Azerbaijani blood donors remember the blood spilled in the killing fields of Khojaly

Press Release: On 24 February, representatives from the worlds of business, politics, showbusiness and non-governmental organisations gathered in Vilnius City Hall to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre. This was the worst single atrocity of the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, and claimed the lives of 613 civilians, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. The event was organised by the Azerbaijani Embassy in Lithuania in conjunction with The European Azerbaijan Society, under the auspices of the Justice for Khojaly campaign, which was established by Mrs Leyla Aliyeva in 2008.

During the commemoration, members of the Azerbaijani community in Lithuania – including H.E. Hasan Mammadzada, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Lithuania – donated blood, thereby contributing towards the saving of lives. Ambassador Mammadzada commented: “We are glad that representatives from various sectors and Lithuanian celebrities have decided to support the event Blood for Life.”

Following the screening, Juras Požela, Lithuanian MP, and Mindaugas Urbonavičius, co-director of the independent documentary Endless Corridor, outlined the realities of the Khojaly Massacre. Aleksandras Brokas, co-director of the film, was also in attendance.

Endless Corridor is a film that came about because Richard Lapaitis, a Lithuanian journalist and witness of the horror of Khojaly, could not let the experience lie or forget the people who survived. He returned with a touching and humane desire to find out how they coped with memories of loved ones killed before their eyes. Russian journalist Victoria Ivleva also returned to reunite with Mehriban, a mother whose two-day-old baby she had saved in the confusion. The stories are of ordinary people whose lives were devastated by the Armenian invasion of their land.

Despite the passing of four UN Security Council resolutions against the invasion, Armenia continues to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts to this day. Currently nearly 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory remains occupied, and approximately 875,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) remain spread across Azerbaijan.