Open letter

The New York Times
July 27, 1990,

An era which we all thought had ended, the era of pogroms, has resurfaced. Once again this year, the Armenian community of Azerbaijan has been the victim of atrocious and intolerable premeditated massacres.
As scholars, writers, scientists, political leaders and artists we wish, first of all, to express our profound indignation over such barbaric acts. Which we wanted to believe belonged to humanity’s past.
We intend this statement as more than an after-the-fact condemnation. We want to alert inter¬national public opinion to the continuing danger that racism represents to the future of humanity. It forebodes ill that we are experiencing the same powerlessness when faced with such flagrant viola¬tions of human rights a half century after the geno¬cide of the Jewish people in Nazi concentration camps and forty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It would be inexcus¬able if, because of our silence now, we contributed to the suffering of new victims.
The situation of Armenians in the Caucasus is, in fact, too serious for us to remain silent. There are moments when we must assume the moral obligation to assist a people in peril. Our sense of obligation leads us today to appeal to the international community and to public opinion.
More than two years ago, active persecu¬tion against Armenians began in Azerbaijan. The pogroms of Sumgait in February 1988 were followed by massacres in Kirovabad and Baku in November 1988. As recently as January 1990, the pogroms continued in Baku and other parts of Azerbaijan. The mere fact that these pogroms were repeated and the fact that they followed the same pattern lead us to think that these tragic events are no accidents or spontaneous outbursts.
Rather, we are compelled to recognize that the crimes against the Armenian minority have become consistent practice - if not consistent policy - in Soviet Azerbaijan. According, to the late Andrei Sakharov (New York Times, November 26, 1988), these pogroms constitute "a real threat of extermination" to the indigenous Armenian com¬munity tin Azerbaijan and in the autonomous region of Mountainous Karabagh, whose inhabitants are 80 percent Armenian.
Horror has no limits, especially when we remember that the threat is against the Armenian people, who in 1915 paid dearly for their right lo be different in the Ottoman Empire. There, Armenians lost half their population to genocide, the worst consequence of racism. Furthermore, if the recent pogroms have revived nightmares of extermination not yet overcome, the current total blockade of Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh - imposed since August, 1989 - has created the prospect of yet another genocide. It is well known that all supplies imported into Mountainous Karabagh and 85 per¬cent of those into Armenia pass through Azerbaijan; it would not be an exaggeration to maintain that such a blockade amounts to the stran¬gulation of Armenia. In a land devastated by the earthquake of December 7, 1988, the blockade has paralyzed the economy and dealt a mortal blow to the reconstruction efforts.
It is our sincere hope that perestroika will succeed. Bui we also hope for the success of glasnost and democratization. We recognize that the passage from a totalitarian state to a rule of law cannot be achieved overnight. It is nonetheless necessary that in the process of transition, the government of the Soviet Union promote, legalize and institutionalize such critical forces for democ¬racy as human rights, the principle of toleration, and democratic movements. There is no better defense and demonstration of democracy. At any rate, that is the only way to avoid the worst. In the case of a multinational state, the, worst may mean threats to the right of a people or a minority to exist. Il is during periods of transition and uncertainty that rights of peoples—today Armenians, tomorrow another people or minority - are threatened or denied. In this respect, the ease with which we see today the development in the USSR of racist movements, especially the anti-Semitic movement known as Pamyat, is for us cause for grave concern.
In the name of our duty of vigilance, we demand that Soviet authorities as well as the inter-national community condemn unequivocally these anti-Armenian pogroms and that they denounce especially the racist ideology which-has been used by the perpetrators of these crimes as justification.
We ask from the Soviet authorities and the international community that all necessary measures be taken immediately to ensure the protec¬tion and security of Armenians in the Caucasus and other parts of the Soviet Union. This can begin by bringing about a definitive lifting of the Azerbaijani blockade. It should be clear that the forceful deportation of Armenians is not the solu¬tion to the problem of Mountainous Karabagh which, in essence, is a problem of human rights.
The international community of states under the rule of law must prove the authenticity of its commitment to human rights in order to ensure that, due to indifference and silence bordering on complicity, another genocide does not occur.

