The family of Tadevosyans is from Kashatagh region of Artsakh, now occupied by the enemy forces. They had to flee their native Gandza village and now are temporarily sheltered in Nork, Yerevan.
Hermine and Harutyun Tadevosyan are parents of seven children – five daughters and two sons. They have resettled in Artsakh in 2007. Harutyun was the village mayor, and Hermine worked as school principal.
“We had nothing when we resettled to Kashatagh, only a half-built and ruinous house”, Hermine recalls. Then quickly adds that over the years they had created everything they needed. Then lost everything in the war. “We didn’t believe it was a large-scale war, thought the Turks again decided to try their luck…”
“We heard blasts on day one of the war. And quickly realized this was a different scale than we were used to. We were scared, children would quickly get under the tables… It was scary”, Hermine says.
Tadevosyans didn’t want to flee. They thought things will settle down soon. This war, they say, turned all regions of Artsakh into a frontline.
Harutyun tells me that on September 29 he moved out his family to Hoktemberyan, in Armenia. He stayed in Artsakh till November 29, partook in the war: “I was not allowed to partake in the hostilities and self-defense because I was the village mayor and had seven children, but I found a way to participate”.
The former head of Gandza tells all families from the village resettled in various regions of Armenia. Their family stayed in Hoktemberyan for three weeks with the relatives, then learnt that the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection through the Armenian Apostolic Church provides temporary shelters in the buildings of Church Youth Centers. “We have resettled to this temporary place since November 1”, says Hermine, and adds that it was again the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin that provided first humanitarian aid and food through the “Artsakh Outreach” program. “We went to Etchmiadzin, applied for the program, and some ten days later they called back”, – Hermine says with many words of appreciation for the Church.
Hermine does not lose the hope of return.
“Deep in my heart, I hope we will return our lands. I don’t know how, either politically or militarily, I do not know that, but something tells me sometime at least the Northern part of Kashatagh will come back to us”, Hermine says. When that happens, she says they will return among the first families.
“I want to live in Artsakh, I love Artsakh very much. Our children also dream of returning”, Hermine tells me, adding that kids often cry and miss their home and friends in Artsakh. Upon return, when that happens, they plan to finish building the small chapel that the entire community was fundraising for.
Prepared by Zaruhi Dilanyan
February 26, 2021