“ I’m not interested in any promises, I’m going of my own free will. I know conditions are rough there “, observes Shahen Baliozian, a Syrian-Armenian who left for Kashatagh with three other doctors on the morning of November 1st.
A surgeon by profession, Shahen heard on T.V. that physicians were needed in Kashatagh and heeding the call decided to go and work in the hospital in Berdzor. Artsakh Bunyatyan, the Director of the Berdzor Hospital, was in Yerevan the day before where he met with fourteen physicians who had responded to the same T.V. announcement. During the meeting they all had promised to show-up the next morning at the Karabakh Mission to board the van that would take them to Berdzor. The physicians were supposed to familiarize themselves with the working and living conditions on location and then make their final decision. That morning, at the appointed place, only four physicians turned up. One of them was Shahen Baliozian from Aleppo.
“ In 1970 I began my studies at the Yerevan Medical University specializing in surgery. Later on I worked in Aleppo. The surgeon says that, “ When I heard on T.V. that they needed doctors there I wanted to participate, to make my contribution towards the people there in the liberated lands.” He has been a practicing surgeon for some 27 years. For 7 years he worked in the Syrian Army and later on opened his own clinic. He’s also worked in a number of Syrian hospitals.
“ Now I want to lighten my work load a bit and make my contribution to the homeland. I have a wife and two children. One is a doctor and the other is studying at the Yerevan Law School. The wife and the one child are in Aleppo. Let’s see what the conditions are like and if it’s possible to bring the family to Kashatagh.” notes Mr.Baliozian. It would appear that the state of affairs in the Kashatagh region of Nagorno-Karabakh has started to change during the past few months. The authorities in Karabakh have begun to realize the importance of Kashatagh and have taken definite steps to correct the situation there. Just a year ago the situation on the ground was calamitous and “Hetq” has frequently focused on this issue.
“ There’s a very good chance that I’ll stay since I’ve worked in many non-urban areas for quite a long time. For 34 years I’ve worked at the Third Clinical Hospital. Thus I’m heading off with the aim of staying. I’m a Therapist-Cardiologist by profession. Due to my age I no longer work but I’m ready to work again,” states Arusyak Martirosyan. I ask her, “ Conditions are pretty tough there. Do you have any concept of where you’re going?” She responds, “ If I was able to go to Kyrgyzstan with a three month-old baby in my arms and not be daunted by the hardships there then I’ll have nothing to fear in Karabakh. I’ve been able to overcome all sorts of obstacles from an early age on; I have no fears.” The Kashatagh Administration has promised to provide housing for the physicians.
Lilit Ginosyan has decided to go to Kashatagh with her two daughters. She was bringing along her five year-old daughter Naneh that morning as well so that the child could see for herself what conditions were like there.
“ I’m taking the infant as well. My eldest girl is in the 10th grade. We’re going with the intention of staying. Let’s see what things are like there. We’ll have to work on getting my daughter’s school records transferred. Our aim is to live and work there. I know that it will be hard but there are difficulties wherever you go. Overcoming hardship is a natural part of life. It’s an area that’s newly being built, it will flourish and prosper, and so will we. I really enjoy making things flower and grow,” notes physician-therapist Lilit Ginosyan.