Today, while heads of state and international journalists were focused on the annual UN General Assembly in New York, Azerbaijan enacted the next phase of its master plan to force the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh from their indigenous lands by launching a full-scale military operation against Armenian defense formations. It also announced that it is providing a safe route to “evacuate” the civilian population to keep them from harm’s way.
This act of so-called benevolence flies in the face of reality, yet the world media reports it without the appropriate context. This lack of perspective only aids Azerbaijan in completing its mission to cleanse the region of all traces of Armenian life, culture, and history.
Under the false pretext that Armenian defense forces provoked this anti-terrorist Azeri attack by setting landmines that killed several Azeri forces, Azerbaijan has once again justified its aggressive actions with unproven claims that many in the international community and global media continue to take at face value.
This false equivalent strategy has helped enable Azerbaijan to violate the very laws and conventions that the UN established to prevent ethnic cleansing and genocide in the first place. In effect, Azerbaijan’s brazen military actions and forced evacuations are sending a cynical message to the world community–during UN General Assembly week no less. It is telling the world that it can operate outside of the international world order simply because nobody is willing to check the veracity of its claims or put this aggression into perspective as part of a genocidal pattern of behavior recently denounced by human rights agencies and experts including US, French and other government officials.
In the context of all the other crimes against humanity committed by Azerbaijan against Armenians over decades, and, most recently, in the 2020 Artsakh War and its aftermath, world leaders and media must perform due diligence to fully investigate these contrived Azeri narratives, and avoid issuing neutral statements and reports that paint the Armenians as anything but clear victims.
AGBU believes that the time has come to end this tacit policy of “both-sides” culpability between Azerbaijan and Armenia for the deteriorating situation in Nagorno Karabakh.
While the Armenians of Artsakh are on the brink of expulsion from their ancestral lands, the world community has failed to frame the crisis accurately,” says Berge Setrakian, President of AGBU, the world’s largest Armenian humanitarian organization.
“There are numerous documented accounts that indicate that Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh do not initiate physical violence against Azerbaijan but have always opted to seek legal remedies to retain its historical status as an autonomous political entity. Only when Azerbaijan decided to use violence to prevent the Armenians from achieving the right to self-determination did the Armenians try to defend themselves through military means. Apparently, Azerbaijan does not believe that a besieged, oppressed, and ethnically discriminated group of people have the right to stand up for its very survival,” Setrakian went on to say.
Azerbaijan has always been the aggressor and perpetrator of brute force resulting a litany of deadly and criminal tactics like the nine month economic blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh, use of chemical weapons, torture of POWs, desecration of Armenian churches and Christian holy objects, and shelling of civilians targets. All these crimes should be taken into account when reporting or commenting on the current crisis.
“Context, hard evidence, and original fact-finding missions are the only way to get to the truth and seek justice in this case,” says AGBU Central Board Member and Media Relations expert Arda Haratunian. “The world owes that to the Armenians who have suffered immensely from false equivalencies and largely inadequate reporting long enough. When the outcome is the destruction of a peaceful and democratic people, and the murder of innocent lives, including children, full and accurate coverage is critical.”