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By Guest Contributor

05/24/2021 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – For 28 years, May 9 has been a day of celebration for Armenians of the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh. Since 1992, they have celebrated the anniversary of the capture of Shushi from Azerbaijani forces, commonly referred to by Armenians as the Liberation of Shushi. This holiday also served as the official holiday of the Nagorno-Karabakh army, which was established the same day.

The Liberation Day Parade is the military parade in Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh, which was organized by the Ministry of Defense and usually lasts about 2 hours.

Unfortunately, life changed after the Artsakh war of 2020. Armenians lost Artsakh’s beautiful town of Shushi. Now they are forced to watch from afar as Azerbaijani authorities remove the domes of Shushi’s Ghazanchetsots Cathedral and continue to deface the place of worship.

Alice Khachatryan is a young girl, born in Shushi, whose memories and thoughts regarding the lost Shushi are heartbreaking. She mourns the status of Ghazanchetsots Cathedral saying, “On Christmas and Easter Sundays, Ghazanchetsots Cathedral and the Green Church won’t be amazed by the flow of non-believers.” No longer will tourists stop and ask her how to get to the famous cathedral. Even her previous day-to-day life is gone and missed. “Our blue buses won’t drive us back home from Stepanakert. At 7 o’clock in the evenings we won’t run to the Stepanakert bus station not to be late for the last bus taking us home. After getting off the bus in Shushi and breathing usually chilly and windy air, we won’t say anymore ‘Ah, no matter who says what our Shushi is the best’,” Alice lamented.

Alice mourns that May 9 turned from the happiest day to the saddest day for her family and community. She is proud of her Shushi heritage and now the former residents have another unifying, saddening commonality: “We don’t have our old and personal dreams anymore, because now we all have the same dream – to go back home, to go to our Shushi.”

“Except Shushi, wherever we live, we will never be so close to God and we will no longer have the feeling of living in paradise, even if we go to paradise,” Alice conclude

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of International Christian Concern or any of its affiliates.