Siti Kusujiarti - “Ketika Aku Kehilangan Diriku (The Day I Lost My Voice)”

Themes of silencing and betrayal anchor this story, in which Siti describes the ceremony surrounding her experience of FGM/C. Siti and her sister were dressed up, told to behave, washed with cold water, and cautioned to be quiet, before being cut. They sat quietly while guests at their family home celebrated with food. But Siti is determined now that her voice will be heard.

This story was created in a workshop led by StoryCenter, in collaboration with Sahiyo,  and Threads for Wellbeing, and funded by the Wallace Global Foundation. Read more about her story here:

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Middle East cinema: These are the region's top films of 2019

At the movies, Saudi Arabia and Sudan announced their presence - and North Africa produced the best features

Tlamess at Cannes: From left, actors Abdullah Miniawy and Souhir Ben Amara and director Ala Eddine Slim (La Quinzaine des Realisateurs)

Are we living in a golden age of Middle Eastern cinema? That might be an over-statement, given the erratic output of most MENA cinema, the lack of regional funds and increasing censorship.

Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum became the highest grossing Arab movie of all time

But something exciting is happening, as seen in the bold visions, formal innovations, liberal politics and growing popularity of films at international festivals and the box-office.

This was the year when Sudan and Saudi Arabia announced themselves as cinematic forces; Nadine Labaki’s Oscar-nominated Capernaum, first released in 2018, became the highest grossing Arab movie ever, thanks to its $50m tally in China; Palestinian director Elia Sulieman released his first feature in a decade; and MENA genre cinema began to flower.

Most of all, 2019 was when the cinema of the Maghreb – Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco – elevated the regional film scene onto a higher plateau. Thanks to different genres, aesthetics and confrontational politics, North Africa is where the real evolution of Middle Eastern cinema is happening.

Yet the adventurousness of 2019’s best films makes it hard to cast a blind eye to the serious flaws of several of its most popular and championed pictures. Often there was a glaring disjuncture between festival attention and box-office on one hand, and quality cinema on the other (see for example, the success of Papicha, Mounia Meddour's superficial Algerian debut, at the French box-office, where it took an estimated 1.6m euros or $1.8m).


In France, Mounia Meddour's Papicha made more than any other film by a female African director (The Ink Connection/High Sea Prod/Tayda Film)

Most of the plaudits directed towards such films concerned their politics. But these readings have proven to be misguided, if not orientalist, too often missing the bigger political picture while overlooking the films’ structural and narrative inadequacies just to promote worthy messages to western audiences.

Most of the plaudits directed towards such films concerned their politics. But these readings have proven to be misguided, if not orientalist, too often missing the bigger political picture while overlooking the films’ structural and narrative inadequacies just to promote worthy messages to western audiences.

Another driver in 2019 was how Middle Eastern cinema fluctuated due to unstable regional politics. Even before mass protests, Lebanon’s crumbling economy hit its otherwise thriving film scene, which has figured prominently on the international festival scene during the past decade. The only two major productions – All This Victory and 1982, director Oualid Mouaness’s Toronto winner – have been years in the making. Slim pickings indeed.

Egyptian cinema suffered from mounting censorship and the monopolisation of the entertainment industry by the Sisi government, resulting in the poorest year for MENA’s biggest film industry in more than a decade. Only two low-budget features reached international festivals; Certified Mail (Bi Elm El Wossul), Hisham Saqr's largely tepid look at middle class malaise; and Let’s Talk, Marianne Khoury’s autobiographical family portrait. Their apolitical nature and dependence on private funds show the stifling restrictions on Egypt’s industry.

The noticeable absence of Palestinian films, aside from Suleiman, in 2019 was less due to a slump, more the incessant absence of infrastructure that makes it hard for even established directors to realise their work.

Iraq had a rare hit at the Shanghai Film Festival with Haifa Street, Mohanad Hayal’s war-time thriller. Iran, meanwhile, still struggled to escape the shadow of revered director Abbas Kiarostami, who died in 2016, failing to attract programmers and distributors. It still delivered two terrific crime dramas in Saeed Roustaee’s Just 6.5 and Nima Javidi's The Warden.

Away from screening rooms, the most discussed topic for the MENA film industry was Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Film Festival. Scheduled to begin on 12 March, it will offer combined grants of more than $1m. But the festival will be held in the same month as Doha’s Qumra, the region’s biggest and most respected industry platform, potentially starting a cultural war in the Gulf.

The shadow of the Khashoggi murder and other human abuses still loom over Saudi attempts to revitalise its culture. Whether the new rich kid on the cinema block can attract a substantial industry presence or is shunned by film-makers could be the most intriguing industry story next year.  But that is for 2020: here are my dozen best Middle Eastern movies of 2019, as ever in descending order.


