What took place in Khojaly was both a tragedy and a massacre of innocent men, women, and children American professor on air at Azeri.Today
The second part of Azeri.Today's interview with Dr. Steven Leonard Jacobs, DHL, DD Professor of Religious Studies & Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies, The University of Alabama.
- What do you know about the Khojaly genocide? What facts do you know about this genocide? In your opinion, why was it necessary to murder innocent people?
- I continue to learn about many other examples of genocides, including the tragedy and massacre that occurred in Khojlay. In addition, as the editor of the papers of Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959)—author of our word “genocide”—I continue to lecture, write, and publish about these issues. There is never a valid excuse or legitimate reason to murder innocent men, women, and children, especially children. Such actions must be condemned not only by governments, but by militaries, religious institutions and all people of good will.
- Beginning from 2002, refugees from Khojaly annually send appeals to the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE on the Khojaly genocide. On February 26, 2007, the Azerbaijani parliament unanimously adopted a message to international organizations, parliaments and governments of the world with an appeal to recognize the Khojaly tragedy as an act of genocide against the Azerbaijani people. Pakistan and Guatemala recognized the Khojaly tragedy as genocide. In your opinion, how can the Khojaly genocide be recognized at the world level?
- About what took place in Khojaly, there is no question in my own mind that it was both a tragedy and a massacre of innocent men, women, and children. The United Nations definition of genocide, the result of the ratification of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (of which Lemkin was intimately and actively involved) is the only legal instrument that exists internationally to bring to trial and punish those guilty of such crimes. Scholars such as myself need to benefit from the legal expertise of those in international law to show us how what took place was genocide and not ethnic cleansing or some such related term, and how the path forward for the Azerbaijani government and the United Nations can proceed.
- Is peaceful coexistence of the Armenian and the Azerbaijani peoples possible in the Karabakh conflict?
- One must have faith—not religious faith (though it helps) but faith in humanity itself—that good people who desire non-violent solutions to their problems can come together to solve them even if their solutions are not of equal benefit to all parties in dispute either in the immediate or long-term future. Equally, they must operate without hidden agendas and/or expectations. Violence only breeds violence, and non-violent solutions are never realizable in the context of such battles. Only when warring groups are finished their destructions and acknowledge such, can they come together or be brought together to sit at the table and address face-to-face how such problems can be solved. It is not that one should be optimistic about these results; it is that one must be optimistic or else continuous failure becomes the norm.
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