I remember Alzaf, but never forget the Armenian genocide

Yerevan, Armenia-October 15, 2020: Armenian soldiers put the casket of the volunteer fighters Crystapol Altin and Slen Banyan, who died in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, in the Yerablur Military Memorial Cemetery in Yerevan. Ritually transport to the burial ground. Armenia, Thursday, October 15, 2020.  The conflict, which began on September 27, is an area of ​​conflict between Azerbaijani and the Armenian army over Nagorno-Karabakh D, and is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan D, with hundreds including dozens. A person died. The death toll of civilians from both sides continues to grow.  (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Details of the funeral in Yerevan, Armenia. In October, a volunteer fighter casket was killed in a dispute over Alzaf, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, the autonomous province of Azerbaijan. (Los Angeles Times)

Twenty years ago, I wrote the first three-word article in this newspaper. This is one of the most proud paragraphs of my journalism career. The overall lead was this: “Armenian Genocide”.

That was it. The whole shebang. Not “claimed”, not “what the Armenians call a genocide”, but an attempt to wipe out Armenians from the surface of the earth during World War I, past and future It’s just a statement.

On April 24th, all the usual emotions associated with the Armenian Genocide Memorial Day (anger, sadness, frustration, isolation, honor, etc.) will be on display on Saturday, but this year it will be further enhanced.

Recall 1.5 million deaths and survivors from the first genocide of 20 peopleth The century has always been painful, but marchers also praise the dead and displaced from the war that ended within six months.

Armenians were defeated and thousands died last fall in Alzaf, also known as the Autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh, the landing of Armenians when Stalin fell into Azerbaijan in the 1920s. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijani and Armenians have met each other. In the 1990s, Armenians, led by the Visalia-born Monte Melconian, dominated Alzaf. In September, Azerbaijan regained much of its territory, with the main city of Azerbaijan calling it Shusha and the Armenians calling it Shusha.

Even through the COVID mask, Saturday’s chant is probably the most painful I’ve heard since I started marching with my grandfather Nahabed on April 24th every year in the early 1970s.

All other marches had a single villain: Permanent lies that the genocide never happened, not just the Turks who commanded and committed the genocide when Turkey, especially the Ottoman Empire, collapsed. The modern Turkish leaders who let them.

This will add things like Azerbaijan to your list of enemies.For example, Israel and its arms manufacturers That “suicide” drone He proved the decisive factor in his defeat in Artsakh.

I reported on the war in October on Armenia’s online news channel CivilNet. All the soldiers I spoke to expressed fear of trying to counter the drone attack with Kalashnikov. Israel’s oldest newspaper, traditionally liberal Haaretz, accused the sale of weapons in an editorial article.

Saturday marches may also turn on the Republic of Armenia itself. Much of the responsibility for what was lost in Alzaf rested with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Some people say he did not fully deploy his army,

He gave Turkey an open excuse to participate in the conflict, rather than simply guiding the Azerbaijani from bystanders.

I understand and feel all the anger caused by the defeat. With the loss of territory, the threat of provocation and attack in the region is increasing. Bold Azerbaijan (11 million), supported by Turkey (85 million), behaves as if they had conquered a horde of Chinggiscans, but in reality, their drones and cluster munitions acted as Armenian soldiers (150,000). Armed) and Armenian volunteers (3 million). Mainly with automatic rifles.

Alzaf tore the wounds of the genocide, but hopes it will not overwhelm the day set aside to commemorate the event itself.

The main point of April 24th should be the situation so far. Recalling the victims and survivors of the genocide, it marks the beginning of a tragic compulsory diaspora to commemorate the suffering of the destroyed towns and villages as a whole.

Grandpa Nahabed’s march was motivated by the endless effects of indelible horror, systematic mass slaughter, enough to do the same for today’s Armenians, from the Armenian capital Yerevan to Glendale. It’s too much. Beirut to Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh. From Marseille to Little Armenia in East Hollywood. No matter how we feel about the decisions of Azerbaijan, Pashinyan, and the competition between the great powers and the lesser ones in the South Caucasus, the meaning of April 24 should not be diminished.

I remember Alzaf, but never forget that it started 106 years ago. When the killings began in 1915, the outside world was barely noticed. The US president bowed to Turkey and refused to recognize it as “genocide,” but President Biden wants to change that. It is not allowed to be replaced by other anger by chance. The defeat of Artsakh emphasizes the anger and sadness of April 24, but it must not obscure the content of that paragraph that it wrote 20 years ago.

“Armenian genocide.”

Former Times staff writer Michael Clicorian has written a book on the 2020 Alzav War.

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..

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