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Artak Beglaryan’s speech at #OSCE #HDIM2017 event: “Nagorno-#Karabakh up Close: Between Fire and Hope” (video)
22/09/2017English Posts, Հարցազրույցներ և ելույթներ, Մուլտիմեդիա, Քաղաքականություն
Ելույթիս հայերեն տեքստը՝ այստեղ:
On the September 21st of 2017, as a guest speaker, I participated in the side-event at OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw and delivered a speech. The event was organized by the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy and was titled “Nagorno-Karabakh Up Close: Between Fire and Hope”, screening the film “The Besiegeds”.
Find the text of my speech below, which has minor differences with the video, because of time shortage.
I come from the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh or Artsakh. I was born in Artsakh in 1988 – the year when the Karabakh movement for reunification with Armenia started in the Soviet Union. It was a movement for freedoms and liberties, because people wanted to restore the historic justice and reverse the decision of Stalin made in 1921, when Karabakh was annexed to Azerbaijan. The Karabakh movement was one of the first massive movements in the Soviet empire, which has lots of similarities with Solidarity.
However, the Soviet and especially the Azerbaijani reaction was quite aggressive and brutal, they organized or supported some pogroms of Armenians in Azerbaijan taken place from 1988 to 1991 to make Armenians stop struggling for freedoms and reunification. In that period, the Soviet Azerbaijani authorities implemented repressions also in the territory of Karabakh, which gradually had been targeted by Azerbaijani artillery and blockade in 1991.
You have already watched some details of that siege, as well as, massive killings and destructions taken place especially from November 1991 until May 1992. Though I was a kid then, I remember some details, because my family was living in blockaded Stepanakert. I clearly remember how we were starving, every day we went to bed with empty stomachs. I remember how I and my brothers used to call black bread as “cake bread”, because even black bread was so rare and desirable for us. Imagine, we were going to an old repository, taking dried breads of a few years, which had been kept there for animals. Our mother was boiling those breads and then giving to us.
I also remember how Azerbaijani artillery targeted our living building from Shushi and destroyed 2 apartments in the building. I remember how an Azerbaijani aircraft flied over our building very closely and bombarded our neighboring building, killing some civilians there. At that moment I was playing at our yard. In another place of the town, my 11-year-old cousin was killed by the Azerbaijani bombardment. Many families had such civilian losses – mostly children and women.
That kind of offensive actions against our populated areas made the Karabakh self-defense forces mobilize and abolish Azerbaijani surrounding strongholds. The key success was liberation of Shushi in May of 1992, which was perceived by Stepanakert population as victory and liberation from Azerbaijani massive shelling and bombardment. After that, the war lasted for 2 more years, taking tens of thousands lives from both sides. A ceasefire was signed among Azerbaijan, Karabakh and Armenia in May of 1994 agreeing to negotiate for prevention of further escalations and, ultimately, for conflict settlement. Since then, with mediation of OSCE Minsk group co-chaired by France, Russia and the US, the sides have discussed some packages of conflict settlement, but no tangible result so far.
Especially in the recent 15 years, Azerbaijan has selected the way of heavy armament and encouraging aggressively anti-Armenian hatred, which shows that they don’t prefer peaceful settlement. There are lots of examples of heroizing those servicemen, who kill Armenians, no matter military or civilian. For instance, Azerbaijan openly heroized the brutal crime of Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov, who in 2004 axed Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan while asleep at a hotel of Budapest. They both were participating in a NATO course within the frameworks of ironically called “Partnership for Peace” program. Even the Azerbaijani ombudsman, who is supposed to defend and promote human rights, stated that the axe-murderer should be example for the Azerbaijani youth… And President Ilham Aliyev pardoned and awarded Safarov upon his extradition from Hungary to Azerbaijan in 2012.
Since 1994 ceasefire, the peak of the anti-Armenian hatred policy was the war in April of 2016 triggered by Azerbaijan. It started with heavy shelling of some Karabakh villages and towns, and killed a kid and wounded some kids on their way to school. More brutally, Azerbaijan forces entered Talish village and killed 3 civilians, including a 92-year-old woman. They tortured those 3 civilians and cut-off their ears. Another cruel form of hatred expression was mutilating and beheading Karabakh soldiers, wherever they captured our servicemen. Moreover, President Aliyev publically awarded one of such butchers who had beheaded an Armenian soldier. You can find the details of the Azerbaijani violations of 2016 April in the latest report of the Karabakh Ombudsman, which was cited even by a “Freedom House” report. These kind of clear indicators should alarm the international community that Azerbaijan uses ISIS-style of hatred encouragement at the state level, which seriously violates international humanitarian law and endangers the security of the entire Caucasus region.
Azerbaijan behaves in the same way in the other spheres, too, seeking to isolate Karabakh people from any international opportunities. For example, they illegally try to prosecute those foreign companies and investors, which invest in Karabakh. But no success, because no country accepts their so called “prosicutions.” They have created a meaningless blacklist, adding those public figures’ names, who visit Karabakh. But, frankly, no thoughtful man takes it seriously and more foreigners started visiting Karabakh. In addition, because of the Azerbaijani hysteria, Karabakh students and scholars often are deprived of opportunities to take part in international educational projects. No international organization implements any kind of projects there, except for ICRC. So, Azerbaijan violates the human rights of the Karabakh people in all spheres – security, social, economic, education, cultural and others, trying to block any international communication with Karabakh population, while our people deserves the same rights like everyone deserves on the earth, regardless of their legal status.
These kind of hatred actions make any prospects of enduring peace in the upcoming decades more vague. The Karabakh people wants peace, because we value the lives we are regularly losing on the frontline. We value the lives of the Azerbaijani people, too, we don’t want to see any crying family, regardless of its origin. We are realist in this situation and know that the only guarantor of our peace is our defense army. It keeps the peace not only for Karabakh, but also for the Azerbaijani people. Moreover, with this role the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is a real security partner for the international community preventing any devastating shock in the whole Caucasus region. If our army is weak, we are sure that Azerbaijanis will try to make massacres to clean Karabakh from Armenians. Personally I also prefer peace, because I know too well the price of war, when I was 4, my father was killed in a battle for protection of our homeland, and I lost my eyesight as a result of landmine explosion when I was 6. So, the war took my happy childhood and beloved person… On the other hand, I’m ready to protect my homeland in a war, if it might ensure more and longer security for my people, if it might prevent more losses of lives in future…”
Artak Beglaryan | Artsakh | Azerbaijan | Karabakh | video
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