributed to the strengthening of multilateral relations between Armenia and Russia-based Hamshen-Armenians. Due to the well-known events, the situation is a little different in Abkhazia.

Whereas the absolute majority of Hamshen-Armenians in Russia and Abkhazia are Christians and consider themselves the non-Islamized part of the Armenians of Hamshen, the situation is completely different in Hamshen where the Armenians have been forcefully Islamized and many have lost their roots and national identity…

Consequently, we need to use all the possible resources to help bring our Hamshen-Armenian sisters and brothers back to their roots.

Mass media outlets play a very important role here.

Unfortunately, Hamshen-Armenians don’t have many print and electronic mass media outlets in Abkhazia, Russia, Armenia and in Hamshen, particularly in the Armenian language. As a result, the Hamshen-Armenians don’t receive much information about their problems and future actions. Fixing this situation needs to become the major imperative for the organizations of Hamshen-Armenians abroad and for the Republic of Armenia.

We consider popular diplomacy, as well as the direct contacts between Hamshen-Armenians of Abkhazia and Sochi and the Hamshen-Armenians residing in their historic homeland. Over the past couple of years, the cognitive reciprocal visits and the organizing of joint cultural events have turned into a nice tradition.

Unquestionably, Armenian women play a large and irreplaceable role in the maintenance of peace and in the restoration of language, culture, national traditions and the family. Armenian women have always been not only the protectors of the family, but also the defenders of the Homeland and the Mothers of soldiers.

In this sense, the “Hamshenuhi” (Hamshen-Armenian) International Women’s Association, which was established in 2012, has assumed a major role.

Throughout the short, four years of its existence, the Association has carried out several events that have contributed to the international cooperation of the Hamshen-Armenians. We are grateful to the RA Ministry of Diaspora and personally Minister Hranush Hakobyan for her ongoing attention, support and good advice.

In 2017, Sochi and Abkhazia will host the international conference entitled “Hamshen: We are Unified”, which will be a major event for the Armenians of Hamshen and will include conferences and different cultural festivals. The event will gather creative groups, notable cultural and educational figures, historians, political scientists and internationally recognized media representatives.

The program for the forum is almost ready, and there are already agreements with the relevant structures in Russia and Abkhazia.

We hope the Republic of Armenia supports our initiative and the forum turns into a real celebration and becomes a platform for recognition of identity for the Armenians of Hamshen.