Family values are deep-rooted in Azerbaijan, and have been passed down from generation to generation since time immemorial. Care of youngsters, and respect for the elderly are cherished traditions in our country.
On February 29, an event dedicated to the 24th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide took place in a conference hall at Radisson Royal Moscow Hotel.
Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva attended the event.
Paintings by Azerbaijani and Russian pupils, as well as disciples of Russian Federation’s Honoured Artist Asgar Mammadov, dedicated to the Khojaly tragedy were demonstrated.
The attendees of the event commemorated the victims of the Khojaly genocide with a minute’s silence.
Addressing the event, Leyla Aliyeva said the Khojaly tragedy is the bloodiest and most cruel page of the Daghlyg Garabagh conflict: “This conflict has been continuing for almost 30 years. 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory is under occupation. The country has over a million refugees and IDPs. Masterpieces of architecture, historical monuments have been destroyed and all signs of the Azerbaijani culture eliminated on this lands.”
Talking about that horrendous night, Leyla Aliyeva said: “On the night of February 26, 1992, Armenian armed forces, occupying Khojaly town, mercilessly killed 613 civilians, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elderly. Lives of people – future’s physicians, engineers, teachers, who could have made Azerbaijan better, brighter and more interesting – were broken. The international society should give just assessment of this tragedy and the perpetrators be punished.”
It was noted that the international campaign “Justice for Khojaly” was launched in 2008. It aimed at informing the world society of this tragedy and ensuring that this kind of killings do not happen again. Over 700 thousand signatures have been collected within the framework of the campaign. Tens of world countries have backed the campaign “Justice for Khojaly”. Parliaments of Canada, Mexico, Peru, Pakistan, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Czech Republic, Jordan, Sudan, Panama and Honduras, legislative bodies of over 20 states of the US, as well as the Islamic Cooperation Organization have recognized the fact of genocide in Khojaly. We have submitted applications to the highest international organizations, including the United Nations and the Hague International Court. Our voice is heard at the most significant conferences and forums of the world. A monument has been erected in Bosnian capital Sarajevo to the victims of Srebrenitsa and Khojaly genocides. The website “Justice for Khojaly”, with all kinds of information about the tragedy, is launched. We have made films, printed books about this horrendous tragedy. For long years, conferences, exhibitions and seminars dedicated to Khojaly have been held in a number of world countries. Thanks to our activists, 115 organizations and over 120 thousand people are supporting our campaign.
It was noted that Azerbaijan has always been a tolerant and multicultural country. People of different nationalities and religions have lived and are living here in the environment of peace and solidarity. “Despite all the horrors, our people’s morale was not undermined. We will always remember the victims of Khojaly. We have prepared an exhibition comprising paintings of Azerbaijani artists and children. You can sense this tragedy through the eyes of people of art. Perhaps these works contain infinite sorrow. However, we strongly believe that the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Daghlyg Garabagh conflict will soon find its just solution, Azerbaijan’s integrity restored and all refugees and IDPs return to their homes.”
Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Russia Polad Bulbuloghlu said for present-day generations of Azerbaijanis the word “Khojaly” has become a pain, whatever place of the world they are: “There are a lot of young people here today. I am glad in all sincerity. Our youth are growing in a spirit of patriotism and understand the tasks and objective set by our honourable president before the youth. The word “Khojaly” is an example of infinite injustice and savagery. It is this word through which the people of Azerbaijan has been living the most horrendous manifestations of cruelties defined in the contemporary law as a crime against humanity.”
According to the ambassador, the life itself asserts such immortal truth: unpunished crimes give rise to new and more grave crimes. The diplomat said: “Therefore, I would like to underscore that sensing the pain of the Khojaly tragedy and condemning it unconditionally is not only our people’s business, it should also be an ethical and legal choice of all good-willed people. From this perspective, I would like to thank Leyla Aliyeva, who has done a great work within the campaign “Justice for Khojaly”. This elegant and beautiful lady has spent all her activity to this matter, and in her brief speech she listed a series of achievements reached on this path. The world society is turning its face towards this tragedy and starts to understand that in order for this killings not reoccur in any country of the world in future, it’s perpetrators should be condemned.”
Member of the Russian Union of Writers, academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, doctor of culturology, professor Yuri Pompeyev said 24 years are the life of one generation. Talking about the campaign “Justice for Khojaly”, he said “justice” is a key word: “But to obtain justice and cover the scale of this word is very difficult. I have a relationship with this campaign. I have always responded to it. Due to my involvement in the events occurring in the South Caucasus in this way, I have spent all of my interest and strength, recent years, to that pain to make sure that the population was aware of the event occurred 24 years ago in that little town of Garabagh”.
Saying that in most of the works displayed at the exhibition are pictured tanks, Y.Pompeyev said: “Tanks mean the 366th regiment. In fact, these tanks were neither green, nor red-coloured. They had been coloured white to conceal their relationship to the Soviet army. But at that time this regiment was at the disposal of these nationalist fascist forces. Because Serj Sarkisyan was one of the heads of the Armenian army. This is a shame. This fact should definitely be brought to the attention of today’s citizens of the Russian Federation, and I’m trying to do that.”
Deputy of the Russian State Duma, head of the Russian-Azerbaijani Interparliamentary Friendship Group Dmitri Savelyev said every human being has a right to religion, politics and moral freedom. Everyone has also have an irrevocable right to remember. Forgetting tragedies akin to the Khojaly tragedy may open the way to new tragedies. The MP said: “Only with a strong state, citizens can feel in security. During the decades passing since the Khojaly tragedy, independent Azerbaijan has become stronger, mightier, and turned into an independent player on the world arena, and the guarantor of peace in the South Caucasus. Today, Azerbaijanis may be sure: their country will protect them!”
Witnesses of the Khojaly tragedy – Hamayil Khalilova and Murad Huseynov, who have lost both the parents – were among the participants of the event. They came to Moscow at Leyla Aliyeva’s initiative.
The event was attended by representatives of the Russian society, diplomatic corps accredited in Moscow, politicians, employees of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Russia, as the Russian Representative Office of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, All-Russian Azerbaijanis Congress, and Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia.