Recently, the artistic and documentary novel Pain, written by the Israeli expert in the sphere of international relations Arye Gut, and co-written by his father Amir Gut, was published. The book was presented in Italy, and after that at a memorial evening at the Azerbaijani Embassy in Moscow, which was dedicated to the the 100th anniversary of genocide against Azerbaijanis in March 1918. Arye Gut shared his thoughts with Vestnik Kavkaza both on the century-old tragedy and on the recent events in Khojaly.
- Arye, what is your novel about?
- On the one hand, the novel is dedicated to the Azerbaijani society's multiculturalism and tolerance, on the other hand, to the most terrible tragedy of the late 20th century, the bloody massacre and acts of genocide in Khojaly. The driver of the idea was my father, who worked on the Azerbaijan State Television as the leading director for more than 40 years. He saw with his own eyes everything that happened during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, when he traveled to these regions.
This is a novel about a romance between an Israeli man and an Azeri woman. The Israeli man comes to Azerbaijan, writes a doctoral dissertation and falls in love with an Azerbaijani woman. This woman is a refugee from the long-suffering city of Khojaly. The novel reveals the whole essence of this tragedy through the fate of the main character Roya. This is a semidocumentary novel with both a lyric line and a terrible tragedy. And the tragedy is revealed not only through statistical data - we met with people who were in Khojaly on that terrible night and saw everything with their own eyes. Durdana Agayeva spent eight days in Armenian captivity, she wrote a book about these terrible days, in fact about life in the concentration camp of the late 20th century.
- What does the Khojaly tragedy and the Holocaust have in common?
- As a Jew, I had a reason to write a book about Khojaly. All this is the story of my family, this is the history of the Jews, who left Ukraine on the last Kiev-Baku train, trying to flee from the Nazis. My grandfather lost 40 members of his family, so the Holocaust is my pain, my tragedy. On the night of the Khojaly tragedy I was 17 years old.
The Holocaust is by no means comparable with any other tragedy in the world. 6 million Jews were killed then. 613 Azerbaijanis were killed in Khojaly. At the same time, it is important that the principle of genocide, when they killed people only because they were Jews or Azerbaijanis, is the same.
It is important that this information is delivered in both Russian and English. My novel 'Pain' was published in Italy with the support of the Italian publishing house Sandro Teti Editore, and its presentation in Rome was attended by more than 300 people, including representatives of the Jewish community, who understand the incident and sympathize with the Azerbaijani people.
- The Khojaly tragedy echoes the 1918 events in many respects. The Jews were among victims of those March events. What does Israel know about this today?
- Israel is in a complex geopolitical environment as well. But we hold events, panel sessions both in the universities and in the framework of a political dialogue with parties and movements, where we talk about the Khojaly tragedy. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation is very helpful in this regard, and the Khojaly Year was held in Israel in 2013. A major photo exhibition 'Justice for Khojaly' was held as part of the Justice for Khojaly international campaign. We, the natives of Azerbaijan, saw that tragedy with our own eyes. The most terrible thing is that innocent people suffer. What was the fault of the children, the old people, who were killed only because they were Azeris?
The 1918 tragedy echoes the Khojaly events. This is a real act of genocide committed against Azerbaijanis. I always write in the Jerusalem Post, in which I work as political analyst and blogger, that the difference between the Khojaly tragedy and the catastrophe of European Jewry is that that the difference between the Khojaly tragedy and the Holocaust is that most of the Holocaust perpetrators were punished after the Nuremberg Trials. And those who were not convicted were punished thanks to Israeli intelligence. The situation regarding Khojaly is different. The perpetrators - the people who are ruling the Republic of Armenia, remain at large, and none of them has been punished. This is scary. The criminals should be punished. Unfortunately, double standards are applied in international relations.