Letter from the Editor: Khojaly, in memoriam(op-ed)

Letter from the editor: Khojaly in memoriam

By Rachel Brooks

February 26, 2021

Khojaly Massacre 29th Anniversary


(The views expressed within this article are opinion, and are attributed solely to the author.) 

Above image: Azerbaijani children’s bodies laid out for funeral after the events of the Khojaly tragedy. Image credit: Description: Murdered Azerbaijanian children in Khojali massacre. Agdam. “File:06 xojali ilgar.jpg” by Ilgar Jafarov is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The sun has risen again on the memory of a dark day in 1992. Yet, for 29 years, the sun has continued to rise. In so rising, the heavens can teach us a lesson regarding the memory of Khojaly. Now too, like the sun, the people of Azerbaijan must rise and cast living light across the memory of darkness. For by no other means will Khojaly’s fallen be remembered than by illuminating this darkest of tragic human episodes. 

Dear Azerbaijan, today the ravens circle above your heads. Rise above them. Today, the smoke from the ordinance of war rises over you. Rise with it, and rise above it.  

In memory of Khojaly, and the children who lie dead there, let us not forsake hope. Hope like patience is needed to temper the steel of the burden you carry now.

 This grief is eternal. There can be no moving on. Not for love or forgiveness. A part of the soul of Azerbaijan and of humanity lies dead there in the crimson snowfall where Khojaly’s children are sleeping. This is at once a national grief and a human sorrow. 

Yet, even now, this grief has rarefied you, sanctified you. This pain like snowfall has purified you. Remembering Khojaly has birthed in the heart of the Azerbaijani people solidarity with the pain of nations. Soul cries out to soul. In the cry of the mother, you will weep with other mothers whose cradles were gnashed by the teeth of cruelty, whose sons and daughters were cut down by the scythe of genocide. You can elevate them to the wisdom that can only come by way of experience. 

On this day, the anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy, let us for Khojaly’s sake, seek justice and love mercy. Let Azerbaijan rise and be heard as a voice of the nations so that never again will the sorrow of Khojaly be repeated.

As for the people who were killed on that day, recall for every eye that is closed, eyes were once open. For every heart that bled, a heart was beating. Do not only remember the grim reality of their passing. Remember them because they were alive. In so doing, they shall remain alive within the heart of you.