STRASBOURG — On Tuesday June 6, the European Parliament hosted an event on the blockade in Nagorno-Karabakh, sponsored by MEP François-Xavier Bellamy, with young journalist Lika Zakaryan, author of 44 Days: Diary from an Invisible War, as guest of honor.
Organized in partnership with AGBU Europe and L’œuvre d’Orient, the event brought together some 100 guests, including parliamentary assistants, members of the European Commission, researchers and journalists. In his welcome address, Mr. F-X Bellamy underlined his desire, through this event, to focus on the life stories of the Armenian inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh, starting with that of Lika Zakaryan, who gave a poignant account in her war diary in 2020, adapted for the screen by the documentary, “Invisible Republic,” directed by Garin Hovannisian and produced by Creative Armenia.
The screening of excerpts from the film was followed by a discussion with the young journalist. As Lika explained, the aim of the film, produced in 2022, was to raise awareness among a wider audience of the 44-day war, which received little coverage in the international media. “If we continue to want to show it today, it’s above all because this misnamed 44-day war isn’t over. It continues in various forms,” she explains in her exchange with F-X Bellamy.
Zakaryan also spoke of her disappointment at the lack of response from the European Union during the war in 2020. She considered herself to be pro-Western before the war, and was a firm believer in European values, democracy and the rule of law. Her distrust of these “men in suits,” as she calls them, who make fine declarations without any action, grew steadily: “Men in suits make declarations, but when you’re in the basement of a building, under the bombs, these declarations don’t really warm your heart if no action follows,” she concludes. Doubtless, Lika still retained a trace of this mistrust when she arrived in Brussels at the invitation of the MEP. However, she was deeply moved by the sincere and consistent show of support she received during the event.
She ended her speech with heartfelt thanks: “Thank you to everyone who has come here today to share this moment with us. Today, the people of Artsakh really feel abandoned. Knowing that somewhere people are getting together and talking about them, thinking about them, caring about them, means a lot. That’s where hope can come.
The second part of the event was devoted to a round-table discussion on the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, from a geopolitical, legal and humanitarian perspective, and on what sort of actions can be pursued by the European Union.