Their political apparatus is a model of discipline. Their vast array
of social services is a virtual state within a state. Their enemies
accuse them of being pawns of Syria and Iran. They are the Armenian Christians of Lebanon, one of the Middle East’s most singular and least-understood communities. And if they sound a bit like Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group based here, that is no accident.
month, the main Armenian political bloc decided to support Hezbollah’s
alliance in the coming parliamentary elections in Lebanon against the
pro-American parliamentary majority. Because of their role as a crucial
swing vote, the Armenians could end up deciding who wins and who loses
in what is often described as a proxy battle between Iran, Hezbollah’s
patron, and the West.
That fact has brought new attention to the
Armenians, a distinct and borderless ethnic group that is spread
throughout the region much as the Jews once were. In Lebanon, they have
their own schools, hospitals and newspapers. They speak their own
language, with its own alphabet.
Their main political party, Tashnaq, operates in 35 countries and has a
secretive world committee that meets four times a year. Their
collective memory of the genocide carried out against them in Turkey
from 1915 to 1918 helps maintain their identity in a far-flung diaspora.LINK