Aaron, David (Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Alperin Mimi (New York. Trustee, International League for Human Rights; Chair National Executive Council, American, Jewish Committee) 
Apel, Karl-Otto (Philosophy. University of Frankfurt) 
Balakian, Mark (London) 
Belekdjian, Wahe (International Law, University of Glasgow) 
Benattas, Gabriel (Attorney, Paris) 
Benedikt, Michael (Philosophy, University of Vienna) 
Berlin, Sir Isaah [All Souls College, Oxford) 
Bernstein, Richard J. (Philosophy, New School for Social Research, New York) 
Boreil, Jean (Philosophy. University of Paris VIII) 
Boyadjian, Rosine (Paris) 
Brandt, Pere Age (Philosophy, University of Aarrhus) 
Breton, Raymond (Sociology, University of Toronto) 
Breton, Stanislas (Philosophy. Catholic Institute, Paris) 
Burger, Rudolf (Philosophy. University of Vienna) 
Carnous, Bernard (Philosophy, University of Montreal) 
Chace, William M. (President of Wesleyan University) 
Chaliand, Gerard (Writer, Paris) 
Chalk, Frank (History, Concordia University, Montreal) 
Clark, Roger S. [Distinguished Professor of Law Rutgers Law School; Vice President, International League for Human Rights) 
Clay, Jason W. (Cultural Survival. Director Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Constantineau, Philippe {Philosophy. RMC St. -Jean) 
Coopersmith, Esther (Washington, DC. Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Cowe, Peter (Armenian Studies, Colombia University, New York) 
Danielian, Lucig (Communication, SUNY - Albany, New York) 
David, Jack (New York, Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
De Durand, Mathieu (Medieval Studies, University of Montreal) 
de Fonteney, Elizabeth (Philosophy, Ecole Normale, Paris) 
Decarie, Terese Coun (Psychologie, University of Montreal) 
DeGarie, Vianey (Philosophy. University of Montreal) 
Deguy, Michel (Writer, Director of International College of Philosophy) 
Derrida Jacques (Philosophy, Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes, Paris) 
Descombes, Vincent (French Literature, John Hopkins University) 
Donabedian, Patrick (Paris) 
Douallier, Stephane (Paris) 
Ellenof, Theodore (Honorary Chairman, American Jewish Committee, New York) 
Fabri, Paolo (Paris) 
Fanton, Jonathan F. (President, The New School for Social Research) 
Feher Ferenc, (Philosopher, The New School for Social Research) 
Fein, Helen (Executive Director Institute for the Study of Genocide/Harvard, Cambridge) 
Ferry, Luc (Philosophy, University of Rennes) 
Finkelkraut, Alain (Philosophy, Paris) 
Frankfurt, Harry (Philosophy, Princeton) 
Fraser, The Honorable N. (Mayor of Minneapolis, Trustee of International League for Human Rights) 
Gadamer, Hans-Georg (Philosophy, University of Heidelber) 
Gaer, Felice (Executive Director, International League for Human Rights) 
Gaillard, Francoise (Frence Literature, University of Paris VII) 
Giordano. Ralph (Writer, Frankfurt) 
Girodias, Maurice (Writer, Paris) 
Glucksmann, Andre (Philosophy, Paris) 
Glucksmunn, Christine-Buci (College International de Philosophie, Paris) 
Gregorian, Vartan (History, Brown University) 
Habermas, Jurgen (Philosophy, University of Frankfurt) 
Heller, Agnes (Hannah Arendt, Professor of Philosophy, The New Your School for Social Research) 
Hooks, Benjamin L. (Executive Director, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) 
Horowitz, Irving L. (Sociology, Rutgers) 
Hovhannisian, Richard (History, UCLA) 
Huttenbach, Henry (History, City College of New York, NY) 
Jonassohn, Kurt (Sociology, Concordia University, Montreal) 
Kandell, Florence (New York, Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Karagueuz, Hennine (Paris) 
Kattan, Maim (Writer, Montreal) 
Kendergi, Maryvonne (Faculty of Music, University of Montreal) 
Kennedy, Joseph P., II (U.S. House of Representatives, D-Massachusetts) 
Kessedjian, Catherine (Attorney, Paris) 
Kolakowski, Leszek (Philosophy, All Souls College, Oxford) 
Kortian, Carbis (Philosophy, University of Montreal) 
