Today Was a Sad Day
Sort of. Not really sure, I guess. It’s the anniversary of the tragedy in Xocalı (Khojaly). In 1992, February 26th was the day that there was a massive movement on Xocalı, killing about 622 people (the precise number is tough to find). There were also another 3-400 or so injured or displaced. It’s a tragedy, for sure. Oh, and the perpetrators of said tragedy were Armenians. This is where I say something about the tragedy and offend people both here in Azerbaijan and also in Armenia. Talking about this is really a no-win situation.
The reason why I’m not really sure how sad this day really is is that I didn’t really see any changes from any other day. There were some flowers put up at the Xocalı memorial here in Lənkəran, but everything else seemed to go on as usual. There might have been some sort of ceremony, but I didn’t witness it. It was not nearly as remarkable as the January 20th day of mourning.
One feature about Xocalı is the way people around here talk about it. I will readily admit that the destruction of this town, and the destruction of lives, is a painful, tragic black mark on the history of the Caucasus region. (This is where I get in trouble with the locals) However, people around here want to call it a genocide. That’s an interesting jump from tragedy to genocide. In the big scheme of all things violent and unholy and tragic and painful, it’s common to understand the violence in Rwanda (1994) and Nazi Germany (1940s) and Cambodia (1970s) and others as true “genocides”, methodical destruction of the lives of an ethnic group, for the sake of destroying that ethnic group, and coming dangerously close to doing so. Xocalı doesn’t really have any of these features.
What still remains true, though, is that what happened at Xocalı is a tragedy, being an event which featured the most destruction of any during this Nagorno-Karabak conflict. Whether it’s expressed publicly or not, a sad day, indeed.