Tomorrow night will mark the 30th anniversary of the Khojaly massacre and, in the honour and memory of the victims, the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Belgium held yesterday a concert in Brussels.
We dedicate this concert to the dearest memory of 613 innocent children, women and elderly massacred on the night of the 26 February of 1992 in the small town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan.Ambassador Vaqif Sadıqov, Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Belgium
1. The Khojaly massacre
On the night of 26 February 1992, Armenian forces seized the Azerbaijani inhabited city of Khojaly. The event was part of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War and among four others that defined the conflict that year: the Karabakh Armenian seizure of Shusha, the Karabakh Armenian capture of Lachin and the Lachin corridor between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
The massacre was one of the turning points of the war. The Armenian forces seized the town, killing or taking prisoners any Azerbaijani, some troops, but mostly civilians, that had not managed to flee. The fleeing Azerbaijani refugees were fired at, resulting in hundreds of victims.
The event is a shame page in human history and an unhealed wound for Azerbaijan.Vaqif Sadiqov, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Belgium
According to the Azerbaijani authorities, 613 civilians were killed, including 106 women and 63 children, and 487 others were critically injured. This resulted in 130 children losing one parent and 25 children losing both. Furthermore 1,275 people were taken hostage, 150 of which are still declared missing. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of victims was at least 200, but as large as 500 to 1000.
2. The memorial concert
In memory and honour of the victims, the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Belgium organized a classical music concert, Thursday evening, in Brussels.
“We dedicate this concert to the dearest memory of 613 innocent children, women and elderly massacred on the night of the 26 February of 1992 in the small town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan. Born years after this tragedy that has left an indelible scar in the historical memory of Azerbaijanis, our young musicians performing tonight, Narmin, Agharahim and Aziza, make their musical contribution to perpetuating the memory of conflict victims in the face of the perished peaceful inhabitants of once prosperous Khojaly”, the invitation reads.
In the past decades, there has been only one year when the almond flowers did not blossom, 1992.Vaqif Sadiqov, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Belgium
In his opening speech, Ambassador Sadiqov draw the attention to the flower featured in the corner of the poster. The pink almond flower, specific to eastern Azerbaijan, blossoms in mid to late February and is a symbol of Khojaly. Since the town was completely wiped out in 1992, “we can only hope that the flowers will blossom once again in Khojaly”, the Ambassador expressed.
After a few words in Azerbaijani, the performers took the stage.
The concert was truly entrancing, you could feel the emotion of the musicians through the air in the entire hall. The entire rendition was captivating, but Fikret Amirov’s Mugam Poema, performed by pianist Narmin Najafli and violinist Aziza Salahova, was particularly enchanting to me. In the end, the musicians simply left the audience wanting more.
3. The musicians
Narmin Najafli, piano, started playing at the age of 4, studied at Bulbul Music school in Baku and is currently doing her PhD in Music, while lecturing at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media. She has won multiple national and international awards, among which Youth of the year in 2012, 1st prize and Special prize for the best performance in IX International Chopin Piano Competition in Narva and 1st prize of V Young Pianist of the North International Competition in Newcastle.
Agharahim Gouliyev, transverse flute, started playing at the age of 9, studied at L.&M. Rostropovich Music School in Baku and the Normal Music School in Paris. He holds, among others, the “Discovery of the Year” award, the Grand Prix of the First International Competition of Young Musicians from Islamic Countries and the first prize at the International Competition “Clés d’Or”.
Aziza Salahova, violin, she started playing at the age of 6, she studied at the Kazan State Conservatory and the Royal Conservatory of Mons, Belgium. She has won numerous national and international prizes, her repertoire including classical, romantic, as well as modern music and she provides the creation of many modern works, some of which are dedicated to Boulezzal, Berlin, and Arsenic, Mons.