Who is next?
Would you leave your house, if you would find a mouse in it? The answer is “no”, you’ll try to get rid of it! It is the same thing!”
— says one of the Armenian civilians in Artsakh (historical name of Nagorno-Karabach).
On the 26th of September Stepanakert, capital of Artsakh, fell under shelling from Azerbaijan.
Since then endless number of young lives were lost, many of them were teenagers who urged to the front line to protect their land without a moment of hesitation.
Buses full of young to old men drove from many cities of Armenia to the front line. Not only people within the country but also Armenians from all over the world started to come back to the homeland to join the forces.
Those, who could not join, found a way of being helpful: by supporting financially, creating educating historical videos, writing articles and most importantly by raising their voices. Armenian community in Los Angeles, for example, made a demonstration in front of the CNN building calling for making an honest reportage about the conflict.
A mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh is officially a recognised part of Azerbaijan but has always been populated by ethnic Armenians evidence of which is traced in many ancient maps, letters and books.
If that is not enough, take a look at the christian monasteries that resemble Armenian style of architecture and consist of Armenian relics from decades of centuries ago. Amaras was built in the 4th century, Dadivank — 9th century and Gandzasar — 13th century are the clearest evidence for that.
In 1921 to end the rivalry between Russia and Turkey, Joseph Stalin passed Nagorno-Karabakh territory to Azerbaijan. That very naturally has caused an explosion inside the region. Armenians that lived there, didn’t want to be part of Soviet Azerbaijan which led to establishment of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast on 7 July 1923 (implemented in November 1924).
The situation got escalated when in the end of 1991 USSR dissolved and Nagorno-Karabakh was left as a part of newly independent Republic of Azerbaijan. People in Artsakh protested and took action: they declared their independence as the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh and incentivised to join Republic of Armenia which was rejected by Azerbaijan.
That brought war in the region from 20 February 1988 to 12 May 1994 known as Nagorno-Karabakh War. And although the war was won and the ceasefire in May 1994 was established, Azerbaijan still didn’t accept the independence of the region.
And that is what we are dealing with now. Artsakh — a land that is historically inhabited by Armenian people that has been given away 99 years ago as an outcome of the a subjective decision is facing the consequences of that decision up until today.
These consequences have a high price — the lives of people like you and me, people who have the right to live, to learn, to love and grow.
What is happening today?
Today not only people in Artsakh are protecting the border and fighting against Azerbaijani aggressors, but they are also fighting against the world’s terrorism.
Because Turkey is supporting Azerbaijan by providing military support and sending Syrian fighters to join or replace Azerbaijani military forces. Lots of attention has be raised to Erdogan’s evolvement and his past actions in other countries of the middle East.
Turkey is a part of NATO.
NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operation.
It becomes more and more debatable whether it has the right be a member of it.
How to have an objective eye on this?
Nagorno-Karabakh has a population of 146 thousand people, Azerbaijan almost 10 million. Add on top the support from Turkey with 82 million population and you are already convinced that Artsakh has no intention to start the war.
Only in 2019 Azerbaijan’s military budget was equal $14,8 billion. No need to bring up the expenditures of Nagorno-Karabakh, but just for a comparison, in the same year Armenia’s budget was only reaching $591 million.
People in Artsakh must have lost their minds to attack Azerbaijan with so much investment in the military and a partner in the face of Turkey.
“We want peace!” — say many online campaigns created by Armenian people.
Neither Azeri people, who are forced to go and fight for the lands where they don’t feel belong to, want this war. That is partly the reason why there are people hired to fight for miserable amounts of money. Only those in higher social class raise their voices to defend the position of the government. Talk to ordinary people — you will hear a different story.
Azerbaijan chooses a very dirty strategy by attacking churches (Holy Savior Cathedral — also known as the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral) and hospitals, by torturing kidnaped soldiers regardless the age on the streets and filming it.
Azerbaijan ranks 168 out of 180 in RSF’s press freedom index, where 1 is the most free. And the war is not an exception. Restrictions to use social media took place on the 27th of September which is not allowing people to get any news apart from the state-controlled channels.
Apart from that, no journalist is allowed near the front line and even those that are in the city report a strict guidance from governmental authorities and are limited in the access to places and people.
No one wants this war.
Many people lost their homes and possessions. They are left without a roof and their hearts are broken. They didn’t choose this reality.
But none of them is going to give up. No one is going to let someone come and take away their lands.
The bravery of people in Nagorno-Karabakh is exemplary. Most of them up until now refuse to leave and claim to stay until the very end.
Don’t stay indifferent because it is not your country and not happening on your street. Educate yourself and have an opinion on the current situation.
For the donations: https://www.himnadram.org/en