I don’t know his name

an old many from Karabakh13 November 2010 | Francesco Alesi

Today I met this man.

I was near the cemetery on the hills that surround Stapanakert and I saw him walking. Bending forward like an elder that worked hard in his life.

He carried two bags full of vegetables (greens) and a kitchen knife with some earth. I walked beside him and he looked at me.
– Barev
– Barev Barev

He said something in Armenian, I can’t speak Armenian at all.

I tried with English, he tried with Russian. No way. We can’t speak each other but we smiled and kept walking together. He had a sad and peaceful face.

I took some photos, he stopped, looked at me and, using the hands, invited me to eat in his place. I was very hungry but said not, don’t know why. Immediately regretted.

We walked silently for a while. He stopped again, looked at me and pointed the cemetery with his knife. He lost 2 sons during the war and they are buried there. He put a beg on the ground and hits his chest with the hand.

After some time in silence, he invites me again to have lunch with him.

– Aiò (yes)

His house is new but empty. In the bright living room just a table, three chairs and three photographs: the portraits of the two sons and the wife. She died as well. I don’t know when and why.

He showed me the bath where to wash my hands.

He cooked and after we ate together, silently. A long and deep silence. Sometime we look each other in the eyes and smiled, no words. His hands shake. He put all the food on my side so I can take it easily.

I has a tattoo on his arm “1933″. I guess is his date of birth.

After eating he made the tea and we drink it, again, in silence. He took some chocolate for me. I took his hand with both my hands and say thank you. He smiles.

I stand up, hug him, take my camera and come back in the street.

I don’t know his name.

Republished from Stepanakert-based Marut Vanyan’s blog.


14 thoughts on “I don’t know his name

  1. aper, sa chem haskanum. how can a native born/raised Stepanakertci (Marut Vanyan) NOT SPEAK HAYEREN?????? lriv ayspes mi ban yerbeq chem haskanum., ARA VONC NA CHI KAROXANAL HAYEREN XOSEL yete inq@ cnvel u mecacel e mer Stepanakertum, ha??? that makes no sense. the old man can speak, but Marut can not??? what has our Arcax become?? oohhh let me guess yaaaaa ara he speaks only russian mussian, che? de aydpisi inq@ dardzel e vor miayn te ruseren museren e sovorel u na dem e sovorel Hayeren@

    henc hima ara yes ayl gizh em darrdzel qanivor nranq ovqer en cnvel u mecacel mer Hayreniqum chen sovorel mer mayreni lezun. ay apreeees, nuynisk avelin voch’nchacreq mer Hayutyun@. pastoren, yekeq poxenq mer azgayin lezvov ruseren

    de aydpes aveli lav e, che??? :*(

    • Andranik, you misunderstood. Marut, my good friend, speaks excellent Armenian.

      He has published a story by “Francesco Alesi”, apparently an Italian visiting Karabakh. And I said I’ve seen this story on Marut’s blog and republished it here, because I loved it.

      • @Observer jan
        ay axpers, yes ayl sxal em haskacel…indz k’nereq
        I thought it was our aper Marut who was trying to communicate to our papik
        lav eli, cavt tanem. yes ayl sxal ei kardacel. my fault :(

        I swear I was so angry & scared for a minute. like how can a native born/raised Arcaxci NOT speak Hayeren. that did not make any sense to me and I did’nt know how to process it. and if it were true, still I wouldnt know how to process it.

        • Marut jan, I see nothing wrong with state officials of Artsakh learning English, as long as we make sure, that they know good Armenian.

          • @Observer jan
            yes ayl hamadzayn em Observer’i het. dranq tox sovoren angleren@, diplomatic patchar hamarov. if you are politician, you must speak english for diplomatic/economic reasons. what if some foreign country wishes to have interest in Arcax and they dont speak Hayeren? they speaking english, as it is has become a universal/global language (due to american/british global imperialism). but then again, we have enough talented Armenians in and outside of Arcax who speak several languages, other than english and our own mother tongue

  2. Yes, sad story. I always wondered at the grace and nobility with which, some very simple people withstood grief, while I was in Armenia…

  3. I don’t think it’s a sad story. It’s a beautiful but NOT a sad story.
    Sometimes, people don’t need to say anything, not a single word, to make something good happen. They don’t have to speak to feel the kindness. The story isn’t about the sons the man has lost, but about the communication that the character and the older man had had between themselves. The story is about a higher level of intercommunication that is reached only through genuine kindness and understanding.

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