An eye-witness account Of The Khojali Genocide

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By Ali Zulfiqaroglu for DNA / Centreline

22 Years past from the day of 26 February 1992 when Armenian forces committed brutal genocide against civilian population of Khojali town of Azerbaijan. This tragedy occupies significant place in the history of humanity with its horror and from the standpoint of actions which contradict the ethics of mankind. It was not only genocide against Turks, but challenge to humanity too.
Here is the Khojali tragedy expressed by its witness Jeyhun Alakbarov, the head of the Genocide Realities Recognition Public Association, who survived this tragedy and whose close relatives were martyred during these events. Jeyhun Alakbarov says about the deep wounds caused on him by that horrible night: “I was a child, I was 15 years old. About at half past one in the morning we were visited by the neighbors in the place where we had taken shelter and said that Armenians were already in Khojali. When we left the shelter one of the Armenian tanks was already in Khojali. The house of my grandmother was near the school.
We came to home to take them; people did not know where to run. We thought always about the help, for this purpose the only way out was to gather together. We don’t think that Armenians could invade and to destroy Khojali or they will commit genocide against the people. Nobody kept his mind on horrors that were taken place. It was one of the most horrific acts of genocide. The Khojali inhabitants were waiting for aid both from Agdam and Shusha to get rid of the siege. But nobody came to help us…”
“You left me, you have forsaken me…” So, they left the shelter to look for their close parents. “We came to my grandmother’s yard. They were absent. We moved forward in front of the school. ” My grandmother was old; at that time she was more than 60 years old and fat. She had a problem in her leg and that’s why she had difficulties walking. My uncles on the mother’s side took my grandmother on the back towards the people. The grandmother asked us to leave her… We reached the place where the refugees were gathered. When we reached them they said that here, under the five-storied building, there are old men and women. To our mind, early in the morning there will be a help. My father was sick. He was exposed to the inflammation of the appendix. Within three or four days he had difficulties to walk.
We said that the only way out was to take him to Agdam at the night through the way of forest. But we couldn’t do it. I was elder in the family. The others were 12-13 years old. My sister was 5 years old. The people said to climb to the mountain and wait for the help.

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My mother has definitively objected, because in such case she had to leave her mother. My uncles and my mother stayed together with my grandmother. We were obliged to ascend a mountain. The mass massacre was namely taken place here. The people following us said to continue and do not stop here. We descended and came to the forest, my father was not able to walk, my sister was little and mother was together with the grandmother. I had a riffle.
As its cornice was stuck into the ground, was snow-filled. We ascended the forest together with the people. As we ascended a mountain, Khojali was seen as in a handful, the city was on fire. All night I was in psychological stress. I underwent lots of difficulties because of various reasons, on the one hand my mother was not with me and the Armenians kept us under the fire, that’s why the range of people was thinned out and other hand my father was sick. In a moment the people were martyred. What will be our future? This question worried me.”
The mother who has killed her child to save the people. They ascend the mountain. After walking within about two hours 4-5 persons, including their neighbor were victimized as a result of fire shot by Armenians. “We decided to come back together with people. Within 3-4 hours we went by the way of forest. It was dark. The ground was covered with thick snow and my legs were frozen. My mother was in Khojali and it exerted a bad influence on me. There was a post of Armenians; we saw its light from the distance of 600-700 meters. If we can pass this post we will reach Agdam.
The forest way was not used anytime, that’s why nobody knew this way. Nobody knows where this way may reach us. We knew that Agdam was in that direction. There were only the corn fields. A child of a woman was crying. We were afraid of the fact that Armenians will hear his voice and will kill us. That’s why, his mother, in order to save the life of the people was obliged to strangle him. All people, including his mother suggested the child was already dead. The expressions fixed on the face of the mother are always with me. And this scene influences me horribly.
The mother was crying and embraced his dead body. When we reached the city of Agdam, we had no information about her and her child. Only later, in many years I read in the press that the child lost consciousness; it was perhaps the miracle of God… Inflicting reprisals against the quiet people, especially the children… When we passed through the Armenian post it was a morning. Suddenly we saw the other group that has left Khojali, they approached us. I saw my mother amongst them. Now it is very difficult to describe my feelings when I saw my mother. She was barefooted and frostbitten, shoes in my feet were big by the seize, as when we left the home we didn’t select shoes. I gave my shoes to my mother. I could go without shoes. The legs of my mother were swollen so much that these shoes were little for them. In front we saw a hill, if we get across this hill, we will reach Agdam. However it was not right.
We had to go much towards Agdam. Suddenly we heard the voices of cars and military Lorries. The Armenians shot fires on the people. The events taken place after this moment … I have difficulties to describe them. It was a scene very horrible, in a moment you see a body without any head and arms, you see blood which evaporated. So, we reached Agdam. The number of dead-bodies was increasing. People were waiting for their own close parent’s dead-bodies. I had close relatives who were martyred in Khojali. There was a child, called Mahir. He got lost together with his father, i.e. we have no information about them. More than 40 my close relatives were killed there. Recently we were informed about the tragedy suffered my aunt, who was killed together with her baby; we saw their photo distributed by a Russian journalist. She had a daughter Chinara and a son Chingiz. Chingiz was shot on the back of his mother. But we have no information about her daughter. And it may serve as a consolation. My uncle’s son – Mehman, he was 27-28 old years. Three years ago we were informed that he was kept in captivity by the Armenians; they cut his ear and tongue. He was kept in the dog house in a yard of one of Armenian general…
By passage of time I dream more and more of Khojali. I wish to be buried there when I die. I Google my native…. You will not believe, I see the yard I played in, and roads leading to the school… I live with memories now.“