An evening commemorating the Khojaly Massacre.
As a Jew, I recognize massacre of any scope. One such massacre is the Khojaly Massacre.
Fact Check Reminder
On 26 February 1992, the Khojaly Massacre, the Khojaly tragedy, took place. In this horrendous tragedy some 600 innocent ethnic Azerbaijani civilians, among them some 300 women, children and elderly, from the Azerbaijan town of Khojaly, were murdered by Armenian armed forces. Approximately 1000 Azerbaijanis were captured by the invading Armenians and were held in torture camps.
According to the Azerbaijani side, as well as the Memorial Human Rights Center, Human Rights Watch and other international observers, the Massacre was committed by the ethnic Armenian armed forces, with the help of some military personnel of the 366th CIS regiment – the Commonwealth of Independent States, a regional intergovernmental organization of 10 post-Soviet republics in Eurasia, formed following the dissolution of the Soviet Union – apparently not acting on orders from their command.
This unconscionable event became the largest massacre in the course of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The story of Durdane Aghayeva, a survivor of the Khojaky Massacre
According to the Human Rights Watch, this unconscionable event became the largest massacre in the course of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Armenia was not satisfied with the Khojaly Massacre it perpetrated. In this Nagorno-Karabakh War, in early 1993, Armenian forces went on to capture regions outside the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, threatening the involvement of other countries in the region. By the end of the war, in 1994, Armenia was in full control of the enclave, with the exception of the Shahumyan Region, as well as surrounding seven completely Azerbaijani-populated districts, most notably the Lachin Corridor, a mountain pass that links Nagorno-Karabakh with mainland Armenia; 20% of Azerbaijan’s sovereign land became illegally occupied by Armenia.
The result of the conflict, as many as 800,000 Azerbaijanis have been displaced, to become Internally Displaced People (IDP) in their own country.
UN Security Council condemned this occupation and ethnic cleansing with four resolutions, demanding Armenian troops to withdraw from the areas of Azerbaijan they occupy. Till today, the UNSC resolutions were ignored by Armenia, and the UN did nothing to compel Armenia to implement these legally binding resolutions.
The Republic of Azerbaijan, newly founded on October 18, 1991, after freeing itself from the Soviet Union yoke, was not ready for this war that took it by surprise.
This week, in Los Angeles, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, attended by Consuls General of various countries, faith and community leaders, and many guests, Mr. Nasimi Aghayev, Azerbaijan Consul General to the Western USA, who, in my opinion, is diligently acting as the introducing linkage to Baku, and his devoted staff at the Consulate General of Azerbaijan, held a commemoration evening dedicated to honor the victims of the Khojaly Massacre of 27 years ago.
The commemoration theme was peace, coexistence and regional cooperation, a trend that will serve the Caucasus region well.
Nowadays, Azerbaijan is working at recovering from the conflict and setting an example of regional mutual respect for all citizens, regardless of their faith and ethnicity. The 800,000 IDP people, longing to return to their homes, have been, for now, settled by their government in newly built communities, spread all over Azerbaijan.
After 27 years, this 2019 year, not one perpetrator of the massacre was brought to justice. These murderers are roaming the world with impunity.
In 2008, Leyla Aliyeva, the daughter of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, embarked on the ‘Justice for Khojaly’ campaign. She was cited, “Let us jointly campaign for the truth and to prove that justice will triumph.”
Imamyar Hasanov, world-famous Azerbaijani musician playing the Kamancha
I have visited Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijanis smile. They even smiled during the tough years under the Soviet-Communist depriving rule. They wear a badge of hospitality, love, and pride of their homeland, and fierce kindness.
In Azerbaijan, they remember the horrific past and look forward to harmonious regional coexistence
But in Azerbaijan, they do not wear the badge of revenge on their lapel. In 2019, 27 years to the awful atrocity, in Azerbaijan they seek a gesture of conciliation from neighboring Armenia.
In Azerbaijan, they see peace on the horizon.
Some seventy-five years ago my parents’ family members, almost to the last one, were murdered in the Holocaust, the largest human massacre in human history, perpetrated by Nazi Germany. I, the writer, know the pain and suffering resulting from a massacre.
Typically, grievances continue to be redressed, long after they have ceased to exist. But not in Azerbaijan. There, the people want to put the past into the past and bring forward reconciliation and peace to the region, for the benefit of all the people of the region. Hopefully, Armenia will find its way to enter a new era of peace and humane illumination.
The Azerbaijanis are courageous people. Humanity needs more such courageous people.