TRIBUNE – Leading French filmmakers, writers, thinkers, actors, musicians, philosophers, journalists and singers are mobilizing for the Armenians, chased “like dogs” from Nagorno-Karabakh by the Azeris.
More than a century after the commission of the genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman rulers of 1915, the same people are again victims of two authoritarian regimes which, in Baku as in Ankara, exalt inter-ethnic hatred to endow their undivided power with a new bloody trophy. The fate of the Armenians has just been brutally damaged in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region they call Artsakh. Humble and proud people have lived there for more than two millennia, irreducibly attached to their harsh and magnificent land. They wanted to continue their existence where their ancestors had built their homes, schools and admirable monasteries, in the heart of impregnable mountains and hard plowed plains. Without any human consideration, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey and Ilham Aliev’s Azerbaijan have strived to destroy this legitimate aspiration. For the Armenians, Karabakh represents above all a people; with its ancestral culture, its music, its dances and its desire to join the march of the world by opening up. For the authorities in Baku and Ankara, it is above all a territory; on which the flag of Azerbaijan must fly at all costs, be it by receiving the support of Turkish special forces, by sending volleys of kamikaze drones to crush civilian targets or by resorting to jihadist mercenaries paid to kill. There is now evidence that Azerbaijan used cluster munitions prohibited by international law. The fight was totally unequal. The Armenians did not want this war, but they were forced to fight for their survival. For the Azeri regime, it is only a matter of nationalist pride. The leader of Azerbaijan was clear in his intentions when he said in the early days of the conflict: “We are hunting them like dogs. He repeated this same sentence after the exodus of civilian populations he provoked in Artsakh, declaring himself proud to have kept this horrible promise. In the twenty-first century, such a detestation of human beings, such exaltation of hatred, arouses the deepest indignation and is absolutely no longer necessary.