War crime: Armenian concert hall is bombed

War crime: Armenian concert hall is bombed


norman lebrecht

October 09, 2020

We hear that Azerbaijain troops, with Turkey’s support, have bombed a concert hall in the town of Shushi, which is in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. It is nowhere near the front line of the present conflict.

The Azeris are apparently trying to make it uninhabitable for Armenians in an onslaught of ethnic cleansing.

They have ground support from the Turks and a green light from the Russians.


  • Aline says:

    What a horror! Thank you for sharing.

  • Maybe says:

    A war crime? Was any person killed during this spite ?Had the place been packed full of humanity listening to and performing Beethoven nine, Mahler eight, or a Havergal Brian symphony: Yes, it would be war crime. Yes! It is an assault against those innocents, whom each and all, love their homeland. They will, over time, rebuild, for there always will be a need for people to come together, in joy and in sorrow. However, what about the smashed souls, their dreams, aspirations, love? Their right to live in PEACE! That such a thing can happen, at all, IS A War Crime, not a sadly destroyed building full of wonderful memories. It is what is Not seen. Those out of sight horrors, which remain yet to be seen.
    Strength and love to everyone who is hurting…………..

    • againstbigotry says:

      Azerbaijan is shelling churches and cultural centers in this region. Attacking cultural sites is war crimes 101. The purpose is not to perform a military mission. It is to make the land uninhabitable for the people who live there by destroying all the things they hold dear.

      • José Bergher says:

        The Armenians were victims of the genocide perpetrated by the Otoman Empire rulers a little over a century ago. Now the Armenians churches and cultural centers are being destroyed. This crime can also be classified as genocide. Genocide does not necessarily mean the total or partial destruction of a religious, ethnic or racial group. Any planned destruction of the memories, customs, cultural and religious forms and venues (concert halls, churches, libraries, for instance), even the prohibition of the languages of groups can be called genocide.

      • Maybe says:

        Againstbigotry. So am I against such acts of no mere aggression and wanton terrorism, “War Crimes 101, is of no comfort to those who face death, justice after the event. We cannot be sentimental or complaisant. It is abbhorent to destroy or steal what a person or a people holds dear.

        An hypothesis: city is burning, beyond saving, does one continue fighting the fire, thus risking more lives. Or, does one rescue its people, including those who created that city and all that it means to them?

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Maybe, “Maybe”, you should speak with some Armenians about it.
      “againstbigotry” is right. The Azeris are using a scorched earth policy identical to Hitler’s in Eastern Europe, just to make the land uninhabitable.

      • Maybe says:

        Mr Bottini, It is all wickedness.

        People, right or wrong settling old grievances.Who is it that gives oxygen to these flames? (Arms dealers?) It all started with gunpowder, which the Chinese invented for enjoyment, subsequently discovered it was brought west.Then through time, more and more terrible things were invented. Do we now persecute the Chinese? What does one do now? Embargo? This only affects an already traumatized nation.Then, the aggrieved will become the aggressor, and round and round we go. Where would we be if every victim of oppression; and every other nation were now to rise-up? Each nation against another? Even on blogs, such as this, there are those, who find it difficult to be, at least civil. (Tho’ Not you Mr Bottini, whom I respect)
        I am certain that if there was oil on that land; certain self-interested countries would, as usual, wade in. What can one do to help this nation without becoming aggresive to another? Albert Einstein said, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. Then it all starts again? We are capable of such goodness……………I wish you many blessings.

        • Greg Bottini says:

          Sincere thanks for your thoughtful reply, Maybe.
          War IS wickedness.
          I’m hoping there will be someone involved in that war (on whichever side, or on both sides) who has the courage to say “enough is enough” and stop the killing. THAT will be the true victory.
          – best wishes and regards, Greg

          • Maybe says:

            For Mr Bottini, Thank you and a steady heart! At risk of incitement of ant-this or anti-that: Golda Meir “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

  • Deniz Oliveira Erdinç says:

    This is a musical blog, isn’t it ? Not a political one. Then I suggest we all keep to our own specialties. As you are clearly unaware, taking sides in such things demeans your own name, your blog, your critics, just as I have smeared my own name right now by being pedantic and condescending to you. Whoops. (?)

    • againstbigotry says:

      A concert hall has been destroyed. That is fact. How dare you suggest that is a political statement. Trying to silence someone from observing what is happening is an endorsement of war crimes.

