We are appalled, but we will not give up

Alain Navarra-Navassartian & Alexis Krikorian, co-founders of Hyestart



© Alexis Pazoumian. Shushi, 2020.

On 27 September 2020, Azerbaijan opened hostilities against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh with a powerful and coordinated attack. The aggression - one of unprecedented violence - was carried out with the full logistical, tactical and operational support of the Turkish Army. On 9 November 2020, a ceasefire with one-sided clauses was imposed on Armenia by Russia. Armenia lost many territories, including the symbolic city of Shushi, without obtaining a guarantee on the status of Karabagh.

More than half of the population of Karabakh has fled the bombs and massacres that it knows would have been inevitable if the Armenians had lost. The Azeri dictator Aliyev declared yesterday in the euphoria of victory that the Armenians had fled like "dogs".

Although not well-covered in the media, Azerbaijan's numerous war crimes have been documented, including:

- Use of cluster bombs;

- Use of incendiary ammunition;

- Beheadings;

- Use of Syrian jihadist mercenaries.

Azerbaijan has de facto lost all moral rights over Nagorno-Karabakh and its inhabitants. Only self-determination can guarantee their security. It is high time that the international community recognized this fact.

Armenia has lost 1500 young men in 44 days of war. For a democracy of 3 million souls, this is a heavy toll. Very heavy.

For years, we have been committed to democratization and human rights in Turkey for a multitude of reasons. Because we were attached to this land and its destiny. Because it was also in the interest of and for the security of Armenia. And we were right: what has just happened shows that Armenia's security was not assured with a denialist neighbor.

In these circumstances, faced with the shameless lies of Turkish and Azeri media controlled by authoritarian and dictatorial powers (which claimed, among other things, that it was Armenia that had been the first to attack on 27 September!), the silence of some of our "friends" was and remains deafening. In the face of this characterized aggression aimed at emptying the Armenian population of one of its last historical lands, this silence of our long-time companions can and will have an impact. Only our Kurdish friends and some of our Turkish friends have expressed their solidarity and we would like to thank them for it.

Many of our so-called liberal friends are men and women who, putting Turkish and Armenian nationalism on the same level, have and continue to make, at the very least, an error of analysis. For let there be no mistake, it is indeed Armenia that has been the victim of Turkish nationalism for centuries. Not the contrary!

Commitment to human rights in Turkey has no meaning for us at the moment as long as this country does not change its ultra-nationalist and racist mindset in a profound and radical manner. As long as a Copernican - not cosmetic - revolution of the Turkish state has not taken place. To put it more clearly, we will no longer commit ourselves to human rights in Turkey as long as there is no real will to change and as long as a statesman or stateswoman does not confront the history and culture of violence in his or her country.

In the weeks and months to come, Hyestart will therefore modify its statutes in order to adapt to this new situation.

History is undoubtedly in a form of repetition. Cowardly abandoned by the West, Armenia has once again paid a heavy price for its right to life. Our activities will therefore focus on Armenia and Artsakh and their – democratic, socio-economic, or other- needs, according to modalities to be defined by us.

Crime, in the case of Armenia, continues to pay, again and again. To date, the impunity of the Baku-Ankara axis is indeed total. The fight against the impunity of the leaders of these two countries will therefore also be at the heart of our new model.

We are appalled, but we are not giving up.

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