The bravery of those who sacrificed their lives on 20 January for independence should never be forgotten - British journalist | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

9 March, Tuesday


The bravery of those who sacrificed their lives on 20 January for independence should never be forgotten - British journalist

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The day of 20 January was a tremendous tragedy for humanity, as it saw a desperate Soviet Union, under the leadership of its final General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev, fire indiscriminately on his own people – Soviet citizens, said Neil Watson.

 The British journalist, Neil Watson expressed condolence to the families of the victims of 20 January and wished God’s mercy to the martyrs.

Watson shared his views with Eurasia Diary about the tragedy of 20 January and its consequences.

“The date of 20 January was the first time that I, a British citizen, heard the name of 'Azerbaijan' on the BBC TV News. I remember that none of us understood why Gorbachev, who was eulogized in the west at the time for his 'glasnost' and 'perestroika' policies, was using 26,000 Red Army soldiers to fire on his own people. During that time prayers were said for the victims in our churches,” he said.

“However, little did we know that this would herald the start of Azerbaijani independence and, ultimately, the collapse of the Soviet Empire,” he added.

Watson noted that martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the independence of their country during that night, should never be forgotten.

“The bravery of those who barricaded the streets and made their voices heard on 20 January should never be forgotten. They remembered the successes of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic from 1918–20 and this thirst for independence had not receded. Even after the slaughter on 20 January, one million Azerbaijanis attended the funerals, knowing the potentially bloody repercussions,” he said.

Touching upon the apathy of western community to the bloody massacres committed by the Soviet leadership in Baku, Watson stressed that there are two reasons why the West has been reluctant to condemn the Soviet atrocities against the people of Azerbaijan till today.

“Firstly, the republics of the former Soviet Union were inadequately reported on and understood in the west, partly due to the success of Soviet propaganda in shrouding them in secrecy. Secondly, such right-wing politicians as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President George Bush saw it as their duty to dismantle the Soviet Union, thereby ending the Cold War, and that Gorbachev was their friend who would work towards achieving this objective. They therefore overlooked the Black January tragedy as 'collateral damage' in destroying the Soviet Union, and the architects of this crime against humanity will never pay for their decisions on that fateful day,” he said.

Today, the people of Azerbaijan commemorate the day of “Black January”, one of the bloodiest events in the history of Azerbaijan. Thirty one years ago, on 19 January the Soviet troops entered the city of Baku and other areas of Azerbaijan as the central government of the Soviet Union declared the state of emergency in our country. On the night of 20 January, the commandership of the Soviet troops started the bloody massacre against the innocent civilians living in Baku. Soldiers were ordered to shoot everyone who they saw in front of them. According to the number of the reports, during that night over 140residents, including men, women and children, became victims of Soviet aggression as well as the hundreds of people were wounded. Most of the residential objects, vehicles and busses were destroyed by the Soviet tanks.

People of Azerbaijan did not and will never forget the tragedy of Black January.

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