Editor’s picks of 2020 - Feature Stories
I imagine I am not the only one who has run out of adjectives to describe 2020. As the year comes to an end, I find I cannot even recall most of it—the days, weeks and months seem blurred, like an oily smudge covers most of the calendar. So I struggled when tasked with selecting my five favorite feature stories from 2020. Should I select the ones that seem the most true, even after all the twists and turns of this extraordinary year? Or should I pick the ones that were the best reported, the best written?
In the end, I chose the ones that I remembered, the stories and voices that stayed with me despite the chaos of the past 12 months.
Even though February seems like a lifetime ago, I still find myself wondering if Syuzanna Patvakanyan ever found her daughter Stella. I recall how, when editing that story, I suddenly remembered long-forgotten details of my daughter’s birth—and had a small inkling of the chasm of loss Syuzanna and the other women have tried to cross all these years. 'The child has disappeared': Armenian women fight to find their lost children by Hasmik Baleyan
Aygun Baghirova and her family have also remained in my thoughts this year. Their struggle to find a home and create a life seems to echo the problems facing so many people—not just here in the South Caucasus, but everywhere. A rented life by Melltem Talibzade
And as the pandemic continues, and the countries in the region are forced to deal with lockdowns, restricted movement and economic fallout, I continue to worry about women like Karine Sahakyan. How many women have been forced to go into lockdown with their abusers due to Covid-19? Why is it we, as a society, seem to offer so little to help them? Finding freedom during lockdown by Mariam Grigoryan
Throughout the days and weeks of the first lockdown in the spring, the language and color of Ella Kanegarian Göktas’ essay From quarantine with love on how artists were surviving quarantine buoyed my spirit and gave me hope that these days would pass.
Finally, I can’t stop thinking about some of the themes that came up in the cross-border essay on how people were coping with the lockdown in all three South Caucasus nations, Demaracating a virus: conversations between neighbors. I loved this piece for many reasons—the windows it opened into other people’s lives, the depth of our shared experiences, and the overwhelming sense that despite our differences, we have so very much in common.
- Molly Corso Editor of Chai Khana
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