Brussels, November 29, AZERTAC
On 28 November, the French MEP representing a pro-European political party ‘Renew Europe’ and the chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence, Nathalie Loiseau hosted a photography exhibition called “Nagorno-Karabakh: A Heritage in Danger”. The photography pieces taken by the former Armenian ambassador to the United Kingdom and the head of the Diplomatic school under Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vahe Gabrielyan, were mainly focused on the cultural, as well as religious heritage of the Karabakh region, which is allegedly in “severe danger” under Azerbaijani control.
In the common aim of shedding light on the Karabakh truths and raising awareness on the need to ensure a just and fair coverage of the former conflict, a group of Azerbaijani students joined the exhibition and shared their insights representing the Caspian Initiative for European Integration & Partnership (CIEIP), which is a newly established Brussels-based lobbying organization aiming to advance the integration of the Caspian Sea region into the European Union and European values. Among them, were Sabina Huseynova (Bachelor’s student in Political Science at VUB), Kamran Yusifzada (Bachelor’s student in Social Sciences at VUB), Aydan Bakirli (Bachelor’s student in Economics at VUB), Riyad Salimov (Bachelor’s student in Business Administration at KU Leuven), and Leyla Mammadova (a recent graduate of the Master of European Studies at KU Leuven).
Given the one-sided coverage of the heritage damage, the event appeared to be quite controversial in a myriad of ways. Some of the photos show the monuments built during the Soviet era, which were labeled as Armenian heritage by the organizers, and the other temples, such as the Aghdam Juma Mosque, which was claimed to be protected as an Azerbaijani heritage but was meanwhile used as a pigsty under Armenian occupation. Azerbaijani students in their turn, provided some visual aids in the form of printed images of the damaged heritage and shed light on another side of the conflict. Nevertheless, maintaining a debate on the equal and just coverage of the events and the atrocities performed by Armenia was not an easy task given the biased approach of the event as a whole.
This event, held in Brussels, in the political capital and at the very heart of Europe, once again made it clear that due to asymmetrical coverage of the conflicts like that of the Karabakh region and severe propaganda carried out by the Armenian lobbyists, some European officials may put the double standards above those established by the European Union by threatening the core essence of the European values.
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