Buying food and especially bread has become a big problem in Artsakh. These days, there are big lines at bread shops. And, Artsakh women ask each other on social networks, “Is there bread?” (Where can bread be found?).
“Total blockade, acute shortage of food, lack of light,” Mariam Abrahamyan from Artsakh, one of the founders of the non-governmental organization Center for Support of Artsakh Mothers, wrote on her Facebook page.
The organization was created by a group of young women during the difficult days of the blockade and tries to provide solutions to various problems with their own resources. “The goal at the moment is to make the difficult daily life of Artsakh mothers a little easier, and the most important thing is the idea of mutual help of mothers,” Tatevik Khachatryan, one of the founders of the organization, tells Forrights.am.
As part of the organization’s activities, young women try to help other women by providing knowledge about parenting and family planning, organize campaigns on reproductive health, child care and upbringing issues, increase the knowledge of pregnant women, prepare them for motherhood and, in general, talk to women, help overcome the stress of the blockade.
“The severity of the blockade is felt more acutely, especially in the families with young children. We have overcome a difficult winter, but if this total blockade continues, the future is, to put it mildly, worrisome. Our children have been malnourished for 6 months, deprived of the basic right to receive specialized medical care,” Tatevik said.
The shops in Stepanakert are almost empty, the issue of food is serious: there are no vegetables, fruits, dairy products, oil, or sugar. Of the cereals, there is only rice and buckwheat. According to official data, there is some stock of wheat. Poultry is on the verge of consumption, but Tatevik says, it is still possible to find red meat in stores. The lack of food is also a consequence of the lack of fuel, because the small amount of agricultural products that are available cannot be delivered to the consumers.
By the way, due to the lack of diesel fuel, public transport has been reduced, and there is a fear that if this situation continues, public transport will stop working entirely.
“However, we endured these deprivations with dignity, but what happened the other day shocked many of us. We always say that everything is possible to endure, as long as there are no victims. But now, see, at the whim of Azerbaijan, four house lights go out in one day… Added to this was the impossibility of transporting the body of conscript Yervand, which is currently the most psychologically cruel thing. Thank God, the State-Minister of Artsakh, speaking about this, mentioned that everything is being done to make the transfer of the body possible”, says Tatevik Khachatryan.
According to her, all the rights of children in Artsakh were violated during the blockade: educational, health, to live safely in their own community and family.
“It is cruel to witness all this as a parent, but we have no other option than to fight and endure, because the alternative is the so-called integration, which in reality is nothing but the de-Armenianization of Artsakh, which we cannot allow. If this is the price of self-determination, we are ready to pay it. Recently, one of the Azerbaijani media made a report that violates our dignity, comparing us to a wild cat, which, after being hungrily locked in its nest, is slowly being adapted… And the interesting thing is that this is easily digested by the international community, just as it was digested the humiliating “outdoor museum of Armenian soldiers” in Azerbaijan. We live in a world where animal rights can be raised more loudly than the violation of the right to live of 120 thousand people, including 30 thousand children, who are persecuted just for being Armenian”, – the young woman expresses her concerns.
They don’t know what to expect in difficult conditions. They don’t even know what to do. They know that the solution to the problem could have been the support of the international community to Artsakh, but instead they find indifference. “In fact, we are left alone in this terrible situation; the Armenian authorities have abandoned Artsakh, and the Russian peacekeepers are almost unable to fulfill their function. During these months, we have tried to call attention to the problem and ask for help through civil activism, the media and other soft methods, but as a result, we received and receive only words of comfort, which you cannot give your hungry child to sleep well,” says Tatevik.