 In Mansourah, You Separated Us

 In Mansourah You Separated Us
Dorothee-Myriam Kellou’s In Mansourah, You Separated Us examines the displacement of Algerians during the war of independence (HKE/Les Films du Bilboquet)

Dorothee Myriam Kellou, an award-winning French-Algerian journalist-turned-film-maker, investigates the forced displacement of two million Algerians at the hands of the French army during the Algerian war of independence as she escorts her father to visit the childhood home he hasn’t seen in nearly half-a-century.

Handled with great sensitivity, tact and compassion, Kellou’s debut documentary is a perceptive study of trauma, the vagaries of collective memory and the debilitating impact of loss.


Nadir Bouhmouch's documentary Amussu, which chides the authorities for clamping down on village protests (Movement On Road 96)


A group of Moroccan villagers residing alongside the largest silver mine in Africa sabotage a pipeline after enduring years of water scarcity caused by the plant. This act of rebellion evolves into a grand movement that leads to the formation of a protest camp where the villagers are pitted against the police in Nadir Bouhmouch’s searing, angry documentary.

Combining ethnography, cinema verite and, in a wild stylistic touch, musicals, Bouhmouch’s sophomore feature functions as a sucker punch against the authorities; a disparaging look at the impact of state-backed capitalism on traditional life; and a hymn to collective endurance against a Goliath-like apathetic adversary. Possibly the year’s fiercest political feature.

 The Cave


Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts have been universally lauded for For Sama, this year’s runaway Syrian hit, which has raked in awards the world over and figured in many year-end best-of lists. While certainly deserving, it suffers from over-familiarity, presenting an inspiring if tidy narrative whose rightful aim is to remind the world of Bashar al-Assad's ongoing atrocities rather than shed new light on the conflict.

The Cave, Feras Fayyad’s follow-up to his Oscar-nominated Last Men In Aleppo, also does not offer fresh any fresh perspective on the war. But it defiantly dispenses with narrative altogether, creating instead a unremitting viscerality that vividly captures the chaos, hopelessness and senselessness of the combat as seen from an underground hospital in Eastern Ghouta. Both a harrowing physical record and an examination of our conflicted relationship with images of violence, The Cave may be too gruelling and graphic for some, but is certainly not as straightforward as some Arab pundits deemed it to be.  


Last Visit

Saudi Arabia Last Visit film
Last Visit is one of three features from Saudi Arabia to make a splash at festivals in the past few months (Last Scene Films)

The seeds of the new Saudi Arabian film movement, clandestinely planted a decade ago, were finally reaped in 2019, resulting in three completely dissimilar films. The Perfect Candidate, Haifaa al-Mansour’s fourth feature, is a workplace drama about a young Saudi physician running for office. Meanwhile Scales, Shahad Ameen’s debut, is a feminist mermaid fable centring on a teen girl’s struggle to break an ancient curse and challenge patriarchal traditions.

But Last Visit, Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan’s debut, is an altogether different proposition. A measured domestic drama, its focus is an estranged father and son (played by Osama Alqess and Abdullah Alfahad) who are forced to acknowledge their mutual remoteness and disappointments towards one another when they’re abruptly summoned to tend to a dying grandfather. A two-hander reminiscent of director Ingmar Bergman, Aldhabaan tackles generational disconnection, failure of communication, inherited toxic masculinity and the subtle tyranny of tradition in this remarkably ambitious yet subtle chamber piece.

Through its narrative depicting a nation at a crossroads but not knowing where to head next, Last Visit can lay claim as Saudi Arabia’s first real arthouse feature.


 A Son

A Son film
Actor Sami Bouajila has been acclaimed for his performance in A Son (Dolce Vita Films/Cinetelefilms Jour2Fete)

The rise of genre film has been one of the most exciting trends in Middle Eastern cinema in recent years. With A Son (Bik Eneich), Tunisian director Mehdi Barsaoui finds a new urgency and purpose for the North African social thriller.

In one of the very best Arab performances of the year, Sami Bouajila (Days Of Glory, London River) plays an upper middle-class husband and father who must make demanding moral choices after his 10-year-old son is injured during a terrorist ambush in 2011.

What follows is a pressure-cooker drama where nothing is as it seems, as the divulgence of family secrets kickstarts an incisive portrait of class, latent machismo and self-serving confabulation, all set in a land on the brink of seismic shift.

With an assured hand, Barsaoui seamlessly weaves these strands into a tightly controlled narrative, using thorny family dynamics to contest the questionable morality of Tunisia’s self-righteous liberal elite.



