Letters to the Editor

Marking Azerbaijani genocide

March 31 is known as the Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis, referring to the tragic events that happened on March 31-April 1, 1918, as well as other tragic events in the 19th and 20th centuries that have brought enormous suffering to the Azerbaijani people. It is estimated that well over 500,000 Azerbaijanis have perished as a result of the Azerbaijani genocide.

After the proclamation of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic on May 28, 1918, the “March Events” were investigated by the ADR government. In 1919-1920, the ADR observed March 31 as a national day of mourning. This was the first-ever genuine attempt to give political and legal assessment of the policy of genocide against Azeris. No other nation has commemorated genocide as early as 1919 but the Azerbaijanis. Despite this, the Azerbaijani genocide is not as well known in the world, particularly in the U.S.

Azerbaijani people were unable to commemorate the Azerbaijani genocide during the Soviet years (much like Ukrainians were not able to observe Holodomor, and the Circassians were not able to observe Circassian genocide).

The governor of Nevada has issued a proclamation in 2009 and 2010 recognizing March 31 as the day of remembrance of the victims of the genocide. Texas state Rep. John Zerwas did the same in 2011, commemorating March 31 with a resolution. Several countries around the world have also recognized the Azerbaijani genocide on the legislative level.

The Azerbaijani-American community and the U.S. Azeris Network are annually commemorating the Azerbaijani genocide.

Fikret Mukhtarov, State College

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