Expert opinion: How to achieve recognition of Azerbaijani genocide (VIDEO)
Baku, Azerbaijan, March 31
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
It is important that the US and other states gradually recognize the fact of genocide that was committed against Azerbaijani people, Tamerlan Vahabov, an expert in political science and international relations, told Trend on "This week in focus" program episode, devoted to Genocide of Azerbaijanis.
"Recognizing the genocide will not bring lives back but it is important for us, important for today's generation to understand what happened then," he said.
Vahabov believes this plays an important role in bridging the gaps between today's academia's policy making and what was done before.
"Unfortunately, for the past 100 years, acts of genocide against humanity didn't stop," he said, adding that Azerbaijan can achieve the recognition of genocide by memorizing it and writing it down in documents, recognized by other countries.
The genocide was committed on March 31, 1918, when hundreds of towns and villages of Azerbaijan were destroyed, as well as 150 Azerbaijani villages in Karabakh were turned into ruins, an unprecedented bloodshed in Shusha was committed. More than 700,000 Azerbaijanis, including 30,000 people in Baku and in surrounding villages were brutally murdered, mosques and schools were burned down.
Foreign Ministry and diaspora
Vahabov said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan on the multilateral level has done tremendous work by doing workshops, awareness-raising campaigns, working both on the multilateral level and also door-to-door diplomacy with the UN member countries, OSCE and other organizations.
"It's important in coordinating all the efforts of the diaspora in those countries," he said.
With regards to how diaspora can help with the task of bringing the genocide issue to the governments of other countries, Vahabov said the diaspora is an important tool that needs to be utilized utilized for the recognition of genocide.
"Diaspora members are usually residents, citizens of countries where they live, despite their ethnic background," Vahabov said. "So their citizenship allows them a direct and easy access to policy makers, especially in the US and Western Europe."
He said there are clear channels of communication between citizens and policy makers and government members, which is a very important asset and the diaspora can build up various tools on this platform, such as awareness-raising campaigns, general campaigns, outdoor campaigns, door-to-door lobbying.
Success in bringing the genocide issue up
"Azerbaijan is a relatively new country, and 24 years of independence for history is a blink of an eye, but despite this, Azerbaijan has been quite successful in bringing the genocide issue up, making it more known and spread the word about it," Vahabov said.
He said it requires tremendous work, both from the foreign policy agencies of any country and diaspora of coordination and unification of efforts and time.
"It's a gradual process, but it is moving," he said. "On the positive side, it is moving, it is getting gradually recognized by the US states, and hopefully will be by other countries as well, when we see this foundation laid more solid than we see today."
Importance of history
Vahabov said it is very important to trace back the origins of the genocide to be able to compare all the general issues available on the genocide. He said it is important in terms of bridging gaps between the current events and what has been done before.
"Genocide is a direct threat to national security of any country," he said. "On a country's territory or its adjacent areas if people are being killed on a mass level, it is a security threat," he said.
Vahabov said that raising awareness for the genocide and getting more information available to the public is important.
"It brings the issue up for academia and policy makers, especially in the West, if we're talking about the US and European countries," he said. "There's a very strong connection between academia and policy making."
"This feeds as a solid foundation for policy making in the future to design and architect their policies for the genocide and I hope this will be a very important milestone for being preventive and proactive not only to stop but also to trace the root causes for the genocide and to prevent it at its embryonic stage," he said.
Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter:@AygunBadalova