TODAY.AZ / Voice of Diaspora

Azerbaijani-American Council condemns bitter defamation and misrepresentation of the Black January victim by Armenian news agency

27 January 2010 [13:00] - TODAY.AZ
Azerbaijani-American Council (AAC) expresses outrage over a bitter misrepresentation of the victims of 1990 Black January  events in Azerbaijan by the Asbarez news agency.

On January 19, 2010, the Los Angeles-based Armenian daily published an article titled "Remember Black January and the Massacre of Baku's Armenians" featuring an image of the Black January victim with a comment  "Armenians were murdered in their homes during the weeklong massacres."

After the investigation of facts, it became clear that the victim depicted on the image used by Asbarez was the 18-year old Vera Bessantina, an Azerbaijani of Jewish origin, who was killed by Soviet troops during the invasion of Baku on the night of January 19-20, 1990. In fact, this picture of Vera Bessantina was taken on the same night in Baku by the late ITAR-TASS photographer Andrey Soloviev (killed in 1993 during the Abkhazian War in Georgia). An original copy of this archival image was also provided by Soloviev to AzerInform (now known as AzerTAg State News Agency of Azerbaijan).

The misattribution of facts by Asbarez is not the first one in line of attempts to use images of Azerbaijani victims for spreading nationalist propaganda.

In October 2007, an Armenian-American author Eduard Pariants published an article in New York's Russian-language "V Novom Svete" newspaper, where he used the original black-and-white image of the bodies of Azeri children killed during the 1992 Khojaly Massacre to attribute it to Armenian victims during World War I.

On behalf of all concerned Azeri-Americans, Azerbaijani-American Council condemns all forms of misuse of online or printed media for defamation and dissemination of nationalist propaganda.

We call upon the editorial board of Asbarez news agency to correct its mistake and to issue a formal apology for an insensitive insult upon the memory of the Black January victim.


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