Après 30 ans de présence arménienne, il ne reste plus rien d'Aghdam. Photo © Maya Baghirova

After 30 years of Armenian presence, there is nothing left of Aghdam. Photo © Maya Baghirova

Who doesn’t have an Armenian friend? Who does not have, in his personal Olympus, an Armenian artist? With over a million members, the Armenian diaspora is large, powerful, influential. It weighs, especially in certain regions, on the fate of the ballot boxes.

But in the name of friendship or political calculations, do we have to disguise reality? And when journalists, whose ethics require, not necessarily impartiality, but at least honesty, that is to say that they should refrain from contributing to the distraction of the public, which relay lies, it takes on the appearance of forfeiture.

Unlike almost all of the nations that respect international law, France, yet co-president of the conflict arbitration group of Minsk, is one of the only countries to support the secession of Nagorno-Karabakh and to be the spokesperson, against all odds, of the Armenian vision of the situation. Columnists, in front of fanciful maps, debates from which Azerbaijanis are excluded, mechanically reproduce « His Master’s Voice. »
No historian specializing in the Caucasus, no Azerbaijani speaker is invited to the television sets where only Armenian representatives are admitted. Naive figures, who have never set foot in the region, are persuaded to sign absurd petitions. How, under these conditions, can the French readers or viewers form an enlightened opinion?

When those tasked with enlightening the public disguise the truth, freedom is at risk

Invited, at his own request, to the battlefield, the reporter for a major Parisian weekly magazine denounced in his article the presence of « jihadist mercenaries » on the Karabakh front.
« Were you free to go where you wanted? Have you seen any mercenaries on the ground? »Then ask the Azeri authorities.
« Yes, my freedom has been total » replied the journalist, « No I did not see any mercenaries, but I only reproduced what other journalists said, and my article would not have been published if I said the opposite « 
Albert Londres must be turning over in his grave …

It is true that, on this Armenian-Azeri conflict, the task of the journalist is not easy. Liseron Boudoul, TF1 special correspondent in Nagorno Karabakh wanted to testify exactly to what she had seen on the ground. Her report was taken off the air under pressure from Armenian groups. She herself has been threatened with death on social media.

So of course, this unconditional support for the Armenian forces is probably not unrelated to the climate of Islamophobia that currently reigns in our country. Sometimes presented as a « new crusade », the conflict is likened to a kind of religious war. Muslim Azerbaijan and, shamefully, friend of the Turks, against the Armenian Christians.

However, it is not. Azerbaijan, unlike mono-ethnic and religious Armenia, is a secular and multi-cultural country where all religions are free, and even supported by the state.
No, Nagorno Karabakh was not traditionally populated by Armenians. The Armenians came to the region late. No, this province is not Armenian. By virtue of all UN decisions, it is an integral part of Azerbaijani territory. No, the Azerbaijanis did not send the Armenians out of their homes. 300,000 Azeris living in Armenia were expelled from their homeland before Armenia demanded independence for Karabakh. No, the Azeri forces did not start the conflict. At the start of the war, Armenian forces fired rockets from Armenia to civilian villages situated more than 40 km from the front line. The aggressors are not necessarily the ones we are referred to.

Caucasus is a key region, both strategically and economically. It is time for everyone to live in peace, and it is not the blasters of our hushed Parisian salons who will contribute to it. Let Azerbaijan and Armenia build their future together.

However, we wanted to see the situation on the spot and share with our readers another vision of what Azerbaijan is. You will find, in this newspaper, a long series of articles and reports on Azerbaijan as it is : one of the cradles of our civilization, with innumerable cultural riches and which, despite the position of our officials, remained extremely Francophile.
May these testimonies help reason win over deadly ideology.

Jean-Michel Brun

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