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THE TREE WATERING BOY: KARO POGHOSYANThis photo of junior sergeant Karo Poghosyan quickly spread on the Internet during the hottest days of the war and became one of the strong but peaceful symbols of the Armenian military. There was so much tenderness in this simple action, watering the branch of a tree growing in a trench, love for one’s own land, life that begins in it, that for many, like me, it became a beautiful, reassuring story in the days when war began to show its cruel face. Karo was loved and remembered by many of us as a “the tree watering boy”.


Of course, I really wanted the “tree watering boy”, about whom nothing was known yet, to have returned home safe and sound, to be interviewed and told about him. Later, after the war, I saw Karo’s photo again on the Internet: this time he was on crutches. Why my interview was delayed so long is because of Karo’s many injuries, most of which he overcame before the day of our meeting and still continues to overcome with superhuman efforts …

Karo’s voice can be heard on the phone. I still need painkillers at this postoperative stage, but to my question, “How are you feeling?”, I hear a resounding answer: “Great!”

… I enter his hospital room. Karo’s mother, Mrs. Shushan, is greeting me. We talked to him on the phone, tried to find the right moment. They live in the village of Mets Sepasar in the north of our country, in the Ashotsk region. Karo recently came to the hospital again to undergo the next stage of surgery. Doctors remove the iron rods, which are used to fix the broken parts of the leg and arm. In addition to fractures, he received deep burns. In the first stages of 5 months of treatment, he underwent a number of plastic surgeries.

I approach him, exchanging a few words, I do not notice the injuries, of which only the scars are left. My interlocutor is healthy and still manages to joke and joke. Occasionally there is a tingling sensation in the forehead that indicates pain. And there is sadness in the depths of green, smiling eyes…

He has been serving in the border troops for five years. From the first day of the war, his unit was stationed in Horadiz, on the banks of the Araks river. In the first days, when it was relatively calm, they dug trenches and prepared for the coming battles. The photo was taken in those days.

“I was sitting drinking water in the trench, I saw the branch of that tree that grew in the trench, and I was watering it as my friend took the picture. I said, “Show it to me.” He said. “No, it is a picture of a movie. I will not show you. “After the war, you’ll treat me with a good khash.” He was wounded before I was. I learned in the hospital that the picture was spread on the Internet…

THE TREE WATERING BOY: KARO POGHOSYANFrom October 1, the enemy started moving in our direction. The enemy began to advance with various types of heavy armor, in hundreds … Although our weapons and ammunition were very disproportionate, we managed to hit tanks and armored vehicles. One day it was relatively good, one day it was very bad. There is no good day in war. Well, the worst: There were days when we had up to 4 victims. The most horrible thing is when a shell explodes next to you, you do not see it in the rising dust and you do not dare to call your friend’s name. What if he doesn’t answer? That day we drove a little back from our former base to take a favorable position. It was two or three o’clock in the afternoon. They hit our car with Bayraktar. I will never forget that day … I saw that my friends were burning and I could not help by anything. I was burning myself. Out of 22, only three of us survived: me, our driver Samvel and my friend Arman. Arman’s shoulder was crushed, he was here, has just been discharged. Samvel also had very serious burns. He tried to get me out of the burning car, but he could not. I strained and somehow threw myself out. With his burnt hands, Samvel took my uniform off my clothes, pulled it away from the burning car, which could explode at any moment.

Open arm fracture, closed leg fracture, back, shoulder, neck burns… He was wounded on October 19. The doctors of the military unit provided first aid, and on the 20th he was already in Yerevan, at the Burn Hospital. “I am very satisfied and thankful to all my doctors and the entire medical staff. They gave me new life. “When I saw the results of the plastic surgery, I was surprised that they did a jewelry work.”

“You survived well,” I say, giving my voice a happy tone.

I did not have fear, insomnia, nightmares. Only in dreams sometimes guys come, we talk…

– What are you talking about?

“Mom will know better,” he answers with a smile. “I speak in my sleep.”

Mrs. Shushan comes to the rescue.

-Sometimes he speaks at night. I come closer and see that he is asleep. Basically he says something: “Guys, let’s go home. We have come together, we will go back together.”

“I made a bear company,” Karo responds sadly. “We went together. We were not friends of the service. They were from my village, my cousins, two close friends, our other good friends, our wonderful commander, Major Tigran Hambaryan… My cousin was a year younger than me, he has a two-year-old daughter…

Browsing photos of 19 young boys…

– Now I am not able to tell about everyone, but one day I will tell. They were all strong guys, they did not spare their lives for our land. We all came out of the trench to fight together. There was fear, of course. Every time we went to meet death, but together we were strong, there was no one to fall back

Mrs. Shushan remembers.

