Sumer Aygen, Marco Island
On Jan. 20, the Azerbaijani-Americans commemorate the 22nd anniversary of Black January events that marked the beginning of the end of Soviet rule in Azerbaijan.
On the night of Jan. 19-20, 1990, Azerbaijan was invaded by 26,000 Soviet troops. A courageous resistance by Azerbaijanis to the Soviet invasion continued into February. Eventually, 170 Azerbaijanis were killed, 321 disappeared, over 700 wounded, hundreds more detained.
The Soviet attack against innocent civilians in Azerbaijan followed massacres in other Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan (1986), Georgia (1989) and was tragically replicated one year later in Lithuania, although the brutality of the Black January tragedy was the biggest exercise in collective punishment by reactionary forces of the Communist Party.
The terrible event remembered by this commemoration was an atrocity — but it also gave birth to a hope that led eventually to independence and freedom the following year.
My family is joining the U.S. Azeris Network (USAN) in commemorating the tragedy and its victims, and ask for you to also commemorate the victims with a minute of silence and statement for the record, just like Texas Legislature did last year.