NewsCovering Kern County


Local Armenian-Americans react to war overseas

Armenian-Americans protest in the streets of California for peace
Posted at 8:10 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 23:10:26-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — There’s a 25-year long history of conflict between two former soviet nations over a region of land.

That conflict can now be seen in the streets of California as hundreds of Armenian Americans protest over the violence from this war.

The two former Soviet nations are blaming one another for the most destructive conflict between the former soviet nations since the 1990s.

What some in Kern County may not know is the county has an Armenian American community, there are about 50 thousand Armenian Americans in the Central Valley.

23ABC reached out to some in the community about how this impacted their lives

“It’s a mixture of the most negative disgusting feelings you can think of,” said Naz Vardanyan, local Armenian-American business owner.

Armenian-American, Naz Vardanyan planted roots in Bakersfield in 2008. His family immigrated from Armenia around the time of another major war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the same territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“When I speak to my parents, it’s kind of like deja vu for them, because they are basically what was happening 25 years ago, in the early ‘90s. This is how it started,” said Vardanyan

Since the resurgence of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Sept. 27, hundreds of Armenians have taken to the streets of Los Angeles and Fresno Counties to protest and bring awareness to the violence. Armenian-Americans will even protest at the US Capital of Washington D.C. on Thursday.

As of Thursday, the Armenian Consulate in Los Angeles told 23ABC, that 22 Armenian civilians have been killed.

On the Azeri side, 24 civilians killed, according to the Azerbaijan Consulate on the Los Angeles website.

And while no protests have commenced in Kern County yet, local Armenian-American, Aarsenig Keshishyan thinks Kern County residents and Americans, in general, should care about this international, yet universally human issue.

“It’s one culture trying to wipe out another culture. It can happen in any other country, it can happen here in the US. It had happened here in the US. Why are we allowing this to happen in the 21st century?,” said Varsenig Keshishyan, a local Armenian-Amerian.

The Armenian Consul General says that the Armenian Embassy is lobbying for the US Federal Government to provide humanitarian aid in Armenia, to quote “pressurize peace,” and to urge Turkey to stay out of the conflict.

“The Azerbaijani leadership, in participation with Turkey, doesn't hide that they want to resolve this conflict through military means. They were always propagating that. The goal of Azerbaijan and Turkey, which basically means exterminating Armenians, which basically means that the physical existence of the Armenian nation is threatened,” said Ambassador Armen Baibourtian, Consul General of Armenia in Los Angeles.

23ABC did reach out to the Azerbaijan Consulate in Los Angeles but received no response.