The Killer as a Victim

For weeks, the war for Nagorno-Karabakh was largely ignored by the leading media. But when they finally got together for more detailed reporting, the SPIEGEL showed remarkable compassion. For the foreign mercenaries financed by Turkey!

For half a month, the weapons in the South Caucasus have been silent, forced by Russia. But for Armenia, that was already five to twelve!

The Azerbaijani attackers had acted with extreme brutality: they deliberately bombed towns and villages, schools, kindergartens, even hospitals and churches in the territory they claimed. In doing so, they also used internationally outlawed white phosphorus bombs against the civilian population who had fled into the forests. Captured Armenian soldiers were tortured, humiliated in front of a running camera, and the films were posted online. Quite a few people chopped off their heads, the attackers posed with them, committed corpse desecrations and sent the corresponding photos and video clips via Facebook to the relatives of their victims. Around 100,000 inhabitants of Karabakh fled to neighboring Armenia – many of them presumably forever. No one yet knows how many deaths the six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh cost. A month ago, Russian President Putin spoke of about 5,000 victims. In the meantime, there will be considerably more. The injured and mutilated were not counted.

The German leading media took weeks to report on this war on the fringes of Europe, which had the potential to escalate to syria 2.0 or worse. But when they finally got into the aisles, the Mirror wrote heartbreakingly in one of his first posts:

“Desperately, the families receive the coffins of their sons. They should be buried quietly and quickly. But they died in battle and not criminals, say the villagers. Thus the people in the small place refuse obedience. An uncle and his nephew, both of whom died in Nagorno-Karabakh, are mentioned in the sermon and carried to the grave in public. At least a little bit of dignity, says a relative bitterly, for letting themselves be shot.”

Blood-young men, sent to the front line as cannon fodder!

“A little bit of dignity”

Oh, sorry, that was a bit of a sense of me. In the original, the last paragraph of the essay in the Hamburg quality magazine reads like this:

“Desperately, families in Syria’s north receive the coffins of their sons. They should be buried quietly and quickly, the Turks demand. But they died in battle, as martyrs, and not criminals, say the villagers. Thus the people in the small village of Maraa refuse to obey. An uncle and his nephew, both of whom died in Nagorno-Karabakh, are mentioned by the Imam in the sermon and carried to his grave in public. At least a little bit of dignity, says a relative bitterly, for letting themselves be shot because they wanted to make money to survive.”

There was no mention of the men of Karabakh defending their homeland – the luck of being buried with at least a little dignity was here by Syrian mercenaries, who had previously been carved into Azerbaijan by Turkey to support their petrodollar-heavy arms brother in the fight. At least 4,000 are said to have been there, and rumours that the mountainous Syrians were still getting help from Afghan Taliban, who had also flown in, have not yet abated. Germany’s largest news magazine devoted itself with great sympathy to the fate of these deplorable men from Syria’s ‘rebel province of Idlib’ in his documentary “I can shoot you right here” in his documentary “I can shoot you right here”.

And indeed: the behavior of NATO member Turkey, a driving force in Azerbaijan’s war against – pardon: “in the recapture of the predominantly Armenian-populated enclave” – Nagorno-Karabakh, cannot be described as shabby. Against the Syrian mercenaries “thrown wave after wave to the front lines of Azerbaijan’s offensive since September,” of course! The Mirror meticulously worked out the blatant injustice they were being done.

2,000 dollars a month - plus 100 dollars of head money

It had already begun in mid-August in the Turkish-controlled ‘rebel province’ and in the northern part of Aleppo province, when rumours circulated there that the Turks would recruit men again. This time to guard Turkish military bases in Azerbaijan, as it was officially called. However, given the unusually high sum of 2,000 dollars a month, no one really wanted to believe it. On September 22, according to Spiegel, a pattern was carried out in a village in the north-west of the country by a Syrian subcontractor of the war working on behalf of Turkey. The first 500 mostly young men, with and without combat experience, who had previously been stripped of their IDs and telephones, had flown via Turkey to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and from there were transferred to an army camp near the Iranian border. There they were equipped with Russian weapons and sent a little later without further preparation in a midnight attack against the Armenians. Without any knowledge of the terrain.

This was repeated overnight, dozens of the deceived Syrian mercenaries had fallen in the first days and weeks. Anyone who complained to the Turkish soldier was threatened with immediate death by firing penalty if he did not parry. After a Syrian troop leader died in battle, however, strong resistance from the family members of the fighters formed in his home country, and on 12 October some of the mercenaries were able to return to Syria. Including the bodies of the fallen, who made up about ten percent of the original group.

The Mirror describes all this, touchingly human, on the fate of a 21-year-old Syrian who has been internally displaced without a school leaving certificate, a “history of dramatic twists and great happiness” that is recounted in epic breadth. So good that one literally breathes a son, when it turns out that Tareq was able to return safely to his second home ‘rebel province’ after all the confusions and turmoil at the good end.

A story, however, told from the perspective of the attackers. The perspective of the Armenian soldiers defending itself has no place there. The perspective of the bombed and bombed civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh certainly not. And above all, the atrocities of the Aeris and the foreign fighters allied with them, including the 100 dollars of head money promised to them, are hidden – according to captured mercenaries, the premium for every chopped-off Armenian head.

What should one think of such a documentary?

The perpetrators as victims

Of course – the world is complex – this is also an aspect of this convoluted war, even if everything is right! Perpetrators, the small one-off of every psychoanalyst, can prove themselves to be victims on closer inspection, and under the electron microscope, the boundaries between good and evil even blur. Or is it?

However, it will be the Armenians, who, according to the latest estimates, cost them around 5,000 dead and 100,000 displaced persons, whose cultural assets are now being destroyed, and many of whom have donated the extra premium to the bruised foreign mercenaries – involuntarily, but at least – do not resent if they see things a little differently and do not have much sympathy for the mercenaries or their understandings of the Hamburger Nachrichtenmagazin.

Especially not for the “martyrs who died in battle”. For their benefit, one can only hope that before their ultimate departure to the 72 virgins they at least had the opportunity to send the hard-earned head money to their relatives in the ‘rebel region’ and now be allowed to enjoy their well-deserved wages in paradise. It is impossible to imagine if the selfless martyrdom turned out to be a gigantic misinvestment in hindsight!

But that is the way it is, if you get involved more intensively with Turkey. Perhaps the mercenaries should have been smart with the Armenians they attacked in front before their Karabakh adventure. They have had very relevant experiences with the Turks for a long time and on several occasions.

Especially 105 years ago.