Murder in the Mountains: War Crime in Khojaly and the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict a novel centered on a little known, yet significant massacre, has just been awarded the influential Latino Book Award in the United States, in the category of “best political and current affairs” book.
This major award given to author Raoul Lowery Contreras has helped draw public attention to the history of the Khojaly Massacre, the hundreds of victims, and the nearly 1 million Azerbaijani refugees who were expelled from their homes and lands as a result of invasion of Azerbaijan’s territory by Armenia in the early 1990’s, and who still remain displaced today. Murder in the Mountainsis the very first United States based publication that sheds light on the war crimes committed against Azerbaijan.
A profound story of modern-day atrocity, Murder in the Mountains is especially interesting against the backdrop of current media, regional tensions, and sectarian divisiveness. It helps draw light to questions and issues of global awareness, criminal accountability, and how those two factors interrelate. Azerbaijan, a major U.S. ally, is a place where invasions, occupation and genocide should be considered practically impossible, and yet they have happened and continue to happen while much of the world has looked the other way.
“I feel really honored to win this award, it’s exciting for me as a Latino author to be receiving a prestigious award about such an important issue.” stated Contreras. “Coming from a poor minority background, I understand the hardship and pain that the Azerbaijanis feel when they were ripped from their homeland and marginalized. This has been an exciting and proud moment, not just for myself, but for a Latinos and Azerbaijanis everywhere.”
The author of the award winning novel, Raoul Lowery Contreras, is driven by a passion for finding untold stories, those that are capable of fostering change, for readers and the world. As a former United States Marine, Mr. Contreras provides a unique perspective on the reality and offensive nature of criminal war; through this story of terror and inhumanity. Murder in the Mountains accompanies Contreras’s earlier novel, A Hispanic View: The 2008 Presidential Campaign & Candidate Barack Obama, Cinco De Mayo, An American Holiday?, and the upcoming, The Mexican Border. Mr. Contreras is currently on a book tour around the U.S and has recently presented the book at a bookstore in San Diego, California.
Since 1997, the International Latino Book Awards has been the largest awards in the United States, centered on Latino achievements in literature and culture. The Awards celebrates books in English, Spanish and Portuguese and finalists come from all over the United States as well as 17 other countries across the globe.
On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.
Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry earlier said. Ignoring the agreement, the Armenian side again started violating the ceasefire.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.