By Nathan Eagle
Honolulu Civil Beat
Hawaii lawmakers are inserting themselves into a century-old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, neighboring nations nestled between the Black and Caspian seas at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe.
Reps. Rida Cabanilla and Mark Takai, who traveled to Azerbaijan together last year on an $8,000 trip that was paid for by the republic, have co-sponsored legislation that’s been set for a hearing Wednesday.
- House Resolution 13 recognizes the 22nd anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy which, according to the resolution, involved the slaughter of hundreds of innocent civilians in Azerbaijan in February 1992.
- House Resolution 9 calls on the United States to strengthen its efforts to facilitate a political settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.
The first resolution describes the tragedy like this: On Feb. 25 and 26, 1992, “Armenian armed forces accompanied by Russian military troops occupied the town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan and killed more than six hundred innocent civilians, including many women, children and the elderly; wounded more than one thousand civilians; and captured more than one thousand two hundred civilians.”
Armenian-Americans and other critics are concerned the two lawmakers are trying to rewrite history in favor of Azerbaijan.
“It is hard to see how a resolution that distorts history and contemporary reality in so many ways serves Hawaii’s interests,” Honolulu resident Dawn Webster wrote in her testimony on HR 9.
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