Women of the Azerbaijani town ofKhojaly and the Public Union “The Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh” have sent a letter to the host of the show on CNN, American chef Anthony Bourdain in connection with his illegal visit to Azerbaijan’s territories occupied by Armenia.
The letter gives detailed information about the brutal attack on the town of Khojaly during the active phase of the war in 1991-94, the Public Union told APA.
“In the early hours of February 26, 1992, following massive artillery bombardment of Khojaly, the assault was launched from various directions. As a result, the Armenian armed forces, with the help of the motorized infantry regiment No. 366 of the former Soviet Army still stationed in the area, seized Khojaly. Invaders destroyed Khojaly with special brutality and completely exterminated its civilian population. Atrocities by Armenian troops included scalping, beheading, bayoneting of pregnant women and mutilation of bodies. Even children were not spared,” reads the letter.
“As a result, 613 civilians were killed, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly. Another 1,000 people were wounded and 1,275 taken hostage. To this day, 150 people from Khojaly remain missing. The intentional slaughter of the civilians in Khojaly town was directed at their mass extermination based on racial discrimination.”
The letter also refers to Armenian President Sargsyan’s interview with British journalist Thomas de Waal.
“In a cynical admission of culpability, Armenia’s then-Defense Minister and current President, Serzh Sargsyan, was quoted by the British journalist Thomas de Waal, as saying, “[b]efore Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that ... the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype]” (Thomas de Waal, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War (New York and London, New York University Press, 2003), p. 172)),” says the letter.
The signatories expressed respect for Anthony Bourdain’s professionalism and his programs about international cuisine.
“In the times of peace, such culinary exchanges bring peoples together. But in the context of ongoing war and brutality, such a cultural program sends an unintended message of endorsing the ethnic cleansing and annexation by force to victims of war crimes, like ourselves, who have lost their loved ones and native homes. Please also understand that we are even deprived from the opportunity to visit graveyards of our parents and loved ones left in the occupied territories. For over 25 years, we live with the hope of returning to our native lands, rebuilding our homes and making traditional Azerbaijani shila pilaf for our children, like the dish you have been served in destroyed and depopulated Azerbaijani town of Shusha,” reads the letter.
The signatories stressed that endorsing and thus prolonging the occupation and this war, helps nobody other than those who profit from this tragedy.
“Instead, we need to help the two nations find ways to come to peace and promote the international peace-making efforts. We urge to take into account sensitive nature of the situation and the suffering so many of us have lived through. We also appeal to you to reconsider your decision to include the segment from the occupied and ethnically cleansed territories of Azerbaijan in your show,” the letter says.