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ATCC Marks 21 Years After Black January Tragedy in Azerbaijan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2011

Contact: Fettah Anadol
Tel: (202) 333-8702
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ATCC Marks 21 Years After Black January Tragedy in AzerbaijanThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots.

January 21, 2011 - Washington, D.C. - The Azerbaijan Trade and Cultural Center (ATCC) marked the 21st anniversary of the events of January 20, 1990, known to all Azerbaijanis as “Black January.”

Black January was a turning point in Azerbaijan’s history when Soviet leadership ordered tanks and troops into the capital, Baku, killing hundreds of unarmed civilians. The event led to Azerbaijan’s detachment from the Soviet Union and to its new independence as a republic.

The commemorative event last week was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, journalists, American friends of Azerbaijan, and members of the Azerbaijani and Turkish communities in the Washington, DC area. Speakers at the event included Yashar Aliyev, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States, and Mr. Habib Azarsina, a prominent member of the Azerbaijan diaspora in the United States.

In his speech, Ambassador Aliyev recalled the sacrifices of the Azerbaijani people on January 19-20, 1990 under the heavy assault and military operations of the Soviet military.

“We will never forget them. They were young, full of dreams and aspirations about how to build their country, their future and how to step into the next century. They sacrificed their lives,” Ambassador Aliyev said. He recalled the friendship and solidarity of the American people with Azerbaijanis on that tragic day. He also read a special statement issued by Congressman Bill Shuster, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus. In his letter, Congressman Shuster expressed his support of Azerbaijanis in commemorating the 21st anniversary of the Black January.

Mr. Azarsina recalled his experiences at a protest rally in front of the former USSR embassy in Washington, D.C. in protest of the troop invasion. News from Baku during those two days was hard to find, he said, but coverage in the American media had a galvanizing effect as the Azerbaijani diaspora and Americans became united in support of the independence of the country. “Coverage of Azerbaijan in the American media was a sense of pride, and this tragedy was the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union,” said Mr. Azarsina.  

The commemoration at the ATTC was followed by a documentary film about Black January.

***

The Azerbaijan Trade and Cultural Center (ATCC) was founded by U.S. Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce in September 2000 to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of Azerbaijan. ATCC hosts Azerbaijan Gallery, USACC offices and an apartment for USACC interns. Located on two floors, the Azerbaijan Gallery displays an exhibition of rugs, paintings and ethnic crafts from Azerbaijan. The Gallery is open to public from 10.00 a.m. through 6.00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The US - Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) seeks to promote trade and investments between the United States and Azerbaijan by rendering various business services. USACC actively seeks U.S. and international investments and companies whose products and strategic interests can be advanced in the Azerbaijani market. It also serve as a liaison between foreign companies and Azerbaijani businesses and government officials. To learn more about USACC, please visit www.usacc.org or call (202) 333-8702

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