Susan Barba

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A truck carrying Armenian refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh on the road between Kornidzor and Goris, Armenia, September 28, 2023. Alain Jocardi/AFP/Getty Images

This year marked the 850th anniversary of the death of the Armenian poet and apostle Nerses Shnorhali (Nerses the Graceful). Nerses, who had the arduous duty of leading the Armenian church soon after the dissolution of Armenia’s eastern kingdoms and the dispersion of its people, rose to the challenge by becoming a musical and poetic innovator, ingeniously conceiving of, among other things, the Bible as a book of riddles written in an accessible Armenian vernacular. The resulting volume is a compendium of the creation of the world. One of the riddles reads:

Though it is wingless, featherless,
It goes faster than the swallow.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian peacekeepers deployed in the Lachin corridor, which connects the region of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, December 26, 2022. Tofik Babayev/AFP/Getty Images

There’s an old joke about a turtle being mugged by a gang of snails. When asked to describe the attackers, the turtle says he’s not sure, it all happened so fast. Blockades warp time in a similar way: the pain they inflict is both immediate and protracted.

Today is the seventy-third day of the blockade of the Lachin corridor, the only road that connects the Armenian-majority enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the rest of the world. Nagorno-Karabakh is bordered on all sides by Azerbaijan, which initiated a war against the enclave in 2020 that ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire. Now the 120,000 ethnic Armenians who live there are entirely isolated, prohibited from passing freely into or out of the region, and denied access to food, fuel, and medical supplies.…  Seguir leyendo »