Belonging, Burak Cevik’s second feature, is one of the most inventive Middle Eastern movies of the year (Fol Film/Kuyu Film/Acephale)

It was not a vintage year for Turkish cinema: A Tale of Three Sisters (Kız Kardesler), Emin Alper’s coldly received Berlinale competition contender, was the most high-profile feature at festivals. But the real Turkish discovery of 2019 was Burak Cevik’s Belonging (Aidiyet), an experimental dramedy that ranks among the most formally inventive Middle Eastern movies of the year. 


Joseph Fahim


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A Sunny Day In Seattle by Maryum Saifee



In advance of February 6th, International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, "A Sunny Day in Seattle", part of Voices to End FGM/C project is the first of 27 videos to be released over the next coming months.

Maryum underwent Female Genital Mutilation at age seven. She discovered years later her aunt cut her without her parent’s consent. Maryum recalls the memory while visiting her niece in Seattle. She goes on to talk about her decision to speak out publicly against FGM, with the hope that future generations of girls will be spared.



This story was created in a workshop led by StoryCenter, in collaboration with Threads For Wellbeing, and funded by the Wallace Global Fund.

#EndFGC #EndFGM #ZTD #GenerationEquality #Sahiyo





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Internet suspension in Assam did not stop people from mobilising – and singing songs of protest

With social media blocked, television has played a key role in mobilizing protestors.


In spite of internet services being suspended in Assam since December 11, protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act continue to rage in the state. In the absence of social media, television news seems to be the go-to alternative for people to keep abreast of the protest calendar.

“We get all our information about the protests on TV,” said Nabanita Borgohain, a lawyer who was part of the All Assam Student Union’s “jailbharo” – fill the jails – protest on Monday.

Chiranjib Deori, a student attending the same protest, said he was “completely dependent” on television news now that there was no internet. “I came here because I heard the AASU’s call to people to come out on TV,” he said.

Adversarial media

The government’s attempts to curb the spread of protests seem to have been thwarted by the Assamese media, particular television media. They have made no secret of their opposition to the Act, which fast-tracks undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh eligible for Indian citizenship.

As the legislation made its way through Parliament to become law on December 11, Assam broke into protests – some of which turned violent. At least five persons have been killed so far. According to the popular local claims, the Act will regularise thousands of undocumented Bengali Hindus in the state, further marginalising populations identified as indigenous to Assam.

The Assamese media’s position is an extension of their position on immigration-related matters. The Assamese press wholeheartedly backed the update of the National Register of Citizens in the state, which is intended to be a list of “genuine” Indian citizens living in the state, sifting out undocumented migrants.

“Television has very well played a very important role in these protests,” said Mrinal Talukdar, who hosts a popular news and debate program on Pratidin Time, a leading Assamese news channel. “I am very proud to be part of the Assamese media right now which is showing such great character and courage against the ruling BJP government – the kind that few others have shown in BJP-ruled states of the country.”

In fact, the narrative on television has been so decidedly anti-government on some Assamese news channels that there are murmurs that the regime has gone to the extent of disturbing their transmission. “I can provide no proof, but it’s a fact that my programme is facing technical disturbances, though commercial breaks are free of such troubles,” alleged Talukdar.


Demonstrators take part in a musical concert to protest against the Citizenship Act in Guwahati on December 15. Credit: Sajjad Hussain/AFP

Arunabh Saikia


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Irving BerlinIrving Berlin (left with violinist Jascha Heifetz) wrote "White Christmas" despite being Jewish.HENRY GUTTMANN/GETTY IMAGES


President Donald Trump is taking credit this season for saving Christmas (or not), but it was a handful of Jews who wrote some of the greatest Yuletide songs in American history.

Certainly everyone knows that "White Christmas" was written by Irving Berlin (also known as the Russian-born Israel Isidore Beilin), who also wrote "God Bless America." Berlin's 1942 dream of snow on Christmas morning defines the holiday for many Americans—and made a fortune for Bing Crosby—but it doesn't even make the top five of greatest Christmas songs written by non-Christians.

Marks, born John David Marks in Mount Vernon, N.Y., based his song on a short story written by his brother-in-law Robert May, who had gotten an assignment in 1939 by Montgomery Ward to write a "cheery" Christmas book for shoppers.

The song, which put the flying reindeer myth into the American consciousness, became a hit for Gene Autry in 1949.

Marks also wrote such classics as "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "A Holly Jolly Christmas," "Silver and Gold" and "Run Rudolph Run."