      • doe says:

        When someone partakes in a vocabulary with ‘sonorous’ words such as ‘ethnic cleansing’, I am inclined to say the statement is biased and political, yes. Concert halls are nice. I like concert halls. I play and conduct in them. I prefer them undestroyed. However, if we are to talk facts, there is also the fact that civilian lives are being ended purposefully by one of the sides in question as a war tactic (I wasn’t there, didn’t watch it happen, read the mainstream news. Who knows, maybe it is wrong data.Let’s keep that in consideration for this piece of internet delievered news as well) That is a bit more important than a concert hall for me… I remember watching Notre Dame burn, thinking it was a tragedy. Then I thought it can rebuilt. Dead humans.. not so much.

        • againstbigotry says:

          Doe, 75,000 people in this region have been displaced from their homes. Calling this ethnic cleansing is the equivalent to calling a spade a spade. Azerbaijan has closed itself from independent journalists (with the exception of Turkish). They have purposefully attacked buildings that contain independent journalists in this region, such as hotels and spaces like Shushi’s cathedral (one journalist is now in critical condition) They have a propaganda machine that lies about the territories they claim to have captured from the indigenous people living there. Numerous sources have confirmed that Turkey is sending in mercenaries to assist Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan’s official position is that they will not stop until all the indigenous Armenians in this region are gone. There is no such thing as parity when discussing this. Parity means taking Azerbaijan’s side.

      • Greg Bottini says:

        1000% in agreement, “againstbigotry”!

      • José Bergher says:

        You are absolutely right.

      • José Bergher says:

        To the moderator.- Please take note that my comment “You are absolutely right.” referred to Against Bigotry’s very accurate statement (“A concert hall has been destroyed. That is fact…”). Thanks.

  • No politics says:

    Any proof that Russia supports that? Or again just a bull shit? Norman, any reason you hate Russia so much?

  • John says:

    Sorry but if you can’t see the situation from both sides it means you are biased!! It is a proven fact that civilians are being killed by Armenian troops as well and this is a war crime. Besides it is a territory illegaly occupied by Armenia, it is recognized as a part of Azerbaijan by the United Nations and the whole world. So, if you are only criticizing Azerbaijani people, and staying blind to the other side, the article you wrote can be called nothing but propaganda. Your page deserves no longer respect, sorry…
    War is a shame for everyone, not only for one side!

    • Herr Doktor says:

      “John”, I’m going to assume you are either Turkish or a Turkish partisan of one sort or another. Your comments ignore the long history of Turkish genocide against Armenians, including the Hamidian massacres of 1894-96 and the Adana Young Turk Massacres of 1909, which are of course the “appetizers” leading up to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-17 (with “mop up” killings that continued until 1923). If you are not sufficiently familiar with this subject, perhaps you should read this book, written by a Pulitzer prize winner, Dr. Peter Balakian:


      • José Bergher says:

        A propos of the marvellous book by Balakian, I recommend the following books:

        • “Black Dog of Fate,” by Peter Balakian
        • “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh,” by Franz Werfel
        • “A Shameful Act,” by Taner Akçam
        • “The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity,” by Taner Akçam
        • “A History of the Armenian Genocide,” by Ronald Grigor Suny
        • “Operation Nemesis,” by Eric Bogosian
        • “’A Problem from Hell’ ― America and the Age of Genocide,” by Samantha Power
        • “Axis Rule in Occupied Eurpe,” by Raphael Lemkin
        • “Raphael Lemkin and the Struggle for the Genocide Convention,” by John Cooper
        • “Lemkin on Genocide,” by Raphael Lemkin
        • “Totally Unofficial ― The Autobiography of Raphael Lemkin” ― Donna-Lee Frieze, editor

        Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), a Jewish-Polish lawyer, was the man who coined the term “genocide” and championed the campaign for the Genocide Convention

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    One person’s “ethnic cleansing” is another person’s claim to territory.

  • Earl Grey says:

    The lamps are going out in opera houses and concert halls all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.

  • s sharif says:

    the War Crime are the Armenian criminals who have occupied Azari lands.

  • George says:

    For a balanced account see:
    War has broken out on the edge of Europe. What’s behind it?

  • Sharon says:

    It is my understanding that both Armenia and Azerbaijan are seeking admission to the EU? Why isn’t the EU demanding an immediate cease fire? Where is the UN? Where is NATO?

    • Maybe says:

      Yes, Sharon…… Otherwise, what is the use of these organizations? In such a context as this? As useful as a chocolate teapot.