To Armenian Pogroms in Azerbaijan in late 1980s – early 1990s
Narek A. Mkrtchyan Gevorg A. Tshagharyan
Key words – ‘‘The New York Times’’, open letter, Nagorno Karabakh, Sumgait, universal intellectuals, Armenian pogroms, international community, Michel Foucault, Edward Said, genocide, Antonio Gramsci, indifference, ‘‘Circle of Humanity’’.
In the last years of Soviet Union, the humanity faced several genocidal episodes like ethnic cleansings, destruction of cultural heritage of a nation, massacres, pogroms etc. More than seven decades after the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian nation was condemned to become a victim of ethnic cleansing and atrocities planned by the authorities of Soviet Azerbaijan. As a result of international indifference, the Armenian communities of Azerbaijan, particularly in Sumgait (February 27-29, 1988), Kirovabad (November 21-27, 1988) and Baku (January 12-19, 1990) have been subjected to atrocities. The aim of the paper is not the examination of these events, but the representation and study of an open letter signed by the internationally recognized intellectuals of the second half of the XX century. Being a joint initiative of the Helsinki Treaty Watchdog Committee of France and intellectuals from the Collège International de Philosophie, Paris the letter was published in “The New York Times” on July 27, 1990. Unfortunately, the letter had skipped the eyes of wider public in Armenia and abroad. The uniqueness of the letter can be measured by its content and the prominence of the signatories. It is more than obvious that the message of intellectuals was aimed at warning international community that necessary measures should be taken to prevent and save Armenians from another genocide. We translated the material from English into Armenian and provided it with introduction containing information about the signatories of the letter. Among them stand out Jurgen Habermas, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Sir Isaiah Berlin, Emmanuel Levinas, Paul Ricoeur, Charles Taylor, Luc Ferry and others. On the other side, the letter is discussed within the context of different theoretical approaches in order to shed light on the nature, position and influence of intellectuals on the world of crises.