SOS of the Galician Armenians

“For us, knowing that we are doing something is important because we have the feeling that Spain and the European Union have turned their back on us in the face of the danger that Turkey will once again carry out ethnic cleansing in Artsakh like the one that happened between 1915 and 1923 and cost the lives of a million and a half Armenians “. Eriné Vardanyan’s desperate call prompts a meeting in a cafeteria in A Coruña with representatives of the Armenian colony in Galicia, which is around 70 people.” We all have family there and we have not slept for two weeks because of worry “, They recognize while they look at the mobile phone to check if the name of a relative is in the low part.

On September 27, the long-standing conflict since its outbreak in 1988 over the unredeemed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh was reactivated when its leaders asked to leave the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic to join the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. Renamed as the Republic of Artsakh in 2017, with almost the entire Armenian and Christian Orthodox population, it remains without official recognition from any member state of the United Nations. “There has been no major conflict in Europe since World War II and the world doesn’t seem to want to see it,” warns Vahe Hambardzumyam. He is 42 years old, an architect like his sister Eriné, and came to Galicia precisely because of the ravages of the previous crisis in the late 1980s that the Armenians called “the dark years. Azerbaijan blocked access to gas energy supply despite temperatures minus 30 degrees in winter and an earthquake that had killed 25,000 people.

“I remember a graffiti in A Coruña when we arrived that said ‘Galicia and Nagorno-Karabakh the same fight’, but a tolerant way of life and the values ​​promulgated by the European Union are at stake there. They say it is a religious war and it is not true because there are Muslim countries that support Armenia because it is a brake on Ottoman expansion. What is happening is bad for us, for Azerbaijan and also for Europe. ”

Artak and Georgui Oganesian also attend the meeting where they finalize concerts to collect humanitarian aid. The first came to Galicia in 2004 out of love and is a professor of Public International Law at the Ourense Campus. “The people of Armenia are determined towards victory because there is no alternative. They are aware that they not only defend their own homeland, but also some values ​​common to all of us, also to the Galicians. That is why they feel betrayed by not seeing decisive action The one who struggles to live and the one who threatens extermination cannot be put on the same scale. We are facing a humanitarian catastrophe. Grandfather, father and son fight together at the front. I know many cases and also that of Young girls, they know if they are not in the trenches, they will die at home. We demand that the same silence not be repeated than when Turkey massacred us while the world looked the other way “.

It is estimated that Armenia has 50,000 soldiers deployed and Azerbaijan between 150,000 and 200,000. “They also say that the Azeris have recruited some 4,000 mercenaries who fought in Syria. They surpass us in everything, except in value and that happens because you defend your home. We are a people who have suffered for a long time to maintain Christianity, although I repeat that it’s not a religious war, “adds Vahe. On paper, Armenia adds the support of Russia, but from the former Soviet republic it is ensured that the Russians do not waste the conflict to sell arms to the Azeri army. “As Turkey is a member of NATO, it could be the case that Spain had to share a trench with those who defend the attacks in Madrid on March 11 or recently that of Barcelona”, warns Vahe.

Georgui Oganesian is a virtuoso of the saxophone and has a Galician daughter. He has remained silent during the parliaments of his companions until he thinks it is time to contribute another note: “We have always been a peaceful people who have not tried to impose their culture, but to maintain their values ​​and traditions. there was no choice but to become warriors. ” At that moment, Vahe and Artak recall the case of a village of a hundred inhabitants that contributed three marshals and an admiral to the special forces. “It is true, but talent also abounds”, clarifies Georgui. The world enjoys it, as there are 8 million Armenians in the diaspora compared to about three who reside in the national territory.

Concert cycle

And all, because they have become accustomed to living with the body in one part and the soul in another, attend the battle of Artsakh with restlessness. They have the consolation that this report can serve to sensitize society of what is happening in the place where they had to leave the soul. On November 13, the body will attend a concert by the Galician Chamber Orchestra at the Agora in A Coruña to raise humanitarian aid. Georgui will also give a jazz session on a stage to be defined and they intend to organize a third performance in a church due to their condition as Orthodox Christians. They spend the anguish acting as exegetes of a drama that few want to see.


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