TORONTO – In the beginning Rev. Majed el-Shafie’s interest in Armenian issues was limited to Armenian Genocide recognition. His Canada-based organization called One Free World International was trying to promote such recognition both in Canada and worldwide, also fighting against Turkish denialism in Turkey where its members travelled. But in 2016 when Azerbaijan attacked Artsakh a four-day war followed. The focus of his organization expanded to include Armenian Artsakh. “We took members of parliament with us and visited the president of Artsakh. We went to see the damage that had been done,” el-Shafie recalls.
Last year when Azerbaijan with the help of Turkey and mercenaries attacked Artsakh, el-Shafie traveled to Nagorno-Karabakh again. While the bombs were exploding outside and the missiles hitting Stepanakert’s houses and hospitals, Mr. el-Shafie and a deputy from Iceland who joined the trip were meeting journalists in the bunker-based press-center of Artsakh.
The reverend father is highly dissatisfied with the current situation considering the existence of Armenian POWs and the continuing danger for Artsakh’s churches. “We saw horrible images. War crimes were being committed. It was the continuation of the Armenian Genocide,” Rev. el-Shafie said in the interview we conducted over Zoom. He blames the international community, both states and organizations, for not engaging enough to assist the people of Nagorno Karabakh.
El-Shafie is working on a film dedicated to Artsakh. Titled “We Are Our Mountains,” he gave it the name of the famous monument of the Artsakh native grandfather and grandmother in Stepanakert. “It is in the editing process. When we release the film it will reflect both the recent one and the one [film] that was [made] five years ago,” el-Shafie stated.
Follow the video of the interview with Rev. Majed el-Shafie below.