Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 18 / Trend E. Ostapenko /
On January 17, Azerbaijani American Council (AAC) in association with Houston Baku Sister Cities Association (HBSCA) and Azerbaijan-American Cultural Alliance (AACA) held a commemoration event on occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Black January at Turkic Cultural Center of Houston, Texas.
The day Jan. 20, 1990 was a heroic page in the history of Azerbaijan's struggle for freedom and territorial integrity.
Yusif Babanli, a member of AAC Board of Directors spoke about the significance of Black January in national rebirth of Azerbaijan Republic as well as in dissolution of Soviet Union, Azerbaijani American Council said.
The Soviet Army commenced military operations against Azerbaijan early morning Jan. 20, 1990 before declaring a state of emergency. The tragedy claimed the lives of 131 people, including 117 Azerbaijanis, 6 Russians, three Jews and three Tatars. Some 744 people were severely injured. Four went missing and 400 were arrested. Twenty-one people were killed after a state of emergency was declared on Jan. 20. Twenty-six people were killed in the Neftchala and Lankaran regions.
Roots of the Karabakh conflict which triggered these events leading to bloody massacre of Azerbaijani civilians in the streets of Baku and mishandling of the conflict by Moscow were discussed in detail during the presentation.
Event participants revisited the Black January night by viewing the pictures and videos depicting the brutality of Soviet troops. An Azerbaijani produced movie "Ovsunchu" depicting the story of Bolshevik occupation in early 20th century was displayed for viewers. Azerbaijani American community of Houston commemorated the victims of Black January by a minute of silence.