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Jewish Journal Delegation of Karabakh Survivors Embraced in Los Angeles

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The US-based Jewish Journal has published an article by Durdana Aghayeva, a witness who survived during the Khojaly genocide thanks to the miracle, AzerTag reports.

Headlined “Delegation of Karabakh Survivors Embraced in Los Angeles”, the article reads: “This past week has been a whirlwind of experience and emotion. On November 10, I traveled from Baku to Los Angeles for one week, as part of a delegation of survivors and refugees from the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, which has been under Armenia’s military occupation since 1992-93. Our delegation included Tural Ganjaliyev from the town of Shusha, Gulmammad Mammadov from the district of Lachin, and Jeyhun Alakbarov, a Khojaly Genocide survivor like myself. Each of us survived the invasion of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, and have endured the occupation and ethnic cleansing of around 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory, which has been condemned by the international community.

I was a 20-year-old young woman in 1992 when my hometown of Khojaly was invaded, and the “largest massacre in the conflict”, as the Human Rights Watch would later call it, was committed against Azerbaijani residents of Khojaly. So many were shot while fleeing their homes, or by the waiting snipers in the nearby field. I was captured, tortured and humiliated for many never-ending days, only later to be traded for gasoline and cigarettes by Armenian soldiers, and have lived as a refugee since then.

After the invasion of his home district of Lachin, Gulmammad lived in a refugee tent camp for 10 years. He did not have any school in his camp. But he did not give up. He studied from the school books provided by UNICEF and got admitted to Azerbaijan’s top university, later winning prestigious scholarships to continue his education in Italy and then at Syracuse University in the U.S. that he graduated from with a Ph.D. in Biological Physics. Today he is a professor at ADA University. Gulmammad stands as an example of what a person can overcome and achieve, despite the most painful obstacles.

Tural became a refugee at the age of 12 when he and 40,000 other Azerbaijani residents of his hometown of Shusha were expelled. Last year, Tural was elected Chairman of the Azerbaijani Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, representing the hope and sorrow of over 80,000 Azerbaijani refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh, as we continue waiting for justice and peace.

This was not my first visit to Los Angeles, and although I have only visited once before, the warmth and welcome I have experienced each time have made the city feel like a second home to me. During our visit, we visited key leaders from American Jewish Committee, the Los Angeles Interfaith Council, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pakistani and Turkish communities, and the Islamic Society of Orange County, and met with Rabbi David Wolpe, a great friend of Azerbaijan, and other leaders of Sinai Temple. We also met with Liebe Geft, Director of the Museum of Tolerance, who led us on a special tour, and with Michelle Gold, Chair of the Board of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, who also led our tour. We were honored to visit the home of Holocaust survivor and Israeli Defense Forces hero Joshua Kaufman, who survived several Nazi concentration camps and fought in two of the most pivotal wars in Israel. These meetings with scholars and survivors of the Holocaust are no coincidence – we have developed a strong bond with those who honor and remember the Shoah, and have learned immense lessons about survival, remembrance, and the power of “Never Again” from these amazing individuals and communities. We have also experienced tremendous compassion, solidarity and kindness from those who know the meaning of our suffering – we are from different times and countries, and obviously vastly different tragedies, yet we understand the commonality of experiencing human brutality, and we share the same unstoppable vision and hope for peace.

Perhaps the most meaningful component of our visit was a special program hosted at the Nessah Synagogue, one of the largest synagogues in the U.S. and one of the most beautiful Jewish temples I have ever seen. Our program included videos explaining the ongoing occupation and destruction, and each of us had the chance to share our testimony of survival. We saw pictures of Tural’s home and schools he attended, before and after as they lay in rubble, and we shared our commitment, and the promise of our nation, to find a peaceful solution and an end to the occupation, and a day when we can all return to our homes. At the start of the program, the national anthems of the United States, Israel, and Azerbaijan were all sung, to a growing crowd of 400 attendees in the stunning main sanctuary of Nessah. The Consul General of Azerbaijan, Nasimi Aghayev, offered remarks on the future of peace and progress, and powerfully recognized a special guest in the audience, Joshua Kaufman, the survivor we had met with earlier that day. Following the presentations, we all shared a festive Kosher meal, accompanied by live Azerbaijani music, and the room was overwhelmed with the energy of togetherness and happiness.

