Inoculation of Public Opinion Against Denials of Artsakh’s ECG

By Prof. Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian, Monarch Beach CA, 15 May 2024

Truism has it that survival depends on sources of sustenance, which, in turn, depends on land to produce them. Most living things compete for land and even engage in warfare to secure a large territory to enjoy what the good Earth provides.

Throughout history mass killings have taken place for capturing land and the perpetrators have gotten off scot-free like the Ottoman Turks who massacred 1.5 million men, women, and children. The Armenians lost nine-tenths of their homeland.

Today, mass or partial killing is called genocide. In 1919, Great Britain set free the entire Ottoman captured perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923) without due trials for criminal acts. This act of setting criminals free baffled, if not shocked, Raphael Lemkin, who wrote in his book The Axis in Europe with the Armenian Genocide in mind.

Now, let us look at the tragedy of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Azerbaijan and its friends have already begun to influence the world opinion that whatever had happened to the people of Artsakh was voluntary; that is to say, they were not forced to flee their homes. As a result, there is a need to inoculate your friends, acquaintances, fellow workers, representatives, senators, etc. against future attacks by Azerbaijan and its cohorts, who will deny of any wrongdoing by Azerbaijan.

Persuading others to avoid persuasion or to resist persuasion is the crux of the Inoculation Theory and Practice. Inoculation theory is a social-psychological and communication theory, which explains how an attitude or belief can be made resistant to persuasion or influence, in analogy to how a body gains resistance to a virus through being vaccinated.

So, let us get to know the following facts about genocide as an international law to inoculate others against denials, distortions, and dishonesty of Azerbaijan’s propaganda machine.

The UN convention entered into force on January 12, 1951. Some of the detailed and quite technical definitions and responsibilities are as follows:

Article I indicates the contracting parties confirmed that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law, which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

Article II states genocide to mean any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group such as by: “1. Killing members of the group 2, Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group 3.  Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part 4. Imposing measures intended to prevent the birth within the group. Finally 5, Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Article III maintains that the following acts shall be punishable: First, genocide. Second, conspiracy to commit genocide. Third, direct and public incitement to commit genocide. Fourth, any attempt to commit genocide. Fifth, complicity to genocide.

Here are some important answerable arguments based on international genocide law against the anticipated lies and distortions of Azerbaijan as to what had really happened to the indigenous people of Artsakh in late 2023:

  1. Displacement of the people of Artsakh was voluntary not forced. Genocide criminals have always denied their guilt. For example, in anticipation of a denial of ethnic-cleansing genocide (ECG) of the people of Artsakh, we may say that it is true that the exodus of the people from Artsakh may appear to be voluntary, but the fact is Azerbaijan starved them first for a long time through a siege of starvation for 10 months and then shelled their homes with surprise artillery and missile strikes on Sept. 19 and 20, 2023. It is obvious that fleeing from their homes was not a voluntary act, but a forced evacuation to save one’s limb and life?

`When a siren blares and wakes you up in the middle of the night to warn you of a surprise enemy attack, do you continue to sleep or get ready to get out of that danger zone? This argument will make someone resist any attempt by Azerbaijan to make him or her swallow Azeri lies.

  1. There was no killing of the group. The argument could be made that almost the entire population of 120,000 of Artsakh left their homeland. It is true that the majority had fled their homes, but the surprise attack had killed 200 and wounded 400 persons. To qualify for genocide, the group does not have to be killed “in whole”. According to international genocide law, an act is genocide whether the victims were killed “in whole or in part.”
  2. There was no physical destruction or mental anguish. The preemptive argument may run something like the majority people of Artsakh was not physically destroyed. But, they suffered mental anguish, which constitutes genocide. According to international genocide law “Causing serious bodily and mental harm” constitutes genocide of the group.
  3. For Genocide, there must be intent to kill. The intent can be specific or general. The argument may be that there is no proof that Azerbaijan had any intention to kill the people of Artsakh had they not quested for freedom through self-determination.

In terms of intent, specific, direct evidence surfaced when during a national press interview of 2.5 hours long (on Jan10,  2024), President Aliyev admitted his intention of genocide of the people of whom 200 had already been killed and 400 wounded to terrorize the people into fleeing their homeland, by stating –“Had they [the Armenians of Artsakh] not surrendered, they would have been eliminated. There was no other option.” The act is a crime of genocide no matter how many Armenians were killed 200 or 120,000 by Azerbaijan. It is one of the UN rules or law pertaining to genocide.

