Karabakh war in the eyes of a film director

Karabakh war in the eyes of a film director

He never held a gun in his hands and did not think of the future, but he knew where he must be and what he must fight for.

Ruben Hovhannesyan was a beginning theater actor and could not even imagine that several years later he will be one of the fighters of legendary Arabo detachment in the Karabakh war, which changed the life of the Armenian people drastically.

PanARMENIAN.Net - “You know, many of us would be happy to shoot Turks. We grew up in the soviet era and we liked to listen to Arthur Meschyan’s songs under candle light,” Hovhannesyan says.

All began with rallies in 1988, when Ruben and his three friends – Hrach, Manuk and Avetis – decided to get arms and go to the front.

“We were ashamed to go without weapons,” Hovhannesyan confesses.

He never held a gun in his hands and did not think of the future, but he knew where he must be and what he must fight for.

“We had just accepted the reality. Even in severe battles the guys did not lose sense of humor. We were not scared,” he says.

The conversation was interrupted by a loud slap – the irrigation system in the nearby café was switched on. Hovhannesyan winced. Even years later, any sound resembling a shot reminds about the war.

“The most terrifying thing is the shot. Then, you get accustomed to everything,” he says.

Although the war deprived Hovhannesyan of many friends and carefree youth, he had found himself in this struggle.

“I was dreaming to see how Andranik or Nzhdeh are fighting. But seeing my friends fighting I understood that they are great warriors as well. It was the time when I decided to make pictures or film the battles to let people know their heroes,” he says.

One of the hardest episodes was the summer of 1992. “I am not superstitious but when were going to Mardakert, the sky was filled with stars. When we crossed the frontline, it suddenly darkened,” Hovhannesyan recollects.

At 3.30 am Avetis’ platoon was on the way to Hasan Hay settlement. Hovhanessyan, who wanted to film an attack was told that the platoon will not advance, so he decided to go to Leninavan with another detachment. “If it were not for this decision I would not sit here now,” he says with bitterness.

What happened that night was one of the most tragic and mysterious pages of that liberation war. Only two years ago a video showing the Armenian soldiers who were killed in summer 1992 appeared on the internet.

“When we learned that our friends did not come back, we went to that village to take the bodies. But we could dig out only three corpses…” Hovhannesyan says.

16 years have passed. Avetis was killed in the battle field, Hrach lives in the United States and visit Armenia once in several years, Manuk is a colonel while Ruben is doing his thing – shooting films about Karabakh war heroes and writing a book about Arabo warriors.

Will he go to the front if a new war begins? “Sure I will, I think we still owe something to Turks,” Hovhanessyan says without hesitation.

Mariam Matnishyan / PanARMENIAN News
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