About my life in Armenia, about being a mom and an activist, working for women's rights.
The challenges and benefits of raising a family in a post-soviet republic.
Finding a place, my place and calling it HOME.


Dear Diaspora

Hope everything is well with you out there. Hope the churches are filling with good religious Armenians every Sunday and the associations are working well, educating the new generation on the genocide issue and how to be a good Armenian. Hope the women’s bazaar was also fruitful this year and that you were able to raise lots of funds for the cause and the community.

I miss your thoughts and our talks. Now that I am in Armenia, my life and visions have changed drastically. I know you are probably very busy with your own issues but I have wanted to write to you for a long time to tell you that “Yes! Things are bad in Armenia.”

No, not all people are good here, some of them rape children, and others sell women to Dubai and Turkey. Women are silenced a lot of the times, they are crushed in their own houses; they suffer silently.
You probably heard it too, orphan girls in special boarding schools are being sexually violated but we are not allowed to talk about it.
Even the environment is not doing well, forests are being destroyed, trees cut to make way for elite buildings, wealthy corporations, mining fields… I am feeling ill most of the time and not breathing well it seems.
Women, children and the elderly in rural Armenia are dying because of lack of basic health services. Doctors are operating when money is available (most of the time). 
Parents are taking home only newborns with perfect smile; others are abandoned, left behind often, ending in one of the state-run orphanages.
Handicapped people are destined to stay inside their homes all their life. The city does not accept them. They are considered to be the shame of their families.
No, not doing very good in the political field either. Don’t know who to believe anymore, whom to trust with this protocol thing. Elections suck too!

People are loosing hope; youth are seeing their future in other countries.

Eh, what can I say; things are not looking good at all.

I don’t know how much the 16 million raised in this past telethon will cure all these bruises and pains?
I don’t know if it will stop men from beating their wives?
I don’t know if it will put human before profit in this little land?
I don’t know if it will give people freedom of opinion.

and most of all I am wondering when you will start caring for real?

Maybe I shouldn’t write to you and bother you with these things now. I know that you don’t want to hear bad things from here.  We are trying to behave, not to give a bad image to the world but it is hurting too much.

No, I won’t be coming back soon. I will be hanging out here for a while to figure out things, to test my limits, to understand.

Send my love to my mom; tell her I miss her food and accent. Tell her that I like it here despite of everything.

And take care of yourself, visit from time to time. I know asking you to move here would be too much.

From Armenia,
With love.


  1. Very sad, but true. Thank you Larajan for writing about "bad" part of Armenia, because this is our reality too, unfortunately, most of the time this is the only reality.

  2. Thanks for the letter! It's true, whether we like it or no. And we have to speak out! Your letter has a very powerful message and it is hidden in the last sentence: "I know asking you to move here would be too much." But that is exactly the call, the cry!!! We need Diaspora Armenians, especially those from the West (US, Europe) to return and help the locals fight all these vices. Without them it will be very hard and it will take way too long.

  3. I am coming Lara!

    I wanted to remind you of the environmental degradation/exploitation, sexism and poverty in Canada too... the papers are filled with dudes who just go crazy and kill their family (!) let's not forget all other "developping" countries in the world.. maybe compared to other places, Armenia is pretty liberal and 'ahead'.

  4. I'm feeling guilty all the time since I left Armenia 20 years ago. I know all those problems existed back then too, but for some reason I've never saw them like you do, before. And people over there looked to me much better than people here. I've never found true friends here, just polite and egoist businessmen. But I guess that is because of the system.
    I've left only for financial reasons back then when it was still Soviet Union.
    I can't beleve so much have changed in 20 years.
    I can't go back now. To much depts. and responsibilities. Maybe after 20 years.

  5. Just about every social problem you listed in this post is happening in just about every other country in the world at this moment. Some countries ('developed' ones) have mechanisms to hide it better than others. But I guess because it's our own country Armenia, we feel the issues more.

    And anonymous, when it comes to sexism in Canada, let's not forget that both genders are victims in this day in age. It's not just the "dudes" doing the bad deeds.

  6. nicely said Lara... so true, Armenia is not the same :(

  7. I cannot imagine things changed so much in last 3 yrs, but for a foreigner it might sound you are talking about the worst place on the Earth. Dear Lara, the worst years in Armenia were my best years, because there was always human dignity and warmth in relationships. One sided view may only harm our good Diaspora, please consider giving well grounded information for a better understanding of Motherland, and not for hatred and groundless discussion.