Rather than Trying to Prevent Repeats of Khojaly and Sumgait, Armenians and Azerbaijanis Doing the Opposite: Vanyan
“I ask that my military-patriots not consider themselves above all of Armenia’s courts of instances. Comments by patriots, this same blackmail, this same terror heard in court, flooded in the press take all of my public speeches out of context. Read my publications, I’ve made probably over a hundred public speeches; I never came across a singe article in response, other than insults,” said Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives (CCPI) President Georgy Vanyan at a press conference today.
Note that the Azerbaijani Film Festival in Yerevan is organized by CCPI and, as its president, Vanyan. Speaking to journalists, explained that each project of the program is the logical continuation of the previous one.
“The Azerbaijani film festival was planned for November 2009; it was proposed to me that the project take place behind closed doors, that it be recorded on paper. They told me, you’ve received funds, there are ways to spend the money, we’re noting that the program took place, [and] as commonly happens, a report is issued, then you receive the next payment. I resigned,” he said, not clarifying who made such a proposal.
After Vanyan said he addresses social issues and all of his actions are planned, blogger Tigran Kocharyan, whose own press conference took place one hour before Vanyan’s, asked who plans the CCPI president’s activities?
“I do,” said Vanyan, and received the next question: “On whose command?”
“No one can order me to do anything; I’ve been public since 1989, and let them find someone who says that I work on command,” said Vanyan, in his defense.
When asked about his statements on Khojaly, he said, “In our society, there’s a taboo that doesn’t speak in our favor, to speak of Khojaly. In Azerbaijan, there’s a taboo about Sumgait.”
Forced to diverge from the subject of the press conference, Vanyan responded to a question on whether he considered the Sumgait pogram to be on par with the Khojaly massacre.
“Yes, I consider them to be equal, because both were conceived by the same center: the Kremlin,” he said.
Asked who is prohibiting the festival from taking place, Vanyan suggested to journalists to call an investigation, and for those who want to know what the films are about, Vanyan suggested they attend the festival.
It’s necessary to note that because of diverging from the topic of today’s press conference (the banning of Azerbaijani films in Armenia), a number of journalists were asking Vanyan questions long after the press conference ended.
According to the festival organizer, the more citizens’ voices are heard and speculations are reduced, the more Armenian society will have the opportunity to take meaningful steps to resolve the vital issues that have come before it.
Responding to questions by journalists on POW Manvel Saribekyan’s death and connecting such incidents with holding an Azerbaijani film festival, Vanyan said: “Rather than doing it so that Khojaly and Sumgait don’t repeat, Armenians and Azerbaijani do everything for new Sumgaits and Khojalies.”
Speaking to Epress.am, the CCPI president shared his impressions of his meeting with journalists. According to him, it’s worth it to organize press conferences, “so that we have a culture of speech, [so that] we don’t confuse problems, the consequence and the cause with one another.”
“All this more so recalls a psychiatric [clinic, ward or hospital] when one suddenly takes on the functions of national security himself, says it shouldn’t be so. Can you imagine what a shameful state we’re in?” said Vanyan.
He noted that beginning from the Turkish festival, good steps toward exposure have been made.
“When we had the Days of Azerbaijan, the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs made an announcement, welcoming Azerbaijani days in Armenia. Within the frames of that same program, the Turkish film festival was quite harshly barred,” he said.
Vanyan explained how he had asked for clarification from a high-ranking official at the ministry. He, according to Vanyan “spit venom: we don’t welcome your initiative; our statement was made for the international community.”
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