We Are as Strong as Our Mountains

by Diana Aghumyan

The morning of September 27th was not one of those ordinary mornings for Armenians. We all received the sad news about Azerbaijan’s large-scale offensive launched against Artsakh. At first, I could not fully realize what was going on as I was half-asleep and half-awake. I rubbed my eyes and reread everything. I was paralyzed for the first few minutes and could not believe it was happening again.

The situation on the Line of Contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan has been tense from time to time. The most intensive escalation after the ceasefire of 1994 between Armenia and Azerbaijan was in 2016, also known as Four Day April war. Just when we were thinking 2020 could not get even worse, Azerbaijan attacked the Tavush region of Armenia in July. Being not fully recovered from those events, we were forced to get involved in another yet more serious fight, which we neither wanted nor started. However, deep down, some Armenians, including me, thought that this would not last more than a few days. Unfortunately, it has been 25 days since Artsakh was under heavy attacks.

With the support of its major ally Turkey, Azerbaijan uses all the means to occupy the territories that historically belong to Armenia. They even hired Syrian mercenaries to fight against us. Although Armenia is outnumbered and does not have the modern and powerful military equipment that Azerbaijan has, our soldiers are fighting against terrorism and Azerbaijani aggression with dignity. They are sacrificing the most precious thing for us, their lives. They are fighting till the last breath, not to let the enemy take away our right to live in our ancestors’ lands.

The most disappointing aspect of this situation perhaps is the international community’s response. Some countries picked the side of the aggressor, while others still remain neutral. Along with this, we also see some countries being extremely “concerned.” They condemn the actions of Azerbaijan. However, they are just concerned, and that’s it. They do not do anything to stop Azerbaijan and its war crimes. Some people might think that as long as the problem is not related to them, they do not have to interfere. They believe that as long as they live in safety and this conflict does not put their lives at risk, they can carry on living their lives and neglecting the fact that others’ lives are in danger. While our boys are fighting against terrorism at the expense of their lives, the international community just pretends to be unaware of what is going on. However, this toxic neutrality and ignorance might lead to disastrous consequences as the local ethnic conflict may spiral into a regional war.

Indeed, we do not have oil or something else to offer other countries and have them on our side, but we Armenians have each other. Armenians all over the world are united as always. I am proud of my Armenian brothers and sisters living in different parts of the world. Their protests, donations, and tremendous support are more than enough for us not to give up and stay strong. When I try to recall our history and all the struggles our nation underwent, I cannot think of a time when Armenians gave up. Our strength lies in our faith in our country, people, and history. This war is not an exception. There is no doubt that we are going to survive this too.

Even though they destroyed our homes, churches, and schools, we will restore all of them and build even more beautiful ones. The saddest part is the children who became victims of Aliyev’s ego and political games. Many children had to leave their homes with their families and move to different parts of Armenia. What is more devastating is that some of them lost their fathers, brothers, and other relatives on the battlefield. Instead of enjoying their childhood, they have to experience the ongoing war.

This war is definitely going to affect their mental health. That’s why my friends and I found it quite important to organize an interesting and entertaining event to alleviate their situation a bit and enable them to detach themselves from the harsh reality for a few hours. I must admit that meeting these children was the best thing that could happen to me these days.

“Even though the people of Ashtarak welcomed us very well, we want to return to our homes. We are looking forward to our victory,” Artsakh kids said.

I am looking forward to it as well, and I am sure that we will be victorious. We will not allow the second genocide to happen. We are going to live and prosper.