Sumgait, Baku Pogroms Commemorated in Washington

AYF and Greater Washington Armenian community members protest Sumgait and Baku pogroms

Protesters Call for Justice for Gurgen Margaryan and All Victims of Azerbaijani Aggression

WASHINGTON—Braving sub-freezing temperatures, Greater Washington area Armenian-Americans honored the memory of the victims of Azerbaijani aggression and pledged ongoing solidarity with the freedom-loving people of Artsakh, at a February 28th protest held in front of the Azerbaijani Embassy.

The demonstration, organized by the Washington Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Ani Chapter and St. Mary’s Armenian Church Youth Organization (ACYO), coincided with the 26th anniversary of the Azerbaijani pogroms against the Armenian population of Sumgait, which set the stage for attacks in Baku in 1990 and a cycle of anti-Armenian violence that continues to this day.

The demonstrators called special attention to the brutal axe-murder of Armenian Lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan, as the nation marks the 10th anniversary of his slaying by convicted Azerbaijani soldier Lt. Ramil Safarov. In a move that stunned the international community, Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev pardoned, promoted and praised Safarov upon extradition to his homeland in 2012. The AYF global social media awareness campaign last week, #Justice4Margaryan, called attention to this travesty, attracting the participation of thousands, including U.S. Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

AYF and Greater Washington Armenian community members protesting

“Today, we gather at the Azerbaijani Embassy to remember those who perished in the Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku massacres between 1988-1990,” explained AYF Ani Chapter Chairman Hagop Simonian. “If we do not remember and spread awareness of these atrocities, events such as the axe-murder of Lt. Gurgen Margaryan and the recent killing of Jr. Sergeant Armen Hovhannisyan will continue to occur again and again. Sadly, the dictatorial Aliyev regime celebrates the deaths of these Armenian deaths, and rewards their murderers. We, as Armenian-Americans, must use our first amendment right to educate the world of these crimes.”

Azerbaijani protester flashes 'Grey Wolf' sign, signaling solidarity with the Turkish ultra-nationalist and neo-fascist youth organization

A small group of Azerbaijani counter-protesters jeered as St. Mary’s Armenian Church pastor, Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan led Armenian community members in prayer in memory of those who perished in the Azerbaijani pogroms. Police were forced to escort one Azerbaijani provocateur, after he approached Armenian protesters and struck one with a sign. Many of the Azerbaijani protesters were making the iconic “Grey Wolf” sign, signaling solidarity with the Turkish ultra-nationalist and neo-fascist youth organization accused of political killings.


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  1. Hratch said:

    I really feel sorry for these few naive Armenians who braved sub-freezing temperatures to protect other fellow Armenians. In my experience, most Armenians do not care for their people or nation. For instance, most Armenians in the US prefer to speak English with other Armenians because they think it’s more “Professional”. They would sell you down the river in a blink of an eye for self fish gains.

    We tend to work against each other rather than for the collective good. Perhaps the natural tendency of a selfish and money worshipping society. It is no coincidence that our history of deceit, treachery and back stabbing has brought us to almost total irrelevance in today’s enlightened world.

    • Armenian said:

      Amen to that. I can attest personally to the whole notion of being stabbed in the back for personal interests, and that kind of mentality is exactly why Armenia finds itself in the situation it’s in today. Leaders stabbing the country in the back for personal interests, and selling whatever’s left to the foreigner; hatred and passing judgement onto one another, convincing ourselves that we’re “too small, too weak, too poor, too stupid, too unfit” and therefore are worthy of foreign ownership. I am astounded by the sheer indifference some of the people “governing” that country have to the desperate calls of their fellow citizens; the way that some of those MPs not only talk down to those who have raised issues of profound concern about the way things are done there, but the way they drink, party and celebrate while conscripts are mysteriously returning from the fronts in much worse conditions than they were in before they left. How can anyone look a person in the eye and completely disregard their peoples’ concerns the way they do? Because the leaders of Armenia are exactly what you’ve described: selfish, money-worshipping and odaramol (doing everything they can to tend to Russia’s interests instead of their own peoples’). I hope the people in Armenia will step up and make a change by getting rid of this mentality and the leaders who harbor them because it’s decaying our people as a nation.

      • Sarkis said:

        I knew if I read enough of your comment I’d find an anti-Russian insult among your many expressions of anti-Armenianism. Predictable garbage from an ineffective cyber-warrior with delusions of being “Armenian”. Please point out any nation, including any western democracy, which does not suffer from some level of corruption. Corruption cannot be eliminated because it is part of human nature, it can only be managed. And that’s hard to do in a newly emerging, landlocked and blockaded country like Armenia.

        What ideological mercenary lowlives such as yourself are doing it taking Armenia’s natural growing pains and viciously twisting them as a weapon to demoralize Armenians. Armenia needs EVOLUTION, NOT WESTERN-SPONSORED REVOLUTION.

        Please consider expending some of your pent up frustrations on forums dealing corruption and poverty in your “holy” western democracies, Lord knows the miserable existence millions of Americans and Europeans are leading dwarfs anything that exists in Armenia.

        BTW there are several million neo-Nazis in Europe and Racists in America that hate their governments as badly as Armenia’s opposition hates Armenia… Surely you must support the Fascists as well, a “great philosopher” such as yourself would never practice double standards.

        • Armenian said:

          Nobody was talking to you. Personal experience and political logisitics are two different things.

          • Sarkis said:

            What are you talking about, you more than anyone else respond to everything I write with essays. I think you’re my biggest fan here, despite the fact that I am an Armenian Nationalist and you are a servant of the Anglo-American-Zionist-Turkish bloc.

            Who exactly were you talking to with your anti-Armenian blasphemy? You exhibit the telltale signs of a self-hating Armenian, complete with hysteria against the Armenian government and attacks on its saviors in Moscow. And stories of how terrible in person Armenians are.

        • Armenian said:

          I am not going to respond to anyone who cheapens any form of dicussion by resorting to distortion and personal attacks. You already revealed your true self as an anti-Armenian Kremlin troll with that “Rise of Russia” blog. Your points are rooted in illusion, a twisted sense of reality, and nothing more. You are not worth a second of my time, and I will no longer be responding to you henceforth.

          • Sarkis said:

            Oh poor you, your arguments were uttererly exposed to be turkish-inspired recipes for disaster for Armenia, and your personal attacks did not result in me lashing out at you but instead other patriots here blasted you as obviously being non-Armenian. Now you want to act like you are “above” responding to me. Not even worth a LOL.

            Self-righteous hypocrites like you always act “saddened” when their lies are exposed and no one comes to their aid. Where was this supposed feeling of sadness when you wrote you hope Armenia gets “trampled on”?

            I’m not going anywhere until all of Asbarez’s audience sees through your filthy comments, Or until you repent for your blasphemy against my people and my fatherland.

  2. Armenian said:

    and by the way, Armenia will never evolve in its current state; unless of course, you mean “evolving” our independence and diminishing it to that of an oblast, which, knowing you, you probably do.

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