Earlier today (Sunday, November 8), a friend called asking me if I’d heard the news that Shushi had fallen to the Turkic invaders. I was stunned and saddened, since I’d been in the mountains for the preceding day and a half and hadn’t heard.
But something didn’t seem right. I visited the Facebook page of the Armenian Unified Info Center, which is a gold mine of current and factual data. It turned out the news was fake. The enemy had released two videos showing what were presented as the mosque and fortress of Shushi under their control. Our side debunked the videos by juxtaposing pictures of the real and fake structures and pointing out the differences.
Yet the Turkish newspaper “Daily Sabah” triumphantly reported Aliyev’s announcement: “‘The adhan voice will be heard in Shusha after 28 years’…referring to Muslims’ call to prayer which is recited from minarets during daily prayer times.” Interestingly and laughably, the map they published with Turkified place names contradicts their report! It shows that Shushi and its immediate vicinity are under the enemy’s control, yet it is surrounded by territory under Artsakh’s control. That’s a highly unlikely state of affairs.
This is not the first time they have done things like this. They are waging a cyber war in addition to a hot war. Remember that just days after the invasion commenced, they attacked and took down the Asbarez website. They also set up a seemingly very legitimate website (since taken down) purporting to be the Hayasdan All Armenian Fund’s, possibly leading some unsuspecting donors to send their money into the wrong hands. We must be very careful not to be saddened or sidetracked from the work that so many of our compatriots worldwide are doing by this type of disinformation activity.
I’m not familiar with how these things are done in the virtual universe. I can only hope that those among us who have the right competences are doing the same to our enemies, but more effectively. It’s psychological warfare, and it’s important.
But this disinformation is not limited to Turks and pup-Turks (Azerbaijanis). It happens all the time and is often very subtle, much like the campaign, reported by US intelligence agencies, waged by Russia to impact the 2016 US presidential election by sowing discord and suspicion.
Tragically, outgoing President Trump is engaged in a disinformation campaign, too. Since his massive ego cannot tolerate the notion of losing to the man he described as “Sleepy Joe,” Trump is damaging the political fabric of the country he claimed to “make great again”! He is sowing doubt about the legitimacy of an orderly and proper election.
These examples show why we have to be alert.
Remember Goebbel’s admonition: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This is the trap set by our enemy that we must avoid.
Please be alert, attentive to detail and cautious while remaining intensely motivated in whatever you are doing to support our heroic compatriots on Artsakh’s front lines so that the specter of a second Genocide remains just that, a specter.