Today, in our so controversial and often unfair and sometimes just frankly vile times when wedding generals and overfed near-political figures often run the show, I want to tell you about one of the true and real heroes. He, unlike the aforementioned individuals, really fought in the Artsakh War and did not hide under the wings of authorities and in the rear kitchen.
He was one of the heroes who, unlike many, are alive and continue to live among us, while we, alas, often so rarely notice them, as well as remember and know little, if anything, about them.
I met him in the late autumn of 1992 in Artsakh, in the Shusha separate battalion. He was then only 19 years old, his name was Mher, Mher Harutyunyan, although everyone called him Հրազդանցի Ճուտ (pronounced Hrazdantsi Chut, meaning “Kid from Hrazdan”) or simply Ճուտ.
But this Kid had already seen a year and a half of the war. He had seen border battles, the defense of Getashen and Martunashen, several months of a partisan raid in the forests of the occupied Shahumyan region, the liberation of the village of Malybeyli, and his first wound.
It was he who, in the mournful days of the fall of Getashen, together with the now deceased Igor Muradyan repeatedly went to negotiations with the army leadership of the ill-fated Operation Ring. And each time when he was surrounded by the brutal Azerbaijani OMON that was sensing unpunished bloodshed, such a campaign could be the last for him.
We were talking, and then, I was struck by the absolutely clear, I would say, fierce awareness of my righteousness and the righteousness of my cause in this yet boy. A deed for which one could very easily die at any day and hour.
He told how, after Getashen, he and a detachment crossed over to Shahumyan and began to partisan in the surrounding forests, although he had to and could have returned to his home in Hrazdan where his family had almost buried him long ago.
Then, he nevertheless visited his home for a bit. His father in tears held him in his arms for a long time and then let go for a second to give his son a resounding slap.
And there was still a whole big war ahead. With its hardships and losses. And in this war, yesterday’s boys elusively and invisibly were becoming soldiers with hardened and bronze hearts.
And Mher Harutyunyan went through the whole war. After the war, he continued to serve in the military. Eventually, he switched to a peaceful life as best he could.
Just a day later the April War of 2016 began, he was back on the front lines. And he stayed there as long as was needed.
Today, in our so ambiguous and unfair time, in the bustle of cities and the stream of cars, when complaining about your difficult, boring, and everyday life, remember and sometimes notice these guys next to you. Those who in many ways gifted us this boring but such wonderful routine.
As for those who are twenty years old, let them know that they are always being watched by the soldiers, soldiers, soldiers…