In an unequal war, for 45 days Artsakh, or more commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, dripped the blood of a proud people, the Armenian people.
Proud people, children of Amousta like lions who fought alone with morals, faith and pride for their ideals and homeland, in an accomplished decision to lose land and people by the modern Goliaths of the time.
Maria Lazareva, president of the Greek communities of Armenia and of Pontian descent from her paternal family, who from the first moment of the attack gave her own battle with other women, talks to PELOPONNESE about the Azeri-Mercenary-Turkish invasion of her homeland.
There is a small Greek community in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh). Tell us about their behavior in the war, their feelings and the role of women.
What I am going to tell you may sound a little strange, but the women of Armenia (I am not talking only about Armenian women, because in our country we have 11 ethnic minorities who are full members of Armenian society) were full of optimism and courage.
They were ready to help fellow human beings, to host our compatriots from Artsakh, to collect food, medicine, blankets for the soldiers at the front. Our soldiers are brave because their mothers and wives are fearless.
About 40 Greeks from mixed families live in Artsakh. There is a small Greek village of Mehmana, which fortunately the Azeris will not take.
The women of the Greek communities of Armenia and Artsakh together with the other women of our country worked day and night as volunteers in the warehouses and factories, they were collecting clothes for the people of Artsakh who were in Armenia at that time.
We were also very active on social media, translating texts into foreign languages, thus helping the international community understand what is really going on.
It seems that the better organization of the Azeri army, the non-deployment of a significant number of troops from Armenia to Artsakh, the assistance received by Baku from Turkey, Russian neutrality, the Russia-Turkey alliance, as well as the internal political situation in Armenia led to in the defeat and acceptance of the agreement on very heavy terms for your country.
How do you comment on that?
Avoiding political issues I would like to emphasize a few things. As you noted, Azerbaijan was not fighting alone. Any country on this planet could win if it had so much help from 3-4 or more countries.
Add to this the use of the most modern weapons as well as the hiring of an army in its forces. So this war was not only unequal, but also unjust. I personally do not think that by giving the helm of its army to Turkey, Azerbaijan has won.
As for the internal political situation of our country, we must be very consistent and careful not to allow any civil war these days. We lost thousands of men, a part of our homeland, people lost their homes, their fields, their jobs, they became refugees.
As you can see, we have so much to do so that our country can stand on its own two feet.
We live in difficult days, everywhere we look for traitors, mistakes, culprits… And of course how could it be otherwise. The people after such losses can not but be disturbed. But I hope that our people will wake up and draw smart conclusions.
The Armenians called this a “Struggle for Existence”. How do these people connect with this earth in order to fight for “existence”?
Armenians are not a nomadic people without a homeland. Our history goes back to this area for thousands of years, here are our historical monuments as proof of the existence of the Armenians.
The existence of a nation is its homeland, its history, its culture, its language. And our development is possible only in our land, in our homeland. Therefore, by protecting our lands, we are protecting our existence.
In this war Armenia fought alone, as if the whole planet had closed its eyes. How did the Armenian people perceive this?
You said it very well. The whole planet closed its eyes just like in 1915. And then they complain that “These Armenians keep talking and crying about their genocide.” Let everyone ask themselves a question: “What did I do to prevent an additional genocide, massacres and exile?”
The Armenians are a proud people, but a little naïve. They always believe in the good heart of humanity and think that humanity will not allow their slaughter. But as we have seen, it can do just as well as it has in the past.
How would you describe the neighborhood with Turkey when in your historical past and in your collective memory, you bring another uprooting and a genocide?
Our foreign friends accuse the Armenian people of not knowing how to forgive. I have a question: “But who apologizes to us?”
Modern Turkey denies genocide but uses every opportunity to say that “it will complete or redo what it did 100 years ago.”
Let us remember how many proverbs the peoples, specifically the Armenians and the Greeks, have about the Turks.
Are these proverbs good? How can we relax if we have them in our neighborhood?
We saw uprooted houses and ancestral graves being transported. Comment on this need of the people.
Unfortunately, all this is happening in the 21st century, when there are thousands of human rights organizations in the world, when there are media. What else could these people who know the Turko-Azeris from their historical experience do?
Not only do they not want to live with them but they also do not want to leave the graves of their ancestors under the control of the Turko-Azeris. Let’s talk to them about tolerance…
What does the new generation of Armenians expect for its future and how much does your historical past determine you?
This war has become a great lesson for all of us. Our new generation realizes that the only way to win and live in peace is to cultivate and develop science. We are a small country without oil and natural gas, but with smart people who love their homeland.
Interview by Amalia Dimitropoulou for Pelop.gr