Ryde filmmaker shocked by casualties in war-torn Sister City

A RYDE documentary maker has been shocked by disturbing images of civilian casualties and widespread destruction in the war-torn Armenian speaking city of Stepanakert in the Republic of Artsakh.

Rita Lepedjian is the Executive Producer of the documentary series Journey Through Armenia – shown on SBS TV this year – and has toured Armenia each year for the past 15 years.
She told The Weekly Times that images of the carnage brought by neighbouring Azerbaijan’s missile attacks on Stepanakert have distressed her and brought home the devastating human toll in a city under siege.
“I personally know of three families already, whose sons have been killed and I’m heartbroken,” she said.
“My son has done voluntary work there as a teacher and one of his students has been killed.
“Even though I am proud to be an Australian of Armenian descent, when conflict comes this close to you it is absolutely distressing.”
The small, fledgling Republic of Artsakh has support from Armenia but is surrounded by the powerful, oil rich state of Azerbaijan which has the backing of Turkey.
Rita Lepedjian paid tribute to the bravery of the people living through the bombardment of Stepanakert – Ryde’s Sister City – and their support for one another.
“There are three generations fighting together for survival and all they are thinking about is protecting their families and protecting what they believe in.
“The world needs to know this is a tiny nation that has existed for centuries and is fighting for its survival against powerful aggressors.
“Armenian communities around the world are further uniting to assist in defending the Motherland from abroad.”
For now, Rita Lepedjian’s aim is to raise money to send survival packages to the besieged residents of Stepanakert and other towns before the onset of Winter.
These packages are expected to include basic necessities, particularly warm clothing.
See next week’s edition of The Weekly Times for more details.