When silence is Lethal. The ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Karabakh. -The Armenian Church in the United Kingdom

  • 21.09.2023
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The Armenian Church in the United Kingdom continue to have grave concerns for the physical security of the people of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh. Even as the nine-months blockade by Azerbaijan of the Lachin corridor continues, cutting off Karabakh’s vital land connection with Armenia, Baku launched an unprovoked military attack on September 19 on the ethnic Armenians. At least 200 were killed and more than 400 wounded according to reports from Stepanakert. The conditions of a tenuous cease-fire agreement indicate that Azerbaijan is pursuing it’s long-held goal of ethnic cleansing of the Armenians, who have lived in these territories for over two millennia. Residents in Stepanakert reported that gunfire continues to be heard even after the ceasefire agreement. While Russian Defence Ministry stated that Russian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh evacuated 5,000 Armenians from dangerous areas, Armenians continue to run to the Russian base near the airport, but there is no longer space to accommodate the extremely vulnerable people under fire. Many villages in Karabakh are surrounded by the Azerbaijani military and there is no news about their destiny.  The UNinternational institutionshuman rights organisations, and others have raised alarm and issued warnings for months now about the unfolding genocidal ethnic cleansing of Armenians by Azerbaijan. The silence of the international community in general and Britain in particular is deafening and lethal.  One speaker at the Srebrenica Memorial in the UK in 2017 said regarding the 1995 genocide of thousands of Bosniak Muslim men and boys in and around the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War: “When we are silent in the face of hatred, we allow it to grow and flourish. When we are silent about the atrocities of the past, we allow ourselves to forget. When we are silent in the face of denial, we allow history to be re-written. Silence benefits perpetrators, who are not brought to justice for their crimes. To stand up to hatred, we must first acknowledge it. We must break the silence.”  On the same occasion, Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, stated: “The lesson of Srebrenica is that the stirring up of hatred and discrimination is always wrong, and if left unchecked, can lead to terrible evil. So, we should all, wherever we live in the world, work for understanding and tolerance between all peoples.” It was TEN YEARS after more than 7,000 Yazidis were killed and many thousands of women enslaved by Daesh that the UK government acknowledged this genocide. It was too little, too late. The destruction of the Armenian religious and cultural heritage by Azerbaijan is well documented. And now Azerbaijan is in the process of destroying the Armenians in Karabakh, in their native land.  As one German MEP, Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel, put it: “What took millennia to build in times of peace can be destroyed in a moment by the war. After the second Karabakh war, thousands of Armenian monuments came under Azerbaijani control. Very recently, Aliyev’s government erased Armenian churches, crushed stone tombstones in another Azerbaijan region, Nakhchivan. This provides a dramatic peak into the potential future of Armenian artefacts in Nagorno-Karabakh.” In 1896, long before Azerbaijan Republic’s existence, Sir William Watson, wrote “A Series of Sonnets on England’s Desertion of Armenia,” on the silence and inaction of Britain during the Hamidian Massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.  Sir William Watson (1858 –1935) was a prolific and popular English poet of the 1890s. He was famous for the controversial political content of his verse. He received a knighthood in 1917. Following the Armenian Genocide of 1915, other massacres and killings followed in the early 20th century in the Caucasus region, where thousands of Armenians were killed. Today that trend is continuing in front of the very eyes of the international community.  There has to be an end to the violent aggression and ethnic cleansing of the Armenian people in Karabakh. The international community and especially Britian, a strategic ally of Azerbaijan, must prevent atrocities against Armenians in Karabakh and ensure their safety and security. This humanitarian and human disaster is preventable. 


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