The library of the Italian Senate has hosted the presentation of the Israeli authors Amir and Arye Guts’ literary-documentary novel “Pain” (Il Dolore) published in Italian by the Publishing House “Sandro Teti Editore” in connection with the 26th anniversary of Khojali genocide.

The event held by the initiative of the Italian-Azerbaijani Inter-parliamentary Friendship Association and  joint organizational support of the Azerbaijan’s Embassy to Italy, Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism and the Publishing House “Sandro Teti Editore” was attended by the representatives of the Italian Parliament, state organizations, the diplomatic mission accredited in Rome, Italian scientific-academic, intellectual, cultural circles, the religious community organizations, mass media and Azerbaijani students.

Opening the event, the Head of the Publishing House “Sandro Teti Editore” and the Italian representation of Baku International Centre of Multiculturalism Sandro Teti gave information about the book and pointed out that the publication of the book “Pain” in Italian aims to inform the Italian community on Azerbaijan’s multicultural traditions as well as one of the bloodiest pages of the modern history of humanity –  Khojali tragedy which the Azerbaijani people has been exposed to.

The Chair of the Italian-Azerbaijani Inter-parliamentary Friendship Association in the Italian Parliament, Deputy chair of the Defence Commission of the Senate Senator Sercio Divina stated that for many years the military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan and the invasion of the Azerbaijani territories have been continuing and the Azerbaijanis, who have turned into refugees and IDPs as a result of the ethnic cleansing, are deprived of the chance to return to their native land. Recalling the appropriate decrees of the UN Security Council, he said that the international community needs to raise its voice higher to stop this aggression, restore Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and call for justice for the victims of Khojali genocide.

Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Italy Mammad Ahmadzadeh stated that the Azerbaijani people has rich multicultural traditions and high qualities of hospitality and has made important contributions to maintain universal values; yet, it has historically encountered iniquities and injustices. He considered the military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, the presence of over one million Azerbaijanis exposed to ethnic cleansing, who are being driven out of their native land, the crimes of war against peaceful Azerbaijani people including the genocide of Khojali and the absence of any pressure against Armenia, which has committed all this, as the bright example of double standards. The Ambassador, who spoke of the importance of the international campaign of advocacy and promotion “Justice for Khojali!” to restore justice, stop aggression and not to repeat such kind of crimes, said that the literary-documentary novel “Pain” is a valuable source in this respect. The Ambassador, who thanked the authors of the book Amir and Arye Guts, hoped that this publication will help to deliver to the Italian community the realities associated with the conflict and the injustices the Azerbaijani people has encountered. The Ambassador also touched upon the expectations of the Azerbaijani side in relation to the contribution of Italy as the chair of the OSCE to the regulation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

The Head of the Department of the Interethnic Relations, Multiculturalism and Religious Issues of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan Etibar Najafov stated that the book “Pain” and the facts indicated there are of great importance in the elucidation of the realities associated with Khojali genocide. Etibar Najafov, who gave information about the military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan and its consequences, emphasized that as a result of this aggression twenty per cent of internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan is under occupation and over one million Azerbaijanis are in the state of refugees and IDPs. He said that the genocide committed in Khojali was the culmination point of the crimes committed by the Armenian troops against the peaceful Azerbaijani population, and stated the importance of the denunciation of this genocide and punishment of the guilty. In this respect, the Head of the Department, who touched upon the international campaign “Justice for Khojali!”, the documents adopted by the legislative bodies of some countries as well as the European Parliament, stated the importance of all this in the presentation of the realities of Khojali to the world community. Etibar Najafov said that the presented book also deals with the maintenance of the multicultural traditions of Azerbaijan and the existence of the ambiance of great tolerance, spoke of the successful policy of the state of Azerbaijan in this field.

Speaking of the motives of writing the literary-documentary novel “Pain”, the co-author of the book Arye Gut said that the main goal of the work is to provide the international community with broad information on the invasion of Nagorni Garabagh by the armed forces of Armenia and the genocide that the peaceful Azerbaijani population was exposed to on 26 February 1992 in Khojali, one of the most horrible cases of ethnic cleansing of the last century. Stating that the work is based on the real developments, the facts narrated by the witnesses who had suffered the genocide of Khojali, he focused the attention to the challenge made in the book to detect the massacre, brutalities and other crimes committed by Armenia against the Azerbaijani people and punish the guilty. The co-author, who stated that despite being the Israeli citizen, he was born in Azerbaijan and that he loves Azerbaijan as his dear Motherland, thus pointed out the bloody genocide committed in the city of Khojali as his own pain, personal tragedy. Stating that unlike the situation in Armenia, which is a mono-ethnic country, the individuals belonging to different cultures and religions have always co-existed in peace in Azerbaijan and that multicultural values have always been respected and maintained in this country, Arye Gut described the co-existence of the Jews and Azerbaijanis like brothers with similar history and fate through the main characters of the novel. He emphasized the absence of the cases of persecution, destruction and anti-Semitism in Azerbaijan, and also underlined multiculturalism and tolerance as a lifestyle.

By the end of the event in the frames of its artistic part there was a demonstration of the film “Filming My Grief” shot by the film-director Vagif Mustafayev in support to the international campaign of advocacy and promotion “Justice for Khojali!”, and also the actress Olga Mazzina recited some poems by the Azerbaijani poetesses of Garabagh taken from the book “The Anthology of Azerbaijani Poetesses”.