Antranig of Berdzor (Chavoushian): “Defending a homeland isn’t just about fighting, but also living in that homeland”

Real heroes don’t speak or avoid speaking about their endeavors. Real fighters only fight. Real patriots don’t use pompous words when they speak about the Homeland. They simply live in and for the Homeland and defend the borders of their home, if necessary.

One of those heroic patriots is Antranig Chavoushian (Antranig of Berdzor), who was born in Syria, lived in Lebanon and settled in Artsakh. While talking to him, I was charmed by his modesty, willingness, the readiness of a real patriot, unwavering spirit and powerful persistence by which he also fights for the piece of land in Artsakh, away from the battlefield.

“I don’t like talking about the endeavors that my friends and I achieved during the four-day war in April because it is the duty of every Armenian. The Homeland is the homeland of all Armenians. I was born and raised in Syria. I lived in my hometown until my teenage years, after which I moved to Beirut. I came to Yerevan two years ago. Later, I left for Artsakh and settled there. Until then, I had carried out charity acts in Artsakh and I told myself I should go and settle in Artsakh. Defending a homeland isn’t just about fighting, but also living in that homeland. In Beirut I was a member of the Artsakh Fund. We were carrying out the resettlement project in Kashatagh. It didn’t matter to me where I would live in Armenia and Artsakh. All the cities, regions and villages are close to my heart. They are part of the Homeland. Wherever there are Armenians, that’s where I’ll be. If my people are living in poor conditions, I also live in poor conditions. If they live the good life, I also live the good life. My wife is from Armenia and Karabakh. We got married in Armenia, lived together in Beirut for a year, returned to Armenia and left for Artsakh. Wonderful nature, wonderful people-this is what I saw in Artsakh. No matter which part of the homeland an Armenian lives in, he has to fight to preserve the Armenian identity, culture and traditions. I have served in the church for more than 12 years and have been a member of the scout movement. Whenever a community needed to be mobilized, we were there. The people of Armenia and Artsakh are more pragmatic, and they must be like that because they are surrounded by inimical countries. My family and I have been living in Berdzor (Artsakh) for four months. I have a daughter named Knarik. My other child, Avedis (he was named after my father) was born when I was at the border. The boys wanted to convince me to go, but I didn’t go. I couldn’t leave my friends and the border. That is when I felt more obliged to stay on the frontline. I was also defending my son and his Homeland. Before leaving for the military positions, my family and acquaintances were trying to convince me not to go because my child was about to be born, but I couldn’t stay home and be patient while young soldiers were being killed on the border, when the enemy had targeted our borders and our villages. We formed a group. Even if the group wasn’t formed, I had decided to go by foot or by car…in any way. I have military experience because I have served in the Lebanese army for two-and-a-half years. Lebanon is a country that has seen war. As a former resident of the country, I had a weapon like everyone else and was ready to defend my home and family. When going to the border in Artsakh, the only thing I was thinking about was fighting and winning. All our boys had the same determination. We are not rabbits to run away. Whereas the soldiers on the frontline of Azerbaijan were adult hirelings who only thought about killing and eliminating, the young and patriotic soldiers on our frontline were fighting for the impregnability of the country’s borders and the native land. We were singing patriotic songs on the border, and that made us more motivated. Knowing I was from abroad, everyone would tell me that I did a good job by coming here…I get offended. I consider myself a person who is a part of this land and a person who drinks the water here. I am Armenian. Who cares where I have come from? I am a resident of Artsakh and am defending my home and family, the land that I cultivate with my hands.

These days I am at home, enjoying the warmth of my family and children and farming…You ask if I will go to the border in case another war breaks out (Antranig smiles). Of course, I will! I am ready. After all, the people on the other side of the border are my people, my family, our future, my daughter Knarik and my son Avedis. My motto is talk less, do a lot.”

We continued to talk for a long time with Antranig from Berdzor at our editorial office and ask him questions. The Homeland was in his focus the whole time.

Karine Avagyan

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