Long before he was The Velvet Fog, singer Torme was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants with the surname Torma. In 1945, he teamed up with longtime collaborator Wells, also Jewish, for this classic tune inspired, Torme once said in an interview, by a desire to think of cold thoughts during a particularly hot summer.

Jack Frost nipping at your nose, indeed.



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The March genocide of 1918 in Baku

Note: This publication is a part of series of articles submitted by the members of Azerbaijan School of Diplomacy and students of Western Caspian University. The views expressed in these articles are the author's and do not reflect the views of this publication.

Abstract - This article deals with the massacres committed by Armenians in Baku in 1918. On July 15, 1918, the Council of Ministers of Azerbaijan Republic adopted a decree on the establishment of Extraordinary Investigation Commission (EIC), “to investigate the assaults made on Muslims and their property within the entire Caucasus since the beginning of the European war”. The materials of the Extraordinary Investigation Commission is the unique source for investigating the genocide against the Turkish-Muslim population in Azerbaijan from March till September in 1918. These documents are proved arguments show that the genocide against Azerbaijanis is one of the horrible tragedies that had been rarely met in the history of humanity. We must give due to the first young Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in the most complicated and hardest conditions of its existence and activities as quickly and discreetly reacted to these events and had taken concrete steps.


Index Terms - genocide, Armenians, archive documents, Extraordinary Investigation Commission, Baku, Azerbaijan



The declaration of independence in 1918 enabled Azerbaijan to investigate crimes against Turks and other Muslim population in their homeland. One of the significant decisions of the newly formed government was the establishment of an Extraordinary Investigation Commission on June 15, 1918, to investigate crimes committed by dashnak gangs. This is the indicator of national memory to tragedic events that happened in the life of Azerbaijani people and its state powers.

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic implementing into life the desires of Azerbaijan people was a sweet surprise for them and started practical activities about investigating those events. So in July 1918, the Council of Ministers of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic considered it necessary to express its attitude to what had been happening in the country, particularly by the acts of violence against the peaceful Azerbaijani population, according to the report of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mammad Hasan Hajinsky. It was mentioned in the statement: “It is already four months, Armenian extorters had been committing atrocities against the civilian Muslim population, taking their lives and belongings. At the same moment as a result of misinformation, nations of Europe had a wrong image of the ongoing processes and these factors necessitated the establishment of a special commission” [1].

It was mentioned and stressed in the report that it was necessary to create an organization which would “accurate registration of all cases of violence; the circumstances under which committed violence; establishing the perpetrators and losses caused by them as in the national interests and in the interest of affected populations” [1]. He argued that the entity should be vested with extraordinary authorities. Documents to be collected by the commission should be translated into the Azerbaijani, Russian, English, French, and German languages. M.H.Hajinsky especially stressed that it was necessary to organizing Investing Committee immediately “because today it is easy to take interviews, photos and other pieces of evidence, that will be more difficult afterward, maybe will not be available then” [1].


Establishment of the Extraordinary Investigation Commission

At the same meeting – July 15, 1918 the Council of Ministers of Azerbaijan Republic adopted a decree on the establishment of the Extraordinary Investigation Commission, “for the investigation of violence made against Muslims and their property within the entire South Caucasus since the beginning of the European war” [1]. It was the first attempt for giving political value to carrying genocide against Azerbaijanis and the processes of occupation Azerbaijan territories more than a century in history. According to the decision signed on the 31 August, 1918 by the head of Democratic Republic, at the same time the minister of Foreign Affairs Fataly Khan Khoysky the Extraordinary Investigation Commission consisting of 7 members was organized. It was stated in the decision: “For fulfilling the government’s decision on 15 July, 1918 - lawyer Alakbar bey Khasmammadov was appointed the chairman of the investigation commission (later the chairman of the Azerbaijani Chamber of Appeals), Ismayil bey Shahmaliyev and Andrey Fomich Novatsky became members of the Ganja District Court, Nasreddin Sefikurdski was appointed the assistant public prosecutor of the Ganja District Court, and Nikolay Mikhailovch Mikhailov, V.V. Gudvillo from the Ganja Migration Office and teacher Mirza Javad Akhunzade were also included into the Commission” [1].

Though the Extraordinary Investigation Commission was formed within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the commission was attached to the Ministry of Justice by the decision of Prime Minister Fataly khan Khoyski on September 22, 1918. The assistant public prosecutor of Baku District Court Alexander Yevgeniyevich Kluge, the member of the grand jury Mammad khan Tekinski, the investigator for particularly important cases of the Ganja District Court Mehiyeddin Shahmaliyev, the member of the Baku Guberniya District Court Hidayet Sutanov, members of the grand jury Aley Adamovich Litovsky, Cheslav Klossovsky, lawyer Abbasali bey Haji Irzayev, and the member of Baku District Court B.Yusifbeyov sat on the commission at various times [3].

