Education/News/January 2021/The impact of war on young Wikimedians in Stepanakert

The impact of war on young Wikimedians in Stepanakert

Author: Safi-iren

Summary: 2020 has been a really difficult year for Artsakh as it faced the COVID-19 pandemic which got followed by a devastating war to make the matter worse. Despite all this, the community is contributing and planning to face all this boldly to build a better future.

2020 definitely was a really challenging year for all of us. First, COVID-19 cancelled all our plans and projects which we were going to do in 2020. COVID-19 affected WikiClubs and education in Artsakh as everywhere in the world. This was the first part of 2020, after that on the 27th of September, the War started in Artsakh. There were 44 days of bloody and inhumane Artsakh War between small, unrecognized Artsakh and Azerbaijan baked Turkey armed forces. As an outcome, we lost 70% of our homeland, we have more than 7000 killed soldiers, 100s POWs, over 100 killed civilians and we lost 2 of our WikiClubs: one in Togh village Hadrout region, and another in Karvachar, Karvachar Wikiclub. These two regions are now occupied by Azerbaijan armed forces. The Armenian population living there is now forced to leave their ancestral land, their homes and now they are seeking shelter in Armenia. So as an outcome we lost our homeland, we lost our brothers, friends, fathers, we lost almost everything. Even one of our Wikipedians ― Arthur (18 years old), who was serving at Artsakh Armed Forces during the war, was miraculously survived and is getting treatments at a hospital in Yerevan.

As you can see, 2020 was a really hard year in general for Artsakh and Stepanakert WikiClub. First, we had to leave an office where we were located for almost 5 years, after that war, and now we have another challenge to come back home and continue our work as nothing has happened. To make things more clear, after the war Artsakh lost 70% of its lands ― we have neither political status of our country nor our lands, the only guarantee of our safety here are Russian peacekeepers. Nevertheless, we are back to Stepanakert, the capital of our tiny country or what remained from it. We got a newly renovated office. A few days ago first time after the Artsakh War we gathered together and celebrated Wikipedia 20th anniversary as we always did before and we are planning to work even harder in spite of the absence of two other Wikiclubs which we lost because of the war.

Maybe for someone who has never been to Artsakh or does not have imagination about this place or this region at all, it will be difficult to understand the whole tragedy what has happened but just imagine one day you open your eyes and can't go back to your home. You left everything there, your beloved T-shirt, your mug, your books, and even your dog, so now these all belong to another person who came and took it all. Now more than 200 Wikipedians are exactly in this situation. They are either living in other cities and villages or living in a place that is not safe at all. But nevertheless, they continue editing and making contributions to Wikipedia. They continue learning, sharing their knowledge with others, and they are planning to have a great future ― a future where war will not have a place. These young people are strong and the will to live, love, and create on this land will help them to create a bright, prosperous, and what's more important ― a peaceful future. Follow and support Stepanakert WikiClub, share your experience with us, or let us share our experience with you. Now more than ever, we need that support and connection with all of you, dear Wiki community.

Peace and love from Artsakh.

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