Day 33, Diary of War, Nagorno Karabakh

By Lika Zakaryan, Stepanakert

Today, I was in the maternity hospital, which was bombed yesterday. To be honest, it was indescribably scary. If it were not for Levon (he is my cameraman and owner of the fish that I take care of), then I would never have left the shelter. They did not let us sleep all night, and also morning, afternoon, evening. We are literally under constant bombing.

When we approached the hospital, my hands were shaking. But I tried to hide it because Levon would have regretted agreeing to go there with me. We approached the destroyed hospital: I take photos, Levon takes videos. All this happens under the sound of bombs. With every sound, as they say, “I step into hell and return”. I had not felt so much fear as I did today, in my own hometown, in Stepanakert. At one point, I stood outside, with broken window glass under my feet. And Levon kept repeating: “Look around! Be careful! Do not step, it might hurt your foot!” I think, oh God, from above – the sky is not safe, we knew that, and now from below – under our feet, the ground is not safe. Stopped. I think aloud and say to myself: “So, Lika, if you are afraid, you should have stayed in the shelter. That’s it, you’re already here. Whether you are afraid or not, the Smerch will not stop, you will not run faster to some basement. Stop it … ” So I calmed myself.

Later, I thought: “Well, since I came here and didn’t die, at least let me see my mother. And I haven’t seen her for several days.” I went to look for mom. Asked everyone: “Have you seen my mother? She works here! Please tell me where I can find my mom.” It turns out that after a long night shift, she finally managed to get 10 minutes of sleep. And here I am. Thought – should I wake her up, or no? I decided, nevertheless, to be selfish and wake her up. Thankfully, someone had already woken her up. When I saw her, everything around me froze and turned into a blur. Like a frame from the Madagascar cartoon: “Maaaarty! Aaaalex!” Only without words. I’m standing with a stupid, loving smile on my face, and then… “What the hell are you doing here?” HOP! Time went on, the noise returned, the blur was interrupted. “Um… mom, I came to see you.” “Did I not tell you to stay in the shelter and not go anywhere? You’re all like your father, you don’t listen to anyone!” But, of course, I saw in all this only her happy eyes, hugged her, talked for a couple of minutes, and ran away, asking her to sleep a little…

The sound of the bombs continued to spoil our day. But today the most incomprehensible was the address of our president, “The enemy is five kilometers from Shushi.” In reality, people in Yerevan and in the diaspora were more alarmed than us in Stepanakert. Calls: “Can you go to a safe place? At least for a while. And come back in two days. “

But from his words I will single out only Shushi. He correctly noted: “Whoever has Shushi, has Karabakh.” Shushi is a town on a cliff where in the 40-degree summer heat you can find a refuge from a cold wind. Some call it a ghost town, but for me it is a city full of love! This ancient and lively aura cannot be described in words, it can only be felt. I worked in Shushi for a year – at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Tourism. Everyday during lunch break, my colleagues and I went out for a walk around Shushi, to find, see, and have fun. During the first war, the liberation of Shushi was equal to the victory in the Karabakh war. It was almost impossible. No, it was really impossible, but we did it.

With such thoughts and the sounds of a siren, we sit, drink tea, play backgammon. And here again a package and a very warm note for me. So many packages from friends, acquaintances and just kind people. It’s even embarrassing. And again, this is not worthy of what you do but – Thank you!

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