Extraordinary Investigation Commission materials collected by August 1919 was 36 volumes and 35000 pages, 6 volumes (740 pages) of them reflected violent acts, performed on the Muslim population of the city of Baku and its environs. Azerbaijanis underwent attacks and lootings in Shamakhi, Goychay, Ganja, Nukha, Gazakh, Lankaran, Salyan, Javad, Garabagh, Zangezur, Irevan - in short, in all provinces of Azerbaijan.


Documents of the Extraordinary Investigation Commission

Inhabitant of Baku city A.N.Kvasnikin who was questioned as a witness by Investigation Commission said: “On 17-21 of March of this year (by the old calendar) incidents of Baku may be explained in this way without being conscience-stricken: “It was a bloody attempt of Armenians against to the Muslims for the purpose of annihilating Muslim people firstly in Baku, then around the city, plundering all their properties and assimilating all their properties and political superiority by Armenians.”” [1].

Unbridled and wild Armenian bandits used severe methods for destroying Azerbaijan people. The member of Extraordinary Investigating Commission A.Y.Kluge wrote in his report “Violence that carried out against to the Muslim people of Baku city”: “Well-armed, trained Armenian soldiers attacked the accompanying number of machine-guns……Armenians invaded Muslim houses, destroyed the inhabitants of these houses, cut them by saber and dagger and punched a hole by using bayonet, threw the children into the burning house, shook three-four days babies on the tip of bayonet, they didn’t take a pity on infants whose parents killed and they committed murder” [2].

Besides killing Muslims, Armenians destroyed their properties and stole little valuable things. Afterward, only in one place, 57 Muslim women and girls corpses were found under the ground. Their ears, noses were cut off, their bellies torn open. Armenians tied the women to one another with their plaits, carried them bareheaded and barefoot in the cabs, they bit and crippled them using the butts of rifles on the road [2].

According to the documents of Investigation Commission, it is clear that within March genocide of 1918 up to 11 thousands Turk-Muslim were killed in Baku city. Most of their corpses were not found. Because according to the explanation of witnesses, Armenians threw corpses into burning houses, to the sea and wells in order to hide the criminal [2].

400 million manat jewellery and property from Baku people were confiscated. Number of sanctuary and historical monuments of the people were destroyed completely. Tezepir mosque was damaged by long-range gun. Dashnaks burned “Ismailiyye” building that considered one of the world architectural temples [2].

In the Investigation Commission materials it is said about this wildness: “On 18 March 1918 one Armenian officer besides three Armenian soldiers came into side-street among “Kaspi” newspaper Editorial office and “Ismailiyye” Muslim charitable society and entered into “Ismailiyye” building. After a while smoke and flame were in the window of the building. The building, which is not only considered a pride of Baku Muslims but also a beauty of this city was destroyed by fire. There was not any person in order to put out the fire, because the Muslims were not able to go to the street, they were fired by machine-guns and weapons”. That officer was Tatevos Amirov, the famous statesman of “Dashnaksutyun”. This man was the very Tatevos, whom Soviet historians and press propagated him as “invincible revolutioner”, “real fighter for peoples’ friendship”.

Robbers burned the Editorial office of “Kaspi” newspaper and the buildings of “Dagestan” hotel, “Iskenderiyye”, “Ismailiyye” [2].

Not only Azerbaijan Muslims, but also all Caucasus Muslims were injured in these massacres. Baku Muslim charitable society and Caucasus Muslim Committees were situated in “Ismailiyye”, here money and documents belonged to those organizations were kept, meetings and congresses of Muslims were held here. In editorial office of “Kaspi” newspaper books were published in Azeri. 5 thousand copies of Quran were kept here in “Kaspi” editorial office. All of them were burned.

In March pillages besides well organized military parts, Armenian intellectuals and youths participated here. It is mentioned in the Investigation Commission materials that “representatives who represented all classes of Armenian people considered themselves obliged to take part in this “war”. There were oil proprietor, engineers, doctors, contour employees; on the whole all the layers of Armenian people realized their “civil debts”” [1].

