Armenian Identity: Lomer (Part Three)

  • by Western Armenia, March 31, 2023 in Society

It is known that in the past the main occupation of the Bosha men was sifting. Bosha women played an active role in supporting the family financially: they went from door to door selling sieves and other small items made by their husbands, or simply asking the owners for anything. So, what are the occupations of the Boshas in Western Armenia today?

One of the founders of the Lom-Der association said in his microblog that Boshas living in the territory of Ardvin province mainly work in infrastructure organizations, tea factories and also in the private sector. There are also Lom whose professions are police, teachers and shoemakers.

There are especially many teachers here, for example, more than 40 Bosha teachers work in Ardanudj  district alone. Nevertheless, when the Turkish state hires in the public and private sectors, if there is a choice, it is not Lom people who are preferred, but people from other ethnic groups, regardless of their professional skills. According to Hüseyin Gezer, the author of poems about Bosha, Bosha women currently prefer teaching, nursing, cleaning and other professions.

Most of the Lomas in Ardvin work in municipalities, where they are engaged in heavy work such as cleaning and sewage works, because Laz and Hamshenese consider such work beneath their dignity.

Delil Eremci, a retiree from Shavshat district, told Meline Anumyan, a candidate of historical sciences, in 2016 that the financial situation of the Bosas in the Turkish state is not good. According to him, they rank 5th in Ardvin province in this regard.

During the conversation, Rahmi Durmush, a 62-year-old man from Shavshat district and from the Shahbaz tribe, mentioned that until the years when İsmet İnönü came to power (1938-1950), the Bosnians were not given any land in occupied Western Armenia. According to him, during the second presidency of the Turkish state, some lands were given to them as property, but the Lom did not claim these lands out of fear. He also emphasized that only 2 percent of the 1,500 Bosas living in Ardaşen own land here, while the rest live in rented apartments. Rahmi Durmuş emphasized that in Ardaşen, where he currently resides, the Bosas are not even allocated a special area to build their own cemetery.

The district heads of many settlements in the Black Sea region also oppose the allocation of space for cemeteries. Municipalities only allow them to bury their dead in Shavshat and Ardanush.

This was confirmed by Kemal Karatas, a 42-year-old Bosha living in Hopa, who said that the municipality of Ardashen does not even allow Lom to bury their bodies registered here in Ardashen and in such cases forces the deceased’s relatives to bury the body in Shavshat and Ardanudj. 

To be continued…

Ashken Virabyan

journalist-analyst Westernarmeniatv