By Shah Selimi Turkay
On September 27th 2020, Baku’s skies were gloomy and sorrowful. As if the unrisen sun was aware of the upcoming events and chose to hide behind the thick clouds of misery. If someone had said that it was the day that we will rewrite the history of our country, no one would believe in it. Because we believed in the incomplete ceasefire agreements, resolutions and endless peace talks that have never brought anything more than exhausting Azerbaijani people’s national, moral values and deepening aches of longings to the historical lands which were occupied since 1988. But when all the world turned a blind eye to this injustice and unfairness, Armenians assumed that they can move even more forward on their occupation. And later on, they would find many inexistent false arguments to weep in front of the international media and world organizations, as they did countless times before. And the world would silently watch these theatrical spectacles, close all their five emotions, and of course, in the end, the sound of applause for the perfection of their lies will drown up the voices of people screaming the fair reality.
By trusting their previous reliable audience, the Armenian government decided to write down a new play for the world stage once again. Direct military provocation, numerous damage to civil infrastructure, violation of international law, presettlement of Lebanese Armenians, YPG, and PKK terrorists in the occupied territories, illegal military training, and purchase of a large amount of weaponry were just small traces of Armenians’ large war plans for new lands of Azerbaijan. But Azerbaijan audience’s reaction which was already full of Armenian artistry, impudency, immorality, fraud, and barbarian personality was not taken into account at all. It seems that the Armenian scenarist wrote down only the scenes of Armenian’s non-existing excellence and bravery. While exhausted patience of the Azerbaijani government and the necessity to ensure the security of the civilian population led to its counter-offensive attack. And on top of that, another unpredicted and yet strongly hidden fact was certainly countless demonstrations of heroism and courage of Azerbaijani men which, unfortunately, camouflaged with the sophisticated technological advance and oil revenue.
Why did the international audience once again capture the part of the war they wanted to show and ignored the obvious reality? Why were the voices of brave Azeri soldiers disguised as drone strikes? Why did the military superiority and Turkey’s support put on the headlines of all western newspapers? Maybe indeed worldwide audiences could not hear the voices of courage and screaming silence of national solidarity, as they were occupied with the calculation of money spent on the military weaponry, or they started clapping their hands before another Armenian theatrical play came to its end. If that’s the case, then there is an urgent and inevitable need to be the voice of unheard soldiers who were the genuine reason behind Azerbaijan’s victory.
On the morning of 27 September, after a sudden shortage of internet and limited access to certain platforms parted the clouds of uncertainty among Baku citizens that today will not be like any other day. And right after the declaration of martial law and partial mobilization by President Ilham Aliyev, the silence of that gloomy morning turned to the voiceless scream of unity between people and government, between separated lands and the capital that were always partial, deficient, and incomplete. When people realized the possibility to feel flawless completeness once again, all the hands were tied up together, breaths were held, and the entire nation turned to the “Iron Fist” for the long-awaited Patriotism War. And then there was the only sound of soldiers’ footsteps which could be heard from every single corner of our hometown. Despite the partial mobilization announcement of the Supreme Commander, hundreds of young and old Azerbaijani men were lined in the long queues at the doors of Military Service Buildings. As if those excited people were flowing like a river across the capital to the source of their ancestors. The sound of soldiers’ joined heartbeats was even more louder than their footsteps which kept saying the only single sentence “We are coming back” that clanged in the ears of every each of us until today. However, unfortunately, Azeri soldiers’ roaring voices could not reach abroad or maybe their patriotic voice defeaned the ears of the entire international audience. And they could only discuss the power of metal instead of the strength of those iron-willed hearts which were beating for the dignity and honour of their homeland. Why then the voices of brave Azeri soldiers were disguised as drone strikes. Why we couldn’t read any article about the heroism of Azeri soldiers or hear any journalist asking questions about the great bravery of our soldiers who wrote the new chapter of unrivaled victory in the history of the modern military. Maybe the international media reporters were far from the core place where the eternal events took place, maybe they didn’t have access to the capital streets where every young man was celebrating for being the one selected for the military service. Although the innocent, proud, courageous looks on the faces of those men who did not fear death were engraved in our memory forever, the international media failed to bring that unquestionable patriotism to the world’s attention. And they unnecessarily exaggerated the materialism as if honorable victory could be gained by heartless stell or expensive technology.
But if we would assume that the international reporters could not watch those patriotic citizens who lined up in front of the Military Service Buildings, then another question rise. How about the outstanding Shusha operation then, could we say that liberation of Shusha was also based upon the military superiority or economical predominance of Azerbaijan over Armenia? Why did then foreign reporters miss out clear details of the unprecedented Shusha operation? Perhaps, the grandiosity of victory struck the world to the extent that everybody left speechless. As there is no room for doubt that the liberation of the heart of Karabakh-Shusha was purely dependent upon the bravery of soldiers, not artillery or other heavy weaponry. Considering the natural shape of Shusha city, it was impossible to utilize any weaponry or enter this fortification with tanks and other quite highlighted military munitions. Therefore, it was an undeniable arena to show the pure strength of both sides, and the result of the Shusha battle was meant to decide the fate of the war. Oddly enough, I still remember the poetry from my childhood that persistently emphasized the importance of the liberation of Shusha to wave the country’s tricolor flag in the Karabakh as the sign of clear victory over the occupied territories. It was very proudful to witness how our childhood poetries and dreams became reality. But on top of that it was honour to win the enemy in a face-to-face battle. And that’s why every each of us feels a duty to acknowledge the boldness of our men and bring light to their pure strength which forced our enemies to sign an act of capitulation.
