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Karen Mirzoyan July 22, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Armenia.
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Yezidis Children Study Ezdiki Language , Armenia. 2007

Karen Mirzoyan (Tbilisi, Georgia b. 1981) relocated to Armenia in 1992. He graduated from the Yerevan State Linguistic University. Karen participated in the photojournalism class organized by World Press Photo and Caucasus Media Institute in 2005 followed by an internship with Panos Pictures Agency and The Independent newspaper in London. He is currently teaching photojournalism in the Caucasus Media Institute. Karen’s photos have been published in: Geo (Italy), Associated Press Ogonyok, (Russia), Russian Reporter CNN.com, CBS news, amongst others. He is currently working with the Anzenberger Agency in Austria.

About the Photograph:

The Yezidis are a minority group in Armenia, part of a population that extends through Turkey, Georgia, Syria and Iraq. Many live a semi-nomadic life, as they have done for thousands of years, tending sheep and spending winter months in their villages, then moving to high mountain pastures in the spring, where today they live in old Soviet military tents. Yezidis practice a secretive and ancient religion, which predates Islam and appears to fuse aspects of Judaic, Zoroastrian and other local beliefs. Some controversy surrounds their identity. During the Soviet era, Yezidis were classified as non-Muslim Kurds. With the rise of national self-consciousness through the region in the 1980s, a revival of Yezidi identity occurred, and in 1989 the Armenian government declared them to be a separate ethnic group. Yet there remain strong divisions on issues of identity among the Yezidi themselves.

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