Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb.11 / Trend /
Interview with the Director of U.S. Azeris Network on the East Coast of America (USAN), entrepreneur Jayhun Mollazadeh:
-At the initiative of U.S. Azeris Network (USAN) on the official web site of the White House there was posted a petition for recognition of Khojaly genocide and launched a campaign to collect signatures in the campaign, "We - the people." Was it not hard to get posting on the official Web site of the White House in an ambitious campaign and draw attention of the U.S. administration to this campaign?
- The policy of the Obama administration is to give Americans the opportunity to put forward their views on the issues of concern to them. Recognizing electronic signature (after registration on the official website for the White House), the U.S. government is studying public opinion on this issue, but people use the petition to alert the U.S. president to a particular issue. Such a campaign to collect signatures can be used not only to attract the attention of the U.S. President to the events taking place in America, but also to events anywhere in the world, which caused a great resonance. This is a peculiar form of virtual communication between government and people, giving people the opportunity to express their attitude to the historical events that occurred in the past. As a rule, the U.S. President states his position and gives an official explanation in case the petition collected more than a hundred thousand signatures. America Azeris Network (USAN) and the entire world Azerbaijanis have used so far various methods of propaganda in connection with the Khojaly tragedy. However, we first turn to the form of a petition to bring to the heads of the Americans and world public expression a fair position towards the massacres committed by Armenians in Khojaly in 1992.
- How many signatures have been collected and are they enough to be submitted to the U.S. administration?
- Unfortunately, the collection of signatures is slow. Despite the ongoing debate on the petitions on social networks and new media, to date there have been collected just over 50,000 signatures. Moreover, the Azerbaijani lands are still under occupation. Regional powers hostile to Azerbaijan today continue to escalate tensions. With all this, the petition for Khojaly has become a kind of solidarity campaign. Now is the time not for words, but for action. We are thankful to all compatriots who have already put their signatures. But this is not enough. In the coming days we will collect the 100000th signature.
- In social networks, there are rumors that the campaign to collect signatures for Khojaly is only open to U.S. citizens. Is this true?
- It is an absolutely groundless opinion. To put your signature, everyone specifying his email address must open an account in his name. Once he has opened an account, he can participate in all the petitions placed in the future on the official web page of the White House. The petition for Khojaly under the motto "We - the people" is our common campaign, and I encourage all to be active.
- The Americans are a society that does not show much interest in what is happening in other parts of the world and set up on their own problems. But at the same time, the Americans cannot remain indifferent to a human tragedy. Can you tell us, as a person living in America, what ordinary Americans know about the Khojaly tragedy?
- Unfortunately, ordinary Americans are not well informed about the Khojaly tragedy. The Caucasus and the post-Soviet space are still seen as Russia by ordinary Americans. Only in the last few years, the American press has increased interest in energy resources of Azerbaijan,in the Georgian-Russian war, and in general in the region. Certainly, as a result of the work in America, we have a lot to inform the common people, and show the sources. Some Americans that knew Armenians as victims of an earthquake and the massacres of the past centuries are horrified by the fictitious image of Armenia, when dating online with reality. Thank God that such historians as Audrey Alstadt and Justin McCarthy print books in America about the realities of the period. Today, some Americans through the Internet have individual research and study events occurring in Karabakh. Yes, the Americans are a society that is configured on the internal domestic problems. But, despite this, in America today there is a certain range of active foreign policy interests, and many of those Americans who work in the field of diplomacy, intelligence, and military, are informed about the Khojaly tragedy.
- What can you say about the authority of the current Azerbaijani Diaspora in America, when you compare it with the ability to influence events in the Diaspora 10 years ago?
