Baku, February 26, AZERTAC
The Jewish Journal has published an article by head of Azerbaijan’s mountain Jews community Milikh Yevdayev.
Titled “Tragedy has No Borders: the Khojaly massacre remembered”, the article reads: “My first thoughts always focus on a desire to share our joint faith, our joint passion for Jewish life and the power of individualism, freedom and safety for the Jews around the world.
Every February, like so many of my Azerbaijani countrymen and women, I am haunted by the events of 1992 when our world was turned upside down as the foreign- backed Armenian army and special forces brutally massacred 613 Azerbaijani civilians including up to 300 women, children and elderly in the town of Khojaly located in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region. But as a Jew there is a special lens I bring to this experience. The Jewish people have centuries of persecution, decades of human tragedy in different parts of the world. This unique perspective also provides a way to look at the possibility for hope that people can change and hope that such events will never happen again.
The Khojaly Massacre of 1992 is for me and my country, extremely personal. It is hard to meet a person who was living in those years, not very long ago at all, that does not know a survivor, or a victim, or one of the nearly 1 million refugees expelled from their homes and lands as a result of the military invasion of Azerbaijan’s territory by Armenia.
When 20% of our country was brutally seized by invading Armenian forces, the world was flipped upside down. Reason had no place in this tragedy.
What happened in Khojaly was as a snapshot of madness taken out of photobook associated with the Holocaust. No life was precious on February 25 and 26 of 1992, when the most vulnerable civilians; women, grandmothers, infants, or anyone within the range of an invading soldiers’ bullet or blade, was murdered. The entire town was wiped out, and even their cemeteries were destroyed. There is an eerie similarity to the events in Germany of the late 1930’s when Jews were whisked away in the middle of the night or during WWII when entire villages were wiped out without any care for human life.
This year is the 24th anniversary of those tragic days, of the Khojaly Massacre, which took place in a time when most of us were already very sure that attempted genocide would be impossible again, or at least anywhere in Europe.
Yet today many Jewish communities across the world are confronted by the increasing hatred that comes to them from so many corners. In Azerbaijan, Jews are safe, well regarded and protected. Our nation has been injured over many centuries by the hatred of brutally violent invasions, and yet, no matter the strife coming from outside, be it Bolshevik or Armenian or terrorist brutality, the values of our togetherness have survived those inhumanities.
This week, so many will come together to mourn the victims of our brothers and sisters of the town of Khojaly, to honor their lives and to cry out for the sake of those who cannot speak for themselves. Even in the painful remembering of tragedy, we push forward with the light of what is possible for peace.
So during these difficult days, I not only mourn, but I am thinking of my brothers and sisters in the United States that have relatives that struggle with their pasts. We can honor the memory of the victims, survivors and heroes of Khojaly, and with them together, remember the memory of those from every unjust and criminal war.”