On February 27 in Houston, Texas the Azerbaijan Center held an event dedicated to the 24th anniversary of the Khojaly massacre “Justice for Khojaly”.
The event was opened by Farid Mammadov, an Executive board member of the Azerbaijan Center, who gave a brief introduction about the commemoration and welcomed Irada Akhoundova, the Director of the Center to proceed with the opening remarks.
The Director of the Center Irada Akhoundova, welcomed the audience and talked about the saddest day in the history of Azerbaijan, February 26, 1992. She expressed hope and belief that there will be justice for the victims of the tragedy of the Azerbaijani people and thanked everyone for their support of the Azerbaijan Center in its efforts in this direction. I. Akhoundova pointed out that such commemoration events have been held in Houston for six years already. It was noted that during this period a number of local legislative bodies, as well as the US Congress representing Texas state attended and supported the fair position of Azerbaijan.
The Director’s speech was followed with a Minute of Silence in the memory of victims of the tragedy.
After that two Azerbaijani Students (ADA University) who are currently studying in the University of Houston as part of the student exchange program, took the initiative and continued speaking about terrible events of 1992 in Khojaly.
Mammad Talibov , the Counselor of the Azerbaijani Embassy in the US took his turn to speak of the Khojaly massacre occurred during Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He once again pointed out the importance of rapid resolution of the 24 years old conflict to establish peace and stability in the region, so that refugees could return to their land.
Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Houston, Ferhat Alkan, also admitted that Khojaly tragedy can be considered among the worst crimes in human history, he pointed out that Turkish government and the Turkish people shared the pain of the Azerbaijani nation and assured that the innocent victims of Khojaly would never be forgotten.
Sam Merchant, speaking on behalf of US Congressman Al Green, recalled that Congressman Al Green was one of the first to recognize Khojaly massacre. He then presented Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition. Later, James Winston, Senator Ellis’s Legislative Aide, also shared the grief of the people of Azerbaijan. In conclusion Mr. Winston presented the Certificate of Friendship Appreciation between Azerbaijani and Americans.
After that, Sona Mammadova, one of the members of the Azerbaijani community in Houston shared her feelings about the Khojaly massacre, read a poem written by her under the influence of those events.