Levon Aronian: It is our duty to defend Armenian people

Photo: From personal archive

Levon Aronian has said he is certain that sportspeople must unite efforts and bring nations together.

“Dear friends, I find a need to clarify my stance and share my feelings with you. Look, not even once before I ever wrote anything about the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. I have great respect for many Azeri chess players, musicians, people. I do firmly believe that we, sports people should unite and bring nations together.

The reason I could not stay silent is the fact that my country is being attacked by both Azerbaijan and Turkey. This to me is unbelievable, because almost every civilized country accepted the fact of Armenian genocide in 1915-1918 where about a million and half of Armenians were murdered.

To show an example imagine: if during Israeli-Palestinian war in 1960’s or later Germany would send troops to fight against Israel and German president would loudly declare that Jewish nation should be taught a lesson. Isn't it surreal? So, the least I can do in such situation is to raise awareness and try to support my people with everything I can.

I do not wish to get into details how this feeling of hostility between our countries start. There were pogroms of Armenian population in late 1980ies in Sumgait and Baku that made about 250 thousand Armenians leave everything behind and from respected and successful people turn into refugees. There were also war atrocities from both sides unfortunately. This is not that important for me. I know one thing, when intelligent people from Armenia and Azerbaijan meet, there is much more understanding and respect, unlike what we see online.
And please don’t tell me things cannot be solved with negotiations. If you come to discuss things and all you say is give up, abandon your people and then we will think what to do, this is not a negotiation but a blackmail. Every dialog needs mutual respect in order not to turn into two monologues.

I feel staggering sadness when I see young folks who just started to live, die because of a war. Every time it happens, I feel that had I died in a war, at least I lived to see life, achieve things. I feel for the parents of every soldier, civilian. I know that I will leave this world feeling proud if my friends, my future children and I can protect our nation. It’s our duty and as ancient people we owe our existence to heroes who came before us and helped us survive as a nation.

May God bring peace and prosperity to us all”.

Hovhannes Melkunyan


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