At a certain point during the height of our festive meal, Joshua Kaufman asked the band to switch to Jewish music, to which they happily obliged. Moments later, I found myself dancing arm in arm with Joshua, to Hava Nagila and Am Yisrael Chai.

I was immeasurably inspired, by the support, compassion, and promise for the future I had experienced so far. I was inspired by the solidarity we share with the Jewish community of Los Angeles, who have treated our delegation with the love and kindness unique to this amazing community, a community I feel very much a part of. I was inspired by what we are all capable of, what we have survived, of our bravery and our good hearts. Now that I am back home in Baku, I can still feel the energy of this week, and how it has fueled me to continue my work, as a survivor and as a spokesperson for peace.”

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28 years pass since Khojaly Genocide committed by Armenian military

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During the Karabakh war, the Armenian military committed an act of genocide against the population of Azerbaijan’s Khojaly town consisting of 7,000 people on Feb. 26, 1992, Trend reports.

As many as 613 people, including 63 children, 106 women, and 70 old people were killed as a result of the massacre. A total of 1,000 civilians became disabled in the onslaught. Eight families were completely annihilated, 130 children lost one parent, while 25 lost both parents. Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people still remains unknown.

All these acts were committed by the Armenian military with extreme mercilessness and inconceivable barbarism. The second battalion of 366th regiment under the command of Major Seyran Ohanian, the third battalion under the command of Yevgeniy Nabokhin, staff chief of the first battalion Valeriy Chitchyan and more than 50 officers and ensigns took part in the attack, according to "The Investigation Materials Concerning Khojaly Occupation".

The town residents who attempted to flee were killed by Armenians in pre-organized ambushes. According to the Russian Remedial Center Memorial, 200 corpses were brought from Khojaly to Aghdam within four days of the massacre. Facts of humiliation on dozens of bodies were registered. Forensic examination in Aghdam was performed on 181 corpses, including 13 children. The examination revealed that 151 people died from bullet wounds, 20 people died from shrapnel wounds, 10 were killed with blunt instruments. Facts of scalping people alive were also revealed.

The Khojaly genocide has become one of the most terrible and tragic pages of Azerbaijani history.

Azerbaijani people have faced ethnic cleansing and genocide by Armenian nationalists and chauvinists for 200 years. Azerbaijanis were deported from their historical lands and became refugees and internally displaced persons, and all this was accompanied by massacres committed by Armenians.

The Nagorno-Karabakh events, which began in 1988 along with continuous efforts to implement the Armenian desire of building “an Armenia from sea to sea”, led to the destruction of towns and villages, the murder of thousands of innocent people, as well as the exile of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from their historical lands.

Armenia's government is trying to annex Nagorno-Karabakh despite international legal norms, demonstrating its readiness to resort to any kind of crime and atrocity. The Khojaly genocide – a tragedy of the 20th century – was a result of this aggressive and criminal policy. This tragedy of the late 20th century was one of the most serious crimes not only against the people of Azerbaijan but humanity as a whole.

Armenians scalped people alive, beheaded them and cut other parts of their bodies, gouged children’s eyes and disemboweled pregnant women. It should also be noted that chemical weapons were used in Khojaly during the attack.

All these prove that Armenia committed genocide against civilians, violating the Geneva Convention's protocols.

The Khojaly genocide, committed with a particular atrocity, terrified journalists and publicists from Russia, Georgia, the UK, France, Germany, the US, and other countries.

International conventions and laws in all countries condemn genocides like the Khojaly tragedy and call them inadmissible.

The world must know that this crime was directed not only against the Azerbaijani people but also against the whole civilized world.

This crime shouldn’t go unpunished. Armenia's military-political aggression must be condemned by the world community. International organizations and parliaments of world countries must give political and legal assessment to the Khojaly genocide committed by Armenia in Azerbaijan’s territories.

The parliaments of several countries have made decisions recognizing the Khojaly genocide.

