Samvel Sargsyan from Artsakh had never come to Armenia before, he says that he came for the first time, after being forcibly displaced. Leaving his house in Stepanakert, Samvel only managed to pick up his samovar, after which he set fire to his house and left.

The Sargsyan family of 26 people now lives in different cities. And Samvel himself distributes free tea to the people of Artsakh who gathered during the day in front of the Masis municipality seeking some aid. He says that what he brews is real Artsakh tea with spices and quince.

There is a tent next to the tea table: Samvel Sargsyan has been sleeping there for more than 14 days, and his family lives in a hotel.

“Our family is big, but we are half here, half in Yerevan, half in Gyumri. House prices are high. Our falks stay in a hotel, and I have been sleeping under this tent for more than 12 days. On the 19th of the month, I was at the position, when the war started, ours surrendered. I don’t despair, we will return everything again, but our blood is spilled there…”

They have no relatives here, but they don’t want to go anywhere else either. Samvel says that this is his homeland, his friends and acquaintances from different countries called him, but he does not want to go: he has to work and create a new life here.

“We must help each other, Armenians must help Armenians, we must fight to be good… I left my house, I left my cars, I left my land. I got in one car and came. I also burned my house and left. I regretted it, but it is impossible to live with the enemy. So far, we have so many prisoners. We would also be captured. I have served for 13 years; I am a participant in the war, I was in the war, my friends were killed. The Turk caught him and slaughtered them. How do you live with them? It’s an impossible thing… Many of my acquaintances have come here. One sleeps outside, one sleeps in the car, there are all kinds of people, what can I say?”…

Samvel is sure that the best way to overcome difficult times is to help and support each other. “We have to help the people, help each other: these are bad times. The issue of Karabakh is very difficult because the door of Karabakh is closed. Next is Yerevan. We must unite, we must not allow the door of Yerevan to be closed as well.”

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.

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