Articles by Paolo Martino

Saint Lazarus, the persecuted

23/10/2012 -  Paolo Martino

‘Everybody talks about Syria, but nobody does anything. Instead of stopping the whips, people count while we are being flogged. How is that possible?’ Ibrahim is twenty years-old, lives in Damascus and longs for a different Syria. The last episode of “From the Caucasus to Beirut”, a journey on the discovery of the Middle-Eastern Armenian diaspora

A tourist in Damascus

10/10/2012 -  Paolo Martino

Damascus. When I get there, in December 2011, the uprising against Bashar Al Assad has been going on for ten months. In the city, under the ever-present eye of the dictator, everything seems calm, though at the same time absent and precarious. Even for the historical Armenian community, once again prey to its destiny of chronic lack of safety. The thirteenth episode of “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

It’s your sister, Vartuhi

25/09/2012 -  Paolo Martino

‘With time, the Countries we live in - Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq - have become our home. Arabic has become our language. Unleavened bread has become our food. But let’s not forget it: we belong to a different history’. In the twelfth episode of the series “From the Caucasus to Beirut”, Paolo Martino returns among the Armenians of Lebanon

Sunsets and the printer of Amman

18/09/2012 -  Paolo Martino

Amman is the capital of a Country hovering between remaining faithful to a pro-Western monarchy and the shock wave of the Arab Spring. A community of three thousand Armenians, a small star in the firmament of the diaspora, lives and survives the contradictions of the Middle-East. The eleventh episode of our report “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

The Armenians of Musa Dagh

14/09/2012 -  Paolo Martino

An Armenian, a Syrian and a Turk are playing cards in the only inn in town. The three eldersliven up an empty room with ritual jokes, amidst the vapor of coffee. Each of their lives is asynthesis of individual and collective stories gone bad, forsaken like this place. The tenth episode of the story “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

The burden of truth

03/09/2012 -  Paolo Martino

1915: in the countryside around Diyarbakyr, Armenians and Kurds have been living together for centuries. The Ottoman empire, on the verge of collapse, is about to launch its witch-hunt. Ethnic cleansing in Anatolia is systematic. But some men, helped by luck or their neighbors, manage to save themselves. The ninth episode of our report, “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

Tamara and Van, a same fate

27/08/2012 -  Paolo Martino

A city symbol of the Armenian resistance. Razed twice to the ground, first by the Ottoman troops and then by the terrible earthquake of last winter, Van seems to share its destiny with the beautiful Tamara, a legendary figure disappeared in the abysses of the lake it looked over. The eighth episode of our report, “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

Sarkan, the guardian

20/08/2012 -  Paolo Martino

When a State is founded on a myth, that myth is to be defended at all costs. These words by an Armenian university professor come to Paolo’s mind while walking through the cold rooms of the Turkish Genocide Museum, in Igdir. Here, history becomes myth and the past is turned upside down. The seventh episode of the story “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

Pastures for Angora flocks

13/08/2012 -  Paolo Martino

Desolate lands, where the mountains of the Caucasus descend towards the Anatolian plateau in big steps, and names come from politics rather than history. The sixth episode of our report “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

The portrait and the hawk

30/07/2012 -  Paolo Martino

The meeting with Vartuhi and with the fate that divided her from her sister in 1946. She lives in Musa Dagh, in Armenia, where a huge hawk reminds travellers of the Armenian fighters who in 1915 opposed the Ottoman troops. The fifth episode of the story “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

On board the Pobeda

25/07/2012 -  Paolo Martino

Vartuhi left Beirut in 1946, to reach Soviet Armenia aboard a ship called "Pobeda". In Stalin's land, however, the survivors of the genocide saw the dream of a homeland turn into a nightmare. Travelling to the Caucasus on the paths of migrations. Fourth episode of the story "From the Caucasus to Beirut"

Nostalgia before memories

16/07/2012 -  Paolo Martino

Professor Adakessian’s slow pacing up and down the halls of the Armenian University of Haigazian, Rafi and his shoe factory in centre city Beirut, the present that shows up again in the old pictures of the Pobeda, the Russian ship that carried thousands of Armenians from the Lebanon to Soviet Armenia. The third episode of the story “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

Sarop’s armed struggle

12/07/2012 -  Paolo Martino

Arafat’s bodyguard, then on the front line in the Armenian armed struggle and for 10 years a prisoner in a Syrian jail. “When I came out, everything had changed. The USSR no longer existed”. The meeting with Sarop, in Beirut’s Armenian quarter. The second episode of the report “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

Welcome among Armenians in Lebanon

10/07/2012 -  Paolo Martino

In the Bekaa valley, in Lebanon, in the company of Hrayer, a boy from the local Armenian community. Among fruit trees, vegetables and a tragic past. The first episode of the report “From the Caucasus to Beirut”

Mussa Khan. When roads do not end in Rome

11/03/2011 -  Paolo Martino Rome

They say all roads lead to Rome. Even that of Mussa Khan and the thousands of Afghan muhajirins for whom Italy is just a stop in the restless and tormented search for a better life. Among the building sites along the Ostiense Station stops the story of a journey that has no end

Mussa Khan. An asylum roulette

07/03/2011 -  Paolo Martino Ancona

Ancona, Italy. Here is the “Europe” dreamed of by Mussa Khan. Here too, though, welcoming the muhajirins are metal fences and procedures that make applications for asylum a runaway and distant prospect

Mussa Khan. Destination Europe

25/02/2011 -  Paolo Martino Igoumenitsa

In Igoumenitsa the muhajirins dream of Europe. It does not matter if they are there already: for them, the one that counts is on the other side of the Adriatic. Here Mussa Khan too, as many before him, tries his hand with fate.

Mussa Khan. The boys of the fence

18/02/2011 -  Paolo Martino Patras

Patras. Along with migrants from all over the world, the muhajirins are also waiting for the right moment to jump the fence bordering the port, in a surreal and dangerous hide and seek with the police. The stake, though, is high: a ship towards Italy and the dream called “Europe”

Mussa Khan. The other side of the acropolis

28/01/2011 -  Paolo Martino Athens

Athens. The place where democracy was born hides a dark and painful side: it is the streets and squares where the muhajirins live illegally, waiting for a future that never comes. A black hole that swallows lives and destinies, where Mussa Khan seems to have gotten lost

Mussa Khan. Greece, poor Greece

21/01/2011 -  Paolo Martino Thessaloniki

Victims of conflicts that do not concern them, like the hoary one between Greece and Turkey, which has left a mortal trail of mines along the border of the Evros. Even when they get to the long desired Hellenic land, however, the muhajirins find a country in the midst of an economic crisis, less and less willing to offer them protection and grant them asylum