Return to the Motherland
15 images Created 5 Jan 2016
When I moved to Armenia in January 2014, it occurred to me that Iraqi-Armenians may have sought refuge in Armenia during the past decade of war in Iraq. I was hoping to find a community of Iraqis in my new home that I could meet and connect with being an Iraqi-American. In my search, I discovered that only a few hundred Iraqi-Armenians remained in Armenia and 17,000 displaced Syrian-Armenians had sought protection in Armenia since 2011. DISPLACED is a collection of portraits of refugees, mostly Syrians who fled the besieged town of Aleppo, Syria, seeking refuge in Armenia—their motherland—hoping for a better future. As descendants of Armenians who fled the Armenian genocide in 1915 and resettled in the Middle East, their stories unfold much like those of their ancestors, uprooted and forced to begin new lives. The Government of Armenia offers a simplified naturalization process for ethnic Armenians, allowing them to obtain expedited citizenship. However, despite the simplified processes, both Iraqi and Syrian-Armenians remain disenfranchised in a country that is itself economically challenged and recovering from years of war and strife.