PANORAMA CITY, Calif. — After two weeks of violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan overseas, Armenians in Los Angles are living in fear for their family’s safety back home.
“Physically I’m in California, but my mind, my spirit is in Armenia. I have cousins over there, I have aunts fighting right now, and it hurts me so much to not be with them, to not know they are safe,” Rosie Oganesian said.
In hopes of bringing attention and possible intervention to the violence and bloodshed of the conflict, thousands of Armenians like Rosie took part in peaceful protests throughout L.A.
“I’m hoping that this conflict ends as soon as possible, there’s casualties on both sides, civilians dead on both sides, and it’s just so heartbreaking to see,” Oganesian said.
For the last five years, Oganesian has been volunteering with the Armenia Fund — a nonprofit that raises money to send clean water, medical supplies, and other humanitarian aid to Armenia, particularly in the Artsakh region. This year she’s making it a point to raise as much as she can to get the supplies into the hands of who needs it most. The ongoing conflict is a reminder of Armenia’s past that Maria Mehranian, the organizations president, said she’ll never forget.
“I do not want the entire world to turn their back to this. I do not want to have another genocide in these areas of Armenians, for a second time. I’m really making a plea to all the Armenians and non-Armenians to know about this, to know that people are in need. That they are injured, they are homeless, that they live in the bunkers right now,” Mehranian said.
The Armenia Fund has raised over $16 million since the start of the recent conflict, Mehranian said. But the demand for humanitarian relief in that area is ongoing. As the violence continues, all Oganesian can think about is finding a way to help.
“It’s been tough on me, my family, and almost every single Armenian out there,” Oganesian said.
Oganesian was able to get in contact with her family in Armenia who confirmed they were safe. But until the conflict ends, thousands of Armenians throughout L.A. will continue to demand an end to the violence in hopes of one day finding peace.