Mardakert overcomes a bad dream
Ofelia’s store is open, however it has been several days since it was operating at full capacity. Whoever needs groceries or goods may get them from the store, free of charge.
Ms.Ofelia tries to help the volunteers that have arrived in Mardakert. For the smokers, she provides cigarettes, for those traveling to the border, she gives groceries for the soldiers. If they decline to accept her support, she uses those products herself, as she did yesterday.
Her 10-year old grandchild does not wish to remain in Stepanakert as a “prisoner”, hiding from the Azeri attacks, and wishes to return to Mardakert to her grandma.
Ofelia remains hopeful that once the shootings stop, everybody will return back to their homes in Mardakert.
Radik, an employee of G-Telecom the local mobile operator, states that if the youngsters are staying then nobody has a right to leave their homes. Currently, he is trying to fix cables that were destroyed due to Azeri attacks, in order for the locals to have means of communication.
Volunteers testify that the soldiers on the border do not need anything, however the humanitarian aid is arriving constantly. They state that the most pressing thing is not defending the frontline, but calming the soldiers and volunteers not to break the enemy line of contact and drive all the way to Baku.
The father of one of the soldiers, who has also registered to be a volunteer, states that he has confidence in the Army’s strength and readiness, and currently there is not much need for the volunteers. He has arrived from Goris to be next to his son. This is his second war. According to him, during the 1990’s they were relying heavily on volunteers, whereas now the Army’s capabilities are sufficient.
The tailor of the battalion also has a son on the front line. She lives and works in Mardakert with her youngest daughter. She is waiting for the local schools to open so that she can bring her older daughters from Stepanakert for school.
Ms. Lida Petrosyan, principal of the local V. Balasanyan Primary School, has seen similar wreckage in 1994. As before, she is going to work immediately on rebuilding the school, covering broken windows with plastic bags. For her the priority is the return of the children back to Mardakert to start their studies. The main problem for this school is not having a safe shelter where the children can hide from the bombardment should the attacks begin again. Otherwise people have become used to the occasional shootings, as it is a daily way of life.
Mr. Karen Shahramanayan, the NKR Minister of City Development, visited Mardakert to evaluate the damage done to the city and to start the rebuilding processes. According to him, the damages are not severe and everything will be restored back to its previous state. Most of the wreckage has been cleaned; the only indication that there was an attack on the city are small, shattered glass pieces covering the ground.
The residents of Mardakert continue their daily routine, and emerge victorious against all odds, and the evils of war.