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Spotlight Article

Silence

Ulviya Heydarova
February 27, 2015

By Ulviya Heydarova

Translated Nigar Garay Zada

It was cold February. We were chilled to the bones, as it had already been a week that we had been spending the day not at home, but in a dim basement full of   empty cans and bags. Nobody explained me the reason why we were there. They did not even allow me to go into the street. When I turned to my sister, the only thing she answered was that I still was a baby. Was she a grown-up herself?! She had gone into the fifth grade by then, me into the third. I heard mom whispering granny that our town had even lost the last hope from the sky. And then granny replied in a low voice: "No, my darling, we were forcefully deprived of this hope."  She said that and kept my mouth with her icy hand. I was afraid to raise my voice. She never did that way.  She always liked her grandchildren cry and yell, as my mother was the only child of my granny and her late husband. That is why our courtyard was always full of her grandchildren's as well as neighborly children's voices. Especially, when my 5-year-old brother was singing on the balcony, she always wiped her tears away with the edge of her apron.           

It has been so strange that since we moved to the basement it was not only my brother's voices that stopped, but the neighbors' as well.  Just like if my teacher had asked the class to "stop talking". We were looking forward to daddy's arrival. Within several days we have not received any news of him. Mom told he had gone fowling with grandfather’s gun. He often went hunting, although returning home empty-handed. Every time he said so, everyone laughed, except mom and granny. It seemed something had happened to them. They did not laugh and joke with one another anymore. Probably this was due to my father's unlucky hunting.  However I had a sixth sense, telling me that daddy would return and not only break the silence, but even barbecue the fowled birds. When the gate opened, I was overjoyed.  That feeling didn’t last long, as we all soon were shocked by the lanky black-bearded men accompanied by shepherd dogs and entering the gate. Although, shooting in the head of my grandmother, in the neck of my brother and in the stomach of my sister happened in the twinkling of an eye, this was not the case with the killing of me: I was cut into pieces with an axe and parts of my body were thrown to the dogs… Then my mother’s blood joined the blood-flow of all of us into one flowing stream.

Now there is neither a day nor a year. We are all the same. My family still hides everything from me. That is why I often remember our last silent hours, the reason of our murder, I even think of the ashes of our town. I know those alive also  say «Justice for Khojaly», «Commemorate the victims of Khojaly with a minute of silence!». From then on we are just a minute of this silence...

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