It was a war

“The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them.” Czesław Miłosz:

In 1992 the village of Vanq in Artsakh was being bombarded; it was a frontline of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, there were few inhabitants in the village, and even fewer children and elderly. In two days they were going to bombard the village, but on that day it was peaceful. I tried to shoot one of the soldiers, then the other soldier took his friend’s Kalashnikov and asked me to shoot him too, then the third, the forth, the….click, click…and the sound of my Nikon camera reminded me of intermittent shooting of an automatic firearm.  To shoot in English also means to take a picture.

I wakened for a moment. It seemed to me I was shooting the soldiers standing at the wall from my camera, and they expected memory photos from me. The war which had just broken out was gathering momentum, we all found ourselves in the front line, and those photographs could be their last ones… Then the tape ended with the flow of my dangerous thoughts – the eighth, I did not want to continue. Some years later when I came back to the same village, I made enquiries and looked for the men in that unit. People told me four of them had been killed…