Energetic fight within the 2020 Azerbaijani conflict in opposition to Nagorno-Karabakh (generally known as Artsakh to Armenians) could have not too long ago ended, however Azeri aggression in opposition to the wealthy and irreplaceable cultural heritage of its indigenous Armenian folks has solely simply begun.
For 20 years, I’ve studied the medieval Armenian structure of Jap Turkey (traditionally a part of Armenia), together with Ani, which was as soon as an Armenian royal capital. Each Azerbaijan and Turkey have steady, well-documented insurance policies of destroying the Armenian cultural heritage discovered of their territories. Between 1997 and 2006, as a decade-long investigation revealed final yr, Azerbaijan intentionally wiped Nakhichevan clear of its Armenian tradition, destroying greater than 89 medieval church buildings, 5,840 khachkars (carved cross-stones), and 22,000 historic tombstones. The video of Azerbaijan’s December 2005 destruction of Djulfa, which as soon as was the world’s largest medieval Armenian cemetery and at its top housed 10,000 cross-stones, haunts Armenians to this present day.
Now a crucial second in Armenian historical past confronts us. Historical nationwide treasures in Artsakh are vulnerable to full erasure. Like its Turkish ally, Azerbaijan has eradicated hallmarks of native Armenian tradition, destroying any monuments which may undermine the false narrative of historic and completely Azerbaijani presence within the area.
Whereas Russia may have introduced the conflict to a sudden finish, the intentions of Azerbaijan and Turkey have been clear since they started it on Sept. 27. Steady shelling with cluster bombs and different artillery laid waste to properties, hospitals and faculties. The aggression additionally focused heritage websites, with the aim of demoralizing the Armenian folks throughout battles within the brief time period and erasing their bodily and cultural existence within the lengthy.