- I have been in America from 1992 to the year. I have been engaged in various activities of the Diaspora, and now I continue this activity. Twenty years ago, the first time getting acquainted with the political circles of America, I saw firsthand that most of them had the impression about Azerbaijan as an aggressor state. One of the Congressmen, whom I met at the time, was genuinely happy, when I showed him the map of Azerbaijan and spoke about the Armenian-occupied territories. He was glad that he discovered the truth to protect the position of Azerbaijan. The situation was like this really at that time. But now, after twenty years of work by U.S. diplomatic and intelligence circles they are sufficiently informed and have the right idea about the realities of Azerbaijan and what forces are behind the occupant policy of Armenia. Professionals, who study the Caspian region at U.S. universities and research centers, now know the real truth. The only problem is that the Armenian Diaspora in the United States raises funds for the campaign of individual Senators and Congressmen, and has the power to influence it. In America, there are some politicians, who still rely on the votes of Armenian Americans. Changing their opinion is very difficult, and sometimes impossible. But many of the politicians, who think about the national and strategic interests of America, are based on the concept of national security. At the time, we often talked about how we were in the information blockade. In fact, the question was not an information blockade - just the other party led a very effective and consistent performance. But they do not casually say that lies have short legs. I think that, if twenty years ago, the propaganda machine of the Armenian lobby worked one hundred percent of its power, today it does not have the same force. The Azeri lobby has to learn the rules of working with information. Not accidentally, the Senate of New Mexico has recently recognized the massacre of Azerbaijanis in Khojaly. Before that, Texas and Massachusetts had also adopted a resolution recognizing the Khojaly genocide. We also meet with the pro-Armenian politicians and Senators elected in electoral districts, where the Armenians are the majority, in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Michigan, and upbraid them for their unjust anti-Azerbaijani position. Today in America, there are forces and ethnic groups that are interested in spoiling the relations between Azerbaijan and the U.S. They are forming a negative opinion about Azerbaijan. For many years the Society of America-Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani Embassy in the U.S. have insistently resisted hostile activities against Azerbaijan, and led the struggle against this. I must admit that the Azerbaijani Diaspora in the U.S. is small. But we have allies. They are the American Turks and Jewish organizations.
- Azerbaijan has already expressed its official position that it will shoot down planes over its occupied territories in the case of start-up of the airport built by Armenians in Khojaly. Do you think the tension around the Khojaly airport can again exacerbate the regional conflict?
- Armenia and its supporting forces are trying by all means to reverse the economic recovery and the overall development of Azerbaijan. The welfare, economic development and relations of Azerbaijan with the countries of the world do not give rest to the hostile forces. The provocation with the airport comes from the same group. It is impossible that Armenia, with the support of both Moscow and Tehran, would strongly violate international norms in the region, and the West would not react to it. People, who at the time carried out ethnic cleansing in Azerbaijan, are now sitting in the government of Armenia. It is time for the civilized world to express its clear and hard view, of particular relevance to this issue. Armenia expects the same attitude, which the West showed to ethnic cleansing carried out in Serbia at the time. Armenia must be caused to recognize that it must vacate the territory of Azerbaijan and can not violate the airspace of Azerbaijan. These messages must be very strict. And the root of the policy should be changed, which is now similar to the reconciliation of two children that got into a fight. International law is violated, a large area is occupied and destroyed, and the world is still talking, well, what happened, happened, let us make peace. For such a policy there is no future. It is this policy that for more than twenty years of experience has been working in favor of Armenia. Armenia has to feel international pressure. In case of violation of the airspace of Azerbaijan it has the right to a severe reaction. Today, we must ensure that all the Azerbaijani community in the world is together and conducts propaganda and diplomatic work to expose the willful actions of Armenia.
- The Network of Azerbaijanis in America came from the virtual status and entered a new phase of expansion. What are the innovations?
- Indeed, this network was set up to create a virtual connection between our countrymen living in America, to let them exchange views, campaigns, and propaganda. The organizers of the Azeris Network of America, for the first time using the Internet technology, have created a special portal for virtual lobbying. And they began to organize public campaigns of exchange of letters and collecting signatures for propaganda in the United States related to the Azerbaijan events. And the Network drove statements on all the occupied areas of Azerbaijan through the portal to the White House, members of Congress, and Senators. In America, there are various lobbying organizations, communities and circles, each of which has an effective experience. But the only organization working by building an IT-based portal is the Azeris Network of America. The recent decision of the Board of the Organization opened the Network's headquarters in Washington. We have already appointed an executive director of the headquarters, a citizen of America, having a degree in international law. His job is to participate in public events related to the region, conferences and meetings, and promotional activities and arrange expansion of the relations with the press. We have an enough professional team of US-educated Azerbaijanis. Today, in the face of such young people like Adil Baghirov, Tarlan Akhmedov, Badir Mammadli, and Yusif Babanly a new generation of Azerbaijani Diaspora grows in America. Today, in addition to the American administration, they spread the truth about Azerbaijan in research centers, non-governmental organizations, universities, and the press, and expand ties with them than contributes to the strengthening of our Diaspora work.
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