Tuesday, 25 September

Illusions and Reality: Twelve Years After the War

“You can never come back from the war. You can come back physically, but not spiritually, “ says Kharabakh war veteran Doctor Artsakh Bunyatyan. He seems to have found one to escape this condition: he drinks vodka (or sun liquid, as he calls it) and offers it to his visitors.

I spoke briefly with several veterans. I feel that they still have not returned from the war and never will. They live in the war. Their war memories are present in everything. Often, they are their most vivid memories.

Armen Avanesyan from Maghavuz, or Armen-dayeen as he is known in the village, always sits there looking lost. It's hard to catch his glance as he silently looks at the sky. His eldest son, who was in the village militia, was one of the first victims of the war. In 1993 Azerbaijanis occupied the village. He moved with his family to Russia. But he couldn't stay there long, and he returned to Karabakh. When Armen-dayeen started to talk about the harsh days of war, we saw his eyes light up. He told us how he used to take ammunition to the militia in the forests.

“The Deer Militia was still in the forest. Chalyan Sergey came and said there were dead and wounded on the other side of the Tartar River and they didn't know how to get them out. The Azerbaijanis had closed all the roads. They had blown up the bridge. I went, and somehow we got the wounded out. I was showing them the routes; they didn't know their own land, but I know every nook and cranny there. I knew the roads, I was bringing ammunition, and then I brought food on horses,” 71-year-old Armen-dayeen told us.

When I asked Armen-dayeen about returning the liberated lands, he said, “The whole world knows that land taken with blood cannot be returned. Our leaders are the only ones who don't understand that.”

It was in Maghavuz, as we were talking about the war, that one wounded freedom fighter said the following: “Why are they threatening us with Baku–Ceyhan? If we have to one day we'll blow it up in three places. Or do they think we don't have suicide bombers, or that I lost this many friends and I'm going to let something happen to their families?”

The village of Maghavuz village in the Martakert region twice fell into to Azerbaijani hands. When the Armenian army liberated the village, they found the village burned and looted. Most of the villagers came back and rebuilt their houses.

Since the liberation, there has been no drinking water in Maghavuz. Arkady Ghukasyan visited the village during the presidential elections. He was surprised to hear that there was no water, and promised to solve the problem soon. “There will be water here,” the president told the villagers. Albert, one of the elders, said, “Turn on the water slowly, or it will pass us by.”

There is no water in the village to this day. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Anushavan Danielyan repeated the same promise when he visited Maghavuz. He, of course, is an expert in making promises. The reconstruction of the Maghavuz water pipeline would cost only two thousand dollars. But Kharabakh officials do not have such resources; the state budget barely covers their trips abroad.

The NGO Aznavour Pour Armenie is trying to tackle the water problem and plans to install a new pump and will place the corroded pipes.


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