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Tuesday, 07 May 2019 07:37


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"ARMENIAN versus MOSLEM By SCOTLAND LIDDELL Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles
British newspaper from 1920: "Hundreds of innocent Azerbaijanis massacred by Armenian troops in Karabakh"As we celebrate the 101st anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918-20) this month, we also remember the short, but tumultous history of this first-ever secular democracy in the Muslim world. Despite many progressive reforms including giving voting rights to women even before US and many other advanced Western nations, this Republic survived only for 23 months before being invaded by Bolsheviks in April 1920.
One of the main challenges of the Republic was to defend its territorial integrity against unfounded claims by neighboring Armenia. Due to the lack of information on Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis in the Western media back then, obviously there was not an abundance of articles conveying the truth to the Western audiences. However a few courageous reporters not only authored articles, but also responded to some biased and false articles with protest letters. One of these courageous and principled reporters was Robert Scotland Liddell, an eminent British reporter and photographer. Here is his letter that was published by London-based newspaper "The Graphic" on May 8, 1920.
The Consulate General of Azerbaijan found the copy of the article via the UCLA Library in Los Angeles and is delighted to share it here. The text of the article is presented below. Note that the letter was sent to The Graphic before Azerbaijan was invaded by Bolsheviks on Apr. 28, 1920.
May 8, 1920 Editorial note: “The capture by the Bolsheviks of Baku, which is the capital of the Azerbaijan Republic, gives unusual interest to the following protest which has been addressed to us by Mr. Scotland Liddell from Tiflis, apropos of the article which appeared in our pages in reference to the Armenians of Karabagh.” IN THE GRAPHIC of February 21, an article is published under the heading, "The Armenians of Karabagh." The information, you state, was furnished by Mr. Tigron Nazarian, an Armenian, of course, so that one is not surprised to find it Armenian propaganda. And, alas! One is not surprised to find this propaganda false. As regards the history, geography and natural riches of Karabagh I have nothing to say. But, as Nazarian's visit to London is in order that he can urge on the Peace Conference the Armenian request that Karabagh be included politically in the Armenian and not in the Azerbaijan Republic, and as the figures he gives regarding the population of Karabagh are of vital importance in this respect, I must point out that they are grossly untrue. Nazarian says that there are 198,000 Armenians and 80,000 Tartars [Azerbaijanis] in Karabagh. Professor Schepotieff, an authority, with no political axe to grind, has proved in a recent article that the present population of Karabagh is 415,000 Mussulmans [Azerbaijanis] as compared with only 170,000 Armenians.
But so many innocent Mussulman [Azerbaijani] peasants have recently been massacred by the Armenian troops that even Schepotieff's figures may be truthfully disputed. Today the Armenian regular troops are carrying on a war against Mussulman partisans in Karabagh. For the bloodshed that, is taking place, even as I write, the Armenians, and the Armenians alone, are to blame. Although the province of Karabagh was placed under Azerbaijan administration by the British authorities until such a time as the future status of the province would be decided by the Peace Conference, the Armenian leaders and agitators for a long time refused to acknowledge Mussulman rule and strove in every way to incite the peaceful Armenian population against the Azerbaijan Government. This constant agitation and this provocation led on several occasions to fighting. In November of last year an agreement was signed in Tiflis between the Azerbaijan and Armenian Governments. By this it was arranged that all fighting would cease and that both sides would await in peace the Conference's decree.
The Azerbaijan Republic faithfully kept to this agreement. The Azerbaijan troops were withdrawn from Zangezour, but no sooner had this been done than the Armenians very treacherously attacked the Mussulman villages, massacred hundreds of innocent peasants, and within a few weeks had succeeded in destroying over forty Mussulman villages. Azerbaijan has been very patient and long-suffering. But there is a limit to a Government's patience. War has for long seemed inevitable. Now, on March 22, the Armenians, taking advantage of the Mussulman festival of Novruz Bairam, and the fact that there were only insignificant Azerbaijan troops for the purpose of keeping order in Karabagh, have again launched attacks on many Mussulman villages in the province.
So far, only partisan troops have opposed them, but I hear on good authority that the Azerbaijan Government is despatching regular troops to the assistance of the unfortunate Mussulman population of the country, who are faced with the threat of complete extirpation at the hands of their Christian neighbours. Armenian propaganda is excellent. Doubtless the many propagandists in England, France and America will take advantage of their losses in the present clash to further their pleas and greedy territorial claims. But we in Trans-Caucasia know what the truth actually is. Surely it is time that the British public knew it too."
Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles
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