10 armed sailors under by the led of pilot Rozenblyumun to Kazim Akhundov, the assistant of commander of steamer “Nikolay Buniatov” on 6 April for defending of Chenberekend upland part of Baku. Akhindov began to collect the corpses in the Nikolayev street on 7 April. Among them there were the corpses of 3 Muslim gymnasium pupils who were cut off into pieces by sword and bayoneted, 11 gymnasium girls, 1 Russian woman, 3 Muslim boys at the age of 3-5, 8 Russian men, 19 Iranian Muslim women and 67 Azerbaijani corpses who were from different professions. Besides this, 6748 corpses of women and children were delivered to the bridge of “Vulkan” society. Akhundov carried his acquaintance Vladimir Sokolov to the place called “Kerpijkhana”. Here he took 3 photos. The first photo was of a woman who had a bullet wound in her head, 5 bayonets wound in her body and a sword blow in her right collar-bone. On her right breast there was a baby still alive. There was a bayonet wound on the leg of baby.

The second picture was of a child age of 2 who was nailed up to the wall with a big tack. It is clear from the top of nail that he was nailed up to the wall by stone. The stone was still there.

The first photo was a corpse of a girl age of 13-14. It seems from the photo that a teenage girl was raped.

When Akhundov entered into room 4 th together with Sokolov they saw a terrible view: there were corpses of a girl age of 22-23 on the floor of a large room, 2 women, a girl age of 9, a boy age of 8 and infant. Dogs ate the legs and hands of the baby. Described view influenced Sokolov and he was not able to take more photos.

Robbers did not take a pity on their acquaintances, for instance on 20 March Stepan Lalayev together with the group of Armenian soldiers invaded into the flat of doctor Beybala bey Sultanov residing at the address of Vorrontsov and killed him by taking revolver. By coming down to the yard Lalayev shot Muslim employee, his wife and his son age of 2. Armed Armenians till thirty invaded Mashadi Ahmad Rahim’s son, valuable things in the sum of 34 thousand 840 manat were stolen. Mashadi Ahmad recognized tailor Hayki and shop-keeper Yekhush.

Tragic events that took place in Baku damaged the city greatly. Epidemy was revolted and killed thousands of people; they were not given water and food. It can be called that all food and products in the market and shops were disappeared. Robbers gathered and carried all food. The press was writing: “People were tortured by hunger”.

The unbridled and savage Armenian gangs used the most brutal methods to kill Azerbaijani civilians. A.Y.Kluge, member of the Extraordinary Investigation Commission, wrote in a report titled “On the Case of Violence against the Muslim Population of Baku: Based on the documents of the investigation commission, approximately eleven thousand Azerbaijanis were killed in Baku in March of 1918 Bodies of many people were missing; according to witnesses’ testimonies, Armenians threw corpses into burning houses, the sea, and wells to cover up the crimes. It is also known that well-armed and trained Armenian soldiers attacked using numerous machine-guns [2].

The invasion of Baku by the Eleventh Red Army on April 27 and subsequent subjugation of all other parts of Azerbaijan thwarted the accomplishment of the mission of the Azerbaijani government on ensuring territorial integrity of the country. A number of territories, including Zangezur, were annexed to Soviet Armenia. The massacres of the Muslim population in 1918-1920 thus proved to be a policy of genocide deliberately planned and executed by the Dashnaksutyun toward the establishment of “Great Armenia” [3].


  1. Conclusion

The mass genocide of Azerbaijanis by Armenians and their driving out from their homelands was the most tragic and terrible pages of the XX century history. Many years were spent silently over these events. The March genocide was not only forgotten in the period of Soviets but it was also announced as the “civil war”. Only in 1991 after regaining of its souvereinty Azerbaijan realities kept many years along and circumstances re-establishing of objective history were printed on media.

We must give due to the first young Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in the most complicated and hardest conditions of its existence and activities as quickly and discreetly reacted to these events and had taken concrete steps. The March genocide of 1918 had been studied from the legal point of view by the Extraordinary Investigation Commission operating under the government of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and had officially historical truth in the documents that hadn’t got an excuse in any case. These meanly acts were repeatedly carried out for a long time against Azerbaijanis and never received its political-legal assessment in the chain of bloody violences.




  •  Azerbaijan Republic State Archive fund 100, 1061.
  •  Azerbaijan Republic State Political Parties and Public Movement Archive fund 277.
  •  A.Isgenderli. Realities of Azerbaijan: 1917-1920 USA: Xlibris Corporation, 2011, 61-62.


Tural Velizadeh

Tural Velizade was born on May 1, 1988 in Lachin, Azerbaijan. He graduated at the Faculty of History, Baku State University, Azerbaijan in 2012 with a Masters degree in History. Currently he is enrolled in PhD program at the Department of History, Baku State University.

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Middle East and Terror - A student perspective

Note: This publication is a part of series of articles submitted by the members of Azerbaijan School of Diplomacy and students of Western Caspian University. The views expressed in these articles are the author's and do not reflect the views of this publication.

