Following the artillery fire on Armenian people in Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday by Azerbaijan’s forces, community protesters blocked the northbound Hollywood (101) Freeway at Glendale Boulevard to bring attention to and call upon leaders to act on the dire state of this conflict, according to local TV news reports.
In the wake of this news, Councilwoman Elen Asatryan called attention to the deaths of women, children, civilians and 34-year-old Aznavour Saghyan, the mayor of Glendale’s sister city, Martuni in Armenia.
“This is not just an Armenian issue, this is not just a human rights issue,” Asatryan said during the Sept. 19 City Council meeting. “The Armenian people are facing a genocide as we sit here today. Children and women have been moved into bomb shelters. Yesterday, they were hoping to have bread because of the blockade. Today, they’re hoping that they wake up alive tomorrow.”
Councilman Ardy Kassakhian called Saghyan a “dedicated public servant and a patriot.”
“I am disturbed by the shelling and what seems to be an all-out assault on civilian populations throughout Artsakh who have been in a tenuous cease-fire supposedly being overseen by Russian peacekeepers. The peace has been violated and attacks have been made,” Kassakhian added.
This attack comes amid a nine-month blockade of the Lachin corridor, which has left the people of Artsakh without essential resources such as food, water and medical supplies. Last month, the City Council approved the Glendale Aid for Artsakh Initiative, prompting residents to donate to the cause and spread the word.
On Wednesday, it was reported that Azerbaijan and Armenian forces came to a cease-fire agreement, according to officials from both sides.
Glendale Unified School District discussed how this conflict affects students, considering nearly 1,200 students have enrolled in GUSD schools from Armenia in the past year.
“The continued attacks and now the agreement to disarm have brought on a heightened level of stress, anxiety, fear, anger and uncertainty for many in our Glendale Unified community,” interim Superintendent Darneika Watson said in a statement. “As educational leaders, we are deeply aware of the significant impact war and violence can have on our students’ young minds and educational experiences.
“Many of our students have families who still reside in areas torn apart by war. Many more are dealing with the profound effects of generational trauma and navigating dual cultural identities.”
First published in the September 23 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.