Find truth, not propaganda, about Azerbaijan: NewsBlaze
NewsBlaze, a US-based portal, has published an article, entitled “Find truth, not propaganda, about Azerbaijan”.
News.Az republishes the article by President of the US-Azerbaijan Cultural Foundation Nurit Greenger.
In June 2022 I formally established the US-AZ Cultural Foundation (USAZCF). Its purpose is to serve as a contributor to increase relations between Azerbaijan and the United States, in particular, as well as the West, in general, via culture, educational dialogues and seminars, media, entertainment, film & documentary content.
We, at USAZCF believe that art, music, dance, film, television, and educational projects all feed the soul. Festivals and live performances draw people from across the country and promote tourism – stimulating the local economy and fostering pride in the community.
Since 1992 Azerbaijan has struggled to keep its sovereignty intact. Invading Armenian forces conquered a chunk of the country during 1st Karabakh War and illegally held 20% of Azerbaijan’s land integrity until 2020.
November 10, 2020-flags of Azerbaijan, Israel, Turkey on display in Baku while Azerbaijan celebrates victory in 2nd Karabakh War – Photo: Nurit Greenger
Wars and uncertainty are no national morale booster. One million Azerbaijani people, expelled from their ancestral land in Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 adjacent districts, merging inland with the rest of the nation’s population to become internally displaced, were no economic booster. Toxic hostility coming from Armenia lobbies around the world vilifying Azerbaijan’s existence are a national hindrance.
In April 2018, the author visited a community of Azerbaijani internally displaced refugees, in the city of Tarter, who were expelled from their ancestral land in 1992 during the 2st Karabakh War – Photo: Nurit Greenger
But Azerbaijan endured. In 2020, in a 44-day war with Armenia, it liberated and regained control over most of the Nagorno-Karabakh land that was illegally occupied by Armenia for 30 years.
And now is the best time to turn the tide; to turn the negativity about the country – Azerbaijan – that Armenia spread so well over the years. It is time to turn the image of Azerbaijan, a real friend of the West, into a much more positive one.
About Azerbaijan’s Diaspora
Among the approximately 50 million Azerbaijanis who, in total, make the Azerbaijani nation, an estimated number of 10-15 million Azerbaijanis live outside the borders of Azerbaijan. They constitute the term “the Azerbaijan diaspora.”
This number is powerful and can do magic to project Azerbaijan’s image positively.
Azerbaijan and NATO are Deepening Ties
Azerbaijan’s contributions to NATO efforts began in 2002 with 22 Azerbaijani peacekeepers and rose to 120 by the time the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan took place.
Jens Stoltenberg, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General referred to Azerbaijan as “a valued partner.” Supporting his assertion Stoltenberg referenced Azerbaijan’s strong military cooperation with NATO member Turkey, its natural gas supplies to several NATO member states in Europe, as well as the country’s contribution to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
In August 2021, amid the withdrawal of US and NATO forces, ending the 2001-2021 war in Afghanistan, large-scale evacuations took place. During the evacuation of Kabul, Azerbaijan and Turkey helped secure Hamid Karzai Airport, and thus helped a safe evacuation of government personnel, foreign citizens and some vulnerable Afghan citizens, all were fleeing the Taliban return.
On August 15, 2021, the Taliban took control of Kabul and declared victory, and the NATO-backed Islamic Republic of Afghanistan collapsed. In addition to dependable ground support, by securing the transit routes for around 40 percent of the needed military cargo, Azerbaijani units had facilitated the Afghanistan-bound supply logistics for the allied forces.
In December 2021, during his visit to NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev stated that “Azerbaijan has proven to be a reliable partner of NATO.”
America is a member of NATO; Americans should therefore support Azerbaijan.
US Congress Should Get Behind Azerbaijan
It is time that US Congress members learn to live without the lobbying funds they receive from the Armenia lobby.
Instead of scolding Azerbaijan or simply disregarding it, Congress should be learning about Azerbaijan and its benefit to the West.
Congress should learn that representatives like “the squad” are toxic to America. Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib promote hate. In their case the hate of Israel and Jews. Such behavior helps the anti-Semites to make their case. Congress should take heed of Antisemitism-free Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is the antithesis to the anti-Semitic BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel) movement, so well-groomed on US campuses. While Muslim students at Azerbaijan’s universities participate in international student exchange programs in the Jewish State Israel, many US universities boycott Israel.
Azerbaijani Muslim students learn about Jewish history, the Jews’ ancient and modern culture in Israel, and the Jewish religion; they also dive to learn about the innovations Israel gifted the world in agriculture, medicine and science, innovation that incentivizes them to emulate rather than sink in to ancient hate the BDS Movement represents, which US high-learning institutes embrace.
The front of the Jewish-Chabad school building in Baku, Azerbaijan, where 160 Jewish students attend – Photo December 2022, Nurit Greenger
American Jews Should Support Azerbaijan
Though Azerbaijan is a majority Muslim country, it is secular, with a tolerance and coexistence dogma. Respecting the faith of the individual is a local cultural ethos.
Azerbaijan prides itself with zero Antisemitism. In the USA, Antisemitism is alarmingly on the rise.
It is reported that in the US, Antisemitism cases rose in 2022 and are showing little, if any, sign of abating worldwide.
The year 2021 set a new high for anti-Semitic incidents. The year 2022 did not mark a universal reversal of this hideous trend, and in some countries, most alarmingly the United States, it intensified.
Early morning, December 22, 2021, The Chabad-Lubavitch of Almaden Valley, in San Jose, California, was intentionally lit on fire that ripped through the distinct purple building. On January 27, 2022, in line with Azerbaijan, a majority Muslim country, longstanding population harmonious coexistence policy, Nasimi Aghayev, then Consul General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles announced his government’s contribution of funds to the reconstruction of the Almaden Valley Chabad House.
Synagogues in Azerbaijan are open without the need for armed security to welcome worshippers, a scene long forgotten by US synagogue goers.
On April 5, 2011, the “Mountain Jews” community in Baku, Azerbaijan, opened an impressive new synagogue. The building was designed by architect Alexander Garber and the construction of the building was sponsored by the Azerbaijani government.
In Azerbaijan, there are three main Jewish communities – mountain Jews, Ashkenazi Jews and Georgian Jews communities. There are 6 operating synagogues in Azerbaijan: two in Baku, two in Guba and two in the city of Oguz. Jews living in Azerbaijan can safely and freely worship in their synagogue, celebrate their festivals and hold mourning ceremonies.