By Prof. Dumitru Balan Chairman of Romania – Azerbaijan Friendship Association
Human history has witnessed dreadful crimes against innocent civilians after 1900’s. While massive and deliberate killing of Jews by Nazi German with the aim to exterminate them in World War II and mass murder of civilians of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995 which was described as worst crime on European soil since the Second World War has been severely condemned by international community as a genocide, the world has turned blind eye to the carnage of Armenian armed forces in Khojali, the Azerbaijan town which is under occupation of Armenia.
20 year ago in February 26, 1992 the Armenian armed forces with the help of the 366th motorized infantry brigade of the Russian Interior Ministry occupied Khojali. Khojali is a a small town in Nagorno-Karabakh which is under occupation of Armenia with 7 surrounding regions for almost 20 years together. As a result of brutal annihilation of hundreds of innocent inhabitants of the town 613 innocent Azerbaijanis, including 106 women and 83 children were viciously massacred by Armenian forces. 25 children were orphaned and 130 lost one parent. 8 families were totally exterminated while 476 civilians were permanently disabled. 1275 people were taken hostages.
Brutality of this mass killing accompanied by mutilation of bodies put it in one line with the most horrifying tragedies of the XX century. However, despite the fact that human tragedy in Khojali was well documented by international media and by respected international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, world decision-makers have fallen short from properly recognizing this horrific crime. Quite the reverse, being misled by wily Armenian diaspora’s deceptive attempts some countries especially in Europe recognize the clashes in Ottoman Turkey as so-called “genocide”, through which politicians and leaders in respective countries seek dividends while deliberately turning blind eye to realities and truth that can be unveiled by historians. Armenians who want to push the so-called “genocide” allegations to political platforms of different countries are yet far from the courage to let the historical truths be discussed. Today, the Armenian state mostly supported by its diaspora cannot camouflage the carnage committed against innocent civilians in Khojali since the chief-perpetrators have constantly, “proudly”, blatantly and publicly confessed their atrocities on different occasions.
The chief-perpetrator of Khojali genocide currently enjoying shelter provided by Armenian government though under search of INTERPOL, Zori Balayan narrates the vandalism of his soldiers in his book “Revival of our Spirit” issued in 1996 page 260-262: “While we entered the house which we seized (in Khojali-ed.), our soldiers have nailed the Turkish (Armenians regard Azerbaijanis and Turkish the same as they originate from common ethnic root – ed.) child on to the window. The soldiers cut off the boobs of the child’s mother and plunged them on his mouth to soothe him a bit. Then he ripped the skin from his head, bosom and stomach. I looked at my watch and after seven minutes the Turkish child fainted and died. My spirit was feeling pride as it revenged 1% of my people. Then Khachatur chopped the corpse into pieces and did the same for another 3 Turkish children. As an Armenian patriot I fulfilled my duty”. While pronouncing the words of Zori Balayan one cannot find an explanation to the question how the spirit can revive itself by turning to beast.
The descriptions of bloody acts of Armenian soldiers do not confine to Zori Balayan’s confessions. The story of Daud Kheyriyan who was also involved in those brutalities is not less modest at all. In his book “For the sake of Cross…” at pages 24, 62 and 63 published by “Ash-Sharg” (East) agency in Beirut he states the followings: “Sometimes we happened to march on dead bodies. In order to cross a swamp near Dashbulag (the name of the occupied territory in Azerbaijan), we have paved a road composed of dead bodies. I refused to march on dead bodies. Then colonel Oganyan ordered me not to scare. It is one of military laws. I have pressed my one foot onto the breast of a wounded girl aged 9 or 10 years and marched… My legs, my photo camera were in blood…”. Then he proceeds that “… the Armenian group “Gaflan” (dealing with burning of dead bodies) have collected 100 dead bodies of Turks (Azerbaijani) and burned them in a place located one kilometer from Khojaly to the West on March 2… I saw girl aged 10 and wounded in hands and in head lying in last truck. Her face was already of a blue color. But she was still alive despite of hunger, coldness and wounds. She had a little breath. I cannot forget her eyes striving with death… Suddenly a soldier called Tigranyan took that body and threwn it on other dead bodies… Then they have burned dead bodies. It seemed to me that someone was crying in fire between dead bodies… After all I could not go further. But I wanted to see Shusha (occupied city of Azerbaijan)… I returned. And they continued their battles for the sake of Cross….”
Reader of the story cannot miss the rationale behind tortures and violence of Armenian soldiers as asserted by Daud Kheyriyan. For centuries all heavenly religions explicitly forbade murdering innocent people. Jesus Christ has preached his followers tolerance and even going far prevented any sort of hostility and revenge mentioning that “…But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Islam’s preaching does not lag behind at all from what Christianity implies. Murdering an innocent person is taken equivalent to killing all mankind according to Islam.
A British journalist, writer and expert on Caucasus Thomas de Waal in his book “Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through peace and war” (New York University Press, 2003, pp. 169-172) recalls the confessions of current president of Armenia, Serzh Sargsian about Khojali stating that “Before Khojali, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us, they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype].”
Justice must prevail. International community must condemn atrocities against civilian Azerbaijanis as firm and severely as it should. Because the dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them.
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