August 14, 2020
Complaints Dept. BBC
I would like to complain about Mr. Sackur’s interview with Mr. Pashinyan of Armenia.
Mr. Sackur has a reputation to maintain as a tough interviewer but his behavior was hammy from A to Z. A performer rather than a prober. He was “tough” armed with hostility towards Armenia and the questions his producer/writers had drafted for him. He was rude while visibly preening about his interview method. I am certain he would have handled Mr. Netanyahu with kid gloves in fear of losing his job. But with Armenia–small, impoverished, and blockaded country–it’s easy to have a field day–especially since the leader of Armenia hasn’t had the benefit of English language instruction–which Mr. Sackur has enjoyed–at one of your public schools.
Even before the beginning of the interview, Mr. Sackur revealed his anti-Armenian/anti-Pashinyan bias when he “headlined” the interview with the question: “Is Armenia preoccupied with fighting old battles?” A loaded question which no professional journalist should pose without evidence or before an interview. What’s the point of the interview when you already have the answer?
The rhetorical question, which was intended to tell viewers that “Armenia is the bad guy”, is pregnant with the following insinuations:
A) Armenia is reactionary
B) Armenians and their government are backward
C) Armenians are not only belligerent but also must have started the recent fighting with Azerbaijan
D) Armenians are vengeful
E) Armenians are troublemakers
F) Armenians are inflexible
G) Armenians are revanchists
H) If there’s a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan/Turkey, we should stay neutral because Armenia isn’t entitled to our help
When Mr. Pashinyan tried to explain the cause of the Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, Mr. Sackur cut him off. He didn’t want to give Mr. Pashinyan the opportunity to explain the cause of the conflict.
Artsakh was part of Armenia as early as 6th century B.C., according to ancient Greek historians. Its name was Artsakh then. Mr. Sackur tried to make fun that Armenian nationalists had changed the name of Nagorno-Karabagh [by the way, a colonialist name] into Artsakh not realizing that Armenians had merely restored the original name. Artsakh was part of Armenia when the Azeris (they are Turks) and Turks didn’t even exist. Azerbaijan was fabricated by Russia in 1918. Yet this fabrication says Armenia is part of Azerbaijan and should be called Western Azerbaijan.
I am not surprised by Mr. Sackur’s superficial knowledge. Many so-called “star” journalists are performers first and reporters second. Mr. Sackur is typical: he is as deep as tissue paper and apparently has the memory of a guppy.
Finally, Artsakh (pop. 90 percent) Armenian, was handed to Azerbaijan by Lenin/Stalin to earn the favors of Turkey because the USSR wanted to win Ataturk’s Turkey to its side. They also gave another Armenian region (Nakhichevan) to the Azeris. During 70 years of Azeri rule, Azerbaijan tried to change the demographics of Artsakh by settling Azeris there. When the Soviet Union was cracking up, the Armenians of Artsakh voted to separate from the oppressive, corrupt, and alien Azerbaijan. Baku declared war and launched pogroms of Armenians who lived in Azerbaijan. That’s when Armenia came to the rescue of Artsakh Armenians. By the way, when the USSR collapsed, the Armenian region of Nakhichevan had 17 Armenians left. In the previous decades, Armenians had moved to Armenia as a result of Azeri persecution.
P.S. For Mr. Sakur’s benefit, “interview” means the exchange of views. He had his views firmly on his note pad. He was not interested in the views of Mr. Pashinyan or whether his viewers would have been interested in what Mr. Pashinyan would say.