In the mainstream media, Azerbaijan’s aggression toward Nagorno-Karabakh is simply referred to as “the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.” Azerbaijan seems determined to wipe out any traces of the Armenian civilization altogether. Nevertheless, it continues to deny any wrongdoing and accuses Armenia of being the aggressor. Several attempts of ethnic cleansing have been carried out against Armenians, while the perpetrators have denied everything as though the genocide never happened. The west turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed against Armenians during the first world war, while a similar act done by Serbia was responded by NATO’s bombing of Belgrade. It bearly took a year before the west recognized Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo as independent states. On the other hand, Nagorno_Karabakh has not been nearly as lucky. It seems highly unrealistic that it will gain its independence any time soon.

Cultural Genocide

It seems to me that President Ilham Aliev has long been making claims to undermine the Armenian cultural heritage and therefore erase their history. Azerbaijan’s hostility against Armenian heritage has shifted from words into action. Here I have some examples:

Watch the video

Destruction of Cultural Cites

Armenian Cemetery at Julfa

In 2005, the Armenian cemetery at Julfa was destroyed by Azerbaijan’s forces. When criticized for its act of aggression, in response, Azerbaijani authorities claimed that no Armenians ever existed in that area. It appears as though Azerbaijan under Ilham Aliev has been trying to erase every trace of Armenian civilization to support its claim that Armenia never existed as a country.

Dadivank Monastery

File:Klášterní komplex Dadivank – panoramio.jpg” by Martin Cígler is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
If Udis built 300 beautiful churches, then I assume they must have been a thriving civilization of craft’s men and builders.

President Aliev and his wife, Mihriban Alieva, seem obsessed with giving Armenian religious cities to the Udi ethnic minority. As I understand, there are about 6000 Udis left in Azerbaijan. That seems to be all that is left of once the Caucasian Albania that president Aliev is crying about. I wonder if Udis fell victim to ethnic cleansings. Azerbaijan seems eager to use history to justify an act of cultural genocide and wipe out any traces of Armenian civilization left. President Aliev, an expert in history (with a Ph.D. in history from Moscow University), knows well how passionate Armenians are about their holy sites. Aliev cannot demolish churches but seems to have a different plan instead. Azerbaijan has been declaring several Armenians’ places of worship as Udis’ and is apparently looking forward to handing over the ownership of many Armenian churches to the Udi ethnic minority. That will clearly be an act of cultural genocide toward Armenians. 

It must have been an important day for the Udis. After all, they had finally reclaimed what was once theirs, besides it was Christmas. I would expect a large gathering. Instead, I noticed a rather humble gatherring at the Dadivank monastery. Such a small crowd for such a historical event. I wonder where the rest of Udis were on that day.

President Aliev has repeatedly claimed that “there have never been any Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.” According to the Azerbaijani claims, supposedly there are 300 Udi churches in Azerbaijan alone. One expects the builders of the civilization who built those beautiful churches and monasteries to have been craft men and builders. It is only reasonable to wonder what happened to such an advanced civilization and where did its people go? So what happened to such an advanced civilization of builders and craft’s men? Where are the rest of them? I wonder whether the Udis fell victims to ethnic cleansing the same way Armenians did? Or is this perhaps another one of Ilham Aliev and his wife’s propaganda attempts to justify erasing what is left of Armenian culture and heritage? Either Udis did not build those churches and monasteries (president Aliev and his wife claim they did), or there was an act of genocide carried out against the Udis that wiped them out. President Aliev has been persistently trying to convince everyone that at some point in time, there were no Armenians in the Nagorno_Karabakh. He further argues that no Armenians should be allowed to live in Azerbaijan. Well, that type of thinking sounds somewhat similar to that of Nazis and sounds genocidal in nature. With that way of thinking, Adolf Hitler committed mass killings of anyone he perceived as impure. He said he was making Germany “purely Arian.” What he did, was to lead Germany to its demise and its people to pay the price for his own ambition of racial purity nonsense.

President Aliev doesn’t seem to be grasping that the overwhelming majority of Nagorno_karabakh’s residents do not wish to live under Azerbaijan’s rule simply because too often attempts of ethnic cleansing have been made against its ethnic Armenian population in the past. It is of no surprise that ethnic Armenians do not wish to live under Aliev’s rule. Although it has been Armenians who have been attending those churches as their places of worship, Ilham Aliev wants to make Armenian Churches “Albanian Christians.'” What he doesn’t realize is, that he may face difficulty finding enough Udi Christians to fill those churches. I am not even sure if that is what Udi Christians themselves want. 

Hagia Sophia

One might argue that Hagia Sophia too should be handed over to its original Greek owners to turn back into a church.

Central nave, two of the semidomes and three of the archs where the main dome rests on – Hagia Sophia” by Jorge Lascar is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Doing things Aliev’s way, maybe Istanbul should be renamed Constantinople and be handed over back to the Greeks. Because at some point in time, Istanbul was inhabited by Greeks. With President Aliev and his wife’s way of doing things, half of Turkey should be handed over to the Greeks. In my view, this is all nonsense. We are all humans regardless of race and ethnicity, and humans have always been moving around. I think Aliev and his wife should cut the nonsense and try to get along with Armenians.

Further readings

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