However, along with the unhearable sound of our soldiers’ heroism in the Shusha operation, there was also the voice of conscience that wrote the history of braveness and unification. And that’s why I would like to take this opportunity to bring the inner voices of our soldiers to your valuable attention and leave it to your judgment whether Azerbaijan won the war with its iron-willed hearts or weaponry which the opposite side had access to. The following dialogue was derived from the video recorded during the Shusha battle. Considering that most of the recorded faces were not visible or some of them were hidden for security and privacy purposes, the conversation between soldiers will be stated anonymously.
Dialogue between soldiers that have been recorded during the Shusha operation
“I can’t believe that we are so close to the Shusha highlands” said Soldier A to his fellow soldier with a wide smile on his face instead of the fear of upcoming battle.
“True, we are almost there! How many nights did we sleep on these cold rocks to reach Shusha?” asked Soldier B breathless.
“I don’t know, I lost a sense of time. All I know, my soul is waiting for the attack command” answered Soldier A.
“I lost my patience as well” added Soldier B silently.
“It is not patience that came to an end, I feel like we are postponing a long-awaited wedding. I can’t silence the screaming voice of celebration inside my heart” said Soldier A with a shining and faithful look in his eyes.
“And what is your heart telling to you?” asked Soldier B with a questionable curiosity in his voice.
There was a short silence. Then Soldier A turned his face towards the skies shining in the moonlight and took a deep breath “Maybe it is the last night of our life, I am not sure if we will be able to look back again to these limitless skies full of stars. But I am sure none of the nights will be twinkling and bright as tonight, as if skies are aware of the hidden celebration inside our hearts” he said. Then the sounds of heavy shootings interrupted the silence of night.
“Don’t rush, wait for the command, don’t risk your life!” shouted Soldier B behind Soldier A who hurried to attack the enemies’ position before the commander ordered them to begin an assault.
With excitement on his face Soldier A turned his head backward “It was my childhood dream to fight in the Shusha battle and I wish to liberate my land with the blood that gave my heart a hope to wait for this moment to come” said before he rushed to attack enemy’s position.
Despite Soldier B‘s screaming voice to stop his attack, it was quite meaningless. As soon as Soldier A uncovered his position, the sound of gunfire intensified, and the conversation was broken suddenly. And Soldier A was shot immediately and fell from the hill to the valley which was only the starting point of their long journey. And just a couple of hours left to reach Shusha highlands, he lost consciousness and collapsed to the ground. This view was indeed deplorable. Soldier B could not move for quite some time as their coordinates were almost clear to the opposite side. Therefore soon expected attack command from the commander came out. While Soldier B hurried to move downwards instead of upwards, he was running as fast as he could from the top to down. When he reached to his wounded fellow soldier, who was breathing heavily yelled his hand to go back. Soldier B started running towards him even more faster and when he reached to Soldier A was in his last breath.
“Look at me! Keep your energy! Don’t give up now! We will go to that long-awaited wedding together” shouted Soldier B when he could only hear “Leave me” and Soldier A’s sinking voice drowned in the infinite silence. Soldier B hold his cold hands and took him in his arms “I will carry you until they shot me down my friend. We promised to die in the beating heart of Karabakh-Shusha, your heart can’t stop now before we reach the promised land” he said while silent tears were dropping from his mournful eyes. And he started to climb those rocky mountains once again with the heavy burden of his loss. But it turned harder than he expected. As he left all his weaponry in order to carry his fellow soldier, when he came face-to-face with the enemy, he had nothing to defeat Armenians apart from his brave heart and iron hands. After long battles and hand-to-hand combats when the Azerbaijan flag was raised in the Shusha highlands, Soldier B lay down to the liberated land with Soldier A’s cold body and silently whispered to him “My dear friend, we finally arrived at the wedding. Just your eyes can’t see the stars shining above our heads like fireworks of long-awaited victory, but I know your brave heart still feel the celebration.”
That was only one example from the Shusha battle which indeed was liberated with the pure blood of brave hearts and courageous soldiers’ endless love to their nation. There were so many captures of heroism where soldiers were begging to be selected for the Shusha battle, so many volunteers to leave bombing position for face-to-face combat, so many happy soldier’s singing voices just before the cold war, endless tears of happiness after every small victory which lead to the inevitable victory of heroism. It was our heroic soldiers and officers who traversed thick forests, deep ravines, rocky mountains, cold rivers with light weapons who brought historical lands back to its owners. It was not a technological supremacy or Turkey support or drones that made Armenian fighters exhausted to the point of throwing off their military uniforms and running down the mountains, while it was a pure strength of Azerbaijani soldier’s iron-willed hearts which were beating for the dignity and honour that cleaned the land of our ancestors from 30 years-long occupation.
Shah Selimi Turkay – is a graduate and former researcher at the Queen Mary University of London. She is a researcher consultant in the field of “Inequality”, “Diversity” and “Social Capitalism” and an analyst in various topics covering the socio-economic problems of the modern societies. She is also an author of the psychological novel “I am a home prisoner” written in recent years.