This is Why We Fight
On the first and only Sunday we’d be spending in Artsakh, we decided to go on a hike to the Hunod River. I’d heard stories about this place. It is where Armenian soldiers had climbed up in the battle for Shushi and won. We had seen the view from the top of the canyon and it was breathtaking and now we were going to go below. I had been feeling ill and was not too excited about a 30 minute hike, but I was pleasantly surprised. The beauty of the place and the local AYF members made the day one I will never forget.
What I had seen so far of Shushi so far was war-torn buildings, rocky roads, and an overall sense of abandonment. This trip showed me that behind all the destruction, and seemingly lost hope, there is beauty waiting to be discovered. We hiked through the mountains, walked under a waterfall, crossed the river on overfallen logs and finally reached our destination: a flat area near the river where we (or I should say those of us who are less clumsy than me) made a fire to cook the food. We weren’t there long before we all dove into the river and began swimming (or I should say those of us who know how to swim swam and I watched from a rock in the middle of the river).
After we got out, I was feeling very ill, but one of our new friends made me my own personal fire so I could dry up more quickly and warm up; another brought me a plate of food so I wouldn’t have to leave the warmth even for a moment. As I was eating, I looked around thoroughly for the first time. The trees were beautiful. The steep walls of the canyon were awe-inspiring. I thought about the fact that I needed two people to help me get down, and would probably need more to help me get back up, but in May of 1992, soldiers had climbed these same walls in the middle of a war, and had taken back the city. I still can’t fathom how men could climb those walls while getting shot at from above. These majestic lands were worth the fight. All the blood lost to save these lands will never be forgotten…
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