The Graduate Workers of Columbia-UAW Organizing Committee would like to share with you a solidarity statement on the conflict in Armenia written by one of the graduate workers.
My name is Vaneh Hovsepian, and I am a PhD candidate at the Columbia University School of Nursing. I am writing to you today overwhelmed with concern as an ally of Armenia.
Armenia is now over three weeks into war with Azerbaijan. On September 27th, Azerbaijan Armed Forces launched a military offensive, shelling various Armenian civilian settlements along the Artsakh-Azerbaijan border. Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, has expanded its attacks into and attacks onto Armenia itself. In the meantime, Azerbaijan violated two humanitarian ceasefires, on October 8th and the 17th. Although the United States is currently an ally of Turkey and these Azeri aggressors, a growing number of Democrats in Congress are calling for the Trump administration to immediately suspend U.S. security aid to Azerbaijan.
This war is an existential threat to the citizens of Armenia and Artsakh. In July of this year, Azerbaijani military forces attacked the civilian region of Tavush, in Armenia, destroying homes, PPE factories, and schools. Azeri protestors filled the streets of Baku chanting “death to Armenians.” Azerbaijan has historically utilized schools and propaganda to teach hatred toward Armenians, while Azeri officials have also supported the removal/murder of the Armenian people.
Before I get into further explanations, I would like to properly trigger warn, as the below information can be very upsetting.
The Armenian Genocide involved the murder of 1.5 million Armenians and in the process, much of our land was taken. Large parts of Turkey are sitting on our stolen lands. The United States has continuously chosen to ignore recognizing the genocide, as it would strain its international relations with Turkey. Turkey refuses to recognize it as in doing so, they would be obligated to return much of the land stolen, which is providing them many riches.
Today, Turkey and Azerbaijan continue to threaten my people. Our soldiers are on the frontlines, and many young men have died. They are our brothers, fathers, cousins, and grandfathers.
We are a small country, but a strong people. We desire peace, and I am just trying to help my people from a distance. We have been protesting around the nation, and have gained the support of thousands. We hope you can help us further these efforts.
We kindly ask you to support Armenians in Armenia and Artsakh in these trying times by amplifying our message. Help us spread accurate information by sharing our statement with students at Columbia University and your family and friends.
The battle is receiving so little media coverage, and I am making an effort to reach out to as many people as I can to shed light on my country. The country is collecting donations, and we are collecting petition signatures.
We encourage our allies, members of our campus home, to recognize our pain. We plead for recognition, and for people to acknowledge these issues.