Hrachik Mirzakhanyan is from the village of Mets Tagher in Hadrut. His three sons Gagik, Garnik and Arthur took part in the last Artsakh war, and his eldest son, Ararat, could not go to war because he has a first-degree disability․ He was wounded in 2007 during an attack by an enemy subversive group in Artsakh.

Hrachik Mirzakhanyan says that this war took everything away from them, Garnik was taken away too…

Gagik and Garnik were conscripts. They were to return home in six months. They served in Hadrut. Immediately after the hostilities unleashed by Azerbaijan, the brothers moved to Karakhanbeyli with their fellow servicemen and fought.

Mr. Hrachik, who took part in the Artsakh survival war in the 1990s, says that he would also take part in the war, but his health problems did not allow him. However, he tried to support our soldiers to the best of his ability by providing them with food and necessities. This family living in Mets Tagher has put its most expensive possession on the altar for the salvation of the homeland, but, as Mr. Hrachik says, they betrayed the people and the boys: the boys were killed, and a part of the homeland was lost to the enemy.

He says they lived through terrible days during the war.

“On October 1, we were informed that Gagik was seriously injured, and there was no information from Garnik. Gagik somehow regained consciousness in Stepanakert hospital and said, ‘Dad, the infantry came, we resisted, but they hit and killed Garnik.’ Gagik’s condition was very bad too․ His intestines, back, lungs, legs were damaged. His condition was so bad, they transferred him to Yerevan on the same day. “He is not in good condition even now, and they still have to operate on him,” says Mr. Hrachik.

Gagik remembers with pain but also with pride the moments of the fight fought by his hero brother.

“The projectile hit, Garnik got wounded, but he continued fighting in that state, then he died. I was also injured and lost consciousness. When I opened my eyes, I was in the hospital. We all were ready to fight to the last breath and we did so,” says Garnik and adds: “It is so painful and offensive to see the lands that our boys kept every inch of it through selfless struggle, fell to the enemy’s hands. What was kept with weapon was given with a pen…

The father found the body of his son Garnik a few days later and then buried his hero son on October 3 in his native village of Mets Tagher. The village was not yet under the control of the enemy.

“After the funeral, I came to Yerevan because Gagik had to be operated on. I was visiting him all the time because his condition was really bad. Then on the 22nd of the month I heard that the Turks have taken the village, entered our land, and were doing incredible things. The cemeteries of our village were desecrated. They had leveled the tombstones and everything to the ground. Then we went to Mets Tagher with the help of the Russians, but we had difficulty in finding Garnik’s grave; that’s how badly they have destroyed it. Somehow, we found the place, we brought Garnik’s remains here․ Now he is in Yerablur [military cemetary in the capital of Armenia]. My heart was exploding at the thought that my child’s grave was in the hands of the Turks [means Azeris]. Now at least my soul is calm that Garniks is resting in Yerablur. But the graves of the others remained there and they [Azeris] leveled them to the ground and desecrated them,” says the father through tears.

Now, the Mirzakhanyan family is homeless, jobless. Hrachik Mirzakhanyan has four sons and two daughters; a daughter and a son now live in Stepanakert, and Mr. Hrachik lives in a hotel in Yerevan with his other daughter, grandson and two sons, Gagik and Arthur. The Mirzakhanyans say they want to live at least in Stepanakert, as close to their native Hadrut, as possible. But Gagik is receiving treatment; somebody has to accompany him to the hospital, take care of him… The Mirzakhanyan family found themselves in a difficult social situation. Hrachik Mirzakhanyan says he has worked all his life, built three houses, but now he has nothing and they can live only thanks to benefactors․ The situation is overwhelming.

“My son Arthur, who saw a war and appeared in the blockade in Shushi during this war and somehow managed to escape, will soon become a contract soldier. I say, my boy, I lost my son Garnik, I can’t stand it anymore, at least you don’t go, he says, I’m not better than Garnik and the other boys, I will not take another job, I must become a soldier,” tells Mr. Hrachik.

“We had houses, we had livelihood, we had everything, but now we have nothing, we are left depending on good people… But I still hope that we will go to Hadrut. This leadership must simply change. If it does not change, nothing good will happen; the situation will become even more complicated. Every day we hear something bad, there are no good news at all,” Mr. Hrachik concludes.

Hasmik Baleyan

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