Friday, 13 December

No ‘Last Bell’ in Artsakh Villages of Talish and Mataghis

For the high school graduates of the Artsakh villages of Talish and Mataghis, the “last bell” was rung in other communities across Armenia and Karabakh.

18 year-old Syuzanna Arzumanyan, who studied for twelve years, minus one month, in Mataghis, graduated in Arzni, Armenia.

Syuzanna told us that at the start of the spring term, she wouldn’t have imagined that classes for her would end not in her native Mataghis but in the village of Arzni.

“Naturally, it would have been more enjoyable to have graduated in my village,” says Syuzanna.

She doesn’t know where many of her fellow classmates wound up after fighting broke out along the Artsakh Line of Contact in early April.

Syuzanna, an aspiring doctor, is now preparing for medical college entrance exams. But the burdens of everyday life have come to weigh heavily on her shoulders and those of her brother. They are taking care of their grandparents who were living in Talish.

“There has to be safety, security and peace. But, as far as I hear, it’ll be impossible to live in Talish,” says Syuzanna.

Syuzanna’s parents and a brother in the army have remained in Artsakh. Her father is a contract soldier there. She and her grandparents have been living in a rented house in Arzni since April.

Syuzanna’s grandfather, 90 year-old Volodya Arzumanyan, has witnessed three wars. During the 1990s Artsakh War, they fled to Vardenis. When they returned, their home in Talish was burnt to the ground.

Today, they have no idea when they will return.

When I ask Volodya how he would resolve the conflict, he replies, “It’s easy. It’s Armenian land. The Turks say it’s theirs. I won’t give a scrap of land back if I were president. If they start a war, I’ll do the same. If there’s peace, I’ll reciprocate.”

Currently, Syuzanna’s brother Never has been back to Mataghis several times. He returned from his last visit a few days ago. This time, he brought back his sister’s pet puppy.

“I figured, let me bring the dog. She’ll be happy,” said Never.

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