Emma Yeremyan shows photos on her phone. “This is my living room, this is my kitchen, this is my yard, these are my son’s medals… I do not care about the loss of anything. The most precious thing I left in Artsakh are the graves of my husband and son.”


Mrs. Emma is from Stepanakert; she has no relatives in Armenia. Her youngest son was killed during the first Artsakh war. Her eldest son is in Russia with serious health problems, and her husband died in 2003. Now the single woman is in Yerevan, living on rent in a small and half-empty room reminiscent of a convent. And she keeps the keys to the Stepanakert house carefully in her bag.


“My son died in 1992, and, after that, my husband got serious health problems. Once, after coming to Armenia, he was attacked by Azerbaijanis on the road in Khojalu who broke his car with stones. They wanted to kill him, but changed their minds at the last moment. “Since that day, my husband obtained several illnesses. I took care of him for years. He died in 2003; I was left alone,” says the 82-year-old woman.


Remembering the events of September 19 and the days of leaving Artsakh, Ms. Emma tells: “I came to Armenia in a friend’s car. After the explosion at the gas station, one of my relatives, 59-year-old Garik Hovsepyan, was transferred to the Stepanakert Republican Hospital. I loved him like my son, I have married him, we were very close. He was in the hospital for two days when his wife called and said that we need to transfer Garik to Yerevan urgently. They put him in the car and we drove to Armenia. It was me, the wife, their daughter and son… We took Garik to the hospital, from there they said that he should be taken to the morgue. It turns out that he died on the way, but we didn’t know.”


Mrs. Emma says that she has not received any aid until now and she still does not know how she will live. “I think, why did I lose myself like that when leaving the house: I didn’t even take pictures of my husband and son. Now I am slowly coming to my senses. We did the burial; we did the seventh day… I thank God that my mind is alright, my memory is in alright, but in those moments, it was as if everything was mixed together. We started burying the deceased, slept in the car for three nights: that was all we could think of. It is only now that we understand and realize what has happened.”

Ani Gevorgyan

Ani Gevorgyan is a journalist, photographer, and the winner of the Freedom of Speech Award. She has participated in photo exhibitions at the UN headquarters (New York) and the Geneva office, the Palace of Europe (Strasbourg), Paris, Rome, Berlin, Vienna and elsewhere.

Pin It on Pinterest