– Before that, Karos called every three days. He said, “It is calm, everything is normal. Next time I get off the ground, I’ll call again. Take good care of yourself. ” We were pleased to hear his voice, to make sure he was alive. And in those days my heart was restless. There was no call for three days. I wanted to cry, but I held back. We could not sleep that night. It was 3:30 when I suddenly heard the front door open. My younger girl was with her husband. “Karo is slightly wounded,” she said. “He will be in Yerevan in the morning.” On the way to Yerevan, Karos woke up for a moment, the nurse asked. “Can you remember your mother’s number, let’s call and inform her?” I said. “I remember, but I will not tell my mother.”

We arrived in Yerevan early in the morning and learned at the hospital that there were many burns. When I entered the hospital room, at first I did not know where to look. I saw the bed with my son’s name written on it. I asked, “Where is Karo?” The whole body was wrapped in bandages. I recognized from his feet that it was him. When he heard my voice, he turned to me. “Mom, how did you get to Artsakh?” I was with my cousin’s grandson. He is a medical student. He said. “Dear Karo, you are not in Artsakh, you are happy. You will be got up quickly. Now it will be my turn.” As a doctor, he also volunteered for Artsakh. His father, who is a reserve officer, also joined the war as a volunteer.

“In the intensive care unit,” Karo continues, “when someone passed by my bed, my whole body ached.” One day the doctor came and started examining my internal organs with a sonography device. My burnt back hurt terribly. He tortured, tortured, well, and I did not take off my mask. What can I say, a person does his job? But for a moment I felt that I could not stand it anymore. When he pressed the device hard again and looked carefully at the screen, I said: “Doctor dear, just don’t say I’m pregnant. I will not endure these pains either.” While he was laughing and apologizing, I took a breath.

After another operation, both fingers of my hand were amputated, I had just come out of anesthesia. The doctor came to see me. He approached my bed with a sad face. “Dear Karo, we had to cut the last phalanges of your two fingers, but if necessary, we will cut a little more.” I touched my hand, I saw under the bandage that my fingers were a little shorter, I said calmly. “Yes, cut it.” He looked at my face, could not contain his laughter. “No, you’re a little crazy.” I said. “Well, yes, what can I say? If I cry, will you bring my fingers and put them in place? “Cut it right away, there would be no need for extra surgery.”

“Wow, dear boys, how good you are, how strong, healthy,” I say to Karo, remembering all those heroic boys I had the opportunity to talk to after the war and admire their courage.

“I was healthier before removing the irons from my legs,” smiles Karo. Nothing, my wounds will heal, I will walk better. If you are not weak at heart, I can show you photos of my back. Well, nothing, they were done after plastic surgery.

“It was not possible to examine my back well,” he says, “but white phosphorus was found in the burnt parts of my hands. The device showed clearly. I was already in the hospital when the famous case of the use of “white phosphorus” occurred. I think it is possible that the enemy was using a certain amount of “white phosphorus” with its large-caliber weapons.

– Karo, what are you going to do after recovery?

– If my health allows and the command agrees, I will continue my service. God forbid, let there be no new war, but if there is, we are always ready. We will not spare our health, our life. I know, there are many guys like me. Whoever stood for the defense of the homeland will always stand …

“Aren’t you married?” I ask.

– No, I haven’t done it yet.

– And a bride, a girlfriend?

– No … When we were on the battlefield, we had a lot of “brides”. We received letters and letters from girls: “Come back to marry me.” “Now they have forgotten about us,” he says with a smile but a little sad.

“I’m sure the brides will line up after reading our interview,” I say half-jokingly. But I really want it to be like that …

“Once Karo was still in the burn hospital,” says Mrs. Shushan, “they called from the reception and said that a girl had come to see him.” She brought a tree in a vase. At that time no visitors were allowed .We said, well, let hear leave it in the reception, we will take it.

– Didn’t that girl come back?

“No, I have not seen her again, I do not even know her name,” says Karo, “but I would like to see, to know why she decided to make such a gift.”

– To be honest, I also wanted to bring a gift of a tree branch with a vase. But I thought it would be difficult to take it home later.

“You will bring it when we leave,” says Mrs. Shushan with a smile. Karo has always loved trees and flowers. Our house has a really big “green zone”. He takes care of the flowers …

“I really want peace,” Karo continues, “and I will take care of my plants.” Maybe I will build a greenhouse …

… Karo is one of our heroic boys, and your heart breaks down when you look at them, but not out of pity for all the pain and hardships they endured, but out of pride that despite all that, they are healthier than many, many other practically healthy young people. Such guys only had to come back with a victory, because victory would suit them. They are neither defeated, nor discouraged, nor evil. The best girls must find them so that new heroes, new defenders of the homeland are born in the Armenian world …


Category: #11 (1382) 24.03.2021 - 30.03.2021, National army, News, Spotlight