Pascal Portoukalian is a French Christian of Armenian origin, living in Yerevan (Armenia) for a year.
It’s finally starting to come in! When a woman is attacked in the street, at work, or on transport, the argument “she was looking for it” is used less and less.
By hammering it home, we begin to integrate the idea - still very much capable of improvement of course - that it is not the fault of the size of her skirt, nor of her makeup, nor of her posture.
But from the attacker.
We cannot simply put the aggressor and the attacked on the same level and weigh the size of the skirt in the balance.
All the fault lies with the attacker. Point.
In terms of international relations, and particularly in the case of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, international partners still have difficulty applying this elementary precept!
We cannot put the two States on the same level.
Azerbaijan has been a dictatorship led by the Aliyev father and son for 30 years. This should concern us. Armenia is a democracy which, although imperfect, knows how to give room for political alternation and was even entitled to a so-called “velvet” revolution in 2018.
Religious pluralism in Azerbaijan is a facade. With 97% Muslims and a harsh authoritarian regime in the face of dissenting voices, the State has nothing to fear from the presence of a church on its territory, a church mainly attached to the Azeri national romance. These Christians are maintained and used as foils. He also has nothing to fear from making eyes at the Jewish community, whose arms versus gas exchange agreements with Israel constitute an effective balm in the face of spiritual dissonance.
Azerbaijan uses its education system to teach Azeri children to hate Armenians. Armenia, for its part, aspires neither to teach hatred of the Azeris, nor to expand its territory, but simply to live in peace on what remains of its ancestral lands, to protect its heritage and its culture.
Azerbaijan is rewriting a history that might seem plausible to the uninitiated. But which is grotesque for any historian, even a beginner. Among a thousand examples, she asserts that Yerevan, like all Armenian territory elsewhere, are Azeri lands which would have been stolen by the Armenians. By failing to point out that Armenia has more than 3000 years of history on these lands, when Azerbaijan was invented in 1918. The bigger it is, the better it goes.
Armenia has already had its share of genocide and ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan or its Turkish big sister. It was dismembered over the centuries, it continued to be with the loss of Nagorno-Karabakh in virtual international indifference.
She is a valiant soldier who has survived all dominations - Roman, Mongolian, Arab, Persian, Turkish, Ottoman, Russian, Soviet. Almost no other people in the world have been able to recover from so many attempts at cultural and identity destruction or assimilation.
But while this courageous young woman, beautiful, cultured, intelligent, who is the honor of humanity, finds herself once again staggering, bleeding from all sides, her clothes torn, one arm half torn off, her face disfigured, standing in front of an over-armed aggressor, devouring her torn flesh with her teeth on September 19 in the mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh, she would still have to justify her desire to simply want to live. He would still have to kiss and offer one last piece of thigh so that everyone could supposedly live in peace.
Ladies and gentlemen international observers and negotiators, History is watching you. What will she remember from your presence and your actions? What will you say to your children and grandchildren? How proud will they be of you when they tell their own children about you?
It is your responsibility to put on suitable glasses, identify the attacker and act accordingly. The honor of democracy and the definition of freedom are at stake.