A piano concert in honour of the victims of the pogroms in Sumgait, Azerbaijan (in February 1988), was organized by the Armenians of Norway. The event took place in KampenChurch in Oslo, on Friday, February 22. The event started with opening remarks, a speech by Mr. Sjur Capellen Papazian and greetings and remarks from the counselor at the Armenian Embassy in Denmark and Norway Ms. Lilit Sargsyan.
Mr. Papazian talked about Azerbaijan’s politics today and links between the state-sponsored pogroms against Armenians in Sumgait in 1988 and the state-sponsored hate propaganda and dehumanization by the corrupt dictatorial regime and president Aliyev personally. It was noted that because of absence of solid international reaction and punishment, these acts translated into official foreign and internal policy in Azerbaijan to this day.
Hatred within the society in Azerbaijan has reached such levels that even famed Azerbaijanis such as author Akram Aylisli (holder of many prestigious national and soviet titles in literature and arts), are being persecuted by the regime, due to friendly stance towards Armenians. In his novel, Stone Dreams, Alyisli provides a sympathetic view of Armenians, and describes the barbaric acts in Sumgait that targeted fellow countrymen of Armenian ethnicity.
The importance of international recognition and condemnation of crimes against humanity committed against Armenians in Azerbaijan, as well as those in Ottoman Turkey in 1915 was reiterated. In both countries the Armenian population was wiped out by deportations and massacres, without proper legal consequences for perpetrators. It was noted that only solid reaction by the international community may contribute to restoration of justice and creation of mechanisms to prevent massacres, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity in the future.