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Armenian occupiers “deliberately destroy and desecrate everything sacred and human”

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Arye Gut, executive director of the Baku International Center for Multiculturalism in Israel and the Azerbaijan House in Israel. (Photo: azertag.az)

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According to the American historian Eric Cline, the Romans made the Holy Land “desolate” when they ethnically cleansed the Jewish community from Ancient Israel, after they destroyed, plundered and looted the Second Jewish Temple, a historic event that will forever be memorialized in the Arch of Titus in Italy. 

As the Roman historian Dio Classius claimed, “Fifty important outposts and 985 famous villages were burned to the ground during the Roman suppression of the Second Jewish Revolt. Moreover, five hundred and eighty thousand Judean men were slain in the various raids and battles, and the number of those that perished by famine, disease and fire was past finding out.”

In the late 1800’s, Mark Twain wrote in Innocents Abroad after visiting the Holy Land that the land was still desolate despite the passage of time, as the Zionist Movement had not yet risen to rebuild what the Ancient Romans had destroyed. “There is no dew here nor flowers nor birds nor trees. There is a plain and an unshaded lake and beyond them, some barren mountains.  We traversed some miles of desolate country whose soil is rich enough but given over wholly to weeds—a silent, mournful expanse, where we saw only three people.”  

In 2021, Arye Gut, who heads the ISP International Society Projects, an NGO at YR Group at the Israeli chapter of the Baku Multiculturalism Center, visited the Nagorno-Karabakh region together with a journalist from Israel Hayom, Shmuel Din Elmas. Gut believed that what he witnessed there was similar to what the Romans did to the Ancient Israelites.

“Last week, I visited Azerbaijan and witnessed the destruction that was implemented by Armenia over the past three decades in cities such as Agdam, Fizuli, Jabrail, and Zangelan. We drove 1,350 km of this territory. This is practically the territory of Israel from the border of Lebanon to Eilat. My journalist friend Shmuel Din Elmas and I have traveled to fast territories, but I would say Agdam, Fizuli, Jabrail and Zangelan are all ghost towns that were destroyed under the Armenian occupation. The scale of the destruction is terrifying and striking in its cruelty.”

“I visited these territories for the first time in my life,” Gut added, noting that Azerbaijanis were barred from visiting the Nagorno-Karabakh region, even though the international community recognized that these lands are part of Azerbaijan. Between 1992 and 1993, Armenia occupied these territories with the assistance of Yeltzin’s Russia in violation of four UN Security Council Resolutions, and Azerbaijan recently regained these lands last fall during the Second Karabakh War.

Gut was in shock by the moral and human damage caused as a citizen of Israel and as a native of Azerbaijan. “I felt as if a terrible and brutal plague had come to these lands. Not a single house, kindergarten, school, library, or museum remained. Cemeteries, mosques and churches lay in ruins. Armenian looting and vandalism wiped Agdam, Fizuli, Jabrail and Zangelan off the map. 

As he described, “What used to be streets and houses were now only doorways, columns, and scattered window frames. All of the ruins were overgrown with trees. The ruins looked ancient, like the remains of some long-gone empire. Agdam in particular was living evidence of how a population with almost 130,000 people was transformed into a heap of unnecessary stones.”  

For Gut, Mark Twain’s descriptions of how the Land of Israel was made desolate and barren following the Roman persecutions has an uncanny resemblance to what he saw in Nagorno-Karabakh: “I visited what was once the Bread Museum, which was built on the old premises of what used to be an old mill dating back to the 1800’s. In the past, this mill was a protected historic landmark. Agdam, like Karabakh in general, has always been an agrarian land due to its unique soils and climate. Therefore, it is no coincidence and no wonder that the first Bread Museum in the Soviet Union was created in Azerbaijan. However, after three decades of Armenian occupation, it lay in ruins.”

During the trip, Gut said he ruminated on the inhumanity behind the destruction.

“I often asked myself how anyone who loves life could do such a thing.   How they could deliberately destroy and desecrate everything sacred and human, whether they be museums, libraries, mosques, churches or even cemeteries.”  

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Like the Jordanian occupiers of Jerusalem, Gut stressed that the Armenian forces that occupied Nagorno-Karabakh did not even respect the dead.   

“I saw the mausoleum of Panah Ali Khan, the founder and first ruler of the Karabakh Khanate,” Gut noted. “It was turned into a barn, where they kept cows and pigs in it, and after abundant libations, they fired from it with all kinds of weapons. They destroyed, dug and stole the grave of the famous Azerbaijani poet Khurshudbanu Natavan.  What remained looked very scary.  Moreover, such a sight was everywhere.”

Gut emphasized “These vandals with particular cruelty destroyed the cultural objects in the liberated territories that make up the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan. For 27 years, they purposely destroyed all traces of the Azerbaijani cultural heritage in Agdam and other occupied regions.” This included important items related to the history and culture of the Azerbaijani people that were “systematically plundered and destroyed, including works of art, cultural works, world-famous carpets, memorials honoring prominent figures in Azerbaijan and other items that were on display in museums.”

In enumerating the damage, Gut recounted, “In these territories, the Armenians looted and burned 12 museums and 6 art galleries, as well as 9 palaces of historical significance; 40,000 exhibits of rare historical significance were plundered; 44 temples and 18 mosques were desecrated; 927 libraries were destroyed. Over 4,600,000 (four million six hundred thousand) copies of books and rare handwritten manuscripts were eradicated. For this Armenian vandalism, looting, and ecological terrorism that culminated in a cultural genocide, which led to more than one million Azerbaijanis getting expelled from their homes, Armenia must be punished. Their war crimes must not go unaccounted for.” 

In conclusion, Gut stressed that the destruction in the Nagorno-Karabakh region was so systematic that Azerbaijan should construct an Arch of Sargsyan and Pashinyan, which will forever serve as an artistic symbol reminding the world of the crimes that were perpetrated in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, just as the world will never forget what the Romans did to the Jewish people due to the creation of the Arch of Titus, which stands in the center of Rome today.   

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 at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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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.

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