Karvatchar Diary: “We Do Not Recognize Those Protocols You Have Signed”
I have been living in the village of Verin Shen in the liberated Artsakh district of Karvatchar for the past eight years. When we relocated here back in November 2001 we faced numerous obstacles that we overcame with dignity.
Now, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. The land welcomes us with a blustery autumn and the deep freeze of winter. We weren’t prepared for that winter either psychologically or financially.
There was no electricity, telephone service and almost no transport. All the stores belonged to one individual and the nearest was ten kilometers from our house. I will not tell you what prices were being charges in those stores out of shame. Happily, all this is in the past and mere memory.
Our neighbors were as industrious and hard-working as we were; creating their own future. Some couldn’t cope with the hardships and eventually moved away. But they were replaced by other newcomers.
Years passed. We got our electricity and cell phone service. Public transport is still lacking but it’s better than before. Armenian children were born here and after a two hundred year absence their birth certificates note that they were born in Karvatchar With each passing year of liberation, stone-crosses and gravestones with medieval Armenian inscriptions were removed from the walls of house and stables and from street pavements.
We were literally forced to remove them piece by piece, cleaning them from the two hundred years of cow dung and plaster they has been profaned with by the former usurpers of the land. We also had loses; people died due to the harsh conditions.
One was my father, a poet, linguist and a soldier; a man who simply was devoted to his country with all his heart and soul throughout his entire life. He was born in the village of Akori, near the town of Alaverdi in northern Armenia. His parents are buried there. My father’s forbearers went to Lori from the ancient district of Akori Our relatives continue to reproach us for burying him in a land with “an uncertain political future”. I find these words to be very insulting. Of course, we have experienced many problems here but the land’s beautiful majesty has become an inseparable part of my conscience.
The rebirth of this land has given my life new meaning. On its sacrificial altar I have simply been able to offer my services as a teacher, replete with sweat and tears. My sisters have raised families here and offered their eldest sons to the land. My father was the first in these parts to be laid to eternal rest according to Armenian Church ritual. Some may say that I am overly emotional as I write these lines. But I am not ashamed to write them down since I believe they impart a valuable message regarding our nation and state from a historical perspective.
The blood of our soldiers and the cries of our newly born gave us back our honor, trampled by genocide and centuries of dispersion, and gave us the right to walk with pride as free men and women. As a woman I can appreciate and understand how great this gift is. To be a sister or wife to those men who fought an unequal war and to make them a gift in turn – to bring their children into this world.
Today, how many Armenian women actually think about who saved them from dishonor, figuratively speaking and in the direct sense of the word? These are empty words and are free of oratorical embellishment. This question cuts to the very heart of the matter.
The world has not changed and neither has the Turk. Peace and the rebirth of Armenia will only be possible if the gates to our country are steadfastly defended with the might of our men; in the name of life and honor. Sadly, what is taking place in Yerevan today greatly angers me. That despairing defeatism, to buy peace and prosperity at the price of making life-threatening concessions to the enemy, is disgusting and an abomination.
One is amazed at just how blind and cut off from reality such a large segment of our public and leadership can be. Are you so naive to believe in the security guarantees being bandied about by certain international forces? Haven’t you yet realized the simple truth that our village tranquility and the opulence of your palaces is directly dependent on the frontlines defended by our soldiers along the snow capped Mrav Mountains and the sands of the Kur-Arax plains.
Don’t you understand that when our soldiers quit those positions we will have forfeited the peace we now enjoy, obtained by the sacrifice and travails made by thousands of fellow Armenians, and that Armenia will be once again be engulfed in a torrent of death and destruction? Have you become so blinded by the external opulence of the international power brokers that you now fanatically seek the Nobel Peace Prize and other awards they hold out before you. Have you become so infatuated with their promises of gold and investments once a settlement is reached that you are ready to betray and sell the last sacred inheritance we possess – our fatherland?
Even without their empty promises you have squeezed the country dry of everything possible; ingloriously selling off all its riches. And now, in the name of your petty commercial interests, you are willing to bargain with the memory of the victims of the Genocide. I fully realize that you have little in common with the ideals of honor and morality and that, when it comes to personal responsibility towards the nation, you are sorely lacking.
This evaluation equally refers to the government and the leaders of the so-called opposition, who are just as malevolent. It is futile to appeal to your conscience and your sense of honor, buried as it is under fleeting riches.
But if you for a moment believe that we will cave-in to all of this, you are sadly mistaken. We do not recognize those protocols you have signed. We will not forfeit our homes, our sacred sites, our cemeteries in the name of the “Madrid Principles”; a document that dishonors the free blood flowing through our veins.
Remember these words when you go to negotiate in the name of our country or before you sign some worthless scrap of paper. Remember that the curse of people and the ire of the nation will follow the fleeting acclamation and applause you receive from world leaders and the comical team of political analysts and Turkish experts you heed. This is the fate that awaits you. It will follow you constantly and will stamp its deadly seal on the foreheads of your offspring for seven generations to come.
The “guarantees’ now promised you will be forgotten. They will say “bravo” and then throw you into the dust bin of history where you will be devoured by those who now slavishly serve you. This is the fate that awaits you.
Thus, I, in the name of all women of Artsakh and the residents of the liberated territories, declare that you will not give anything back. I state this as a frail woman but strong in spirit. Your condescending and commercially-inspired protocols and Madrid Principles will remain scraps of paper and a testament to your feebleness and spiritual blindness. The unity of the Armenian homeland must be restored. Not one inch of land will be handed over to the enemy!