Recent events in the Middle East have attracted the world's attention. The interests of all countries collided just in this region. Of course, there are some important points behind the new occupation plan that will allow exploiting the natural wealth of the East. The Arab Spring, the operations from Africa to Central Asia are based on opening new channels for global capital under the name of "disaster capitalism," i.e., the fight against international terrorism. Especially in Muslim countries, toy states are established and countries are turned into terrorist swamps. The same scenario has been played in the Middle East since September 11, 2001. Wars, interventions in domestic affairs of the countries, changes in regime, the establishment of terrorist groups, arming and financial support to them, the murder of civilians, migration, propaganda, illegal investments, torture, and illegal arrests are part of this scenario.

Under the Greater Middle East Project, the Middle East map was drawn again based on artificial states created by Sykes-Picot in 1916. Being the scene of the war under the name of democracy, Iraq is divided, the future of Afghanistan is dark, the situation in North Africa is confused, Syria is divided by wars. Many terrorist organizations - ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq-al-Sham), Al-Nusra, PKK and Boko Haram - serve the interests of the Great Force. Thanks to these terrorist organizations, the United States and its allies, including oil-rich countries, train the terrorist with their special forces on seeking to change regimes in countries rich in natural resources. In short, the United States and its allies have differentiated themselves by creating a variety of terrorist organizations instead of fighting terrorism and pursuing foreign policies through terrorism. There is no doubt that in the future, as the momentum rises, new terrorist organizations will emerge under different names. The common denominator of all this is the chaos conditions, to be seized oil regions and the geopolitical interests that serve the purposes of the United States and its allies.

The power and extraordinary state war between the US and Russia for the region is at the center of the process. America has increased its activity there. But this is reflected in the fact that, rather than diplomatic steps, a number of local armed groups have been given new weapons and they were made more radical. According to some reports, Americans donated thousands of trucks to the Kurdish group in Syria (mainly to the PYD / YPG). It is also a major player in the Middle East through neighboring Iranian “Hezbollah”, “Hashdi Shabi” and “Hussein”. Turkey, however, is at war with PKK within its borders. The official political situation in Ankara is that they can not go to Syria without Russia and Iran’s permission. 


Həsənzadə Fateh

The author is a student of Western Caspian University, researcher of political sciences and a member of Azerbaijan School of Diplomacy.

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A student perspective - The visible and invisible aspects of World War II

Note: This publication is a part of series of articles submitted by the members of Azerbaijan School of Diplomacy and students of Western Caspian University. The views expressed in these articles are the author's and do not reflect the views of this publication.

The struggle to redistribute existing authorities, raw materials and sales markets have been strengthened. The trend of nationalism, racism and retaliation Germany and Japan dissatisfied with the harsh, severe and unfair conditions of the Versailles - Washington system and revanchism in Italy has been intensified. The USSR tried to conquer Eastern Europe, to expand its influence in the Black Sea, in the Far East, in the Front and South Asia. The UK, France, and the United States were able to maintain their raw materials and sales markets and reputations. One of the causes of World War II was an attempt to weaken and destroy the totalitarian regimes of liberal-democratic states - fascism and communism, Nazism and Bolshevism. Another important cause of the war was the underestimation of the threat of fascism and Nazism by the liberal democratic countries and the USSR. World War II can be divided into three major periods chronologically. The first period lasted from September 1, 1939, to June 1942. This period is characterized by the expansion of the scale of war under the prevailing aggression of the aggressor. The second period lasting from June 1942 to January 1944 is a major turning point when the initiative and priority was seized by the antihitlet coalition. The 1944 year is characterized by the crisis and collapse of the ruling regimes in the aggressive states. World War II began on September 1, 1939, when German troops attacked Poland. The German army broke the defensive line of the Polish troops and rapidly forwarded inside the country. The Polish government had to leave the country. On October 2, the last remaining units of the Polish army were also surrendered. Poland was the first victim of German military aggression and the theory of the Nazi race. Although Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3, they did not take active military action against it. Although dominated by the military force, France and the UK did not engage in active military operations until the beginning of May 1940.

