A few readers have expressed some anger at the recent article “Biden’s Armenia Policy Escalates LA Race War.”
Some expressed concerns that the article denied the circumstances of partial ethnic cleansing of Armenians from Anatolian Turkey in the early 20th century, referred to as Genocide. We use the term “partial” as a technicality because a community of Armenians remains in Anatolia and Istanbul to the present. You may enjoy learning more about their culture. Consider reading the history of the Church of Van, the Akdamar Church of the Holy Cross.
American Pigeon acknowledges the travesty of these events. We also, through this article, aim to recognize the resonation of these events within the Caucasus region. Wars and division were the direct results of the rhetoric that followed the events of the Armenian massacres of the 20th century and their politicization by actors within the Soviet Union and within Western political lobbies extending into the present.
To categorically define its purpose, we published this article to educate the American public on the issues between the Caucasus originating demographics of Los Angeles, California.
Its purpose is not to denigrate any involved party; instead, this article aims to show the result of identity and race politics and the severe impact they have had on two communities that have been repeatedly marginalized throughout history.
The ongoing race war broke down neighboring relations and plunged Armenia into political chaos for the better part of 30 years. The ensuing bloodshed led to such tragedies as the Sumgait pogrom, where ethnic Armenians were killed in Azerbaijan, and the Khojaly massacre of 1992 in which the Armenian forces killed hundreds of Azerbaijani civilians in the village of Khojaly and left their remains to the elements.
On both sides, harsh elements of war crime activity have been fueled by propaganda. This led to building a war trophy museum in Baku, Azerbaijan displaying the helmets of fallen Armenians. Still, it also led to the disinterment of the graves of ancestors in Azerbaijan. The bones of Azerbaijanis dating back hundreds of years were left scattered atop the rocks.
Churches were reported destroyed, and mosques were used as pig pens. Another generation was drenched in hate, bathed in blood, even whilst the older Armenians and Azerbaijanis of Karabakh recall, with fondness and sadness, a time in the late 70s when they all lived in peace, as neighbors, attending the same schools, having meals and community events together. The elders’ sorrow resonates in the viciousness of the 30-year war.
American Pigeon in no way denies the circumstances referred to as the “Armenian Genocide.”
Let us be clear, American Pigeon acknowledges all sides in this conflict; we recognize the mass murder and ethnic cleansing of around one million Armenians and the mass ethnic killings and displacement during the Ottoman-Tsarist conflict of World War I. Those displaced and slaughtered in this period included Azerbaijanis, Meskhetian Turks, and Mountain Jews. A better terminology for this era of genocide is the “Caucasus Massacres” or the Caucasus Genocides to explain that multiple Caucasus native ethnicities and regional minorities were targeted in these events. The Armenian Genocide is one component of these events. Acknowledgment of their community is encouraged, but with the appropriate approach regarding the sensitivity of the whole issue.
With the proper terminology, the approach can be amended so that specific dates and public acknowledgment of each racial group’s tragedies are presented accurately and justly. This deliberate stance is an American policy and one that previous administrations have echoed. And one that Armenia and Azerbaijan have called for together. Refer to this opinion piece from Newsweek by Armenian professor Arman Grigoryan and Azerbaijani journalist Emin Milli, which expressly addresses this desire.
By showing both sides of the disputed history and explaining why the events are not cut and dry as they appear politically, we aim to use the craft of journalism to mediate peace in whatever way it can. We are telling this from the American lens and engagement with these events, which has been neutral for the sake of third-party diplomacy before President Biden’s rhetoric tipped that scale to a partisan leaning. Balancing both sides of the historic query into these events is crucial to influencing an ongoing peace process in the recent conflict.
Our decision to cover from this angle, and the facts therein, which few sources in the West seem to find meaningful, are not affected by feelings. It is the responsibility of the journalist to inform, and this sometimes tends to offend.
This is a delicate discussion, one where many lives have been altered forever. No one angle can repair that rift in society, but a resolve to present the truth precisely as it can aids the purpose of the conversation.
Therefore, we are careful in terminology, as they denote ideological origins (See Post Statement below).
To stress the importance of this fact, the Karabakh War was fueled by the rhetoric of the Western world. The shadow banning of the press has enabled criminal gangs and corrupt politicians to commit grave war crimes in this conflict. For example, the tragedies of the 90s were repeated in the bombing of Barda and Ganja, Azerbaijan, but because of Western press bias, these events are little known to the American audience. The children who lay dead among the broken missile pieces and collapsed apartments in these cities speak to the complex tragedy of this conflict. Their voices must not be silenced by Western identity politics’ fear of breaching contract with the politically correct.
We defer to our writers who have personally lived and experienced the consequences of this conflict’s race politics, as well as the subject matter experts with whom they consult.
Any claim from an American on this contentious issue that believes they bring a fresh and illuminating perspective, we encourage to submit an inquiry here. Our leading Staff Writer on International Relations, and I would love to discuss and collaborate.
American Pigeon reports what no one else will, no matter how inconvenient; but, though we are a conservative publication, we don’t adhere to ideology.
Thinking dies where ideology begins.
The ASALA movement began with very similar origins to Black Lives Matter and ended with bombings in French train stations.
It was an acrostic for the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia. They were a home-born terror group, the socio-equivalent of white nationalists, who sought revenge for the Armenian massacres.
One of their leaders was Monte Melkonian, a California-born Armenian nationalist. He was convicted of terrorism in the late 1980s around the Gorbachev socialist policies that kicked off Karabakh War I.
You’d be surprised to know that Armenians and Azerbaijanis lived in peace under Soviet control, a common oppressor, they said.
In 1992, Melkonian ordered the incursion in Khojaly, Azerbaijan, which is sometimes called a “genocide” by Azerbaijan in political retaliation against Armenia for using that term. It was the massacre of 600+ civilians in the hills of Khojaly who were trying to escape through a so-called humanitarian corridor into Azerbaijan-controlled territories.
This group, ASALA, is defunct at the moment. However, the ASALA movement is still alive in teaching in the Armenian National Committee of America, or ANCA, which drives most of the press that pushed for the leftist adoption of legally calling the Armenian ethnic cleansing a genocide, exclusively.
With the perpetuation of racial conflict by inflicting genocide to present-day Azerbaijanis, American racial politics led to this Azerbaijanian massacre.
Azerbaijanis want the American Left to understand that the genocidal massacres need equal recognition and that a third party must initiate peace talks. Up until now, this mediative position was America’s official policy.
Arzu Jaeed, quoted in the article, actually addressed this when she was a guest of the Khojaly massacre honoring roundtable.
We’ll note that genocide is not the correct term for Khojaly either. It’s become a burden of “whose genocide will be recognized?”
And the answer is that both should be.
This conflict is a severe problem that is hurting both sides, and the only way for the fragile peace in the region and here in America to hold is for both sides to recognize that they need to change their approach to each other.
Race politics end with blood. We will not be a part of that problem.
Jacob Yusufov, Editor-in-Chief
Rachel Brooks, Staff Writer for International Relations
Luke Lattanzi, Staff Writer for News & Commentary
Yaakov Strasberg, Staff Writer for News & Commentary