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An Interview with Mary Asatryan on Artsakh Blockade, Bombings, & Exodus

When Azerbaijan began bombing Artsakh, Mary Asatryan was in the hallway of her apartment getting ready to go back to work. When her neighbors began rushing to the basement to take cover, she asked them what was happening. “Don’t you understand it is a war,” one of them replied. 

Mary began reflecting from the bomb shelter, 

“In the basement, time stops. You don’t know what’s going on outside, you are in a bubble. All you think about is the uncertain destiny of the people around you.” 

For the entirety of the blockade, Mary was a key voice for Artsakh’s more than 100,000 residents, both on social media and in her job as the assistant to the Human Rights Defender in Artsakh. 

During the war, Mary was so frightened that she could not sleep. Instead, she worked throughout the night until she heard the news the next morning: the Artsakh Defense Army was dissolving. From that moment on, she knew that Artsakh would cease to exist. 

Families began packing their entire lives in boxes and bags, strapping their belongings on the hoods of their cars, and fleeing en-masse Armenia. As one of the last to leave Artsakh, Mary made the long journey into Armenia safely and has stayed in Yerevan ever since. 

In this video, reporter Fin DePencier sits down with Mary to talk about her experience in Artsakh, her work with the Human Rights Defender, and how she sees her future in Armenia panning out. 

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