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Monday, 13 March 2006
Armenian headstones destroyed in Azerbaijan

Truly this World Wide Web is a marvellous thing.  Yesterday I knew nothing of this.  I have posted here and elsewhere before about Armenia, every so often in my life I have stumbled across something or someone Armenian, in circumstances to make me stop and think.  I was looking up Dr Charles Tannock, a British member of the European Parliament for completely different reasons. He sounded like he had potential so I decided to look further into his website and found this speech he gave in plenary last month.


Mr President

The alleged demolition in December 2005 of the mediaeval Julfa – also known historically as Jugha – Armenian burial grounds, with the breaking-up of the khachkars, or beautifully engraved headstones, is a serious desecration of European Christian heritage.

The Azerbaijani Government claimed the video footage documenting this is fraudulent Armenian propaganda. But I have received independent verification that the footage is genuine from a British architect, Steven Sim, an expert in the region. Furthermore, if there has been no destruction, why are on-site visits refused by the Azerbaijanis, who also, rather bizarrely, state that this could have been done by looters needing the stone for local building work?.........

…………..I have also been informed by the Azerbaijani Embassy that this destruction is nothing compared to the destruction of Azerbaijani mosques. I was indeed sent photos of destroyed mosques. That mosques in the war zone were destroyed in 1991 is undeniable and to be condemned without reservation, but the photos I was sent I believe represent destruction that took place 15 years ago, not 3 months ago. Furthermore, the Julfa site in Nakhichevan was never part of the war zone. Also, it is worth pointing out that I have been informed that the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have recently agreed to a project for the reconstruction of mosques destroyed on their territory………….. 

I therefore believe that any further planned destruction of Armenian heritage will not be conducive to lasting peace in the region.


A little more investigation shows that Dr Tannock is not the only one concerned. A few days after his speech there was a candle lit vigil outside the UNESCO building in Ottawa, and a similar protest in Paris.  Even the House of Lords has sent written notice of concern to UNESCO.


     A typical Khachkar, although not from Azerbaijan.


The Armenian people have suffered more than we realise.


And Dr Tannock’s other speeches are worth a read. He has some things to say about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. 

Posted on 03/13/2006 12:21 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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