Protest over Armenian Conflicts Continue

Protest+over+Armenian+Conflicts+Continue

Levon Ghanimian

 

October 27, 2020

Protests are still being held globally by Armenians as today marks one month since the war against Artsakh began. Russia, France, Belgium, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States continue to witness massive demonstrations as Armenians call for international involvement in the war. To summarize, the war began after Azerbaijan’s continued attempts to push Armenians out of an area known as Artsakh (or Nagorno-Karabakh). This area has been inhabited by Armenians for thousands of years, but was given to Azerbaijan by Joseph Stalin in the 1920s. Artsakh wants to break away from Azerbaijan and create their own country as the population is more than 95% Armenian and they essentially govern themselves. The Republic of Armenia is in full support of Artsakh and is aiding them in fighting for their independence. 

 

Why Armenia is Calling for the Involvement of International Law

Within this month three different ceasefires have been brokered, primarily by Russia, between Armenia and Azerbaijan. For each ceasefire, within the first hour, Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire and continued shelling major civilian areas such as Stepanakert and Martuni. Furthermore, the Azerbaijani military has been committing several internationally recognized war crimes. First and foremost involves the use of cluster munitions which have been internationally condemned due to their ability to cause civilian casualties, even if the target was militarily involved. This is because cluster munitions, or cluster bombs, release many smaller bombs which then rain upon the target. They were designed for destruction rather than accuracy. The second war crime Azerbaijan has committed is dressing up their soldiers, both fallen and active combatants, in Armenian military uniforms. This was most notably outlawed in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. Lastly Azerbaijan was caught torturing and executing prisoners of war, which has been outlawed in the Geneva Conventions. The conventions that establish these international laws are treaties that have been written following large scale wars.Azerbaijan has released public statements from their ministry of defense denying all of these accusations despite several media outlets and Amnesty International verifying the occurrence of these crimes. Armenia has been calling for international monitoring of the war in order to hold those involved accountable. 

Status of the War

The most devastating impacts of this war are the military and civilian casualties. Both the Armenian/Artsakh and Azerbaijani sides have suffered many losses. Armenia has lost over 1,000 military personnel, most of which are 18 to 21 years old. Azerbaijan has not disclosed its military casualties. More and more Armenian diasporans (those who live in large communities outside of Armenia) are flying to Armenia to volunteer on the frontline. In fact, the Prime Minister of Armenia’s wife, Anna Hakobyan has just enlisted to serve as well. On the international level, both sides continue to receive military aid from different countries. Azerbaijan receives its aid from Russia, the United States, Turkey, Israel, and Pakistan. While Armenia and Artsakh have been receiving aid from Russia, Iran, and most recently India. International fighting has also become more intense. Just yesterday, Russia shot down Turkish drones over Armenian airspace. Thus, the concern for a large international conflict is only getting more serious. Meanwhile,  an Israeli drone, shot down by the Armenians landed in Iranian borders, injuring a civilian. 

 

Help from the Diaspora

Aside from volunteering and donating, Armenians in the diaspora have taken new steps to help their motherland. Companies that are being revealed to be economically tied to Azerbaijan and Turkey are now facing boycotts from the global Armenian community. Many of these companies produce food and some of their largest consumers are Armenian. One product that we might all be familiar with at NVMI is Nutella. Nutella buys most of its hazelnuts from Turkey. However, a name we all know that Armenians have begun boycotting is McDonald’s. The Azerbaijani branch of McDonald’s has been posting pro-war statuses and images on their social media. Armenians are hoping that they are vocal enough to persuade McDonald’s to take the propaganda down. 

 

What You Can Do to Help

At NVMI, we always strive to do the right thing. Even though you live in a completely different country, and may not have any connections to Armenia, helping others in their time of need is important. Here are a few ways you can help Armenia and Artsakh during their fight for survival. There are a lot of Armenians that live in Los Angeles and you may have some Armenian friends. Take some time to check in on them and see how they are doing. Knowing that others care for us in this time of global silence is what is keeping us going. You can also have conversations with people who are not aware of what is going on. By letting others know about what is occurring in Armenia and Artsakh, you are playing a huge role in helping the Armenian community. If you would like to know more information about the conflict or just Armenian culture, politics, and history, reach out to Mr. Ghanimian.