LOS ANGELES—Five months after activating an informal task force addressing Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s sudden, violent, and unprovoked genocidal assault and ethnic-cleansing attack against Armenians in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), Armenian-American journalist, radio host, and activist, Vic Gerami has set out to amplify the impact of his own and his news-media and entertainment-industry colleagues’ efforts to shine a brighter light on aggressor nations’ war of propaganda, Armenophobia, and disinformation by launching the Truth And Accountability League (TAAL).
Supporters of human rights, groups and individuals concerned with ending the years-long campaign by dictators, would-be dictators and demagogues to replace truth, reason and factual knowledge with regimes of lies and “alternative facts” can support TAAL’s defense of reason and truth, while stopping the genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh by participating in a new crowdfunding campaign on Facebook.
Azerbaijan and Turkey’s genocidal attack and systematic ethnic cleansing assault against Armenians of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) has overwhelmed the Artsakh and Armenian governments—as well as Armenian-American advocacy organizations operating in the U.S. and abroad.
The persuasiveness of Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s high-priced lobbying and public relations firms, which are now working nonstop in the US and in European capitals to protect both government’s public images despite their aggressive and harmful actions, make TAAL’s work a moral urgency.
While Azerbaijan and Turkish interests are being advanced daily in Washington D.C. by powerful lobbyists, both nations carefully crafted public images are only made possible by a deadly blind spot in the global community’s collective consciousness and a void in too many individuals’ consciences. That’s exactly where TAAL is aiming to establish a beachhead with its work to build awareness and foster concern for the plights of Armenian children, women and men suffering the genocidal impulses of a deadly alliance.
“The Armenian community cannot afford to assume that members of the media will, on their own, examine all the facts and evidence and report without bias, while Azerbaijan’s oil money directly or indirectly influences the media narrative,” TAAL founder, Vic Gerami said.
TAAL aims to serve as a watchdog organization conducting human rights-violations monitoring and reporting. With eyes open wide and specifically focusing on how nation-states, dictators and other antidemocratic forces manipulate international media, diplomats, and members of the intelligentsia, be they individual or institutional, TAAL is elevating its powers of observation and aspiration to greater governmental accountability.
“In the weeks leading up to the September 27 attach on Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), Azerbaijan had ramped up its deceptive public relations campaigns—employing no fewer than six of K-Street’s heaviest-hitting lobbying firms, including the Livingston Group, Stellar Jay Communications, BGR, The Podesta Group, and DLA Piper,” Gerami continued.
Gerami further notes that last year the southwest Asian country spent $1.3 million on lobbying and that the previously mentioned Washington D.C. firms have worked aggressively to distort facts and to convince media outlets to report false narratives and distortions that favor the dictatorial Azerbaijani government.
“TAAL combats this war of disinformation,” Gerami said. “We need those who believe in peace, democracy and human rights to step up to the plate and help us be effective in our work.”
The mission of TAAL is to stop the defamation of the Armenian people; achieve worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-16; advocate for the free exercise by the Armenians of Artsakh their right to self-determination; attain universal recognition of the Independent Republic of Artsakh—and to secure justice and fair treatment for all people.
TAAL will not only be monitoring, “calling out,” and otherwise addressing Armenophobia, extremism, and bigotry in the US and around the globe whenever such transgressions arise in the news and entertainment media, social media, public policy environments, governing bodies, and academia, it will also stay abreast of, and expose instances of intelligentsia manipulation by bad actors seeking to oppress vulnerable populations.
While still in its early-launch phase, TAAL has already accomplished a great deal. TAAL’s Vic Gerami co-produced the celebrity Public Service Announcement (PSA) awareness campaign, ‘I Stand with Artsakh & Armenia.’ Its PSA features Kim Kardashian, Serj Tankian, Congressman Adam Schiff, Ed Begley Jr., Sally Kirkland, Lawrence Zarian, Andrea Martin, and several other major stars.
Gerami requested that his longtime friend, attorney, and West Hollywood Councilmember Sepi Shyne sponsor a resolution for the City of West Hollywood to recognize the Independent Republic of Artsakh. Gerami’s relationship with all the members of the West Hollywood City Council, Mayor Lindsey Horvath helped him convince her to co-sponsor the resolution, which passed on its merits unanimously on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
TAAL has several active initiatives aimed at changing the current media narrative to reflect the truth and favor the innocent people of Artsakh now under attack by Azerbaijani and Turkish forces and to support Armenia. But these initiatives must advance quickly because lies become “truth” over periods of time that are far too short.
Azerbaijan is rapidly producing fake maps, khachkars (Cross-Stones), and fantastical, fictitious narratives to gaslight and deceive the world. TAAL works to unleash truth where lies keep it shackled; unveil facts where propaganda keeps them obscured; and enforce accountability where murderers reign free and inculpable.
The goal of TAAL’s crowdfunding campaign is to raise funds to cover initial expenses and to formalize the organization’s structure; create a website; and secure various other tools necessary to carry out its ambitious, vital and achievable objectives. Donate now, here.