By Rachel Avraham
The American psychologist Judith Lewis Herman once stated, “The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social contract are too terrible to utter aloud. This is the meaning of the word unspeakable. Atrocities, however, refuse to be buried. Equally as powerful as the desire to deny atrocities is the conviction that denial does not work. Folk wisdom is filled with ghosts who refuse to rest in their graves until their stories are told. Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.”
As the famous Holocaust scholar Elie Wiesel once stated, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented.” For this reason, as a Jewish Israeli, I believe that it is of critical importance to speak out against the wanton targeting of civilian infrastructure and the malice killing of civilians in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region.
After all, imagine that one day you woke up and a rocket was fired upon your city, which killed either one of your parents, siblings, or children. Imagine that you are a farmer who just wanted to herd your cattle and then suddenly, your leg is blown off by a landmine. Imagine what it must be like to watch someone you care about get blown up next to you. Unfortunately, both during the Second Karabakh War and afterwards, the Azerbaijani people have been living such a reality. Their reality is not too different from the people of Sderot. For this reason, the Azerbaijani people need our support as Israelis at this critical time.
According to reports in the Azerbaijani media, the “YASHAT” Foundation has collected over AZN 31 million ($18.2M) to support the families of the fallen Azerbaijani soldiers and Azerbaijanis who were wounded in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. A few months ago at the invitation of YASHAT Foundation, ophthalmologists from Israel had visited Azerbaijan for the treatment of servicemen with ocular injuries during the Second Karabakh war. During the Second Karabakh War, over 3,000 people were killed and many more were maimed.
Since the war has been over, another 100 Azerbaijani civilians have been killed by landmines that were left by the Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. One of every three of these victims was a child. In the coming days, on the joint initiative of the Fund for Support to Azerbaijani Diaspora and the “YASHAT” Foundation the former will be hosting a marathon together with the Azerbaijani diaspora in order to show their solidarity and support for the families of the slain and wounded Azerbaijani soldiers. Azerbaijanis across the world are closely involved in the activities of the Fund for Support to Azerbaijani Diaspora as well as “YASHAT” Foundation. Prominent members of Azerbaijani diaspora -Jahangir Novruzov, People’s Artist of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Professor of the Adana Chukurova University State Conservatory living in Turkey, and Messoud Ashina, a well-known European neurologist living in Denmark, are also members of the Board of Trustees of the “YASHAT” Foundation.
In an exclusive interview, Ayoob Kara, who served as Israel’s Communication, Satellite and Cyber Minister, proclaimed: “Fund for Support to Azerbaijani Diaspora and the “YASHAT” Foundation are very important organizations for the future of Nagorno-Karabakh and all of the area. They support the civilians and soldiers in Azerbaijan. From my side, I send them all of the support from Jerusalem, from Israel to the Fund for Support to Azerbaijani Diaspora and the “YASHAT” Foundation. It is important for the entire world that there will be peace in Azerbaijan and that the landmine maps will be handed over.”