“They [The people of Artsakh] would have been eliminated” means Aliyev had the intention to liquidate or eradicate them had they continued to defend themselves against his aggression, but he could only eliminate part of them, which is still genocide.

Another important admission of Aliyev is pertinent is that he had warned PM Nikol Pashinyan about the impending Azerbaijan’s attack on Artsakh on September 19, 2023 by stating, “I told both the Armenian leadership and the international actors that I could press the button and carry out this operation [the surprise attack to kill the people of Artsakh] in a minute and they would not be able to do anything.” The foregoing admission can also serve as Aliyev’s intent to kill the people of Artsakh.

  1. Perpetrators were soldiers or members of the ruling in-group and not their leader (e.g., Aliyev’s followers or soldiers not him). It may be true that the leader may not have engaged directly in the atrocities; nevertheless, he or she is also responsible. Thus, perpetrators can be one person or a group. Equally difficult is for the courts to decide on the punishment for genocide. The UN treaty addressing genocide states that any person or group committing the crime of genocide “shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.” Aliyev is responsible for the ECG of the people of Artsakh.
  2. The accused genocide perpetrators (e.g. Aliyev) respect and abide by the international law. Genocide is usually schemed by heads of state and disregard international law. For example, Aliyev confessed on Jan. 10, 2024 during a TV interview that international law is a toothless tiger and that it lacks meaningful enforcement and with that, undermines its own authority. This kind of mentality, this kind of belief, unfortunately, gives license to a criminal to kill with impunity.

Here is what genocidal President Aliyev confessed his anti-social acts as a criminal: “I have repeatedly said that international law does not work. These mechanisms are deployed for weaker countries. Bigger states ignore them. For them, it is as if law is not law.  Under these circumstances, countries that demand justice, and rightly so, must secure this justice themselves.” Based on his belief, President Aliyev broke all of his signed agreements for ceasefire since 1994, which makes him an outlaw or someone in contempt of international law and decency.

  1. There has not been any immediate effect of mental stress, harm (trauma, fear, and anxiety on the people of Artsakh). To deflect any argument that there is no negative immediate effects on the people of Artsakh who fled their homes, a sensible preventive response would be that just because immediate effects would not be visible, displaced people would suffer of the delayed consequences later in life, especially children would be susceptible to delayed effects of trauma, anxiety, and all the destructive effects of war, violence, and persecution brought upon a group of people.
  2. To qualify an act as genocide, most of the group members have to be annihilated. While it is true that most people consider genocide to be the killing of masses, the UN regards the killing in whole or in part like part of Artsakh was deliberately killed and wounded by Azerbaijani artillery and missile strikes on Sept. 19 and 20, 2023 to get rid of them as separatists. According to UN convention, the act is genocide whether the victims were killed “in whole or in part.”
  3. To constitute an act as genocide, many people must have been killed. To be genocide, not even a single person is required to be killed. Article 2 states that “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” is a punishable crime.

On Dec. 12, 2023, Azeri so-called environmentalists blockaded the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor to stop the flow of food, medicine, and fuel to Artsakh from the outside world for ten months. Such cruel measures constitute deliberate infliction of hardship to survive on an enclave surrounded by enemy forces. Although no one was killed by Azeri armed forces during the siege, the pain and suffering is considered genocide according the UN convention.

  1. There is no long-term effect of genocide determined on the Artsakh people. Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation. Over time, those displaced persons die from bodily injuries or mental harm or become assimilated in the host country the refugees take shelter. Somehow, the displaced group dwindles in number over time and finally disappears or dissolves as a distinct ethnic group.
  2. It was neither ethnic cleansing nor genocide that took place to the people of Artsakh. To counter this position, we should be well versed on how we had arrived at ethnic-cleansing genocide of the natives of Artsakh. To gain a working knowledge of what has happened, we should adopt either the Flowchart 1 listed below or any other available model you would like to use.
  3. Flowchart 1 presents only an objective description and therefore it is not a scientifically detailed theory. Most scholars consider theories to be plausible explanatory propositions devised to link possible causes to their effects. Generally speaking, models are schematic representations of reality or of one’s view of a possible world, constructed to improve our understanding about persons, places, and events or simply about the world and/or to make predictions.

