With thousands of ethnic Armenians fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh, chaos and tragedy abound. Tens of thousands have escaped the region, flooding into Armenia days after Azerbaijan attacked and overtook the land; the government of Nagorno-Karabakh has also disbanded.
Joel Veldkamp, head of international communications for Christian Solidarity International, is a tireless advocate for preserving Christian heritage and a keen observer of the geopolitical turmoil in the region.
“It’s our worst nightmare come to life right before our eyes,” Veldkamp told CBN Digital. “We saw it coming, we warned people it was coming, the Armenians warned people that it was coming, and we tried to amplify their voices as much as we could.”
Watch Veldkamp’s warning:
He expressed frustration and heartache over the dire consequences of this crisis, especially for the ethnic Armenian population.
Veldkamp, among other human rights activists, spent the past year issuing concerns and warnings about the escalating conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Those warnings kicked into high gear last December, when Azerbaijan blocked the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh.
As CBN News reported at the time, this cut the ethnic Armenian population off from food and medicine. Months later, residents are now fleeing their homes.
According to the United Nations, 88,000 people have already fled and crossed into Armenia.
In addition to the human toll, Veldkamp issued another warning about the historic Christian history contained within Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The destruction of the Christian heritage of this land is going to be total,” he said, emphasizing the cultural and historical losses he believes will unfold.
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Veldkamp pleaded for international action and delivered a message to President Joe Biden conveying the urgency of the situation and the need for a change in approach to protect the Armenian people.
If given the chance to speak directly to Biden and his Cabinet, Veldkamp offered a clear and direct message.
“I would say, ‘You’ve made an enormous mistake, and you need to change course right now. You’ve sacrificed one of the oldest civilizations in the world for a temporary strategic advantage against your enemies,'” he said. “‘But what you’ve really done is invited more war and more chaos, and, in the end, this sword that you think you’ve forged is going to break in your hands.”
He encouraged the U.S. to live out its values and stand up for “human rights” and peace by “restraining … Azerbaijan.” Watch the full interview here.
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