"He wanted to be a military man..."
29.05.2004 – 07.11.2020

16 years old

Suffering a bitter defeat on the battlefields of the 44-day-long Patriotic War ever since it started on 27 September, Armenians resorted to provocations.

They carried out missile and rocket strikes on cities and villages of Azerbaijan, killing peaceful population far away from the frontline.

According to the General Prosecutor's Office, 93 non-combatants were killed and 454 wounded as a result of these Armenian missile and rocket strikes as of 16 November 2020.

There were also kids among these casualties.

Armenian forces committed crimes against our peaceful population also in gross violation of a humanitarian ceasefire announced.

As the 44-day Patriotic War went on, no day passed that they did not subject towns and districts away from the frontline to heavy artillery and rocket shelling.

According to the information provided by the General Prosecutor's Office, enemy rockets ripped through a private residential house in Yeni Ayrija village (Barda District) on 7 November 2020 at around 4 PM and killed Shahmali Atraf Rahimov (b. 2004); the house itself sustained severe damage.

Shahmali was a 10-grade student at the high school No.94 for Agdam District IDPs.

He was one of the most active students in the school
Shahmali Atraf Rahimov
Gulmali Rahimov, Shahmali's uncle, says the latter was a student in the school where the former was a teacher.

"We are natives of Lachin, but Shahmali was born and brought up in Barda. He was among the most active students, and would always participate in academic events. He really stood out from his fellow students. He did not live long, but achieved quite a lot. It is such a pity that he never graduated from the school."

Gulmali Rahimov says that Shahmali's greatest dream was to pursue a military career.

"When we conducted a poll at the school, he said he would like to be a military man. During the 44-day war, thousands of our guys lost their lives; news from the front were coming every day. We all have mourned them, as it was nearly 3,000 people who died on the battlefield. It is a tragic loss, but we still rejoice that our lands have been liberated. Just like everyone, we sat in front of our TV set and waited for news from the President. We jumped for joy when we heard about the liberation of as much as an inch of our land. Each and everyone was sitting and waiting for news about lands liberated by our victorious army. For even a single inch of liberated lands is a consolation for the families of our fallen heroes.

The day Shahmali died...
"At around 5 PM on 7 November, Armenians shelled the village 150 km away from the frontline", says G. Rahimov and adds:

"Defeated on the battlefield, these lowlifes used artillery against remote towns of Azerbaijan. On 7 November, the scumbags launched a rocket that hit the area just near Shahmali.

People rushed to the blast site. A fragment had hit Shahmali, and he died on the scene. Armenians would kill innocent students, defenseless people.

Shahmali, who dreamed of coming to Lachin...
"We are forced migrants from Lachin", says Gulmali Rahimov and adds:

"Children brought up here have never seen those lands. But all of them dream of coming back to the homeland. Shahmali also wanted to come to Lachin. It was his dream to become a military man; he did not want to move to the city, he just wanted to come and see Lachin. Each and every inch of our country is dear to us, but the place you and your fathers come from is the dearest of all. Children would listen to what adults told them, and they were interested in places we described.

G. Rahimov says Shahmali liked helping people just out of the kindness of his heart.

"He would be helping each and everyone, without distinguishing between adults and children; he would help anyone in need. That was his nature. That was the reason why people were so shocked by his death. I was one of his schoolteachers. I was very happy with him as a relative, he was a polite and well-mannered boy. I was also content as a teacher; sure, as a kid, he was fooling around sometimes, but he always attended lessons, and was on the overall a diligent and good student. He would never bully anyone, and kept clear of conflicts and fights. We systematically carried out a poll in the school, and he always said he wanted to pursue a military career. He probably saw our heroes on TV; maybe, his decision was influenced by the fact that the land of his fathers had long been under occupation.

The school principal who had not cried when his father died would cry when he heard of Shahmali's death...
"I talked to Shahmali like an hour before his death", his uncle goes on: "Not long after, a rocket hit the place where he was. It is so pity I was not beside him at that moment (sheds a tear).

He was a very well-mannered child. Did not have any secrets, always shared with us. Shahmali was one of triplets; still, he was different from his brothers. Wherever you look, his work can be seen all around the yard.

There is simply no spot where Shahmali didn't leave his traces on. That is why people loved him - in the village and in the school alike. After his death, I happened to meet the school principal; he cried when he saw me and said: "I never cried, even when my father passed away; but now I am crying because Shahmali is dead." Shahmali was held in esteem. I think any parent would want their child to be respected and praised as much as they would want them to achieve a success and benefit to their country and their nation.

My brother, Shahmali's father, passed away 4 years ago. He probably wanted his children to be happy too. But the fate has decided otherwise..."

Recommended reading: