On April 8, 2013 LA City Hall hosted an event featuring Anna AstvatsaturianTurcotte, lawyer and author of a book entitled, “Nowhere, A Story of Exile” based on her own diary entries as a young girl documenting the organized terror in Baku. Below is an article Anna wrote in which she reflects on the tragic events of her childhood and projects them on the current status of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

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Anna and her father Norik in Baku

Twenty five years ago the events that would later be named “The Sumgait Pogroms” took place in my home country, then Soviet Azerbaijan. These pogroms targeted the Armenian population of the town of Sumgait on 27 February of 1988. Violent rioting mobs of ethnic Azeris stormed the streets and broke into homes of ethnic Armenians of that peaceful city. They attacked and killed Armenians both on the streets and in their homes, while the police observed and let the events unfold and medical personnel refused to assist the victims. This was the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. The events were triggered by a movement of liberation in the ancestral Armenian land of Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1920s this historic Armenian region was handed over to Azerbaijan by Joseph Stalin to instill constant tension in the region. In the beginning of 1988 Nagorno-Karabakh demanded to be reinstated back to Armenia, asserting self-determination by a referendum in accordance with the Soviet Constitution.

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Anna and her brother hiding at home in December 1988 during the Kirovabad massacres

 

View all of Anna Astavatsaturian’s article on the Wall Street Journal

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