Once upon a time at www.day.az/forum (perhaps the most tolerant Russian-language Azerbaijani forum), one of the users opened a topic about the ordinary Azerbaijanis who risked their lives to save Armenians in Baku and other cities of Azerbaijan in 1988 and later.

It turned out that many family members of some Azerbaijani users had saved Armenian lives during the pogroms in Azerbaijan. The Armenian users of the forum called these people heroes and thanked them.

In return, an Azerbaijani user opened a topic seeking information about “Armenians who saved Azerbaijanis in Armenia” during the same years. The Armenian users, indeed, explained that there was no need to “save Azerbaijanis” in Armenia, since there were no pogroms or attacks against them in Armenia. The Azerbaijani users were disappointed, so Armenians tried harder to remember something. The only incident recalled was the potential attack against the Azerbaijanis of the city Masis, the Armenian population of which had stood up against any possible pogroms against their Muslim neighbors.

Attached Image
Archival Photo: The Tamanian Armenian division celebrating victory by Armenian dance (kochari) after entering Berlin on 9 May 1945. About 600,000 Armenians from Soviet Armenia (the population of which was less than 2 million at the time) alone participated in the destruction of the Nazis during WWII.

The Armenian users proudly admitted they did not have stories of saving Azerbaijanis to share, since there had not been need (though they could have mentioned about the Armenian rescue of Azerbaijani girls from fire in 1995 in Moscow, despite the ongoing conflict).

Having the above information in my mind, I decided to write here about an interesting incident that I read about yesterday. Tribune reporter Jan Jona’s “Remembrance: Mershiewsky survived Soviet-era strife” tells us of a Ukrainian immigrant who witnessed many sufferings in her life; “Mershiewsky had survived the Bolshevik Revolution, the Terror Famine in Ukraine, a life of religious persecution and a German labor camp.”
The story goes on to tell, “[f]rom 1929 to 1932, Josef Stalin forced peasants living in Ukraine, then called the "bread basket of Europe," to give their grain to the government. Historians differ on his motive, but the result was the Terror Famine, during which at least 5 million people died of starvation. Some estimates are as high as 10 million to 14 million [Ukraine recently qualified this action as genocide; many genocide scholars think so too-Blogian].
Mershiewsky was rescued by Armenians who lived in Kharkhov. She was taken to Armenia but returned to her hometown in the late 1930s.”

Mershiewsky, 93, was buried on 13 January 2006 in her new home, America.

p.s. Armenians regretfully mention their rescues of their would-become assassins, like Talaat (who soon became the organizer of the Armenian genocide), Ataturk (who later forced the last survivors of the Armenian genocide out of Izmir and other cities in Turkey), but they don’t like sharing their stories of saving ordinary people. Maybe, it’s time to change the “tradition”?