What makes the representation of Flowchart 1 a scientific model is the fact that it is based on inductive reasoning which is the essence of examining phenomena scientifically, objectively to finally arrive at cause-effect relationships. Therefore, Flowchart 1 objectively depicts the ECG of the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh within the framework of the UN international laws governing genocide.

*Note: Since both Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide share the same or analogous input variables (i.e., crimes, inflictions) as well as the results (output factors) they are the same or parallel crimes against humanity. In other words, what Azerbaijan has done during the starvation siege of December 12, 2023 and after the surprise assault on Artsakh to capture Stepanakert on September 19 and 20, 2023 by shelling it indiscriminately and killing people is “Ethnic-Cleansing Genocide” or simply GENOCIDE of 2023.  The exodus took place in the aftermath of the surprise blitzkrieg. The intent was to kill and terrorize the people into fleeing their homeland as was admitted by President Ilham Aliyev on January 10, 2024 by stating “Had they [Artsakh Armenians] not surrendered, they would have been eliminated. There was no other option.” The act is a crime no matter how many Armenians were killed 200 or 120,000. The heinous inhumane atrocities of Azerbaijan should be ruled by the UN as Artsakh’s Ethnic-Cleansing Genocide. As a result, the crime is punishable under the Genocide Convention Treaty. c. 2023.

The United Nations consists of 193 members. Of these, 46 members are majority Muslim countries, which is almost 24 percent. On account of the Principle of Brotherhood among Muslims, none of them would tend to go against another Muslim country, such as the Muslim country of Azerbaijan.

Resiliency requires one to keep the campaign for Armenian justice; otherwise, we would face the road to extinction, especially when Armenia lies between two acquisitive, culturally imbued with plundering neighbors. Regardless of how difficult it would be, we should not give up the attempt to convict Aliyev as a pompous genocide criminal at least in the court of public opinion.

*****

Prof. Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian In addition to his active academic pursuits, he has devoted his time since high school to researching ideas on how to advance Armenia. Among his published works,  he has two books on Armenian unity and hundreds of articles. Since just July 2019, over 105 articles have been published on Armenian affairs. To access his previous articles open the search engine of the website and insert his name.

4 comments
  1. Excellent article by Dr. Demirdjian exposing the lies of the Azeri regime.
    Thank you.
    Indeed, Azerbaijani political culture is all about lying.
    The regime does not know how to tell the truth.
    I am not sure if many outside observers realize that.
    We need to know whom we are dealing with. In this case, it’s an abnormal and immoral regime.
    Azerbaijan’s signature on a piece of paper is, as the saying goes, “not worth a bucket of warm spit.”

  2. You said “On account of the Principle of Brotherhood among Muslims, none of them would tend to go against another Muslim country, such as the Muslim country of Azerbaijan.”. That is definitely true. An example is how every muslim country is protesting the mistreatment of palestinians. They organize protests in big cities. You have muslims from different cultures and I think there are non muslims as well.
    There is an ongoing protest on the campus of McGill University, in Montreal. They have setup multiple tents there and they have been protesting for (I think) a month.
    When it comes to the Armenian genocide or any aggression from a neighbor onto Armenia, not a single christian or ex-christian country raises their voices. The only people who talk about Artsakh are Armenians. When Armenians do a protest, no other culture joins them.
    Armenians in Armenia actually thought that Russia was going to defend them. And Russia is a pro-christian country. There was actually a priest in Russia who was saying “What is up with the Armenians? Why are they attacking Azerbaijan?” That priest probably doesn’t know about the churches and ancient cemeteries that have been destroyed.

  3. Russians are not very smart. Generations of alcoholids has rendered a nation of dimwits. That’s why the Russians need an extensive spynetwork to steal technology from the west.

  4. It’s true that many Muslims determine their political support/allegiance according to the religion of the antagonists. For example, the head of Hamas congratulated Aliyev for Azerbaijan’s victory and returning Artsakh to “Muslim sovereignty.” Facts and justice be damned: what matters is religious affiliation. It’s also noticeable that pro-Palestinian Arab demonstrators have conflated the just cause of Palestinians with Islam. Thus, a Palestinian political victory would be a victory for Islam. What about Christian Palestinians? From early on, Christian Palestinians were leaders in the political fight against Israel. One Christian Palestinian (Dr. George Habash) was the founder and leader of the PFLP.

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