War in the Caucasus Hits Home

For so many, war is far removed from our daily existence — thank God. But for the Caritas community in Armenia, especially the close-knit family of the Emili Aregak Center in Gyumri, which we have profiled in the current edition of ONE magazine, the war in neighboring Nagorno-Karabakh has hit home, and hard.

“While the war in Artsakh [the name that Armenians use for Karabakh] is physically far from us, we feel its effects every day,” writes the center’s Sarah Stites in an email to friends and benefactors.

“We constantly wonder if people we love will be counted among the casualties, which have now surpassed 750. Unfortunately, I must report one such tragedy.

“The father of Emili Aregak beneficiary Siranush (and husband of Gayane, our long-term volunteer), was killed in combat. In these difficult days, our staff is doing their best to walk alongside Gayane, Siranush and her two brothers (one a baby) as they process their grief. …

“We know that war trauma is deep and complicated,” she continues, and “if not handled professionally, it can lead to mental illness, negative behavior patterns and depression.

“Thank you for standing with us and our beneficiaries during this incredibly difficult year. Your support makes our work possible, and we are so grateful.”

Pray for a just peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan — the consequences of failure in negotiating that peace could be devastating as the possibilities of a larger more regional crisis escalate.  

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