How Junior Eurovision failed Artsakh's stranded Children
Short Film (2023)
This short-film depicts the incredible story of 16 incredible teenagers who were trapped in Goris, Armenia following the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in which their Armenian contest Nare was runner-up with her song Dance! It took place on December 11, 2022. They were unable to return to their homes in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh / Bergkarabach) due to a road blockade set-up in the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijani forces. This is their account.
[3000 word full text available on request; copyright with the Author]
In the early hours of December 11, 2022, 16 teenagers and their guide, Ms Aida Gyanjumyan, set off on a five-hour bus journey from Stepanakert through the Lachin Corridor, heading north west with destination Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
Stepanakert is the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave of Azerbaijan which declared its independence from Azerbaijan in 1991 and has since been governed as the internationally unrecognized Republic of Artsakh. Azerbaijan continues to claim territorial rights to this land, where most of the population are ethnic Armenians. In 2020, a 44-day war with Azerbaijan resulted in Nagorno-Karabakh ceding significant territory to Azerbaijan in a peace deal brokered by Russia and signed by Armenia’s Prime Minister, Nicol Pashinyan. This deal left Artsakh Armenians’ with only one single access route to Armenia and the outside world via the Lachin Corridor, a five-kilometre wide area, controlled by Russian peacekeeping forces (said to have been once 5,000 strong, but currently reportedly down to 2,000). The Lachin Corridor is also the only route of supply into Artsakh for food and medicines. There are no air links into Artsakh.
En route, the group crossed three mountain passes before eventually setting sight on Mount Ararat to their left just outside Yerevan. The plateau surrounding Mount Ararat, the landing place of Noah’s Arc, was once part of Armenians’ ancestral land which reached deep into Anatolia, part of modern day Turkey. In 1915, the Turks massacred over one million Armenians and many died on forced marches through to the Syrian desert. Whilst many governments around the world, including the United States of America, recognise the Armenian Genocide, the U.K. does not still to this day. The United Kingdom’s significant oil and gas interests in the region most certainly have something to do with that.