Ethnic Cleansing in Progress: War in Nagorno Karabakh - The Characteristics of the People of Nagorno Karabakh
Ethnic cleansings
Roots of conflicts
Legal aspects
Press archive
Operation Ring

Sumgait 1988
Baku 1990
Maraghar 1992


Caroline Cox and John Eibner

Ethnic Cleansing in Progress: War in Nagorno Karabakh

[Contents] [Preface] [Introduction] [Basic Facts] [A Conflict of Civilizations] [The Genocide] [The Pincers of Pan-Turkism] [Soviet Rule] [The Karabakh Question Revived] [Operation Ring] [The Post-Soviet Conflict] [The Characteristics of the People of Nagorno Karabakh] [The Prognosis: Continuing Bloodshed] [Conclusions] [Recommendations]

The Characteristics of the People of Nagorno Karabakh


There is one important remaining factor which needs to be recognised: the characteristics of the people. These form a crucial part of the human dimension and of the political equation. Virtually all of the independent witnesses in international delegations who have visited the enclave have been profoundly impressed by the people, especially their generosity, courage, resilience, dignity and general lack of hatred, despite the suffering they have endured. Four examples are typical of innumerable encounters demonstrating these characteristics.

First, a nurse in Maragha who had just seen her son beheaded and lost 14 members of her family. After describing her anguish, she was asked if she would like to send a message to the world. With great dignity, she rose above her grief and said:


"Please say 'Thank you'. As a nurse, I have been working in this hospital and have seen how the medicines you have brought have saved many lives and relieved much suffering. Thank you for not forgetting us in our dark days."


This is surely a triumph of the human spirit: to rise above such anguish and to express gratitude.

Secondly, an old man in a village which had been overrun by the Azeri-Turks. He described how his son had been killed on the first night of fighting. Then on the next day, when the Azeris occupied the village, they saw a new grave and, knowing the Armenian custom of burying the dead in their best clothes, they dug up his son's body, to remove his new suit and his gold teeth. The old man then invited the delegation to his home, which had been ransacked by the Azeri-Turks. He had nothing left with which to face the bitter winter, except, on the bare floor, a pile of walnuts and a pile of apples - and he insisted on giving us his apples.

Thirdly, the brave women and children in bombarded Stepanakert and the boy who, after waiting in line for 5 hours in bitter weather, returned to the apartment, slipped on the ice and spilt his two buckets of water. He made a joke and returned for another 5-hour trek, without complaining.

Fourthly, the Armenian from Shaumyan district who described his experiences during the deportations of Getashen and Martunashen in May 1992. He recalled how, after witnessing the deportations from Getashen, he escaped and climbed up the mountainside. He came to an apricot tree. On the tree was hanging a five-year-old Armenian girl, cut in two. He vowed revenge. Later, he described how, when the Armenians retook a village, he broke his vow, because he could not bring himself to harm a woman or a child. When one of the delegation commented on his compassion and his dignity, he simply replied: "Dignity is a crown of thorns."

Finally, a quotation from the Bishop of Nagorno Karabakh:


"Our nation has again begun to find its faith and is praying in churches, cellars and in the field of battle, defending its life and the life of those who are near and dear. It is not only the perpetrators of crime and evil who commit sin, but also those who stand by - seeing and knowing - and who do not condemn it or try to avert it. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. We do not hate; we believe in God. If we want God's victory, we must love. Even if there are demonic forces at work, not only in this conflict, but in other parts of the world, we must still love."







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