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South Korean media highlights Khojaly genocide

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The leading South Korean newspapers and web portals, including The Korea Post, The Seoul Times, The Korea Times have published articles commemorating the 28th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide committed by the Armenian armed forces against the peaceful Azerbaijanis, AzerTag reports.

The Korea Post published the article headlined “Genocide committed against Azerbaijanis amidst Armenia’s aggressive war against Azerbaijan”.

The article says: “The Khojaly genocide is the gravest crime of genocide committed against peaceful Azerbaijani people in the course of Armenia’s aggressive war against Azerbaijan. The town of Khojaly is located in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. The strategic importance of Khojaly is related to its location at the crossroads of the main highways of the region, as well as, the only airport in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is also located here. In the second half of February 1992, Khojaly was under total siege by Armenian military units and any attempts by local civilians to break the siege were prevented.

On the night of 25-26 February 1992, in violation of all international legal norms, Armenian armed forces attacked the civilian population of the sieged town of Khojaly with heavy military equipment, killing them with unprecedented brutality and razing the town to the ground. As a result of a crime against not only the people of Azerbaijan but against humanity, 613 civilians, including 63 children, 106 women, and 70 elders were brutally murdered on grounds of national identity.

Khojaly villagers were beheaded, had their eyes gouged out, skinned, and burned alive. Those trying to flee were killed with particular brutality by Armenian troops who ambushed them on roads and forests.

The Khojaly genocide was organized by the political and state leadership of the Republic of Armenia and was carried out by Armenian armed forces, Armenian terrorist groups in Nagorno-Karabakh and the former USSR army deployed in Khankandi.

Unlike the Nazis who tried to hide their crimes, the perpetrators of the Khojaly genocide justified and boasted of their barbarous criminal acts against civilian Azerbaijanis. Former president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan’s words who was directly involved in the massacre says it all: “Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that stereotype.”

Those days, foreign news outlets such as “Sunday Times”, “Financial Times”, “Times”, “Izvestiya”, “Le Monde”, “Crual L'Eveneman” were publishing articles on horror scenes witnessed in Khojaly. One of them, “Times” newspaper was writing on March 4, 1992: … “Many people were mutilated, and it remained only the head of one little girl”.

Since 1994, the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan has declared February 26 as the Day of the Khojaly Genocide. Every year at 5 p.m. on February 26 people of Azerbaijan honors the memory of Khojaly victims in a minute of silence.

The nature and gravity of the crimes committed in the town of Khojaly fully suit the definition of the word genocide as indicated in the Convention “On Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” adopted on December 9, 1948, under Resolution 260 (III) of the UN General Assembly. The premeditated massacre on this territory was committed with intent to annihilate residents solely on grounds that they were Azerbaijanis.

Khojaly does not differ from other horrifying tragedies of Katyn, Lidice, Oradour-sur-Glane, Holocaust, Songmy, Rwanda and Srebrenica, which remain in history as deep and shameful scars.

Meanwhile, “Justice for Khojaly” International Awareness Campaign carried out in many countries and cities plays an important role in the recognition of the Khojaly tragedy as an act of genocide in the world.

In addition to several international organizations, the Parliaments of Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Pakistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, the Czech Republic, Sudan, Jordan, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Slovenia, Djibouti, and Paraguay already recognized the massacre in Khojaly according to the international legal norms.

Moreover, legislative bodies of 22 States of the USA, including Massachusetts, Texas, New-Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Mississippi, West Virginia, Indiana, Utah, Nebraska, Hawaii, Montana, Arizona, Idaho and Nevada have adopted relevant Resolutions.

On the eve of the 28th anniversary of the Khojaly Genocide, we once again urge all the states and international organizations to recognize this act of genocide in the name of justice, to consolidate and increase efforts for the punishment of its perpetrators.”

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First case of coronavirus reported in Switzerland

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The new coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, was first registered in central China in late December and has since spread to some 30 countries, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a global health emergency, Sputnik International reports.

According to local media outlets, citing the Federal Office of Public Health, Switzerland has confirmed its first case of the Wuhan coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.

The health department promised to provide further details later in the day.

Earlier on Tuesday, Croatia and Austria confirmed the first cases of coronavirus.

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