That is why this period of the World War II on the Western Front has entered history as the "Strange War". According to the protocol concluded with Germany on September 17, 1939, Soviet troops started the war against Poland and seized the territories of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus. Those areas were united into the USSR. The Treaty of Friendship and Borders signed between the USSR and Germany on September 28, 1939, approved the division of Poland. In 1939-1940 the USSR occupied Karel-Fini, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bessarabia, and North Bukovina. On December 14, 1939, the USSR was expelled from the Society of Nations for its aggressive actions. Germany surrendered Denmark taking the one-sided position in the war in April 1940 and Norway in June. On May 10, the Netherlands and Belgium surrounded. The Germans seized the Kale port and, in late May, oppressed 340,000 British-French Belgian armies in Düsseldorf. The attack was stopped by the order of Hitler. This event entered history as "The Miracle of Dunkirk". Great Britain was able to break the army out of the encirclement. The military technics were left at the enemy. On May 26, German troops attacked France. The last defensive battle took place near the Ema River. The Majino defense line was created. German troops entered Paris on June 14. The new head of government, the leader of the French fascists, marshal A. Peten asked for peace in Germany. The peace agreement was signed on June 22 in the Company Forest, in the headquarters wagon where the reconciliation on surrender of Germany was signed in 1918.

Afsun Musayeva

Afsun is a student of Western Caspian University and a researcher of political sciences and diplomacy.



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Complex politics of Middle East - A Student Perspective

Note: This publication is a part of series of articles submitted by the members of Azerbaijan School of Diplomacy and students of Western Caspian University. The views expressed in these articles are the author's and do not reflect the views of this publication.

Sometimes more unusual things happen. For example, in recent forest fires in Greece, a number of Greek media have blamed America. They write that Washington tried to blame Russia by causing rows between the Turks and the Greeks. After all, there was a diplomatic crisis between Russia and Greece. By doing this, the United States seeks to create a country subordinated to it in the southern part of NATO.

It is hard to say how true this is, but there is already a public consciousness in the Middle East that rich countries are struggling so hard that they do not want to give up. This is not without reason. Because these forces in the Middle East have taken numerous steps, ignoring the tragedy of millions of people to secure their own interests. This process is ongoing.

At present, the struggle covers all the Middle East countries, and moreover, they gradually link the Iranian factor to it. The conflict between the Arab countries of the region and Israel has risen to a new level due to the Jerusalem issue. Washington's provocative behavior has exacerbated the situation. It is now facing Israel and the Muslim world. Tel Aviv doesn’t even intend to withdraw. There is no doubt that Muslims will continue to fight for their religious values ​​until the end. If we look at the Syrian issue through the prism of this conflict, we can conclude that there is little likelihood of the emergence of new terrorist groups.

Another tension is due to the intensification of the struggle for greater authority within Syria. The US tries to undermine the Russian-Turkish alliance. Iran takes apprehensive steps to protect its populations. Russia and Turkey follow their lines in a calm and systematic manner. The situation became so complicated that the great powers began to engage the Greeks.

Israel and the US reopened the issue of energy exploration at sea on the Greek part of Cyprus. Egypt even joined it. The group has finally declared that energy searches on the Greek part of the island will continue and that even military actions may be taken against those who wants to prevent it. The Turkish Foreign Ministry immediately issued a statement saying that "some ambassadors have exceeded the limit and they don’t advise it”.

It seems that Turkey tries to create new sources of tension around it. These are Cyprus and Greece. Power is looked for in one state, the natural disaster is caused in another one trying to blame Ankara. Thus, the Middle East issue is becoming increasingly an area of ​​greater geopolitical clashes.

Another aspect of the problem is related to Iran. America and Israel show a tougher position against Iran. Trump even threatened Tehran with a military strike. Tehran replied to him in the same tone. In this regard, military operations against Houthi in Yemen also attract attention. Finally, there have been reports that many Houthi has been killed. With regard to Syria, the United States insists on the withdrawal of Iranian forces. This issue was also on the agenda during the Trump-Putin debate. 

Of course, Tehran does not accept these conditions and wants to strengthen its position. This seems to have increased the likelihood of real military clashes in Syria.

Turkey's relations with Iran are also added to these. Ankara has publicly stated that it will not join the sanctions against Iran. This means that the US can impose sanctions against Turkey. R.T. Erdogan said that they did not take it into consideration.

Basing on these facts, we can conclude that the process of geopolitical regionalization in the Middle East has been accelerated and that it has led to further escalation of tensions between the rich states. In fact, this region resembles a powder keg that can explode at any moment. Now experts try to predict its possible impact on the surrounding regions. It is likely that the Middle East will bring an end to regionalism in global geopolitics. In this case, it is not clear what mankind is expected for. This is because the greediness of leadership of the superpowers is at a high level. There is an impression that a fight can begin at any moment. He has the power to destroy mankind!

Arif Ismayilzadeh

The author is a student of Western Caspian University, researcher of political sciences and a member of Azerbaijan School of Diplomacy.

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Lebanese Physicist Woman Among Two Finalists for a Trip to Space!

Professor Rana Nicholas is not only a physicist, she is also an astronaut in the making.

Nour Abdul Reda


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