“The Mujaheddin sent 3,000 soldiers to fight in Karabagh,” the Karabaghtsi said. “When they’re fighting for their homeland, they can’t be defeated. But they were fighting as mercenaries, and we took care of them. After they lost 600 men, they left Karabagh and went home.”
Such were the words of this proud Karabaghtsi from Chaylu, a village located just north of Talish, in the region of Mardakert.
“Our village land borders Talish’s,” he continued. “A river runs by Chaylu. Each street has its own stream, or tributary. It was a beautiful place. Now, the Turks have our village. Instead of living there, they’ve flattened everything. I’m not sure why, maybe they know they won’t have it for long.
“In the mid-1940s, when the repatriates were arriving in Armenia, some came to Chaylu and Talish. They were Khoyetsis, Armenians from Iran. They stayed until the war, always remembering their roots. My wife is Khoyetsi. If someone asks her where she’s from, she says she’s Karabaghtsi, but if they ask about her roots, she always says she’s Khoyetsi.
“Not far to the south of Chaylu is Yeritsmankants (three youths) church. Have you seen it? Did you know there’s secret openings into the wall, where they hid people if Turks or Persians were attacking?
“Nobody can defeat Karabagh,” he said. “They might rule us, but only for a while, like the Soviets did. Even Genghis Khan couldn’t conquer Karabagh. He gave it a try, then said, ‘enough, we’ll just pass through this place on our way to other conquests.’ And the Azeris...they’re all talk. God gave us a great gift, giving us Azeris as neighbors. All they do is make noise. If they start a war, they’ll be defeated. All the weapons in the world won’t help if the one using them has no heart, and, let’s not forget, isn’t fighting for his homeland. That’s why they’re going to the international community, crying about their lost lands. They know that’s the only way they have a chance.
“If war breaks out, we’ll take care of them. Even Karabaghtsis living elsewhere will go and fight. Not all of them, of course, as some who left their homeland fell in love with money. But don’t worry. We’re a wild tribe...we’ll take care of everything.”