According to the “Article History” tab for the Britannica Encylopedia Online entry on the region of Nakhichevan (now part of Azerbaijan), Britannica’s associate editor Laura Etheredge changed the name of the region from the international and Armenian term, Nakhichevan, to the official Azerbaijani toponym Naxçıvan on August 18, 2010.
Britannica hasn’t changed so far Nakhichevan to Naxçıvan on Britannica Kids.
Britannica has used the term “Nakhichevan” for at least a hundred years.
It is unfortunate that Britannica is aiding Azerbaijan’s campaign of erasing Nakhichevan’s Armenian roots by changing the indigenous name of the region.
We are a volunteer-powered project, and are proud to have the guidance of a great team of specialists and human rights activists, listed at http://www.djulfa.com/about/ and below:
- Dr. Lucy Der Manuelian: Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Professor of Armenian Art and Architectural History, Department of Art and Art History, Tufts University
- Steinar Gil: Norwegian diplomat and philologist; Ambassador to Azerbaijan at the time of Djulfa’s destruction
- Dr. Dickran Kouymjian: Haig & Isabel Berberian Professor of Armenian History and Art, Emeritus, Director of Armenian Studies Program, Emeritus, California State University, Fresno. Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Republic of Armenia
- Jora Manoucherian: President of Research on Armenian Architecture – USA
- Dr. Ian McIntosh: Director of International Partnerships and Projects at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Senior Editorial Advisor to Cultural Survival Quarterly, The World Report on the Rights, Voices and Visions of Indigenous Peoples
- Dr. Anahit Ter-Stepanian: Professor of History of Architecture, Russian Modernism, and Art and Revolution at Southern Connecticut State University; Professor of Art History at Sacred Heart University
Several newspapers mentioned us in their report on the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s satellite documentation of Djulfa’s destruction.
In particular, the California-based Asbarez Newspaper reported on December 8, 2010:
“Azerbaijan’s war against indigenous Armenian heritage in Nakhichevan cannot be justified in any way–including by the gridlock in the negotiations over the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that fought for independence in the early 1990s from Azerbaijan precisely so that a destruction similar to Djulfa’s would not take place there,” Simon Maghakyan, the founder and project Manager at the Djulfa Virtual Memorial and Museum (www.djulfa.com), said today in a widely circulated email to media and advocacy groups.
“The loss of Djulfa was a blow to not just Armenian culture, but also to all world heritage,” said Maghakyan.
Maghakyan criticized UNESCO, “the organization charged with protecting our common heritage,” for its “shameful silence” on Djulfa’s destruction and urged action to tell UNESCO that “its unequivocal protest is long overdue.”
Maghakyan provides a more detailed account of the five-year rampage against Djulfa in a special blog post on the Amnesty International’s “Human Rights Now” blog. The post, titled “Cultural Oppression in Azerbaijan can be read here.
UNESCO, the organization charged with protecting our global heritage, responded in February 2011 to our December 2010 petition asking it to hold Azerbaijan responsible for deliberately destroying the magnificent medieval Djulfa (Old Jugha) cemetery by officially discontinuing addition of monuments from Azerbaijan to the World Heritage List.
While the UNESCO letter says protection of Armenian heritage is of “constant concern” and acknowledges having received prior inquiries, it beats the same ineffective drum of calling on Azerbaijan to let UNESCO investigate the site of the cemetery – which is tantamount to inaction since Azerbaijan has consistently denied access to the cemetery and will continue to do so. That’s exactly why the American Association for the Advancement of Science used satellite techonology to investigate the destruction.
It is disappointing to see UNESCO unwilling to condemn the destruction of Djulfa, let alone hold Azerbaijan accountable for it. Very disappointing.
The UNESCO response is available at http://www.djulfa.com/unesco-response-to-2010-dvmm-petition/ and below:
Our founder Simon Maghakyan sent the following reply, available at http://araratmagazine.org/2011/03/silenced-sacred-stones/:
Your expression of “hope” to investigate the cemetery site is worth nothing, given the fact that you will never be allowed to visit Nakhichevan to investigate Djulfa’s (Old Jugha’s) destruction by the government of Azerbaijan which has used a number of excuses to deny access to the cemetery for many years and will continue hindering an investigation at any price.
That’s exactly why the American Association for the Advancement of Science used satellite technology to investigate the destruction, conclusively proving what video material and independent Azerbaijani journalist Idrak Abbasov (who has been abused by the authorities for his work) have already documented – that the Djulfa cemetery has disappeared from the face of the earth.
Instead of expressing false “hope” to be allowed to investigate the cemetery, you should condemn a priceless global heritage’s deliberate destruction documented beyond reasonable doubt.
It is very disappointing that UNESCO doesn’t have the will to condemn the destruction of the world’s largest medieval Armenian cemetery. The government of Azerbaijan has not only silenced thousands of sacred stones which were the proof and symbol of the Armenian heritage in Nakhichevan but has apparently effectively silenced UNESCO as well. I pray that you find the courage to reverse your inaction on this important violation of cultural rights.