We lost a son, a place: everything
We have been living in Kovsakan, Kashatagh since 1998. From the very beginning, when we went there, there was nothing. They said it would be fine. We built the house on our own, we took care of the children on our own. Then they opened a hospital and we started working. With all our torment, at first, we had one animal, then we gradually increased the number. We worked and lived by work until the war started.
Hovik (Hovhannes Khachatryan) took part in the April war too: he was a conscript at that time. After completing his service, he remained as a contract soldier. Later, he left because of heart problems and10 days later the war started. He was 23 years old, he had just gotten married a few months before the war.
On September 27
In the morning of September 27, we heard shooting but did not imagine that it was war. I handed over my shift and came home. We learned that there was a mobilization and that the names of all three men of our family, my husband’s and my two sons’, were on the list. Hovik was taken to war, but my husband had severe back problem; he could not go. My eldest son said, “You should not go, I will go,” and two brothers went together. They have been in Jrakan since the very first day. And we waited for a call every minute, but they did not call. Since they were in the service during the April war too, we knew what this was, and we understood that this was not the April war, this was a real war. And we felt that the war was heating up day by day. They called rearer and rearer, but never said that there was a problem: they did not have such a habit.
– What are you doing, how are you?
– We are baking bread. But how are you? You are in a war.
– What bread, what are you baking? Get up and go. We are fine, do not think about us. Take Mariam too and go: even if something happens to me, let Mariam stay with you.
But how could we leave when the two brothers were at war? This was our last conversation on October 1: after that we did not hear from him or his brother.
“Hovik is no more”
We were constantly looking around, asking… And, one day, my eldest son called and said, “I am in the hospital, but Hovik is no more.” I do not know much about the incident, my son does not tell much, he only says that Hovik was with him, “I looked after him constantly; when he was a little further away, I called him and said, ‘Come near me.’ But then he received a blow to the head, he lost consciousness, then a shrapnel entered his leg, after which he did not see his brother anymore. The friends did not let him go closer, they said, “you will not find him: it is too late.” There were some boys there who said that they saw how the drone hit the area where Hovikenk was.
It was the beginning of October: we saw that everyone was leaving the village taking out of the houses whatever they were able to take. We probably were the last people to leave. We wanted to take at least some of our son’s things out of the house, but we didn’t have time: the Turks were already in the village. It was around 8-9 o’clock on October 8, we left with just the clothes we were wearing. We left everything, including the cattle, the animals: nothing mattered for us except our children who we had no news from. When we heard from our elder son, we thought we would find the younger too, but ․․․
We came to Kapan. We have changed 3 houses already: one was rented, the other was sold. Now, many people came to look at this house: if they have sell it, I do not know where we will go.
“He went to fight without eating anything: that breaks my heart. Hovik liked boiled eggs and rice pilaf, but he did not eat anything…”
The Khachatryan family now lives in a rented house in the village of Dashtavan, Armavir region, in a dire social situation. Hwvik’s older brother suffered head and leg injuries during the war. He has two minor children. Hovhannes’s father also has health problems. They do not receive any assistance from the state. “They called a couple of times, asking how they could help. I said, by paying for gas and electricity. But it’s pointless: all they do is calling and talking.” The Khachatryan family is still waiting for Hovhannes’s medal.