The following email was sent to Radio Free Europe publicizing a message to our website from an Azerbaijani “humanitarian consultant” and founder of Azerbaijan National Cultural Association of Hungary.
December 6, 2009
An otherwise predictable propaganda piece penned by a group of Azerbaijani activists commendably concludes “for both Armenians and Azerbaijanis to refrain from any hostile, derogatory, or inflammatory rhetoric.”
One of the coauthors of the latter opinion, regrettably, ignores his own advice in a message to an online project documenting Azerbaijan’s December 2005 demolition of the ancient Djulfa cemetery – on the Iranian border – in Nakhichevan. Dr. Vugar Seidov’s unsolicited email to our website on December 2, 2009 reads, in full:
“This is complete bullshit. If there is no Armenian in Julfa, why should there be a cemetery? Bye-bye, cemetery! You, idiots, should have taken your fucking khachkars with you when you left Julfa. Your fault. Keep crying, you Armenian nomads from Phrygie [sic].”
Dr. Seidov’s unhealthy reference to the thousands of sacred Armenian khatchkars, intricately carved tombstones reduced to dust in December 2005 and later replaced with a military rifle range, speaks for itself. His characterization of Armenians as “idiots” and “nomads” is disturbing too, to say the least.
Dr. Seidov’s barely concealed hatred is inconsistent with his self-promoted image as a consultant “on humanitarian, legal and international issues.” Bigots like him should have no platform at Radio Free Europe.
Founder and Project Manager
Djulfa Virtual Memorial and Museum – http://www.djulfa.com
The Djulfa Virtual Memorial and Museum documents the deliberate destruction of indigenous Armenian cultural monuments in Nakhichevan, Republic of Azerbaijan.
Idrak Abbasov, an Azeri journalist who confirmed the December 2005 destruction of the Djulfa cemetery in an Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) article in April 2006, has been harassed by the Azeri authorities in Nakhichevan and instructed to never visit the region.
Photo: Idrak Abbasov (via Radio Free Europe)
In the words of another Azeri journalist with IWPR:
An Azeri journalist said state security agents last week used the pretext of giving him an interview to detain, insult and abuse him.
Idrak Abbasov, a correspondent from the Zerkalo newspaper and an employee of the Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety, IRFS, had traveled to the Nakhichevan region, which is separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by Armenian territory.
“Just as soon as I sat at the table, my hands were forced round and tied, they even closed my eyes. They took my phone, my camera and my documents. They took me to a room I didn’t know and started to ask about the reasons for my trip in a rude way, with insults and threats. I tried to explain that I had come to report. They told me that no journalist can come to Nakhichevan without the agreement of the local authorities.”
He said one officer asked him about connections with local journalists, then accused him of being a spy for Armenia. After two hours of interrogation, the MTN officers told him to get off the territory of Nakhichevan and never come back. He said the stress had made him feel ill, and he had been taken to hospital.
The European Court for Human Rights will reportedly hear a case on Azerbaijan’s December 2005 deliberate destruction of the medieval Armenian cemetery.
Russian-language Armenia Today was told about the development by Samvel Karapetyan, who heads a non-profit organization that studies Armenian architecture.
According to Karapetyan, the National Council of Western Armenians is suing the Republic of Azerbaijan’s for demolishing Djulfa, the world’s largest surviving medieval Armenian cemetery.
As of November 30, 2008, nonetheless, the website for the European Court for Human Rights makes no mention of the case.
QUEBEC–The issue of the desecration of Armenian graves and monuments in Julfa was introduced during the conference of International Council on Monuments and Sites earlier this month by the head of the Armenian delegation Gagik Gurjian and as a result a resolution of was adopted urging the Azeri government to ease restriction for international monitoring groups from UNESCO and ICOMOS to conduct fact-finding missions.
“We presented the desecration of Armenian monuments in Julfa at the largest forum of professionals for the preservation of historic and heritage sites, which adopted a resolution,” said Gurjian.
“As a signatory to international treaties on cultural and environmental protection, Azerbaijan must be sensitized to the desecration of monuments in Julfa and must be notified of the concerns by international heritage and monument protection experts,” added the resolution.
ICOMOS is an association of professionals throughout the world that currently bring together over 7500 members
ICOMOS works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places. It is the only global non-government organization of this kind, which is dedicated to promoting the application of theory, methodology, and scientific techniques to the conservation of the architectural and archaeological heritage. Its work is based on the principles enshrined in the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (the Venice Charter).
ICOMOS is a network of experts that benefits from the interdisciplinary exchange of its members, among which are architects, historians, archaeologists, art historians, geographers, anthropologists, engineers and town planners.
The members of ICOMOS contribute to improving the preservation of heritage, the standards and the techniques for each type of cultural heritage property : buildings, historic cities, cultural landscapes and archaeological sites.
When, in February 2006, the European Parliament officially condemned Azerbaijan’s December 2005 deliberate destruction of the world’s largest Armenian medieval cemetery – Djulfa – the Azeri authorities denied European delegations’ visit to the site.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) delegation was already in Armenia – just miles away from Djulfa. But Azerbaijan didn’t allow them to visit the cemetery stating that the delegation must first visit Nagorno-Karabakh, the de facto Armenian republic that was placed under Azerbaijan by Stalin in the 1920s.