Kuper, Leo (University of California, Los Angeles) 
Laloue-Labarthe, Philippe (Philosophy, University of Strasburg) 
Lefort, Claude (Philosophy. Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris) 
Levinas, Emmanuel (Philosophy, University of Paris IV, Sorbonne) 
Levesque, Claude (Philosophy, University of Montreal) 
Libaridian Gerard (Historian, Director of Zorian institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts) 
Liskofsky, Sidney (Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Lyotard, Jean-Francois (Philosophy, University of Paris III) 
Lytelton, Adrian (History, John Hopkins Cenler for International Studies) 
Maass, Richard (Treasurer, International League for Human Rights) 
Mahe, Jean-Pierre (Linguistics, Ecole des Langues Orientales, Vivantes, Paris) 
Malkassian, Gerard (Paris) 
Marian, Michel (Esprit, Paris) 
Marin, Louis (Philosophy, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris) 
Maasie, Suzanne (Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Mayer, Ame J. (Historian, Princeton University) 
Melon, Robert (Political Science, Purdue University) 
Mertin, Jurgen (Medical Faculty, University of Bern) 
Miller, Donald E. (School of Religion, USC) 
Minces, Juliette (Writer, Paris) 
Miguel, Jacques (Attorney, Paris) 
Montefiore, Alan (Philosophy, Balliol College, Oxford) 
Moutet, Alexandra (Attorney, Paris) 
Mutafian Claude (Writer, Paris) 
Nancy, Jean-Luc (Philosophy, University of Strasbourg) 
Nercessian, Nora (Art Historian, Boston) 
Nersessian, Nancy J. (Program in History of Science, Princeton University) 
Nevas, Leo (President, International League for Human Rights) 
Nichanian, Mare (Writer, Paris) 
Pastor, Rafael (Executive Vice President, News Corporation, Ltd.; Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Piche, Claude (Philosophy. University of Montreal) 
Piel Jean (Writer, Editor of Critique. Paris) 
Pollis, Adamantia (Professor, New School for Social Research; Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Potamkin, Lexie Brockway (Philadelphia, Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Poulain, Jacques (Philosophy, University of Paris VIII) 
Proshansky, Harold M. (President, The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York) 
Putnam, Hilary (Boston) 
Raulet, Gerard (German Literature, University of Paris IV) 
Revault d’Allonnes, Myriam (Philosophy, University of Paris I) 
Ricoeur, Paul (Philosophy, University of Paris/Nanterre) 
Rorty, Richard (University of North Carolina) 
Roustang, Francois (Psychoanalyst, Paris) 
Saeedpour, Vera Beaudin   (The Kurdish Program/Cultural Survival, New York) 
Sarian, Armand (Helsinki Committee, France) 
Scoberk, Gunnar (Philosophy, Bergen) 
Shestack, Jerome J. (Chairman, International League for Human Rights) 
Simonet, Marie-Laurence (Helsinki Committee, France) 
Smith, Roger (Government, College of William &Mary, Virginia) 
Suny, Ronald (History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) 
Tabibian, Jivan (Political Science, Los Angeles) 
Taylor, Charles (Philosophy and Political Science, McGill University, Montreal)
Tchalmakchian, Arto (Sculptor, Montreal) 
Ternon, Yves (Physician/Historian. Paris) 
Torricelli, The Honourable Robert G. (Congressman, New Jersey) 
Traub, Lee  (New York, Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Utaker, Arid (Philosophy, Bergen) 
Vanden Heuvel, William (New York, Former U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nation; Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Verluise, Pierre (Writer, Paris) 
Vermeren, Patrice (International College of Philosophy, Paris) 
Vramian, Isabelle (Helsinki Committee, France) 
Vryonis, Jr., Speros (Professor, Onassis Center for Hellenic Studies, New York University) 
Weissbrodt, David (Professor, University of Minnesota Low School; Trustee, International League for Human Rights) 
Wellmer Albrecht (Philosophy, University of Heidelberg) 
Wiesel, Elie (Writer, Boston) 
Zelnick, Reginald E. (Professor of History, University of California at Berkeley).