From History of Truth
Interview with Orkhan Akbarov, head of the Azerbaijani Students and Alumni International Forum (ASAIF).
Q: The anniversary of the Khojaly genocide falls on 26 February. How does your organization, which brings together Azerbaijani students and young people abroad, plan to mark the anniversary?
A: I think that in the 20th century the whole world learnt from the Holocaust and other genocides. With this, everyone understood the harm of racism, nationalism and fascism. The world should assess the Khojaly genocide just as it condemned the genocide of the Jews.
This year, all democratic values have been turned upside down by the bill adopted by France, which criminalized the denial of the so-called Armenian genocide. This once again gives us the right to urge the world community to recognize a terrible tragedy of modern history – the Khojaly genocide. The brutal killing of 613 civilians, the taking of thousands of people hostage and the forced displacement of one million Azerbaijani Turks cannot be overlooked.
The Khojaly genocide is a common tragedy of each and every Azerbaijani, Turk, every committed Azerbaijani and those who acknowledge that the people of the world have the right to live peacefully and independently. We cannot punish the murderers just by commemorating the tragedy and mourning. We should unite. We should raise awareness about it beyond Azerbaijan.
As every year, our organization plans different events in different countries in order to bring the reality of the tragedy to the world community. To this end, our young people living in different parts of the world come together and are involved in raising awareness in different ways (e-mail attacks, conferences, actions, rallies etc.).
This year, we plan to hold similar events in several countries. We can highlight events planned in Lithuania, Latvia, England, France, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Turkey and elsewhere, but we are paying special attention to a rally of thousands in Istanbul to call for the official recognition of the Khojaly genocide by the Turkish parliament. And our young people studying in other countries will try to draw the attention of the world community to this issue by holding round tables, public lectures at their universities and holding peaceful demonstrations in several cities.
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