Originally posted in The Armenian Mirror Spectator
When international lawyer Karnig Kerkonian was invited to speak at St. John the Baptist Armenian Church, hope remained that Artsakh could survive. But by the time he spoke at the Milwaukee, Wis. church on Sunday, October 15, Artsakh had fallen to Azerbaijan. The Western media, and Western governments, largely averted their eyes from the carnage.
A graduate of Harvard and the University of Chicago, Kerkonian is an authority on international law and its application in U.S. courts. He warned his audience that what he was about to say “will be difficult to hear, difficult to digest and even difficult to believe.” The events of the past months constitute a “second Armenian Genocide.” He holds the U.S. and the European Union as well as Russia, the Armenian Republic and the Diaspora responsible for the tragedy.
In Yerevan, Armenians eagerly anticipated a Snoop Dogg concert while their brothers and sisters in Artsakh were being slaughtered and driven from their homes.
“Armenian women were marketed for rape on social media,” Kerkonian said. People were beheaded and quartered. Children were massacred by the forces of a brutal dictatorship, determined to erase Artsakh’s history as well as its people, he said.
The immediate cause of this tragedy is the racist dogma of Azerbaijan, whose oppressive regime has deemed Armenians subhuman and unworthy of life. For years, Azerbaijan’s president has called Armenians “dogs, cancer, tumors, rats.” Kerkonian asked, “And nobody saw this coming?”
Oil may have been the deciding factor explaining the indifference of the U.S. and E.U. According to Kerkonian, Russia has “laundered” oil, much needed by Western economies, through Azerbaijan to sidestep sanctions. Western leaders allowed Azeri occupation of Artsakh under the fiction that the region’s Armenians would enjoy “protection” and the “rights” of citizenship in Azerbaijan, a solution comparable to handing Jews to Nazi Germany.
The Turkish-Azerbaijani lobby has also been at work, hiring “scholars” to write historical fabrications about Artsakh. “How you tell your story matters, sometimes more than the story itself,” Kerkonian said. He added that in the Republic and the Diaspora, Armenians have squandered too much energy on divisive, partisan arguments or the pursuit of personal happiness when the existence of Armenia hangs in jeopardy. Kerkonian believes that the Armenian Republic is the Azeris next target. “The appalling consequences of what happened in Artsakh are yet to play out,” he said. “It’s just getting started. Indifference is learned. Apathy kills. Who have we become?”