My neighbour in Baku fought in Karabakh a little over 20 years ago. He described all the horrors of a mostly close-quarter war in the beautiful but treacherous hills before telling me a story he must have thought summarised those horrors. After capturing three Armenian soldiers in the hills – a father and two sons – and being told by his commander that he could do what he wanted with them, he offered to let one of them go, provided they could all agree on which one. The two brothers picked their father, but the father could not bring himself to pick one of his sons.
“What do you think I did?” My neighbour, Rustam, asked rhetorically. I figured that Rustam wanted to impress on me how even in the worst times humanity is able to survive, so I answered he must have decided to free all three of them.
Rustam looked at me for a moment and laughed. “My friend, after your travels you need to see a doctor. Armenians killed my brothers and my friends and I would let them go?”
“You freed the two sons?”
“No, I killed all three of them. I gave them a chance to pick one. They did not take it.”
April 15, 2016 -