The War: A Muse For Writing

Christian Ginosyan

Multimedia journalist

“I think all little girls dream of becoming a writer at some point in their lives,” said photographer and journalist Lika Zakaryan at the presentation of her first book, “44 Days: Diary from the Invisible War.” She had no idea that one of her childhood dreams would come true against the background of the war.

Lika Zakaryan is from Artsakh, she has been working in the newly opened CivilNet in Stepanakert since July 2020, where she was taking her first steps into the field of journalism. Initially, the editorial office aimed to show Artsakh from a different point of view that it is not related only to conflict and war.

“Artsakh, first of all, is its people and Artsakh lives thanks to its beautiful places,” said Zakaryan. However, it took two months to achieve the goal, because “soon the war came and said, ‘I am here and no matter how much you dream, I am here.’”

The war started, and Lika, who had two months of journalistic experience, became a military journalist against her will.

“Being from Artsakh, you cannot simply cover it as a war, it is your home and life, it’s you. And every victim, explosion, every stain on Stepanakert seems to appear on your heart,” she said.

Lika’s cameraman, Levon, soon joined the war, and she was left alone. Family members also took part in the war, her mother as a nurse and her brother on the front lines. As a means to avoid insanity from loneliness and in order to express herself in some way, Lika chose to post on Facebook, where she met her first writing muse.

“I started writing, visiting basements, meeting people, and interacting with them. I cannot explain how big the muse was then, unlike now. Now I can’t even put two words next to each other, because I feel so empty inside, while at that time I was just relaxing by letting my words flow via the keyboard,” said the author of the book.

By the way, she wrote in Russian, because, in addition to being an artistic language for her, it also helped her to meet a larger and growing audience.

One day, when the lights were turned off again, Lika’s post was left without a reader, but at three o’clock in the morning, as soon as she turned on the lights, she woke up and said, “Oh, I must publish it then go to sleep.”

“When I went to Facebook, I saw that I had received a lot of emails from strangers. Many were worried that something might have happened because it was so easy to break the thread of human life in those days. That day I realized that maybe what I did was important, which inspired me a lot. Believing in doing something important allowed me not to lose consciousness in that crazy situation,” said Lika.

The book “44 Days: Diary From the Invisible War” was published by the “Creative Armenia” cultural foundation. The book is a multi-layered collection of war diary entries, photos, social media posts and articles written in the Stepanakert bunkers during the 2020 Artsakh war, which together retell the history and feelings of those 44 days.

According to Lika Zakaryan, no matter how difficult it was to bring all this to the field of work, it would be just as effective in understanding what is important and valuable, what was there and what we have now.

Christian Ginosyan

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