Amid the growing humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, recognized internationally but locally referred to as Artsakh, Armenian-American icons Kim Kardashian and Cher are rallying for White House intervention. The intensifying military conflicts, especially targeting ethnic Armenians, have propelled these celebrities to utilize their platform to amplify the dire circumstances engulfing the region.
Los Angeles, home to a significant Armenian-American population, sees its notable members drawing attention to the escalating strife in Artsakh. In 2019, Kim Kardashian and her sister Kourtney visited Armenia to baptize their children. With the support of Dr. Eric Esrailian, a medical doctor and film producer, Kim co-authored an opinion piece urging the US government to extend aid to the affected individuals in the region. Following an unprovoked attack in 2020 by Azerbaijani forces on Armenians in Artsakh, the Kardashian family, with their Armenian roots, made substantial donations towards relief initiatives.
Since the previous December, a blockade enforced by Azerbaijan on the Lachin Corridor has disrupted the crucial conduit connecting indigenous Christian Armenians to the external world. Voicing her distress, Kim spotlighted their Armenian heritage and the grim reminders of historical genocides, advocating for a cessation of US taxpayer-funded assistance to Azerbaijan, arguing it furthers the oppression of ethnic Armenians.
Earlier this year, Cher, also of Armenian descent, co-penned an op-ed with Esrailian titled “You Cannot Erase Us.” Cher underscored the widespread atrocities, the global disregard towards the war crimes perpetrated by the Azerbaijani military, and elaborated on the maltreatment of prisoners of war, desecration of holy sites, and Azerbaijan’s state-driven hostility towards Armenians.
In a recent discussion with Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken conveyed grave concerns over Azerbaijan’s military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh targeting the ethnic Armenian populace. This conversation followed Senator Bob Menendez’s proposal to substantially curtail aid to the Azerbaijani government to support Armenians, although this initiative faces hurdles as Senator Menendez grapples with alleged bribery accusations.
While awaiting a response from President Biden to the appeals by Kardashian, Cher, and Esrailian, the Armenian-American community remains ardent in pushing for intervention. They plan a large gathering outside the Ronald Reagan Library, coinciding with an upcoming GOP Presidential debate, to protest perceived inaction from President Biden against Azerbaijani hostility.
Last week, Armenian-American activists staged a freeway blockade near downtown Los Angeles, escalating their call for focus on the worsening Armenia-Azerbaijan discord. Their bold move came after successive hostile military confrontations by Azerbaijan within Armenian borders, leading to civilian casualties, extensive damage, and mass exoduses from the beleaguered region.
Furthermore, recent months have witnessed a surge in hate crimes targeting Armenians, epitomized by menacing signs discovered in Beverly Hills, warning of a coalition intent on erasing Armenia from the map: “Azerbaijan; Turkey; Pakistan; Israel = 4 BROTHERS WILL WIPE Armenia OFF the MAP Inshallah!!!”.
This alarming rise in animosity underscores the urgency and the escalating tensions that necessitate immediate, decisive intervention to avert further humanitarian calamity in Nagorno-Karabakh.