“It was the afternoon of the 19th of September, everyone was doing whatever they usually were doing, cool and carefree, in their gardens, with their own feelings, and suddenly … a thunderbolt thundered over my heads,” Alvard Avagyan, who was forcibly displaced from Artsakh, tells with tears in her eyes.

After the bombardment of the village, the residents took the children down to the basement of the village head’s house.

“We took all young children to that basement; not children of only our village, the whole Martuni region was there, with little ones, crying.”

The family lived in one of the most dangerous border villages of Artsakh, in the village of Nngi, Martuni region. After being displaced, after traveling for three days with her elderly parents and her brother’s family, they settled in the village of Ranchpar, Ararat region of Armenia. To describe the terrible situation and feelings of the three-day journey, Alvard painfully remembers the words of her elderly father: “leave me on the road, you go”…

After the enemy attack, on the night of October 19, they decided to evacuate the residents from the village. The villagers did not agree. they had soldiers on the border: although they were bombing and there was no connection, but they were sitting on the roads waiting for a car, for someone to come and tell them some news about them.

None of the boys who came down of the positions were able to return, all of them took shelter in Nngi village. On October 21, Russian peacekeepers went to the village with the enemy and Samvel Shahramanyan with the order to disarm.

Surviving the terrible days, Alvard remembers that she did not sleep all night, was looking out the window: in the darkness there was only the enemy with a weapon in his hand, in a lightless village.

“The little ones were crying, saying that the Turks are going to kill us.When the village is disarmed, the Turk is in the village, how can you be safe?

We didn’t want to leave the village, we waited until the 25th of the month, after that our village head said: what are you waiting for, people, do you want to stay or go?… Who can stay? even if you stay, you can commit suicide, but for the sake of the children everyone left the village. We left everything: our graves, childhood memories, lived days. We came out and we didn’t know where we were going, why we were going, how we were going to live… we came out, we left the blood of our boys there.”

Fortunately, there were no casualties in the village from the fight, instead “we were living corpses”, says Alvard. After being displaced, already in Armenia, four people from their village did not survive, some of them died of a heart attack, and one died after being in a coma for a month.

His nephew, Avagyan Alen, was killed during the 44-Day War. He served in Martuni 2, he was in Jrakan during the war. The family was in Yerevan at that time, after hearing the news of his death, they returned to Artsakh. Alen’s remains were found in Goris.

“He lied to us, he said he won’t call for two days. I thought that it had never happened that he didn’t call. After two days of not calling, we found out that he was no more… We live with that pain in our hearts. We only took a picture of our child with us. May we be the last parents to see that kind of pain. I don’t want anything, just give us the grave of my child so that we can bury him here,” says Alen’s mother, Armanush.

After being displaced from Artsakh, she turned to the Red Cross with that very request, they said that they are not even able to bring the victims of 2023; if it will be possible, we have the data, we will call you.

Alvard and her parents are pensioners, but they have no place to register to receive a pension. They have not received a pension since September. Their only request is to find a house where they can register.

We have no name, no home, no homeland. We will get Armenian citizenship somehow, we won’t stay in the air, we will be citizens somewhere, but to give up our Artsakh, it means giving up our graves, our sons… we are left with the life of gypsies; we have no state, no flag, no anthem, nothing”.

Qnarik Vardanyan

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