The European delegation then decided to visit Nagorno-Karabakh. In fact, they planned to visit all the South Caucasus Republics – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia to asses the situation of minority monuments.
Azerbaijan, which still claims Djulfa was never destroyed because it didn’t exist in the first place, then said that it would only agree to the visit IF the delegation visited Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan (which is impossible since Nagorno-Karabakh is in a technical war with Azerbaijan and the only real way to visit Nagorno-Karabakh is from Armenia).
In an apparent desperation in the face of Azerbaijan’s continuous tricks to keep the delegation out of Djulfa, Edward O’Hara – head of the PACE Committee on Culture, Science and Education – has suggested to drop the idea of visiting all countries at the same time and instead start off by visiting Azerbaijan first.
According to Azerbaijan’s Trend News agency, O’Hara said on June 21, 2008 that he wants to visit Baku – Azerbaijan’s capital city – and Nakhichevan, the area where Djulfa was destroyed, as part of his first visit. Azerbaijan’s reaction is, as always, most predictable. According to Trend, an Azeri official, says that “We can agree to [visiting Azerbaijan first], but only if the rapporteur [O’Hara] visits Nagorno-Karabakh and its nearby regions occupied by Armenia beginning from Azerbaijan. We want him to see the Azerbaijani monuments destroyed by Armenians in the occupied territories.”
The Azeri official, in his own words, “informed the rapporteur that Nakhchivan does not have any ancient Armenian moment.”
And that is exactly why O’Hara wants to visit Nakhichevan – a region where thousands of indigenous Armenian monuments were surveyed just two decades ago – and find out why there aren’t any ancient Armenian monuments.
Justice for Julfa, a group created by Aleks Gabrielyan on Facebook, fights for condemnation of the December 2005 deliberate destruction of the world’s largest medieval Armenian cemetery by the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In the words of the group:
What is Julfa? Julfa is the site of an ancient Medieval Armenian City in what is now part of Azerbaijan’s Nakichevan Autonomous Region. The ruins contained a large cemetary of Khachkars, which are large stone grave markers that are beautifully carved and can be up to 8 feet tall.
Unfortunately, the Azeri government in efforts to erase Armenian influence in the region, began destroying the cemetary. Out of 10,000 khachkars, none stand anymore. They were smashed by Azeri soldiers, and the rubble was dumped into the nearby river. This group is is to demand justice for the destruction of such an important cultural site by the Azeribaijan government.
MassisArt.com / Cartoon by Massis Araradian 2007
Originally published in Asbarez
MassisArt.com / Cartoon by Massis Araradian 2006
Originally published in Asbarez
The documentation of Djulfa’s destruction submitted to UNESCO in 2006 can now be purchased from the publishers of the report – the Switzerland-Armenia Parliamentary Group.
The book includes information and many color photographs about the history and the destruction of Djulfa. It can be purchased from email@example.com in the ammount of 26 Euro + shipping (8-10 euros).
In an interview with a Sacred Heart University professor, The Armenian Reporter’s February 2, 2008 (on Reporter’s Washington editor Emil Sanamyan’s blog) issue has published COPRIM’s, a Canadian company, response to Azerbaijan’s angry reaction to COPRIM’s sponsorship of a November 2007 Harvard panel on the destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage in the region of Nakhichevan, a remote region of the South Caucasus republic of Azerbaijan:
The undated letter signed by the Azerbaijani chargé d’affairesin Canada, Farid Shafiyev, told COPRIM “to withdraw support to this exhibition” alleging that it was an initiative of the “Armenian communities abroad [that] exhibit [a] radical and chauvinistic stance” and seek to create “the so-called Greater Armenia.” The communication also included pages of the Azerbaijani government’s anti-Armenian propaganda.
In response, a COPRIM attorney sent a letter to the Azerbaijani Embassy in Canada on November 18, stating that “the sponsorship and mounting of the Exhibition constitutes a legal act both in Canada and in the United States of America” and “constitutes an expression of one of the fundamental freedoms this country offers its citizens.”
The CORPIM attorney further noted that the Azerbaijani diplomatic mission’s “presence and activity in
Canada is limited to diplomatic representation between the Government of Canada and your Government, and between your Government and its citizens or nationals. You have no right, privilege or businessi. Writing directly to a Canadiancitizen who has not solicited anyassistance or information fromyou;ii. Advising a Canadian citizenon the exercise of his political andlegal rights;iii. Attempting to influence bypersuasion or threat, a Canadiancitizen engaged in lawful activity;iv. Interfering with a Canadiancitizen’s exercise of rights inCanada or in the United States ofAmerica;v. Invading the privacy of a Canadiancitizen by investigating theownership of COPRIM Inc., a Canadiancorporation.”The attorney further notified the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the U.S. Department of State, and Harvard Universityof the Azerbaijani demarche and demanded “an immediate written retraction of your letter with an unconditional apology for having sent it, the whole within five (5) days.