Popular Articles

Anyone who cares about human freedom and dignity should never forget what the Soviet Union did during Black January

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

The bodies of Azerbaijan civilian protesters slain by Soviet troops in Baku, January 20, 1990 (Photo: RFE/RL)

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Last week, I attended a Save the West webinar in the United States, which was interrupted by Neo-Nazis, who waved swastikas at us accompanied by pornographic content.  They also called us “kikes” and threatened to harm us all. This comes at a time when the Anti-Defamation League reported increased Neo-Nazis and other antisemitic activity in the United States following the storming of the US Capitol Building.  

At times like this, I am incredibly grateful that I am not living in the United States of America and that there are nations like Azerbaijan, who pride themselves on their multiculturalism and denounce all forms of bigotry.    

In a recent article in the Jerusalem Post, the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Azerbaijan Shneor Segal wrote: “Here, I found tolerance; it shows what is possible for relations between the Abrahamic religions. It is heard from the top but is also clear on the street. The kippah is worn with pride. And the door to my synagogue remains open at all times, at a time when many across Europe are closed to the outside for fear of attack.” 

It is for this reason that I believe that Jewish people across the world should stand in solidarity with Azerbaijan this January 20, just as the Azerbaijani people have always supported us.

January 20, which is otherwise known as Black January, is a day of great historical significance for the Azerbaijani people. For them, it is a national day of mourning. 

Fariz Ismailzade, the executive vice-rector at Ada University, stated in an exclusive interview: “Regarding Black January, some historians refer to this day as the day when the Soviet Empire collapsed. Millions of ordinary Azerbaijanis went to the streets to protest against the Soviet regime, communism, demanding freedom and a just policy regarding Karabakh. Some people even demanded independence. Gorbachev was desperate to save the crippling empire. He sent the army to kill ordinary unarmed civilians. It was clear on that day that Azerbaijan can no longer stay with the Soviet Union, which kills its own citizens.”

Anar Valiyev, Dean at Ada University, concurred: “On January 20, 1990, the Soviet Army was deployed in Baku and the Soviet authorities dispersed the crowd that was standing in front of the main square. The Soviet Army used tanks, machine guns, soldiers to disperse the crowd and killed many. That is why it is called Black January.   It was the protest of the Azerbaijani people against Soviet imperialism. The Soviets tried to destroy this movement of national independence. That is why it led to the bloodshed in Baku.”

In total, more than 130 civilians were killed, 700 others were wounded, 841 people were illegally detained, and five others disappeared. The Soviets targeted not only peaceful demonstrators but also medical personnel and ambulances. 

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

According to Valiyev, “The majority of Azerbaijanis were protesting not only against the Soviet Union but also the intentions of the Soviet authorities to pass Karabakh away from Azerbaijani rule and to give it to Armenians.   That was also another reason for the bloodshed. Without January 20, there would not be any Azerbaijani independence.” He claimed that for Azerbaijanis, January 20 symbolizes their struggle for independence, which culminated with a formal declaration in October 1991.

The tragic events of January 20 did not start in a vacuum. 

In an interview Inews.az conducted with Aslan Ismailov, a well-known lawyer and the author of ‘Sumgayit—-the Beginning of the Collapse of the USSR,’ he stated hat what happened on January 20 is directly linked to what happened in Sumgayit, which he claimed was a pogrom organized by the central government:

“The goals of the top party leadership in the USSR coincided with the goals of the Armenians, as a result of which the Sumgayit events were organized, which became a prelude to the punitive action by the Soviet Army against the peaceful citizens of Azerbaijan in January 1990.” 

Map of the Invasion of Soviet Army in Baku, January 20, 1990, “Black January”, based on a work of Professor Chapay Sulatnov (http://sultanov.azeriland.com/impery/impery_1/images/ris_04.jpg)

Azerbaijan is perhaps the only country in the world that has zero antisemitism. It is one of the few nations that has successfully implemented multiculturalism and religious tolerance as official state policy. 

For this reason, at a time when Neo-Nazism and other forms of antisemitic bigotry are on the rise across the world, I wish to show my appreciation for one of the few countries that have historically treated the Jewish people with human decency, dignity, and respect by morning with them for all the horrific suffering that the Soviet authorities implemented against peaceful demonstrators in Baku on January 20, 1990. 

Anyone who cares about human freedom and dignity should never forget what the Soviet Union did during Black January, especially a nation who has suffered like the Jewish people. For as the famous Holocaust scholar Elie Wiesel once stated, “To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Previous
Next