My Way Home
| From Aleppo, Syria | Moved in 2013
Vrezh Darkosyan, a 36-year old Armenian from Aleppo, is a doctor and…a polyglot. Vrezh speaks five languages perfectly and a little French. In addition, he is one of our Syrian compatriots who decided to link their destiny to Armenia, despite many opportunities to go to live in other countries.
Vrezh, his two brothers and sister were born in a family originally from Usfa and Polis (modern day Istanbul). His ancestors moved to Aleppo in 1915 fleeing the Armenian Genocide in Turkey. Vrezh’s large family used to live in the well-known Armenian quarter of Aleppo called Nor Gyugh. After finishing school, Vrezh decided to move to Yerevan and enrolled in the Yerevan State Medical University, the faculty of Dentistry. Vrezh was highly motivated to study as best he could. As a result, in 2011, he received his diploma with honors which of course made him very proud. “It was an honor for me,” he remembers.
Vrezh learned Dutch while studying at the Medical University. After going back home to visit Syria, he went to Germany and France to practice his dentistry career. By the way, besides Armenian, Arabic and Dutch, Vrezh knows English and Turkish. After returning to Aleppo, he started to work and simultaneously study in order to acquire a second professional degree in oral and maxillofacial surgery. “Aleppo is one of the main centers of oral and maxillofacial surgery in Syria. I am very grateful to my Armenian professors who during my years in Yerevan motivated me to study surgery,” he remembers.
So, after many years of study and practice, Darkosyan has became a real specialist in his field. He performs very complicated operations in the leading mediacl centers of Aleppo and also accepts patients in his private hospital.
Vrezh’s peaceful life and career ended in 2011, with the begining of the civil war in Syria. Once the military operations reached Aleppo, and further continued into the heart of the city, Darkosyan’s family decided to leave their hometown. Vrezh’s brothers, a jeweler and a cardiologist, left for France and the US respectively. However, Vrezh and his parents decided to move to Armenia. They had a journey ahead of them. First they travelled to Beirut by bus, and then booked a flight to Yerevan. The bus ride from Aleppo to Beirut was very dangerous during the time of war, but, thank God, they succeeded in their quest, and the whole family reacheed Yerevan in safety.
”Armenia has always attracted me, and during my years in school here I developed a deep love for the city. I not only began to truly love Armenia in Yerevan but I also had the opportunity to visit many of the beautiful countrysides and sightseeing destinations in the country”, recalls Darkosyan. Moreover, as a correspondent, Vrezh shared his impressions and photos with the readers of an Armenian journal in Lebanon. He also wrote for a Lebanese newspaper “Ararat”. In short, returning to the land of his ancestors was not just a random course of events for Vrezh; it was destiny.
After arriving in Armenia in August, 2013, Vrezh began to work in a dental clinic in Yerevan. In a short period of time he gained a huge number of patients here, so many he now he has no “open windows” during his work schedule. Vrezh currently does many things in the clinic: he is a dentist, does implantations, and even makes small maxillofacial surgery. He not interested with major surgery which requires a hospital environment. Currently, Vrezh is interested in local medical centers and improving their conditions. At the same time, he has many opportunities to work elsewhere. At this moment his professors from the Medical University still remember him very well. “You just need time to look around and realize yourself. I am absolutely confident in myself and I have a strong desire to be useful to my homeland, to contribute my valuable experience acquired in Syria to the wellbeing of people,” says Darkosyan.
Meanwhile, Vrezh tries not to think about politics and the war in Syria. There is only so much time for him to do his work, so he represses the worries into his subconscious. But, of course, Vrezh dreams about the crisis resolution in Syria that will hopefully arrive in the near future, especially since many of his relatives and compatriots still live in Aleppo. Also, the Darkosyan’s still have their house there.
Vrezh presently lives with his family in a rented apartment in Yerevan. He would certainly want to see the project of a block construction of housing for Syrian Armenians to be created in Ashtarak, move there and live with his countrymen. However, there is no activity on such a project as of yet. Many of the Syrian Armenians who returned to Armenia and left. The reasons are varied: economic situation, difference of mindset, climate, etc. At the same time, Vrezh has many friends who have stayed in Armenia. Among them, there are people with various professions, including doctors, hairdressers, cooks and tailors.
In general, according to Darkosyan, in Syria and, in particular, Aleppo, known as the core for Syrian Armenians, there were many of Armenians who were either craftsmen or intellectuals. The majority of Armenians, however, were jewelers and mechanics. Today, only 150,000 Syrian Armenians remain in Syria, a little more than half the previous population.
When Vrezh compares the standard of living in Armenia and pre-war Syria, he is mostly upset by the expensive prices compared to Syria. In Armenia food is three times more expensive. In general, life in Armenia is much more expensive. Nevertheless, Vrezh does not complain about anything…
A “lyrical” note should be made now: for us, the local Armenians, who are used to hearing such complaints every day and everywhere, the absence of complaints may even seem weird, especially when the life in today’s Armenia is not exactly simple and easy for many people. In this context, it is valuable if you meet a person, especially a refugee, who is not crying but is speaking about the benefits he would like to bring to his homeland.
Thank God, at least in some facets of life the government is flexible enough to provide an advantage for people like Vrezh. In any case, after applying for citizenship Vrech and his family became citizens of Armenia rather quickly, only taking five months.
Vrezh Darkosyan has lots of goals and plans, and all are focused on Armenia. It is about both self-realization as a specialist and having a family, and much more. However, most of all, Vrezh wants to see Armenia become both strong economically and politically, enabling people stay in the country, so that Armenians all over the world feel connected with it.
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