During the six-week war in Nagorno Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the latter committed numerous crimes against humanity.
From killing peaceful civilians to artificially delaying the process of returning Armenian prisoners of war, it seemed like Azerbaijani Armenophobia couldn’t get worse.
However, the leader of this authoritarian country doesn’t cease to shock the international community and apply psychological pressure on the Armenian society that is yet to recover from the demoralizing defeat.
Aliyev Inaugurates Military Trophy Park in Baku
On April 12, 2021, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the inauguration of a military trophy park. While many countries have opened trophy parks after their triumphant victory in war, Aliyev’s ‘Trophy Park’ is different. It is not a glorification of victory but a morbid glorification of crimes against humanity and hideous xenophobia.
There are around 300 exhibits in this open-air museum in Baku. Aside from heavy equipment and a wall made of over 2000 license plates of Armenian cars, there are other exhibits in Aliyev’s museum that cross the line between a manifestation of victory and violation of all humanitarian values.
Aside from the military equipment, there are also life-size wax figures of Armenian servicemen depicted in demoralizing scenes – dying, chained, or in anguish. The artists have created these figures in the most cynical and racist ways.
In fact, one of the three artists behind these wax figures Kamran Asadov stated, “We tried to recreate the ugliest images. … We gave them hooked noses, flat heads, and other features.”
In the scenes depicting Armenian servicemen, Azerbaijanis used items belonging to Armenian soldiers to make the scenes look as realistic as possible. It is more than clear that this is done to cause major psychological pain to the families and friends of those who have fallen in war, are detained in Azerbaijan, or still missing.
Additionally, Aliyev’s trophy park is not only built to humiliate Armenians but also show his people how powerful the Azerbaijani army is. So powerful and brave as to let chained Armenian soldiers die in anguish in cells despite all humanitarian laws and human morality.
A scene that came as a shock to not only Armenians that are sensitive to the topic but to the international community too was Aliyev’s walk through a long path of helmets of Armenian servicemen.
With this installation, Aliyev is now on par with Hitler and Hussein. Many think that it is inspired by Iraqi President Sadam Hussein’s Victory Arch. An installation made with 5000 helmets of Iranian soldiers killed during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988).
At the opening of the park-museum, President Aliyev said the following, “Everyone who visits the park of military trophies will see the strength of our army, will see our willpower, and how hard it was to achieve victory.”
It seems like Aliyev is determined to continue to feed the Azerbaijani society with Armenophobia. As the years have proved, Armenophobia is the ‘cornerstone’ of Azerbaijani national identity. In fact, the Azerbaijani national identity is more anti-Armenian than it is Azerbaijani.
And while there may be few Azerbaijani people to condemn opening such a park of barbarism, hundreds of people standing in line to see this macabre series of installations find this park of trophies amusing. This is certainly disturbing and a sign of an unhealthy and chauvinist society.
And in this video we see the completion of propaganda. The man in this video was a child once who’d been brainwashed for many years. Another poised heart and mind. Stop this hate pic.twitter.com/13nCZIALbE— Mirzali Mahammad (@Mirzali_FR) April 20, 2021
The International Community Reacts
Silent and with a neutral stance during the 44-day war when Azerbaijan committed atrocious crimes against humanity, the international community seems to finally be taken aback by such an evident manifestation of ethnic hatred.
The National Interest compared Ilham Aliyev with Sadam Hussein while many journalists and politicians were shocked by the museum glorifying barbarism and animosity and presenting them under the light of heroic victory.
As facts prove, the silence of the international community has only emboldened Aliyev and his authoritarian regimen that thrives on Armenophobia. And this is no more the trouble of Armenians only but the failure of humanity in general.
How Did Armenia Respond?
The Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan was quick to condemn the inauguration of Aliyev’s trophy park. According to the Ombudsman, it is a “clear manifestation of fascism” and “a proof of Azerbaijani genocidal policy”.
April is the month when Armenians all over the world make a concerted effort to spread awareness of the Armenian Genocide with the aim of making the international community officially recognize it. Amid the backdrop of this month’s significance to Armenians, it is essential for the international community to evaluate and recognize not only the events of the past but also not turn a blind eye to the current events either.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia released a statement accusing Azerbaijan of “dishonoring the memory of victims of the war, missing persons and prisoners of war and violating the rights and dignity of their families.”
According to this statement, “Such steps manifest how far the Azerbaijani leadership stands from its own declarative statements on the “post-conflict” situation, regional peace and reconciliation.” While Aliyev claims that he has offered Yerevan a peace treaty, when followed by such acts of preaching enmity against Armenians, the Armenian society certainly won’t believe the fake pacifist statements of the Azerbaijani leader.