On Jan. 28, addressing the United Nations General Assembly on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Reuven Rivlin of Israel said: “On this day we must ask ourselves honestly, is our struggle, the struggle of this Assembly, against genocide, effective enough? Was it effective enough then in Bosnia? Was it effective in preventing the killing in Khojaly? … Are we shedding too many tears, and taking too little action?”
The town of Khojaly that Rivlin referred to might sound unfamiliar to some. But Khojaly was the scene of one of the most horrific tragedies in modern European history.
Twenty-three years ago, I watched in horror as TV screens in Azerbaijan showed the aftermath of a brutal event: dead women, children and elderly, mutilated bodies, frozen corpses scattered across the ground. This shocking footage was taken at the site of the Khojaly massacre. At least 613 Azerbaijani civilians, including up to 300 children, women and elderly, were ruthlessly murdered.
The massacre took place on Feb. 26, 1992, when Azerbaijani civilians, attempting to evacuate the town of Khojaly after coming under attack, were gunned down by Armenian troops as they fled towards the safety of Azerbaijani lines.