An Interview with Samir Mammadov, leaving Kalbacar, rebuilding with purpose

Файл: азербайджанские беженцы из Кельбаджара 2.jpg" Ильгара Джафарова имеет лицензию CC BY-SA 4.0 File: Azerbaijani refugees from Kelbajar 2.jpg "Ilgar Jafarova has a CC BY-SA 4.0 license

Interview by | Irina Tsukerman

December 1, 2020 

Name, age, current location of the respondent.

Samir Mammadov, 27, Baku.

File: Azerbaijani refugees from Kelbajar 2.jpg “Ilgar Jafarova has a CC BY-SA 4.0 license

 When and under what circumstances you left Kalbacar? What were your  memories of the city prior to invasion and departure?

 I was born 3 months after the occupation of Kalbajar. Living away from my hometown, my childhood was full of stories about the beauty of Kalbajar, how happy was my family there and so on.

I remember my parents telling me that we don’t belong here (back then we temporarily resided in Goranboy district). They were telling me that soon we will return home and live happily there. Unfortunately it took more than 27 years for that dream to come true.

How do you feel about the upcoming reintegration? 

 I am extremely happy! Even though I have never seen Kalbajar with my own eyes, I feel like I know it very well!

Despite of the fact that our homes were razed to the ground by the occupant forces of Armenia, I can’t wait to rebuild it and show that they couldn’t break our will! We still stand! Kalbajar stands! Azerbaijan stands!

Do you hope to return home? what are you looking forward to?

 I will definitely return and rebuild our house there. Even though I studied politics, I have strange connection to land. I want to start a family business there. More accurately, I am interested in beekeeping there, because I was told that honey from Kalbajar mountains are the best in the world! That would also contribute to the economic development of this region.

Any comments on plans to contribute to rebuilding the city?

At the beginning of 2020, I initiated a platform called “Kalbajar Youth Platform” with the intention of preparing the young IDPs from Kalbajar to rebuild our hometown. Luckily, my dream came true even faster than I imagined! 

As a part of that initiative, I am planning to contribute to the development of Karabakh region as a whole, including my hometown Kalbajar.

Hopefully in few years Kalbajar will be associated with tourism, agriculture, mining industry, recreational activities, rather than conflict.