Renewed conflict: Basement voices from Stepanakert

1 October 2020

HART supporter and translator, Artemis lives in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) with her family. Below is her account of what is happening right now in Artsakh since the renewal of conflict and aggression on Sunday 27th September. 

“COVID-19 is now something of the past for Armenian people. For us, we do not have fear of catching the Coronavirus or dying from it but fear injury or death from the shelling. For the last 8 months, the world has been battling the Coronavirus pandemic, with people in isolation, jobless, children out of education and medical staff working 24/7.

All this has caused stress, fear and global economic collapse. No human, country, or government would think to start a full-scale war on another country under these conditions, other than Azerbaijan and Turkey. The planning and execution of a full-scale attack on Artsakh, in the midst of a pandemic, is the crime of the century; not to mention the targetting of civilians, women, children, and the elderly.

Today is the fourth day of war; cities, towns and villages have stopped their daily life and gone into war conditions. Upon hearing the siren, they flee to find protection wherever possible. Children crying, upset and frightened, the elderly are struggling to hold back tears. Tears which bring back the memories of the first war in 1991, the April war in 2016 and now September 2020.”

As she spoke to us, Artemis was sheltering in her basement with neighbours. Neighbours told us that: 

“After a ceasefire was declared in 1994, we prayed to God that our children would never see what we saw, or have to go through what we did. But our prayers were not heard and our children and grandchildren experienced the tragedies of war in 2016. And now in 2020, history repeats itself again, but this time not only our 

grandchildren but our great-grandchildren are the victims of violent actions by Azeri aggressors.”

“Our hearts are large but our demands are few, live peacefully on our land and soil, and bring up our children as Armenians. We have that right, do we not? Is this not a basic human right? How are we different from others? I am sure that every person would do what our soldiers are doing to protect our land. We are 3 million against 10 million but our fearless soldiers stand strong, full of pride and with courage, ready to fight for what is ours.” 

“World leaders, wake up, see what is happening now and make a stand.” 

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