This experience has given me a new perspective on old traditions. I’ve grown up as a Tashnagtzagan, I’ve been a part of AYF, I’ve attended Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian School however, I’ve achieved a new level of understanding on old traditions now that I’ve had the pleasure of being in Arstakh.
Growing up I proudly sang our revolutionary songs and commemorated our fallen soldiers, but living in the home of a mother whose son was taken away from her gives a whole new meaning to these songs. Living in a home which was once subjected to war but now remains Armenian soil is empowering to say the least.
Babo is the grandmother who owns the home where we stay. Babo’s wrinkles tell a million stories. We often sit with Babo as she engages us in stories from the war. She tells the stories with a certain pain that nobody can really understand unless they were part of the war. Babo told us about her son and how he lost his life in the war, dying for the soil which we proudly call Arstakh today.
There was a few minutes of silence after the story. We all stared off into the mountains and I began to ponder how many Babo’s out there lost their son so that we can proudly call these lands ours.
I’d like to dedicate this blog to Babo, her son, Vahleri Baboyan, and all the mothers who have lost their husbands and sons in the war. We are eternally grateful for their sacrifice.